These are the books I wish to finish reading this month. Maybe I will get to read more as well if possible. My reading list for this month.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a horror novella. The story is about a young woman who gets a job as a governess for two mysterious kids on an estate which seems to be haunted. I just started reading it and it has a gothic feel to it because of the descriptions. The young girl who is the narrator of the story is unnamed so far. It is an intriguing read.
2. Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a book that details the social experiment Thoreau carried by living in a secluded cabin for two years. I am only a couple of chapters in but, it has a philosophical undertone to it. It talks about the author’s experience with nature and living simply, being self-reliant. It is a little difficult to read because there is a lot of symbolism and depth to the writing.
3. My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin.
My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin is a story about an American Heiress, Cora Cash, who travels to England with her mother to find an aristocratic match. The world in England is different than what she is accustomed to and when she marries Ivo, an eligible but secretive bachelor, her life changes. I enjoyed reading this book so far though I have trouble relating to Cora’s character which I hope will happen eventually. It seems like a fun read.
4. Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts.
Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts is the first book of the Circle Trilogy. A sorcerer named Hoyt loses his brother in 12th century Ireland to evil forces. He is chosen for a mission by the goddess Morrigan and is told he will be joined by five others to form a team to destroy Lillith. Nora Roberts has a way of blending fantasy elements with the reality that it seems grounded. The story and the characters are interesting. I finished almost seventy pages at one go when I started reading.
This is a book I have been meaning to read for a while but it wasn’t easy to find. Finally, I read it and it was worth the wait. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is set in the time before, during, and after World War II. The story of this novel is based on a true account of Caroline Ferriday, a socialite in New York who helped the Polish women of Ravensbruck camp. The story of Lilac Girls focuses on three main characters – Kasia, Caroline, and Herta who come from different backgrounds and countries but their lives intersect. Caroline helps the medical experiment survivors from Ravensbruck by bringing them for treatment to America almost a decade after the war is over.
Caroline is an ex-actress who comes from a wealthy family and volunteers at the French Consulate in New York City before the war. Caroline and her family have a strong sense of their French roots and enjoy many traditions of their culture. It is also the reason Caroline works dedicatedly at the consulate. Kasia is an 18-year-old girl living happily with her family and friends in Lublin, Poland until Nazi Germany invades Poland on 1st September in 1939 and her life is turned upside down. Herta is studying medicine in Nazi Germany and dreams of being a surgeon but there are restrictions for women in the medical field under the Reich. She is ambitious and determined from the very beginning and has complete faith in Hitler’s vision for her country.
The story is pretty straightforward in terms of timelines and events. The novel is divided into three parts. The first part gives an insight into the background of the characters and this really helped me understand the motivations and personalities of these women. The second part was difficult to read because the main focus of this is the course of their lives during the war. It is not outwardly described in a gory or violent way but it is more about the emotional reactions which get to you. The third part of the story is Caroline, Kasia, and Herta’s life after the war ends.
The characters in the book are what make this novel unique. Caroline does everything in her power to help French children during the war. She does so at a personal cost at times and even when things turn hopeless she keeps doing what she does because she knows this is the least she can do to help. Kasia is a rebellious girl but she wants to help change the situation in Poland. She starts helping the Polish underground in Lublin with the help of her friend and her crush Pietrik. One day she is followed by a German officer after doing an assignment she begs Pietrik for and is arrested. Kasia’s mother and sister Zuzzana, Pietrik, and his sister Luiza who have come to collect the envelope from Kasia are all arrested along with her.
Ravensbruck is where Kasia ends up with her sister and mother, a labor camp in Germany for women. I didn’t know much about this camp and the medical experiments conducted there until I read this book. These women stick together, helping each other stay safe that too at a personal cost. It’s heartwarming to see them help each other this way in a situation where one wrong move meant your death. The experiments were inhumane and the way is written makes us understand the gravity of it. It is at the camp that Kasia’s mother, Halina, is taken under Herta’s wing as a nurse and where Halina dies. This is the only time Herta shows some emotion. Herta is not a fictional character and is based on a camp doctor in Ravensbruck. She believes in what she is doing and it seems like she doesn’t care but somewhere deep down she feels a little remorse for her actions. Most of the time though she is detached and cold focusing only on her medical research with no thought of the human cost.
Caroline has a personal connection to France during the war, a married actor she falls in love with named Paul who is also taken to a camp when France is invaded but survives. Kasia comes back with her sister to Lublin where their father still lives and has trouble adjusting to normal life. She finds Pietrik and he is having a hard time too but Kasia is trying to forget but her guilt about her mother makes her angrier and angrier. Pietrik and Kasia get married and have a daughter who is named Halina after her mother but Kasia doesn’t want her to be named Halina. She snaps at everyone about the tiniest things but slowly realizes she needs to let go. With Caroline’s insistence, Kasia goes to Germany to confront Herta who was released early from prison. Once she confronts Herta and finds out what happened to her mother at the camp that she is finally able to move on with her life and leave all the darkness behind.
Martha Hall Kelly has been able to give a lot of heart to the story through her characters. Kasia and her family are the fictional characters but the story revolves around them in a way and, they are instrumental in telling the story of those Polish women who suffered at Ravensbruck during the war and treated unjustly after the war. It is a beautiful and inspiring story yet it is so sad and heartbreaking.
I don’t usually read non-fiction books but this book was a gift. It is been sitting on my shelf for years. I recently watched The Mindy Project television series and I liked it so I decided that now I will read this book. It is kind of like a collection of humorous essays written by Mindy Kaling. I am only a couple of chapters in but it is a fun read. It is relatable, insightful, and witty.
2. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is inspired by a true story during World War II. Three women Caroline Ferriday, Kasia Kuzmerick, and Herta Oberheuser come from different worlds until World War II begins with the invasion of Poland and their paths cross with each other. I haven’t read beyond the first chapter but historical novels always intrigue me and this one was no different. I look forward to reading this book.
3. The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst.
The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst is a love story between Alexa and Nicholas. Alexa and Nicholas have known each other for years because Maggie is Alexa’s best friend and Nicholas’s sister. Alexa is in a tough financial situation so when Nicholas makes his proposal to her. They get married only in name for Nicholas to be able to inherit his father’s corporation. The story can be predictable in a way but the element of fantasy and unique characters is enough to hook you on the book.
This is the first book written by Courtney Cole that I have read. I found the premise of the book and the title interesting when I added it to my reading list. If You Stay by Courtney Cole is the first novel of the Beautifully Broken Series.
The story focuses on two characters Pax Tate and Mila Hill. Both are different from each other and it is opposites attract situation. Pax is an asshole; he knows it and admits it himself. He is a trust fund kid and there is an element of mystery about his past. Mila is a nice and sweet girl who owns a small shop in town. Their first meeting is less than ideal. Mila finds Pax in his car overdosed on drugs and pills late one night and saves his life.
The story unfolds naturally and doesn’t seem forced at any point. Pax is fascinated by Mila after she comes to check on him in the hospital where he is recovering from the overdose. Pax often refers to Mila as red. He thinks of her as Red Riding Hood and of himself as the Big Bad Wolf. Pax associates all things good about people to Mila and her sweetness draws him in. Mila is understandably cautious about Pax because of the way she first saw him but she is is just as intrigued by him as he is by her.
There are subtle hints from the start about Pax’s past but not much is given away. Mila’s parents have died a few years ago, leaving her and her older sister Maddy alone. She carries baggage from her parents’ death and their toxic relationship with each other. Pax has lost his mother at a young age, he was uprooted from the environment he knew and his dad has pretty much neglected him since his mom’s death.
Pax is self-reflective and is aware that he has problems, he feels empty and he doesn’t know why. He has turned to drugs to feel numb; he has been taking sleeping pills for as long as he can remember. The accidental overdose is a wakeup call for me and then onwards he tries hard to not repeat the same mistakes. I liked the fact that Pax didn’t decide to change himself for Mila but because he realized it wasn’t healthy. Mila reminds him constantly to make changes for himself, not for her sake. They have a very cute relationship and seem right for each other.
The flashback to the circumstances of Pax’s mother’s death was shocking and heartbreaking. A lot of problems Pax has can be traced back to this event which he has somehow blocked from his memory. You can’t help but feel bad for the little kid who went through such a horrific tragedy at the age of 6. It is in a way understandable that Pax spirals after finding out what actually happened and finally knowing why he felt empty.
It was a straightforward love story but it had complex characters which you can’t help but root for. I liked the descriptions of this town on Lake Michigan; it had a community feel to it. The pace of the story doesn’t drop from start to finish which is always a plus. Once I started reading this book, I finished it almost in a day. I enjoyed reading this book.
*Click on the image above to get your own copy from Amazon.
If You Stay is a story of Pax and Mila. Both of them come from different backgrounds; Pax drowns himself in drugs and women while Mila is down to earth and sweet. I am a couple of chapters in as of now and it is intriguing. There is an element of mystery surrounding the characters’ past especially Pax which I am super curious to find out.
2. Worth the Risk by Jamie Beck.
Worth the Risk is the third book of the St. James series. I read the other two books a while back and I wanted to read Jackson’s story. This book focuses on Jackson St. James when he decides to go to Vermont so he could prioritize his sobriety. His landlady is sweet young mother Gabby who Jackson finds alluring. Gabby and Jackson both seem to have different issues about their past yet they seem perfect for each other.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
I have been meaning to read A Tale of Two Cities for years but some reason I always stop after the first chapter. This time I have picked it up again and finished the second chapter so that is a promising sign. Set during the French Revolution, this book parallels the story between two cities London and Paris. It being a historical novel is a huge draw for me.
This book has been sitting on my shelf for years. It’s the dystopian element of the novel that intrigued me as well as worried me; I need to be in a certain mindset for them. Finally, I read it this month and I was taken by surprise. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a science fiction/dystopian novel which focuses on three friends Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth.
The story of Never Let Me Go is divided into three parts as it focuses on different periods of the characters’ lives. Kathy is the narrator of the story and everything that unfolds is from her perspective. The first part begins when Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are young kids’ not even teenagers yet at a boarding school called Hailsham. Apart from the first chapter where it seems something might be off about the school, it is pretty idyllic. There are a lot of secretive things happening at Hailsham which all the kids notice but they don’t know why it is the way it is.
In the second part of the story, the three friends have left the school at 16 and now are living at Cottages where they start to really understand about their lives. It is then revealed that all the kids at Hailsham are actually clones, genetically engineered to be organ donors. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth spend time reminiscing about Hailsham while trying to accept their reality. Tommy and Ruth are in a romantic relationship now. Kathy notices the changes in Ruth’s behavior towards her and Tommy but she doesn’t say anything to her directly. Ruth has befriended an older couple there who tell her that if the clones are truly in love and can prove it, they can defer. By the end of this part, Ruth has successfully driven a wedge between Tommy and Kathy. It is after this Kathy signs up to be a carer.
In the third part, Kathy is now working as a carer, Ruth and Tommy have made their first donations. Kathy meets an old classmate from Hailsham who tells her about Ruth and her failing health after the donation. Kathy decides to become her carer. It is Ruth’s idea to go to the lake and she also insists and Tommy joining them. Ruth regrets keeping Tommy and Kathy apart and urges them to defer together. After Ruth’s death, Kathy and Tommy are romantically involved and she is also Tommy’s carer.
The main part of the story that I really liked were the characters. Kathy is empathetic which makes her a good carer; she is also more accepting of her fate. Even at a young age, she notices slight changes in the behavior of the guardians. Ruth can be superficial and difficult at times. She has fantasies and dreams which don’t match her reality and understandably, she lashes out. In the end, though she accepts she kept Tommy and Kathy away from each other and wants them to try and defer. Tommy is sensitive and introspective. As a kid, he is short-tempered but as he becomes older he is calm and thoughtful.
The book is disturbing in a way because you know they are clones and they have been brought up for a purpose but they are also human. Their emotions and reactions are real. They behave like regular kids and teenagers but deep down they know that they are not ‘normal’. They are human in all the ways that it counts but their life has a purpose and that has to be fulfilled. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth want to see if they can change their fate; Ruth dies without knowing the truth about their existence which Kathy and Tommy learn towards the end.
The novel is heartbreaking and disturbing. The way it is written and narrated just takes the story to another level. The themes of expectation versus reality, friendships and relationships, life and death, and humanity are beautifully explored in this novel. This novel put me in a bit of a daze; I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished. It is a must-read.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Gaŕcia Marquez.
I have read Of Love and Other Demons and short stories written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez before I finally picked up this book. One Hundred Years of Solitude was on my to-be-read list for a long time but I was a little hesitant to actually start reading it. I read some 50 odd pages of the book last year and kept it aside and didn’t touch it again till last month. I had to skim through the previously read pages as a refresher and I am glad I did that otherwise I might have been utterly lost going ahead.
The story of One Hundred Years of Solitude spans for more than a century with seven generations of the Buendia family. It is tricky to explain all the characters in this books as they are many of them and they have same names; I don’t think its possible to explain the plot of the story in brief but I will try to give an overview. It begins when Jose Arcadio and his wife Ursula leave their hometowns to look for a new place to settle. They are the original settlers and founders of Maconda; Jose Arcadio dreams about this place and they build the town. Jose Arcadio is curious by nature and he is obsessed with scientific pursuits and immerses himself completely in his work. Jose Arcadio and Ursula are cousins and Ursula has been warned that incest will eventually lead to a baby being born with a pig’s tail.
The novel is wonderfully written. The magical realism of the writing and the story is what kept me intrigued as I read. The descriptions of the atmosphere and the landscape of Maconda paints a picture in your head as you are reading. You can imagine the town vividly which helped me stick to the story because I could see it play out properly in my head. The element of magical realism shines through the story and the way it progresses seems completely organic. The political and social upheaval in the story is mirrors the reality of our society. I have never read any books before which have the element of magical realism the way it is present in this novel.
The characters, the character traits and their names are repetitive in the story. At first, I had trouble keeping up with all the names and it didn’t exactly get easier as I progressed. Jose Arcadio, Amaranta, Aureliano specifically are names repeatedly used by new generations. It seemed confusing but then I realized that it is on purpose. The Buendia family is stuck in the same old circle of mistakes and decisions through generations. For example – the incestuous tendencies in the family are also present in generations and they end up in incest relationships no matter how hard they resist they can’t break the cycle. The personality traits are also similar in different generations like Aureliano’s are shy and self-reflective, they like being in their own company.
All the secrets that are kept by the family about parentage due to incestuous history end up being the reason that sixth generation Aureliano and his aunt Amaranta Ursula end up marrying when they are unaware of their familial ties and their son in born with a pig’s tail. Its very difficult to explain the themes and story of the book because it is vast and complicated. The family which keeps going in circles and interpretations of time and space in the story are some aspects are understood as I was reading. I might need more time to completely understand the story and all that it encompasses.
There were time where I really had trouble reading this book and I wondered if I should finish it or not. I am glad I stuck it out in those patches because in the end the story comes to full circle and it is intriguing. There are so many elements of the story that I feel went slightly over my head and I’ll have to read about it later. I enjoyed reading the book in parts as sometimes it was slow and I lost patience. I liked the book and the story and the writing but I don’t think it’s a book I’ll pick up again at least not anytime soon. Reading this book is a completely different experience but in a good way.
I read this book a while back when it was part of my syllabus at college. Inside the Haveli is a story of an urban girl Geeta, who gets married to the son of a former prince. She struggles to fit into a traditional and conservative family of her in-laws in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The novel is set in the1970s.
Geeta is the central character of the story and the journey is mostly seen through her eyes. Another important character at the beginning of the story is Laxmi; a maid in the haveli who has lived there since she was a little girl. It is the only home she has known as she was taken in by the family. The story begins with the birth of a girl for Geeta and her husband. Geeta is restless; she hasn’t adjusted to the way things run in the family. She is a well-educated girl from Mumbai and has always lived in an urban and cosmopolitan environment so she doesn’t understand the old customs and practices of her new family.
Laxmi, on the other hand, has grown up in such an environment and doesn’t know anything other than that. Laxmi has a daughter as well. She has been compelled to make certain decisions which she didn’t wholeheartedly agree with and that weighs on her. Laxmi leaves the haveli, her husband and her daughter to see what lies outside the walls of the haveli. She wants to be free.
The plot of the story is pretty straightforward and thus, easy to follow. I liked the flow of the writing. The descriptions of the city of Udaipur, the setting, the workings of the haveli and the atmosphere are apt. As you read, it transports you to that place and time. Before I started reading this book, I was told that it’s a feminist novel with strong women characters. By the end, I realized this was misleading. Geeta is constantly questioning the regressive practices still prevalent in the family. She doesn’t understand the need for such customs in such progressive times but she never argues against it.
Geeta keeps her head down and does what is expected of her even if she doesn’t agree with it. The only time when she questions anyone is when her mother in law plans to get her daughter married before she is even 18 but even that doesn’t lead to anything. That is the precise problem I had with the book, the plot builds up and builds up, whereas a reader you feel something is about to happen but then nothing happens at all.
As I came close to the end, I started to care less about the story and the characters. Geeta, in the end, conforms to the same traditions and practices wholeheartedly which she had reservations about earlier in the story. How this is a feminist novel I have no idea. It sent a wrong message I think in the end that that one has to conform to the regressive practices of society. Laxmi, who runs away from the haveli, is alluded to; she has suffered because she left. The girl who actually takes a step towards freedom has shown to suffer. Yes, she abandons her daughter which makes her less sympathetic and later she sneaks to her daughter’s school to get glimpses of her. So when you follow the old traditions you are okay but when you leave nothing good comes of it. Geeta being a well-educated person, her choices to start accepting everything as it is was baffling for me.
I was actually interested in the story for a long time. Once I reached the middle, I thought now the plot will advance but all the ideas don’t go anywhere. As a reader, it is very frustrating. It is not a feminist novel, especially not in our times. The end was the most frustrating part of the story and frankly, it pissed me off. Maybe when it was published in the 1970’s it had a different impact then it does now. I liked the setting and the whole atmosphere of the story, the world created in that story has almost disappeared now but overall I liked the book in the beginning but lost interest halfway through.
“How are you holding up?” Rose asked me while she worked on the dishes. After the funeral, the few close people who attended came back to the house for a memorial or whatever it is.
April shrugged. She felt sad, hurt and lonely like a part of her was lost. “Rose, I am fine.” She said firmly and Rose nodded. Soon Adam entered the kitchen.
“How are you feeling?” he asked softly. She sighed, she knew they care but seriously this needs to stop. That’s all she has been asked since last night and it was getting annoying. Her being fine or not is not going to bring Nana back so why bother?
“For God’s sake, I AM FINE. Do you want it in writing?” She snapped at both of them who looked at her with wide eyes, she was always pretending to be in control which was now haunting her. They were expecting her to sit crying in a corner or move on. She knew all she needed was to take her mind off things so she could get through this so she busied herself in the kitchen chores. She took a deep breath. “I am sorry ok? I am trying to deal with this but you guys are not making it easy.” She said scrubbing the kitchen top.
“You should take it easy. You haven’t even sat down since last night, you didn’t sleep and you didn’t eat anything since lunch yesterday. Let me help you.” Rose said taking a step forward. She stepped back and stood still. What was wrong with her? She needed to get a grip. She can do this; she can’t expect someone to take care of her because that person was gone. She started scrubbing again.
Rose took a step towards her and she stopped. “Don’t you guys have packing to do? I mean you are leaving today so are you done with it?” she asked crossing her hands over her chest.
“Umm…no,” Rose said making her frown. “April, actually we are changed plans we pushed our tickets ahead we will leave next weekend” Adam explained.
She raised her eyebrows at them. “Why? Yesterday Rose was so excited to start living with you. Why the sudden change of plans?” She asked.
Rose looked everywhere else but at her. Oh shit, no then it dawned on her they are staying here for her. No way she was going to let that happen. “Seriously, that’s too much. No way I am letting you guys do this. So pack up your bags and leave.” She instructed.
They shook their heads almost making her stomp her foot in frustration. “We can’t leave you now.” Rose said. “You need us right now. We want to stay.” Adam added.
Great now they are actually agreeing wow, that’s pissed her off. “Just leave, I don’t need anyone ok? Go today itself.” She said. They were about to respond but she cut them off. “Please leave me alone, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP.” She stated angrily.
The same instant Kyle entered the kitchen with dishes in his hand. What is he doing here? She thought he left, he gave her a small smile and she remembered how he looked at her yesterday, he doesn’t care, he just feels bad for her, it made her angrier. “Same goes to you as well,” she said and walking past them straight to her room slamming the door behind her.
She curled up in a ball on her bed and let the tears out which she had been holding. This was the first time in hours she actually sat down. Everything was going so fast she didn’t get time to deal with it on her own. She wiped her tears roughly no, she couldn’t cry she shouldn’t, she can do this she reminded herself. After an hour or two of crying and some sleeping, she made her way downstairs to grab a bite. It had finally stopped raining heavily but a light drizzle continued. The whole house was empty, this is what she feared all the way, being alone and that was exactly what happened. She has no family, no friends and no boyfriend to help her get through this mess somehow. She was completely and utterly alone in every human way possible, how was she going to survive? She had no one left who actually cared for her. Adam and Rose must have already left, nana is no more. She felt a pang of pain kick her in the gut. Why was she even alive? She didn’t want to die old with ten cats in this very house. She had nothing left to lose, nothing left to live for.
She picked up her jacket and started walking towards the place where no will ever be able to find her. She was out of breath by the time she reached her regular spot on the cliff overlooking the lake also known as suicide point which was ironic in this situation. She was warm enough so she removed my jacket and took small steps towards the far edge. She looked down and stepped back instinctively, this is what she was here for and now she was scared? She felt like such a loser. She closed her eyes and many memories flashed in front of her eyes. Her parents and her; sitting around the table laughing while having dinner, both of them looking at her with huge smiles. Nana and she eating an ice cream sitting on a park bench a few months ago when Nana was asking me to go and talk to the hot guy. She smiled remembering about her nana and parents, yup, she was definitely going in a better place. All her life she had to deal with people leaving her, she was hurt. She will be with them, never alone again with her family where she belongs. She took a step forward, her eyes still closed. She shouldn’t be doing this. This is crazy she couldn’t do this, could she?
“What the hell are you doing?” A voice asked loudly from behind her making her stop dead in her tracks. She took a step backward and turned around in a quick swift motion almost falling flat on her face.
“Kyle, what is wrong with you?” She asked taking a step towards him “You scared me, dumb ass.” She shouted. He just shrugged settling on a rock nearby. She put her hands on my hips “What? Are you stalking me now?” She asked impatiently when he didn’t respond to any of her comments.
He will never let her be at peace. Off course he had to be the one to ruin her suicide plan now he will think she is crazy not that she cared what thought. She agreed it was a bad move to try jumping off the cliff. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.” He said casually as if he hadn’t seen her almost jump off the cliff.
Taking a hint and he won’t be leaving anytime soon, she sat on a rock next to him. “What do you think you were doing?” he asked in a defeated voice.
She shrugged. “Jumping off the cliff, why?” She asked casually. She acted like she didn’t care if it wasn’t for him she might be dead meat by now.
“Really? I thought you were better than this, strong and mature. Liv always told me how proud she was of you. Being so responsible and all at a young age.” He said bitterly. “Why?” he asked softly.
She froze at the mention of Nana. Did she tell him about her? Was she proud of her? That is so sweet. “I don’t what else to do. I am so afraid of being alone. Everyone promised me that I will never be alone but look at me now. But I do agree this was a bad move.” She gestured to herself and sighed. “When mom and dad died in that accident I was shattered and I didn’t know how to get past this, I was lost and scared. Then nana helped me through it, I depended on her for everything and now that she is gone. It’s just hard to start everything over again and this time I don’t have anyone left to get me through it.” She said. Why did she say all this to him? She had never even said this out loud to herself let alone to someone else but now it just came pouring out.
“You are strong to put this behind you. Rosalie and Adam wanted to help why didn’t you just let them stay? You wouldn’t have felt so lonely.” He said in a low voice.
She sighed. “She was excited to start fresh with him and I didn’t want to ruin it for them. They have to get on with their stuff, they can unlike me. I want them to be happy and not hold them back in any way.” She explained.
“I guess that makes sense. How typical of you though to think about others before yourself” He said softly. They just sat staring ahead without saying anything and what was weird that she didn’t feel awkward for a second. “You know my mom always says hard times don’t last forever. One day if you are sad then there will be a day when you are happy too. Not every day is going to be perfect but if you think that you will be sad for the rest of your life then that’s not true. I know you have had a hard life but I also believe that happiness is just around the corner.” He said and flashed a cute smile.
Her eyes went wide; did Kyle just give her advice? “Close your mouth; don’t want to catch any flies.” He said and smirked. And he was back. “I can be nice.” He said making her smile.
She was processing all that he said but he doesn’t know if it works. She knew he has got everything he wanted he never had to ask twice. “It’s easy for you to say but it’s difficult. I try, I really do.” She mumbled.
He sighed. “I knew you were going to say that. Oh, April sweetie you are so predictable.” He said nudging her playfully. She rolled her eyes but he continued. “I don’t know if your nana ever told you about my mom. She didn’t have a very pleasant past with her dad and mum getting divorced, she lives with her mum and stepfather, stalkerish ex-boyfriend. She has stumbled through it all but now she is happy. See, I gave you a good example. Maybe if she would have given up, I wouldn’t be here” He said.
She never knew this. She means yeah Nana said his mom didn’t have the best life before getting married but she didn’t know anything other than that. Her father had expired due to cancer when she was fourteen. “And you know what I think you are brave and strong then my mum was. If she can do it so can you.” He said. Aww, he is so sweet. “And you have me.” He added with a wink.
She rolled my eyes again but then his face turned serious. “Don’t throw away your life please; if you ever need to talk I am just a phone call away. I know you don’t like me very much but I am not that out of control teenager I was. I will help you and be there for you even if you call me at 2 in the night.” He said tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “You are going to get all the happiness you deserve, you are amazing.” He said and kissed her cheek.
He wiped a single tear that escaped her eyes. He is right she couldn’t throw away her life nana would never forgive her if she did. Nana said to her that she will never be alone and its true Kyle says he will be with her, she won’t be alone she will have him and she was sure she can count on him. He has so much faith that she can get through this then maybe she should have some faith in herself too. She looked into his grey eyes they were worried and honest; she nodded and smiled at him weakly. “I am going to get through this.” She said with a smile. He sighed pulling her in a one arm hug thing and for the first time in the last three days she was at peace somewhat and it was because of Kyle. She wore her jacket again and took the hood over her head to protect herself from the drizzle. She leaned her head on his shoulder and he wrapped an arm around her pulling her closer to him.
End of flashback
“Hey, thinking about the last time we were here?” Kyle asked sitting next to her and giving her a peck on the lips. She nodded and he smiled.
“It was a great night.” He said kissing her temple lovingly. She smiled again. “Yeah, it was.” She said they had sat here and talked for hours.” You had one weak moment in all these years but I still think you wouldn’t have jumped. You are strong, caring, amazing and responsible that what I love about you.” He said kissing her lips softly.
“I love you too Kyle, you are pretty good yourself .” She said making him roll his eyes. The last time she was here, she wanted to kill herself in a weak moment but so much had changed in four years. She and Kyle dated for a year before getting married and now they have a daughter who is two. Like she said it was a three-day storm. The first day she got her heart broken by Adam who proposed Rose instead of leaving her in distress. The second day she sulked but nana died leaving her without a family. On the third day, she met the love of her life that had been living next door to her for eight years. Out of everything Kyle was the best thing that happened to her. When she thought she had no one, he came by like a knight in shining armor. It was kind of overwhelming to be heartbroken and then your only support being taken away from you but it made her who she was today.
She has so much hope and faith that you can get out of any situation in life all you need is a little help and support. Four years back when she was sitting here she would have never thought about being this happy, having her own family. Kyle’s parents loved her like daughter, she was completely happy being herself for the first time, she was not scared. She will never forget when Nana said that she will never be alone nana was right. When she lost her, she found her true love though she still misses her and her parents off course she had let them go and it’s in the past. The future looked good and she couldn’t be more psyched about it. She turned towards Kyle who was watching her with a smile. She leaned in and kissed him, she wanted to show him what he means to her and how much she loved him but luckily he responded with the same intensity and passion.
She couldn’t sleep properly all night, the memories kept flashing back to back to her every time she closed her eyes. She dreamt about her parents last night as well she wasn’t sure why. Everything was changing. She was scared, vulnerable, hurt and terrified of facing the day. She took a deep breath and reminded herself about the things she thought last night. Words like strong, brave, good friend ran through her mind and she decided she was going to act on it. It hadn’t stopped raining, every time she heard the thunder she jumped a little, it was scary. She was tired; she didn’t feel like getting out of the bed. She couldn’t hide in her room forever even though it was her best option. She got up hesitantly and decided to run a bath and cool down, her eyes were stinging, throat was sore, her head hurt and she looked like a zombie. After a long bath she got dressed in sweats, using make up to hide the bags under her eyes and made her way downstairs quietly. Nana was cooking humming along softly, she stopped when she saw her and smiled like nothing was wrong.
“Good morning, what’s for breakfast?” She asked settling herself
on the counter stool. “Pancakes. Here have some.” Nana said pushing three on
Three? She didn’t think she will even be able to finish one. Why was nana pretending like nothing was wrong? She hasn’t asked her a thing about yesterday. April didn’t want to talk about it but she could at least ask. She didn’t get why her nana thought that not asking about it was giving her space, she needed someone to hold her and tell her that all is going to be okay. She stabbed the pancake with her fork before shoving it in my mouth angrily, just ask and get it over with this silence was killing her. She sighed and sat down quietly like we always do. Stay strong, everything is okay nothing happened she kept repeating this in her mind over and over again. She finally snapped, pushed her plate away and stormed to her room slamming the door behind her.
She groaned, what was wrong with her? She got angry with nana when she didn’t even do anything. She just needed a reason to be angry at something or someone, let this frustration out. Nana had always been so sweet to her all the time and she behaved like a jerk, she didn’t have any control over her emotions at all; she felt so angry and hurt to a point where it was annoying. There was a knock on her door, she ignored it, and she didn’t want to talk to anyone right now and simply stay here until she was ready. She took deep breaths to calm herself down and there was another knock on her door.
She was about to get up when the door opened and Rose
entered her room. “Hi.” Rose said smiling at her. “I have been calling you
since yesterday, why is your phone switched off?” she asked and came to sit
next to her
Rose was the last person she wanted in here. She loved her but Rose got everything she’s ever wished for without having to ask twice, her life has been easy unlike April, she has had to struggle at every step. Why did she deserve better than her? “Hello. You are not going to say anything.” Rose said.
She sighed. “My phone’s not working it got wet. Why are you
here?” She snapped. She regretted her
rude comment when she saw her smile drop. “I mean this early. Sorry, I am just
tired didn’t mean to snap at you.” She apologized.
Rose shook her head and smiled. “You look like hell. Did you
sleep at all last night?” she asked. She didn’t want to talk about it so she
nodded letting Rose know that was the reason. “Not really but I know you have
something to tell me so spill it.” She said trying her best to sound enthusiastic.
“I and Adam are engaged.” Rose squealed loudly, smiling ear to ear. April looked at her and smiled before hugging her. They are happy and she should be psyched for them but she was not, not really. Wow, she was a crappy best friend wasn’t she?
“That’s great, congrats.” She said pulling away from her.
She was jealous how that Rose gets to be happy and when she is heartbroken. The
funniest thing was that she was getting married to the same guy she has been in
love with for years; it was freaking warming her heart. “How did it happen?”
She couldn’t help but ask, they were always arguing.
“Well, I have always had some kind of feelings for Adam not
as a friend but more. I didn’t know what to say to him or you for that matter,
I chickened out every time I tried so I just let it be the way. You know the
first time I saw him in my second grade class I developed a crush on him but it
took me a year to speak to him. It’s just I don’t exactly know how my innocent
crush turned out to be something so much more. That party we went to remember
he came back after dropping you home?” Rose asked and she simply nodded.
“We kissed that night, things were getting heated when he stopped and left saying he doesn’t want to lose me. I was drunk actually we both were. I confronted him later when he finally confessed he has feelings for me. I know it is weird to get directly engaged but we have known each other since we were 8. I never was able to feel so strongly for any other guy than Adam.” She stopped and smiled to herself surely thinking about that moment. April just waited for her to continue.
“We haven’t been dating officially but just knew that we love each other. He called you yesterday to tell you everything and celebrate with us but you didn’t come. I know its short notice but we are getting married soon but I will be moving with him to Denver. Its short notice but we are leaving next week. His dad wants him to join as soon as possible. I know there is still time but since we are leaving so I am just going to ask you, will you be my maid of honor?” she asked.
Say what now? Crap, she couldn’t do this, it would be super weird. She couldn’t watch them getting married and not feel awful about it. Rose was looking at her with so much hope in her eyes; she didn’t feel like ruining this for her. How could she not be a part of her best friends wedding. She was her best friend more like a sister, she was going to get over herself and be there for Rose when she needed her because that’s what friend does and honestly no matter what she knew she couldn’t stand losing Rose. “Of course. I would love to.” She said and Rose squealed hugging her again.
They chatted more and she realized that Rose loved Adam so much, she would do anything to make him happy maybe her long wait was over. She too deserves to be happy after all April never told her how she felt about him so Rose had no idea. She would hate herself on her behalf if she ever found out. After hearing Rose’s side of the story she thought this is meant to be, they are supposed to be together so who was she to interfere? She waved at her and Rose ran to her car to avoid getting wet. She walked back, Nana was sitting on the couch watching T.V, and she plopped next to her.
“I am sorry Nana. I behaved like a jerk, it’s been a hard day. I didn’t know what I was doing.” She said playing with her fingers.
“I know about Adam and Rose. I have known for a while now how you feel about the boy. I understand you are heartbroken but they are your best friends, I know you are more upset about losing them as friends you have a hard time letting people in. You feel everyone is going to leave you just like your mom and dad, you are scared and its okay but don’t let it affect your present, let the past be in the past. You and Adam were not meant to be but there is still someone out there for you. It’s not going to be easy but if you love them enough you three will we get through this stronger.” She explained.
Nana pulled her closer to her side when she noticed she had started crying again. All the things nana said were true. “I am scared of being alone. They are leaving next week itself, everything is changing again and I don’t like it.” She replied and buried her face in her hands.
“Oh dear, you will never be alone, remember that.” She said softly and patted her back lovingly. She always said her mum and dad were watching over her if I cry it will make them unhappy after which she decided she was right they wouldn’t want her to be miserable; when she was a kid this thought was a comfort. “You remind me so much of your mom though you look like your dad.” Nana said making her smile.
It’s not just her parents, Nana lost her daughter too. She talks only about their fond memories. April thought she should do the same, she wiped her tears and smiled at her. “No more crying, I will make popcorn you chose a movie and let’s enjoy the weekend.” She said getting up.
“And nana.” She was cut off by her. “I know I know a horror
movie. Get some ice cream too there is some left in the freezer.”
She and Nana spent the afternoon watching Paranormal
Activity 1 and 2. After the second part was over she stretched and sighed, it
was fun just hanging out with Nana alone, it’s been ages since they spent so
much time together. After she started
working there was a little time left in that she wanted to hang out her friends
so she and nana rarely got time only the two of them but she loved her so much.
She looked over Nana and she was sweating and looked pale, what was wrong with
her? She was fine just few minutes back. “Are you alright? You look pale; let
me get you a glass of water.” April said getting up.
She took my hand making me stop. “I am fine, I just need
fresh air.” She got up and leaned against the couch for support.
“You are not fine. Just stay here, I will get you a glass of
water and we will go to the hospital. Sit down please.” April said and ran to
the kitchen. She should call someone for help but the home phone was not
working due the storm and her phone got wet yesterday.
She grabbed bottle of water pouring some in a glass and went
to the living room. The glass slipped from her hand and shattered on the floor
with a loud thump. Nana was on the floor and her eyes were closed. Shit, she
slumped on the floor next to her and tried to wake her up but she didn’t
respond. She was breathing that’s for sure her chest rose with each breath.
April ran out of the house next door. Kyle would help her or at least his parent’s
will they are the only ones who could. She pounded on the door as hard as she
could. Kyle opened the door with his parents trailing behind him.
She grabbed his hand and tried to pull him along with her
but he pulled her close and rested his hands on her shoulder shaking her. “What’s
wrong? Are you okay? Say something please.” He begged.
“I…umm…” She trailed off. “Nana she collapsed her eyes are
closed please help me, something happened to her please. I don’t know what to
do, I am scared please Kyle” She said and started crying.
“Kyle you bring April with you. I and your mom will take Liv
to the hospital.” they said and left us there. In minutes she saw them getting
into the car with Nana and leaving.
Kyle pulled her into hug. “ Everything is going to be fine okay? I will take you there; do you need something from your house? You want to call anyone.” He whispered to her.
She buried her face in his shoulder and just shook her head.
He pulled away “Let’s go.” He said softly holding her hand and pulling her
along with him.
The next thing she knows was sitting in the hospital waiting room. The doctors hadn’t said a word for the entire time they had been here. Kyle was sitting next to her with his hand in hers and his parents too were waiting. She knew Nana was not coming back, she could feel it, she was not going to make it and she felt like part of her had just died. She clutched Kyle’s hand even tighter but he didn’t complain maybe she should call Rose and Adam she needed them now more than ever. All she could think of was Nana’s face when she was lying on the floor motionless and pale, she hated herself to even think like this but for a moment she thought nana was dead but thankfully she was breathing. She had no except her. Nana was her rock, she kept her sane in her life she was her mom, her dad, her friend and most amazing grandmother in the whole world.
Someone tapped on her shoulder. She got up shakily and faced
the doctor who stood in front of her with pity and regret filled eyes. She knew
it, she was right after all, she wished she was wrong. “She had a stroke. I am
sorry but we couldn’t do anything, she’s no more. We are sorry for your loss.”
The doctor said and squeezed her shoulder before leaving.
No, this can’t be happening, it is just a dream a very bad dream, no a nightmare. She pinched herself as hard as she could and closed her eyes to stop herself from crying out loud in pain. She slumped back on the chair, tears were flowing down her cheeks but she couldn’t care less. She looked straight ahead out of the window without saying a word to anyone, just kept staring. She had lost everything she held dear to her, her friends, her love and most importantly nana. If she was here April would get through situation, she was her pillar and now she was gone. Today when they were watching movies and gossiping she never thought that after midnight her nana might not even be alive. She was used to being with nana. They both had dinner together every night; nana would always make her favorite. Nana was very encouraging and never tried to held her back or stop her from making mistakes. She was her only family and now she was gone. April was truly alone.
Was this all happening because of her? She was so caught up with her problems that she didn’t even realize that nana was unwell. She took her for granted and now she had lost her forever. She should’ve paid more attention, taken her to a doctor then she might still be alive. There was no way that she had a heart attack suddenly, she must have been showing symptoms, hell she didn’t even know nana had any heart problem. She was not very old, 67 she should have had at least fifteen more years. Kyle’s face came in front of her; he was knelling on his knees in front of her and his lips were moving but she didn’t understand a word he said. If she would have gotten help sooner they might have been able to save her. It was all her fault due to her ignorance, reckless and self centered behavior cost nana her life. She would never be able to forgive myself; she deserved to live more than her.
“It’s my fault. This is all my fault.” She whispered to Kyle. He had such a pained expression on his face and pity in his eyes. She didn’t like when people thought about her tragic life. April had hated the look of sympathy every time they saw her. She refused to let them think she was weak that she was broken that was only for her to know. The last thing she wanted was everyone to look at her with those pitiful eyes like Kyle thinking, oh what a poor girl. She turned her head to the other side looking away from him and his eyes which pitied her.