In a foggy December morning, Ranjit Mitra, M.D., a heart-specialist in U.S., was driving to his hospital. A day-long surgery was scheduled to reconfigure a young man’s abnormal heart. Suddenly, a little school boy carrying a blue backpack while holding his dad’s hand appeared at distant. Dr. Mitra realized that he had been drifting into memory. In his childhood in Calcutta, he used to walk with his dad through winter fog to catch a British-era trolley to go to school. Suddenly, his car-phone rang, bringing the deep voice of his elder brother.
“Dad just expired after suffering a massive heart-attack.”
“It’s been many years, Graham. I won’t ask how you are. I can see.”
Graham was huddled in a shop doorway with a damp sleeping bag, crippled with arthritis and Seelenmord (death of the soul).
He stared at the woman in the wheelchair. It was Mary. He had caused her injuries and killed her friend, driving carelessly whilst drunk.
It was such a long time ago and yet only seconds, the scene constantly replaying in his tortured mind. Only cans of Special Brew could briefly wipe the pain away.
“No, I’ve never left that terrible day behind,” said Graham sadly.
My husband and I used to write little messages on sticky notes and hide them around the house. “I love you” in the dresser. “Good luck at work” on the bathroom mirror. I gave each note a quick kiss before crumpling them up and tossing them in the trash. There’d always be more tomorrow.
A month before our sixth anniversary, my husband fell from a thirty-foot ladder. A spiderweb chiseled his x-rayed skull. Now he gurgles and swings his arms in aimless circles as I dress him for bed. Eyes glazed and vacant. I wish I had kept those notes.
In minus 40 degrees they’d hacked a 9″ deep trench in the frozen ground.
“Tanks!” shouts Schmidt.
An explosion knocks out the anti-tank gun behind.
All except Müller and Schmidt panic and run. They are mown down by the T-34s’ machine guns, their blood reddening the snow.
Those who stand and surrender meet the same fate.
The monsters screech over the trench and trundle onwards.
They hear an engine reversing.
The tank draws parallel and drives aslant, one track passing along the trench.
Hearing the crunching of bones, they can expect no mercy on the Eastern Front.
Ted smiled as he walked slowly through the woods on a November afternoon. The chill in the air was noticeable, but not yet uncomfortable. A blanket of colors appeared around him, from the leaves on the trees and on the ground. Many animals chirped and sounded from all directions, taking Ted directly into nature. His solitude on the path was a welcome escape from the craziness of life, yet he knew that turning around would return him to reality in moments. This path had become his personal journey into an environment in which he could savor the beauty of autumn.
“Darling,” Patsy looked up. “On the first hand, Ahjit, I love you. On another hand it’s against policy for us to fraternize.
“On another hand THEY sent us on four tropical site surveys!
“However, on another hand I’m three weeks late for a ‘visit’ from Auntie.”
“Missing your—Ohhhh.” Missing Aunties and surprise babies. Masterpiece Theatre.
Patsy and Ahjit were incompatible by religion, culture and Corporate H.R. On another hand, “WOW. WHO KNEW SEX WAS SO GLORIOUS!”
“AHA! Vishnu, the four-handed god! Marry me, dear Patsy, and everything will be perfect when our little baby arrives in the fall. GLORIOUS!”
That Friday night, Scheherazade rose to tell the king another tale. As on the previous Friday, she spun a story so wonderfully beguiling that the king hung on every word. Her story might be an adventure, a romance, or an amusing anecdote that made the king roar with laughter.
But 100 words doesn’t last long, even at half speed. Each week, Scheherazade would end her tale and the king wasn’t satisfied.
“OK, then,” she said, “it’s sex you want.”
“Of course,” he said. ‘It’s Friday. It’s what you want, too. I don’t know why you insist on this storytelling nonsense.”