Little does Sabeena know, but I watch her get dressed every now and then from our attic window. I’ve known her since she was a little girl who moved into the house next door with her parents and younger brother Pravir. She must be fifteen or sixteen now and in her final year of high school, as she is in the year below my eldest son. James is already studying Maths, Physics and Biology at college and I’m sure he’s hoping to be a doctor, like my father.
Watching her select white cotton underwear from her dresser drawer, I make the assumption that she is still a virgin. I wonder if she’ll wait until she is married, or whether the right boy just hasn’t approached her yet. Thinking of her future partners I’m suddenly horrified at the idea that she may be forced into an arranged marriage. Despite living next door to Mr and Mrs Patel for years, I have no idea how they met. Could they have been wed as complete strangers? I recently watched a TV documentary about how arranged marriages were becoming popular again given the rise in divorce. She slips on her knickers and struggles to fasten her bra. After a few attempts she fastens it at the front and swivels it round her tight brown torso slipping her slim arms through the straps.
She selects a crisp white shirt from her wardrobe and delicately pushes each button through its buttonhole. Her shirt is slightly tight over her budding form and I wonder how different my life would’ve been if I’d had girls. It’s too late to think about that now. Far too late. She zips up her navy blue pencil skirt and shoves on a pair of turquoise flip flops. I don’t know at what point she takes these off, but by the time she pulls the front door behind her, she is wearing ankle-length socks and black lace-up shoes.
“Mum!” I hear my youngest yell up the stairs. “Where’s my sports bag?”
I sigh heavily and resent being dragged back to my reality. I climb back down the attic ladder. “In the hallway where you dumped it yesterday evening, Adrian,” I say, running my hand through his sandy hair.
Adrian runs down the garden path, not even turning to wave goodbye. As I gently close the door, I catch a glimpse of my wrinkly face in the mirror and long to be fifteen again.
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Flash Fiction is short enough to read whilst you're waiting for the kettle to boil. It's fairly quick to write too, but with it being so short, every word has to count.
On 4th May 2012 I decided to embark on a project: to write a piece of Flash Fiction every day. I'm hoping this will keep the creative juices flowing and ultimately help me hone my craft. Every Friday I'll be posting 'the best of the week' onto my blog for you to read. If you have anything to say (good or 'constructive'!), I'm open to comments.
Thanks, as always, for reading.