Sunday 24 April 2022

Tatiana - Short Story by Dr Koshy AV


 

Tatiana

 

At five a.m. the alarm rang. He was happy to get up as he was having a nightmare.

(A girl was being asked by somebody, "Are you ok? Where is your Dad?"

She tried to smile, several times, but her face kept stretching into sadness and her eyes filled with tears.

"Is he dead?" the voice asked.

"Yes," she said, again trying to smile, but failing.

In the background was the sound of falling bombs and warplanes. "War pigs.")

He got up and sat on the bed, trying to shake the image out of his head. The connected thoughts. Shaken.

 

"... an airman who had flown a low-level reconnaissance flight over the city of Nagasaki shortly after the detonation of “Fat Man.” The man described how thousands of scorched, twisted bodies writhed on the ground in the final throes of death, while those still on their feet wandered aimlessly in shock—flesh seared, melted, and falling off. "

They were civilians. Civil people. Civilized, at the mercy of governments and armies, forces too large for them to do anything about. One day you are there and the next day, gone, in a puff of smoke, like that girl's father.

- 'They were hiding under a bombed building in a bunker. How long could they hold out without food? No one had died yet.' This was a different 'they.' -

Alopecia. That was bad to crack a joke against it. That was also bad to hit the person who cracked the joke if you were the husband.

 

But.

 

What about the girl? Why was there only a one-minute video on her, and the trending news was all about a slap, and the dresses of various film actresses or how their dresses lacked cloth? Shades, inequitable, of comparison and contrast.

"That's just the way it is. Some things will never change." Bruce Hornsby and the Range rang in his ears.

Be happy you have not changed into a giant insect yet, unlike Samsa.

'The actual nightmare would be for the insect if it turned into a man.'

But maybe, perhaps, hadn't we, they, all of us, already become insects? Yes, we have.

 

Be happy for small, tender mercies.

 

When he went out, he passed the construction house, the house that was being constructed near the church. There were five children there. Four adults who were the workers, two men, and two women, building it living in the temporary tin roof shack put up for them. He saw their hungry faces, the faces of the children, ranging in ages from zero to eight, maybe, four boys and one girl, dark, with no smiles on them, and turned his scooter and went back.

A gift hamper had arrived in his house that looked like a kind of a red bouquet the previous day with several packets of Lays and Kurkure and some chocolates for his son's birthday from some angel. "Angel came down from heaven yesterday." Jimi Hendrix. He told his wife, "give me those chocolates". She gave him four of a kind. "Give me one more." She gave him a Kit Kat. He went out again.

 

He stopped at the house under construction. "Freely you have received, freely give. It is more blessed to give than to receive." Gospels and St. Paul or Jesus.

He took the chocolates out and pushed his visor up. The girl came rushing to take it. The women looked at him, surprised. He put them in her hands and pushed the visor down and turned the scooter and went back home.

 

Does giving a little girl here who is poverty-stricken, chocolate; to put a smile on her face make up for or balance the loss of the father of a little girl elsewhere? Not, but it was all that could be assayed.

 

The girl's face haunted him. But she, at least, still had her dad. Question of degrees? Not like the one whose face kept trying to smile but kept breaking up into tears. The one in the nightmare.

 

The tears in the eyes of the little girl in his nightmare were now streaming down his face.

'A butterfly beats its wings somewhere and somewhere else it causes a tornado.'

Quantum.

"Quantum of solace?"

 

He was "drowning. Drowning. In a river of tears."



Koshy AV is a poet, critic, essayist, theoretician, and fiction writer who also edits and makes anthologies. He has invented the roseate sonnet form, and started the Significant League as well as instituted an international prize for writing called the Reuel Prize named after his son. He works at teaching and in the field of autism and philanthropy. His hobby is listening to rock music. He loves reading sci fi and fantasy.

 

 

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