January 23, 2018


flash fiction


by Shahinur Islam

Even in the solitary corner of our house, when I seated myself on a chair for a long time, Ma would somehow find me and say, “You shouldn’t be sitting with your hand on the cheek.”

“Do you want me to be sitting with my hand on the leg?”, I would kid.

Hearing this, Mom’s eyeballs would pop out of her eye sockets. Pop out like guavas out of the branches.

“You rogue there!”, she’d simply say.

I wouldn’t know then that sitting with a hand on the cheek is a posture of anxiety. I’d only know that it was my comfortable posture. I felt relieved and relaxed at the posture, so I’d sit that way. And Ma would somehow catch sight of my posture. What she’d say seemed to me only a nuisance in my idle pleasure. A nuisance like a nightmare in sleep. I’d say to myself, puckering up my brows, “Oh, she doesn’t seem to let me sit a bit comfortably.”

Here, thousands of miles away

after all these years

like almost every day

against the colourful twilight sky

at the same posture

at this moment, I’m sitting on my chair at the balcony. Sitting as the twilight clouds are sitting with their hands on the cheeks of the sky.

But nowadays I don’t sit that way for some idle comfort. When real worries swirl in my mind, my left hand itself moves towards my cheek. Moves, perhaps, to prop up the heavy thoughts. Moves, perhaps, to unburden myself. But nobody here catches a glimpse of it. Once upon a time, only the person who would easily glimpse a sight of it can’t do it, either. She is far, too far now!

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