Glass Enclave
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Outside, Sammar stepped into a hallucination in which the world had swung around. Home had come here. Its dimly lit streets, its sky and the feel of home had come here and balanced just for her. She saw the sky cloudless with too many stars, imagined the night warm, warmer than indoors. She smelled dust and heard the barking of stray dogs among the street's rubble and pot-holes. A bicycle bell tinkled, frogs croaked, the muezzin coughed into the microphone and began the azan for the Isha prayer. But this was Scotland and the reality left her dulled, unsure of herself. This had happened before but not for so long, not so deeply. Sometimes the shadows in a dark room would remind her of the power cuts at home or she would mistake the gurgle of the central heating pipes for a distant azan. But she had never stepped into a vision before, home had never come here before. It took time to take in the perfect neatness of the buildings and the gleaming road. It took time for the heating in Yasmin's car to clear the mist of their breath on the window panes.

They drove through streets bright with lamplight, full of cars. Young people strolled along the city's biggest road as if they did not feel the cold. Saturday night, another world.

'Rae is different', Sammar said. Her voice made it sound like a question.

'In what way?'

'He's sort of familiar, like people from back home'.

'He's an orientalist. It's an occupational hazard'.


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