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"Gosh, I'm not eating manta and I'm definitely not going to eat bastirma." Armanoush frowned. "I can't reek of garlic tonight."
"No problem. If you brush your teeth and chew a mint gum there will be no smell whatsoever." That was Auntie Zarouhi walking in with a plate of musaqqa, beautifully garnished with parsley and slices of lemon. She left the plate on the table and opened her arms wide to embrace her niece.
Armanoush embraced her back wondering all the while what was she doing here ... ? But she started to get the picture. What a wellplanned "coincidence" it was that the whole Tchakhmakhchian family had materialized at Grandma Shushan's house at the same time Armanoush would be going on her date. Everyone here had shown up with a different pretext but exactly the same purpose: They wanted to see, test, and judge with their own eyes this Matt Hassinger, the lucky young man who would be dating the apple of their eye this evening.
Armanoush looked at her relatives with a stare that bordered on desperate. What could she do? How could she be independent when they were so frighteningly close? How could she convince them that they didn't have to worry so much about her when they had had so much in life to worry about? How could she break free from her genetic heritage, especially when a part of her was so proud of it? How could she fight off the kindness of her loved ones? Could goodness be fought?