As an intro to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
A is for Ana
When Ana left home to live where land was free, she had to live with her husband's sisters. They were women who worked. Ana had to learn how to drive a car, she would soon find her societal duty. Maybe where large loads of laundry were fluffed and folded or, possibly where someone's grandfather lived with loneliness and would wait for Ana to bring him a puzzle. He would cherish his mid-afternoon's with her.
I met Ana at a market where she looked for Chinese long beans. She said that her people ate them too. She would come by on Sunday's, wearing her bhabhi's shoes. This is what she called her sister-in-laws. I'd give her a bag of glossy eggplants and plenty of squash, I hoped that she would come and see me again. When I was brave enough, I asked her to have tea with me. She laughed and asked me to stop being ridiculous. Her English was broken when she said that I should be ashamed.
She belonged to her husband, but she came to see me for weeks. After some time, I realized that she only stopped at my stand, ignoring the fruit and the fish, wrapped in paper, long after the sun and the sand. Her hair was always combed straight, pulled by a thick braid that laid on her back. Her finger nails were stained in yellow. She said that she was expected to make all of the meals in the house. Her husband had sisters who occasionally ate their dinners away from home and stayed up with men after dark. He argued with them, she would tell me. Then he would argue with her, more intimately, then he would expect her in bed. Her dread, his lust.
I decided to ask her again for tea. She refused me for weeks. Until she asked me to meet her, one day, away from the stand. I let her order my tea, pungent with bitter masala, sweetened by honey. I knew that she was sad. She said that she didn't love him and that it did not matter. I wanted to hold her and steal her away, to take her from her traditional sand. She thanked me. I told her that I'd wait for her next Sunday. She squeezed my hand, stood, and then walked away.
I waited for her the following Sunday, looking forward to tea. I waited for weeks thereafter. She forgot about the squash.
I knew that Ana would give him babies. And he would be most pleased if they were boys. I hoped that she would, eventually let down her hair so that it would flow around her shoulders and dance along her back.