Tag: hope

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.

Wish

Wish

I wish I could tell you,

What you mean to me.

I wish I could tell you,

That you are constantly on my mind.

I wish there was way to tell you,

How I feel about you and,

How much I actually care,

Without ever losing you.

I wish I could pour my heart out,

If it made you stay.

I wish I could tell you,

Everything you make me feel,

But I can’t,

I can only wish.

Lost

Lost

Lost in the void,

A place deep within,

Felt something was amiss.

Lost in the void,

The tunnel grew darker and melancholic.

Stuck without any light,

Wanted to stop or be stopped,

It was nothing but false hope.

The void grew bigger as did the darkness,

And with no way out,

The battle was lost.

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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.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetyus: Book review

My review of the book,

“Between Shades of Gray” – Ruta Sepetys

*SPOILERS*

I found this book when I was browsing through the lists of War and Historical novels on different site. This book immediately caught my attention because it takes place during the World War II and it’s about a Lithuanian girl. Now when it comes to studying the history of World War II, the Baltic States were never more than mentioned in textbooks. Basically, this is a part of History which I never read or studied about before and it completely fascinated me.

The book is about Baltic Deportations with the main focus on Lithuanian citizens who were deported by the Soviet in 1941 to prison and labor camps. The protagonist of the story is a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina and her family when they are taken from their home and sent to a labor camp somewhere in Siberia. Lina and her mother and brother are together while their father is separated from them that night. The author doesn’t spend much time focusing on the lives of Lina and her family when they were still at home together in the beginning and starts straight up with the night they are taken away. The story is not by any means an easy read.

The descriptions of the treatments these prisoners were given and their living conditions are crudely depicted; there is no sugar-coating just the harsh reality. It makes you cringe while reading it. The emotions of the characters and their reactions to the harsh situation they face are very realistically and naturally portrayed. It never seems out of place or over the top because there are so many characters which are important to the plot and each character’s personality is reflected in the writing.

Lina, her mother Elena and her younger brother Jonas have to learn to survive through brutal conditions with people who share a similar faith to them. Elena is a powerful character as she holds their little group together throughout the terrible ordeal and is incredibly kind. Andrius is a guy who Lina and her family meet on the cattle train on the way to Siberia. He is sort of a love interest for Lina though that is never the main focus and he is so much more than that. Lina is a good artist and is constantly capturing their stories on paper in drawings and sketches. She draws in hope of leaving clues behind for their father to find them and also preserve their stories and sufferings.

It is unbelievable to expect such kindness and care in such situations but throughout the story, all the characters help each other survive and are always kind to one another no matter how little they themselves have. It shows that even in worst situations compassion and kindness actually help someone survive. At no point, Lina gives up or thinks that she doesn’t want to live anymore even though the circumstances keep getting worse. These characters show so much spirit and survival instinct all the while helping each other through it.

This book breaks your heart from start to finish and it is quite difficult to get through because of the powerful depictions. The plot moves ahead at a good pace with flashbacks about the life before capture which somehow is parallel to Lina’s present in the camp. Lina’s drawings in a way preserve the memories of fellow survivors and their sufferings, the stories which were unheard of for decades that followed. The stories about the Baltic states are largely unheard of and this book depicts the displacement and genocide of people who were deported by the Soviet Union. It is a hard-hitting book but it is a book which you should read, it is a part of history which is relatively unknown to many.

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

Alcoholism

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“There is not a drug on Earth that can make life meaningful,” said Sarah Kane. No human being is perfect, everyone has flaws. Some flaws a person can live with but some destroy you and others around you. Every other person has demons he or she faces every day. There are some things which not only haunt you but also affect everyone around you in a way you can’t fix. ‘Man is a social animal’ he craves for human contact and when it’s not there he turns to other things. Alcoholism is such form of substance abuse which destroys your life before you even realize it. Alcoholism is a medical condition caused by too much regular drinking. It disrupts many aspects of the victim’s life but in most cases, the user is not bothered about anything than their necessary intake of alcohol. Often people are in denial about their drinking problem giving excuses like, “I ‘m a social drinker” but in truth, they need some sort of help.

People don’t consider alcoholism as a form of addiction. It is just as dangerous as other addictions if not more. Alcohol addiction is tricky and it is difficult for one to admit they have an addiction issue. A lot of health issues arise due to regular over-consumption of alcohol like heart problems, in men it can also cause erectile dysfunction, shaky hands, swollen liver and kidneys, low blood pressure or hypoglycemia to name a few. It also leaves an impact on the psychological temperament of a person. Many alcoholics have anger issues and at times are violent which lands them in trouble with the law. Alcoholism is considered a chronic disease. Similar to all addictions alcoholism also takes place in stages and can be most effectively eradicated if found early.

In the beginning, addiction is maintained by pleasure. But the intensity of this pleasure slowly decreases and then addiction is only maintained by the avoidance of pain. Alcoholism is the disease that makes you too self-involved to realize the mayhem they create and they do not even care about the people they hurt. A person who is an alcoholic can’t even hold on to a job, relationships are turbulent and all these factors not necessarily true for all; usually contribute to the downfall of the user. Alcoholism at times is due to loneliness or a sense of failure in career or relationships. Alcohol makes them forget about all the miseries of life and can even provide with a false sense of empowerment. They should realize that everyone in life has problems some bigger than the others but not all of them start drinking away their problems. The one thing these users don’t realize is how much their addiction takes a toll on their families and people closest to them. It is not easy to watch the person they love and care drown in a wide ocean they can’t swim back from alone. Every action has a consequence and it not only the user but it also affects others around them who have absolutely no part in it. It is most difficult for any person to accept that they have an addiction. Denial is a part of human psychology which protects us from fear of our flaws.  The most important thing is to make them understand that the addiction is taking over their life. They need to know their family and friends are ready to help them and won’t abandon them. This is only the first step on the long road ahead to complete recovery. Alcoholism is a condition where one drinks too much and drinking habits have disrupted other aspects of one’s life though they are not exactly alcohol dependent. Even without dependence some may have symptoms of alcoholism. Many institutions now a day provide with facilities and guidance about alcoholism. The cases of domestic violence or criminal activities are often caused by too much drinking and many users face problems with the law. One frequently loses control of his senses when intoxicated and says or does things he would never do when sober. By seeking help all these problems are taken care of. There are ways in which alcoholism is tackled and some techniques have been more useful than others. For example self-help groups, support groups, counseling, rehabilitation program etc are a few treatments most patients opt for. The therapists and the doctors work together and form suitable plans depending on individual cases. The full support of the family and friends helps the user be psychologically sound during the treatment. If the condition is prolonged, the more difficult the process of recovery becomes. So, it is essential for family and friends to help the person who might have an alcohol problem. As anything else in life getting over an addiction is not easy but there is a chance of full recovery.

Many people who are in the early stage of alcohol dependence get agitated when family and friends comment on their habits. They feel their drinking is not harming anyone so it shouldn’t be an issue but this is not the case. The most affected by this apart from the user are their families. It is not easy for anyone to see someone they care about behave in a self-destructive manner. If kids are brought up in such an environment it leaves psychological scars which stay long into adulthood. Alcoholism can also be genetically acquired thus, leaving your off-springs in the danger of alcohol dependence as well. The stress and mental agony this addiction inflicts upon your loved ones may even turn in resentment towards the user. There have been many cases where a person succumbed to alcoholism was divorced by his wife and doesn’t get to see their kids except on a few occasion usually under supervision. Alcoholism doesn’t save you from loneliness it pushes you towards it especially if you don’t stop it first. In some cases the user completely recovers from his addiction living a long and happy life with his loved ones. Sobriety gives them a clear picture of the things they had been missing out when they were in the haze of alcohol and this gives them the strength to fight the temptation of drinking. People who have been sober for sometime do relapse but with the right methods this can be stopped from happening. It may seem unreal but it does happen more frequently than we realize.