Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter

The Showers

A week ago, I sat in the pew of a small Baptist church in Deridder, Louisiana and watched a friend Benson and I have shared countless dinners with commit his life to his new bride. When the preacher pronounced them husband and wife, the newlyweds held hands and jumped the three carpeted stairs down to the aisle while we cheered. Later at the reception, a Cajun trio played the accordion, […]

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What We’re Going to Do

As I soak in my last few days in Houston before heading back to India, I’ve found myself worrying. I’m not worried about the next few weeks or even the next couple of months. Instead, I’m worried about what’s just beyond that. December, January, February . . . Tonight, I sat on my balcony swing, which I’ve been perched upon every day no matter the heat, reading words from John. […]

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War and Peace

So many scenes packed into one place. A young girl on the side of the road (everything is on the side of the road) in nothing but underwear, dipping water from a bucket to clean herself in front of the fort-like dwelling she calls home. A man dozing on a torn piece of cardboard, a boy of maybe four atop him, attempting to rouse the sleeper. A chicken bone hidden […]

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Chopped

Two black calves (the animals, not the body parts) goofily butt their heads together by a street food vendor as office workers stand by the beasts and eat their dinner . . . Vibrant strips of cotton spread out before me on marble floor; the fabric soon to become reusable sanitary pads for village girls who currently miss school during menstruation . . . Forty rupees (sixty cents) to have […]

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Picking up Barley

Did you ever have a new kid transfer your school from another country? And they didn’t know what MTV was and their shoes were really weird? Or have you met someone at a party and instantly you realize they know twelve words of English? Someone so culturally other that every moment of conversation with them is painful? We’re those people right now. We’re the African kid who moved to your […]

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In One Land, From Another

Violet, lime and tangerine fabrics swishing along the sidewalks. One street market, two grocery stores plus some herbs from an Egyptian friend’s refrigerator in order to make a dish of Greek marinated chicken, turmeric and cinnamon spiced quinoa over spinach with Turkish dates. White fireworks exploding in the sky over the hill celebrating festivals we know nothing about. Twenty-four hours to make hummus from scratch in a land where canned […]

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These Few Blocks

Life is bumping along here. A few evenings ago Benson and I sat on floor cushions sewn from vintage saris, drinking Indian beers and staring out at the city as the sun set. It’s funny: we were so excited to get furniture, but we spend more time on floor in front of the window than our sofa. “What have you learned since being here?” Benson asked. “Like practically?” “Everything.” I […]

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