Old Maid – Transnational Literature, 2012

“I don’t like not knowing when she’ll show up. I’d just finished ironing and folding the clothes, and was passing through the sitting room to put them away, when I saw her there – legs stretched out across the full length of the sofa, back propped up against the arm-rest, nose buried in a book. It was as if she’d never left for America…or Europe…or Australia…or wherever she had gone to university. She sat in the same position in which she’d spent most of her childhood and teenage years. Only now, the book had more pages and no pictures. The legs were longer, taking up more of the sofa. And her figure had plumped out, taking up more space in general. It’s true, I guess. Life in western countries really does make you fat. That’s what the woman who lives next door told me when she came over to borrow some chilli sauce a few months ago. She’d just come back from a trip to Australia. She said one person there is the size of three people here. And she said that each one eats enough for three people too.”

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