I am sharing the first two chapters of my short story, Family Day! You can find the chapters below. To read more, please click on the link below, to Amazon, and order your copy:
The Exotic Grand cruise ship sails through the Pacific Ocean on route to American Samoa. The cruise started in California and traveled across the Pacific, stopping in various island locations along the way. It stopped in Guam, Hawaii and several other islands so far. Its final destination is Papua New Guinea, where the Noor family and all other passengers will complete their ocean-wide journey. Weather reports have been generally favorable for the course of the trip.
The Noor family has four members. Hisham and Munira Noor are the parents of the family and both have two children together called Nawal and Hilal Noor. They were enjoying their cruise trip very much and relished all the memories they were making as a family. In many ways, they were the picturesque family. For Munira Noor, it surely felt that way too.
“Hilal, stay away from the edge of the ship,” Munira said to her wandering son by her husband’s side.
“Ok, Mom. What is planned for today?” Hilal (six years old) asked walking alongside his sister.
“I think there is a show planned in the theatre hall. Is that right, Hisham?” Munira asked looking to Hisham.
“Let me check the program,” Hisham said while struggling with his brochure and map. “Yes, the cruise organizers are putting on a show titled Sea Voyagers and their Journeys.”
“Sounds like fun,” Nawal (eight) said apparently happy with the prospect of watching the show.
Just as Nawal finished saying that a bolt of lightning flashed through the sky. This was momentarily followed by rapturous thunder. The weather report said that the skies would be clear but the weather changed quickly and the sky discreetly filled with clouds. It was now raining.
“I think we better go inside,” Munira told her family. Her family quickly joined her in the auditorium.
As the day progressed the weather got worse and worse until finally a crew member announced to the passengers a storm had started and that they were to remain calm and seated. While the crew member asked everyone to remain calm, Munira felt anything but calm and feared that her family’s quintessential lives were in for a real test.
Just like that, Munira woke up from her sleep in her apartment and sat up in her bed. It was 14 years since her family’s cruise trip in the Pacific where the cruise ship crashed; leaving few known survivors and a lot of missing people. Munira had this recurrent dream-turned-nightmare of her family on a cruise and then separated in the midst of a devastating storm. She has gotten good at waking up before her dreams turn to nightmares.
Munira had not seen her family since the cruise and has been in a 14-year runt as a result of losing her perfect life. She got up out of bed and proceeded to get ready for the day. Every task she did, from brushing her teeth to combing her hair, was dull as she had completely lost pleasure in life. As she got dressed, she turned on the TV in the room to hear the local news. She frequently looked to hear news of any missing people found to the point of obsession. She had first filed a missing person’s report for her three lost family members 14 years ago and continuously checks on the search with the police
“Good morning Chicago! This is the 6 o’clock news,” a news broadcaster exclaimed. Munira was in no mood to match his enthusiasm. “Today is a special day. Y’all know what day it is, right? Today is Family Day!” The news broadcaster said with the words showing up behind him.
Suddenly, a sinking feeling overcame Munira. She had forgotten about Family Day and always feels a sense of loss every time it comes around. The news broadcaster continued talking but Munira had to turn off the television. She then wept quietly to herself, feeling excruciating pain at the thought of how much she missed her family.
Walking down the streets of Chicago, a beautiful young lady was on her way to work like she was five days a week. She dragged her way across the street as fatigue and lethargy kept her inactive. While she felt particularly low most days, she felt even lower today. That is because today is Family Day and Nawal Noor has been dreading this day ever since she got separated from her family 14 years ago. She is not fond of seeing so many families enjoying their days when she had hers cruelly taken away from her.
Nawal made her way to work and imploded into her chair. The cheerful faces all around her were beaming with joy. Some people were proudly introducing colleagues to their children that they brought along with them. Parents would be bring their children to work on Family Day and others would gush at the pictures of their loved ones that they would show to their workmates. All this made Nawal so blue that she felt sick.
“What’s with the long face, Nawal? Today is Family Day, surely you would be happy celebrating today. Are you feeling alright,” Steve, one of her colleagues, asked, displaying his ignorance to Nawal’s woes.
“No, I’m feeling a bit under the weather actually,” Nawal told Steve.
“That’s a shame, because we have some reports we need to write by tomorrow morning. It’s a bit of a bummer, today being Family Day and all,” Steve revealed to Nawal.
“That’s all right, I don’t have anything planned for today,” Nawal blankly shared with Steve.
“No, aren’t you going to the local Family Day Show in the city hall?” Steve was surprised by Nawal’s lack of cheer and gloomy demeanor on what was a festive day. Nawal had forgotten about the annual show which families would go to see on Family Day.
“No, I’m not going to the show so I can write the reports.” Nawal murmured.
“Okay then, great, can you possibly take up some of my work so I can go,” Steve asked hopefully. Nawal day took a turn for the worse just when she thought it could not get any worse.
“Yeah, sure, I can do all the reports.” Nawal murmured, again, feeling even lower than before.
“That’s wonderful! Thanks so much Nawal, I’ll pay you back,” Steve exclaimed while leaving the workload on her desk and walking away.
“I’m sure you will,” Nawal projected as Steve walked away.
Nawal proceeded to start her work but her thoughts kept on coming back to her family. She longed to have them around and feel like she did when she was younger. She was only a child then, but she remembered vividly and fondly how it was like to have a warm, loving family. These days, she lives alone having no family in her life. What she would not give to have her mother, father and brother back.
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