Varsha (Monsoon) 2021 Stories - Maggie Nerz Iribarne


By Maggie Nerz Iribarne


Why, who makes much of a miracle? -Walt Whitman


In the waning hours of an ordinary September Saturday afternoon, Abby stood at her sink washing dishes, intermittently glancing into her yard. Mixed with the stream of sun coming through her window, a kind of blurry light ball emerged in her vision, pulsing in the corner of the tiny garden, growing in size and intensity. Without consideration, she dropped the spongeand went out to investigate.


“What’s with you?” Sadie, Abby’s sister, asked, panting the words out, walkingon the treadmill.

“Nothing. Tired.”

“Tell me about it,” she said, her sharp bobbed hair moving in tandem with her body. “So, I said to him, ‘Why are you even here?’ I mean why do these guys even go on dates?Are you going out with anyone this week? Did Mom get that guy to call you, Ben or something?”

“Uh, no,” Abby said. Ben, the son of one of Mom’s bridge students, came through her brain fog.

“What’s with you anyway?” Sadie turned off her treadmill and headed to the locker room.


The light appeared weekly, sometimes daily, rain or shine, morning, noon, or night. Abby kept her glasses on, checked and rechecked, looking in the back garden for that gorgeous glow ball. When it was there, she drifted outside, got close, basked. Time passed, Abby had no idea how much.

Abby, you are enough, the light said.

A woman’s voice. Abby could not speak. She could only stare into it and let hot tears run down her cheeks. She would awake from the spell shivering in the darkness, yearning for more.


“Everyone has baggage. First wives. Children. A drinking problem,” Sadie said, flicking her yellow Splenda bag to loosen up the sugar substance inside.“Remember the dieter?” She rolled her eyes.

Oh yeah, I know about baggage. I have a mystical visitor in my backyard, a soothing orb, Abby thought.

“Who was that?”she asked, laughing.

“That guy Jon without an h. He told me I couldn’t have a waffle with ice cream on it once. That was it.”

“Seriously,” Abby said, sipping her coffee, noting the fading autumnal splendor, the increasing chill. Winter was coming.


Google searches:

Synonyms for light: illumination, brightness, luminescence, shining, gleam, gleaming, brilliance, radiance, luster, glow, blaze, glare…..

Light appearing in back yard



Mom had been talking about Ben for months.

“I can’t believe I’ve got a cute doctor waiting to go out with you and you haven’t called him, or texted or whatever you guys do these days.” She made great sweeping motions as she raked dead leaves from the beds. “Abby, are you listening? What are you dreaming about?”


Abbythought she was having a hot flash. Her face burned red and her armpitssoaked with perspiration. Despite the cool night and even though she had a date, a first date (Ben), she could not control her desire to be with the light. Pulsing and warm, addictive.

You are loved,it said.


Ben had freckles across his nose, laughed easily, and was proficient with chopsticks, three thingsAbby considered good traits in a man.

“You shine,” she told him three dates in, a little tipsy from too much red wine, “like a big ball of light,” she hiccupped.


“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!” Sadie said, using her best fake southern drawl, dramatic sobbing, mimicking Julia Roberts as she and Abby watched Steel Magnolias for the twentieth time. When she returned from her bathroom trip to the couch, she found Abby sobbing.

“What the--?What is it?”

Abby swung her head back and forth, back and forth.

“It won’t stop. It won’t stop. I can’t get it to stop,” she said.

Her voice lowered, “What honey? Get what to stop?”

Abby kept crying.

“Her. She keeps coming. And I love it. But Ihate it, too.”

“What is it? You’re scaring me,”Sadie said, facing her sister, holdingontoAbby’s forearms.


Accustomed to Abby’s usual low self-esteem issues, Mom issues, her body confidence and self-absorption issues, Beth the therapist, legs always crossed, face serious and concerned,said she was surprised by these new apparition issues.

“Well, you said you went to see the rabbi. What did he say?”

“He said it was grace. Grace raining down on me,” Abby noticed the light in the room, how it filtered through the curtain, how it shone on the fine hairs on her wrist.

“What the hell does that mean?” Sadie, who insisted on coming, said.

“Are you having any other loss of reality?” Beth asked.

“No. I’m just worried about what it means. What Ben would think.” Abby glanced at Sadie. “I love her, the light. I don’t want her, or I guess it, to go away.”


Of course, he kept calling, kept texting. Having said the L word on their last date, without reciprocation from Abby, he obviously wanted a response.

Hey, missing you, what’s up?

Abby wondered why he liked her so much. She wasn’t a doctor or a professor type. She had an undergraduate degree in marketing but didn’t finish her MBA. She worked in the admissions office at a small college. She thought of herself as not that skinny, not that pretty, not that funny. And, she was in love with that ball of light talking to her in her backyard. But Ben didn’t know about that.


The next time the light appeared, Abby stopped folding laundry and opened her back door, instantly warmed by its presence. With the setting sun changing the sky orange, the gold globe appeared in all its splendor, exuding its strange peace and energy.

Do you love me?

“Yes, Yes,” Abby found words, at last, fell to her knees, muddied her jeans.



Ben gobbled up the carbonara and salad Abby made him,then he gobbled up her “So what took you so long?”he said, running a finger along the side of her face.
“With what?” she asked.

His face reddened. “With reconnecting? Were you mad at me?”

“No. I love you,“ Abby said.

Ben hazel eyesstared, shards of gold shot through brown.

“So why’d you disappear?” he asked.

“Do you know anything aboutapparitions?” Abby asked.

His eyebrows went up, clearly not what he was expecting.

She described the light, how it made her feel, how she loved it, how it frightened her. His eyes were soft but his lips were crooked, in a half smile.

“Show me,” he said.

Abby led him out the backdoor to the garden where she had marked the apparition site with a white stone.


May, the last time. Abby saw the lightfrom the window and moved toward it with a fearless urgency. The light vibrated and swirled this time, turning different shades of yellow, orange, red.

Do you believe?

Abby knelt down, forgot everything else, melted into the experience.


Abby and Ben sat under dimmed lights, drinking red wine.

“She asked me if I believed,” Abby said.

“What did you say?” Ben reached for her hand.

“I said I do. Absolutely. But then- I -I said goodbye.” Shelooked up at Ben, expecting to see relief.

He pulled her in, held her close.

She leaned into him, into this - the love, loss, grace,all of it, whatever it was.

She let go.



Maggie Nerz Iribarne from US practices writing in a yellow house in Syracuse, New York. Her story, “Somewhere Else,” recently won a finalist prize in the 2021 Zizzle Literary Flash Fiction contest.


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