My life is in your hands, she said,
and my first ignoble thought, forgive me,
was why was she saying this?
We’d only known each other three weeks
and she was a cute lovely girl and all that
but we hadn’t, umm, you know … done anything?
My father comes from the old country, she said,
and he is so strict. My mother, she is worse!
My older brothers, Daoad and Amir,
they always always beat up my boyfriends
and I hate them! But with you I feel good.
Me, I wasn’t feeling ecstatic at this news,
for I had had a glimpse of Daoad and Amir,
those hairy gorillas, and could only imagine
what the father was like. Never mind the mother.
Ehh, do you have any sisters, says I, to move
this dreadful family saga along. Oh, she dead.
She betrayed my cousin so my uncle kill her.
Yah, my father he must apologise.
Anyway, you kiss me now?
My lips for some reason ran dry,
some temporary saliva failing, and I
took a rather quick look around …
O God! Is that Daoad (or Amir) outside
looking in the window? No, a shadow.
I’m starting to have feelings about shadows.
Look, Zaynab, I really like you a lot …
I know. I am a treasure. Many boys want me.
But you, you don’t only want my body,
you love my mind. I like that in you.
Ah, of course. To be sure.
I like you, you are Irish boy, Irish boys
are strong and brave, good lovers.
I dart a glance again at the window.
O God, that’s him!
doubt without a Daoud,
no, I mean … emm, I need to visit the gents!
Of course, my dear. Don’t be long.
Where is the back door? Unseen by me,
Amir arrives, smiles at his sister,
and picks up my half-finished pint of beer.
Gone then, is he? O like a puff of wind.