I’m so happy to be writing this blog post right now. It’s been a crazy week. I did my walk on Monday (Victoria Day) and it felt especially lonely since there was no one out since it was a holiday, and my parents had just left and were having lunch with Roshni and Chris and his family. The only thing that got me out was knowing that Balzac’s was still open (although closing early at 4PM) so I headed out around 2 to try and get there before close.
I headed up University and it was gorgeous weather! I had my sunglasses and scarf and was enjoying the hot sun and the sound of the birds chirping. I thought I looked pretty cool!
I walked up Yonge and I think I stopped at a bookstore, although I can’t really remember. I really just wanted to get to Balzac’s so that I would have at least an hour there. I came across this lively band close to College and stopped to enjoy the rhythms.
I made it to Balzac’s a little after 3, and they were out of my favourite English breakfast tea, so I ended up having a decaf latte and a walnut biscotti. I read about Madonna, and her tribute to Prince that was not very well received. How great does she look at age 57?! It’s pretty amazing how she never misses a beat.
On the walk back I stopped at Queen’s Park and read from the Underground Girls of Kabul, while watching three guys play a game of Frisbee. I shared a bench with two girls who were probably in their twenties, who were deep in conversation. It is taking me awhile to finish this book, as you may have noticed, but I don’t mind because it is so intense and it takes me awhile to absorb it. Chapter Nineteen, “The Defeated” is one of the most powerful chapters. It is about Azita, a politician who fails in her reelection bid, and constantly eats to numb the pain. She is dejected because not only has she lost, but her husband has reunited with his first wife, and she feels humiliated at being seen in public as a second wife. She doesn’t know who she is anymore, without her work, her status, her money. She feels like her life has no meaning. The scene at the Afghan Fried Chicken at the end of the chapter feels ominous; it’s as if she has accepted her fate, that she is now a stay-at-home mom and second wife. Her hopes and dreams have been dashed, yet she still manages to find some meaning in it, or she just lives it because she has no choice. Her youngest daughter, Mehran, who is a bacha posh, is feisty and spirited – however the first wife is crushing her spirits with her constant disapproval. She doesn’t think it’s appropriate for a girl to behave like a boy. She should be focusing on household skills and attending to the men and preparing herself for marriage.
The first wife has also taken to reminding her husband that his youngest daughter needs to be cultivated into a decent marriage material. If nothing else, her current loud and talkative manner will grow into a problem later on. She is already hard to control. He should not let it escalate, she keeps reminding him. “She’s a girl, and you have to treat her as one.”
On the way home, I stopped at Nathan Philips Square where I fell asleep on one of the concrete benches. This isn’t me, but I was in a similar position.
After that I encountered a man carrying snakes as if it was just the most normal thing in the world. Freaky!!