photographs from the family album

Navy blue sofas, faded at the rims
A circular glass fixed on a short wooden tripod, nonchalantly
sitting in the space between us; the table serves no purpose.
It is too far from both our sofas to be useful for anything.
Pretty much like our conversation, that ran out of life five seconds
after it began. But that’s okay.
Because that is how you make marriages work.

My girlfriend made fun of you when they saw your picture
for the very first time. I didn’t stop them. Ruksana, however, liked you.
So much that she hoped you would reject me and marry her instead.
Some say she even prayed for it. I don’t know.
I thought you looked like a fucking monkey in that picture.
But that’s okay.
Because that is how you make marriages work.

Arranged marriages are funny because they aren’t just arranged anymore.
They are surprise marriages. Like those nasty little pop quizzes
our teachers slammed us with. Arranged marriages are like pop quizzes,
only for life. A gamble where your hand was played by ignorant
well-wishers, or whatever they call themselves these days. Took my parents three glances at your bio-data to decide you were the man for me.
Of course, I said no.
Of course, they couldn’t hear me.

It hasn’t been all that bad though, you know. At least that glass of wine isn’t a
permanent extension of your hand like it is with my sister’s husband.
You can crack jokes too, and once in a while they’re almost
almost un-misogynist. I take them as a victory and laugh out loud.
My sister has clicked a lot of pictures of us laughing together.
You crop me out of those pictures
before uploading them to your Twitter account. But that’s okay.
Because that is how you marriages work.

We are to marry tomorrow. I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m
almost happy about marrying you. Our movie preferences match, the sex
has been great so far and we both like some chocolate in our coffee!
If our children get your hair and my lips, your hands and my nose,
and your ears and my teeth, we would make a great family picture, wouldn’t we?
Your mother’s asked you to get me pregnant as soon as you can, only sons please,
lest I change my mind and run away like your first wife.
Of course, you did not mention her in that bio data.
Of course, our obnoxious little matchmaker whispered it
to my father only after the wedding invitations were sent out.

But now you’re sitting in front of me, far away on your faded blue sofa
telling me in four words and a period that you can’t marry me.
I asked ‘why?’ about six times now but you didn’t register the question till I changed it
to ‘what did I do wrong?’. You look like you are struggling
with words, but if I know you, which I do, you’re only trying to remember the
lines you’ve already practiced in front of a mirror about a million times.
I was quite fond of that little quirk of yours.
I see you there trying to recollect and I smile,
you still look like a fucking chimp.
But that’s okay.
Because that is how you make marriages work.



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