Dear…

Dear daddy,
It feels strange to write a letter after so long. There was a time before email and WhatsApp when I would write you. Secret missives from a daughter to her father. To let you know that I was doing well in school and you would be happy with my grades. But more importantly to complain about mom. How she was driving me crazy, and how I was waiting for you to come down and rescue me from her, at least for that brief wonderful month you would be here. We would gang up and drive her crazy.
It’s been almost two years since I spoke to you. But I’m writing again, to let you know that I am doing well. I go through my days trying to do the things that would make you proud of me. I don’t know if there is a window up in heaven from where you can look down, but I’m not taking chances. If you do take a peek, I want to leave a smile on your face. God knows I put far too many frowns on it growing up. 
I want to assure you that mom is doing well. She still drives me crazy, but I have finally learned patience. It took loosing you to actually understand how finite our time together is. All the years I wasted finding faults with you both! I am so sorry.
There are days when I miss you terribly. But then there are also days when I am so wrapped up in life that I don’t. I have stopped feeling guilty about those days. I realise now that I don’t have to think about you. I am a part of you. I just have to be the best that I can be. That is all that you ever wanted of me.
So this letter is to let you know that you don’t have to peep out of that window and worry about us. You have a blast up in heaven. I’m taking care of your family on earth. 
I love you daddy.
Always and forever.

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Amicable Separations

It was their 23rd wedding anniversary, yet he was late. He didn’t care enough to remember, and she didn’t care enough to mind.

It was past midnight when he eventually let himself into a pitch dark house. Suddenly the candles came on. “Jeez Malinda, you gave me a fright.”

“Well, its our wedding anniversary, or rather it was. I wanted to do something special for you. It been far too long.”

“Thanks baby. I’ve eaten, but I could sure use the drink.”

She watched him gulp down the exotic cocktail of vodka, orange juice and Sprite, generously sweetened with antifreeze, and even encouraged him to drink one more.

By morning he would be sick. In twenty-four hours he would be in the emergency room sliding into renal failure. She had planned everything meticulously. His mistress would be on duty then.


In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Words Wednesday: Week 67 challenge.

Rush

The old town clock struck five as she screeched into her driveway. Meg was late, and Jenny was not a patient child. Her chants of ‘We are going shopping,’ still rung in Meg’s ears.

It was an hours drive into town. An hour of Jenny’s non stop chatter. But it was their first Christmas since freedom, and Meg was determined to enjoy it.

Until she saw ‘it’.

And then she knew.

After all she had been waiting in dread for this very day.

Jenny flew into her arms the moment she stepped in. ‘Shall we go? Shall we go?’ She was so excited.

‘Yes we have to go. But first we must pack.’

‘Pack what, momma?’

‘The little suitcase we discussed about. Remember what I told you.’

The colour drained from Jenny’s face. ‘Did he find us already?’ she squealed.

I pointed at the wreath on the door. They very same one. The last thing that we had seen when the social worker had helped us out of there.

‘Rush baby. Before he comes back. Rush.’


In response to Priceless Joy’s 163rd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge

Crank up the madness

Crank

Crank up your whining
drown out my thoughts
spare me no stillness to ponder my lot

Crank up your neediness
consume all my time
leave me no moments to feel my fatigue

Crank up your selfishness
decimate my self respect
no courage should I have to raise my head

Crank up the adrenaline
be the master of my life
Alas! there is glory in lording over the dead

It Doesn’t Happen To Me

They assure you that these things are safe. All that weight hanging off a cable, moving pulleys, friction, wear and tear, but they assure you. And when they assure you with such confidence, you just have to believe them. Yet, I watch the gondolas creak and sway, and the cable trembles ever so slightly, and there is a little part of my brain that tells me ‘Don’t believe everything that they tell you.’

I stare up. Focused. Unblinking. Until everything starts going out of focus and fuzzy. Until there is a loud snap, like thunder, like the sky has been rent asunder. I watch as the first gondola starts falling to the ground. The next gondola balances precariously for a moment, teetering, and then like the great curtain has fallen and the crowd is rising up one by one in applause, they all start falling. The only applause, the screaming of its hapless victims and helpless onlookers.

I stare until I’m rudely shaken. I’m startled awake. The gondolas are still moving like ants on a cloud scouting mission. Nothing snapped. Nothing fell.

Had to be. Nothing really exciting ever happens to me.

I shrug and turn away.


Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: April 15, 2018

Looking down

Baba, is that the building you helped build?

It is so tall. My eyes cant see all the way up. They get lost in the clouds. Did you really go all the way up there? Did it not scare you. I would be terrified. The day we heard that one uncle had fallen and died, ma cried so much. We prayed everyday that Allah would keep you safe. Can we go up and see?

We don’t need to buy tickets. You just tell them that you want to show your children what you built.

Why not?

The tickets cost an entire month’s salary!

It’s OK baba. I’m sure its prettier to look upwards, than down.

In response to Bikurgul’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 54 challenge, based on a photo by Roman Logov

The house at the end of the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby…

You’re going to love it, honey. A week at a remote home-stay, out in the middle of nowhere, living the life of a farm-hand, free of pollution or technology.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true…

They don’t even have cellular coverage, so no urgent messages from the boss. And it’s so cheap. He said that we are his first guests and he’s planned everything perfectly.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me…

Why are you doing this? Please. We’ll give you whatever you want. Just let us go. Don’t touch her. I’ll do whatever you want. STOP. STOP.

Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me…

NO. NO. O GOD. NOOOooo

If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why oh why can’t I?

In response to the 150th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.
This week’s photo prompt is provided by @any1mark66. Thank you Mark!

The story is intertwined with the lyrics of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere over the rainbow”. My thanks and apologies for the same.

Caged

“A beautiful creature like her should be left free. She should run wild, go where ever her mind takes her. Its wrong to confine her like this.”

“But father, it says here that she was born in captivity. She does not know the great outdoors that you speak of. This zoo is the only world that she knows.”

“Two wrongs do not make a right. Its wrong that her parents were bred in captivity. Its wrong that she lives in captivity.”

“She’s part of a conservation program. They are working to improve the population of snow leopards.”

“Well, then she should be in a reserve. Not a zoo.”

I watched the firm set of father’s jaw line. That expression meant that his mind was firmly and immovably made up. It was the same expression that he had when he told me that women in our family do not wear revealing clothes, do not stay out late, and most certainly they do not go to big cities and live alone.

A sudden laugh bubbled up my throat. “Father, do you think that she looks at us and wonders why we are standing behind a barbed fence.”


In response to The Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 14th January 2018 hosted by Al Forbes