Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday


Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Author:Lisa Halliday
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Simon & Schuster


AS IT GOES, DENISE’S hair is more of a walnut color. She’s also wider in the hips than I’d remembered, and in the crook of one elbow was carrying a manila folder so thick you would have thought I was Alger Hiss. I made a show of sitting up straighter, bookmarking the book I hadn’t been reading, and raising my eyebrows in the manner of someone cooperative yet bemused. I was bemused, but my inclinations toward cooperation were waning.

Denise sat down beside me and spoke quietly, discreetly, while I detected in her eyes a certain frisson. As though she’d been waiting a long time for a case like mine. Maybe I was even her first.

Mr. Jaafari. Apart from your American passport, do you have any other nationality passport or identification document?

Yes.

You do?

Yes.

What?

An Iraqi passport.

(Again the frisson.) How is that?

My parents are Iraqi. They applied for one after I was born.

Do you have it with you?

I bent down to unzip my backpack. When I’d pulled it out and handed it to her Denise began turning the pages of my second passport slowly, by the edges, like you handle a postcard whose ink isn’t yet dry. When do you use this?

Very rarely.

But under what circumstances?

Whenever I enter or leave Iraq.

And does that give you an advantage?

What sort of an advantage?

You tell me.

If you had two passports, I said evenly, wouldn’t you use your British one whenever entering or leaving the UK?

Of course, said Denise. That’s the law. But I don’t know what the law is in Iraq, now do I?

I didn’t mean to, but I smiled. And faintly, Denise flinched. Then, still holding my second passport—which is to say the only passport I had left—she nodded slowly, comprehendingly, tapped it lightly once on her knee, and stood up and walked away.



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