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5 Short Stories: Rain, Starring Role, Birds’ Migration

I love reading and writing. I came to writing late in life and discovered a world where I feel like a fish in the water.

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1. Heavy Rain

He ran various scenarios in his head and tried to predict every twist and turn. Yet life had, as it always does in the end, surprised him.

His daughter Sara reminded him of what he taught her when she was a little girl, “Sometimes, you just have to accept things as they are if you cannot change them the way you want.”

Dany bought the house they lived in believing it was a safe place for his family. But so much has changed in the last two decades.

Rain poured in the last few days causing the roads to disappear under the heavy rain. Most of the neighbors had fled. The few who stayed had to climb on the top of their houses to avoid drowning.

The water was rising rapidly especially after the dam broke.

Dany was afraid and angry at himself. He should have taken his family to a safe place instead of forcing them to stay behind and face this horrible situation. “The house is no longer salvageable, but we’re still alive, and that’s what matters,” he said.

“As long as we have each other, we can restart,” replied his wife.

“We’re too old to restart,” he said wearily. “I’m so sorry I put you in this situation. I wish I could do something to get you and the children to safety.”

“We’re together and that’s what counts. If we must die, then we’ll face death together. I cannot carry on living without you.”

“I love you. Let’s wait and see. Hopefully, someone will come to rescue us.”

No one came to their rescue.

2. First Starring Role

It was Lenore’s first starring role. Why am I not feeling happy? What is the reason for this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach? Is it my nerves or something else?

Was it because her arch-rival Ellen was there?

Ellen coveted the lead role of the play and was upset that Lenore won it instead of her. She honestly believed that she was a better actress than Lenore and more fit to take on the leading role.

Lenore had rehearsed the role and felt well prepared. This was the opening night, the night that makes or breaks starlets like her.

A few press critics, the sponsors, her family, and friends were expected to attend. She desperately wanted a drink but thought better of it so she can keep a clear mind and a good enunciation.

Who would have ever believed that I would one day have a leading role in a play in one of the best theatres of the city? she mused to herself.

“I can do this,” she said out loud. “Right now, I’ll focus on the play. Once the play is over tonight, and everyone has left, I’ll let my emotions flow. Right now, I just have to focus, go through the steps, and do what I trained to do.”

She took a few long deep breaths and slowly exhaled through her mouth to calm her nerves.

The phone rang. Few minutes before the opening of the curtains? Should I answer or let it go to voice mail?

She answered the phone.

Her father was on the other line, “Lenore. I’m sorry honey but you must come home right away. Your mother was in a car accident and is gone.”

3. Protective Neighbor

Everyone agreed it was brave of him, a real act of courage. Some of us never thought that Mr. Bolden would act in such a way. Until yesterday, we just thought of him as our old grumpy neighbor. Now, I am grateful to him for having saved my son.

My son Char was walking back home from school. Mr. Bolden was in his garden pulling out the weeds when he saw a car slow down next to where Char was.

Mr. Bolden stopped what he was doing and watched the driver roll down the window. He saw Char approach the car. They looked like they were talking after which the driver opened the door to the front passenger seat.

Mr. Bolden knew that our Char was a good preteen who came home straight from school. Without waiting to understand what was going on, he screamed, “Char, stay away from that car.” He then looked at the driver and said, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Char did as he was told and moved away from the car that sped away.

“Are you all right, son?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Come on. I’ll walk with you the rest of the way.”

Char told us what happened. My husband did not wait to the next day to go and thank our neighbor. I waited till the morning, baked a cake, and took it to Mr. Bolden’s house.

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4. Birds' Migration

“They are out there,” he told me. “Fields and fields of them. As far as the eye can see.”

I was not sure what he meant. I turned my eyes up to the sky where he pointed but all I could see was a storm of dust.

Beaming and excited, he kept pointing at a horizon that I could not manage to see despite my wanting to please him.

He gave me his sunglasses to wear; they were the kind that took the glare out of the ambient environment. It was then that I realized what he was seeing. What I thought was a dust storm was in fact thousands and thousands of migrant birds heading south for the winter. It was an awesome sight, and I understood his excitement.

My father was a birdwatcher, one of those loyal fans who, for two decades, kept a diary on birds’ migration. His writing was more of a scribbling because of his haste to jot down his observations about his feathered friends’ migratory traditions.

A wave of tenderness washed over me. My cherished father looked like a happy child.

“Dad, one day I’m going to publish your diaries.”

“You do that, kiddo.”

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Out of Harm’s Way

After three days of heavy rain, the storm let up and the winds died down. But there are dark clouds on the horizon, and we know we do not have long. They will be looking for us so we must load up on supplies, hit the road to Mayfield in Ontario where we will board with a friend of my husband.

Our trip is not without risks. We will have to drive over roads that are washed by the flood.

The whole town seems to be submerged in water. The relentless rain filled the nearby river which flooded the streets. Almost all the neighbors’ houses have their basements inundated with water from the river.

Our house is one of the few ones that is still standing because of its location on a small hill, which spared us the flood. When we heard that a storm was heading our way, we stacked up on groceries and imperishable food items. No one expected the storm to do this much damage. It is doubtful that the town could be rebuilt as the infrastructure is damaged so much so that most of the town inhabitants had to be evacuated.

We did not leave with them because we hoped that our part of town would be spared. But the news is talking about another storm heading our way, a monster storm they say. I do not want to risk the safety of my family and want to leave. We all agree that it is time for us to leave quickly and smartly.

We divide responsibilities among ourselves to make sure that we pack the essentials, check that the car is functioning properly and the gas tank is full, disconnect electrical appliances, and get our IDs and cash. We worked quickly as a team. The next challenge is driving on bad roads in adverse conditions.

Sitting in front of a fireplace with lit fire in a small cottage in Mayfield, I write in my journal. “Thankfully, we made it safe and sound and are boarding with Mark’s friend for now.”

© 2021 Liliane Najm

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