1,000 Words – Memories

I know a couple of brothers . . . twins, they say. One of them sent me this . . . 

. . . and offered up a challenge to both his brother and me:

“In a 1000 words or less, write a backstory, frontstory, whatever, about the scenario that unfolds.”

He’s doing this for a class he’s taking. Not that that is the reason. We’ve in the past written in the challenge format (once – mostly we send each other stuff we want opinions on). His brother is Perry (refresh memory HERE). They have a tendency to write with references to literary works, layered meanings, subtexts . . . really, I’m outclassed. 

I tend to write stories that are straightforward, emotions worn in plain view, and simple themes relating to the human condition. You know . . . boring stuff.

Still, here’s my entry, a couple of words shy of 1,000 (you need to watch the video before reading it – it’s only four minutes; less if you don’t watch the end credits):


Copyright – 2014 – E. J. D’Alise

Three months . . . Deshi again chastised himself for not sending the package via certified mail. He had no idea if Nasim even received the camera. Worse yet was contemplating that she had, and dismissed the implied invitation to call him.

Most of all Deshi regretted not downloading at least one picture of Nasim. At the time, he thought it would have been an invasion of privacy. His parents had taught him respect, taught him to be mindful of others; taking something that was not his to take went against his nature.

Now he held the memory of her face, the clothes she wore, the half-smile, her gentle eyes, but with each passing day the memory of his Nasim was becoming more indistinct.

His Nasim . . . A fantasy, that. She did not even know his name; how could she be his? She had taken a few pictures of him, but so what? And yet, she had left the camera. She had been so engrossed with it, how could she have been so forgetful of it?

But then, how could she have known he would have noticed it? And why leave it right before leaving town?

Fantasy; it was all fantasy.

Leaning his head on the pane of the glass, Deshi watched buildings pass by as he listened to the rhythm of the wheels on the rails. He looked over to where he had last seen Nasim and caught the eye of a lady sitting where Nasim had sat.

He was about to look away when the lady nodded, a combination of greeting and recognition of his awareness of her. His responding nod was automatic, but she was already looking out her window. He stared a few more seconds before also looking away. His station approaching, he stood, and grabbed his bike.

The train slowed. The doors opened. Before exiting, he looked back at the lady, once again meeting her eyes. This time he nodded a goodbye, and left the train without waiting for a responding nod. He rode his bike home, dusk racing him to his building and empty apartment.

He ate at a small table in front of the window. He liked looking out at the city lights waking and struggling to fight off the encroaching darkness.

He tried to think of Nasim, but thought instead of the lady in the train. Mid-to-late forties? He was bad at guessing age. As he thought about her, he was dismayed that the memory of Nasim blurred and was difficult to recall. He stood, finished the glass of water, grabbed the dish and fork, and carried them to the sink. He stopped in front of the calendar on the counter. Ninety-seven neat circles, one for each day since he had mailed the package.

He should have certified delivery, he thought once again. Memory of both Nasim and the lady from the train faded as he drifted to sleep, the sound of a distant train barely registering.

The next day he boarded the train home and paused, bike in hand, looking at the lady looking back at him. The doors closed and opened again as they brushed up against the rear wheel of his bike. He pulled the bike in, and the doors closed fully. The train moved as he made his way to his usual seat.

Once seated he looked up, meeting the eyes of the lady. He was about to nod when she stood and made her way to him. She nearly lost her balance as the train slowed and sped up again, and she ended up sitting rather heavily next to him.

“Hello,” she said in a melodious voice.

Up close, he noticed the beauty that had not been evident to him from afar. Perhaps it was her smile.

“Hello,” Deshi replied.

“You look sad.”

Startled, Deshi was at a loss for words.

“I’m sorry, I did not mean to be rude.” Her tone spoke of sincerity, caring . . . of motherly concern.

“No . . .no, that’s fine,” Deshi composed himself and continued, turning slightly toward her, and trying to smile. He almost made it look genuine. “I’m fine.”

“Hmm; maybe.” She pushed out her hand. “My name is Laila.”

“Deshi,” he replied, extending his own hand.

They shook hands. She had a firm grip.

“So, why so sad?”

“I . . . really, I’m OK. Just tired, is all.”

“Ah . . . a girl, then.” Laila put her purse down between them. “Want to talk about it?”

“No, really; I’m fine.”

Leila looked at him for a few seconds before continuing.

“Tell me about yourself.”


“Tell me about yourself.” She smiled, and Deshi noticed how it lit up her face. “Tell me about your life.”

Deshi hesitated, but only for a moment. It had been a while since anyone spoke to him, showed interest in him, seemed to care about his life. A long while; since the cancer took his mother.

That’s all most people need; someone to listen. He spoke of his volunteer work at the hospice, of his job, of his few hobbies, his uncertainty, his hopes. He spoke of everything but his Nasim. Laila occasionally asked a question, and other times nodded, but mostly just listened.

He stopped, realizing he had opened up more than he ever had, with anyone.

Leila looked at Deshi in silence for a minute. Deshi stared back, but finally broke contact by lowering his eyes.

The train slowed, and Leila grabbed her purse before standing.

“She picked well; I approve.”

She put something in his hand as he looked up at her. She smiled and turned away. He watched her back as she walked to the open doors, and then looked down at his hand.

Nasim’s camera sat in the palm of his hand. Confused, he looked up to see Nasim standing there, the train’s doors closing behind her. Nasim smiled, looking like a younger version of Leila.

The End

There are many ways I considered going . . . perhaps she was a serial killer, luring her next victim to her. A still popular, if tired and improbable, theme is that of the vampire looking for love, or maybe an easy meal.

I could have ventured into action, fantasy, science fiction . . . this seemed right. 

I’m sure The Broxon Brothers will clean my clock with their offerings, but they are writing for a different audience than I am; I’m writing for myself.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention . . . this is not a back story or front story; it’s the “whatever” part of the challenge. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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