Friday Fiction: Where The Heart Is

“It’s a mess,” I said with a sigh. Things hadn’t been going my way and it was driving me crazy. Why was I such a controlling person? Only if I could let it be and stop worrying about every little detail.

“No, it’s not,” Meena said. “It’s artistic and highlights the best side of your work.”

We were both starring at the painting in front of us and all the clutter around it. “Do you really think so?” I asked skeptically.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Definitely.”

Was she trying to hide her smile or was I paranoid? “Well, in that case, this is it,” I said mustering up a smile of my own.

“Don’t worry, Eliza,” she said. “You’re going to nail this.”

My friend was nothing if not supportive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling that confident. This contest meant so much to me. I couldn’t screw it up.

“Why is it so cold in here?” I hadn’t realized it until then but now, I was shivering.

“I don’t feel cold,” Meena said, giving me a quizzical look.

“It’s freezing.” I rubbed my arms.

“It’s mid-July, Eliza.” Meena looked worried.

“It is?” I had forgotten what time of the year it was. In any case, why was I suddenly feeling so cold? “Maybe I should lie down for a while. I am just stressed.” Yes, that made sense. Didn’t it?

“Yeah, go ahead,” Meena said to me. “I’ll take care of everything from here.”

“You’re the best!” I kissed my assistant on the cheek and went to my room to rest. As soon as my head touched the pillow, I fell into a dreamless sleep.

#

james-donovan-kFHz9Xh3PPU-unsplash

When I woke up it was eerily quiet. It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t in my bed. In fact, I was lying outside on the grass. The sky was starless and moonless. I tried to look around but it was too dark to make out anything.

“Hello,” I called out. “Anyone there?”

That’s when I heard footsteps. “So, you’re finally awake,” someone said. There was a person near me but I couldn’t make out his features. I vaguely noticed that he was really tall and broad-shouldered.

“Who are you and where am I?” I asked a little breathless.

“Well, you are where you belong,” he said. “And I am here to welcome you back.”

“Excuse me,” I said. “Where I belong? What does that even mean?”

“Let me take care of the darkness first,” he said and then did something with his hands, some weird gesture I didn’t fully comprehend. But the next thing I knew, at least a thousand lanterns were lit.

I looked around and realized that we were in a beautiful garden. There were flower beds everywhere, I was sitting near one, and as far as I could see there were trees and plants of all kinds. There was a path leading to the woods on our left and it too was lit with lanterns. The sight was majestic, to say the least.

After taking in my surroundings, I looked up at the stranger. He was still standing over me, looking quite pleased with himself.

“So, what do you think?” he asked.

“It’s beautiful,” I replied. “But I still don’t understand. What is this place?”

“This is our home. You have been gone a while but now, you’re back and that’s all that matters.”

“No, this isn’t right. I live in the city. I was at home when I went to bed. Why am I here?” I said this more to myself than to him. I was having difficulty processing this situation.

“My little fairy,” the guy said, plopping down next to me, “of course, you came back when you fell asleep. Our world and the human world are both connected through our dreams. Only through dreams can we come and go between the realms.”

“You’re saying that we are not human?” I looked at him perplexed.

“Yes,” he said. “Oh, come now, don’t tease me. You know we are not.”

“No.”

“No what?” he asked.

“Hmm,” I said. “I don’t know. I’m human.”

Now, he looked at me with concern and asked, “are you alright?”

“I’m fine but this situation isn’t.” I sighed. I must have been dreaming. This was all a dream and soon I’d wake up in my bed, safe and sound. I was stressed because of the art contest that’s why my brain was playing tricks on me.

“I don’t understand.” The guy looked really worried now. “When you had left without a word, I thought you just needed some time. That’s why I didn’t come after you. Now, you’re back but you’re treating me as a stranger. And what is this ‘I’m human’ nonsense. Come on, Eliza this isn’t funny.”

“I’m not trying to be funny,” I said in a small voice. For some reason, I felt guilty. “I really don’t know you or this place. I want to go back.”

“You can’t,” he stated plainly.

“What do you mean? You said I can go back to the human world through my dreams.” I looked at him questioningly.

“Yes, but you have been gone for over a year. This means it will be at least five years before you can fall asleep again,” he explained as if that made any sense.

“You mean I can’t sleep for the next five years?” I was bewildered.

“At the very least,” he said.

After this revelation I was speechless. He didn’t say anything either and we both sat there in silence. The place was beautiful there was no doubt in that. A year, he had said but I didn’t remember this place at all. My memories were all from the human realm. Was I really not human? How long we sat there in silence, I couldn’t tell but then the silence was broken by laughter. We both looked up at the same time. A little girl was running towards us. She was coming from the direction of the woods.

“Mother, you’re back.” The girl threw herself in my arms. I caught her as she hugged me tightly. I looked at the guy beside me, horror-filled my eyes. I was a mother and I didn’t remember my own child.

“Meena,” the guy said to the little girl. “let your mother breathe.”

Her name was Meena. Wasn’t that the name of my best friend in the whole world? And wasn’t I talking to Meena before going to bed? For some reason, my memories were becoming hazy.

“Why are you crying?” the little girl, Meena, asked me.

I hadn’t noticed it until then but I was indeed crying, tears streaking down my cheeks.

The guy took my hand in his. “it’s ok,” he said gently. “You’re fine and you’re home. That’s all that matters. We’ll figure out the rest.” Then he looked at Meena and told her to sit down with us.

Now, it was the three of us sitting there, surrounded by flowers and their beautiful smell. It calmed me down when I focused on it. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling as lost as I had before.

#

kristine-cinate-QvjL4y7SF9k-unsplash

I woke up with a start. Someone was knocking at my bedroom door. “Come in,” I said sitting up in the bed.

“Hey,” Anna said as she entered my room. “You slept in again.”

“Yes,” I said sheepishly, “I have been very tired lately.”

“Mom,” she said as she sat down on the bed next to me. “Why don’t you take a break? You should retire. I can handle things at the gallery. Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course, I do,” I said giving her a quick hug, “but what will I do at home all day. I’m used to working and idle life is not for me.”

“Then you should travel,” she said. “Don’t you want to see the world.”

“Not anymore,” I said wistfully. It was true that when my husband was alive, we had big plans. He had a vagabond’s soul and we both wanted to see the world together. But since his death, I hadn’t been the same and that dream was gone now. Just like the dream I had woken up from.

My husband and youngest daughter Meena had both died in a car crash. I often dream of them, in a beautiful garden, waiting for me. Someday, soon, we would be reunited but that day wasn’t today.

“You look sad,” Anna said. “Did you dream about them again?”

“Yes,” I replied simply. “I dream of them every night.”

“Mom,” she said. “It’s been years. You’ve to move on.”

“That’s not possible in this lifetime, sweetheart,” I said. “But you don’t have to worry about that. How about some breakfast.” I was feeling hungry all of a sudden.

“Yeah,” she said. “Freshen up and come down. Aunt Meena is also here. We can all have breakfast together.”

Meena was my best friend. Actually, I had named my daughter after her. That’s how much I loved her. She was godmother to both my daughters and very much a part of our lives.

Life wasn’t all bad. Even though I lost two of the most precious people in my life, I had Anna and I had Meena. They were here and I was still here. Life, as they said, went on. Even if my heart wasn’t here.

© 2020, Fizza Younis.

marcelo-matarazzo-GC6aACXJR8s-unsplash

Monday Musings: Sisterhood (A Poem)

Somewhere under the piles of discrimination and self-hate,

In the darkest corners of their souls and minds,

Something important got buried away, forgotten…

To be rediscovered only when the sisters are ready to love themselves.

Every part of their being must be accepted as it is if they’re to take on this quest.

The ruthless world will stand in their way but all they need is to trust each other,

Having confidence in their strength is incredible and they’re a force to be reckoned.

Only if they can learn to stand together, support one another,

Only if they try to look beyond the self-doubt and misconceptions…

Darkness will recede and the sisters will achieve all that they deserve.

© 2019, Fizza Younis.

becca-tapert-u5e1kqW6E3M-unsplash

Fiction Friday: Time Thief’s Love

He was a time thief. He used to sneak up to people unnoticed, stealing a few years of their lives that they’d never miss. It wasn’t like humans knew how much time they had on Earth, to begin with. There was no way anyone would ever catch him.

He wasn’t a bad person. After all, he didn’t do it for himself because he had no use for people’s life years. He was immortal. The trouble was that he loved a human. Their love was doomed from the start. Humans die. The very thought used to chill him to the core. That’s when he started stealing time. He stole it for her, his beloved.

Now, she was beginning to suspect something. How long a human could live without being suspicious? She knew something wasn’t right. Humans couldn’t live as long as she had. She wasn’t immortal. Then, she caught him in the act and that was the end of their love story.

He had given their relationship his all. He had loved her like he had never loved anyone before. His only crime was being selfish. He wanted her to live so that they could be together forever. Unfortunately, she didn’t understand his logic. To her, he had committed the worst crime and she couldn’t love a criminal. Someone who stole something as precious as time. So, she left him… with time on his hands and nothing else.

© 2020, Fizza Younis.

ben-white-xqjMjaGGhmw-unsplash

Monday Musings: Never Before (A Poem)

There is a first time for everything,

So what if your heart has never been broken before?

So what if you have never felt lost before in your life?

Things always happen for the first time, some time.

Embrace the novelty of your situation,

Revel in the newness of things happening now,

The things that have never happened before,

They may not be the curse that you anticipate.

Take the U-turn when you see one,

Don’t be afraid, the unknown is not always a bad turn,

Sometimes, it’s the best that has never happened before,

Open the door and find out what your destiny has in store.

© 2020, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

kyle-glenn-hn2Xf1sK_y4-unsplash

 

Time To Talk’s Mystery Blogger Award Nomination

Thank you, Chocoviv’s Lifestyle Blog for this nomination!

What is the mystery blogger award?

The mystery blogger award is a ‘mystery’ ha ha, no the mystery blogger award is an award which is given to “bloggers who are amazing and create ingenious posts. Their blognot only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it so much love and passion” – ‘okoto enigma’ description of award from @Jaazsaunders

The rules of the mystery blogger award –

 put the award logo/image on your blog.

⁃ list the rules

⁃ Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

⁃ Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

⁃ Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

⁃ Nominate 10-20 bloggers

⁃ Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

⁃ Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.

⁃ Share a link to your best post.

Three Facts About Me

1) I actually enjoy painting more than reading (shh don’t tell anyone)

2) I have done Ph.D. in economics (in fact, today was my thesis defense. It went well)

3) I don’t listen to music (yes, I’m THAT unique)

Chocoviv’s Lifestyle Blog’s Questions

1) Which holiday is your favorite?

I actually don’t have a favorite holiday because I don’t enjoy the holidays all that much. But if I must choose I’ll choose Eid-ul-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast). It’s usually a three days celebration after the month of Ramadan. This is the one time of the year when I see all my relatives and mostly it is fun to catch up with them. Also, I enjoy wearing traditional clothes, giving and receiving presents. It’s a fun holiday.

Image result for eid ul fitr

2) What is your favorite way to relax?

Reading! I just love to read with a cup of tea in my hand and maybe a few chocolates. I think that’s a perfect way to relax.

3) How do you like to travel by plane or by train?

I have actually never traveled by plane. I don’t enjoy traveling by train much. I have done it many times. It’s not bad but I prefer road trips.

4) Last movie that you watched?

I recently watched a Taiwanese movie ‘Our Times.’ It was kind of cute and I love watching Asian movies (with subtitles, of course)

5) If you could switch lives with any celebrity, who would it be?

Harry Potter! Oh, he is fictional you say, but what do I care? No, but seriously how awesome would that be? Well, if I must choose non-fictional celebrity then there is this Pakistani actress/model I really admire and would love to switch lives with her and be in her shoes.

Image result for amina sheikh

My Questions For My Nominees

  1. Who is your role model?
  2. What is one place you have always wanted to visit? Did you visit it or is it still on your bucket list?
  3. What was the best thing about 2019 and what are your hopes for 2020?
  4. If you could live anywhere in the world for one year where would you go?
  5. Who is your favorite fictional character?

My Nominees

https://phoebemd.com/

https://celiaelaine.wordpress.com/

https://romantics.pw/

https://bibliophagistreviews.wordpress.com/

https://the-bibliofile.com/

https://thewordswesharenow.wordpress.com/

https://khyatigautam.wordpress.com/

https://katzenworld.co.uk/

https://kdramacrazy.com/

https://eretxa.wordpress.com/

My Favourite Post

March As A Women Empowerment Month

clarke-sanders-249797-unsplash

I had really enjoyed writing this post and it is still one of my most favorite posts.

Check it out here: https://iambookseater.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/march-as-a-women-empowerment-month/

Fiction Friday: In My Dreams

“It wasn’t running away; I was coming home. I was happy, for the briefest period in my long miserable life and all seemed perfect. That’s the thing with perfection though, it’s just a myth. Last night I was in Rome and it was beautiful,” I said wistfully.

“You and your dreams.” Sarosh wasn’t impressed. “You can’t live inside your head forever.”

“As much as I hate to agree with you, I know you’re right,” I admitted.

“Then why do you do this? First, it was Egypt and now it’s Rome.”

“You won’t understand, my dear,” I said. “How many places have you visited in your lifetime?”

“A handful, I suppose,” she said and looked at me questioningly.

“I’ve never left this town in my entire life. At first, I was too young then I was too busy and now, I can’t,” I said, looking pointedly at my wheelchair. It was resting beside our bed.

“You know that wheelchair isn’t the reason why you can’t visit Rome,” she said. “That’s all in your head. If you truly want to you can go anywhere in the world.”

“You never let me pity myself.” This time my smile reached my eyes. That was so like Sarosh. She hated it if I victimized myself because of my disability. She always said that I could still do anything I put my mind to and she was right. The trouble was I had gotten so used to people looking at me sympathetically that I had started to believe I was less than them, less than normal. Of course, it was all in my head. As much as I liked to blame my wheelchair it had nothing to do with my lack of mobility. There were other problems, my social anxiety for one and let’s not disregard my OCD. I didn’t know how to live a fuller life, where I could go out, or take vacations. Those things weren’t for me. My books and my dreams were the only way I could travel.

“Why do you do that to yourself. If you want to visit Rome so badly, I can take you,” she said.

“I know, it’s not about Rome,” I replied.

“True, but Rome is a beautiful place. I think it’d be the best place for our first vacation together. What do you say?” She asked, hoping I’d say yes.

“Travel to the other side of the world? No thank you.” There was no way I could ever do something as adventurous as that. What if our plane crashed? What if I got sick and couldn’t get help in time? What if our hotel room wasn’t clean enough? What if the food tasted awful? There was simply too much to think about and that was why travel was out of the question for me. “But no one is stopping you. You should visit Rome sometime. I’ve only read good things about it.”

“Without you? That would be no fun,” she said with a small smile.

“You can go with your girlfriends. I thought all women love that,” I said, encouraging her. She had been my support system for so long that I had begun to take her presence in my life for granted. She should live her life to the fullest even if my phobias prevented me to do so.

“What girlfriends?” She asked bitterly.

That’s when I noticed how long it had been since she went out or one of her friends came over to our house. It broke my heart to realize that I had been so focused on my problems that I had never given her’s a single thought. What she wanted, no, what she needed was to have a life of her own. A life that didn’t require her to take care of her crippled husband day and night.

“What about Jane?” I asked. If I remembered correctly, she was Sarosh’s best friend and had been for many years.

“She moved to London three years ago. Don’t you remember?”

I hadn’t but I wasn’t going to admit that. When was the last time I paid any attention to my wife and her feelings? To be honest, at that moment I was hating myself. There I was drowning in self-pity while my wife did everything for me without even pointing it out. I realized how much I had been holding her back and decided that something needed to change.

“Tell me more about your dream?” She asked cheerfully. I felt that she was trying to change the topic before her thoughts turned dark. She must know what an ungrateful man I was.

“Oh, the dream was beautiful. We were in Rome and everything was perfect. I can always walk in my dreams. Probably, why I love my dreams more than reality. But none of that. Let’s talk about you,” I said, willing myself to stay positive and not let my thoughts wander towards the things that bothered me. It was true that my life wasn’t perfect but whose was? Sarosh’s life was worse than me. At least, it felt that way when I thought about her instead of myself.

The next day, I looked up Jane. Sarosh had gone out shopping and it was a perfect opportunity for me to set up a surprise for her. I had always liked Jane. Of all of her friends, she was the most genuine and loving woman. We talked for a while and when I explained to her what I was planning she supported my idea wholeheartedly. After that, I booked a one-way ticket to London for Sarosh. Jane and I had decided that Sarosh could visit her first. Stay in London for a week or so and then the two of them would go to Rome together. I’d see it through my wife’s eyes. She could take pictures and write about all the amazing places I wanted to see but couldn’t.

After making all the arrangements I felt good. In ten years of marriage, this was probably the first time I had done something for her. I was sure this would make her happy but I was wrong. It turned out that once again I was thinking about myself and not her.

“When have I ever wanted to travel?” She asked me, annoyed that I had made all these plans without even consulting her. “It’s your dream. You’re the one who has always wanted to see Rome and Egypt and what not! Not me, I don’t want to travel. I don’t even think I’d like it much. What made you do such a thing?”

“I thought you felt stuck with me. We were talking last night about Rome and you looked sad.” I honestly had no idea what I did wrong.

“I was sad for you, you idiot,” she said exasperated. “It kills me to see you like this. It breaks my heart when you underestimate all the things you can do.”

That’s when it dawned on me, my wife thought of me as much as I thought of myself. I fell a little more in love with her. We ended up taking that vacation together, first London then, Rome and it was better than any dream.

© 2020, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

craig-zdanowicz-DjbrQ9fUfXI-unsplash

Monday Musings: When Things Change

When you lose your way in the middle of your journey,

When things start going wrong halfway through,

When there is an eclipse after a sunny morning,

That’s when you feel the pain so acutely.

But that’s also the time to remember and hope,

Because things get better only after they get worse,

Losing your way will lead to new enchanting roads,

Things going wrong will cause you to find new solutions,

And the sun will shine brightly after the eclipse.

Life is all about good, bad, and everything in between,

It is about the right, the wrong, and so much more,

It can be easy and difficult both at the same time,

All that matters is; we keep moving forward.

Be happy if you lose your way and find your soul,

Be glad if things go wrong and you discover life’s purpose,

Celebrate the solar eclipse, it doesn’t come that often,

More than that, don’t blame yourself for what’s meant to be.

© 2020, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

gregory-culmer-Yut2Juz_fYg-unsplash


The point is that when things in your life change unexpectedly, you should change with them. Instead of complaining and despairing, just go with the flow. You might end up finding better things. So, you should never lose hope, dear friends.

I hope that this year brings positive changes in your life. Even if it doesn’t, try to find positivity in every situation that you might face. Because as Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be foundeven in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” So, do turn on the light and see the magic happen.

Stay safe, take care of yourself, and always be happy!