I heard someone speak about grief ,and what to do with it, the other day.
I was reminded of my cousin who looked like an Egyptian Sophia Loren; she had large almond-shaped eyes that curved upward at the edges, flawless olive-brown skin and black kinky hair, which she straightened with a hot iron. She wore conservative monochromatic clothes, always trying to be good and to avoid any sign that she might be open to a sexual gaze or approach.
Her physicality could not be denied: she had a body exactly like Loren at the zenith of her outer beauty.
In my eyes, my cousin was the beauty of the family.
During a car ride on the way to my grandfather's house, I sat next to her and watched her hands dutifully folded on her lap, her posture ballerina-perfect and her gaze set on the road ahead unflinching despite my stare.
I wanted to be good too, but I could never be that good.
She was used to people staring and making comments about her beauty and she was uncomfortable with it as if her innate sensuality would subvert her religious practice or disavow her intellect.
She was right in a way.
When she asked her husband for a divorce after consulting with her parents, she was murdered by her husband.
She was drawn to a man for whom beauty, possession and control where intertwined and what us girls in the family were taught as children about desirabilty and danger came to fruition in one act of insanity and ignorance.