Edgar Allan Poe, in memoriam
I saw her again last night. Or I thought I did. She was standing at the other end of the corridor, vague yet vividly visible in the half light coming from the dining hall. She was dressed in a light blue frock with a white collar and white frails. Wearing white shoes and white stockings, she had her hair made up in two tiny pigtails. She was standing right there, with a faint smile on her face. I wanted to call out to her, ‘Annabel!’, but I didn’t. Moments later she was gone, how or where I cannot seem to recall. One could say that she just disappeared. My Annabel. Annabel Lee. Beautiful Annabel Lee. I had never seen her face, at least not before I saw her in my mirror, a few days ago, standing right behind me. But I knew it was her. I could tell. I had cherished thoughts of her long enough to recognize her instantly, even in the half light, even at the far end of the corridor. I am not sure why I am seeing her now. It has been a while now, since it all happened. Seven months; seven months to get used to the loss of the body I had treasured inside me for another seven months. My baby, in the guise of lumps of flesh, covered in lumps of blood. I had never seen her face. My baby unborn. My baby born dead. Yet I thought her so beautiful! I haven’t told anyone about my seeing her. I know what they would say. My husband, the doctors. They would say that I am seeing things. Hallucinations. Because of the trauma. They would ask me to prolong my therapy. As if therapy could give me closure. It would probably work though. I would probably stop seeing her; appearing in the corridor, standing behind me in the mirror. I would not see her anymore, the way I did not see her since I lost her. But oh how I love to see her! And she is so beautiful, so beautiful! My Annabel. Annabel Lee.
About the Author
Anika Shah is a bilingual writer and translator from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has recently finished doing her masters in Literatures in English and Cultural Studies from Jahangirnagar University and is currently an Adjunct Faculty at the Department of English and Modern Languages in Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). She writes and translates both fiction and non-fiction, and takes an interest in literature, music, film, art, and bits and pieces of popular culture.
She is the translator of a collection of short stories from R. K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days, and the co-author of A Tiny Book of 18 Word Stories on Revenge. She also co-edits Prachya Review, a cross-cultural literary webzine.