After by Claire Tristram


Claire Tristram

The Muslim and the Widow - we are never told their real names. The story, set over a 24-hour period, contains conflicting messages. One hand holds sex, solace and intimacy but the other contains personal detachment, anger, hatred and violence. As events unfold, we are drawn into the complex minds of both characters. A strange, often disturbing read that covers a range of topics including loss, bereavement, American society, desire and guilt.


Nevertheless, the idea of taking a Muslim lover continued to rub at her mind. To do something so unexpected, so clearly outside the role that she had been forced into by her circumstances! The thought became a habit, a harmless fantasy, yet one so deeply hidden, even from herself, that it would startle her anew when she caught herself looking at a dark-skinned man. Any of them. In the library. At the mall. At work. She never spoke to these men. Nor did she mention them in her letters to her husband, which she continued to write dutifully long after her sessions with the counselor had ended. The men, her thoughts about them, meant nothing.

And then he came to her.

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