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“I, reeking of grief and sex, will be waiting”


I saw my future husband today in a petrol station seven miles from my house.

He is filling up the 2007 Hyundai Sedan that his wife is still embarrassed about. Which makes him hold on to it even more. He doesn’t know it yet, but when he comes home tonight and opens the door to the smell of that house that suffocates him, he will enter the bed with his cold toes first and try to grope his wife for affection or attention (it no longer matters which one). She will shriek much louder than she had expected and blurt out that she no longer wants him. The toddler next door will stir in bed and ask to be taken to the bathroom. The baby in her womb releasing nausea into the air. He will then put the same sweat-filled socks back on, get dressed and head down the hallway. He will look back at the sitting room one last time as the man of the house. This is what his father must have looked like (he was the little toddler in the bathroom, being taught to pee like a man by his mother). Into the night he will stumble into the nearest bar, desperate for liquor-filled soft thighs, where I, reeking of grief and sex, will be waiting with the too-tight dress and a face painted on that says I am exotic and for the taking. This is what my mother must have looked like: broken women feast on broken homes. This will be our love story.




Post image by hans-johnson via Flickr.

About the Author:

portrait-aliHanna Ali is a writer, poet and PhD Candidate at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where her research specialises in African Identity, a notion that also features heavily in her creative writing.

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4 Responses to “Broken | by Hanna Ali | African Fiction” Subscribe

  1. Joe Aito 2017/01/27 at 00:14 #

    Beautiful and Succinct.

  2. Madina 2017/01/30 at 11:02 #

    This was powerful. Gorgeous writing.

  3. GB 2017/02/02 at 03:45 #

    Wow! Laconic and profound. The last line will stay with me.


  1. Published in Brittle Paper – Hanna Ali - 2017/01/31

    […] – an awesome African literary blog which is very exciting to announce.  You read the story here (opens in a new […]

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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