“My mother is not used to live-in relationships,” Sunil says. I try to be high-minded about it. I could not really blame Sunil; he has not met his mother for six years, ever since he came to New York. And he is shy. His mother must be one of those overly sweet, interfering women, I tell myself.

I have to move to my friend Rachel’s home, a one bedroom uptown, when Sunil’s mother comes to visit. Of course, I hate the move. I complain, vociferously and continuously, “Why? Your mother can use the other bedroom.”

But I have no choice, otherwise, no way would I shift there; the people so rich and casual, with their spa dates and mommy dates and me dates. Their smiles friendly, and faces erudite and moist with care.

“My mother is not used to live-in relationships,” Sunil says. I try to be high-minded about it. I could not really blame Sunil; he has not met his mother for six years, ever since he came to New York. And he is shy. His mother must be one of those overly sweet, interfering women, I tell myself. After all, she lives somewhere in India, a rural area. “A tier three city,” Sunil says. Whatever that means! It is her first visit to America.

The move to Rachel’s is difficult, and I feel terrible. I should not really, at least if I try to rationalize the whole thing. I have not lived in that apartment for that long, just two years. Unlike Sunil’s five. And no rent, no way. Sunil took care of that. The lease was in his name anyway.

But then doesn’t my hurrying back to the apartment, evening after evening, count for anything? I bless the apartment after a day spent on my feet encouraging all types of men to buy the suits that I sell.

That work is hard. Believe me. Even though no one credits us with all that talking through the day. “Just what you need for your next power meeting,” I tell the slick men, and, “Just what you need to impress your would be mom-in-law, not too informal and not too formal,” I tell the anxious going-to-wear a suit-to-fell-criticism ones. And as for the young men buying their first suits, I wear my best mother face gleaned from films and television shows, my own mother too self-absorbed to ever be one of those mothers. “Hon, this suit is perfect. All purpose, to kill a job interview and for those important client meetings later. Trust me.”

It is in that apartment that I seek solace when I am down with flu or something, where I binge on my favorite television shows, my feet warm in my furry slippers, and my head cushioned in the colorful pillows thrown all over.

“Ma may rearrange some of the stuff, buy something else,” Sunil says.

“No. No new stuff,” I warn. The statues and rugs and knick-knacks that give the apartment an air of a slightly seedy antique store and the dark spaces, where sunlight and floor lamps do not penetrate, so much a part of Sunil, that I am scared. Our relationship so tenuous, forged as it is across so many differences, that I am terrified that it would tilt, maybe distort with the slightest change.

Take for instance the way I met Sunil. He was standing in a corner of the Lebanese take away round the corner from my studio, demolishing a falafel roll oblivious to all eyes; The juices running down his fingers and sleeves.

It was his suit that caught my attention. Good quality, but not perfect for his body type. The arms of the coat a bit too long and loose in the wrong places, the seams of the trouser all wrong. You know what I mean. The whole getup made him look ill at ease, giving off an aura of hesitation and being out of place. I have some experience with that, what with my small town upbringing and blushing at the wrong places and at the wrong times.

Well, well, I told myself, a man who is not comfortable in his skin, and looked at the other patrons. All confident and well turned out. People who had done and seen everything that needs to be done and seen.

If things had been different, and I had not met him again, I would have probably just forgotten him. Done something else, or met someone else, or moved somewhere else.

I was living in a tiny studio those days; a place with space too small to hold me, and a single bed and suitcase. The measly time I spent indoors, I skirted on tiptoes. True for a time, the studio made me feel like a real artist. I imagined myself seized with a desperate urge to paint, masterpieces preferably; all boho chic, despite my high-school degree and mad rush to find a job, any job, before my money ran out. I even bought paintbrushes and art books to teach myself how to paint. And me, a recent run away from a little town, up in Nebraska. Population 1,000. But then the excitement evaporated. Just like that. Maybe it was poor feet, achy and swollen with all that running stairs up and down.

“How long before we graduate to a real job and money,” I had pestered Rachel, another transplant to the city, then a sales trainee, with a few more months’ worth of experience at the department store where we both worked. I had begun to have doubts. Was it worth it, all that energy and planning to live in New York.

If things had been different, and I had not met him again, I would have probably just forgotten him. Done something else, or met someone else, or moved somewhere else.  Sometimes, I think life is about chances, not striving. Accidental. Even if I had ended up living in the city, there were many other single men. Although, I would probably not have found someone so uncertain about his place in life. Someone who I longed to reassure, as if by reassuring him I would also find the resolve to be someone and make something of myself in the city.

But then Sunil dropped by at the Irish pub in the neighborhood, at the exact same time that I had sat down at the bar with my pint. I had smiled and beckoned to him. He was, after all, a neighbor.

Probably lived in the same patch of the city we called home.

After the tea, we had wine. And some more wine, then some more for the road. But as it turned out, I didn’t hit the road at all.

When we had gulped down our pints, silent, after the initial introductions, and groping with the idea of a conversation, he had said, “Want to grab some dinner.” And despite the casual invitation, he had taken me to a diner. One of those new age diners; all shine and fresh ingredients. I will admit, I was surprised. I had not expected him to know of such a place. I had only seen the color of his skin and his eager manner. I had not known then that he worked in finance. One of those finance nerds you see all over the city. In their suits and with their laptops and polished shoes and degrees from Ivy League universities.

“Want some tea made at home,” he said after we finished dinner. The realization of more human contact and warmth galloped through me. Two years in the city, I still pined, in unexpected moments, for my home.

We talked desultorily, as we walked back to his apartment. So near mine, yet so different; his building was one of those new condominium conversions, equipped with everything: a rooftop swimming pool, a gymnasium, and even a sunken garden. I watched while he made tea. Or rather, boiled tea leaves in a pan full of milk and sugar. “I treat myself like this, sometimes. No tea bags,” he had said.

After the tea, we had wine. And some more wine, then some more for the road. But as it turned out, I didn’t hit the road at all. I don’t remember much of what we did, talked perhaps, made love.

Waking up the next morning, with Sunil on the pillow next to mine, was real enough. “Well, we had a good time. Three whole bottles,” he assured me, hesitantly, lifting his head from the pillow. I had looked carefully trying to decipher him, see if there was anything lurking there, an otherness that I could not define. “An Indian,” Rachel had said, trying not to sound judgmental.

My visit, that’s what I like to call the move, stretches; and there is no call from Sunil. I begin to wonder and fidget. Walking around the living room at all hours of the night, and I am ashamed to admit drinking glasses of wine on occasions, driving Rachel and her boyfriend, who seemed to lounge around all day, mad.

“She’ll be here for only a few days. A wedding in the family, my cousin, in upstate New York,” Sunil says.

“I did not know you had relatives here,” I reply, something like doubt beginning to seep into my understanding of him.

Rachel is tolerant, if not exactly welcoming of my move. “Sure, that’s all right,” she says, “The money will come handy.” For I promise to pay half the rent to avoid feeling guilty.  I know Rachel is saving to buy a place of her own with her boyfriend.

I begin sleeping on Rachel’s couch. My clothes packed haphazardly in suitcases and cardboard boxes. It is different, no doubt about it. The couch is uncomfortable, the foam too soft and encompassing, and I fight to sit up or stand. But worse is the niggling feeling of dislocation, a sense of floating, not tied to anything, like a feather in the air.

Then, as I tell Rachel, “It’s just for a few days,” while she smiles dutifully.  Rachel is a cynic, always advising me against the customers with whom I talk a bit too much and smile a little too intimately. As for customers from other countries, forget it, “Who knows with these men, probably have wives and families tucked somewhere, wherever they come from,” she says.  But she holds her tongue about my move, only warning, “My boyfriend stays over the weekend.”

My visit, that’s what I like to call the move, stretches; and there is no call from Sunil. I begin to wonder and fidget. Walking around the living room at all hours of the night, and I am ashamed to admit drinking glasses of wine on occasions, driving Rachel and her boyfriend, who seemed to lounge around all day, mad.

On a whim, I call Sanjay. Sanjay, Sunil’s friend, with whom I have gone out to eat once or twice, when I was up to my ears with Rachel and her boyfriend.

“Go out meet other men,” Rachel says exasperatedly, “It’s not as if you are married to the guy or something.” So, I decide to take a stand, end it, or force Sunil to say something that sounded binding. Well, not binding exactly, for nothing is binding.  No relationship these days. But at least an admission of sorts of our relationship and its stability.

On a Friday, three weeks after my move, I call Sunil, breaking some kind of unspoken rule of never disturbing each other at our respective workplaces. I am going to gloat, while I say I would stop seeing him, I think. Instead, I listen quietly to his voice, soothing, even loving, in a kind of distant way, like the voice I would use with an old friend, I am reconnecting after spending years not knowing where she was, or what she was doing. As if nothing is wrong.

“A few more days,” he says, and then, “Why don’t you visit us this Saturday.” I hemm and huww a little, but I can hear my heart thumping with excitement. I almost sing my way through the rest of my workday. As soon as I can, I sign out of my shift and wing it to Jackson Heights in Queens.

On a whim, I call Sanjay. Sanjay, Sunil’s friend, with whom I have gone out to eat once or twice, when I was up to my ears with Rachel and her boyfriend. The grunts and moans and the smiles when they make an appearance outside their bedroom hurt me in places that I think I had cured in my adolescence.

I had taken Sanjay to my favorite restaurants. The ones I had not visited in a long time, because Sunil has his set places. For his favorite pasta, tremendous burger, and great juicy steak, and everything else.

The outings with Sanjay, is harmless fun, I tell myself. It wasn’t as if I was cheating or something. They just make me feel wanted.  Sanjay hangs on to my words and treats me with a grave courtesy as if I am some precious porcelain that will shatter if handled without care.

“No, no sari, and no dresses and skirts, if you can avoid that. Buy a salwar kameez. Elderly Indian women like demure dresses,” Sanjay says, arriving just as I choose a shop to buy clothes.

Unmarried, with no visible girlfriend, Sanjay leads a haphazard existence without any ties, like all of his friends. Like me. I never talk about my mother, the woman I am happy to put distance with. My mother who makes no effort to contact me, or send word with other people from my town whom I run into, in the city. My father always absent, to be almost invisible. I exist in the present, just like them.

The curious ways of the city have engulfed us all, slowly smothering out our eccentricities. All we talk about are summer theatre, Central Park, and jazz.

“No, no sari, and no dresses and skirts, if you can avoid that. Buy a salwar kameez. Elderly Indian women like demure dresses,” Sanjay says, arriving just as I choose a shop to buy clothes. I buy a pastel color salwar kameez that I deem respectable and decide on a nice glittering purse as a gift for Sunil’s mother. “All Indian women love bling,” Sanjay says with that air of knowledge that he cultivates at times.

“Ma, let it go,” Sunil replies for me, getting up from the sofa to fetch a plate of fritters and what looks like sweet turnovers, “Caroline would have been bored. All those mantras and Sanskrit.”

On Saturday morning, clear after a spell of rain, I splurge on a taxi and travel downtown. “Be careful, remember not to be too anxious. Cool. South Asian women are too damn possessive of their sons,” Rachel says sleepy-eyed and hung over. Her boyfriend still in bed.

Sunil’s mother meets me in the hall, a tiny woman with a black dot on her forehead. “Hello,” she says, taking me by surprise. I don’t know what I expected, but it is certainly not the fluent diction and pronunciation, having some vague notion that I would have to talk in monosyllables and gestures to make myself understood.

There she sits a compact figure near her son, her body wrapped in a sari. The yards of cloth seemed too much for her frail body to bear. “So glad to meet you,” she says.  And talks about the weather, how the cousin’s marriage reception is a great success.

“You should have come,” she says again, looking at me with the same eager eyes as her son; but hers are deeper and knowing, seeming to see things in me that I am not aware existed, and make me cross my legs and pull my hands into my lap.

“I asked Sunil to invite you to come with us to the wedding,” she says again.

“Ma, let it go,” Sunil replies for me, getting up from the sofa to fetch a plate of fritters and what looks like sweet turnovers, “Caroline would have been bored. All those mantras and Sanskrit.”

I stay for dinner. Sunil’s mother insists. “I am a teacher,” she says. “I teach science to students from grade three to ten. We have just one school, no middle school and high school,” when I follow her to help in the kitchen.

The apartment smells different, a mixture of food and perfumed hair oil. On the kitchen counter there are small bottles filled with spices, lentils, and oils. “Yes, I have managed to collect all these,” Sunil’s mother laughs, noticing my eyes on the bottles,  “We are nothing without our food.” Then she begins opening and closing and grinding and frying, “We do everything from scratch.” Then adds after a pause, “I can show you how to make lentil soup, dal. Sunil says you like that.”

I marvel at her composure, standing in the kitchen and cooking for a woman she has met for the first time in her life, and say nothing. Trying to assess my emotions. How could she be Sunil’s mother, I wonder. For Sunil could be a mass of nerves at times, with his headaches and anxiety and notions of office politics. Her affection throws me off kilter, unused as I am to loving ministrations.

“Excuse me, I need to use the restroom,” I lie, after some time as Sunil’s mother moves on to a chicken curry, the lentil soup ready. An honor I decide, my voice catching in my throat. My only good memory of my mother—a young woman taking me to kindergarten, dressed in floral skirts, smiling, endlessly smiling—replaced slowly by the foul mouthed woman, who opened beer cans with a sleight of her hand and lit matches on the granite kitchen counter.

The drinks erasing the last vestiges of the young woman in spurts and dribbles.

I dart into my old bedroom, now Sunil’s, and take in the new bright yellow embroidered bedspread tucked neatly in the edges with something like a lump in my chest. I hurry to the hall and sit on the sofa, next to Sunil, who is reading a newspaper, looking domesticated and satisfied, like a house trained thoroughbred cat. I touch his face lightly, and draw closer to the breadth and smell of him. “Not so close,” he whispers, pulling away, “You will shock Ma.”

The next day, I wait and wait for Sunil’s call that never arrives. In a fit of pique, I join a gym near Rachel’s house. “I better shed all the weight I have accumulated eating out each night with Sunil,” I tell Rachel.

“What do you think of a dance club,” I ask Rachel, and pepper her with snippets of information about dance forms. “Salsa originated in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Caribbean.”

Three days later Sunil calls, a brief conversation. “I am taking Ma to the temple over the weekend,” he says. “Ma will be upset if I talk on the phone at night, and at work it’s difficult.” The days drag on; those endless days of summer, when you long for the anonymity and forgiveness of the night.

Rachel’s apartment affects me even more. I prowl the hall like a caged animal. My sleep scuttling to a newer, better place, I begin pounding the pavements of the city. Deep into the night, when it is readying for a new day, deplete and alive at the same time, as if licking the wounds of the past day and marshaling forces for a fresh burst of erratic, uncontrollable energy at daylight.

Sunil becomes busier with his mother, and there are no more invitations from him.  After that weekend at the temple, he goes for other trips. To his cousin, whose daughter has married, and other relatives who I do not know and have never heard about. I call him furtively from work. My life with him connecting me to a sense of belonging that I cannot help long for.

“What do you think of a dance club,” I ask Rachel, and pepper her with snippets of information about dance forms. “Salsa originated in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Caribbean.”

What I do not say, but know Rachel knows, is that it is a good place to meet people. On another day, I say, “The craftsmen who built the Taj Mahal were killed, or harmed in some way. That is the story everyone seems to believe.” Arbitrary bits of information that I drone on and on, whenever Rachel and I run into each other in the apartment, morphing into a talkative stranger who bore no resemblance to me. The real me. All designed to fob off Rachel from criticizing me, and Sunil’s ambivalence. Besides, I am not ready for another step into the unknown. Another apartment.

Then on a Thursday, two months since I had moved into Rachel’s, just when I promised myself, I would treat myself to dinner, preferably with Sanjay and Sunil’s other friends, his mother calls. I am surprised. I don’t recall giving her the number of my cell phone.

We sit in the hall, and again talk about the weather. I tell her about my winning the employee of the year award, the nice bonus that comes with it, and eat a large meal. Vegetarian, this time.

“Yes, I will come in the weekend, I know Sunil is away in London,” I say, feeling absurdly light hearted. That Saturday after much debate and no phone calls to Sanjay, who is beginning to cling a little, I buy a bunch of pink carnations to take with me as a present. Sunil’s mother greets me at the door of the apartment. Smiling and dressed in a magenta sari, with a black border, this time.

“Hello Mrs. Sharma,” I say, trying not to smile too much. After Rachel’s, the apartment seems huge and hungry for more people. “I miss him when he is away, “ Sunil’s mother says. “In India, I am busy and time flies,” as if guessing what is on my mind.

We sit in the hall, and again talk about the weather. I tell her about my winning the employee of the year award, the nice bonus that comes with it, and eat a large meal. Vegetarian, this time. “I want you to taste different dishes from our country, and vegetables are integral to our meals,” Sunil’s mother says, sounding like the teacher she is. When it seems, we have been chatting for hours, to my surprise I have forgotten about time. I prepare to leave.

“Wait for a minute,” Sunil’s mother says and goes inside. Coming back carrying what looks like an old polythene bag, which she gives me. Then she sits down facing me on an armchair this time and says in a voice that sounds serious as if a lot of thought is given to the words before she speaks,  “I need to go home, back to where I belong. Look after my son and make your relationship permanent.”

Then her voice drops, and there is an edge of emotion in its husky undertone. “I lost his father when I was a young woman, and he is all I have. I had never visualized my son’s wife to be someone like you, but if it is you who he wants, I will be happy.”

Time flies. I become a supervisor of the men’s department. “I will have money,”  I exult. Sunil laughs “Let’s catch a show at B Kings,” he says. “Been a long time.”

In a week Sunil’s mother leaves, and he invites me over. After dinner and television and other things, I stay. This is, after all, my apartment too. Isn’t it? That week, I shuttle between the two apartments, Rachel’s and mine. Then I hire a taxi and bring my things back.

Slowly, I reclaim my old life. The hurried workday mornings, the shared dinners, and the leisurely weekends. Rachel’s apartment fades into memory. I cook lentil soup and fry vegetables with Indian spices, using the condiments Sunil’s mother leaves in their bottles.

Sunil’s mother calls me sometimes and tells me stories about her students. About her house that is being renovated, “Sunil said I should.”

Time flies. I become a supervisor of the men’s department. “I will have money,”  I exult. Sunil laughs “Let’s catch a show at B Kings,” he says. “Been a long time.”

Trainees come to me for advice. Both store-related and otherwise about the city. I can see they envy me: my steady boyfriend and apartment in a hip downtown neighborhood. They look at me with big eyes, as if memorizing my clothes and scarves and heels. They imitate me, a runaway to the city not so long ago.

I have money for the first time in my life, and I count my blessings. I do not go for speed dates, dance dates, and blind dates, as I see many other women doing. Sunil never fights. Never raises his voice.

None of the shouting and banging that I remember from my childhood. My father back for one of his visits, “Sweetie, I promise, we will have the best Christmas tree among your friends, and the lunch, ooh-la-la,” he would lisp, making smacking noises with his lips.

But later, after a few weeks, sometimes a few months if we were lucky, it would begin. The call for adventure. My father’s body lethargic, as if weighed by the time with us. His family. The long walks that went on and on, the neighborly conversations that were never-ending. Until one day, my father wasn’t at home at all. Vanished. Those inexplicable disappearances that were a part of my childhood. Until it became one long disappearance, in the end of my time at home.

She is expecting her first child with her boyfriend. Now her husband. I had attended her wedding wearing a light-pink lace gown and heels, hoping that seeing me like this would nudge Sunil to look at me in a different way; a way that would change our fluid relationship.

I begin to feel stifled. The colorful apartment loses its sheen, and my job becomes a chore. I think of going back to college for a degree, and take to studying Sunil, as if expecting something hidden to rise. Something that will harm me, if I am not careful. Is marriage even important, I wonder. Is it what I want, or is it a sign that if I am gone, it will make a difference, a dent, however tiny, in Sunil’s life, that I sought.

I desperately want to wear the fragile red-gold sari, decorated all over with a delicate trellis pattern, with golden flowers and leaves, that I had discovered inside the polythene bag Sunil’s mother had put in my hand. I try to control it, this primal need to belong; and wonder how I have turned into this neurotic, insecure woman.

“Ask him,” Rachel said, blunt as ever. She is expecting her first child with her boyfriend. Now her husband. I had attended her wedding wearing a light-pink lace gown and heels, hoping that seeing me like this would nudge Sunil to look at me in a different way; a way that would change our fluid relationship.

I begin to avoid Sanjay and Sunil’s other friends. They are a bad influence, I tell myself, going to bars and clubs to meet women. Chameleons, the lot of them. Sometimes, the studious-sincere men who had come from far-away countries, sometimes the blasé-confident young men, who were born and raised in the city. I find their single life and insistence in impermanence vaguely threatening.

I hoard the conversation with Sunil’s mother to myself and share it with no one. I listen to the conversation Sunil has with his friends when they come to visit. Their complaints about their country, the backwardness, and the closed-mindedness, and think how little they know the place they grew up in and its people.

I don’t tell Sunil about the call I received from my mother, hearing her voice bridging the years and distance. “No grandchildren,” she says, as if I failed again, just as I had when I had not secured the scholarship that would have helped pay for tuition at the college I had gotten admission to.

Then in another call, “Indian. India the country,” my mother says.

India, the word does seem exotic, I think after the call ends. Almost as if I expect an elephant to materialize and start rambling down the streets, or maybe a snake charmer, or the Hindu fakirs I had seen in a documentary. Their hair matted, as they run naked, body smeared with ashes, for a dip in the river Ganga. Desperate to immerse their bodies in time for the sacred configuration of the sun and moon and planets they believe promise a respite from the cycle of life and death.

“Take me with you,” I say, but Sunil’s face is unyielding, the way it gets when he is determined to get his own way. Further words dry before they meet my lips. I almost run my fingers over his hair.

“Just an average third-world country,” Sunil says, when I try to probe. “All that talk about the country is just that talk. It’s just dust and traffic and the people. Everywhere, as if the only religion they practice is procreation.”

Then one day, four years after his mother left, Sunil comes back from office and says, “I am leaving for India this weekend. Has been a long time.”

“Take me with you,” I say, but Sunil’s face is unyielding, the way it gets when he is determined to get his own way. Further words dry before they meet my lips. I almost run my fingers over his hair. The way he teaches me to from the cusp of thick hair above his forehead down where they taper to the bristles on the nape of his neck. Softly, letting the hair fall back little by little, to bring the eager look back to his face.

“Anyway, I have bought my tickets, and trying to buy another will be expensive. Waste of money,” Sunil says.

“You don’t have to buy my ticket,” I say. All I want to do is be a part of you, the part that never exists here in this city, but is so intrinsic to you like the breath you take and sweat that you ooze out. The part that is inadvertently released from whichever part of your body you store in at random places, I long to say. A flash of a colorful sari worn by a woman tourist gaping at a particularly jarring neon sign at Times Square, chattering in a strange language. Her long coat double breasted and buttoned tight against imaginary cold, and your smile, indulgent. The kindness that lingers on in the contours of your face and the eyes alight with a soft gleam, long after we lose sight of the woman, busy as we get, trying to flag a taxi in that chaotic part of the city.

Tolerant as you never are when you are jolted by something in the city. The beggars and druggies and the rude, and the way you say, “ Too much of everything. No concept of poverty, of striving.”

We have our shared experience, I tell myself built over six years of living together, as I drive Sunil to the airport. The city so much a part of our lives; its cynicism, sophistication, and little blossoms of humaneness that warm our hearts and quicken our footsteps. We are a unit. A couple.

Standing outside the departure hall, watching families hugging and kissing, I begin to feel a familiar longing.  As Sunil walks purposefully inside the airport, his back stiff toward me, I feel a numbness settle over me, as if I am lying dead somewhere, watching the world in all its colour and beauty move around me.

An abundance of blinding light that lit up truths, I was only beginning to acknowledge. Like the thought that to Sunil, I am different. Always will be different. A foreigner.

I return to the apartment almost in a dream, and for a long time sit alone in the hall in the dark. Then I go to the kitchen cabinet and take out a pair of scissors. The sari that Sunil’s mother had given me was still wrapped in the polythene packet, hidden in a far corner of my underwear drawer where I placed it all those years ago.

I take out the sari, fragile in my hand, as if it would disintegrate. Then gently, I spread the sari over the bed. The delicate gold embroidery flashes in the street light that filters in through gaps in the curtain. And slowly deliberately I begin to cut the sari. First into several large pieces, then smaller, and still smaller, until the bed glimmers with the pink and gold embroidered cloth. Like gossamer wings. Ephemeral.

Then I raise myself from the bed and draw the curtain aside. The pavement and further down the road are shiny with rain and the light that blazes from everywhere: the street lamps and from stores and restaurants. An abundance of blinding light that lit up truths, I was only beginning to acknowledge. Like the thought that to Sunil, I am different. Always will be different. A foreigner.

Also Read: The Spell of Her Disappearance