The African violet will bloom soon. Purple buds infest the question-mark-like stem, a line of taffeta, in a nest of green and mauve. The velvet leaves that beckon me to touch them are barely within my reach. A touch, it isn’t much to ask but auntie’s voice prevents it. “But Hala… but why?” I ask. She shakes her head and says “you know, don’t act so shy.” She then continues reading. Sounds of prayer come in waves; she reads the holy book for me to scare the devils, save my soul. I stare at the grains of dirt that sleep on velvet sheets. How can these crystal shards of earth, these specs as sharp as sleet be softer, softer than my flesh? I can’t disturb the bloom or touch the hairy leaves to find the answers in this room.
Aydin M. Akgün is a novelist and a poet. He was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey, graduated from the Lycée Saint Joseph in Izmir and moved to the United States in 1995. He received his B.A. in both International Relations and French from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2000, and his M.A. in Creative Writing in both poetry and fiction from Johns Hopkins University in 2009. He lives and works in Washington D.C.