Thursday 15 August 2013

Flash Fiction 2013 Shortlist, Heema Shirvaikar


Trisha could not sleep alone. She kept tossing and turning uncomfortably on the bed, waiting for her mother to finish doing the dishes and come and sleep beside her. She couldn’t understand why her mother worked so hard every day. Why couldn’t they just hire a maid? All of her friends had maids. It would make everything so much easier. She would also get to spend more time with her mother.

She loved it when her mother would braid her hair before going to bed. Or when they played monopoly. Occasionally they would just sit together and read a storybook. Trisha had a lot of storybooks. She liked those really fantastic stories of princes and princesses, kingdoms and castles, flying carpets and talking animals. She’d want to own glass slippers, as beautiful as Cinderella’s. And hair as long as Rapunzel. She wanted a flawless complexion like Snow White, and wished for a library as huge as Belle’s. She loved how her mother stitched beautiful dresses for her, and how they would paint each other’s nails. They’d sit and watch all her favourite cartoons together. Her mother would do a pretty good imitation of Tweety, the bird. They did a lot of gardening together. The petunias they had planted had started to flower. She loved watching them with her mother. But where was mother? Why was she taking longer than usual?

Trisha was feeling sweaty by now. It was already March and spring had started to creep in. And Trisha was still sleeping in her warm winter blanket. She needed to remind her mother that they had to take out their summer blankets from the attic and put the winter ones back in there. Trisha was starting to get restless. “Ma?” she called out. She wanted her mother to hurry up and come back to bed. There was no answer. She got out of bed and walked to the kitchen. But her mother wasn’t there. Strange, she thought. She had heard the voice of running tap water from inside the bedroom. She had been sure that her mother was in the kitchen, doing the dishes. Her heart beats rose. She looked around the whole house for her mother, but she was nowhere to be found. Where was mother? Tears started to roll down her eyes. Crying, she ran to her neighbour, Mrs. Sheila, to see if her mother was at her house. She rang their doorbell and Mrs. Sheila opened the door. “Aunty, have you seen my mother?” she asked urgently. Mrs. Sheila looked at her and her face turned from surprised to confused to sad. She brushed a kind hand through her hair. A lone tear trickled down her bespectacled eyes. “Trisha, dear, don’t you remember? Your mother is no more. She passed away last week. You live with your father now, dear. He’ll be coming home from work anytime now. You’re welcome to come and sit inside till he does.” She said, looking down at Trisha sympathetically.

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