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Shreya Sen-Handley

Columnist, Author and Illustrator

Category

Short Fiction

These Seven

 These Seven

Nimmi’s Wall

“It was the first good day after a long, dank winter so she got out of the house early before the sun could run out on her. Nimmi was going to do what she’d been longing to do since she arrived in Nottingham — explore the long garden that disappeared in a cloud at the bottom. The empty red brick house she had moved into four months ago was now furnished to her taste and felt like home. But the garden in these months of incessant, icy rain and a cold, buffeting wind had been impossible to get to know. It had taken on an aura of mystery and become doubly alluring in the time she’d spent looking at it from inside the protective warmth of her new home. “A hardier soul would have been out there exploring it already!” she reminded herself almost every day while looking out the tall glass windows of her living room, past her steadily swelling reflection, into the dripping garden beyond. But it had had little effect. If she scolded herself often about it, she also made excuses on the grounds that she was a tropical animal, only recently arrived from sweltering Kolkata and exceedingly cowardly when it came to cold like she’d never known before.”

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The Third Script

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Lean on Me

“On a rainy Thursday afternoon, just before my weekly break, we sat in his quiet corner of the common room, next to the bookshelf he’d made his own. He would go to the homeless shelter on Oak Avenue he said, and the soup kitchen down the road would keep body and soul together till he found a job. But how likely was he to find one? Disabled and deeply troubled, he made singularly unfortunate first impressions. I found myself asking him to move in with Sam and me, but I struggled with its significance because there was already a whiff of romance about us despite its improbability; a courtly romance of warm, poetic effusions in which I was muse to his minstrel. Moving in with us, however, would surely precipitate an actual relationship, which I wasn’t sure I wanted.

He recited Neruda to me on our rain-ravaged Friday night call.

Snap. Crackle. Pop. Prolonged crackle. And then a bolt, not out of the blue but still sudden. “I’ve fallen in love with you,” he said.

The deafening static consuming the line gave me time to think, to quell the panic. I did love him but not in that way. Was it in that way? I didn’t know.

“Is something the matter?” He sounded hurt.

“I love you too,” I blurted, and in saying so, it became true.”

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The Chair

Published in Transportation Press

The Problem with Potatoes

Published in Open Road Review

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