- MARYAM MONTAGUE
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Good morning, brother, she said to him in Arabic.
He smiled and replied, Good morning, sister. It's been a long time.
She started the Moroccan ritual, How are you? Is everything fine? Is your health okay? How is your family? Minutes later, she was in his shop.
She saw it out of the corner of her eye. She pretended that she wasn't interested. Not really anyway.
What's this? she asked in an offhand manner.
Oh, it's very old, he said. It is one of those astrological devices used for guidance.
For guidance? I could use some of that, she said.
And they both laughed.
She picked it up in its frayed leather pouch.
All brass, it was cool to the touch. Large, it fit in her palm only with fingers outstretched.
It felt heavy. Like a thing of quality. Like a thing of value.
He showed her how to take it apart, how to switch the plates, how to turn the dial.
She told him she didn't need it. She told him that she was there looking for something else. She told him that money was tight.
Then she asked in a breezy way, How much?
He told her his price. She told him her price. He told her his price. She told him her price.
And then she was out the door.
A girl, with guidance in her pocket.