Posts Tagged ‘ story ’

Short Story: A Full Moon, Cigarette Scents And Tensioned Love

Listen to: Ólafur Arnalds – Fok

You grab my hand gently, point with my finger to the moon and say, “look.” I look, not at the moon but at you; startled. Your eyes, they sparkle for me. They’re too magical for a full moon to beat.

“You can hide the moon with your finger,” you tell me. “But it’s always there.”

You lean closer to kiss me, but I can’t let you. I stop you. “No,” I say. I look towards the moon and it is nowhere to be found.

“Look,” I took your hand and point at an empty sky. “It’s not always there.” Just like you, in a way. You leave and come, come and go, expecting me to always wait for you to shine at night. You’re as temporary as a full moon, but even then, it’s beautiful in a way — the pain you make me feel. Every time you come, leave, come, then leave again and in every instance of you leaving, I hope of your never return.

You lean closer till I can feel your breath on my skin. I look away, in search of a missing full moon. You place your hand on my cheek and turn my face towards you, gently like you always do.

“Do you feel that?” you whisper and the hair at the back of my head stands up.

“Yes,” I quiver.

“Love,” you say.

“Tension,” I counter.

“Love,” you insist.

“Tension,” I repeat.

“Tensioned love,” you waiver.

I do not bulge, “Tension.”

I take a step back, and you let me. You don’t pull me back like you gently would. “You’re right,” you utter, fixing your shirt while in search of a missing full moon. “It’s not always there.”

“Just like you,” I tell you.

You wonder why I could never love you.
I leave with the smell of your cigarettes mixed with my perfume embedded in my shirt. I can’t wash it, it’s all I have left of that night we could’ve never been. I can never wear it again, it’s all I have left of a night I never want to live again.

Sometimes I miss not you, but the thought of being cared for by you, others I stare helplessly at a moonless sky. It comforts me, because just like me, its moon has gone missing.

I call you in the middle of a hot summer night. “Is the moon shining where you are?” I ask in a faint voice. “Are you crazy?” you say with your sleepy tone. “Yes,” I admit. “I am crazy.”  “Go to sleep,” you tell me. “The moon is too big for both of us to care for.”

But I don’t love you. I couldn’t love you then, and I won’t love you now.

“Out of all that is symbolic, you chose the moon, and I hate you for it,” I cry out.  “That’s good,” you say and I hear a lighter in the background. “At least you feel something towards me.”

“Are you smoking?” I ask, trying to change the subject like I always do. “Don’t worry,” you gently laugh. “Scents don’t travel through phones yet.”

I do not reply, nor do I hang up. “Remember that shirt you wore that night?” you ask, trying to break my silence. “Which night?” I ask in oblivion.

“The night you said the sky is beautiful,” you point out with your trembling voice.  “I do,” I flinch at the sight of it hanging, untouched, in my closet.  “I saw a girl wearing the exact top the other day and I remembered you,” you let out a sigh, “If I could ever forget you, that is.” “I need to go now,” I interrupt you. “Let’s never talk again.”

I close the phone, run to my closet, grab my shirt and wash it.

Short story: A eulogy for love

Listen to: 183 Times – Greg Haines (click play)

I never understood why you always hummed while thinking. In lieu, I adapted your humming habits into mine and hummed whenever a thought crossed my mind. I remember when we fought, once. The first time; it was a silent war between two hearts that grew distant and apathetic. You just changed, and I changed accordingly. I always moulded into your behavior that I no longer had a specific identity but linked to yours. I think, now, that is why we’ve grown apart; we’ve become so similar that we put out the flair that bond us together like a mother bird teaching its little one how to fly.

You were my mentor, I assumed, and I learned though you never wanted to teach. I would tell you to teach me, and you would refuse. You’re too young, you’d say. Even as I grew older, my infantile nature never grew to you. I understood, I was always your baby, but I needed more than to be a child, I needed to grow old so you’d love me like I loved you. There’s an innocence in you, you’d often point out to me, I cannot disturb it. So you took off instead, eventually that is. We were always destined to fail, not because of my immaturity, but because your mentality and how you first perceived me.

But you see, I grew up along with you. We both did. You grew out of love, and I grew blinder in love with you. It is ironic now that I see it. I see no love, I see no passion. How so, though, when it was all I could feel; when it was all we could both feel? Or were you acting then, like you are now, once in warmth and now in coldness. This is not a love letter or a letter filled with regrets. This is nothing, just like you told me we were, nothing. This is a random stranger walking down a rainy street with no umbrella. This is a crazy gypsy dancing in front of a bonfire. This is a eulogy for love, because you killed it and I am yet to bury it. It has laid motionless at my doorstep for years and years, and I masked its stingy odour with the perfume you gave me till the last spray.

Our fight, yes, the subtle one. The one that tore us apart. It was a summery day, and then again, when does the sun not shine over those in love? You kissed my forehead not my lips, and I felt an ache, a headache from your kiss. You wore that shirt I always hated, the one with the graffiti you never liked. You had your fancy sunglasses on, and I swore for moment, you looked like a stranger from a distance. You waved at me like anyone would, and I smiled at you like no one ever could. You rode in your red car, the one you now pick up pretty girls in mini skirts in, and stopped, like a stranger would. You said, I will see you tonight. I nodded. You offered no ride back home, or to your heart where I belonged. I nodded again. You drove away before I could say I love you, like a stranger would.

Then you called later that evening, and I hated my ring-tone, but you loved it. So I kept it, for you, because you loved it. You told me you loved me in that sleepy voice of yours, and I was all dressed up to meet you. We were pretty together, as I recall. You in that black tux, and me in that white floral dress you liked. You never wore ties, you hated them. You always unbuttoned the first few buttons. You thought it was appealing to women, but not to me. You knew I never liked it, but you did it anyway. You asked if I loved you, and I said yes. You asked how much, I said I don’t know. You hummed. For years now, I wondered why you hummed when you did. If you were to love me like I loved you, shouldn’t there be no measures? We sat silent in that fancy restaurant. Even the music in your fancy red car could not silence our silent guns. But you, you had the last shot. I laid my weapon down and gave up to you, and you still fought back. I guess the only difference between you and I was that you fought for yourself, while I fought for us. That is how you killed love. You killed love because you never felt it. You killed love because you thought it was a war between us when it was only a gesture of eternity with each other. You killed it, but I let you. We’re both guilty, me for loving you, and you for letting me believe you loved me too.

Today, I let no love stand between myself and others. You made sure I would never speak of it the same, like I did when you first told me you loved me. Why would you though, if you were preparing for war? I have grown to despise those who speak of love as those it is attainable, as though it is the only thing that makes sense. When we said it to each other, it was the only thing that never made sense.

When death came, I shed no tears.

Listen to: Sometimes by Wes Willenbring.

Winter departs with just another soul escaping to the other side. She often wonders what this other side is. They speak of it greatly in movies and books; there is always an aura of white light depicted in pop culture. Then a soul leaves its body, just like that. She never witnessed a death, even in movies, she’d close her eyes afraid it would come after her. She would also skip paragraphs that spoke so beautifully about death, she failed to see the beauty of it. She could never come to peace with the idea of moving on so easily. Death is such an easy thing for the dead, they say. They will look over our shoulders from up above and guide us, they tell her.


My grandfather passed away when I was in first grade. I remember coming home one day, running towards my mother’s room as I normally would, only this time her arms were not open wide to embrace me. They were wrapped around a wooden chair with her head leaned down. She was crying. This had been the first time I see my mother cry. I threw my big purple school bag on the ground and ran to her. The hallway leading to her room felt as though it was stretched longer than it normally was. I reach to her, kiss her forehead and pat on her head asking what had happened. Her voice was shaky, her crystal blue eyes shimmering with tears, she told me, “Jeddo ra7, noora. Jeddo ra7.”

I did not understand what she meant by him going, I just cried along. Her tears ached me. I have never seen my mother cry this much or be wearied by sadness for that long. We were not in Syria at the time and I think part of her being sad was because she did not get to see him one last time. I have only met my grandfather a few times back then, and my memory of him is quite hazy. He was tall with white hair, pale skin and blue eyes. They tell me I inherited my height genes from him.

Edna, my grandmother, still wears her ring after all these years. She has a picture of him in her bedroom. He was quite the handsome young man. She never tires of telling my sister and I stories of him whenever we visit. The most prevailing memory I have of him, however, was while hugging my mother as she cried him away that day.

My father grew up as an orphan. He often tells me of his beautiful mother and how she passed away at an early age. Grandpa re-married a few years later, as tale goes by, but my father tells me it is always different without a mother. Sometimes, he closes his door and listens to folk music about mothers. I dare not disturb his solitude, for death has shaken it to its core.

Death steals. Sometimes it comes unexpected and takes the young away, and at times, we feel its presence before it arrives. So we make space for it. We set aside our lives and feel a certain heaviness painting our days in grayscale. It comes in rescue of the ill and leaves a void within us. It is us, those who mourn, that feel it most. I believe the only time we do not feel the ache of death is when it comes for us.

I grew up fearing death for my loved ones that every night, before going to sleep, I would pray to God to keep my family safe. I would pray for each person in my family. I often cried as a kid. I never understood death. But my mother, she cried when it came. And my father, he closed his eyes in silence at its mention. So I cried, not because I understood it. I did not. But because everyone cries when death arrives. Then they smile.

Then in my early adolescent years, my friend died and I could not cry. Not one tear. At first, I thought there was something wrong with me. I still do not know why I could not cry, even when I wanted to. I think I cried in fear of death so much so that my tears ran out. I rarely ever cry. I do not know why. Crying gives such comfort and people always refuse it. I wish I could cope with my sorrows in tears. It would be easier to cry them away than to bottle them up like I always do.

Perhaps, this is why I am too cold, too heartless, too apathetic – because I could not cry when she died. I went on with my life. I refused to think of her. I packed her belongings in a box and gave them away. She gave me a novel once, I had forgotten its title. After she had passed I sat hours staring at the novel. I could not read for years. I could never finish a book. I always felt cheated with no endings to my novels. I wrote instead. I mark everything to read and leave novels unfinished. I only started to read this year. Every time I go to that place, right between the covers of a book, I see her shadow haunting me. I wish I could cry her away, even now, but I cannot. I am devoid of emotion. I am heartless. But I cried once, I was not always heartless.