This story deals with subjects that some readers may find upsetting.
I’m willing the old lady to take her seat already so the driver can go. Come on, come on, old girl, just pick a seat, any seat.
“Please take mine,” I say and stand. She smiles a paper-thin smile and eases herself onto the damp fabric. I hold onto a pole as the bus shudders onwards and we’re off again. I take out my phone and replay the message. “Miss Hart, Tabitha is unwell again. Please come and pick her up as soon as possible.”
The way Tabby’s teacher lingers on the word “again” sends a painful throb to my stomach.
Unbeknownst to Noa, his and Sneha’s future was decided over a plate of American chop suey in a tea shop in central Darjeeling.
The Year You Were Born:
Your mother leaned forward in an aluminum lawn chair, scrunched her toes into the grass as the hot wind blew waves through her summer dress. She took another fleshy bite of watermelon and let her eyes slide closed as she savored the cool sweetness that filled her mouth. Your dad sat at the picnic table drinking a can of beer. He cupped a match from the breeze and lit a cigarette, and when your mother leaned forward, he stole a glimpse of her swollen breasts through his exhale.
Leila Alllison has been rooting in the basement again and this time presented us with a Sci Fi story for another moment in the spotlight. This is what she said:
“It’s time to go down to the surface.”
Mayli turned her face against the cabin wall. “I’m too tired.”
Tama took a breath. “I know you are. But you’ll like the surface, and it’s an easy transport.”
Mayli swiveled her head back to reveal a pale face, too thin, too creased for such a young age. “Easy?”
Of course nothing was easy for Mayli. The encroaching paralysis brought pain with every movement. But that was the point, wasn’t it?
We stared at the gravestone.
A bad wife, but an adequate mother and grandmother
How all this got started was there was this guy Lee, I don’t think anybody remembers his last name. He hadn’t been in Springdale long. Quiet guy, late 20s. Decent looking. Beard, muscles, longish hair, bit of a mountain man way about him.