From “Of Windows and Doors”

“They had met three months earlier, when the city was not yet openly at war. It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life. One moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”

“Saeed was grateful for Nadia’s presence, for the way in which she altered the silences that descended on the apartment, not necessarily filling them with words but making them less bleak in their muteness. And he was grateful, too, for her effect on his father, whose politeness, when he recalled he was in the company of a young woman, would jar him from what otherwise were interminable reveries and would bring his attention back for a while to the here and now.”

“But Saeed’s father was thinking also of the future, even though he did not say this to Saeed, for he feared if he said this to his son that his son might not go, and he knew above all else that his son must go, and what he did not say was that he had come to that point in a parent’s life when, if a flood arrives, one knows one must let go of one’s child, contrary to all the instincts one had when one was younger, because holding on can no longer offer the child protection, it can only pull the child down and threaten him with drowning, for the child is now stronger than the parent, and the circumstances are such that the utmost strength is required, and the arc of a child’s life appears only for a while to match the arc of a parent’s, in reality, one sits atop the other, a hill atop a hill, a curve atop a curve, and Saeed’s father’s arc now needed to curve lower, while his son’s still curved higher, for with an old man hampering them these two young people were simply less likely to survive.”

“…when we migrate we murder from our lives those we leave behind.”
Moshin Hamid

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