The Woman Who Smiled

I remember driving across a great expanse of darkness thinking, “This is what the poorest state in India is like? It’s not so bad.” I looked outside the SUV and envied the simplicity of their life. There were no streetlamps, no neon signs. Lightbulbs swayed in the cool wind of the autumn night. In the silence I pondered the past three years of my life. The shame of living a lie washed over me. Gopal Ji barely said a word as we drove. The muscles and tendons in his arms bulged as we crashed through potholes in the unpaved