The weekend before the party they were raking the lawn when he heard Twinkle shriek. He ran to her, clutching his rake, worried that she had discovered a dead animal, or a snake. A brick October breeze stung the tops of his ears as his sneakers crunched over brown and yellow leaves. When he reached her, she had collapsed on the grass, dissolved in nearly silent laughter. Behind an overgrown forsythia bush was a plaster Virgin Mary as tall as their waists, with a blue painted hood draped over her head in the manner of an Indian bride. twinkle grabbed the hem of her T-shirt and began wiping away the dirt staining the statue's brow.
"I suppose you want to put her by the foot of our bed," Sanjeev said.
She looked at him, astonished. Her belly was exposed, and he saw that there were goose bumps around her navel. "What do you think? Of course we can't put this in our bedroom."
"No silly Sanj. This is meant for outside. For the lawn."
"Oh God, no. Twinkle, no."
"But we must. It would be bad luck not to."
"All the neighbors will see. They'll think we're insane."
"Why, for having a statue of the Virgin Mary on our lawn? Every other person in this neighborhood has a statue of Mary on the lawn. We'll fit right in."
"We're not Christian."
"So you keep reminding me."
Excerpt from "This Blessed House" by Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies.