A Gift to Remember, a Christmas Story

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Season’s Greetings and all things nice to you and yours. May the New Year bring you much health, prosperity, and joy. 😍

A Gift to Remember

The icy northern wind blowing down the avenue chilled Sara to the bone despite her warm gear. She felt naked, vulnerable, and foolish in a futile attempt to buy presents people didn’t need. Her gloved hand searched in her coat pocket. She skimmed through the list and pondered.

Music from the shopping mall poured into the street decorated with vibrant festive lights that pulsated in tune with the melody. A lavish extravaganza to entice the shoppers to join the euphoria of a consumer’s paradise where happiness was bartered with goods sold and purchased. Shop windows decorated in a kaleidoscope of colours, gold and silver tinsel, depicting fairy tale scenes of a jovial and prosperous life.

Sara knew the festive period and the enchanted fantasy it created was fake, commercial and absurd, yet the knowledge didn’t stop her enjoyment of it. She sat on bench and watched people rushing in and out of the mall, laden with shopping bags in the colours of the rainbow.

She crumpled the list in her fist and dumped it into a trash can.

Moving away from the sound and light show, she turned into a side street and strolled aimlessly down the lane of ordinary life. Parked cars by the curbs, two cats lingering by a garbage container, doors opening and closing, and the click-clack of footsteps as people went into and out of residential blocks. In ground floor flats, a hand pulled a curtain, another opened a window behind which muffled conversation stole into the night.

At the end of the road, she turned right, and spotted the lit sign of a pub in the distance. A voice singing a song from the past evoked memories. Lend your love to me tonight. Lend, not give. Thoughts filled her mind. 

She approached the crowd gathered around the performer in shabby clothes. He looked like a homeless man, but sang and played the guitar like a professional. Greasy blond hair ran down his shoulders, his hands in fingerless gloves glided along the strings of the instrument. Eyes closed, he sang to the beat of the background music generating from a busking amp. Nearby customers, some sitting at the outdoor tables, applauded him when he finished singing. He opened his steel-blue eyes and bowed, as notes and coins filled his tin cup, and began the next song. 

Sara stepped inside the Pub and bought some mulled wine. She found an empty seat under the outdoor heater and listened to the music while sipping her warm drink. When the singer announced an intermission, she placed a twenty pound note in his cup and said, “I enjoyed your music. You’re very talented. Can I offer you some mulled wine?” 

“Thanks.” He looked up into her eyes. “It’s my farewell gift to Greg Lake. He died yesterday.”

“I know, so sad. I’ll be back shortly.” 

She returned with two mugs of the spicy drink and offered one to him. 

He took her offering and fumbled inside the pockets of his oversized long coat. Fishing out a crumpled pack of cigarettes, he held it to her. She reached for one. He lit it, inhaled a deep drag from his, and exhaled. Cigarette smoke mixed with the steam from the hot drink as they sat across the table behind the clouds of vapour.

“Did you study music?” she asked

“Yeah, I used to be a professional.”

“No more?”

He pushed his long locks over his shoulder and pulled up the collar of his coat. “I walked away from that life,” he smiled. “Too intense. Now I play whenever and wherever I want to.”

“Do you have a warm place to go to?”

“The Shelter provides us accommodation and food.”

“Which shelter is that?”

“The Shelter from the Storm. It’s a private charity, very well run by volunteers, mostly students.”

“I’m Sara, by the way. Will you be here tomorrow?”

“Cheers, Sara, I’m Busker. The Landlord allows me to play until ten, and gives me a drink and a warm meal. I think I’ll hang around here for a couple more nights.”

“What do you do with the money?”

His eyes searched her face. “I save some for cigarettes and drinks, give the rest to the Shelter as my contribution.”

He finished his drink, thanked her and resumed his concert. Sara stayed for while, then waved him goodbye, and left the Pub. Contemplating on Busker’s words, she headed for the Underground.

The following day, after looking up the charity on her computer, Sara made a phone call. “I’d like to make a donation.” She took their bank details and transferred her gift from her account to that of the Shelter from the Storm.

Sara called her friend, Anna. “Fancy going to a free concert tonight? The music is great.”

“Why not?”

“Meet me in front of Rainbow Mall at seven. I’ll take you there.”

Sara and Anna sat outside the pub, sipping mulled wine and listening to Busker’s music. As though attending a concert, Anna’s eyes were glued to the performer. When he gave a break and stepped inside the bar, Anna turned to Sara. “He’s amazing, so talented. Such a shame. What makes people homeless? How do they decide to live in the streets?”

“I have no idea. There must be a good reason, perhaps a tragedy or a disillusionment that severs their ties with the ‘normal’ world.”

“I guess. Hard to understand, but it must come from the depths of the human psyche. A protest against, a separation from the norm.”

“Whatever. This morning, I transferred the entire amount of my gifts budget to a charity organization that takes care of homeless people.”

Eyes wide-open, Anna snapped her fingers. “Seriously? What a grand idea! I think I should do the same.”

They chuckled as Busker returned to his makeshift stage and resumed his free concert to the growing audience.

Thank you very much for reading. 🙂

Advertisement

My Flash Fiction Story, Elsewhere, is at the Ekphrastic Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time-Molt, Tender, by Annaliese Jakimides (USA) 2022

I’m honoured to have my flash fiction story, Elsewhere, at the Ekphrastic Review, along with many talented writers and poets. Many thanks to Annaliese Jakimides for her inspiring painting as the ekphrastic challenge and to Lorette C. Luzajic for her wonderful literary magazine.

Here’s the link:

https://www.ekphrastic.net/the-ekphrastic-challenges/ekphrastic-writing-responses-annaliese-jakimides?fbclid=IwAR1OQcHYxWX_WnCLWxjQllMNBLdFeetmSzcBDNYfvqM5OK26jNVA1pdNf4s

Thank you very much for reading. 🙂

My Flash Fiction Story, Désirée, is at the Subject and Verb Agreement Press Blog Spot

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Many thanks to the Editor-In-Chief, Jesse Rucilez, my flash fiction story Désirée is at the Subject and Verb Agreement Press Blog Spot.

Here’s the link to the story:

https://savapress.blogspot.com/2022/10/desiree-by-sebnem-sanders.html?fbclid=IwAR3YIHpk6XYdj3_L6O_Ym3l8ZW1Sxj6JYErUG_kd2PIIQ1r9VgXCRzv5fck

Many thanks for reading. 🙂

My flash fiction story, Interstellar, is at the Ekphrastic Review

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Nature’s Way, by Jo Zider (USA) contemporary.

So happy to see my flash fiction story, Interstellar, included besides many talented poets and writers, for the inspiring Ekphrastic Challenge, Nature’s Way by Jo Zider. Many thanks to the editor, Sandi Stromberg and to Lorette C. Luzajic 😍

https://www.ekphrastic.net/the-ekphrastic-challenges/jo-zider-ekphrastic-challenge-responses

Many thanks for reading. 🙂

My Story, The Stranger, is published in Pure Slush’s Appointment at 10.30 Anthology

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My flash fiction story, The Stranger, was published in Pure Slush’s Appointment at 10.30 Anthology Vol.22 of stories, essays, and poetry, together with the works of many talented writers and poets. Many thanks to Matt Potter, writer and editor of Pure Slush, who kindly edited and accepted my story.

The link to the book is as follows:

And here’s the full story, if you wish to read it:

The Stranger

Snowflakes dance in the air as she leaves home for her appointment at 10.30 and walks to the underground station. False alarm, she thinks. It hasn’t snowed in town for the last three years. Can’t blame climate change for this, but the massive wall of tall buildings that interrupt the flow of air from the north into the city’s heart.

The snow whirls as she approaches the station and skips down the steps. Rushing through the turnstiles, she catches the red train heading to town centre. Settled on an empty seat, she closes her eyes and ponders. How would she know him? Was that a real photo on his profile? How does one deal with virtual friends? He’d said he’d be carrying a copy of The Stranger in his hand. She’d said she’d be holding a red umbrella.

By the time she steps onto the platform at Taksim Square, she’s decided to hide the foldable umbrella in her backpack. She could stop somewhere and observe the passers-by discreetly. As the steep escalator rises to ground level, she has doubts about her plan. The rectangular opening at ground level reveals a shower of fine, persistent snow and behind that, a granite sky. Pulling the hood of her coat, she fastens its cords tightly around her neck. Hands in pockets, she ambles around the square, several times, as people scurry about, fight with their umbrellas, hail cabs, and grope in different directions as though visually impaired. Her movements are similar until she stops beside a concrete box containing withered plants in pots. Behind her, the ghost of Gezi Park peeks at intervals through a white curtain; facing her, the twinkling lights of the Marmara Hotel invite her inside. She takes refuge in the coffee shop. Sipping a hot drink, enjoying a delicious piece of chocolate cake, she laughs at herself. The Stranger probably couldn’t make it, and if he did, he’d never find her. Just as well.

Wrapped up in her coat, she heads back to the underground. Wading through the crowds, she steps onto the packed train, squeezing between passengers in wet coats. As the wagon jerks, she grips the back of a seat, and finds her balance. Someone pats her arm. A young man rises and offers her his seat. Grateful, she sits and taking a deep breath, places her backpack on her lap. She watches the commuters disperse as the train stops at various stations. The young man stands by the door, holding onto a pole and tapping at his phone. Well-dressed, clean shaven, and attractive. How come she never meets guys like this? He catches her gaze and smiles. She looks away and closes her eyes. Three more stations to go, she could doze off. She wakes as her station is announced. Someone else is holding the pole while standing beside the door. She finds a note attached to her bag. ‘Sleeping beauty, call me if you want…’

A blizzard carpets the sky as she steps outside. She opens her red umbrella to shield her face from the whips of snow, and negotiates the pavement, eyes on the ground. Once inside the compound, she runs through the portico to the front door. As she enters the flat, the aroma of a familiar dish fills her nostrils.

“Mum, I’m home.”

“I’m in the bedroom.”

Her mother peeks above her reading glasses. “I was getting worried. Glad you’re home safely. It’s treacherous outside.”

“I know. What’s for lunch, soup with meatballs?”

“Indeed, the remedy for cold weather. Any news about your interview?”

“Not until next week. I’m not sure I’ll be accepted. Probably there are many who are more qualified than me.”

“Do you want this job?”

She nods.

“Then you’ll get it, I’m sure. If not, you’ll find something else close to your heart.”.

“I hope so, Mum.” She steps to the window and looks outside. A blanket of snow covers the trees and the bushes in the garden. “Even the ugly blocks next door look prettier now. Nature is clever in its ways, but not with Taksim Square. It’s so barren, hostile, just a vast rectangle of concrete. I felt like a stranger there today.”

“I can imagine. There are no trees or flower beds anymore. Things change, but your memories don’t. No one can take them away from you.”

“I know. It used to be a special place for me.  The parades Dad used to take me to there. The park no longer resembles the one in my childhood.”

“Perhaps, they’ll change it back once they get tired of the concrete. What were you doing there in this weather?”

“Meeting friends from a book club. It wasn’t so bad when I left. I didn’t think it would snow. I thought that was another thing of the past.”

“There you go…”

She lies in bed, thinking of the stranger. Would she call him? Call a stranger? Why not, she wonders. She had seen him standing before her, in flesh and blood. The other was only a virtual one.

(840 words)

Many thanks for reading. 🙂

My Story, Shadows, is live at SAVA, Subject and Verb Agreement Press

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Many thanks to the Editor, Blaine Myers, my story, Shadows, is live at SAVA Press, Subject And Verb Agreement Press. This story was first published at CarpeArte Journal, many thanks to the Editor, the lovely Eva Wong Nava.

Here are the links:

https://carpearte.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/shadows-by-sebnem-e-sanders/

And here is the photo that inspired it:
Innocent Shadow by Mark Slone

http://home.hiwaay.net/~slone/ishadow.html

Many thanks for reading. 🙂

Weeds

A photo my brother took last week, besides many others, reminded me of this story, Weeds, from Ripples on the Pond, my anthology of Flash Fiction and short stories. Since Spring is in the air, I thought I might share it with you again.

Many thanks for reading. 🙂

sebnemsanders

wild_flower_meadow_lw

After the torrential rains in April, a riot of flowering weeds covered the lawn in multi-coloured glory.  Daisies, poppies, dandelions, marigolds, clover and varieties of many unnamed wild flowers, flourishing under the warm spring sun, spread their beauty in undulating waves of bouncy grass across the garden. Bunches of slender mallow with purple blossoms gracing lush green fields, watched over their brothers and sisters.

It was a blissful time until the guillotine man arrived and began the massacre. A blizzard of yellow, pink, purple, white and red petals flew through the air and scattered, while their stems fell to the ground. On the edges of the waving grass, the survivors drooped to hide their stalks and disguise their blooms. Even tall Mallow didn’t have the chance to warn them in due time. At the end of the day, the executioner swept the dead bodies into bags and dumped them by…

View original post 844 more words

My Microfiction Story, A Tale of Many Cities, is up at The Rye Whiskey Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunset by Felix Vallotton, Swiss-French Artist (December 28, 1865 – December 29, 1925)

Many thanks to the Editor, John Patrick Robbins, I have a new microfiction story at The Rye Whiskey Review. 😍

https://ryethewhiskeyreview.blogspot.com/2022/02/a-tale-of-many-cities-by-sebnem-e.html?fbclid=IwAR01s4na3bIqL-nQMHpNn3IiZjTe4hcXf-ol8qFD3filf4WC8q9bRuO9VX4

Thank you very much for reading. 🙂

Angel’s Cove- by Sebnem Sanders

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Here ‘s a love story from me, first published at SickLit Magazine, then in my Anthology, Ripples on the Pond. Many thanks to the Editor, Kelly Coody for having faith in me. 🙂

Silhouette Sunset Dusk Beach Woman Looking

My Flash Fiction Story, Laundry, is at the Subject and Verb Agreement Press

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Many thanks to the Editor Jesse at Subject And Verb Agreement Press, my flash fiction story, Laundry, which first appeared at Spelk Fiction, is at their website. 🤩

https://savapress.blogspot.com/2022/01/laundry-by-sebnem-sanders.html?fbclid=IwAR2ssByE5jf-b5hJbOp9QGhzYsRI-DGcW2120SDIakgShzDc0evS_623jKc

Thank you very much for reading. 🙂

The Kiss by Andre Kohn