United Arab Emirates

[ a f r a h ]

far too nonchalant about things i should probably care about

Message from Writer

reviews pLeAsE. reviews without anything constructive are honestly a waste of your time, more than anything. be harsh or whatever when you critique me, but please do.

as for comments, they help a lot lol so if you drop a few, it would be highly appreciated.

rainbow rhapsody

March 11, 2020

PROMPT: Seven Delights



the sirens wake me up from the fretful gruel of my dreams. bland sunday morning light bounces off my pastel bedpost and i think to myself i should've closed the window, i can smell the smoke.

and i really do, even though the thick cloud of airborne carbon is miles away, colouring the pale sky in a hue of arson and destroyed steakhouses. bob's burgers is on fire, and sharjah's firefighting department can not salvage the toasted cattle shreds caving into toasted bread. 

when i drive past the charred barbequed grave later in the day, i gaze at the poster of the steakhouse's mascot singed at the corners. i bemoan the fact that i never really get to eat one of bob's burgers.

my name is fatima

i cherish morning treks if they aren't too hot (almost a rarity, considering i live in a desert) or too early (almost a rarity, but i do tend to sleep in, even if it's for a measly five seconds). for the past year or so, everyday, i traverse the gravelly terrain between my ancient building and the petrol station my friend picks me up from to go to university.

each day i pass by a nanny and a small girl. the nanny, malaysian and almost always exhausted, never fails to give me an eye smile; crinkly and wrinkled, filled with affection only a familiar stranger can muster.

the girl, hiding behind her nanny's curtain of a skirt, always peeks at me through the fabric. for the first few weeks after i first notice them, she is satisfied with just staring at me and my bumbling hurried half-walk half-sprint as i nod at her nanny.

then, slowly, she coaxes herself out of the skirt and stands by the nanny's knee, wide eyed (almost glaringly, might i add), but i am content with the child peeling away at her shell.

recently, with a triumphant sense of victory, i have been happy to inform that she smiles at me now; the toothy open-windowed kind that only three-year-olds are so proficient at.

today, i leave the house a little early. i want to smell the stench from yesterday. i want to mourn the loss of burgers.
as i exit the building and spot the sunlight-drenched figures of the nanny and the child, i decide to slow down a little. the nanny eye smiles at me, as i give her my salaam. i crouch down until i am nose level with the child and hold out my hand. 

"my name is afrah," i announce softly, a little toothy smile of my own.

she breathes in, eyes flitting from my hand to my face. slowly, she draws in closer, placing her tiny, tiny hand in my palm. it feels like a dying autumn leaf from the neem tree back in ahmedabad. she reminds me of fall, this small, small child.

with a voice as scratchy as an old record, she says, "my name is fatima."

tsunami skies

i am a wee ten-year-old when the tsunamis roll across japan in a wake of aquatic fury and poseidon madness. weeks leading up to the carnage, the skies of sharjah are splattered with monstrous white clouds shaped like large gusts of winds and waves breaking onto the shore. clouds of this magnitude and proportions in peak summer are more than just rare; they are considered to be  somewhat of a national treasure.

little me looks at the skies then without squinting in the painful sunlight. i look at the blue and the white and tell myself to remember the soft curve of the cotton candy smiling at me.

then— the tsunami. 

newspapers trip over themselves trying to inform the world of the macabre and gory details of twisted limbs floating in a drowning country. and i? i am convinced. i am convinced that the sweeping wave clouds in sharjah, miles away from japan, was trying to warn us about the marine murderer, but we were just too self-absorbed to notice. too tired to care.

today is one of those days. the tsunami skies. the dwindling sunlight.

i keep a close eye at the online news sites. 

chloroform corridor corrosion

in my university, there is a corner the forensics batch has colonized. from the unsubtle naivety of the freshmen to the subtle depression of the seniors, we place ourselves like weeds in that tiny corridor. 

despite minimal communication between the groups, we never invade the space when someone else is using it. we do not print out official timetables, we just know.

the corridor is being cleaned today, and i sink into the cold floor as the janitor sweeps in parallel lines; wall to wall. chloroform kisses the orange air, and i try to scrounge my memory for happier days spent in the womb of that corridor.

of the cold hot corridor.

but i cannot. the janitor motions me to get up. i leave.

the beach and how it calls out to me

five kilometers away from my building, there is a beach.

seventeen years ago, when my parents move to sharjah, ours is the only building on the property. we stand like a lone soldier at a losing battlefield; just vast sands and sands and sands. and the beach.

if we stuck our heads out from the quaint little balcony, we could see the sapphire glimmering in the heat. 

my father tells me of the nights when the summer was unforgiving and cruel to infants rudely snatched from the gentle breezes of ahmedabad. he would slide the rickety balcony door open and stare at the murky black ocean until i stopped wailing. until i wove the stories of the seas into my bones. 

seventeen years hence from me of then, redevelopment chokes every inch of land between us and the beach. our little building is towered over by fancier, glassier apartments with large business men waltzing around with even larger cars. 

i crave the salt of the sea today. there is immense sorrow in recognizing the scent of the beach in the air; tangy, warm and true, unable to be seen.

so i walk to the beach. i walk to the lulls of the waves, the gulls of the seas, the cries of the cicadas. i walk to it all as the sun sets in the glimmering sapphire, and i wish the chalky waves would swallow me whole.

i want to not feel

today promises to coagulate my bones with corrugating heat, and i hate it. no pitter-patter is scheduled later in the day, which forces me to use copious amounts of sunscreen that will invariably dissolve in minutes.

i think of nothing. to be precise, i cannot. there is a void, black and blue, settling in my skull and i do not fight it. i make friends with things beyond my control. like politics. or my own apathy.

when i was younger and made love to rage, i ached and ached to feel nothing. i prayed for an emptiness in my heart, a spell to ward off the serotonin.

these days, i try to remember if i truly do not feel, or if i have just forgotten to.

i do not find an answer.

playlist poetry

when i listen to that song, there is a frail, temporary silence in my chest. then— a rush of blood, a burst of memories; the scent of him, the locking of fingers, the numbness of being.

to share music with somebody is a transgression. it is a sensual, invasive intimacy that quakes like a heartbeat in the sleeping belly of the monster that resides in everybody that leaves.

i wish of a time when i could hum to the tunes of a stale summer and dew knitted leaves without the gloom forcing itself down my throat. i wish to forget.

come today and i search for new songs. i download them on my dingy phone. i share them with no one.

i haven't proof read but i probably should. please inform me of my mistakes. 

not necessarily one week, but a jumbled confusion of many.
ahmedbad in gujarat, india
sharjah in u.a.e
salaam - islamic/arabic greeting, meaning "peace be on you"



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  • Dmoral

    the way this flows is amazing. it's almost like it shouldn't flow and rhythm, but it does. that amazes me.

    "never fails to give me an eye smile; crinkly and wrinkled, filled with affection only a familiar stranger can muster."
    love this line!!

    this piece made me smile, i really enjoyed it! gorgeous writing!

    11 months ago
  • joella

    I love your writing style and your imagery is breathtaking!

    11 months ago
  • babybluelamentations

    im really living for this longer prose style that you seem to be slipping into. it’s absolutely beautiful and really gives me a sense similar to looking through an old scrapbook or bullet journal. I feel like this prompt was especially well-conveyed in your segmented style of writing. each section offers a little snapshot of life, and they blend together so well, this entire piece feels cohesive and divinely smooth. you never cease to astound <3

    11 months ago
  • Wicked!

    This is absolutely beautiful; the descriptions are gorgeous. I love your writing style!

    11 months ago
  • BurningMidnightOil

    I really loved this (as well as “nineteen nineteen nineteen” (i have a sneaking suspicion you were referring to me in your footnotes, but i could be wrong)), the imagery is really fantastic. The diction is so so beautiful and gods! the emotion is almost tangible. Well done. Your prose is just as wonderful as your poetry—i’m sure it’ll get easier if you work on it more.

    11 months ago