The Ostrich
Previous | Next || Begin | End || Title | Index | Acrobat

That night I dreamt of the Ostrich's bride. She was, like she had told me in the aeroplane, at University with me. In the dream we were in one of the University's lecture rooms, the fans circling above our head. I made a chain from the perforated edges of the computer paper and gave it to her. She put her feet through it, wearing it like an ankle bracelet and I was anxious that the paper might tear but she laughed at my fears.

It was the Ostrich who recognized me first in the aeroplane, 'Sumra', he said, and when I looked blankly at him, my hand luggage in front of me, trying to find the way to my seat, 'Don't you remember me Sumra?' His hair was cut short, his eyes behind dark spectacles and I could tell that he was newly married. From the henna intricately designed on his bride's palms and on her feet up to her ankles, from the gold bracelets on her arms, the shimmering material of her new tobe, I could tell they were on their honeymoon. We exchanged news the way people do when they have not met for a long time. Is this happiness then, the sudden rush of recognition, the warmth, the shy laughter? Swapping news of others that we mutually knew. Could I have ever believed that the word happiness can be cramped in a few minutes, a few unexpected minutes in the narrow aisle of an aeroplane?

'My brother set up a video shop in Medani which I run', the Ostrich said and we both laughed again as if it was something funny, as if we shared a private joke. 'Hindi films are popular', he rambled in his Ostrich way, 'Nobody understands the language but they keep borrowing out the films'.

I remember you from University, she interrupted us, I was in my first year when you were in your last. You don't remember, do you? Her confident smile, her almost flirty manner. I disliked her, disliked her pushy manners, disliked her for making him hide his eyes and cut his hair. And it was uncomfortable trying to remember her face, vaguely familiar though it was, trying to suppress a hurt vanity at the reminder of the disparity in our ages.

Previous | Next || Begin | End || Title | Index | Acrobat