Half a newspaper

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Amaira decides to breathe a little more on Sundays. Abbu stays home a little longer. There is tea for breakfast and half a newspaper, stories from a world away. They sit on the little swing in the veranda and gossip about school and why Zehan’s cat, Noori cries a lot more these days. Nazeer got a haircut, that feels a lot like sunshine. He runs around the house, his own little galaxy, every room becomes a new planet. He calls his own Pluto but sleeps in Saturn. Abbu sleeps in Neptune and Amaira doesn’t sleep these days. She sits outside and listens to the crescent call out to the gibbous. She listens to the same song, over and over and over again, until she completes her letters, the ones she never posts. Her excuse is that she never remembers the route to the post office, she has always been awful with directions. Zehan drew her the directions to the post office on a tissue paper one day that she keeps in the top drawer of her cupboard. They were at the brew and Amaira had asked for chai with two biscuits. Zehan laughed as she broke the biscuits into five parts each and took an hour to finish her tea. He smiles a lot these days. Abbu took him to the shooting range the other day. 

“Shoulders straight, Zehan.” 
“Don’t be so tense, Zehan.”
“Bend your elbow a little, Zehan.”

Those orders run around in his head as he puts his tea down and remembers how perfectly Faizan bhai did it. He knew how to do things right. Just like he knew when to say what. He misses him a lot these days. Faizan hasn’t sent a letter in seven weeks now. They don’t allow them to send letters from the military base these days. They’re all scared.

Faizan taught Amaira how to dance when she feels scared, to let her energy flow through every nerve and pass out with her breath. 
Amaira dances a lot these days. She thinks dancing will remind her how to laugh. Faizan made her laugh a lot. He also sent her flowers along with his letters. Amaira misses him the most on Sunday mornings when Abbu sips his tea slower than the sunrise, when half of a newspaper converses with her in stories she dreams of living, when Zehan’s cat, Noori cries a lot more than usual and Nazeer runs around announcing the crash and burn of another meteor. A shooting star. Amaira wishes that Faizan comes home soon. 
She writes two letters every Sunday and hides them in the top drawer of her cupboard, along with the directions to the post office. Then she goes back and sits in the veranda with her newspaper, chai and half a biscuit.

_half a newspaper
half a biscuit (part 1) 



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