Like Water

A boy and a girl travel cross-country to one another, trying to decide whether to run away from their family and religion to marry.



“Who did you date before me?” Ezra asked as they sat on the couch. Her legs were across his lap, her head falling to meet his at dark hair to dark hair. A film was on, but they weren’t watching it. Vidhi’s roommate had gone out, leaving them in the quiet space for the first time. His finger kept searching for hers, and she’d let him lock with them for just a minute, before her digits played chase and she extended her hands past her head.

“Well, I didn’t date much. My older sister Kuntala had an arranged marriage, so I guessed I could have one when I’d graduated.” She could see the look he sent across her, like her family had sold her sister for three cattle and a goat.

“An arranged marriage isn’t a forced marriage. Both parties have to consent of their own free will. Don’t give me that look.” It was too late, he already had, and she couldn’t help feeling how clueless she must be of his religion. She had, weeks earlier, asked him what was so important about Jesus Christ anyhow? It was fair to say, she owed him some slack.

She cleared her throat. “They’ve been happy for three years now, they even have a daughter.” She had a picture, printed cheaply from an email, of her glorious little niece. It was in those moments were she felt guilty, nuzzling up to this man of a different species.

“There was Padam, I guess.”

“What, like the star wars character?”

“No! That’s Padme, anyway. Padam, like my boyfriend until I left for Chicago. He was the sweetest. You?” She was still laughing when she asked, but the jealousy toned down her chuckle into she was infuriatingly curious. Of course, he’d had a girlfriend. He looked like he’d stepped out of a British indie band, and was slowly converting to the all American graduate.

“Ramona. She wasn’t sweet exactly… she was kind of vicious, tough. She was more of my assassin than my girlfriend. I had next to no muscle in high school.”

“Unlike now…” She teased, and he chucked a small pillow into her face. She threw the pile of feathers back, and felt effortlessly the guilt and alien warmth from pale skin melt away until it was just pure and happy. Like a dream she couldn’t have all normal bearings for, but smiled her way through anyway.

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