The Ostrich
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We waited outside the terminal for the Air Bus to arrive. Only two months away and I had forgotten how wet this country could be. Already my painted toes stuck out of my soaked sandals, a mockery. He looked well, he told me his research was progressing, he had been to Bath for a conference where his supervisor read a paper. 'It had an acknowledgment of me at the bottom of the first page', he said, 'because I did the simulation work on the computer. In italics, the author thanks Majdy El-Shaykh and so on'.

Majdy will write his own papers one day, he will complete his Ph.D. and have Dr. before his name. His early doubts, his fears of failure are receding away. I should have felt proud. I supposed I would one day, but at the moment I felt tired and insincere. I strained to feel the baby move inside me but there was only silence.

'You are envied Sumra', my mother said, 'envied for living abroad where it is so much more comfortable than here. Don't complain, don't be ungrateful'. But when she saw the resentment on my face she softened and said, 'It will be easier when you have the baby. Something to fill your day, you will have no time to be homesick then'. Yet I imagined that I could just not come back, slip into my old life, month after month and he would forget me in time, send me my divorce paper as an afterthought, marry someone else perhaps. He would marry an English woman with yellow hair and blue eyes. I catch him thinking that sometimes, if he had waited a little, not rushed into this marriage, he could have married a woman like the ones he admires on TV. We married so that he would not bring back a foreign wife with him like so many Sudanese students did or worse, marry her and never come back. Who wants to go back to the Sudan after tasting the good life of the West? With a Sudanese wife though he would surely come back. This is what his family told me, half in jest, half in earnest. So I was flattered with presents, a big wedding, a good-looking educated bridegroom and the chance to go abroad. No reason for me to refuse. But perhaps they cannot twist fate, perhaps I am not strong enough to hold him to his roots.

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