Oct 19, 2010

Another Untitled Story

Write a complete short story describing a meeting between two unusual or eccentric characters.
By Naima Qamar

The waiting room was full of people waiting to see their shrink. The psychiatrist was very famous, urban legend dictated that her patients were mostly the elite of the city. No one could drop names for she carefully held on to confidentiality. A young man of twenty-eight years sat there holding a book covered in wrapping paper, reading with concentration. It was Steve’s first appointment.
She had been coming to the psychiatrist at least once a month since she was nine. She saw that the receptionist had her file open. Diana clutched the side of her chair, it contained her deepest secret. No one must found out, especially her husband. No one. To everyone else they looked quite normal.
Steve made a mental note to buy his mother some flowers because she was bed-ridden. They were the last ones left in the room. Diana forced herself to go and speak to him. She sat next to him and said: “Hello, pretty busy isn’t she today?”
She had made an effort to ease her nerves. Last night had been pretty bad. Her husband had wanted to kiss her. She closed her eyes at the recollection. She had turned away, complained of a headache and had taken a pill. She tried to shut the memory out by asking, “Have you been seeing her long?”
‘No this is my first visit.’ replied Steve.
“Oh’, she muttered, casting her eyes around the room. She looked younger than her twenty-five years. Young and vulnerable.
He did not want to offend this woman. He’d had bad experiences with women, except with his mother. All his life he had been called a “Sissy” and his last girlfriend was surprised when on their first date, he took her to see his mother and when the old woman approved of his choice, then he asked her, for a second date. So he was a “Mama’s boy”. He’s accepted that and lived with it. His girlfriend found him kissing his mother a good many times and hugging her longer than what was appropriate, unusual. It was why she had left him. She had hinted to Steve, more than once of his having an Oedipus complex. He had come to sort this out today. Consequently, he tried to remain elusive, polite but elusive with this wary-eyed girl.
“I have been coming here, since quite a while,” she volunteered. She gave a nervous twitch and closed her eyes. Memories of her hundreds of visits came to her. She tried to ward them off and began singing:
“Goosey Goosey Gander,
Whither do you wander?”
‘I’m sorry, did you say something?’ He asked.
“No I was, no I was, never mind.”
“I was just trying to relax.” replied Diana.
‘What’s bothering you?’, he smiled at her suddenly interested in this odd girl.
Diana shuddered, suddenly frightened of his smile.
“I think, I will reschedule me appointment, I must go.”
She remembered the smile of that stranger, when she had been nine. He had offered to drop her home and had grinned. It was only a ten-minute walk from her friend’s house but her legs were tired.
She had agreed happily. She had made the wrong choice as children unwittingly do and paid a heavy price. This was when she had lost her innocence.
She gave a little piercing cry, afraid of this man, afraid of how he could hurt her. She picked up her bag.
‘Wait, what did I do wrong, miss? Please don’t leave because of me.’, shouted Steve.
Tears rolled down his face as he began crying silently, begging her to stay.
Diana blinked twice. Her fingers combed her hair till they reached the back of her head. She pulled her hair and sat down, breathing heavily.
“Don’t cry, mister, err mister,” she hesitated.
‘Steve, call me Steve.’ he said as he repressed a sob.
“Steve, I am truly sorry for my behavior. You see this is why I need to come here.” Replied Diana.
He smiled sheepishly at her as he said:’ and I owe you an apology for interfering in your affairs.’
She gave a shaky laugh. Her eyes fell on his book. She picked it up. Steve snatched the book back and his hand brushed her left arm.
Diana got up and stepped away, cradling her arm as if it had been burnt. Her eyes widened.
‘Don’t touch my things. What I read is my business,’ he warned her hastily.
“Well”, Diana spoke slowly, “I have read the book you have there, ‘A Walk to Remember’ by Nicholas Sparks. It’s a sweet book but so unrealistic. It can never happen, love so deep…”
She became misty-eyed at that as she thought of something or someone, he could not tell.
Finding something to talk about he asked, ‘Wasn’t it sad when Jamie died? I just finished the book and I feel so, I feel so upset!’, his tone became shrilly.
Diana came back with a start, “Don’t say you actually believe in this? It’s not true. All lies to amuse us. Jamie married Landon and found happiness before she died, but in life, life either gives happiness or not. It takes away innocence, beauty, love. How can you believe in achieving in true love? Where do you see anyone living happily ever after?”
He began to cry again,
‘But it’s so sad, so sad. I wish, I wish I was Landon and I could love someone as deeply and she would reciprocate my love, someone who my mother approved of.’
Diana tried to make him see her point of view, “Steve you are very, very unusual, so idealistic…”
Her mobile phone rang. She received the call.
“George, yes I’m, I’m at the florist’s shop, yes the florist’s shop, ordering some roses. Yellow ones for your mother. She loves those. Sorry, didn’t catch that, yes, someone’s crying in the shop. I must go.”
The pretence had left her exhausted. She shook her head.
Steve had stopped crying. He liked this girl, she was odd but she was intelligent. He wondered who George was. She was not wearing a ring, so he assumed he was her boyfriend. In any case, she cared about his mother. Would she care about his own mother? Would his own mother approve of her?
‘Miss Diana, the doctor will see you now”, called the receptionist.
Diana gave him a weak smile and walked off, leaving Steve to dry his eyes.
He wondered, ‘I hope mother’s not doing too badly without me.’ 

12 comments:

Lamia Fahim said...

Wow. Well done. :)
The story's disjointed in a few areas, but I was reading it earnestly, but other than that, it had me interested to the end, I just wish that the ending was more.. riveting. You know, like a surprise, something unexpected, maybe like a cliffhanger? Endings are very important too, they leave the lasting impressions. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this story. :)
And if you'd like a suggestion for the title.. How about "The Unintentional Meeting?" Just a suggestion. :)

Saniya Kamal said...

At first it was sort of confusing, i mean point of view shift. but after i got the hang of it, i just wanted to read more.
i agree with the above comment, the ending should've been more 'wow-ish' somehow, because your overall story certainly was.

Lynette Rodrigues said...

wow, naima amazing story!!! ya the ending would have been more interesting but nonetheless the story was good

Naima Qamar said...

Thankyou, I know I could have but it was already way too over the word limit I think about more than a 1000 words so I had to end it abruptly

humna-tariq said...

The story was really good. The only flaw was, as mentioned earlier by others, was that you did not clarify the ending. You should have ended the story by giving either of the characters more depth and meaning. But nonetheless, it was a good piece of writing =)

Shiza said...

This was really good! I mean yeah fine it was abrupt but it gives the reader a chance to explore the ending themselves. I really liked it. Goog job Naima xD

Andrea said...

amazing :)

Marium Ibrahim said...

i actually got really engrossed in this story. its really good. i dont think the ending is too abrupt, although i do still want to know more.

Merzia Naeem Adamjee said...

Very Well written... Your characters' eccentricity really kept me engrossed till the end....
And about your ending, yes a bit rushed but i kind of liked it, of how your male character even by the end of the essay, still could not get his mother of his mind....

Alisha said...

Naima,like I said,intimidating! :p

Asad Shairani said...

Very nice.

p.s. Steve reminds me of Norman Bates.

Megan Judd said...

Really nice, Naima
did Steve have a bit of Oedipus Complex?
were you inspired by Mrs. Onaissa's continuous Freud references? =P
but otherwise, really good.

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