Mushrooms Withering in My Fridge by Adania Shibli, translated by Yasmine Seale

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An impulsive purchase reveals connections and disconnections in this story from Adania Shibli, translated by Yasmine Seale

In the street a breeze was blowing, darkened by car fumes, occasionally stirring up a napkin or a scrap of old newspaper. Light glanced off their musical movement.

It was a beautiful afternoon. Maddeningly so.

Barely conscious of what I was doing, as if pushed, I stepped off Salah al-Din Street into Samman the greengrocer, and picked up a punnet of mushrooms without the slightest hesitation. I took a large coin and two small ones out of my purse, which had begun to fray though it was rarely used, and gave them to the grocer who handed over, finally and forever, the punnet of mushrooms. I put it in my bag, which had also begun to fray, on top of the books and papers and the pen, and returned to Salah al-Din Street, which was still waiting outside the shop as usual.

Now was the time to think. To punish myself.

Why, fool? What did I need mushrooms for?

I cursed myself all the way home.

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