I’m continuing to find great short stories to let my readers and students know about. One such gem I found this week is Mirkita‘s Waiting for Appa, a fantasy, a futuristic tale of a family who, after being shunned by their planet’s community, is waiting for the return of the father.
Immediately, the narrator, Elpes, is a teenager, who is facing not only the challenge of living without her father, whom she loves very much, but also with the challenge of facing her doubt if he will come back.
I loved how the story captured the feeling of doubt that settles in around the teen years. When I became a teenager, I felt a world of doubt about so many things – and rightfully, since growing up is a transition period where the future becomes more real. Not only does the future become more pressing, but often times fear, doubt, and uncertainty will play larger roles.
Elpes and her family are close to starving as they wait for their father to return from his trip into space in search of more food for them. He has been gone for a few years, and the family has suffered since then. Elpes is faced with despair, loneliness, and doubt.
Soon, things start to happen. Her childhood friend and love, Theer, begins to visit her again, even though not all of his family is happy with his decision. Then, a mysterious ship appears, and hope is renewed. Could it be her Appa?
- Allegorical connections to the Christian faith. Mirkita is a Christian writer, and it shines through, but it’s also subtle, catching some of the darker things mainstream evangelical Christianity misses. Just as Elpes, we are waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ when the world will be judged – and we will likely be surprised, just as Elpes is. Other themes include suffering, community responsibility, doubt, fear, and loneliness.
- Names. In Heaven, God promises to give his children new names. But there’s no need to think the ones we have now don’t contain clues for the future. Elpes is close to the Hebrew word for “hope,” and “Appa” is close to the word for “father.” There are a couple others; see if you can find them!
- Emotional Complexity. The juxtaposition of hope and fear, of sadness and joy, and the complementary roles of love – all of these are constant in Elpes as her character is revealed through the story’s situations. Rarely in life is everything perfect and everyone is content. Oftentimes, love will result in sacrifice, joy will come from sadness, and love can surround us in many forms besides the often-default (in American culture) of romantic love or lust.
Overall, it’s a great read, short and sweet, and poignant and passionate all at once. Enjoy it now on Kindle Fire!