Tag: fiction

Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Gaŕcia Marquez).

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.

Book Review: Inside the Haveli (Rama Mehta).

Inside the Haveli

 – Rama Mehta.

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.

*Buy a copy by clicking on the image above.

Three Days of Storm (Short story)

Part 4 of 4

CHAPTER 4

“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.

Three Days of Storm (Short story)

Part 3 of 4

CHAPTER 3

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 her plate.

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.

Three Days of Storm (Short story)

Part 2 of 4

CHAPTER 1

She woke up to the smell of eggs like every day. She slept so early yesterday since Adam will be leaving in a few days she, Rose and Adam had been making plans of hanging out a lot more over. Watching movies, shopping, hiking they even went to play paintball. It was a good thing she took the weekend off, she could sleep in and afford to be lazy without having to worry about being late. The weather was so gloomy she didn’t feel like getting up at all, it might rain today heavily was a forecast. She took a quick hot shower and got dressed in a pair of shorts and a loose t-shirt. She brushed her curly hair and put them up, slipped her phone in the pocket and went downstairs. Nana kissed her on the cheek and set her breakfast. They both sat on the table in comfortable silence eating and reading the newspaper. They didn’t need to talk all the time they were perfectly fine sitting in silence. After living together for eight years they shared a good understanding. She loved her nana; she was April’s only family and she cherished her more than anything. She was helping nana with the plates when her phone rang loudly making her jump in shock.

She looked at the caller id. It was Adam, why was he calling her now? They usually hang out in the evening on weekends. “Hello.” He chirped, wow someone is in a good mood.

“Hi, what’s up?” She asked casually. There was a long pause at his end, she didn’t know why but she just had a bad feeling about this. What was wrong with her? Bad feeling? Really? She has totally lost it.

Finally he spoke. “What are you doing now? Can you come to my place for sometime but just hurry?” He said impatiently.

Ok, this was not bad. She gets to spend time with him since he will be leaving soon. “Yeah sure. I’ll be there in ten.” She said.

She will get to change her top and walk to his place, he lived close by. “Great, see you in few.” He said excitedly and hung up.

He had already hung up before she could say anything else. Nana looked at her curiously. “What happened?”

“I don’t know. It was Adam he asked me to come by.” She said with a sigh. “I will just go get changed.” She replied and nana nodded.

Here comes the million dollar question, what to wear? She had a closet full of clothes still she had no clue what to wear. It should be casual yet classy, she didn’t want Adam to ask why she arrived all dressed up. She picked out a baby pink off shoulder top and slipped it on quickly and a pair of black jeans. She brushed her hair and left it open, she was done. She said her goodbyes to nana and started walking towards his house, she reached within ten minutes, and the front door was closed. She knocked softly but no response. She could hear voices from the backyard; she went around the house and stopped dead on her tracks as the scenes unfolded before her.

Adam was kneeling on one knee holding a ring box in his hand, saying something that she couldn’t make out. Rose stood in front of him looking shocked. April was froze on the spot, didn’t move a muscle. She was so shocked that she didn’t know what to do, scream or run, she just wanted the ground to open up and swallow her whole. This can’t be happening, it was only a dream she told herself, she shut her eyes for a few seconds and opened them again. Oh my God! It was not a dream it was real, she couldn’t believe she could still stand on her own feet, she felt her legs going weaker and weaker every second. Rose finally smiled at Adam and he slipped the ring on her finger and then they kissed. No, why was this happening? They couldn’t even stand each other most of the time, always argued and now they are kissing, he proposed to her. April couldn’t believe her eyes.

She felt tears rolling down her cheeks like streams. She was angry, jealous and hurt, so many emotions were running through her, she wanted to punch them, throw things then slump on the floor and cry till she got sick. She should be happy that her best friends in the world are engaged but happiness is the last thing she wanted about to feel. She took control of her body slowly and started taking small steps backwards, moving away from them and his parents who had such broad smiles on their faces. She turned around the corner from where she came in and ran towards her house as fast as she could. The tears hadn’t slowed since they first started flowing; her eyes were starting to sting. It thundered loudly and it began to rain.

She slowed her pace just a bit. She was not even sure if she was running in the right direction or not but she kept on moving. She wanted to run away from the grief that was threatening to take over her. The pain alone was getting harder to bear every passing second. She ran into something or someone she didn’t really understand but she didn’t fall she was steadied by two strong arms around me. Her vision was blurry and it was raining. She looked up to say sorry for running into them like that but it was none other than Kyle. Great, today was her lucky day, she shoved him as hard as she could and he stumbled backwards. She looked around and it was pouring hard and she was not exactly sure where she was. “Are you okay? Why are you crying?” Kyle asked softly taking a step towards her concern clear on his face.

That did it; she slumped on her knees in front of him, sobbing like a child. She wanted to stop crying and take control be strong but she couldn’t, she cried harder at her pathetic attempts to control herself. She felt a pull on her shoulders; Kyle had knelled beside her with his arm around her in a comforting way. She leaned her head on his shoulder; he was her only support and continued to sob. Adam and Rose were engaged; her best friend and the guy she has been in love with all these years are engaged. She could have felt better if it was someone else but her best friend was like rubbing salt on her wounds. Why Rose? Why not her? Was something wrong with her?  Did she simply keep people pushing away or held on to them to tightly? Was she not good enough for him? These thoughts were clouding her and she couldn’t think straight. The pain was crushing her like someone had stabbed her in the heart but somehow she was still alive. She had a million questions running through her mind, Kyle just held her to him quietly.

“Take me home please, take me home.”  She whispered to him in a pleading tone. He just nodded and helped her up without a word.

She was soaking wet, she hoped she didn’t get sick but who cared? She didn’t care about anything right now. She got into the car and they drove off. She wiped her tears roughly and sat looking outside controlling herself from having another breakdown. She had to be strong, she wanted to be. Nana always said to her that she was very brave she desperately wanted it to be true. She could get through this, she had to. She could see Kyle glancing at her every now and then from the corner of her eye but she pretended she was fine now. He walked her inside, Nana answered the door with a smile but it dropped as soon as she looked over her. She took a step forward but April ran past her straight to her room. She could hear nana asking Kyle about her please don’t tell her, she will be worried and she didn’t want her to be worried about her or be upset because of her.

Why her? Why did bad things always happen to her? She felt like she was cursed who ever got close to her left her. First her parents died leaving a hole in her heart and then Rose and Adam, the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Nana came in and sat next to her by the window, she leaned her head on her shoulder, silent tears falling down her face, they sat like that for a while watching the rain hitting the window glass. She got up and slipped herself under covers, she had dried off and changed but she was still cold. Nana stroked her forehead lovingly before leaving the room and shutting off the light. Nana came back with a cup of hot chocolate and set on her table and left again. Please let today just be a dream she begged when she woke up in the morning everything would be the way it was today morning.

She knew it was not true; nothing was going to be the same again. Adam and she will never be together, Rose and her friendship will be different.  She believed that she could get over this after all she did finally accept that her parents were not coming back. She was only twelve that time now she was older; she had to be strong enough. She promised herself that she won’t cry over Adam anymore. It would be tough but she was going to be a good friend and try being happy for them. She clutched the sheets tighter around me and closed her eyes praying sleep would take over soon.

Three Days of Storm (Short story)

Part 1 of 4

         Prologue

She stared ahead at the beautiful view in front of her. She had always loved to come here, it was just so peaceful and pleasant. She wondered why it was mostly deserted. It was on a cliff which is steep but it has a lake at the bottom and you can literally feel the nature but it’s a long walk and the roads are not in a good condition but she never minded. She found this place when she was thirteen, she needed to be away from everything and just be alone for a while. It was a difficult time for her, she had just moved here to live with her grandmother after her parents died in a car crash when she was 12.

She used to come here and cry her eyes out because she pretended to be strong in front of her nana but she saw through her easily yet never said anything. She plopped on a stone nearby and just watched the sun set, it was the most amazing thing she had experienced till now. She sat there for a while just enjoying her alone time before getting back to reality. She wished she could bring her dad here; he would have loved it even more than she did. She sighed and shut her eyes tight, she didn’t want to cry she decided it was time to let go of her parents but she had learned that letting go is not easy as everyone thinks. It had been a long time and she had made her peace with the fact that her mom and dad are never coming back.

It has been a long time since she came here last. Last time she came here was four years ago then she just stopped. She needed a clean break. You must be wondering if she loved this place why she stopped. Well it’s a long story. She stopped coming here after everything that happened four years ago during the three days of storm. It changed her life forever in a good and bad way. It all started in a way right here but it was sure the beginning of something she didn’t see coming.

                                                                      FLASHBACK

Her phone vibrated in her pocket making her jump. Rosalie, shit, she had promised to go this stupid college reunion party with her and now she was late, Rose was going to kill her. “Hello.” She answered in a normal tone even though she knew what was coming next.

“April Cassie Spader. Where the hell are you? I have been waiting for you to show up for the last 30 minutes or so. I am so angry at you April Cassie Spader.” She said furiously.

She must be really mad at her if she is middle naming her; she is just short in the patience department and in the temper one too. “Hi to you as well.” She retorted sarcastically.

“You promised you will come. We graduated few months back we might not see these college people again for a long time and it is going to be awesome. So, get your ass here now.” She screamed the last part so loud that April had to hold her phone away from her ear. Jeez, she is loud, she thought but then again she already knew it.

“I am not dressed. I will be there in say forty?” She asked trying not to laugh at her crazy best friend. It was just a party but for Rose unlike April this was the coolest thing that could happen. What had she done to have a friend like her she will never know,

“I will text Adam, he will pick you up. Better be ready in twenty or…” she trailed off. The line went silent for a while.

“Or what?” She asked. She was pressing her luck here, she didnt want to end up on the wrong side of her best friend; she will remind you of this for the rest of your life. April had seen it before, that poor guy who spilled his drink on her. The memory brought a smile to her face.

“I will never speak to you again.” She said after a long pause. April snorted as if it will happen. She calls her up even if she kills a fly.

Rose hung up before she could respond. She picked her bag and made her way home. The weather had been pretty rough for a few days now, a storm is predicted. She unlocked the door and heard voices in the kitchen. She didn’t know they were having guests. She walked into the kitchen and there was Kyle sitting on the counter laughing with nana most likely on his own joke. “Kyle.” She said in a polite tone even though she new he would annoy her soon enough.

“April, nice to see you too.” He said smirking at her. He is such a bully; he always troubled her even as a child. He is four years older than her and often used this as a weapon when they were little, even now. She shook her head getting all the Kyle related thoughts away. He made her life miserable when she started living here and couldn’t they have nice neighbors, he is so irritating. She was getting angry even though he barely did anything right now.

She just shook her head; she won’t let him bother her anymore. “Nana, I am going to a party tonight. Adam is picking me up in a while.” She said directly to her wonderful nana avoiding any arguments with Kyle.

“Oh, I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.” Kyle said before nana could reply. She flushed, her cheeks turning bright pink. He didn’t just say that, she didn’t understand how he found out about her feelings for Adam she never told him. Even Rose didn’t know for God’s sake, she was her best friend even Adam was but you get the point.

“He is just a friend.” She said confidently trying to hide her embarrassment; she hated him so freaking much. If nana was not here, she would have punched him. Nana always thought he was such decent boy.

She got ready in a simple green dress used some make up and was ready to go. She made sure she looked good because Adam was picking her up; she wanted to look good for him. He was such a nice guy, she didn’t have any friends except him and Rose but Rose didn’t know that she was in love with him. She felt guilty about it but she thinks Rose won’t be able to understand and will make her do something she might regret later. She wished she could just tell him and get it over with, it was very frustrating keeping it stored up inside like this. The door bell rang and she ran down the stairs in a hurry almost tripping on her way. She was smiling like a little kid on Christmas morning; Adam does have that effect on her. She opened the door and almost fainted seeing him, he looked so good. She felt so plain in front of him, he smiled and kissed her cheek like always but it didn’t stop the blushing. She said bye to nana and Kyle since he still hadn’t left, he looked at her with a weird look in his eyes like he was trying to figure her out  but she didn’t want to dwell on it.

“Hey, hope I am not late.” Adam asked and helped her into his car. “You look good by the way; green is definitely your color.” He said hopping in the driver’s seat.

Her cheeks turned red once again. “Thanks, you don’t look so bad yourself.” She complimented him and he just smiled showing his dimples.

She glanced his way, his eyes focused on the road. He looked good in that white fitting shirt and faded jeans. He is tall, dark and handsome just perfect in every way. His phone rang, he sighed and then answered. “Yes, Rose we are on our way.” He replied with an amusing expression on his face.

He said something more but she was too busy checking him out. “This girl is impossible; she has been harassing me for an hour.” He said.

April giggled and shook her head. “Takes one to know. You have to drop me home ok? That too before 1 or 2, Nana worries.” She added making him chuckle.

“ Yeah. No worries.” He said looking at her with a smile before turning his gaze ahead again. “Here we are.” He said after a few minutes.

We were parked in front of some house which she had never seen before. Whose is throwing this party? She was here but she had no clue. Adam looked at her confused state and chuckled. “Patrick, the guy, who use to sit beside you in art. It’s his party.” He said.

“If it wasn’t for Rose I wouldn’t even be here.” She said and we started walking to the house. Patrick never even said a word to her through college life, she felt weird showing up at his party like this.

“Finally, about time.” Rose came to us pushing people out of her way. She hugged April squeezing her to death. “You look really pretty. Come on let’s find you guy.” She said excitedly and ushered her inside. Adam was trailing behind them quietly.

“I don’t want you to find a guy.” She said and making Rose roll her eyes. “You always set me up with weirdoes; I don’t think I trust your choice anymore.” She remarked.

Rose stopped walking and faced them. “I do have a good taste that guy ugh yeah Jack he was nice right. You are just anti-social. Back me up Adam.” She said crossing her arms over her chest.

“She is right, you are not very social.” He said and Rose nodded a little too much enthusiasm. “That’s not true.” April protested.

Okay, maybe it is true but she wasn’t going to agree. She had only two friends, she did go on dates and all but she didn’t feel she missed anything because she loved Adam who is not at all being supportive. He and Rose started talking about something while she searched for drinks. She was never much of a drinker plus she promised nana she won’t drink without adult supervision that is her nana itself or Rose’s parents might do. She said hi to some people from her class and poured herself a soda; half the people were already drunk. Don’t they have to work tomorrow?

“Come, let’s dance.” Adam said out of the blue scaring her a little. She shrugged and let him tug her along to the living room where people were scattered around dancing like maniacs.

“It’s so crowded.” She complained and tripped over something. Adam steadied her and kept his hand around her waist pulling her close to his side.

He slid his other hand to her waist and they started dancing. “What were you and Rose arguing about?” She asked curiously.

He sighed. “Well, do we ever need a reason argue?” Adam said. She chuckled, it was true. They were friends who fought all the time without any reason and April got dragged right into it even if she didn’t want to. “I was just looking out for her, she is so impulsive but obviously she didn’t listen.” He added.

She didn’t really understand why they fought so much; they have been friends since third grade. Whenever she asked Rose about it she just shrugged it off like nothing, it was kind of weird. She looked up to meet Adam brown eyes, they were sparkling and it just made her smile. He pulled back and spun her around; they both were laughing and having a good time. He is so sweet, it didn’t take her long to fall for him and he just understands her while most people don’t.

“So how is work? Anything interesting happened?” he asked with a small smile on his face. He is just too cute for his own good, why can’t he be with her? She thought.

She decided to answer him, he was waiting, and she can dwell over that later. “It’s good. I work at a library; the most interesting thing to happen is nothing. “ She said sarcastically with a smile and he chuckled.

She shrugged, it is true. Don’t get her wrong she loved working there being surrounded by books its good but can get dull. There were only two other employees except her but she needed a job and it pays well enough. She didn’t like burdening nana with all the responsibilities; she had taken care of her since she was 12 now it was her turn. She looked up again and gazed into Adam’s eyes, she had closed off after her parents but he and Rose crawled under her defenses. She was still scared of losing them, she loved her parents more than anything and when they were gone it hurt her a lot. She was only scared to lose anyone; it haunted her the thought of being alone.

“You zoned out.” Adam said making her look away from his beautiful eyes. “What’s going on? Do you have to be home soon?” he asked.

She had no idea what time it was. She stopped and pulled her mobile out, shit she was late. “Can you give me a ride home? Like now.” She asked.

“Yeah, let’s go.” He said with a smile guiding her to the parking, keeping her close to his side. Is he protective of her or is it something more? She could never tell.

She texted Rose that she was leaving but assured her that Adam will be coming back. They got into his car, it was dark and cold, scary but she was with Adam so it was ok. She looked over to him, he looked a lost, out of place. He has been pretty quiet all night. “Adam, you okay? You look lost. Is something wrong with you?” She asked softly.

He sighed. She stared at him, waiting for him to continue. “My dad wants me to join his friend’s business.” He said. She frowned so is this a bad thing? “It’s in Denver. I have to join as soon as possible probably in a couple of weeks or even less. It’s a good opportunity but leaving everything behind, family, you and Rose, I don’t if I can do it. I am confused. It’s scary April.” He said sadly and rested his head back.

Denver, what about her? April knew it was selfish but she couldn’t help it. “What do you want? You said its good right?” She questioned but couldn’t hide the sadness from her tone.

He nodded. “It’s an amazing opportunity especially for a fresher like me. ” He said. She processed all of this; she couldn’t believe she was going to say this, if that’s what he wants it was good enough for her.

“Then you should go. You will regret it if you don’t. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back. But at least give it a shot.” She said softly and looked way. Don’t cry, not in front of him, he will get confused even more, she warned herself, Think about him not about yourself, don’t look at him or you will cry she explained myself.

“You are right.” He sighed. “What would I do without you?” he said and she looked at him. She didn’t know whether to cry or be happy, he is going away from her and that’s all she could think off.

She forced a smile and in seconds the car stopped. He got out as well. He hugged her tightly like he was saying goodbye and she couldn’t control anymore. She started crying and he just held her tighter whispering to her making everything seen alright. She pulled away and looked at him embarrassed. She was so crazy, who cries on someone like that, he will think she is crazy. “Don’t worry, I won’t forget about you. I still have a few days left to annoy you guys.” He said to lighten the mood. She slapped his arm playfully and smiled at him weakly before going back inside. She couldn’t say anything to him without her voice cracking, its better she didn’t say anything at all.

She went to Nana’s room making minimum noise, she was asleep with a book on her chest and her lamp still on. She smiled, nana always tried to stay awake till she got home. She picked up the book and set it on her side table, pulled her sheets up to her shoulders, kissed her forehead and put out the lights on her way out. She got changed quickly and got into her warm and soft bed. She hoped things don’t change between her and Adam after he heaves, who was she kidding? Off course they will change, everything will change again just this time she was not sure if she could move past it. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Book Review: The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah).

The Nightingale

–    Kristin Hannah

A historical fiction, The Nightingale is set in France during the Nazi occupation of World War II. I picked up this book on a whim due to its historical setting. It is a book about the survival of two sisters Vianne and Isabelle during the war times. Its one of the first books I have read which is about women in war times.

The Nightingale has two main protagonists Vianne, the older sister and Isabelle the younger one. They had a troubled childhood after their mother’s death when their father sends them away. Isabelle’s personality and her personality has been shaped by the rejection she felt as a child that is constantly implied through her thinking. Vianne finds love at 14 and marries Antoine; she knows she neglected Isabelle for her own happiness and feels guilty about it.

 The characters are the winning grace of the story for me. Vianne and Isabelle are very different people but yet they are similar in more ways than they know. Both have a completely different approach to situations; Isabelle is impulsive and emotional while Vianne is more cautious about her decisions.

Isabelle meets Gaetan very early in the story and their meeting changes the course of Isabelle’s decision is joining the French resistance. The relationships between Isabelle and Gaetan and Vianne and Isabelle play an important part in the story but the book is so much more than a love story. Isabelle is codenamed ‘the Nightingale’ as she helps Allied pilots to get to safety from France. The story starts in the year 1995 and then it is told through the memories of an elderly woman.

 The literary device of frame story works really well for the book; as the first-person narration alternates between Vianne and Isabelle. Life starts getting more difficult for the sisters as Vianne loses her best friend, her job and she lives in a state of fear. The relationship between Vianne and Sophie, her daughter also changes as the story progresses. The loss of innocence is shown through Sophie’s character as she learns things far beyond her young age.

It became very difficult for me to read the book as it got closer to the end. It is heartbreaking and scary and sad and brave all at the same time. The ending of the book really threw me off; the author has never revealed who the elderly woman is but it was an expectation subversion for me. Isabelle is so brave and bold throughout the novel sometimes too quick to react but she is aware of the dangers she is inviting with her work. The relationship dynamics shift throughout the book. Vianne and Isabelle’s father finds a way to make up for his past neglect so does Vianne and Isabelle through all her tough exterior cares so much about her family. The ending of the story brought me to tears and I actually kept thinking about the book long after I finished reading it.

The Nightingale is an amazing book. The characters are so relatable and unique, you can’t help but root for them. The book is about the role women played during World War II but it is also about survival, family, relationships, and love. It is a must read.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

My Favorite Short-Stories

My Favorite Short-Stories


Its very difficult for me to finish full-length classic novels at a good place; then I turn to short-stories. I have read quite a few short-stories by now and I have loved almost all of them. As a literature student, we had short-stories as a part of our syllabus and that in a way started my fascination for short fiction. I have listed my absolute favorite short-stories from the ones I have read so far.


1) The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

This was the first story by Edgar Allen Poe that I read and ended up loving it. The narrator of the story who has actually murdered someone is trying to convey to the readers his sanity throughout the story. The murder of the old man by the narrator is planned and then executed by him and it is hinted that the narrator suffers from some form of mental illness. The story is simply amazing with its element of thriller, suspense mixed with the right amount of creepy.

2) Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The story which depicts the dark side of the American dream is my favorite short story by Fitzgerald. In some ways, I did find some aspects of the story similar to The Great Gatsby but that might be because read these two stories back to back. It is slightly longer than I had first anticipated but the plot has a good pace overall and it is an enjoyable read for sure. I liked the fact that we get the see Dexter, the protagonist since the age of 14 and to see the character development was a bonus aspect for me.

3) The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

The story of The Snows of Kilimanjaro is focused on the central character of Harry, a writer, who is in Africa for a safari with his wife but gets injured and is dying of gangrene. The story jumps from the present to the past a few times through its course as Harry thinks about his life. The stream of consciousness narration gives a deeper and complete understanding of Harry’s characters with his flaws and strengths. It is one my all-time favorite short stories.

4) The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

I read The Necklace twice, once in school and then once later. The first time honestly, I didn’t concentrate much, I read it because I had to. The second time I read it, I actually appreciated it. It is simple yet so meaningful. The theme of appearance versus the reality is pretty subtle throughout the plot but it’s a constant. The ending of the story is completely unexpected, I didn’t see it coming and it elevates the story. It is a must read.

5) The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde

A story of a lovestruck boy who must find a red rose for the girl he likes in order to win her heart. The start of the story is pretty simple but then the plot takes an unexpected turn; the nightingale decides to help the boy find a red rose for the girl after he hears the boy’s lamenting. This story shows the materialistic aspect of love. As a reader, one is left thinking if the nightingale’s sacrifice was worth it. It is one of my favorite short stories; sad yet realistic.

These five short stories are my favorites short-stories of the ones I have read as of now. I am sure there will be many additions to this list in the future and there are so many more short stories I haven’t even got around to reading yet.

Only Once (Short story)

Only Once.

“Diane’s older son Chris, remember him? He is an engineer, just moved back here a month ago.” my mother said. I knew it was too much to expect her not trying to set me up.

I nodded uninterestedly. “Good for him,” I answered.

My mother sighed. I could feel the anger building up in her but she tried to be patient with me. “I think you should meet him. He is a decent fellow.”

I groaned, focused on my plate slowly losing interest in the food and this conversation while she continued talking. “It will be nice for you to go out once in a while. You haven’t been on a date in years approximately in three. Why do you never approve of the boys I choose! I only want you to be happy.”

The concerned tone of her voice as she finished her lecture made me cringe inwardly. It didn’t help with the irritation I was feeling. I know she wants the best for me but forcing me is not the way to go. “Mom I am happy.” she looked skeptical but I continued. “Really, I am. I have you and dad, I have great friends, a pretty good job where I make quite a lot of money if I may say so myself and a cute little place of my own. I have everything I want so why wouldn’t I be happy?” I asked putting a fork full of food in my mouth. Praying she will let this topic slide for now.

With no such luck she continued, “Aren’t you lonely? It’s nice having someone next to you through thick and thin.” she suddenly paused. Her voice was barely a whisper “You haven’t dated anyone since…Jayden.”

I stiffened. After all this time just hearing his name makes my heart beat faster; he still has such an effect on me, he always did and he knew it. It never really lessened. “I don’t know what happened between you two but it’s been three years. It’s time to move on, he is not going show up one day and whisk you away,” she said softly.

I closed my eyes. The pain of losing him was still fresh; it was always there. I simply hid it better or I learned to live with it. “Is it wrong to have hope?” I whispered more to myself than to mom but I know I sounded wishful but I couldn’t help it.

“No sweetie. It’s not wrong but you can’t spend the rest of your life hoping. You have to stop sometime.”

She is right. It’s nothing different than what I try to convince myself all the time. He is not going to come back. We belonged in different worlds. The world where we are meant to be doesn’t exist. We tried, it didn’t work. I said awful things to him I can’t take back and he didn’t choose me which he can’t change or won’t. I told him one day if things were different maybe we can find a way to be together. I won’t find someone like him again even if I tried; he was perfect for me in every way. I felt safe, understood and most importantly happiness whenever I was with him. Now it seems ironic!

I believed that but every day I believe a little less and a little less. I worry that I might completely stop believing in this, in him. Without that where do I stand? I know what I felt for him was once in a lifetime. I will fall in love again, someday but never like that. Not so completely and madly that I couldn’t think about anything but him; an all-consuming kind of love. Never again. It happens only once.