Eastern Wind

Arsema was almost fifty years old and had not been with a man for more than thirty years, ever since her husband, Biniam, disappeared in the middle of the night. She paced restlessly around her small kitchen as she waited for evening to start. She didn’t want to go through with the plan, but her sister, Lemina, had already made the arrangements. The whole thing felt rushed to her, and tonight Yacob was scheduled to come to her house and officially meet her in front of her family and friends. It wasn’t a good idea, she told herself, as she pulled her scarf tightly around her thin face. However, no one ever took her seriously—not even her daughter, Saba.

It was Arsema’s fault. When she first saw Yacob at the Eritrean community picnic, she jokingly pointed him out to Lemina and told her she thought he was handsome but in a sinful kind of way. Lemina called some of the women in the community, and they talked to their husbands and now it was all arranged. She was about to meet him as a potential husband. She told them she’d been joking. But they just ignored her.

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