Elephant in the City by Nora Nadjarian


It happened as I was crossing over and I saw it, him, right in the middle of the street, blocking the traffic.

A woman stood in front, and everyone watched in horror at first, because she might get trampled, the elephant might stampede and she might die. But none of that happened in the next few minutes. The woman touched his thick skin with her hands, and she wept and wept, as if she’d found the one precious thing in life which she’d lost, and more traffic stopped and people stared. No beeping of horns, just complete silence. No panic, just calmness. There’s this one word: serendipity. If she hadn’t gone shopping that day, they wouldn’t have met. If he hadn’t escaped, she would never have found him. If the cars hadn’t stopped, I wouldn’t have looked. If the woman hadn’t wept this story might not have been written. Think of it as a kind of sequence, luck in slow motion, people escaping their lives for a few minutes in order to find what they’re looking for.

The woman would not move, and neither did the elephant. I wrote a love story. It happened.

© Nora Nadjarian

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11 Responses to “Elephant in the City by Nora Nadjarian”

  1. John Barry says:

    Incredible precision of capturing the moment,
    Putting it in focus and reducing it to only few
    Sentences which can make you shed a tear.
    I love the “luck in slow motion”.

    John Barry

  2. Lupe F. says:

    Beautiful.

  3. BMX says:

    Bmx
    Vintage Armenian whimsy. The monolithic pachyderm is just – well – there; and all the emotion comes from the woman. How come? Nora leaves us to work it out for ourselves. Nice one.

  4. Julie says:

    Nora, as w/ yr other stories, I love how you create a scene with such clear, sensory details and the subtle levels of meaning you offer your reader. Such a beautiful story!

  5. Marcelle says:

    I love this story. It evokes a sense of place, possibility, and peril. An expansive and beautiful flash.

  6. Debra Zaslow says:

    I love this sentence:” The woman touched his thick skin with her hands, and she wept and wept, as if she’d found the one precious thing in life which she’d lost, and more traffic stopped and people stared.” The whole piece seems like you’ve expanded emotion and then compressed it in a time capsule. I love the symmetry of the beginning and end,

  7. Nir says:

    Beautiful and intriguing story, unexpected and charming wit and way to see, feel and express things, it generates passionate admiration and deep apprerciation!!!

  8. Niya says:

    So visceral. The beats of the story are so succinct. I was blown away.

  9. dorothee says:

    wonderful.

    loved this line: “Think of it as a kind of sequence, luck in slow motion.” — that’s what reading this story, is, too: luck in slow motion.

  10. finnegan flawnt says:

    marvelous piece, nora. it’s wonderful how you establish ‘slow motion’ in your writing. perfect coalition of mood content and structure. sooo strong. oddly enough i’ve also wrote about elephant love last spring – perhaps it was in the air?

  11. Leela Soma says:

    Touching, emotion lifts off the page, in the zone. A lovely piece of work Nora.

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