Lisa De Niscia, 5/4/2015

Current Occupation: Adult Literacy Coordinator
Former Occupation: Adjunct English Instructor
Contact Information: Lisa De Niscia lives in San Pedro, California, and she is the founder of Whitepoint Press


Hard Line


Aminah Merrick reminded herself to breathe, reminded herself that breathing controls the mind, and she remembered Iyengar's words, "To win the battle, a general surveys the terrain and the enemy and plans counter-measures. In a similar way the Yogi plans the conquest of the Self." She remembered this as she moved slowly through the sun salutation and gently tried to push thoughts away, but she couldn't push away the decision she needed to make as soon as she was done. She promised herself only three repetitions; the first salutation would be very slow no matter how difficult that slow speed was for her, and then she'd speed up for the second rep, and the third would be done quickly like an aerobic exercise. But diplomacy hadn't worked.

Neither had non-lethal aid. No matter how many times they wanted her to try those tactics, she knew those strategies would be useless in this particular situation. The dispute would persist like the boundary dispute she and her husband had with their neighbor fifteen years ago. Their neighbor's fence was on their property by two inches. Her husband went ballistic over those two inches while Aminah didn't care.

"Give her the two inches," Aminah said.

"They're ours," Richard said.

"They don't matter," Aminah said.

"What did they teach you in law school?" Richard said.

"I should've joined a commune in Santa Cruz instead of going to law school."

"Then we wouldn't have met."

"If we were meant to meet, we would have met no matter where I was."

But this dispute was in a country thousands of miles away, Aminah thought to herself, and she kept thinking: let's be honest, it's a country being invaded by another country whose leader is a jackass. It's an invasion, but no one wants to say it. It's volatile and breathe, don't forget to breathe. Europe should take care of this one. We shouldn't be involved. This isn't a suburban backyard, but the cease-fire didn't work, and another repetition wouldn't hurt, right?  More economic sanctions? More intelligence? Drones. Maybe drones are the way to go. Lethal assistance that's less lethal. Maybe? There's going to be a civil war. Breathe. Let it happen? Leave it alone? Breathe.

It took just fifteen minutes for three men to tear down their neighbor's fence, and it took Aminah by surprise. Aminah stormed outside when she heard the Spanish, and she glanced at the truck in her driveway, a dilapidated truck with Clean up and Hauling Jesus Loves You scrawled on the side. She asked her husband what the hell he was doing though she knew exactly what was going on. The three men speaking Spanish stopped speaking.

"We didn't talk about this," Aminah said.

"There's nothing to talk about," Richard said.

"Did you talk to her?" Aminah pointed to their neighbor's house.

"Don't have to."

"What you want us to do?" one of the men said to Richard.

"Keep going," Richard said waving his hand at the fence then said to Aminah, "We'll build a wall entirely on our side."

Aminah opened her eyes when she heard a knock on the door.

"Yes?" she said.

"Are you ready for the meeting, Madam President?"

"Yes," Aminah said as she lay in corpse pose and told herself to breath, told herself to keep her mind still. Then again maybe one more repetition wouldn't hurt.




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