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Friday, June 24, 2011

From "No More Mulberries" by Mary Smith

No More MulberriesScots-born Miriam, married to an Afghan doctor and living in rural Afghanistan, has stepped outside to calm after an argument with Iqbal when he cancels her English classes with some of the village boys...

She looked upwards. Familiarity with Afghanistan's night skies never lessened her sense of awe. On moonless nights the Milky Way was a magical white path through stars that didn't twinkle - they blazed. Constellations her father had taught her to recognise when she was a child - Orion, the Seven Sisters - demonstrated proudly that here they possessed far more jewel-bright stars than she had ever seen in Scotland. Tonight, though, an almost full moon had risen dimming the stars' brightness, silvering the jagged peaks of the mountains which kept the valley safe. 'Our moon,' she whispered. 'Oh, Jawad, what have I done?'

'Miriam?' She jumped at the sound of Iqbal's voice close behind her. Had he heard her whisper?

She turned to face him relieved to see he was smiling. 'Children ready for bed?' she asked. 'I'll go say goodnight to them.'

He shook his head, coming to stand next to her saying softly, Ruckshana's already asleep. Farid is learning his spelling words for tomorrow.' He reached for her hand. 'Miriam, look, I suppose I should have mentioned it to you - cancelling the boys' classes.'

Mentioned it?' She snatched her hand away, the need for calm forgotten.

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