The next morning, I found Zakaria and, by the afternoon, Nasima was in my flat swabbing the floors in a green sari. She was dark and thin with high cheekbones and deep-set eyes that sparked. She told me she was twenty-five, a year my senior. She had three children and a husband who peddled a cycle rickshaw.
Before her unexpected death, one for the books, really, my mother aimed for fancy. She smelled like musky southern roses. She exuded beauty, with her violet eyes — Elizabeth Taylor eyes — and skin soft as peaches. And yet, all the while, something unkind coursed through her, and I could not tell you why. Was it the town?
Before The Father He Knew
As they walked down the hallway, he felt embarrassed at the thought that if the restaurant were full, he wouldn’t be able to pick out Xaver. Fortunately, it was between lunch and dinner hour, and the restaurant was empty. The lone man sitting at the back table looked like an older version of a photo Finn had seen of Xaver.
Grandma Stone’s Hair
The house seemed to be riddled with mysterious happenings. One evening, while he was climbing up the stairwell to his room on the second floor, he felt an unexpected gust of cold wind. It was the last spell of winter, and he knew there could not possibly be such a wind from the south, yet he could clearly feel its bite.
Sounds Heard in a Tent at Night
I am not sure if they made any sound. Returning to the tent, I poked my head into the flap and saw myself still asleep on the ground. With an emerging daze at the back of my head, I looked up from the bag to see that there was nobody at the tent’s entrance. It was zipped shut.
Joshua and Eric, they are good boys. Boys are easier. The boys don’t give me much trouble. Of course, Eric is spoiled, but he is small and doesn’t know. Joshie is my best. Joshie tells me, “Mommy, I love you so much.” He doesn’t forget the garbage or his laundry. When I say, “Mop the floors!” Joshie mops the floors. When I say, “Vacuum the car. Now!” Joshie vacuums the car.
Dogs Chasing Cars
Another car goes by; this time, the puppies move together toward the shiny wheel and break off in sync like a flock of geese. The leader sends out signals, and they move in unison. Finally, they stop and stare at me. I would take one back home with me if I could. They were that cute.
All they could see was the long lay of ocean blue; a spotless, looming sky; the sun, and the gliding form of seabirds: shearwaters and petrels and other gull-type aviators, tiny white citizens of the bleak and luminous desolation. Beautiful, Humbert thought. If it were not for doom, it would be beautiful.
The Burning of Elenore Kuntz
My mother made me take piano lessons from Pastor James’ wife, Belinda, on Sundays. She was nice enough and always smelled of perfume. She’d hug me, give me a sugar cookie, and we’d get to business. I knew very early on in my piano-lesson days that I lacked discipline for such practices.
As he settles in, Olivia and Logan catch up about their weekends, both of which involved all things spooky. One of the best parts of autumn is Halloween, and it’s probably only natural that those who work in the funeral industry have some kind of affinity towards the holiday. Every department decorates the parts of the offices the guests can’t see.
I couldn't fathom Dad telling Poppy something he hadn't told me: he was the only relationship in my life built entirely on honesty. He was the one who had encouraged me to travel and live somewhere new while I was young; he was the person I called when I needed help with my taxes or choosing a 401K plan.