An old birthday card- #memories

She found it when she was cleaning out her dressing table one day. It had a blue background and on the inside was the real treasure. It had been more than 6 years since she had opened it. Yet, she hadn’t thrown it away, despite moving 3 houses in that period.

With a slight shake, she put it back in the shelf and continued to sort out her perfume bottles and her nail polish stand. Neatly, she arrayed the make-up box alongside the cluster of earrings that stood by, shining and twinkling in the central shelf.

Stepping back, she surveyed the order with a sense of achievement and nodded her head. Her eyes strayed back to the object and with a big sigh, she reached for it. Tucking one leg under her, she dropped onto the bean bag in the portico and read the birthday card through at one glance. Tears fell fast and freely as each word registered in her aching heart.

happy birthday

‘My dearest S,

You are 16 now and yet, I remember the time when I picked you up when you were hardly sixteen seconds old. You are catching up with my age. I am the same age at heart ūüėČ Your turning 16 jolts me to the realisation that we have been apart for such a long time. ¬†I still recall with a great deal of nostalgia the days (and they were such happy days) when you used to run around as a toddler. Well, we will not have them anymore.

Seriously, turning this age is a major milestone, when the way you see the world and the world sees you begins to change subtly. It is also the age when one begins to act and think responsibly and you are already living up to it. With this new move abroad, you will be gearing up for new challenges and I am sure you will measure up admirably.

Wishing you the best in the years to come. I know you will do us all proud in the years to come, wherever you go and whatever you do.

With lots of love,

Uncle B.


This was a card I received on my 16th birthday from a very dear uncle.

Eight years ago, I lost him to cancer. The pain is still raw on some days.

This card gives me solace and brings his face and smile alive for me, each time I read it.

Miss you, Uncle B. Far more than words can convey.


Unshed tears- Five Sentence Fiction

Look, that’s a yellow and black- backed butterfly and it’s about to settle on that really pretty pink flower now!

Hmm, that’s nice, dear, but can you keep it down a bit? I just have about ten more pages to finish.

Lila’s face dropped as she watched the butterfly first and then her mom, who never looked up from the engrossing novel clasped in her hands.

Pages of Lila’s childhood flipped by in fleeting memories as she watched the entire sequence in flashback.



     Written for Five Sentence Fiction's Prompt: Pages

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The Greatest Loss- #Part 3- Conclusion

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

– Maya Angelou

{This is Part 3 of my 3-part Serial story- The Greatest Loss. 

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here}

White light blinded her as she opened her eyes. Where was she? She couldn’t remember much.

Struggling to prop herself up on one elbow, she tried to shield her face from the piercing light. Looking down at herself, she saw a white robe. Scraps of memory flitted across her mind:¬†The tears, the blackouts, the anger, the arguments, a man’s¬†sweet face , the bridge. . .

Wait! The Bridge! She was going to jump off it! Was this it? Had she taken the plunge? Was this. . .?

Tears touched the edge of her eyelashes. She didn’t mean to do it. She would give anything to see him¬†again, hug him one more time, apologise for all the angst and the fury. Wait, who was he? What was his name? Why was she so muddled?

Soft footsteps distracted her line of thought. The light still kept her from seeing anything, so she called out, ‘Who’s there?’

“It’s me, Gabriel,” said a masculine voice. “Are you feeling better? Can we talk now?”

‘Who are you? Where am I?’

“We’ve discussed this before, Sylvia. Don’t you remember?” his gentle voice soothed her but also made her mind race.

‘No, I can’t remember anything,’ she whispered in grief.

“Never mind, go back to sleep,” his voice continued. And, as if in a dream (or death?), she slipped peacefully back into oblivion.


‘How is she?’

“The prognosis is the same, I’m afraid. Deep-seated dementia and schizophrenia, leading to manic-depression with suicidal tendencies. She was rather violent in the first few days after we found her, if you remember?”

‘Yes, how can I forget? I still recall the broken window panes in your office.’

“Well, that was my fault. I should have known better than to stock ancient Incan artifacts in a doctor’s office. Of course, I guess I never did anticipate them flying out the window.”

The strained expression on the other’s face made him switch his tone abruptly.” Sorry, I didn’t mean to make light of the matter.”

‘So, what now? When can I see her?’

“Not for some more time, I’m sorry. The sedative is working now and we want to gradually ease her back into normalcy. The dosage can take weeks to take complete effect.”

‘Weeks?’ His breath caught in his throat, as he swallowed a lump.

Kindness in his eyes, Dr. Gabriel touched Mark’s shoulder. “She needs time, Mark. Give her that and she will come back to you, good as new. I promise you this.”


Five weeks later

Soft tones of flute music played in the room where she sat, wrapped in a warm rug, sipping on her lemon tea. She looked placidly out the window and watched the gentle snowflakes dancing in the air, chasing each other in a lazy pirouette. Her hair was no longer in a tight bun but fell softly about her face, framing the filled-out cheekbones which had a tiny spot of colour in them.

“Can I get you something else?”

Sylvia looked up and gazed¬†with gratitude¬†into Mark’s eyes. ‘Thank you, kind sir. I have everything I need.’

It stabbed him every time she called him, ‘Sir’, but he never let it show. With a beaming smile, he bowed and left the room quietly. Outside, he met Dr. Gabriel and said, ‘ She spoke to me with more emotion today.’ The childlike happiness on his face wrung Gabriel’s heart. “Of course she did,” he said brightly, not showing the emotion he really felt.

He then watched as Mark picked up his hat and gloves and left for the day. He would return the following day. And every day after that for many weeks to come. . .

snow daybreak


Nine months later

Mark sat in the armchair next to the bed, his hand on the bed, next to Sylvia as she lay sleeping. The cool wintry breeze was lulling him to sleep and he gave in to the stupor.

‘Mark, wake up.’

His eyes flew open as he heard her voice calling out his name. She was sitting up in bed, holding his hand, smiling into his eyes. In them was the spark he had longed to see all year- the look of recognition. There was so much to tell, so much to share and so much more to look forward to, as they locked glances for the first time in nearly a year.

In that moment, on a cold winter’s morning, like the sun peeping out from behind the clouds to give the sliver of warmth, Mark embraced Sylvia, welcoming her back into his life.

©Shailaja V