Bittersweet Memories | #AtoZChallenge

The small black text catches my eye. In the lower right corner, next to an ad for a cellphone, on the page for local news. The words vaguely register as I read them. I already know this at the back of my mind.

Just below the paragraph about the incident, a public figure has been quoted as attributing all of such incidents to the “perils” of Valentine’s Day. This is stupid, I snort. The problem is drinking and driving. The problem is drinking and driving on these terrible roads. But quote-worthy public figures always blame imaginary problems. It’s not their job to fix problems that don’t exist after all.

Endings are always bitter. Ours all the more so. I lied, you lied, and all the lies deepened the irreparable cracks between us. It made me wonder if I hadn’t been the first to lie, would things have been different? Would you have remained the way you were? Or were you a liar from the start? Am I the one the reason you got fractured somewhere deep within, or are you the reason I am? I’ll never get those answers. I glance at the newspaper again as our story replays in a flash. From beginning to end. So much to revisit, so much to reminisce.

But does it matter now, I ask myself. The end is not how I want to remember you. Remember us, I correct.

My arm feels heavy. I’ve forgotten to take a sip of my coffee, I’ve forgotten to set my mug down. I’m gripping the newspaper tight, as the black ink stains my fingers. Perhaps now is a good time as any to tell you this – I hated your coffee.


Hi everyone! I’m working on a minimalist fiction project for this year’s #AtoZChallenge. The story will be shared in snippets, and the events occur non-sequentially. It is for the reader to interpret and form the “whole”. You can read all the posts here. Join me, and do share links to your AtoZ posts as well!

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Alternative titles I considered: Broken and Burning in the Skies.

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68 thoughts on “Bittersweet Memories | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Jaibala Rao April 3, 2017 / 10:18 AM

    Sometimes in life we are left wondering, and that is all we can do about certain things. Its the why that always gets to us doesn’t it. And I agree the last line is what takes this story up four notches of awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:08 PM

      I’m glad so many people seem to like the last line. Funny thing, it wasn’t part of the post originally. I added it during my last minute revision! πŸ˜€

      Like

  2. Vidya Sury April 3, 2017 / 11:05 AM

    I’ve had a break up like that, Sreesha. Our relationship died a miserable death. But your line about the coffee caught my attention–his coffee was atrocious. Of course, we continue to be “friends” but when I reflect back, I find a bunch of “what ifs” bouncing around in my head. It is an amusing mental exercise that fuels my writing, more than anything else. No you haven’t read that side of me. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:10 PM

      How have I never read those works of yours? Where should I go hunting for them! Tell me!

      You cross my mind every time I think of coffee – it’s impossible for me to imagine you with someone who made it badly!

      Like

  3. Neha April 3, 2017 / 12:45 PM

    What if? forms a large part of nostalgia, especially in relationships. Beautifully written. Looking forward to reading more

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:13 PM

      Yes, so much of our lives are divided between what if and if only…

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lata Sunil April 3, 2017 / 12:53 PM

    Leaving a lot of bitter sweet memories for me. But he made good tea. What if.. is a big question which I think of even now. Loving the essence of this micro fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:16 PM

      Interesting how that line about coffee brought all these thoughts and memories to the surface.
      We all go through the “What if” phase. Then we let go as well πŸ™‚ Life! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:16 PM

      You and me both! I’m such an overthinker, I can create mountains of molehills in my head even as I appear uber calm on the surface! πŸ˜›

      Glad you liked it! πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Lalita April 3, 2017 / 12:59 PM

    Such vivid writing. I went through ten emotions reading this. Will be back for more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:19 PM

      Thank you so much! Would love to hear about all the thoughts that went through your mind πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Shilpa Garg April 3, 2017 / 1:04 PM

    Loved this one and especially the last line. Some relationships are like that and the worst is when bitterness outweigh the sweetness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:26 PM

      Absolutely. There’s no point being in such a relationship.

      Glad you liked it, Shilpa! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. gayatrikedar April 3, 2017 / 1:19 PM

    Lovely the post, more so as you have left a lot to the reader’s imagination. True that the bitterness of coffee is more palatable than the bitterness of a sourly terminated relationship, the only remedy that works for me is to recollect all those unrealised crushes and take a plunge in the endless ocean of ‘what ifs’ to cleanse my palate. All the best for your remaining posts in #AtoZChallenge.

    Name : Gayatri Gadre
    Blog : Be young 4ever
    #AtoZChallenge Theme : Travel (off the beaten track)
    B for : Bath, a romantic city

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:27 PM

      Eventually we learn to let go of those what ifs.

      Thanks! Good luck to you too! πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Chandnimoudgil April 3, 2017 / 2:15 PM

    I am glad you went ahead with Bittersweet instead of broken. Broken has a sense of detachment , but your story is at a stage where the healing is yet to happen , the chord isn’t yet broken.
    We often need something to pass the blame on , but somethings aren’t meant to be and the questions linger . Often unanswered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:32 PM

      Yes, I had a slightly different story in mind when I chose Broken and I was focusing on how these two people have wrecked each other from within. In the end, even I’m glad I altered it and went with Bittersweet Memories.
      (Although Broken is the better song out of the two πŸ˜€ )

      This is the reason why I thought of sharing the story without sequence. As of now, you already know that healing is yet to happen. The what, how, where can come from anywhere.

      Like

  9. Mithila Menezes April 3, 2017 / 2:27 PM

    Two things I noticed about today’s post: a paragraph, with a vague feeling that there could be bad news in that paragraph. I loved the way you showed, and didn’t tell that the paragraph could mean bad news to the protagonist!
    Second thing I noticed? I have thought these exact same thoughts, in the exact manner that you have mentioned them! I mean, the whole ‘forgetting about what you;re doing in the present and flashbacking into the past’ is too familiar.

    These April posts have to be compiled together (in the proper order) for a book, okay? Your style of writing is just too awesome! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:34 PM

      Thank you so much for saying that, but I think these would be too short for a book. Most of the posts are < 500 words. 😦

      Like

  10. Modern Gypsy April 3, 2017 / 2:28 PM

    LOVED this story. Everything about it. i am so looking forward to more snippets so I can figure out the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:35 PM

      So grateful! Keep visiting, and I hope you’ll like the rest of it πŸ™‚

      Like

  11. shirleyjdietz April 3, 2017 / 4:50 PM

    Reading through the comments on this, there’s little more I can say. It’s so short, so easy to relate to, and yet complete and satisfying. Good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:43 PM

      Thanks a lot! This is a new genre and format for me. Thanks for all the encouragement πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Kaddu April 3, 2017 / 5:02 PM

    As JB said above… “Sometimes in life we are left wondering,” And that can be really gut-wrenching for a while, until you learn to accept it and move on.
    Multiple lies, however, can eventually turn the ‘bittersweet’ into just ‘bitter’.
    I wonder which direction your story will take.
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:44 PM

      Glad you’re wondering. Let me give you a bit of a hint though. If this story was being shared in sequence, then this is like the third from last post πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. Soumya Prasad April 3, 2017 / 5:56 PM

    How do you manage to get such beautiful emotions out like every single time? Now you know why I had that fan girl moment when I met you for the first time! I am a pretty open person but there are deep memories and secrets hidden inside me. They never come out, but when I read your posts they do.

    It is not a very pleasant feeling, but I don’t mind the reminder once in a while. That is exactly why I love your fiction so much. The protagonists could easily be me. If only…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:46 PM

      OMG, this made me weep.
      I know there are things we all keep hidden. Sides we don’t allow people to see. But sometimes, talking about it, or even thinking about it could act like much needed catharsis.

      Hugs, love! ❀

      Like

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:48 PM

      Your comment just made my day πŸ™‚ So glad you liked it!

      Like

  14. upasna1987 April 3, 2017 / 6:07 PM

    Few things ended in a void.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Shailaja V April 3, 2017 / 6:41 PM

    Ouch that last line. Such a powerful indicator that the relationship means nothing to the protagonist anymore. It’s in the mundane actions, the everyday things that we realise when a relationship has run its course. The newspaper reading, the coffee drinking, the setting in of ennui- so effectively captured, Sreesha!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Emily Bloomquist April 3, 2017 / 6:52 PM

    I like the bittersweet memories title better than broken. Especially when I read the final sentence. Your writing makes me want to read more of this story. I will be back tomorrow!

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:52 PM

      Ahh, I’d used Broken as a working title, when the story was just a little different from what it is right now. For this final version, yes, I agree that Bittersweet Memories is a better fit.

      Thank you! Keep visiting πŸ™‚

      Like

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:53 PM

      So right Anita!

      Been so long since I saw you in this space! Welcome back πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Like

  17. inquisitivegeet April 3, 2017 / 6:59 PM

    That’s a brilliant way to express in such a subtle way! And bad coffee=no friendship!

    Cheers
    BoisterousBee

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mayuri6 April 3, 2017 / 7:09 PM

    Unanswered questions force us to form answers we want to hear.
    This is beautiful writing, Sreesha. Glad you are writing again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:55 PM

      Thank you so much, Mayuri! Your encouragement means a lot πŸ™‚

      Like

  19. reemamichelle April 3, 2017 / 7:48 PM

    Loved it Sreesha! I wonder what is that incident that brought about this realization. Beautifully written πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 3, 2017 / 7:55 PM

      Ahhh, but to find that out, you have to wait a bit… πŸ˜‰ Stay tuned.

      Like

  20. Roshan Radhakrishnan April 3, 2017 / 8:10 PM

    There is a story being told here and lessons and observations being shared. But as you point out while describing your theme, I feel this is going to be a very different picture in the end when all 26 pieces are out to re-view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 4, 2017 / 11:06 AM

      In these three days quite a few different interpretations have come out, the best example being on day 1, when everyone thought it was horror except you and maybe a couple of others. The first three posts I shared are actually closer to the end, but it isn’t a flashback either. So yeah, when all the pieces are out there, I’m hoping at least one person will be enthusiastic enough to figure out the order πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ (Too much to hope?)

      Like

  21. Beat About The Book April 3, 2017 / 8:58 PM

    There’s a bit of me in your post – actually a lot of me. The ‘What if’s drive me crazy somedays. It’s a pretty dangerous path to tread. I’ll be doing a lot of back and forth on through your posts this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 4, 2017 / 11:08 AM

      It is, indeed. It keeps nagging you, all those questions, all of it. There’s little you can do though…

      Like

  22. Dipanwita April 3, 2017 / 9:01 PM

    Beautiful. I could relate each and every word with my own broken relationship. The lines about the lies, the coffee. He hated coffee and I had to drink tea whenever he was around. How much I hate him now for that.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful read. Loved it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 4, 2017 / 11:11 AM

      In all relationships, it’s these small things that matter. Like the coffee, taste in music. Things that some people mistakenly believe aren’t of much importance.
      I understand the hate, D, but believe me when I say this, hate isn’t worth it. Even hate takes up a lot of your energy. In the end, why bother about someone who made you compromise so much. Isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  23. swathishenoy April 3, 2017 / 9:43 PM

    This post left me curious as to what her story might be! The last line shows how much the person meant to her before and how it has all changed in the present. Very beautiful narration Sreesha πŸ™‚

    Brother

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 4, 2017 / 11:14 AM

      They both meant a lot to each other. But there are equal loves, and unequal loves. There’s a little hint for you about the rest… Stay tuned πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Like

  24. Parul Thakur April 3, 2017 / 10:25 PM

    Beautiful and such a vivid tale Sreesha. Those thoughts and not keeping the mug down – wow! minimalistic yet so detailed.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Tina Basu April 4, 2017 / 12:30 PM

    This is almost me from a long time back. Very nicely written

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 5, 2017 / 1:38 PM

      I’m glad you could relate. Thank you, Tina πŸ™‚

      Like

  26. Anmol Rawat (@authoranmol) April 5, 2017 / 12:48 PM

    Lies introduce a hidden barrier in a relationship that becomes evident when when the curtain rises.
    “But does it matter now?” I believe it always does! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran April 5, 2017 / 1:49 PM

      Sometimes I think even if it continues to matter, for our own peace, we let it go. Don’t you think so?

      Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

      Like

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