Black Tulip

Black Tulip by

As a wedding planner, Nadia had a full roster. She planned the most gorgeous weddings; water fountain centerpiece, flowery dining tables, ornate bridal thrones, glowing candelabras, her sweet signature dribbled across the floor. Props were used in the long hall: tall and flowing flower vines spread over portable metal structures; cheap sculptures and fake studded swords to create a semblance of royal wedding lore. Compliments from the guests filled up her heart that it was all so beautifully done, white weddings or red weddings, black or blue whatever the theme of the day was. Her designs perfectly fitted them all. Her ten-year-old daughter ran tirelessly alongside her mother as she moved the many props from here and there. 

Like all other nights, tonight’s wedding was also a success. Nadia collected loads of garlands and bouquets, gifts and pleasantries from her happy client. After the wedding, she took down all the props and folded them up to organise the next. Then she dragged herself and her daughter back home; the glamour had dissipated and all the flowers wilted—peace lily, rose, and so on. Too tired to talk the talk or to walk the walk, she sat down on her bed, with the new mail she just read. She cried her heart out, a weeping willow on a tear-stained pillow. Etching the night’s map, showing her dim lights, lying next to her, the daughter slept tight. In the juxtaposed realities, Nadia looked at her daughter and renewed her strength to wake up well and organise another wedding play. This, a display of vengeance with Roman sail cloths, frangible clay dolls, and double-edged saws; she was morose and in the throes of a messy divorce. 





Mehreen Ahmed is an Australian novelist, born in Bangladesh.Her historical fiction,The Pacifist,is a Drunken Druid’s Editor’s Choice. Gatherings, is nominated for the James Tait Black Prize for fiction. Her short and flash fiction have won in The Waterloo Short Story Festival,Cabinet-of-Heed Challenge,shortlisted by Cogito Literary Journal Contest,shortlisted by Litteratuer RW for Litt Prize,finalist in the Fourth Adelaide Literary Award Contest.A Best of Cafelit 8,three-time nominated for The Best of the Net Awards,nominated for the Pushcart Prize Award. Also, critically acclaimed by Midwest Book Review,DD Magazine,The Wild Atlantic Book Club to name a few.She is contributing editor and jury to the KM Anthru International Prize of the Litterateur Redefining World Magazine and a featured writer for Flash Fiction North and Connotation Press.Her Toads on Lily Pads was curated by Cambridge Press on Muck Rack. She is widely published online, in anthologies, and has authored eight books. Her short stories have been translated into Greek,Bengali,and German.


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Photographer: Dr Tapasi Bagchi.



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