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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Rug by Meg Mullins

This is a story about coveting. Ushman, a rug salesman covets money. His wife, Farak, covets another man with whom she wants to have babies. Mrs. Roberts, one of Ushman's clients, covets Ushman and his rugs. One day Ushman picks up a rug for a man so that he can inspect it before purchasing it. While going back to pay the man, Ushman discovers that the man has died. He doesn't tell anyone about the rug and he decides to keep it and not pay his family what he owes for the rug. Mrs. Roberts tries to seduce Ushman. She is constantly trying to get his best and newest rugs. Meanwhile, his wife, Farak, distances herself. She is still living in their homeland while he earns money and sends it to her. He calls her to ask what she needs and she tells him she is pregnant. Ushman is now in a bind: If he sells the new rug (the one he stole from the dead man) to Mrs. Roberts and sends the money to Farak she will not take care of his sick mother and run off with the other man. If his mom dies she will still probably run off as well. While Farak is on the phone with Ushman, she hangs up on him. He takes the rug to the trash. (a very expensive rug at that) Mrs. Roberts goes back to Ushman for the rug which he tells her he doesn't have anymore. (she has an disabled husband at home) Ushman asks her what she wants knowing that she doesn't really want any of his rugs but him. He lies down on a rug, and she lies down next to him (not touching) Ushman looks out the window and sees people he wishes his life were like. Presumably, there are people who stare in the window wishing they could trade places with Ushman and Mrs. Roberts.
I think this is one of the best stories from 2002. It is written very well and gives us a glimpse into the world of immigrants as well as what people really want.

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