Reading Time: 2 minutes

Huma listened to the leaves rustling to the song of the breeze. She would have pinned her ears to the tree if it would help drown the profanities and accusations. Afaf, her daughter, stood at the open window, having her fill of disgracing her own mother.

‘You are a horrible bitch!’

‘You abused me for years! Do you hear?!’

‘It’s a shame you call yourself a mother!’

The girl’s hands hit the aluminum frame, again and again.

Huma’s mind had learned how to seclude itself from the madness, but her heart lacked the intellect and will to disregard Afaf’s screeches. Every word was a nail hammered into the sensitive muscle. It bled quietly, in a mannered fashion, mindful not to aggravate matters more than either could handle.

But this was a lie Huma often told herself and it perished when Afaf eventually exhausted her anger and retreated to her room, banging the door behind her. And it was no different this time.

The shutting window, the heavy footsteps, the fading voice – Huma’s ears abandoned the leaves to follow the familiar pattern. The woman waited, the lump in her throat screaming to be released. Then came the sound that was sweeter than any fruit she had tasted.


It was over. For now.

The tears slid down, nor fast nor slow, the lump dissolved into shaking breaths. Huma had mastered the craft of silent crying. At times, her eyes refused to vent her heart’s frustrations, simply gazing at everything and nothing, the futility of it all.

As Afaf had grown, so had the girl’s troubles. Her mind could not find its balance, forever in turmoil, forever under seize, forever a mess that spread with every passing year.

Huma had always known her daughter was different. But how? But what? But why?

And the brave woman had not shuddered from finding answers to her questions, but sadly conclusions were elusive, deductions were unreliable, the pillars of science could not bear the weight of their suffering.


Medicines barely sustained the girl, counselling hardly uplifted her spirit, Huma became the enemy and Afaf’s only savior. A battle that was not fought for good or evil, its purpose never to be known or understood.

Huma did not have to place her ear against the door. Afaf’s jittery sobs were loud. The woman knew they could get louder if she tried to console the girl. But what she really wanted to do was scream –

Why don’t you try harder?!

There are others who suffer like you!

Are they wasting away their lives too?!

Time normally did what a helpless mother couldn’t, so Huma walked away and sat back down on the porch. The breeze, the leaves, the song, they were still there, but the peace had been disturbed.

Yet it could never be quiet. There would never be silence. The sounds would remain, distorted, unpleasant, foreboding.

Huma would have to be content with an earful of suffering.

A few laughs never hurt anyone. So take out time to smile and read a satirical piece written by me – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superwriter!

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37 Comments on “An Earful of Suffering – Flash Fiction Story

  1. it’s hard to bear one’s child suffering, her life spiralling NOISILY out of control; you’ve captured it well, Terveen —

  2. Heart rending . So much of our lives, are paths without resolutions. So much of it, about the experience itself – as a slow, suspended, unchanging circle

  3. Yes, you have portrayed a family in the throe of tragedy. Family is supposed to support and console us, but often, it is the source of our stress and anxiety. Life is a never ending paradox.

    • That is the hard truth, Haoyan. Yet dealing with and accepting this truth can often change the meaning of life and its importance. Thank you for your viewpoint on this. I know it comes from a deep place.

  4. Beautifully written and sadly this young woman found someone to blame for her unhappiness. Sometimes it is easier to blame others for an inability to move forward. I really like the way you ended this story. The result being both mother and daughter had no true peace. Great piece. Hugs, Joni 🦋🤗

    • Thank you so much, Joni. Blaming others never gets one anywhere. It may be satisfying for some time but eventually one has to cope and move forward the best one knows how to. It’s harder for some…And peace seems to be a priceless treasure that’s impossible to find. Take care and a great big hug. 🙂

  5. Teens, am I right? I really feel for Huma. I know what it’s like. A perfectly peaceful day destroyed in an instant. You did a great job of capturing the details of being a parent on the opposite end of a child’s wrath. Parenting can be rough.

    • It’s definitely a rough patch for both the child and the parent. Sometimes, there’s no solution and only dealing and hoping can see one through it. Thanks Tony. Parenting is TOUGH!

  6. Amazing writing! Captivating story, highlighting the mother’s plight as her daughter struggles with mental health issues, and in the process, destroying her relationships.

    • It’s a predicament that often leaves relationships sore and aching. Every step and move ahead seems like the greatest effort. But still forward is the only direction. I appreciate your kind words and the connection you felt with the story. Thank you so much.

  7. You have captured the pain and emotion in this situation, Terveen with poignant, crafted words. I think many parents ride similar waves when guiding a child through to adulthood. Like you say, the sadness settles in and stays.

    • It’s a feeling that no matter how many words you find to express it, they never come across as enough. Thank you, Davy. It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts. 🙂

  8. This is a very unfortunate context many people are faced with, which I too have been faved with before. Not nearly as serious, yet still painful and confusing. Gorgeous write, Terveen. 😊

    • Thanks for sharing this, Jeff. If we as human beings could only look above and beyond our own opinions and prejudices to be more accepting of the pain and suffering that resides in this world. Mental health issues are still taboo and swept under the rug. I appreciate you and your words, Jeff. 🙂

      • You’re welcome, Terveen. Always. I completely agree with you about mental health issues, the stigma, and the invisibleness. Very unfortunate. It’s always my pleasure. ☺️

  9. Very expressive how you have captured the trauma in the lives of two women. Must be a nightmare of a life. Have not been here in a long time, hope you are doing well Terveen 🙂

    • It’s great to hear from you, Vignesh. I hope you’re well and were away for a good reason. Thank you for reading and sharing your views. Life can be a nightmare.

      • All well, thank you. Enjoyed Paris indeed. Back to Mexico already… Getting things sorted. Usual after a long trip abroad. 🙏🏻

  10. Reading the first couple of lines, I thought it was a story of abuse but then I read the rest and understood it better reading through the comments. It makes me sad to think of the times I once behaved this way toward my own mother during my teenage years. I don’t even want to imagine how she felt. I loved that you wrote this piece through the mother’s eyes and described all of her internal turmoil. For some reason, it reminded me of what my two sisters and mother went through with my grandmother. Please come by my blog and check out my entry, “True Love.” It testifies to what we went through with her all of our lives, especially when she got ill. Go halfway to the bottom of my page and look through my previous posts until you find, “True Love.” 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Veronica, for the honest and touching comment. It takes a lot of courage to embrace the hurt and accept the missteps. We will never be perfect but let’s at least accept our realities and be tolerant towards others. Will definitely check out your post. Thank you so much. 🙂

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