December 6, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: The Good Breath Of Air by Nida Khattak

2 min read
mirror fragments on gray surface with the reflection of a person s arm

Photo by Thiago Matos on

Nida Khattak’s story revolves around the theme of acknowledging beauty in diversity.

‘Why are you so quiet?’ I had zoned out completely. My mind is blank. Nothing’s really going on up there–or maybe everything. In such circumstances, you yourself are the most worthy of an answer to ‘Why am I so quiet?’ Words danced, one after the other, each one wanting to come out. ‘Shut up! Silence. Let me put them in order.’ I thought, why can’t I just stand here by the railings? Observe. Listen. And not talk at all. Does that make me melancholic, or reflective, or reminiscing over something nostalgic, or tragic? I only wish I knew. But, then here is this person standing right next to me, I’m planning to spend my whole life with. Staring at my face. Waiting for an answer. ‘Naah I am just observing the beautiful day that it is.’ ‘Or you having second thoughts about me?’ Second thoughts. Second thoughts. Second thoughts. But that didn’t run over my mind even once. Was I really thinking about that? ‘You are probably thinking that I am boring. You are thinking what have you gotten yourself into?” He smirked. ‘You are not even here.’

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray has a few of his lines stuck in my mind. “When she says “I feel like you are not even here,” he says, “What do you mean I’m not here? Of course, I am here. Don’t you see my body?”  So, I am calculating the chances on how not to become John’s, exemplary stupid man. ‘That’s not a good thing to say. It’s nothing like that. Silly!’ Oh. not even close. ‘Tell me. What are you thinking about then, Bakhmal?’ ‘A little stressed. Studies. Tests. You see.’ He looked away, ‘Hmm.’ Vexation etched on his face. ‘Hmm…Hmm…Hmm…’ It kept on echoing. Now, I have become a little sure of what’s going up there at least.  

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