Ahsan Habib’s On the First-floor Landing: a Duologue
Two flats facing each other
He's on the stairs, she's at the door
: Leaving, aren't you?
: Yes, all packed up.
: It's been around two years, no?
: More than that; your nickname is Shanu, full name?
: Shahana, yours?
: I know.
: Mahbub Hossain. You sew well.
: Who told you? You're in Honours final year, no?
: Yes, final—this year.
: Honours in Physics.
: It's surprising! Why did you quit suddenly?
: Mom doesn't want it. I mean—sitting with the boys and all...
: Forget it, has your foot healed?
: How did you know?
: Whatever. Healed?
: That's nothing, slipped in the passage, I mean...
: Not true, falling down from a height...
: Fudge! Is provoking your mother every day at the dining table really necessary?
: Has my mom told you?
: Overheard, many a time. It's been around two years, no?
: More than that; has your tub-plant flowered?
: Want one? Let it go. Rickshaw has arrived, mom's here, bye.
: In the evening, don't read in dimmed light that way—it'll harm your eyes, bye.
: The button at the middle of your yellow shirt is missing, have it sewed, bye.
: Go, your mother's coming. My mom's also calling me, bye.
Ahsan Habib is a Bangla Academy Literary Award and Ekushey Padak winning Bangladeshi poet and literary figure.
Md Mehedi Hasan occasionally contributes to the Star literature page; he is a lecturer of English at North Western University, Khulna.