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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Optimysticism is a short story from the point of view of Shams, a homeless youth struggling with love, hunger, realizations, and turning from a miserable one to a content optimist with a better understanding of love and well-being. You can find this short story and review it on goodreads.com

Submitted: September 27, 2016

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Submitted: September 27, 2016




The sun’s setting, street lights are waking. The shade’s getting cooler, and the street’s starting to get packed. Tens of men walking towards and into a brightly lit building every day, evening, and night. A man, the loudest I’ve ever heard, roars out a call that somehow always leads to many people answering and hurriedly attending to it.

I’ve been thrown out of my own house into exile days ago. It’s not something one would quickly get used to. I’m homeless. I’m hungry, and I’ve been harassed and violated by many strangers. Most of which, also are homeless. This city is packed with shabby, rough looking homeless folk. They even hang around in packs, sometimes. You’d rarely ever see a lonely bum like me.

I miss Lara. I miss her so much… I miss the smoothness of her legs. I miss the warmth of our bed. I miss the love in her voice and her chest. I miss home. The thing about love is this: It is unsafe to base your life on it. You cannot find security in love. You cannot guarantee that you will live forever with the one you love, the one that loves you back just as much, and not wake up one day to them throwing you out to the curb.

There will be signs when love starts tumbling downhill. Most of the time, you’d fear it so much that you won’t even see it coming ‘till it’s done and over with.

Lara was head over heels for me when our love was young, and what we had was new. She feared for me more than she did herself. She was an angel. But, before I knew it… She started changing. She stopped spending time with me. She started yelling at me at times, and ignoring me altogether at others. She stopped doing her best to put the best food she could get on my plate. She stopped holding me when the lights went out at night. She even started hitting me when I tried too persistently to come near her. I just wanted her to love me again. I was depressed. I stopped eating for a while, until I was near nothing but skin and bones! I stopped sleeping on our bed. I stopped trying to get her to hold me. Lara just wasn’t Lara anymore. Did I get too old? Did I do something wrong? I don’t know.

All I know now is that I’ve nowhere to go. I’m unlovable, and my life has changed forever.


I don’t remember which day it was that I saw her. She looked like anything but Lara. She wore black from head to toe. A sort of cloak flowing in the wind as she walked to her car…

I never trust people. If anything, I tend to avoid them the best I can! But there was something about her… I was instantly magnetized.

I stood still drowned in thought till our eyes met. I could tell she liked me. Instantly. She and I locked eyes for a few seconds. She walked towards me, smiling and nervous. She grinned and whispered a long and lovely “hey”. It didn’t take her long to capture my heart. She reached her hand out to my face. My heart’s thumping. I drew back, but it didn’t stop her. She ran her fingers along my neck and chin. It’s ecstatic. She flinched at the yell of a man, “step away from that filthy thing!” he ordered. She didn’t take her eyes off me. She kept smiling and touching me. “Maysa! Get off him!” He insisted. “No!” she put her arms around me and pulled me to her chest, “he’s wounded! Look at him! He’s all skin and bones!” “Maysa. Let him go or, by Allah, I will drive home without you.” “Go, then. I’m walking home with him.” “You’re not taking him to my house.” “I can’t leave him! Stop being so cruel!” She was on the verge of tears. I leaned my head to her chest and tried to get as much warmth as I could. It was obvious, she was getting both of us in trouble. I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

There was a silence between her and the man. She kept looking him dead in the eye like a wolf to a puma. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she started foaming, growling, and straight up pounced at him with hidden fangs and claws. There was defiance in the air. Challenge. I could almost say violence.

 “Get in the car.” he said with a sigh. She walked with me to the front seat, “Not. With. Him.” He said. “Dad, I’m sorry but I can’t leave him. I’m taking him home and I will heal him. I have to. Isn’t this what Allah would have wanted?” She slammed the door shut and the rest was silence. Her father scared me. She slightly scared me.

 Her house was huge. She held on tight to me until we got to her room. She let me go and I walked around in awe… She left me and shut the door behind her. She was gone for what felt like hours. I was scared. She came back with three bags in her arms. She grinned at me as she shut the door behind her with her foot. I backed away to the wall to see what the hell she was doing. “Look what I got you!” she yelled as she dropped the bags and knelt down to take things out… She laid out two little bowls, ripped a bag open, and poured some food into it. I smell it. My stomach’s growling, and all I could do is run towards the scent. Fuck, it’s good. She sat there and watched me eat, and it made me nervous.

 Maysa is kind, and so far, that’s all I could tell.

I lay down on the cool marble floor. I’m so full. It all felt great and dandy till I heard it. A terrible sound of roaring water hitting the floor. I get up and walk towards the sound, and all I see is her with some kind of hose, looking at me and smiling. “Hi, little guy! Come here…” she said. It was terrifying. I ran. I ran as fast as I could. I ran and I hid under her bed so she wouldn’t get me. But she did anyway.

 I felt humiliated. I smelt of chemicals and perfume. I was wet and my coat was a mess. I hid again. I clearly have misjudged Maysa. Maysa’s a monster. A sadistic nihilist is what she is. That’s what I thought until she grabbed me from under her bed and fed me again. She held and kept me warm. She gave me a strange name, Shams. She told me it meant sun. She told me it was the name of a mystic man whom she really loved and wished were still alive.

The night has grown old. Maysa and I just completely ignored the existence of each other. It’s like she knew how overwhelmed and in need of solitude I was. She eventually grew tired, and turned her lights off right before heading to bed.

I wanted so bad to share the bed with her already. I was scared of her rejecting me, or worse, kicking me off. I jumped on to her bed and lay my paw on her face to let her know that I was there. She simply reached out a hand and pulled me to her chest… It was awkward, so I left.

She must have felt guilty for that. Or else she wouldn’t have sat up and talked to me. She told me many wonderful things… “You’re a strong little dude,” she says, “Life hasn’t got the best of you… Not yet, at least. I love you already. You deserve love. I’ve always wanted a companion… A little warrior like me.” She reached her hand out to rub my head, “I’ll keep you safe and warm if you’re happy living with me, okay, Shams?”

It was lovely hearing those words… She knew I had nothing to say back, so she got out of bed to open a window for me.

I sat by the window talking to the moon most of the night. And I still had that warm bed and hug waiting for me when I needed them.

As I fell asleep that night, I knew that everything was going to be okay. For a while, at least.

It’s been five months since Maysa and I first locked eyes… We love each other so much, and it’s all going so great. My scars are all healed. Lara has finally managed to escape my memory, and I have a home. If I were lucky enough to have a litter of kittens one day, I’d devote my life to let them know that no matter how many times, and how hard life kicks you down, it’s always going to be better when the good hearted are out there, somewhere.


© Copyright 2019 Myra Zini. All rights reserved.

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