It Could Be Easy or Tough

They said it would be easy if…

you found the white walls receding into the black hole and opening up like the innermost rocky skin of the crevices deep down into which you have spent your pre-teen years peeping in, spotting a bearded, red-eyed, woolly-haired huge man, the one who held a staff in his metal hand which he raised to draw runaway boys to his cave, from which there was no escape…until you grew up and saw a well of shadows, of grief, of losses, of memories of losses, of the loss of memories in his eyes, on the other side of which lies a world of sights and smells, of smiles which remain comforting long after they have been detached from known lips, of breaths which exhale hope and trust, and then you would want to trot across mustard fields, with the yellow mustard flowers bowing before your staccato hooves, or crouch through the elephant grass, your elbows poking into your knees…and the magnet bar hooked atop the pole in the hands of the man would pull you in, and you would not want to resist anymore, one day indeed, you would find it easy to glide on the wave of a buttery-smooth path with lilac on either side that you have always turned away from.

They cautioned it might get tough if…

you paused to remember the series of maroon cardigans lining the mountain road up to the school, the clouds which touched the roof of the houses, the pink wild flowers which dropped as soon as they were touched, or if you took the toy train which enters a tunnel which has light at both ends at first, then somewhere down the ride you scream silently and crash your fists into the toughened glass windows, outside which there is another world which you can see but not smell, and it is then that you realize that the ride is one without a stop, and that the train driver has forgotten how to pull the brakes…you look for the emergency exit and exit it is….

Silent.

Circular.

Deafening.

Criss-cross.

And then it isn’t tough anymore.

A black background with red border and a white line.
A woman wearing glasses and blue shirt in a restaurant.
Shrutidhora P. Mohor

Shrutidhora P Mohor (the pen name for Prothoma Rai Chaudhuri) is an author from India writing literary fiction. Her works have been published or accepted by literary magazines such as Flash Fiction Magazine, Friday Flash Fiction, oranges journal, Fiery Scribe Review Magazine, and Ayaskala. She has also been listed in international writing competitions like the 20th Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Bristol Short Story Prize 2022, the George Floyd Short Story Competition 2022, the 16th Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Retreat West monthly micro competition. She teaches in the department of political science at St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta and uses storytelling to bridge the misconceived divide between academic writing and literary writing.

Vestal Review