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Names of Their Fathers

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His hands shook as he opened the package, the first he'd received from Grannie since winter holidays and his theatrical return to university, and it now gone Easter without a word. She'd written his new name in definite block letters, and her own on the return in an near-illegible scrawl.

Abdul picked at the tape, lifting the corners with blunt, well-scrubbed nails until each peeled back. Another layer of brown paper lay inside the first – an extravagance for Grannie, though not against the unprecedented expense of mailing a parcel so large. When that too came away, he understood the need for protection.

The wool rasped at the back of his fingers as he trailed his hand down the yellow stripe and through the cross, cloth as harsh as winter. He knew even without pulling further that it would be all three yards of blue and green tartan, MacLeod of Harris. He didn't expect the note pinned onto the last fold.

Here again the block printing, making every copied letter distinct: Call them by the names of their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah. 33:5. On the reverse: We expect you this summer.

Not a line more, but Abdul laughed nonetheless.