Fiction | July 14, 2015

It was a girl. Ghulam Ali flushed. He wasn’t the kind of man to leer at young women relieving themselves in the fields. He turned to leave, hoping to disappear before she discovered him, but then he heard a voice calling out. A man’s voice, but there was no one else in sight. Just the girl. He heard the man again. Where was he? Was he laughing? He stopped, reluctant to leave the girl alone, concerned for her safety now. He squinted through the thick stems. She stood with her back to him, the red dupatta skipping about her narrow shoulders. Ghulam Ali craned his neck, and it was then that he saw him. It wasn’t a man but a boy, and he was walking toward the girl. He was tall and gangly, and his long hair fell in his eyes. Ghulam Ali was surprised that the muscles in his neck felt so taut. The boy stopped before the girl and tilted his head. The girl lifted her face to him. And as their lips touched, a stillness came over them even as the cane swayed and the dupatta wrapped itself around them.

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