At first she felt only her pulse racing in her wrist, and heard the rush of blood flowing through the spiraling space inside her ear. But soon, and past all of that, she began to hear something more, something peculiar, for it was the sound of no sound at all, and listening to it gave Haila the sense that her body had the lightness of floating while sinking at the very same time, deeper and deeper into the silence.
I'm an author in process, as reflected by my writings, which are at various stages of development. I've put this page up to share some of my works-in-progress with you.
Haila through the Hollow
Haila is a mystical story of faith and magic in the face of pain and uncertainty.
Haila has forgotten the truth of who she really is. She lives alone in a grassy field with the overwhelming city on one end and the mysterious deep woods at the other. When she believes a voice that haunts her every thought, a painful weed begins to grow from her back. Life as she knows it becomes unbearable until she finds the courage to step through the hollow and into the unknown where the story of her life unfolds in the hidden passageways of the woods.
Junaid Diwani and the Palace Beyond the Pink City
Junaid, at age two, reached his hand up and clasped his mother’s, which was warm and slightly moist. They stood at the corner of A Street and Avenue 7 in the hot haze of afternoon in the Pink City. The mother and child looked out at the city of low-rise buildings that lay sprawled before them. The buildings seemed to clamour and twist over each other for space, like too many teeth in one small mouth.
“Ma’am,” the gentle-voiced taxi driver tried to get the attention of Junaid Diwani’s mother, but she, Mithali Diwani, distracted by her new surroundings, did not hear him. He cleared his throat, “Ma’am can I put your bags just here?”
“Oh yes, thank you,” she said, and, “I’m sorry.” He noticed her delicate voice tighten as she spoke and saw the dark brown of her eyes become wet and shiny. “It’s just, I’ve never been here, and it all feels strange.”
“Yes, ma’am. It’s very different from the village you—and your boy—are from,” the taxi driver reached out instinctively to help as she lifted Junaid up into her arms. He wanted to do something for her but didn’t know what exactly and so he held himself back. “Ma’am, can I help you take your bags inside?”
Behind them stood a concrete building of flats. Mithali looked up at it and thought of the home she would make for her son there. It would be just the two of them now. The taxi driver’s offer brought her some relief and she nodded and smiled at him, “Yes, please. Thank you very much, sir.”
“No, no. Please, not sir. Call me Joi.”
Junaid, at age two, had not made a peep all this time. This fact did not worry his mother, for Junaid was a quiet boy who often had a faraway look in his eyes, like the one he had now. Mithali held Junaid in her arms, and stood beside Joi, the taxi driver, their backs to the building of flats where their new home was, and they looked out at the hazy city where a smog of grey and yellow floated over the horizon and a distinctively salmon-pink hue coloured the city beneath the smog.
Into the Coffee Cup
Old Mr. Humphreys lived in a tall, thin house at 35 Blueberry Lane. It was a quiet street, lined with other tall, thin houses. In fact, Mr. Humphreys himself was tall and thin. At the front of each house stood a single blueberry bush on which, once a year, the small, round fruit would appear. The lawns were all shaped as squares; the grass all trimmed to the same length, so that all of the houses on Mr. Humphrey’s street looked exactly like one another.
Mr. Humphreys was getting ready to leave the house for his morning walk. He reached for his hat, which hung on the coat rack between the window and the door. He placed it on his shiny head. Then, Mr. Humphreys took a moment to peer out of the window. He stood on the tips of his shoes and craned his long, wrinkly neck out to the side until he could see the blueberry bush. It might have been cleverer for old Mr. Humphreys to walk over to the window and peer out of it more comfortably, but Mr. Humphreys had always done it this way. In fact, Mr. Humphreys had done just about everything the same way for many years. It wasn’t that he meant to do everything the same way, it all just sort of happened, over time. And, to be perfectly honest, he tried not to think too much about it.
Once Mr. Humphreys was quite sure that he had had a good look at the blueberry bush (“My blueberries will turn out purple and not blue this year. I can just feel it,” he had said. “They’re never really blue anyhow! Why must people insist on calling them BLUEberries?”), he un-craned his neck, lowered the heels of his shoes, and opened the door to a blinding stream of early morning light.
He stepped onto the front porch where a fat gray cat lay curled up, asleep. Mr. Humphreys reached his leg out and used his shoe to shake the cat awake. He whispered, so as not to call any attention to himself, but he did so as loudly and angrily as he could, “Wake up you! Get off my porch you filthy thing!” The cat jumped to his paws, hissed, and scurried down the stairs and across the front lawn. “That’s right, leave me alone and don’t you come back!” He grumbled after the cat who disappeared quickly down the lane. The cat belonged to Ms. Margery, the lady who had lived across from Mr. Humphreys all these years. Mr. Humphreys knew that the bothery cat would be back.
In the opposite direction, all the way at the very end of the street and just around the corner, was a small coffee shop. Mr. Humphreys walked toward the shop, thinking of the hot cup of coffee and the banana nut muffin, just slightly warmed and very buttered, that he would order. He walked with a slight hunch at the top of his back, and a newspaper in his hand, and he watched as the sidewalk lines passed beneath him. He hardly had to look up at all before he reached a dark wooden sign that stuck out overhead and said in painted yellow letters, “The Coffee Bean”.
Mr. Humphreys opened the door and heard the familiar chiming of bells from above. His nostrils filled with the aroma of every kind of coffee bean. “Good morning, sir,” the waitress smiled at him from behind the counter. Mr. Humphreys nodded his head a bit grumpily as he walked to his seat in the back corner of the shop. Sitting down, Mr. Humphreys muttered to himself about people who insisted on being cheerful when there was no particular reason for it. “No reason for it,” he grumbled, shaking his head.
It hadn’t occurred to him yet that the lady behind the counter that morning wasn’t the usual waitress at the Coffee Bean. In fact, it wasn’t until she came walking toward him a few moments later carrying a small silvery tray, that he looked up to see that she was someone entirely new.
A pair of black, round spectacles sat on her very small nose. Through them, her eyes looked like two giant spiders caught behind the glass. She was hardly taller standing up than he was sitting down. Her hair, silky black and very straight, stopped in a perfectly straight line at chin-level and stuck flatly to her head.
She placed the tray on the table. On it was a white cup with a large, curved handle. Steaming hot coffee, dark chocolatey-brown in colour, filled the cup nearly to the brim. The steam rising from the cup turned into wonderful foggy ringlets, twisting into the air before disappearing completely. Mr. Humphreys watched as the steam curled and twisted and disappeared. He had never been so fascinated with the steam rising from his coffee. He watched as more lifted from the cup and danced and twirled up into the air. Soon, his eyelids began to feel heavy. He felt as though he were as light as the steam and he became completely relaxed. It was as though the coffee’s steam itself had entranced him into a sleepy stupor.
“Hello, Mr. Humphreys,” said the waitress. Her voice, silky as her hair, now seemed to come from a distant place and echoed all around the coffee shop and into Mr. Humphreys ears, “Here is a nice hot cup of coffee for you, and a banana nut muffin – only slightly warmed and very buttered, just the way you like it, Sir.”
“Th…thank you,” Mr. Humphreys stammered, still gaping at the steam rising above the cup. Even his mouth moved sleepily now, “b…but how? How did you know what I like?”, he slurred. “How… how did you know my n… my name?”
“Here,” said the waitress, ignoring his questions. She lifted a small metal jug from the tray, “Let me pour some milk into your coffee.”
It was just at that very moment that Mr. Humphreys snapped out of his daze completely and in utter shock, “No! Please, no! I don’t have milk in my coffee! I never have milk in my coffee!” But it was too late.
A stream of rich white milk glistened as it fell from the tip of the jug and straight into the cup. Mr. Humphreys had never seen anything quite like it – not because he had never taken milk in his coffee, but because there was something quite peculiar about the milk’s behaviour. To even speak of milk as behaving or not behaving is perhaps slightly peculiar in itself, but this milk seemed almost to defy all of the normalcies of milk behaviour. It formed a creamy swirl in the coffee cup as it rushed into the dark coffee like a waterfall.