Away

Shrutidhora P. Mohor

A lonely game of beach soccer is your favourite pastime. You have always been an offside player, your best kicks disqualified.

I, a rule-bound linesman, blowing my whistle to send you back midfield.

Is the centre of no interest to you? I ask frustrated.

It is. I love to look at it from a distance.

You have always had a dash of salt on your fingertips. You have never known why, or at least that’s what you have told me. 

Have you been rowing? 

I have given up my canoe. 

But you had said you wouldn’t. 

You are right, I probably didn’t.

At midday your shadow looks like a walnut grove, spread out, dense, slightly mysterious. I have seen you hunting for nests up on branches, camouflaged, anxious moms waiting in the wings to nail you with their blade-sharp beaks. Once you had a deep cut on your forehead just above your left eye. 

Did you threaten a baby? 

Baby? Nope, it was the oar which rotated all of a sudden as the storm came in. 

But didn’t you say that you don’t go rowing anymore? 

I had given up. Or maybe you are right, I still do, once in a while.

Does the sea speak to you when you hold a seashell to your ears? 

It’s wrong to hug a seashell to yourself. Don’t you know that it belongs to the sea? Things must go back to where they come from. Leaves to trees, twigs to branches, sand to the beaches, froth to the waves, rumblings to the clouds, sighs to hungry souls, memories to the past, hopes to the future.

Is it true that you walked on the waves one full moon night and touched a falling star? 

The waves have a rubbery texture, if you run your hands on them, they stick to you, until you can smell the odd moist smell of used, grimy rubber cling to your fingers as salt sticks to your wet fingers. 

So, did you touch salt with wet fingers? 

Nope, I never ventured towards the sea since the last full moon. 

That was last night. 

Was it so? But I saw a platter of stars in the sky. They were like tiny beads of sparkling flies seated on the crest of a lantern turned off some time ago, dark but still warm. 

Every afternoon you walk backwards from the log cabin to the mouth of the creek, stopping to admire the wildflowers on the way.

The ones adorning the yellow vase on the coffee table go overlooked.

Imagine living life from in-between crevices, you say as you gently touch the petals peeping out from cracks on boulders.

Bonfire night on the beach. My polka-dotted bikini is smelling of charcoal. I move close to you. Your eyes are set afar.

I tug at your arms.

You become a midfield player, dribbling the ball away from your opponent.

I am left standing far away.

§

Shrutidhora P. Mohor (born 1979) is an author from India writing literary fiction.

She has been listed in several international writing competitions like Bristol Short Story Prize 2022, the 20th Bath Flash Fiction Award, the George Floyd Short Story Competition 2022, the 16th Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, the Retreat West monthly micro competition April, September, and October 2022, the Retreat West quarterly themed competition March 2022. 

Her writings have been published by oranges journal July 2022, Fiery Scribe Review Magazine April and August 2022, National Flash Fiction Day Flash Flood June 2022, Ayaskala February 2022, Friday Flash Fiction September 2022, Courageous Creatives anthology September 2022, Spiritus Mundi Review September-October 2022, Contemporary Jo October 2022, Erato Magazine November 2022, Worm Moon Archive November 2022, Flash Fiction Magazine November 2022, Vestal Review issue 61 December 2022; (nominated for this flash fiction piece to Best Micro fictions 2023), The Lovers Literary Journal (forthcoming), Bullshit Lit (forthcoming, September 2023).

Mohor (she/ her) is the pen name for Prothoma Rai Chaudhuri, MA Ph D, Faculty, Department of Political Science, St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, India. 

She does social science through literary fiction.

Her Twitter handle is @ShrutidhoraPM and her Instagram username is @shrutidhorap

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