Short Story: A Different Imagination

For as long as I can remember, there have always been two frames of photographs in our living room. The large one contains many different photos of many different relatives at many different times. (My parents believed that I should know the names and faces of my relatives, even though it is unlikely that I will ever meet most of them; as a little girl, held in my mother’s arms so that I could see the photographs, I could name the relatives pictured, while my father recorded the scene on a rented video camera.) The smaller frame contains a photograph of my mother’s grandmother. It hangs below the larger frame, as Belarusian superstition dictates that photographs of deceased individuals should be placed lowest. The palm-sized square photograph has flown with us across the oceans and the deserts to Australia. Every morning when I walk into the living room, it is there on the mantle piece, reminding me that somewhere, in a land I can only imagine, there lived a woman, whom I would have liked to have met before she passed away. Continue reading “Short Story: A Different Imagination”


Short Story: The Veiled Girl Who Did Not Believe In God

“There is no God”, the girl said defiantly. Her hair was meticulously covered by a silky scarf tied in the style of Turkish actresses. Not a strand of hair could escape beneath the tight cap. Her face had been beautified with the aid of a range of cosmetics; her father and her teacher would argue that there had been too many. Underneath the short-sleeved, knee-length navy and white checkered school dress she wore a white long-sleeved t-shirt and several pairs of navy opaque stockings, all in spite of the summer heat. Overall, she adhered to the Islamic dress code.

“But how can you not believe?”, the other girl probed. Continue reading “Short Story: The Veiled Girl Who Did Not Believe In God”

A Short Story: “The MH-17 Flight and a Gluten-free Vegan Blackforest Cake”

“Did you hear about the flight that has been shot down? The Malaysian airlines one in Ukraine?”

The five teenage girls sat around a table in an empty classroom, enjoying their sandwiches and staring at the screens of their gadgets.

“I know right, it’s so horrible – all of the passengers and crew on board were killed!”

A strange kind of fury welled up inside her. She did not know what had happened yet; she had been avoiding the news for quite some time now. This was her chance to say something about all those things that she thought about so often, but no one seemed to care about. While her friends expressed their outrage and gathered around a fresh newspaper article on a laptop screen, she attempted to gather her thoughts. How can she tell them everything that she wants to say?  Continue reading “A Short Story: “The MH-17 Flight and a Gluten-free Vegan Blackforest Cake””

Short Story: “Two Easters”

The baskets of brightly coloured eggs, of freshly baked paskkhas, a sweet bread baked especially for Easter, decorated generously with whipped egg whites and sprinkles, of imported vodka bottles, of eggs hastily coloured and joyfully decorated with stickers, of homemade rye bread loaves, of sausages very much unlike the neat ones in the supermarket, filled the hastily arranged picnic tables in the large room. The children bought candles from a stern faced elderly lady at the entrance for a gold coin and placed them into the centre of the paskkhas, lighting them first under the watchful gaze of their parents. Finally, the priest entered. Continue reading “Short Story: “Two Easters””

Short Story: “The Prayers Of An Ambitious Child”

“I used to do all sorts wierd things when I was little. Well, not really little, little. I think I was in grade 4, so I would’ve been 9 or 10. It was my second year at the selective school in the city and I was the top student in my class. However, this year I decided that I wouldn’t be the top student. I wanted to know what it felt like to get told off by the teacher, to get a B or even a C on a test, to actually have to try hard to improve my grades, to get disciplinary notes from the teacher and then be smacked with a belt by my parents. You see, my parents didn’t believe in physical punishment, but my classmates often talked of fearing it… I felt as though I was missing out on something… As though my family was wierd… I mean, of course we were wierd! We were migrants!!”

“Once I even forgot to get a permission slip signed by my mum, and I was ready to get called up to the front of the classroom and be shouted at while my classmates looked on in delight and surprise. Continue reading “Short Story: “The Prayers Of An Ambitious Child””

A Short Story: “Books about Afghanistan” 

“Oh I’ve seen that book before. Why would you be reading that?”

“Well… I kind of like reading books about Afghanistan.”

The three girls were casually browsing the shelves of the fiction section, while the rain pounded on the windows of the school library. It would have been difficult to guess their ages, but the school records said that they were in Year 8. One of them was wearing a white headscarf and paired the checkered school dress with some navy trousers. The second was wearing an oversize white school shirt and a pair of navy trousers that were similarly loose. (Her dark mane of long curly hair was pulled into a neat pony tail.) The third was dressed in the same attire as the second and her mid-length light brown hair was also pulled into a neat ponytail. It was she who enjoyed reading books about Afghanistan, and it was she, unlike the others, who could not call it her homeland. Continue reading “A Short Story: “Books about Afghanistan” “