Glass Enclave
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That Saturday, they went to the library because Yasmin, now eight weeks pregnant, wanted to look at all the baby books. There were shelves of books about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding. The library was warm, full of people, full of books. There were books on Cesarean birth, abortions, infertility, and miscarriage. Sammar had miscarried once, a year after her son was born. She remembered the night, fateful and climactic, coming after days of anxiety, days of awareness that this pregnancy was not going right, something was wrong. She remembered Tarig on his hands and knees mopping the bathroom floor, her womb that had fallen apart.

There was gratitude between them. Gratitude cushioned the quarrels, petty and deep. It levelled the dips in affection. Sometimes this gratitude came to her in trances and in dreams. Dreams with neither settings nor narratives, just the feeling, distilled.

'I can only take six books', Yasmin was saying, 'if you had a card I could borrow on yours. That's an idea. Let's get you a card'.

'No, some other time'. She did not like doing things impulsively, without warning. She looked at the queues which stretched out from the desk, the librarians running pens on the codes of books. They made her nervous. She tried to sound convincing. 'You'll never read more than six books in a month. Six is enough'.

But Yasmin insisted, giving her a lecture on how a library card was a right. 'You pay tax, don't you?', she said and told her how a Nigerian woman with three children lived in Aberdeen for seven years before finding out that she was entitled to Child Benefit. 'No one told her', Yasmin screeched in a whisper.

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