59 comments

Mystery

You would think that crying myself to sleep almost every night this past year because I feel utterly lonely would make me question my way of doing things. Alas, I am still as stubborn as I was many years ago when my mother pointed out that I was going to, one day, be where I am today. But where am I, exactly? Why do I so often feel like I am being misconceived and mistreated? Might it be that I am not as good of a person as I think I am? I am no saint and never have been one. However, does that give consent to all my past mistakes to retaliate all at once? How am I supposed to learn from them if the sheer weight of their retaliation is making me crumple like a piece of paper?


With such thoughts of realizations following the recent vicissitudes of my life, I look out of the window of the train that I am sitting in, while the outside world zooms by in a green blur of tall trees and grass.


This morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I received a call from my mother. It may have been the dreary weather, or simply her tone of voice, which gave away the fact that it was not going to be a chipper conversation. And so, within the first minute of talking, she brought up a topic that we have been discussing, unintentionally, on and off, for many months now.


She said, “I could not believe it. I always gave her respect because she seemed like such a great kid with such great values, but boy, did she prove me wrong. You should have been there, maiya, and heard how she spoke to auntie. I don’t think I will ever forget how she behaved today. It was beyond despicable.”


The enormity of this situation unfolding back in my hometown was almost lost on me, but for the fact that my mother was speaking about my cousin’s “dwindling” character, who just so happened to be an epitome of a perfect child in my mother’s eyes. Up until recently, at least. And as my mother began describing my cousin’s atrocious outfit, my mind started wandering back to a conversation many years prior.


Maiya, you need to reevaluate yourself. Reflect on who you are now and who you want to become. You have many good qualities but a nasty tendency to be stubborn. It is not about how much potential you have, but what you can do with that potential to make a difference in the world.”


The train gave a lurch, bringing me back to the present moment. Bringing me to the realization that my cheeks were moist with tears. Bringing my mother’s two years old words back, “Maiya, you never cry. I haven’t seen you cry in so long.” Maybe those words jinxed me back then. Because it seems like all I do now is cry.


There was a time when I used to hear my inner voice telling me things. Good things, mostly. Pushing me in the right direction. Egging me on to achieve more. Now, that inner voice is a whisper; almost fully diminished by the very real, very powerful, voice of my mother. Every single anecdote of hers, even her take on my cousin’s outfit is important. If life is about learning, there seems to be no better form of education than listening to my mother. Yet, why is it so? Was it not a mere six years ago that I refused to do absolutely anything my mother asked of me? Why have I changed so much? Will there ever be a person who will outdo the voice of my mother?


This last thought pushes forth an image in my mind. The one and only image of a particular face that does not make me want to cry, simply because the face in that image is so unbelievably happy. And the fact that it is looking directly at me, making me believe that I am the sole reason for its sheer happiness makes me want to scream with elation. I almost raise my arm to touch it, but know that I cannot. I want to let it know that I am beyond grateful that it is here, right now, on this gloomy train ride. I want to let it feel my delight at seeing it after so long. Yet, I am scared to let it in. I do not want it to feel my pain, or my grief. I want it to know how strong I have become, but not know what it took, for me to get this way. I reluctantly turn away from the face, hoping tremendously that when I look back it will not have turned into the sad, sunken face it had become when I last saw it in person.


I settle on staring out of the window again. The outside world seems to be coming back into focus. The trees and the grass have turned into houses and streets. I am a mere two stops away from where I need to be. Suddenly, it becomes overwhelmingly necessary for me to get out of the train. I cannot bear to be here anymore. It feels like I could be literally anywhere else and feel more at ease. I get up abruptly, encouraging a dirty look from the person sitting next to me, who immediately shifts his legs to let me pass on to the aisle. I walk up the aisle, and get to the exit in a few short seconds. As the train comes to a halt, and the doors slide open, I almost jump out as if my life depends on me getting my feet on the concrete floor down below.


I look up in order to see the sign that will tell me exactly where I am, and see the same face staring back at me. He does not look as happy as he did mere moments earlier. But at least he is still smiling. Slowly, the same sick joke plays itself on me one more time, and it dawns on me that he is supposed to be dead. So, why is he here?


My mother’s voice pops into my head once more, “the dead never truly leave us because love extends itself beyond this world.” And I think that she is right. That is why he is here. Because I still love him.


The only person who ever understood my stubbornness and who stood up for me anyway.

July 27, 2020 02:35

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

59 comments

Charles Stucker
13:34 Jul 29, 2020

I have little experience critiquing inner monologue tales. The obvious, your mastery of grammar and punctuation is easy to note, but not useful to you. I saw two small, technical aspects which can be addressed. First, you use preface words/phrases in many of your sentences. "For instance, just this morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I received a call from my mother." This can be rewritten as "This morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I received a call from my mother." "For instance, just" adds nothing but word count to the sentence...

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
15:43 Jul 29, 2020

Thanks for the feedback! You referencing the line, "For instance, just..." made me want to rip my hair out a little simply because while editing this story I kept wanting to redo this particular line, I just didn't know how and why. I would justify my use of these preface phrases as a bad habit I picked up while writing essays in school. I will take note of what you have said there and work on it. And I noticed your mention of my grammar and punctuation not being useful to me. Is that simply because those skills would be put into use b...

Reply

Charles Stucker
17:46 Jul 29, 2020

It's not useful to note your mastery of grammar because it is so obvious. You don't need any work there and BOY HOWDY do editors take note of it.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
18:42 Jul 29, 2020

Haha got it! Hopefully, it will be a good notice!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
05:20 Jul 30, 2020

Nice story!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
06:31 Jul 30, 2020

Thanks!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Khizra Aslam
14:14 Aug 04, 2020

Absolutely amazing especially the lines, "outside world zooms by in a green blur of tall trees and grass." And "the dead never truly leave us because love extends itself beyond this world.” I loved them. You write it really well❤

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
16:26 Aug 04, 2020

Thanks, Khizra! I'm glad you liked it! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rambling Beth
09:58 Aug 04, 2020

I loved this story! The haunting presence of the mother, the protagonist's inner monologue, the fact he remains alive in some way because she loves him. It felt quite short, but I think it works well with this particular story. Really enjoyed it.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
16:28 Aug 04, 2020

Thanks, Beth! I appreciate the positive feedback! I loved your story too. Keep writing. :)

Reply

Rambling Beth
11:20 Aug 05, 2020

Thank you very much. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Aditya Pillai
04:45 Aug 03, 2020

Great read! I love ambiguity and mystery well done, and this is certainly an example of that! The domineering mother and the depiction of her almost vice-like grip on the narrators mind really comes through. Would love to see more of this!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
06:10 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you so much for the positive feedback! I loved your story too! Keep writing. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
22:14 Jul 31, 2020

This is publishable material. It takes me back to Reader's Digest. How I loved those small books. I still have several from the 90s that belonged to my mum. Thank you for the memories!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
03:01 Aug 01, 2020

Aww that's so nice of you to say! Thanks, Kamau! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Emma Z
04:45 Jul 31, 2020

I was actually surprised when it was over! It felt short, and I'll say that's a good thing lol. If you don't mind a critique, I'd just suggest varying sentence structure a little more (I point it out because it's something I've been working on lately too). I especially see a lot of simple sentences and starting with "I", which is understandable since it takes place in this person's mind, but it just makes the flow a little choppy. Then again, that could also be a stylistic thing that I have no right to mention. Sorry if that's the case :). ...

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
05:39 Jul 31, 2020

You’re completely right in feeling like the flow is a little choppy. And as you have pointed out yourself, it is because they are the narrator’s thoughts. I would defend it by saying that our thoughts are never “flowy” but more “choppy”, and just random at best haha. Although, thank you for pointing that out. I’ll keep it in mind for later stories, where these types of sentences may diminish the quality of work. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Salony Shakya
13:46 Jul 30, 2020

Wow! I really want to know who the mysterious figure you mentioned at last is.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
16:19 Jul 30, 2020

I would love to say that this is a work of fiction and the mysterious figure is a figment of my imagination, but then that would not be completely honest of me. So, I will settle on the mysterious figure being a mystery. Although, I might revisit this person in later stories. :)

Reply

Salony Shakya
07:24 Aug 09, 2020

I will patiently wait for that article!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Sue Marsh
16:58 Jul 29, 2020

interesting the way you used this prompt, the story line is good, you may need to work just a tad on your inner monologues.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
17:16 Jul 29, 2020

I appreciate the feedback! I will always work towards improving all parts of my writing. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
04:28 Jul 28, 2020

Nicely done! I like the melancholy you weave throughout your piece and the haunting presence of the mother. Keep going!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
13:17 Jul 28, 2020

Thanks for the positive feedback! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Alexi Delavigne
17:37 Jul 27, 2020

I really enjoyed this story, I wanted it to keep going so I could learn more about the characters :) it’s a good sign when you don’t want the story to end

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
03:49 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you so much! I felt the same way while reading yours. :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
P. Jean
16:02 Jul 27, 2020

Inner dilemma is difficult to transmit but you did it well! Stir emotions it’s what real writers do!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
16:27 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you! I'm working on expressing true emotions through my writing. I'm glad that you picked up on it! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Anna Irwin
01:42 Aug 11, 2020

I liked this story for sure! The part that I found most moving and passionate was the piece about her grief and not wanting to face it. I thought that part was beautifully written!

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
06:06 Aug 11, 2020

Thanks, Anna! I’m glad you liked it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
11:15 Aug 06, 2020

This is a very touching story about the transcendence of love even in the face of death. The dominance of the mother in the background is well portrayed.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
12:24 Aug 06, 2020

Thanks for the positive feedback, Josephine! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
02:58 Aug 06, 2020

Wow haunting. Great story.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
12:19 Aug 06, 2020

Thanks, Sarah!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Yolanda Wu
00:54 Aug 06, 2020

I really love these internal monologue stories. Great descriptions. Just overall a wonderful story. I also happened to choose this prompt and had so much fun writing it, so it's interesting to see different writers' takes on it.

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
12:23 Aug 06, 2020

Thanks, Yolanda! I’m glad you liked my story. I’m trying to step away from writing internal monologue stories but it’s just so addicting! I really liked your take on the prompt too! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
11:03 Aug 02, 2020

Aww! Beautiful tale! Thanks for checking out my story! :)

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
12:52 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you and you’re welcome! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Raquel Rodriguez
20:32 Jul 31, 2020

Hey Bibisha! I felt like this ended fast, wow! Nice story, by the way. I like Maiya's personality because she's stubborn... (like me). This is a small thing, but I feel like it would make the sentence better. So, the sentence: 'But suddenly, it becomes overwhelmingly necessary for me to get out of the train.' I think you should remove the word 'but,' as it is unnecessary in that sentence. Hope that helped a bit. Could you also read my submissions and give your opinion? I'm trying to improve my writing, so I would greatly appreci...

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
03:00 Aug 01, 2020

Hi, Raquel! I need to be more mindful of these unnecessary words in my writing. Thanks for pointing that out. :) And I will check out your stories soon!

Reply

Raquel Rodriguez
04:23 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Rose C G
16:54 Jul 30, 2020

Hi again! Wanted to say thank you for reading my story. I would appreciate any comments. ~Rose CG

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
01:40 Jul 31, 2020

I will check them out again when I get some free time!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rose C G
16:49 Jul 30, 2020

Hi, your story has some interesting points on the love of the mother and daughter. However, the concept of the main character's stubbornness needs more reason to be an issue between the two characters. For example, did it get her into a lot of trouble growing up? Did it cause her to run away with the man she is seeing on the train and now she has learned to believe in herself as an adult? Or perhaps she went against the family circle of faith and married outside her faith? Please forgive me if I overstep the line of comments. Stay safe and...

Reply

Bibisha Shakya
01:58 Jul 31, 2020

Thanks for the feedback! And don't ever feel like you are overstepping the line with any comment/criticism you leave on my stories! I definitely hope that the mother being a little overbearing is precisely clear throughout the story. As for the dead person she sees towards the end, I wanted it to remain a mystery simply to add more interest to the reader's mind, while making clear that he meant a lot to the narrator as someone who stood up for her quirks and especially her stubbornness which she feels she has always been "misconceived and...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply