#103 Memories of Nobody

by Aniket Thakkar

“Have you sedated me?”

“No, Mrs. Robinson. Just your usual medicine,” Julia said, as she checked her pulse.

“I’m fine Julia. Just feeling a little light headed.”

“Well then, that’s a good thing right? I should be taking some of your meds!”

“You always crack me up Julia. And call me Dorothy, will you? Enough with Mrs. Robinson. Feels like you’re making fun of me with that stupid song.”

“Who says I’m not?” She grinned.

“It has haunted me for the most of my life.” She paused. “Good thing is, I won’t remember it for long.”

“Oh, Dorothy! Don’t be like that.”

A tear broke loose down Dorothy’s eyes. “Did I tell you about this broken window?” She had.

“No. What about it?” It was Julia’s favorite story.

“When I was young I liked to sit next to a broken window, just like this one, on our school bus. I liked how the light danced around the edges. It was beautiful.” She smiled, “And there was this boy, who always saved me a seat next to it . . . How long before I forget his name, Julia. How long . . .” She stopped as she noticed Ben standing by the door. “How long before I forget him?”

At a loss for words, Julia stormed out.

Dorothy could still hear her cry outside the room. Ben held her hand, and kissed her forehead.

“Even if you forget me, this boy will stay right here, saving you a seat by the broken window.”

26 comments:

Bruce Roush said...

A sweet and touching story. Well-written.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Thanks Bruce. Hope all is well in the Bat Cave. :)

strugglingwriter said...

A touching little look into the end chapters of a life. Well done.

Paul (entry #109)

Sarah Hina said...

This is so lovely I'll almost forgive you for not running it by me first.

Precie said...

Awwwwwww.

Lovely and sweet.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Thank you Paul and Precie.

@Sarah: There's a good reason I've not dropped you huge mails about my recent Euro-trip and not blogging it all. Crazy is an understatement of what's going on with work, and BIG life changing decisions coming up soon.

I was barely getting anytime, so when I came up with this, I just wrote and sent it. It's okay for me to suck at writing every now and then, so I saved up on your pixie dust this time. :)

Sarah Hina said...

It doesn't suck at all. Maybe I just need to be needed! :)

Looking forward to hearing about those decisions.

Mark Budman said...

Sorry to be blunt, but this story suffers from talking heads syndrome and overabundance of cliches.

Flutterby said...

Mark, I think "blunt" is not useful when you could easily constructively criticize if you could take a few minutes to do so. Yes, it's a little more effort, but what's the point of just saying negative without offering something helpful?

Flutterby said...

Aniket, I think in some spots in your initial dialogue it COULD be tightened up. There is some overuse of the names as if you were worried the reader would not be able to sort out who was talking, but I think you probably don't need that.

It is nice to see the pleasant banter between the two people, but it might have also been achieved by expository prose rather than dialogue.

The story is sweet and moving and poignant and tightened up could be a strong piece.

Aerin said...

You're such a romantic, Aniket. I love that about you!

Aniket Thakkar said...

@Mark: Thanks for taking time to point that out. Albiet very slowly, I'm still learning. I'll try be better with the next one. Sorry if this wasted your time.

@Flutterby: Thanks for coming to my rescue, and detailed feedback. You're a hero. :) You absolutely nailed the problem on the head, about me, worrying that who is speaking where would be clear or not. I should've worked around it, rather than taking the easy (ugly) road.

I'll try to re-write the same piece for practice.

@Aerin: I love everything about you. :D

Mark Budman said...

Aniket,

You didn't waste my time. As an editor of the longest-running flash fiction magazine, I chose to comment on your story because it's so typical for what I see over the transom: high in ambition but low in execution. The situation is tragic, but there is nothing in this story that makes it stand out. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who says what. The language is pedestrian. You rely on clichés (at a loss for words, Julia stormed out.) The flash fiction's language should dazzle and entertain, not to bore.


A couple of nits:

“I’m fine Julia. Just feeling a little light[-]headed.”

“Well then, that’s a good thing[,] right? I should be taking some of your meds!”

Bruce Roush said...

Mark-I'm looking for the "supportive"and "constructive" parts of your comments and not finding them.

Aniket Thakkar said...

@Mark: Thanks for taking time out to point out the flaws. I don't doubt your credibility, nor am I saying that you are wrong. I'd like to believe that I've no illusions about my writing capabilities. I'm not a great writer, but I do love writing, and want to get better.

As mentioned in the comments above, I usually run stuff by Sarah Hina (and sometimes Jason) who are kind enough to always proof-read and tell me where I went wrong, and where do I need to improve.

I didn't run this one by them, and the fact that this only the second flash fiction piece I've written over the last year, obviously hasn't done this piece any good. I know no other way to learn than to write more.

As to why I posted a story for a contest at my skill level? I like to participate because I've made a lot of really awesome friends over past contests, who have been very supportive and helpful over the course. (Some of those, are coming to my rescue in this comment thread) This also gives a good reality check, as friends would never be as blunt as you are.

I know I had no chance of winning this thing at my current skill level. It is the reason why I never did send any entry to Lascaux Review, as my writing doesn't come anywhere near to the ones who get posted there. Lascaux Flash on the other hand, welcomed everyone - giants and otherwise.

I'll soak in what you said. Steve had also written a great post about DOs and DONTs of Flash Fiction. But I guess, I wont get any better till I practice more. So I'll try and not make the same mistakes again.

@Bruce: It's okay. I'm a big boy. I can take it. :)
Thanks for the support. As always.

Margaret said...

Aniket, I could picture the scene perfectly. Reminded me of my Dad and how he repeated his stories again and again. :)
Keep your stories coming, there are hundreds of us out here that love reading them.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Loved it! Reminds me of my Grandmother who lived to be 101 and often repeated her stories. In the end, she had no idea who I really was.

Was it perfect? No. But it entertained me greatly.

Mark Budman said...

Aniket,

This is the best advice I can give you: if you chose to listen to the groundless praises of your friends, you will never grow up as a writer. Understand that your work is amateurish or you would get stuck "publishing" your stories in the open fora forever.

I think you have the right attitude, though, which is the first step.

Mark Budman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aerin said...

Mark...Budman, is it? Which entry is yours?

Mark Budman said...



Why would a writer hide her identity in the place like this? Whatever the reason, I am reluctant to correspond with an anon.

Aniket Thakkar said...

@Mark: No one's hiding her identity. She's Aerin, and not Anon. That's her real name, and is a dear friend.

I really do appreciate everything you said, and you're absolutely right, that one cannot realistically evaluate themselves on the basis of what friends say. So I'm glad you gave an unbiased opinion.

Writing is not my profession. It's something I'm interested in, and like doing (no matter how bad I might be at it). I don't know what's the code at the magazine that you run, but these friends of mine who keep showing up, we generally take the critiquing part over mails. It just seems to work better for everyone that way. You can mail me at aniket[dot]thakkar[at]gmail , and I'll be happy to get some valued advice from you.

But I'll be grateful, if you could end the matter here, and not take it up with my friends. They're just nice people, defending a friend.

Mark Budman said...

I am not judging anyone's decisions. I am just stating that I don't correspond with anons (the ones who display only their first names are anons to me).

I chose to crit your story in the open forum because I hoped that other people would learn something as well. It was not my intent to harm anyone's feelings.

Aniket Thakkar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aniket Thakkar said...

With all due respect, you clearly don't understand the concept of anonymity at all.

And I can say that, because I'm a web developer by profession. I'm not a good writer. I admit that. But I'm a pretty good programmer.

It's your opinion of anonymity, and the weirdest one that I've ever heard. When you click on her name, you see her blogs, her email Id, and all that she likes. That's way more information than what I get, when I click on your name.

There are people I know, who don't have a last name. Like there's a friend of mine named Rajeev. His name is just Rajeev. No last name. So does that mean you don't acknowledge the existence of these people?

As I stated before, I'd really appreciate, if we dropped the whole thing here.

You meant no harm. I have no hard feelings. Let's just settle at that.

Catvibe said...

Oh, this is so sweet Aniket, I love it. I loved the description of the broken window on the bus. Beautifully written.