‘Samsa’s Hair’ by Rahad Abir

Short Story ID- 10/2015

One morning Samsa Roy woke up in bed and found himself completely bald.

It was not a bald patch or bald spot. It was complete, clean baldness. Sleek, soapy, smooth. He ran a confused hand over his head back and forth. He felt nothing there. Not a single hair. He slept on his right side, as usual, with his right hand under his head. He wondered if he might be having that tormenting dream again. He had been having a recurring dream of going bald. He got so used to it that he began to believe it.

Was he drifting between sleep and wakefulness? He sat straight up in bed. He was scared stiff. He sensed this time it was no dream. The sound and smell of the room seemed familiar. Samsa turned his face to the only window in his small room. Outside, the morning sun of Dhaka shone brightly, same as every day. The alarm must have gone off a while ago. He had about an hour to take a shower, have a large breakfast and get ready for his work as an insurance sales agent. Today’s assignment was in a bank’s main office. It would be a long day. His big boss arranged everything for him. And they were expecting ten to fifteen first-rate fresh policies from there. In no way could he call off work last minute, even if death itself came.

What’s to be done? He rubbed his head again. It was slippery like mustard oil. Why did the dream—the bad dream—come true? He cursed himself. There was no mirror in the room. So he had no idea how enormously his old look had changed. Why didn’t he simply jump out of the bed and start his regular activities? Maybe no one would notice?

It was already seven fifty-seven in the morning. Samsa tried to block his thoughts. He got out of his bed, and slowly moved to the door. With shallow breathing, he put his hand on the doorknob. With the watchful movement of a burglar, he opened the door a little and observed the hallway intently. He saw no one. He did a quick calculation. His unemployed busybody big brother was still in bed. His father was out for morning air, and mother was in the kitchen. He put one foot out of the doorway, and then scuttled to the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom, he caught a whiff of sandal soap. As soon as his eyes fell upon the mirror his image split. The image staring back seemed so unlike him. The heart under his rib cage put a brake on working until he was certain it was him: Samsa Roy. His enormous empty head seemed as though there was no hair from the genesis. As if a bare old head was shining baldly. He felt older than a very old man. Moreover, he noticed his ears stuck out from his bald head. From each side they looked like giant elephant ears. For God’s sake, how could this have happened to me, he thought, I’m too young to be old. Who on earth could endure this sudden disaster? He tried to remember when his hair disaster began. It started, like a growing moon, with a thinning widow’s peak. Then it turned to the crown and took control over the rest of it. But whatever good or bad or ugly the situation was, he still had hair. Until last night. Until he woke up this morning.

On a sudden thought, it occurred to him that he had lost not only the hair on his head, but all his body hair. He felt more naked than ever. Samsa glanced in the mirror. His beards glanced back. That felt good. He needed a shave. But he wouldn’t. He would grow his beard. A clean-shaven head and face would look undressed, unperson. He took off his clothes. A man of twenty three, shorter in height than the average, looked younger than his years. He had a bit of hair on his chest. With a small trail the hair ran down to his belly button and further down. His hand patted the tree-shaping hair. Then caressed his lush, lavish and vigorous pubes: the pubic hair of a European. A smirk grew on his face. What if the world turned upside down? Then he did what he used to do often. He began undressing his woman. Slowly, gently. A naughty smile flickered across her lips. He felt her warm breath. His breathing quickened. She groaned at the touch of his fingertips. He groaned too. Then his body gushed some of its youthful vigor.

Samsa turned on the shower. With a regular habit, his hand reached for the shampoo. This one came from New York. Grabbing the green bottle he had an immediate grasp that it would be no use for him. Not anymore. In the basin cabinet more things would go unused; baldpate hair tonic, organic shampoos, dusty hair gel tubes and much more. He began to weep.

As he came out of the bathroom he heard a shriek. It was his mother in the hallway.

‘‘Ma, it’s me, Samsa.’’ He said in great haste.

‘‘Huh?’’ She gaped at him, speechless.

He tuned out her gape. ‘‘I’m running late. Is breakfast ready?’’ He made for his room.

‘‘Oh God, you scared me,’’ she cried. ‘‘Where’s your hair gone?’’

‘‘I shaved it,’’ Samsa said slamming the door behind him.

He wore a white and blue striped shirt, pleated khaki pants, and a Scottish tweed flat charcoal cap to cover his head. When Samsa sat at the dining table, he heard a click on the door. His father walked in.

The old eyes, the old nose creased. ‘‘Who’s this?’’ Holding the door half-open his eyes studied carefully. ‘‘Ah, Samsa. What happened to your hair?’’

Samsa didn’t reply. His mother did. His father claimed he looked comical in that cap.

‘‘No one in my family was bald. Not even on your mother’s side. How did you get it?’’ father crowed.

Samsa gave his father a stern look. Something was smoldering in that look. The old man was right though. His fifty-five plus skull was clearly ageing, but no sign of balding.

The bus stop was a few steps away. With a hurried pace, Samsa kept his head low and his eyes on the street. He had a feeling that everybody was staring at the naked spots on his head; their eyes full of mocking expression. He could feel the shout of laughter in the air.

By the time Samsa arrived at the office, the clock had struck ten twenty-two. He made no eye contact with anyone as he walked past. As though he had no face; he wanted to disappear himself. His heart started thumping the moment he approached his boss’s room. Just outside the door, he tried to gain his composure. The big boss gazed at him with a fascist frown as he entered the room.

‘‘Who the hell are you?’’ The big boss sat erect in his chair. As always his shirt had no creases, nor his pants. His shoes were glossy enough to reflect one’s face. And his individual scent accented his big boss perfume. Everything about him was distinct and distinguishing.

The big boss had recognized him, Samsa could tell from his eyes. Before Samsa opened his mouth the big boss snapped. As if he’d unveiled a crime.

‘‘This is an insurance office, not a fashion house. Why this metamorphosis?’’

Samsa answered that he had a head shave. For a second, he couldn’t help sneaking a look at the to-grey-and-not-to-grey hair of the big boss. His hair looked brainy with his Bedouin skin color.

‘‘Fair enough,’’ the big boss said in a sarcastic tone. ‘‘Now you’re a perfect American insurance company salesman. A perfect bald eagle. Or a baldpate.’’ He scanned Samsa head to toe. Then in a strange steady voice he told him yet again the importance of physical appearance, especially when being a terrific sales agent. Samsa’s hairless head and hairy face appeared to him totally unacceptable and unlikable. Therefore, in no way Samsa could continue working for the company.

‘‘But sir—’’ Samsa tried to protest, but his tongue stayed in his jaw.

‘‘Let me tell you the harsh truth,’’ the big boss cut him off. ‘‘Over the last six months, the amount of policies you have brought for the company is not impressive. I don’t think you’re a good fit for this profession. You’re simply not an insurance-agent kind of guy. You’d better change your track.’’

‘‘But sir, I’m trying, and I’m not doing that bad.’’

The big boss always presented himself as a stellar example when it came to selling policies. He was a perfect insurance man to every degree. He said that no one hitherto could have broken his record in the office. Samsa believed the secret to his success was his attractive physique rather than his persuasive power.

‘‘Listen, the bottom line is I can’t send a baldy agent to my clients. Simple as that.’’ The big boss concluded.

Quickly, Samsa brought up today’s assignment. The big boss said not to worry about it at all. Samsa wanted to say something more, but the big boss pointed him to the door.

Out on the street, with the heart of a lost traveler, Samsa saw a forlorn and beaten soul walk through in his known world. Should he go back and see the HR and payroll office to sort everything out? Or should he wait a few days to see if the big boss changed his mind? Nothing would change. Samsa knew it. He was fired.

Sitting in a street tea shop, he watched people move hurriedly in all directions. They had hair. They had a job. They had a destination. What did he have? At one o’clock he could go to meet his woman if he wished. He wondered how she’d take him. Let come what comes, he thought.

His woman worked for an elementary school. At first glance she took him for a stranger. When he waved at her she shrank back as if a phantom appeared before her.

‘‘Oh my! It’s not you.’’ She exclaimed.

Samsa noticed the same frown as the one on his big boss’s face. The same question mark on her perfect arched eyebrows. ‘‘I shaved my head,’’ he threw out the answer.

‘‘I see,’’ she cried. ‘‘We need to talk. Let’s go to the park.’’

On the way she spoke no words. Under the June sky the park and its visitors were in siesta. They sat by the lake.

‘‘Now, look at me,’’ she blurted out. And without warning she seized his cap.

‘‘Oh my god!’’ her eyes popped out. Her frozen hand on her lips.

Samsa gave her time to absorb. Not hurried to grab his cap.

‘‘OK, who am I in your life?’’ she asked sharply.

‘‘You’re my girlfriend.’’

‘‘Am I?’’ she cried. ‘‘You didn’t even bother asking me before doing this circumcision. You don’t care about me at all.’’

‘‘No, I do,’’ he said.

‘‘Balderdash!’’ she snarled. ‘‘Tell me the bald truth!’’

‘‘I am telling the truth!’’

‘‘No, you are not.’’ She sounded she was someone else. ‘‘OK, here is my baldest truth. I can’t stand baldies. So we are done! Right here, on this bald spot.’’ She was red, burning.

‘‘You know,’’ Samsa slurred, ‘‘it just happened.’’ He took her hands.

‘‘It just happened?’’ she bawled, shoving his hand away. ‘‘This is not the first time, you bald-faced liar! You never share anything; you never care about my opinion. I’m sick of you.’’

Samsa saw his woman grow livid. She said she had warned him several times. He calmly watched her flaming lips move. He even had a sudden impulse to plant a kiss there. But Samsa shrunk in alarm. He wondered how a short bone-thin woman could have such a piercing potent voice.

‘‘I tell you what, I’ll return the favor. This time I’m not gonna bother listening to you. I’m done with you. Good bye.’’ The words gushed out from her mouth in one breath.

She sprang to her feet. Without waiting for reply, without looking back, she moved towards the way out. Samsa tried to stop his woman but it was in vain. Her dark hair flowed behind her with hasty steps. Then and there a grey cloud hung over the park. His eyes became blurred with glittering tears. A warm wave of memory flowed through him. She ended as she had begun. This brought Samsa back to that day. That day, she made a magical appearance to him. About a year and a half ago, after school.

‘‘I need to talk to you. Let’s go to the park.’’ She said.

They headed to the park side by side, without a word. They sat by the lake. Then she broke the silence.

‘‘I like you, and I want to love you.’’ She proclaimed as a sudden downpour.

 

Samsa woke up with a start. He found his body lying on a bench. He sat up. The park was darkening with the cries of the birds. The chorus sent a shudder through him. It occurred to him that he heard the dusk chorus one thousand and one nights after. The city out there was yawning. Overburdened with melancholy. Had he been sleeping long? After she’d abandoned him he decided to stay in the park to kill time. He bought a newspaper and read every advertisement word by word; words related to baldness. Nothing worthwhile. He was angry and bitter; with himself, with her, and even with the world.

An achy and drowsy feeling enveloped his body. His stomach was left with an empty sensation and he had no desire to eat lunch. Instantly an instinct told him that something was missing. He fingered his head. The cap was not there. He looked around, but no sign of it. He stood and checked his pants’ pockets in alarm. His wallet and phone were fine. Someone must have walked off with his cap. While he was asleep.

The dark was now deeper. The presence of people around was light. A hawker passed him carrying a flask of tea. Samsa called him out. He had two buns with two cups of tea. He could have a third round, but he thought that would be a gluttonous streak. He let out a loud, satisfied belch. He lit a cigarette and rose to his feet. After a few steps his body unjammed. The night breeze gave him a mild friendly hug. It cooled off his face. He smelled the familiar flowers. Samsa wandered through the pristine grass. A waft of grass engulfed him. He liked it. He stayed away from the walkway. It saved him feeling embarrassed by the Victorian lamps. Or from the kissing lovers who might have noticed his cap was missing.

Once upon a time, not many years ago, he had hung out with his friends in this park. He had a full head of hair then. Hair that was dark, healthy and suitable for his Facebook profile picture. Ever since he started losing his hair, he hated stumbling upon old friends. With a funny look at his head, they taunted: ‘‘Hey, your nut looks like Uncle Tom.’’

Samsa tried not to look back. He tried not to think so many things. Family, friends, work, woman or hair. He rested on a bench. Here the park was much darker, much quieter. He lit another cigarette, puffed in and out. Quietly watched the rising smoke with great attention. Thinking nothing. Maybe he could spend the rest of his life doing that. But something broke his silence. Something in the dark. Something little by little emerged from there. A human figure. A woman in black. Eyes twinkled in the dark. She advanced with a careful pace. She stopped. She eyed him in silence for a bit, then came close.

‘‘You need?’’ she said in a near whisper.

Samsa stared at her. Still. Silent.

‘‘All kinds. It’s safe here. No police.’’ She put in plain words.

He liked her wording. ‘‘How does it work?’’

‘‘New chicken?’’ The woman sat at the corner of his bench, keeping enough distance. ‘‘Well,’’ she spelled out, ‘‘it depends how you wanna do it. Sitting, standing or lying? Sitting or standing fifty. For lying hundred bucks.’’

Samsa nearly exploded. Throughout the day this was the only moment—something nice, something amusing—he happened to come across. But he controlled not to double up with laughter. ‘‘If I try the full course. All three?

The woman narrowed her unthoughtful eyes. ‘‘You kidding, right?’’

‘‘Nope.’’ Samsa looked at her intently. Kind of pretty and younger than him. Not wanting to ridicule the charm of the night, he added at once, ‘‘Yes, I was kidding. I’m sorry.’’

She rose and started walking to the darkness where she appeared from.

‘‘Listen,’’ he called out, ‘‘I’ll do it.’’

She stopped short, turned her head a little and gave him the once-over.

‘‘Here’s the money.’’ Samsa held out a hundred Taka note.

She came back. ‘‘You wanna do it right here?’’She slipped the note into her bra.

He asked how much time she would give him. She said fifteen to twenty minutes.

‘‘Could you simply talk to me for that time instead?’’ he said.

‘‘You not gonna do it?’’ With her experienced eyes she tried to see something. ‘‘Are you a virgin?’’

Samsa somewhat smiled and shook his head.

‘‘Yeah? I knew it.’’ She said with a friendly grin. ‘‘No worries, man. I know how to unvirgin a virgin.’’

‘‘Listen, night queen,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a really bad day, the worst of the worst of my life. It’s a life-and-death situation. I just want you to talk with me for a little while.’’

‘‘Aahh,’’ she cooed. ‘‘Now I get it. Okay okay, I’ll give you half an hour.’’ She lit a sweet smile.

He saw an unkindly kind face there. A nondescript face painted with cheap makeup. Blue eyes penciled with Kohl. Sad lips with flattering red. All in a little exaggeration. Dark hair, dark skin, deadly short, deadly stout. He asked her name in a shoddy way. She said Mariam. He thought what else he could ask. He checked his phone. About ten o’clock. He turned it off. Mariam talked about the park. She talked about Police. She said police rarely visited this place. Even they did, they only asked for money or a free fuck; sometimes both. They’re the nastiest creatures on the planet, Mariam snapped. Samsa nodded with an umm.

Mariam kept company over thirty minutes. Then she left. Just left. After a time the night turned bland. This woman who was right here, Samsa knew, gone to another guy now. ‘‘Slutty bitch,’’ he said to himself. He imagined a paunchy man who had a big ugly face, pop eyes, big fat lips and stinky mouth. The lousy man would cup her breasts now and enjoy her tonight’s virginity. Samsa’s breathing was ragged. He rubbed his head a couple of times. His jaw tightened. He got up and paced back and forth. Then he broke off. Why was he doing this? He paced back and forth some more. And the minute he decided to take a stroll Mariam turned up.

‘‘No John,’’ she said, sitting beside him.

Samsa blinked, breathed a big sigh, beamed at her. He offered her a cigarette. She took it. He lit it up. They smoked together. They puffed together. They both tried to blow smoke rings. Neither of them was good at it, but they kept trying to try. She giggled. After the fun was over, Mariam stood up to make another round on the lookout for John. Samsa offered her one hundred bucks for a second time. To buy another half hour. She hesitated. He insisted. So she accepted. They began to chitchat about this and that. Over cigarettes and smoke.

‘‘You know what,’’ Samsa turned to her, ‘‘it’s great to have a cigarette together.’’

Mariam tilted her head a little. ‘‘Aren’t you going home tonight?’’

‘‘Nothing there,’’ he sighed.

Mariam wrapped a strand of hair around her index finger. ‘‘I’m going to get some food. Ya wanna eat?’’

Samsa nodded. Mariam dashed for a street shop. She came back with some chapatti and beef fry. They ate hungrily. Suddenly they looked at each other and started laughing. The sound of their laughter broke the sound of silence. Her face was so close to his. It was then that Samsa noticed that the beauty mark on her left cheek had some sassy appeal. He brushed her cheek with his fingertip. It gently moved over to her redder-than-red lips. She neither stopped him nor said anything. His fingertip lightly rubbed her full lips. She giggled and shook her head.

‘‘What?’’ he said.

Mariam shook her head again. ‘‘Men suck so hard. They don’t kiss, they bite. Their mouths stink. They’re horrible.’’ She spread a Mona Lisa smile. ‘‘But you’re a good-ass anyway.’’

Her ribald humor touched him. Mariam sighed.

‘‘Okay,’’ she said. ‘‘Enough. Time for business.’’ She stretched out her arms and yawned. ‘‘And you, good-ass, don’t be miserable. Your girlfriend dumped you? Forget it. There’s no love in this world. It’s all sex, dirty sex.’’ She was about to put on her heels.

‘‘Mariam,’’ he looked up at her. ‘‘Why don’t you spend the night with me?’’ He waited a bit. Then continued, ‘‘Let me check how much I’ve got.’’ Samsa pulled out his wallet and began counting his cash.

‘‘Are you serious?’’ she cried out. ‘‘Well, I don’t mind only if you can afford it.’’

Samsa handed her all the notes. Mariam counted them twice. She curled her lip, bit it and licked it. With a Euclidian expertise she figured something quickly. And finally she said yes. Then she folded the notes and buried them in her bra.

‘‘Uhh,’’ she grunted as she sat down. ‘‘My nipples burn.’’ She uttered almost like a whisper.

‘‘What?’’

‘‘Oh, it’s a girly thing,’’ she said in a nonchalant manner. ‘‘My period’s coming.’’

Samsa stared at her, an uneducated, unthoughtful but unpretentious woman, who was involved in a primeval profession, who was quirky, and beautifully had a beauty mark on the left cheek like his no-more girlfriend.

‘‘You’re interesting,’’ he chuckled.

Mariam snorted with laughter. ‘‘You men are dickheads. You think women’s bodies all hush-hush. C’mon, it’s an open book. It’s on sale, you see. Damn cheap.’’

Samsa pulled a cigarette out of his packet. He held it between his fingers. But it stayed unlit.

‘‘You don’t want to know how I became a night queen? Everyone does anyway.’’ Mariam said with a shrug. ‘‘Men are bastards. All the same.’’

Samsa gave her a long look. This woman was not what she seemed. He listened to her talking with a strange naturalness about losing her virginity. It was her no-good drug-addicted father. She got pregnant. He then showed the kindness to clean her. And one good day she ran away from home.

Samsa was at a loss for words. Mariam asked for a cigarette. He offered her one. She put it between her sad lips and lit it up herself. He lit his, together smoking, in silence.

After a long silence Samsa spoke. ‘‘Mariam, can you give me a fair answer?’’

Mariam looked to him. Their eyes met.

‘‘How do I look? Just be honest.’’ He said.

Mariam eyed him thoroughly. She gave two looks at his top. Samsa drew his breath. His heart sank.

‘‘You look what you look. Like everybody else. You just have a nice doom. That’s it.’’

His face was all scrunched up, slack-jawed. ‘‘Nothing odd? Or horrible?’’

‘‘Nah, you look rather hot, set to get some ass. So I came to ask you.’’

His eyes glimmered. ‘‘Thank you, Mariam. You’re a nice person.’’

Mariam suppressed a shy smile. The faint musical notes of the cricket chorus in the nearby trees fell that moment. Then rose again. She busied herself wrapping and unwrapping a small strand of hair around her index finger. Her shy smile struck Samsa that his no-more woman had the same sort of smile. He began cracking his knuckles. Mariam yawned. Samsa yawned back.

‘‘I’m bored.’’ Mariam took one last puff on her cigarette and then tossed it. ‘‘C’mon, let’s do it.’’

His eyebrows came down, quizzical.

She stood up. ‘‘C’mon, I’ll show you my little secret spot.’’ She smoothed out her dress.

Samsa was still. ‘‘It’s fine here.’’

Mariam rolled her eyes. ‘‘Hey, good-ass, you got any problem there? Why don’t you wanna do it?’’ She paused to hear something back. Then yelled, ‘‘You take me as sleazy, huh? Go, fuck your mommy then.’’

Samsa looked pained. His brain translated her words to mean that she misunderstood. But what would he say as why? So, he walked with her. She led him to a mini-topiary garden that was all in breast height size. That was a real privacy hedge. A heart of darkness. A natural bedroom at the end of the world. With a magician hand, Mariam took out a folded thing from inside a hedge. She rolled it out on the grass. It was a poly mat. Before long, Samsa found himself sitting there by Mariam; arms to arms. He could smell her armpit odors mixed with cheesy perfume. Then he felt her one erect breast on his back.

She held his right shoulder and pressed her two breasts against his back. ‘‘I’m good to sack a tomcat,’’ she said into his ear. And before giving any time to swallow the bubble of these moments, she stripped off her tunic.

Samsa felt her breasts on his back once again. This time more intense, sharp. He grew stiff as she gave a gentle rub on his back. Warm air blew over his neck.

‘‘Let me take off your shirt,’’ Mariam extended two hands from both sides. As if she was hugging him from behind.

‘‘No one comes here?’’ his voice sank.

‘‘I guess not.’’

‘‘Not other girls?’’

She got what he meant. ‘‘There are other queens in the park. But this is my territory.’’

Samsa let her unbutton his Egyptian cotton shirt. He looked around. This was some spot, he thought, it could be spotted only by sound. Without looking over at her, he knew she unhooked her bra. He shuddered when her bare breasts touched his bare back. It slit him like a sharp knife.

‘‘How does it feel?’’ she pressed her hardened nipples into his skin.

‘‘Ohh,’’ he let out a suppressed breath.

Mariam now cupped his breasts. With her fingertips she began to play with them. Samsa caught his breath. Mariam unfolded her right foot. He was now between her legs.

‘‘Uhh,’’ Samsa shrieked in pain as she twisted his nipples.

Mariam giggled. Her hands softly rubbed his chest, moved down a little, stroked his stomach, navel. Then her fingers inched around, stroked further down almost untouching there. His youth responded back. The youth that had been pure, untouched.

Suddenly, a baby wail broke the stillness of the night. Then a dog barked. Then a noise of screeching brakes. And in the topiary garden a mosquito hummed around four ears. A small army of ants was looking for another way out round the poly mat.

Now naked, the nude limbs, the nude lonely bodies were face to face. Despite her cheap perfume, despite her sweaty unappealing figure, despite her low life, Samsa crouched over Mariam. He crouched over her chocolate breasts, and drank the mangrove taste of her ebony nipples. Drank as noisily as a child did. She stroked his head. The way a mother would do to her child.

Samsa saw Mariam feel his Himalayan hard shaft. She squeezed him. She tasted him. Samsa thought he was someone else. Flying somewhere up to the sky. Mariam pushed him down on his back. She climbed over him.

‘‘I always ride on top,’’ she said.

When he disappeared inside her, when the two bodies melted into one, he couldn’t think anything. He got wild. He got violent. He got his lost-world back in him. And with all eager and warm, he got hold of his rider’s back firm. So that she didn’t fall off as he ran with the invincible force of an Arabian horse.

The air was sweaty, yet serene. Long after it was over they smoked. Then, sleeping in horizontal position, they faced the sky. Naked, side by side.

‘‘It feels wonderful to stay naked!’’ Samsa said.

‘‘Yeah, free, like animals. Sometimes I feel I should wear no clothes.’’

Samsa said as he put one hand on the back of his head. ‘‘Amiga, I’ve had the best day of my life. The happiest day ever. I have no woes left, only freedom. I think I could die.’’

Mariam smiled at him. The same shy smile. ‘‘Do you have any wish?’’

‘‘Nah,’’ he said. ‘‘Oh! Hang on—yes, just one. I want to see every man bald.’’

‘‘That’s funny.’’

‘‘What’s yours?’’

‘‘I want every man to sleep with me. Every bastard. I want to fuck them, not to be fucked.’’

‘‘Mariam, you are some woman.’’

She laughed aloud that lit up the night. ‘‘I’m a bad girl.’’

‘‘You’re one of the nicest girls I’ve ever met.’’

She peered at him. Then closed her eyes.

‘‘I hate myself.’’ Her eyes still closed.

‘‘I hate myself too,’’ he said.

She cried in silence. They both cried in silence. Over nothing. Over everything.

Rahad AbirAuthor’s Bio: Rahad Abir was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a fiction writer. His short stories have appeared in Aerodrome, Toad Suck Review, Blue Lyra Review and The Penmen Review. His wining short story ‘‘I am in London’’ is appearing in an anthology from England. He has worked as journalist, university teacher and interpreter.

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