The Sparrow

It perched on my windowsill
Looking for a tidbit;
A place to rest its weary self,
Eyeing the view.

I drew close, in awe of its silhouette
Deep, black lined eyes,
Rotund, fragile, and beautiful.

But the sight of me made it retreat
Farther and farther on the tiny rim.
Until it could no longer stand
And away it flew;
So quick, so sudden, so soon.

– Madhumita Paul

A lovely poem contributed by my dearest friend Madhumita Paul. Thank you for sharing this with me and the community. If you enjoyed reading this, then don’t forget to show your love and support by liking or commenting below. Looking forward to more of your writings! ❤

Dear readers, if feel you have a story/poem/idea to share, then please give me an opportunity to put you under the spotlight.
Email me at: nuraine.sadaf@gmail.com

Quaint Country Cottage

Oh how lovely it is,
To come across a quaint country cottage,
That serves breakfast and tea.

A white arched picket fence at the entrance,
Decorated with pink cherry blossoms.
I walk across the green lawn
and enter a warm 1980s cottage.

The fireplace hearth in the kitchen
Warms the wooden interiors.
Baskets are filled with breads,
Glass jars full of jam,
A steaming kettle brews tea,
Pots and pans hang on hooks,
I settle down to read a book.

Why isn’t anybody around,
I say, “Hello?” and wait for a sound.
A little girl runs across the room
With flour on her messy French braid ponytail,
Followed by an old maid,
Who stops midway noticing my presence.
“How may I help you, today?”
I smile and say, “This is such a beautiful place!”
I get a curt nod and she says,
“We are closed for the day”.

I never had the courage to visit again,
I sometimes pass by the quaint country cottage,
and admire it from far away.

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Pexels.com

Mind the Mud

I woke up to a loud emergency alert on my phone warning me about strong winds and flooding. It has been drizzling all day long since a few days. The weather report states a hurricane is expected to strike Central America. I sigh and get out of bed. The gloomy weather has made me lazy and dull. I drink a banana smoothie and decide to head out for a walk since all I have been doing is lying on the couch and whiling away time doing unimportant things, such as work. So, I decide to start my day by being a little more active even though it’s wet and cold outside.

I grab my rain jacket, plug in my earphones, and step out. I get engrossed in an episode of Radiolab about Time on Spotify and take several rounds around the park in the neighborhood. After an hour long walk, I grab a coffee and a sandwich from a nearby cafe and walk back home. On reaching the entrance to my place, I notice strange, muddy footprints near my front door.

The footprints do not look like shoe prints or animal footprints, they look different. Strange! I get worried and quickly check if I had left my door unlocked. Thankfully the door is locked, but I still do a quick check to see if there is anyone inside. I check the living area, under the couch for any animal, patio, bedrooms, bathrooms, under the kitchen sink, and find nothing.

The strange part is not about seeing the muddy footprints, it is about the unfamiliarity of the footprints and how they abruptly end near my front door.

These footprints kept appearing repeatedly outside my door for the next few days, which I found rather unusual and upsetting. I put in more effort and looked further to find out where the steps start and why they always ended near my door. My futile attempts only led me towards puddles near the entrance of the apartment with no other clue. After wasting a good amount of time, I would groan angrily and go back to doing my daily tasks.

It is Halloween today, my friend from work, invites me over to a costume party at her place. I wear a simple grey dress which has a furry tail and a hood with ears. It is a werewolf costume but it makes me look more like a cat. After a long night of chatting and drinks, I sober up and drive back to my place by 2 AM in the morning. Tiredly and sleepily, I hunt for the house keys inside my handbag without noticing that there is something near my feet. I realise this and pause for a second before looking down. I let out the loudest shrill scream upon seeing a wolf in front of my door.

Immediately, the lights in the neighbour’s house turn on and an old woman grumpily opens the door. She looks at my deeply shocked face, the animal, and starts laughing.

She starts apologizing for not informing me about her new pet, “I am so sorry dear, meet Hemlie!”, she says.

She pets the animal and continues speaking,

“My grand daughter wanted a husky before Halloween so she could dress him up as a werewolf and take him along for trick-and-treating. On her way back with her friends, she lost Hemlie and came home crying. She fell asleep an hour ago after crying all night long. Poor girl and look here he is, I guess he found his way back home. Smart one, this boy!”, she bends down to pat his head and grabs Hemlie’s collar.

“He must have scared you.”, she looks up at me and smiles in the dim light of the corridor.

I smile at her confusedly and look at the dog’s feet and see him wearing a weird pair of oversized boots. I tell my neighbour about the strange muddy footprints that I have noticed near my door.

For a while she looks confused but then immediately looks at me apologetically, “Oh dear, I had no idea about this. My grand daughter has been taking him out in those shoes and must have made Hemlie clean them up on your door mat before entering our home, because you know I am a stickler for cleanliness!”, she says sheepishly.

I crawl into the bed feeling relieved that the strange mystery of the muddy footprints is solved and also silly for worrying too much about little things.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Mystery|Murder|Drama|Hope

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Book Review

Miracle Creek is a story about a family that moves from South Korea to a town called Miracle Creek in Virginia for a better way of life. Pak Yoo and Young along with their daughter Mary set up a therapeutic medical device called a HBOT chamber. HBOT, is a hyperbaric oxygen chamber with pressurized oxygen. This therapy involves breathing in pure oxygen to heal patients with special medical needs. Soon, an unfortunate event occurs – a mysterious fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine, resulting in the death of two patients. Was this incident an accident or a murder? Miracle Creek is centered around this murder mystery that deals with a fast-paced and thrilling courtroom drama.

It is written by debut author Angie Kim who includes many of her life instances in this story. Angie Kim, similar to Mary’s character also moved from South Korea to Baltimore with her family at a very young age. The author tackles difficult themes such as immigration, identity crisis, and challenges of parenting based on her personal experiences. Angie Kim is a practiced trail lawyer who draws on her experiences for a realistic courtroom setting.

The story starts with a slight tension in the air followed by the fire explosion of the Miracle Submarine. From here on begins the courtroom trail, where the mother of one of the patients is charged with murder. As you proceed, the story goes into the background of the main characters involved in the accident. These include, Pak Yoo – father, Young – mother, Mary – daughter, Matt – patient of HBOT, and Elizabeth – mother of her deceased child, Henry, who finds herself accused of committing the crime.

The murder mystery keeps you gripped right from the beginning till the end. You will find yourself guessing and reaching a conclusion on who might have possibly committed the crime. Can it be the South Korean family for the insurance money? A frustrated mother? The protestors who are against unsafe medical treatments for autistic children? Or an angry wife? I personally had three suspects. I cannot say that I was surprised and neither was I certain but it was a clear ending with no loose ends.

The story is not just about solving a murder mystery but it also deals with many powerful themes and problems which we face regularly in our lives. There are many excerpts in the story which are brutally honest and true. I found myself agreeing and relating to many of them. This book deals with elements such as autism and parental challenges, immigration and its language barriers, neglected childhood resulting in teenage rebellion, infertility and self-doubt, making it a heavy and full-filling read.

“There’s something, though, about the sounds that other people make. Not talking, necessarily. Just their sounds of living – creaking upstairs, humming a tune, watching TV, clanging dishes – that blot away your loneliness. You miss them when they’re gone. Their absence – the total silence – becomes palpable.”

Coming in at just under 400 pages, Miracle Creek is an easy recommendation if you are looking for something entertaining. It is a varied and heavy read with glimpses into the lives of several different characters.

“We all have thoughts that shame us…but if that were to actually happen, that’d be unbearable”

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

#BookReview

The book Asymmetry by the new author Lisa Halliday evoked many mixed emotions. I couldn’t say I really liked the book neither can I say that it was terrible.

The book started off really well with Mary-Alice, a young editor, sitting at a park bench beside a supposedly popular writer. His identity is hidden for the first ten pages. However, when the “famous writer” Ezra Blazer’s name is thrown randomly in the middle of the story, it makes you wonder why was his identity hidden if he was going to be introduced so lamely.

The absurd relation between the aged writer, Ezra and Mary-Alice can sometimes be uncomfortable to read when the author writes so crassly about their intimate moments like when Alice asks Ezra over a phone call if he wants to meet for a “Fucky Fuck?”. Some parts in the book just lack refinement, there is a paragraph on farts, a random woman retching in the subway, and many such weird inclusions that are absolutely unnecessary.

Asymmetry includes three parts: Folly, Madness, and Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs.

Folly is mostly about the confused relation between Ezra and Alice. Madness gives an insight about the Iraq war and the daily struggles of Iraqis. The last part in the book is an elaborate interview of Ezra Blazer who discusses his personal life, his experiences and interests.

There are certain extracts in the book which are interesting to read and well-written. However, the book is extremely abstract, it lacks character development and makes it hard for the readers to connect with the story. Also, the exhaustive details about the unimportant characters in the book makes it very tedious to read.

The concept of including the difficult circumstances of Iraq, the war, and the determined efforts and hopes of Iraqis to achieve peace was interesting to read but somewhere the story again loses it’s impact when the author switches back and forth from the past to the present to the memories of the characters, and to the detailed unnecessary descriptions. I was hoping till the end that there would be some kind of an obvious link between the three parts of the book and that the characters, Mary-Alice, Ezra, and Mr. Jafaari would somehow get connected but the story just ended and left me disappointed. The author’s attempt of writing about justice, power, and geography turned out to be more of a mess and confusion.

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*If you have read the book, Asymmetry and liked it and can give me an insight about something that I could have possibly missed in appreciating the book, then please comment below and share your thoughts. I would love to know what you think about the book.