Farida Samerkhanova


Farida Samerkhanova lives in Toronto, Ontario. English is her third language after Tatarian and Russian. She is the head of a big family: four generations reside under one roof. She plays chess, collects coins and skates.

Her letters to the editor have appeared in the magazines Elle Canada, Canadian Stories and Canadian Immigrant. 

During the years 2007-2010 her poems, short stories and essays were published by Canadian Stories; Inscribed~A Magazine for Writers; The Maynard; Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts; blueskiespoetry.ca, Danse Macabre (including Totentanze, All Saints’ Evening and Weihnachtsmarkt issues), Seeding the Snow (The illustration is also my credit), The Write Place at the Write Time, Calliope (Issue #125 – Fall 2009 and Issue #126 – Winter 2010), Word Salad Poetry Magazine, Tower Poetry, Of(f)Course – A Literary Journal, The Recusant (the UK), LanguageandCulture.net, Other Clutter, Poetry Super Highway (I was Poet of the Week January 18-24, 2010), The Legendary, Lit Up Magazine, All Girl Thing, Mad Swirl, The Poetry Ark (Round 4 and Round 6), The Blotter Magazine, The November 3rd Club, Creekwalker, Zygote in My Coffee, Blink|Ink, Bewildering Stories (Issue 376), Gemini Magazine and Pilot, Canada’s Illustrated Literary Magazine. Some of her poems were included in The Maynard Anthology 2008 (Canada), the collection of poetry “Immortal Verses” (USA) and in “Favourite Memories” book of poetry (the UK).

Keeping the Promise


He is dying. It’s so sad. We have been friends for the last thirty years. None of us ever betrayed our friendship. We went out for coffee, talked over the phone, discussed movies, gossiped and enjoyed each other’s company. Boyfriends and girlfriends came and go, our friendship stayed.

Sitting beside a half-dead body in hospital is so boring. But I am here with a mission. We were in our fifties when I gave him my word that I would do it. Now it’s time for me to keep my promise.

When I met him he was a prosperous, handsome and strong man. He watched the world with his sceptical X-raying attitude. He used to say that only death fascinated him. Death is something undiscovered, unknown, unexplored and, to his mind, something very nice. He would always say that life is meaningless. All the fuss that people do has no sense. The end is always the same – death.

He hated many things. For example, cut flowers. He used to say that flowers cut off their roots in their bloom symbolize death. It is like murdering a young girl in her late teens.

He hated crowds of people in big cities, traffic on the roads and lines in movie theatres and stores. He said the planet was overpopulated.

He has a wonderful painting in his living room. It shows a beautiful rural site: a river and a small house. He would always say that there is a cemetery behind the forest. It is not in the picture, because people don’t think about it, but he knows for sure that the graveyard is there waiting for us.

He hated birthdays because stupid people celebrate they don’t know what. There is nothing to celebrate. He said birthdays were countdown to the end of life. He hated birthday presents, but he liked mine. In three decades I gave him presents twice.

There was an agreement between us: if he died first, I would put his middle finger up. He wanted his dead body to demonstrate to all that life is nothing: death always wins. My present for his 65th birthday was a miniature sculpture of his posthumous message to people. He was happy to get it.

For the next twenty years the hand with the middle finger up was always with him. He put it on the table when he was having dinner. It was in his bedroom at night. He hid it in the drawer when his grandchildren came to sleep over.

The second present was for his 79th birthday. I made an album with photo collage – me and him with the bodies of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Jude Law and other hot Hollywood stars. I made dozens of funny pictures with comments, which I borrowed from popular song lyrics. He said it was the best present ever.

I feel very sad. I am losing my best friend. I feel responsible for keeping my promise. I go to the other side of the bed because that hand is free of needles and tubes and make his fist. Then I put up the middle finger. His eyes are closed, but he smiles. I know he wants to tell me that I am a real friend who remembers. He just cannot talk. I keep his hand in mine. This is our farewell hug.

I will come to his funeral. I know they will put make-up on his face and doll him up. They will undo the fist too. But there is something else I can fulfil.

I will go to his home and steal the “F… u” sculpture. I will secretly put it into his coffin and cover it with flowers. I am an eighty-three years old respectable lady. No one will suspect me, even if they find it there. Maybe they will not.

I look at him. In a couple of hours he will cognize the mystery of death. The dream of his life will come true.


Copyright  © 2010 Farida Samerkhanova