Markings

Ugly
Not ugly
Just adding one word 
Leaves a mark on my soul
In the same way
If you didn't add it
My soul has markings
From your words and their's
You never add the not
Even if you did
Ugly remains with me
And my soul

It baffles me sometimes even the strongest of us are in need for consoling or just the simple words;

“I am here.”

“You are right.”

“You are beautiful.”

“You matter.”

We need positivism because we are surrounded by negativity in every aspect of life. I can’t help noticing the advertisements. You are sitting alone, having a me-time and those wretched ads will point out every single thing that is wrong with you. TV commercials telling you to be fairer, thinner, richer, quicker and what not. The gist of this consumerism pro-capitalist agenda is to set an idea in an individual that you are not enough. There is always going to be this one flaw left, even if you forget it we are constantly reminded of it. Why not ask us to use a soap because we need to be clean and smell nice or maybe it moisturizes our skin. Why does a soap has to make us desirable? Beyond unrealistic, it’s funny in its own ways. The point I am trying to make is, whoever reads this (If anyone does) you matter more just because you are alive. You don’t need to be smarter, thinner, fairer, more successful, funnier, more popular to matter. You just do!

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When to stop expecting?

Do you long to hear or say the following words?
I am expecting.

Well join the club. Because I have done it once in the entire span of 4.5 years and I can’t even muster the courage of hoping to say those words again. I have not given up hope. I am scared. Is it better to be hopeful and have multiple failures or less hopeful and a successful outcome which takes you by surprise? We all have dreams, I always worked hard in my studies and got the best of results. I recently lost around 40 lb weight with a lot of determination and hard-work. But with this? I am trying again and again, every month and there is no outcome. I was not so scared in the start of my journey. I never worried over missed dates, doctor appointments, medicines and timelines. And a cousin of my got pregnant and it hit me so hard. I saw the kid grow up. She is three years old now. I am trying longer than her.

So should I?

Give up hope? Not in the depressing sense but in a more realistic sense? Not to revolve my life around this one thing which I want with all of my existence? Should we all give up on dreams if the success rate is too low? Or zero? If it was a highly qualified individual giving their best in pursuit of their respective job, and never getting promoted? Should they accept the never getting acknowledged or keep trying. By trying I mean, missing on family time, fun with friends, catching up with parents or just have a personal leisure time. So is it better to let it all go? Stop expecting much from life and just wait and see?

I am. With everything I have. I am trying not to expect. Next time I have a missed period, I wouldn’t rush to the bathroom every ten minutes to check for my periods. I wouldn’t use multiple urine strips daily. I wouldn’t even count my days. I will give it my best and wait for the result.

You reading this, must have something too. We all have our own seemingly impossible goals. Does the Instagram-er with a million followers looks like she has it all together? She hasn’t. Or your old school friends look like they know what they are doing? They don’t. Or your boss seems like the luckiest human in the world? They aren’t. We all are lucky with a lot of amazing opportunities going on in our lives and we tend to focus on that one thing not working out. There is always something to be grateful about. The roof on your head. The clothes on your body. The food on the table. This device in your hands. Your health. Your eyes. Your senses. Your life. You are alive and so am I. And I refuse to be just a failure. I wouldn’t let it define me. I am more than a Pakistani housewife trying so hard to get pregnant.  And although I try not to rise my expectations but I wouldn’t stop hoping to say these words;

Baby, we are expecting!

15 Days of Pregnancy

After around four and a half years of struggling with infertility, I finally saw the two red lines on the urine strip. Can you imagine my happiness? I couldn’t because I was sure it was a faulty one and had a blood test for a 100% accurate test result. I was eating sweet and salty popcorn as I opened my result online. 234 failed weeks and here it was in my hands, 3800 hCG count. For all those who are unfamiliar with hCG it is a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin which is produced by the placenta which maintains the corpus luteum (formed after the egg is released).

I was happy but skeptical because how could it be so easy. I didn’t even take proper medications that month. You see, there are some months where you are not patient enough, or brave enough to have tests, ultrasounds, IVF injections, egg inducing tablets. So despite rigorous treatment for many months, I conceived when I had given up hope of a natural pregnancy and had planned to try IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). My doctor though was nothing but hopeful, everything seemed normal. There was a sac scene, the CL was in its place. Perfect perfect perfect.

Until a week later, I started experiencing excruciating pain all over my abdomen and the starting point was my lower right abdominal portion. I couldn’t walk, sleep, eat or even bow a bit. I had severe acne, drastic hairfall, frequent urination, constipation, chills, dizziness, terrible mood swings and pain. A lot of pain! I waited for three whole days for the pain to go away. It didn’t. Soon, I found myself lying down on the bed at my gynecologist’s clinic. As I stared at the ultrasound machine’s screen, I was confused. There was nothing on it. Everything was one big blank. I have enough personal experience to have some knowledge of abdominal ultrasounds. Here’s a part of my conversation;

“Where’s the baby?”

“Oh Bibi, aap bachay ki fikar choro aur apni fikar karo.” (Oh woman, forget the child for now, worry about your own life)

“Kyun doctor kia hua? where is the baby?” (Why? Doctor what happened?)

10 minutes later, I rushed outside the ultrasound room, went to the waiting area and started crying for ten whole minutes before telling my cousin, who came with me, that its ectopic pregnancy with internal bleeding. Those ten minutes were the hardest minutes of my life. I can never forget them. Having so strong feelings for something that I knew for only fifteen days. I wouldn’t say the world stopped, or my heart stopped beating. In fact I was well aware of everyone around me and no one approached me, thankfully. People know when someone is not to be disturbed. And crying at a obgyn department could only mean one thing, the loss of someone most dear. If I think about my experience, only those ten minutes play in my head over and over. Not the moment I saw the blood report, not when I saw a full developed gestational sac or when everyone around me beamed at me or when my husband was the happiest man I have ever met in my life.

I had post-surgery anxiety after the procedure. The sleepless nights were filled with all kinds of what-if scenarios. My google search history had ‘why does ectopic pregnancy happen?’ searched again and again. Turns out there is no proper reason. You could be perfectly healthy and still experience one. And the biggest question was WHY ME? We all have our self-pity moments. And the last month was self-pity at its zenith point for me. Then I learned of a woman who had three consecutive pregnancies and both her tubes were removed and two failed attempts at IUI, multiple miscarriages over the years and finally had twins from a ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) treatment after 12 years of trying to conceive. And my heart ached for the stranger my doctor told me about.. So  to all the warriors trying so hard to not accept defeat even though they face failure and disappointments all the time. My 15 days of pregnancy didn’t make me strong but those ten minutes changed my perspective on life, to not to forget that myself comes first always. I ignored my pain and never considered my life was under threat and never thought about myself. We do that don’t we? We forget to worry about our own-selves in life’s abyss whether struggling with career, infertility, marital problems, relationships or any other difficulty. Our personal mental and physical health should always be the top priority!

A New Beginning!

I spent the last few months planning for this moment. Yes that’s right! Just thinking about writing since many months and I am still not able to come up with a substantial fiction work. That is what infertility does to a person sometimes. Because sometimes you are so caught up in your own thing, waiting for the dates, being late and not pregnant, then waiting for the new month to start again and you fail again. The cycle is vicious and only infertile people could understand. Failing each month and having hope each month till you get the result.

 

So I was caught in my own thing too. And the worst part is? You are not suppose to talk about it. This is the curse. You have so many outlets and you are suppose to post well-traveled destinations check-ins on Facebook, beautifully set plates of food on Instagram, Witty rants on Twitter, Partying like a crazy maniac on Snapchat and the problems? The insecurities? We all hide our stories, none of us are as happy as our social media accounts. Despite multiple hangouts we are lonely and mostly in need for a real talk. But we cant share our insecurities and fears. Can we now? Why? Because we are scared;

1- Of not coming off as a happy person as we show.

2- What will others think?

3- What if nobody cares?

4- What if they make fun of me?

5- I can’t show people my vulnerabilities.

6- People like to talk to happy people not sad ones with fears and hopelessness.

 

We are all alone and struggling but seldom want to come forward to share it whether its depression, racism, patriarchy, poverty or just being lonely. Its okay to share cholesterol reports in my world (my society) but not okay to discuss my fertility reports? I see people internally cringe whenever I start giving away too much details. You see in my country, you are suppose to wallow in your unfortunate circumstances not flash them to the world with bravery. If someone asks me are you sad or broken? (Although I am but) I say I am not. I am proud of being strong enough to tackle this, every month with a new hope and undying vigilance to not giving up. Every month is a new beginning..

Black

Paint me black,
Like the state of my soul,
Once you dive in there is no turning back,
Deep within the glistening mist may you find something that was once whole,

Paint me black,
And rain diamonds over me,
Like the state of my eyes,
Forever raining those glistening drops,

Paint me black,
Make a huge slash on my heart,
It may bleed red or it may not bleed at all,
Demons once small now stand 150ft tall,

Paint me black,
Or don’t paint me at all,
For I am nothing and gone,
Or I am everything you moarn,

Paint me Paint me Paint me
In black
Which bleeds like red
Glistens like diamonds
Shines like cuticles after rain,
Paint me with love,
For I might shatter with pain.

(Attempted poetry after many years. It was based on a random object near me. See the picture.)20160703_005459.jpg

DELUSIONAL TRUTH

Creepy-and-Actually-Wonderful-Abandoned-Rooms-3

Three months have passed away in a whirlwind, the newlywed couple, or maybe not so newly, are now set into the daily routine of their lives as a married couple. It may seem so to a stranger that the young couple has been together since years when they had only met each other two months prior to the wedding and were one of the few fortunate beings who knew at their first meeting that they had met the person they would like to spend the rest of their lives with. Sarah and Richard, in simple words, fulfilled each other’s needs so well that they rushed into a wedding and there had never been a day since then in which they had regretted that decision.

Every day Richard would wake up before Sarah, to go for his morning jog for an hour. When he returned Sarah would be making breakfast for them. Today when he returned from his jog, he saw an empty kitchen. He called out her name and got no answer. As he went into their room, he found her sitting in her room staring blankly at the floor.

“Sarah, are you okay?” Richard asked as he sat near her on the bed.

“Did you write this?” Sarah shoved a piece of paper at him, “Why would you?”

“Wait what?” Richard said as he took the paper.

He stared at the typewritten words and frowned as he read it aloud.

On 26 March, Sarah Parker and Richard Taylor said their wedding vows under the brilliant blue sky with their loved ones. The bride was radiant and lovely, the groom was nervous, but obviously pleased and proud. They both looked at each other with love and passion in their eyes. The day had been delightful for the newly married couple and their loved ones. The bride’s father made a toast after drinking his fifth glass of wine, and started telling stories of Sarah’s adolescence. Of an apparent string of boyfriends from the age of fifteen and later the examples of how teenagers misbehave.  The groom didn’t seem amused and some of the guests shifted uncomfortably in their seats. At last Mrs. Parker got hold of her husband and saved everyone from the awkward situation. The rest of the toasts were not as colourful or memorable. The bride and groom mingled well with the guests. Sarah seemed to be glancing again and again at her former boyfriend. The groom was oblivious to that fact or being a good sport ignoring the looks being exchanged…

The writer then went on to describe the dances in gory detail and later the wedding night in explicit detail. Richard’s eyes bulged out as he read the last few sentences.

“I did not write this. You know I am not much of a writer, maybe someone was spying on us? Should we report this to police? Where did you find this?” Richard asked genuinely shocked.

“You didn’t? Oh my God. This must be some sort of a perverted prank. I found it under the bed on the floor, as I leaned down to get my slippers. No no. We shouldn’t make much of it. What’s done is done. We will see if this happens again.” Sarah said.

Richard was about to throw it away but Sarah took the page from him and placed it deep in her jewellery box. They both thought about it for a few days but as time passed and no other such letter was found, they both pushed the matter away in their minds.

Economic recession effected many families in the country but Sarah and Richard were the fortunate ones. Sarah got promoted to an editor’s position in her publishing company. She had no trouble in trying to manage work with married life. Richard was given many big projects in his architectural firm. They soon got good news when a pregnancy test gave a positive result. They made themselves busy planning and decorating the nursery. Later in the ultrasound test, Sarah found out that she was going to have twins. By the time the birth took place, the nursery was fully furnished, complete with the two identical cots. Richard and Sarah prepared their lives for the new responsibility of parenthood. As time passed away, they both matured. Richard seemed content but Sarah felt disconnected with her inner-self. Many times at night she would wake up and watch television and slept half of the day away. Richard was not oblivious to it, but he chose to give her space.  One night Richard decided to talk to Sarah.

“Hey, sweetie. Having trouble sleeping?” Richard asked Sarah at 2 a.m. in the night. She was lying on the sofa in the living room.

“No. I just wanted to think,” Sarah replied.

“And what are we thinking?” Richard asked.

“Just about the kids.”

“Hm…. Well we will all appreciate if Mama starts to think more in the morning and sleep at night?”

“Yes. Mama could try that.” Sarah said as she took Richard’s hand and went into the room.

The next morning Sarah woke up early, plastered a smile on her face and made her family breakfast. She had been on a leave for a few months. She couldn’t make herself leave her precious kids at home with a nanny or at a day care. Two beautiful boys. Jacob and Dennis. Richard picked up Jacob in his lap as he sat down to eat breakfast.

“Here you go, Dennis.” Sarah handed her child a milk bottle.

“Sarah, dear. This is Jacob.” Richard said.

“Oh I mix them so much.”

“Why do you-” Richard sighed and continued, “How can you-” He stands up breathing heavily, places Jacob in his baby seat. He rubs his face with his hands, calming down his exasperate self. Sarah was looking at him with a bright smile, he turned to face her and said”Just take care of Jacob. I have a meeting today.”

After changing hurriedly, Richard kissed Jacob and Sarah’s cheeks and said goodbye. Sarah busied herself with chores and was puzzled to see a young girl entering her house. What troubled her was that Richard had hired a nanny without telling Sarah. She felt very angry. She had taken leave so that her children wouldn’t be brought up in a stranger’s care. After an argument with Richard on the phone, Sarah decided to let it be. Richard had seemed strangely evasive and defensive. In a matter of days Sarah could see that the nanny wasn’t doing her job well. She would hear Dennis crying all the time in the nursery. Many times she went there to stare at his empty crib. After a week, even with a lot of trying on her part Sarah found herself unable to sleep at night. She stood up to stare at herself in the mirror in the dark; she hadn’t aged much since her wedding. She leaned on the table and the jewellery box fell down. And a page fell from it along with her rings. She stared at the page for a while until she remembered that perverted account of their wedding someone had written about her marriage. She decided to read the letter again. As she went to turn the light on, she was shocked to see the words were different. It was the same page, but the words were different. This time the letter was about their life after the wedding.

In the letter, the writer had explained her life completely differently. Sarah in it had become pregnant with twins but a child died soon after birth and she gave birth to only one child. Torn apart from the grief, Sarah spent her days and nights drinking. Her absence had caused her being fired from her job. Richard sympathized with Sarah but he never made sure that she overcame her grief. He was too much involved with his own life. Sarah felt horrified over the story. Even more horrified. How could someone kill off her child like that, even in words. Her Dennis. The star of her life. She folded the paper and placed it again in the box and tried to sleep.

Years had been passed away since Richard and Sarah’s marriage. They celebrated their tenth anniversary with friends and family. Later at night, they both sat to remember the times they had gone through. Sarah had gone through a difficult phase in life. But when she got pregnant again, she felt like her old self. She gave birth to a beautiful girl, Emily who was now four years old. Sarah felt like the empty whole in her heart was filled now. Sarah sighed as she snuggled closer to Richard who had a beer in one hand and the other arm around Sarah’s waist. But at night when everyone in the house fell asleep, Sarah woke up from a nightmare. As she sat up to sit on the bed, she suddenly remembered the letter. Sarah rushed to find that old jewellery box, and took the letter out quickly. Under the lamp light she read the new update on the false ugly account of Sarah.

The Sarah in the letter was now happy despite her mental turmoil still not rested. After years of therapy she was able to be normal again. She had gone to community college to study Biology and now was a high-school teacher. The other Sarah was happy with her life. Two kids and husband. Richard had always been content with Sarah and tolerated her during her rough times only because he had been able to carry off a couple of affairs to keep himself sane. The letter seemed a bit less cruel but still not true. How did the letter get changed? She contemplated that for a few days until she got busy as the school year came to an end.

Sarah had decided to not dye her grey hair and soon her head was a shimmering white in the sunlight. All her children had gone away, living their lives. She lived alone with Richard in the same house that they had bought at their marriage thirty years ago. Many people at her age had a life full of regrets and a bucket full of broken dreams. Sarah lived her life content as a high-school teacher. She was now happier than ever because Richard had decided to retire from his job to spend time at home. They would spend every moment together except when Sarah went to school to teach. On a whim, she decided to read that wretched letter again. She took the letter and went to sit in the easy chair in the garden with Richard, she smiled at the empty chair next to her as she started to read. Sarah in the letter was an old lady now; in ohysical looks she had aged gracefully and in seldom days when she felt happy, she tried her best to do her share of good deeds to contribute positively in the society. Sarah loved her children and grandchildren and cherished those moments when they visited her, who had pity in their eyes and sympathy for her. Richard had passed away in the letter, leaving Sarah alone, miserable and deluded  at their home.

After reading the letter, Sarah was puzzled. She shook her head as she drank her coffee, listening absentmindedly to Richard talking and thought, why would the letter be so right yet so wrong about her life? And why would someone persist in writing something like this all these years?

SAMANTHA’S GRAVE

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When Leo’s wife first told him about her affair, he was surprised and disappointed. Surprised that his wife, Samantha, had time to have an affair even though she seemingly spent all day with him, as he worked at home and she never seemed to lift her hand, except maybe to hand over their joint credit card to the shopkeeper. He was deeply disappointed in himself, for a writer claiming to know the works of human nature didn’t even suspect his wife cheating him. Those monthly trips to Aunt Fair in another city gave ample time to have a lovely…… affair. Aha. He had not seen any Fair in her family. Still those trips had been there since their marriage. Five years is a long time. It must have been love.

A day after breaking the news, Samantha left the house. She took away whatever she had bought within the last year. It was okay. He was fine. What astounded him was how calm she was throughout their divorce proceedings. A woman going to Sunday church habitually must have some fear of God. She didn’t even own a Bible and never prayed before  meals. But if something delayed her Sunday mass, she would go….. Oh. So Sundays were included too. That made it five proper trips a month. That seems reasonable amount of time. He just wished she returned that £7149 engagement ring.

Why leave now? She could have left him at any time. It’s not like their lifestyle changed as years passed. He spent all his time in the bathroom, funny story that. In his college days he shared an apartment with four classmates, and those four were the most social people in his college. So basically their apartment was the venue for every party, drug sale, study group where no one studied and all sorts of meet ups. So he would spend his time typing away at his grandfather’s typewriter sitting on the cold hard floor of  the bathroom. At the age of 22, his first work got published. It was about an ordinary story really, a woman who got murdered by her mother in her apartment because she had had an affair with her stepfather. Very ordinary. Just that one different factor, a boy in the opposite building’s apartment witnessed it all from his window. He stands frozen on the spot watching as the woman cleans up the mess, cleans herself off. Sits and drinks some beer with her daughter lying on the floor. Why doesn’t the boy call police? She was his ex. Plus she was already dead. Why call the police now? What if they suspected him? He was an ex. So Leo decided that he didn’t call the police.

People loved the book for some reason he couldn’t comprehend. They found it realistic, a book about a mother killing her child. And people could relate to it. So anyways he got fame. He got contracts and an almost-secure home. He left his studies, married a beautiful girl. Settled down. He didn’t regret marrying Samantha. She never nagged like other women. He would shut himself in his fully furnished and carpeted bathroom for days. And ask her for food which would appear immediately thanks to their chef. She never interrupted his writing. When he would not shave for six months and ate only fresh vegetables to research for his next novel. She would joke about it, tease him but never nag. He did make her happy, she would smile all the time. Was it the never ending shopping spree? The way he carried her shopping bags without commenting on how she spent his hard earned money? The spa treatments she would go to daily. He never seemed to like other people pampering him like a toddler so he never accompanied her to the country club. She would go alone and… Hm.. An almost daily hangout? So she dated at their country club and why would she date a guy who couldn’t even afford to pay for her lunch?

As months passed, the young writer found himself finally thinking about dating. He still wore his wedding ring, it seemed to be there all the time and his finger felt empty without it. He should buy something which didn’t look like a wedding band before dating, or he might come across as a pervert. But first he had to finish his novel. It was the final book in a trilogy. The first two books got exceptional reviews and a million copies sold worldwide of each. He still was surprised whenever he read a good review or a fan asked for an autograph. He was half-way through the story when he got a phone call on his private number. He was an only child of a single mother, who called at 7 p.m. on every Saturday. His few friends would always text him, poke him, tweet, send a snapchat or whatever the new craze took over them. And lastly his editor used to call him. Unlike many writers, he didn’t like to get cozy with his editor. They had a strictly professional relationship, they would always contact by email if help was needed and editor would only call if the email wasn’t replied. So a phone call from a strange number was something he never experienced. Samantha would make sure nothing would interrupt him. He picked up the phone finally, after spending around three minutes staring at his cellphone. Samantha was dead. Can you believe it? She was dead. It was her friend calling him. The funeral was taking place the next day.

Should he go? She had cheated on him. Maybe he should send a card of condolence. He could call and make an excuse. His friends would be there and his mother too. Mother would irritate him for the next decade if he didn’t attend. So he would go. Just for an hour. And he would have to meet her lover. Oh wait. He hadn’t asked how she had died on the phone. He would ask when got there. So the day passed in a rush. He smiled grimly at familiar faces. A huge woman suddenly came running towards him and picked him up as she hugged him tightly. Raining tears on his shoulder. Before he could even respond to the outburst, she slapped him full on the face. He waited patiently as the woman threw a childish tantrum. Finally when she calmed down, he asked her who she was. After a blank look with her jaw dropping down, she sat down and started talking slowly. He had no choice but to sit next to her and listen. The people gathered around them scattered because the drama had died down. Such typical human behaviour, they watch the drama but don’t even want to know what caused it.

Turns out there was an Aunt Fair, the huge woman, who he had forgotten about. To be fair whenever they met at a family get-together, Aunt Fair would be called by her first name. And she had very average looks, very forgettable. So Samantha didn’t meet her boyfriend that one time of her disappearance. If you are curious about how she died. Cancer. Samantha must have been devastated, she hated being sick and taking medications. What Leo couldn’t comprehend was that she had found out about the cancer a year ago. She didn’t tell him? Why? He would have helped her. His book could have waited. As Leo thought more about it, Samantha had seemed a bit thinner by the end. He should have asked her. But the trilogy had kept him occupied. He never took breaks. He was always writing books. Ever since he was 20, he was constantly thinking about one story line or the other. Leo didn’t feel guilt, neither was he ashamed. Just a weight lifted from his life, as he knew about how she hadn’t actually been cheating on him. Although she did cheat on him in a way, Leo was sure that hiding a fatal illness from your spouse must cheating.

Leo knew there was no need to think about what he could have done and what not. She was dead. Nothing could change that. With determination he settled on the floor of the bathroom with a mug of coffee, popcorn bowl and his grandfather’s typewriter. He poured a drop of the boiling coffee on his hand, it gave a slight burn. Imagined a whole cup of that hot coffee being thrown at one’s face. Now make that lava, and the person throwing at you an evil wizard and you a shaman who has enough knowledge and experience to able to cope with extraordinary circumstances. The male protagonist will feel the pain before he starts recovering. So many people recovered from cancer, he didn’t even know what type of cancer he had. Rubbing his face with his hands, he stood up to call Aunt Fair.

She had colon cancer. After hearing that information, he researched that particular cancer. A headache built up as he saw the symptoms, the pain. A throbbing headache and an urge to throw up. He seldom had headaches. Did colon cancer cause headaches? Not exactly, but weakness could. He has done his part, now he could go and continue writing the story. Or just start fresh tomorrow. The next day, Leo sat down to write again. The same situation, a ball of lava being thrown at the hero. Why wait for the move to hit him? The shaman must fight back. He could endure the pain but just standing there is not heroic. Why let the dark side make the first move? That is what makes the dark side, attacking first. So wait and then fight back. Did Samantha wait first? Which treatment did she use? She had her hair intact. He would comb his fingers through her hair as she sat and read magazines or played games on her tablet. Breathing heavily, he went to take a beer from the fridge. He never left writing so soon. Once sitting down to write, he would be oblivious to time. Her death seemed to be affecting his concentration.

It has been five months since Samantha passed way. Leo was still waiting to write the hot ball of lava hitting his hero. He should just kill the hero. The editor now called him three times a day. He sat down to type and stared at his hands, would think about past decisions, imagine a world with Samantha alive… He didn’t miss her. They never loved each other. They just felt comfortable together. He could write when she went out  so it wasn’t that he couldn’t write without her around. Her humming the new song as soon as it was released, wearing brightly coloured mismatched socks as she would tuck her feet under him when they sat to watch a movie. She watched the movie, he just saw the pictures flicker on the screen. She was nothing special. Just a normal girl, who would accept what life gave her without any great ambition. And like every day since a month, he passed away on the sofa thinking about the hot lava ball hitting him.

He visited her grave after a year of her death. His mother barged into his house, with her luggage and wouldn’t budge until he came with her to visit Samantha’s grave. Sounds poetic. Samantha’s grave. If he was a romantic, he would write a poem or a novel named just that. And in the dedications he would write, ‘in loving memory of my wife.’ He chuckled as he thought about that. Her mother hearing him laugh gave him two options; either he visit her grave or he visit a shrink. Apparently his mother had discussed him with a psychiatrist who had suggested that he try to make himself comfortable with the idea of her death. Finally, Leo gave in. He visited the grave. Stared nonchalantly at the marble of her tombstone.

 Samantha Marshall

(1986-2013)

‘She fought bravely before she died.’

He read those words, breathed heavily and sat down on the ground. After a few minutes, he lay back, closed his eyes and let the sentences form in the darkness.