The Way Home
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She used to envy Tracy, envy her and listen to her talk of Chris or Michael or Ian. Hoard the images to weave her own daydreams. Always feel childish next to Tracy, made small by envy. Is she still ready to envy her now after she sniffed the dust under the carpet, seen behind the worldliness? There might have been no guns at the nursing home but there was still blood.

When do people make choices? What choice did Tracy have yesterday, last week? What was there to choose when she herself was the child with her Koala bears and posters of Neighbours' stars. When do people make their choices? Is life like a flow chart with a multitude of branches? Or do you choose a path and take the rough with the pleasure? A choice of paths. A choice of escalators. Take your pick and don't complain about the bumps on the way.

Your parents are awful, Tracy used to say, so strict, so old-fashioned. As if they were moving Nadia, propelling her against her will. Was that true? Perhaps it wasn't and Nadia was using them as an excuse not to do all the things she didn't really want to do.

Maybe she herself made her choice, quietly picked her own path. She does not possess the courage to defend it loudly and with passion, but she lets herself go along with its flow. All the time with Tracy she never dared suggest that Tracy was wrong and she was right. Even today when Tracy cried, she did not say 'See, see where your actions have led you'. Perhaps she did not care for Tracy enough to sound like Lateefa, perhaps she was a coward, perhaps she was just 'polite'.

Her mother advised, interfered, poked into everyone's business. It was a kind of love. And when she ever told anyone, 'You're free to do what you like', she was angry, in a huff. Said the word free like it was the ultimate insult, a banishment from her radius of care. Meant it, and the sentence would always come at the climax of an argument, as a cry for concession, for appeasement.

She isn't like her mother then. She should be glad of that discovery, so often she has fought any resemblance to Lateefa. Yet now it seems like a shortcoming. She has not been a good friend to Tracy.

Underneath the park and the pigeons, underneath her feet, Nadia feels the low rumble of a passing underground train. A thick brooding murmur that ceases after a while.

Make your own way home, Tracy.

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Glass Enclave
She wanted to look as elegant as Benazir Bhutto, as mesmerizing as the Afghan princess she had once seen on TV wearing hijab, the daughter of an exiled leader of the mujahideen.

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You look like something out of the Third World.

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