Blessings Received? - by Sultana Raza (Flash Fiction 2021)

   Of Indian origin, Sultana Raza’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Columbia Journal, The New Verse News, London Grip, Classical Poetry Society, spillwords, Poetry24, Dissident Voice, and The Peacock Journal. Her fiction has received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train Review, and has been published in Coldnoon Journal, Szirine, apertura, Entropy, and ensemble (in French). She has read her fiction/poems in India, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, England, Ireland, the US, and at CoNZealand.
  Sultana Raza has an MA in English Literature. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in Literary Ladies Guides, Literary Yard,, Litro, impspired,, Gnarled Oak, Kashmir Times, and A Beautiful Space. Her 100+ articles (on art, theatre, film, and humanitarian issues) have appeared in English and French. An independent scholar, Sultana Raza has presented many papers related to Romanticism (Keats) and Fantasy (Tolkien) in international conferences.

Blessings Received?

by Sultana Raza

  Suzie wasn’t sure she’d had a visitation by a veiled lady in blue in restless dreams, full of waves, and sea-side fronds. Had Suzie been sliding down dunes in coastal rains?
  Of course, Billy shot down the idea of a miracle in a flash.
  Yet, during the yard sale on the beach, Suzie pulled at her forelock three times, kissed the first rounded pebble she saw, and spitting four times around herself for good luck, bought the Temple of Liberty, painted cerulean, with the tiny figure in blue robes like a sole bride, on top of a superstitious cake.
  Billy just sniffed at her silly antics.
  At least, the water didn’t reach their first floor apartment the next week. And their rusty, old Impala didn’t float away to freedom on the ocean. The boss didn’t fire Suzie, just poor deaf Jake on account of his wife suddenly upping, and leaving his messy apartment.
  Everybody in the building had to be rushed to the doctor’s, but luckily Suzie’s family were the only ones who’d refused the free rashers offered by the new super-market.
  Billy simply shrugged, and wrote it all down to a handful of mere coincidences.
  Suzie rubbed the feet of the unyielding bride three times every morning and evening, even if the statue was placidly content to remain in the same pose, staring at her limited infinity forever with her vacant eyes.
  And at least Billy hadn’t shot down her idea yet, of picking curly pink sea-shells for Granny May next May Day. Granny had always said that that brought good luck.
  In the end, Suzie found just four curly pink sea-shells for Granny May, but she gave them two to keep for themselves. Sweet Granny May, always looking out for her own, even at eighty-two.
  When Suzie discovered about a dozen lottery tickets in Billy’s shirt pocket, she couldn’t help smiling. At least she’d discovered them before washing the shirt.
  When the unseasonal mini-tornado spared their street, and took off the top floors of all the buildings on their parallel street, Suzie lit a dozen candles at the local church, and kept the curly pink sea shells soaked in sea water, so they’d keep generating good luck.
  This time, Billy didn’t even mock Suzie’s action of putting the curly pink sea-shells at the feet of the cerulean Temple of Liberty, even if the lady at the top couldn’t look down at them. Neither did he complain about not winning the lottery.
  In these unsettling times, it was enough the pink sea-shells had helped to ward off bad luck. Good luck would breeze in whenever it was good and ready, as Granny May always said. We just have to keep our minds, hearts, and living space prepared for it.

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