MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Sometimes you just have to croak

Frog-After-Diner-HDThere are so many times in a day that if you stop and think of how many things bug you just at that moment alone, you’d go insane. We people are like that. Get uptight, obnoxious and nervous wrecks over the slightest of things. Then try to find stress balls, yoga mats and tranquillizers to calm down. We should be more like frogs. They seem to know what they’re doing.

Think about it. Have you ever seen a frog stressed out?

Usually, frogs just sit on a leaf in a middle of a pond, musing. Who knows what may be going on in that (little) head of theirs? They’re just carefree, relaxed and serene.

In fact, do you know why frogs are always happy?

Because they don’t let anything bug them!

So maybe we too should be more like these little green amphibians. Always aware of what is going on around them, constantly monitoring their surroundings, seemingly distant, but ever-present.

It is natural that we all get irritated from time to time about pretty much everything. The trick is to demolish that bug with a speedy roll-out of the tongue and then act as if nothing extraordinary happened.

It may be hard being green, but it ain’t easier being any other colour either. So maybe we should take some hints from these little creatures croaking our way. After all, these short-bodied fellows live for over a decade and, compared to human proportions, this is quite remarkable.

So next time a bug hits you, take two seconds to squash it and then croak away carefree.

That cleansing free shower

summer-rainThat moment when the first autumn raindrop splashes onto your head. It is remarkable isn’t it? After weeks of scorching heat and often humidity, the rain comes to salvage your water bill. Free showers. Who wouldn’t want that? That’s why you often see people smile when they feel that first cool breeze bringing home the rain.

And when the showers begin, everyone automatically looks up. As if expecting a swarm of vicious drops lining up in those dark clouds, weighing and calculating the distance, altitude and speed with which to attack.

But all that happens is that the sky finally opens up and drowns out the heat that for so many days has been stifling the land underneath. People run in all directions trying to avoid getting wet, but in the end just become all the more soaked, as they are still wearing their summer sandals, their linen shirts (that become see-through wet t-shirts) and have no umbrella. It’s fun seeing all these people so unprepared. Autumn rain does that. Particularly if it comes during a time of summer heat.

It’s just not that fun when you are the one caught on the side of the road where all the puddles are concentrated and all the cars speed by. Or when you are the one caught in the autumn storm without an umbrella. Or worse yet, when you stand under a balcony until the rage subsides, and get splashed by the waterdrops washing off the plants and tents above you. Refreshing as it may be, when it happens to you, it is truly not that funny.

All in all though, we all need a few showers in a period of draught. It helps rejuvenate, revitalize and refresh our minds and souls. It cleans out all the negative feelings and allows you to view the world with a new perspective. It is a regeneration of sorts. A necessary and much welcomed new beginning for a new season that is just starting.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Autumn Leaves

The revenge of the giant Aloe

Aloe VeraMrs Cliffson loved tending to her garden. Ever since she remained alone in her cozy, stone-built house in the metropolitan suburbs, she decided she would reinvent her garden. At least it would keep her busy and take her mind off being alone.

She began by bringing in all kinds of plants, from flowers to foliage to creepers. She bought all types and all sorts of varieties in order to create what she imagined would be the ideal garden to spend hours admiring. She even bought a small Aloe vera plant. One that would cure every rash or nasty cut she would ever have.

So she got to work.

She got out her spade, trowel and pitchforks and instantly created freshly sowed flower beds, as she also replanted all the plants she had bought from the farmers’ market.

Mrs Cliffson was excited.

She spent her days caring for her rose bushes, her geraniums, her basil and mint and even her cabbages. She had a little section cut off for edible products – such as cabbages, cherry tomatoes, and a series of aromatic plants. All around the garden the flower pots slowly bloomed, radiating their rainbow-coloured glow and embracing Mrs Cliffson’s soul. She was not alone anymore. She cared for something and that paid back. All her plants, in one way or another, returned the love and affection she devoted to them.

But her prize possession – her pride and glory – was the Aloe plant.

That little pot of the shy yet sturdy Aloe vera had within months grown into a huge plant that took up almost an entire corner of the back yard. But no matter its fierce appearance, that Aloe plant was what rescued her.

A few years after the birth of Mrs Cliffson’s garden, she had been diagnosed with a rare dermatological disease. One that would cause strange scars to appear on her skin, appearing as though it was slowly being scraped off. It was a condition that baffled even the most supreme of doctors. She had gone on all sorts of treatment and medication but nothing seemed to work. No-one knew what else to advise. The doctors had almost entirely given up; all they could prescribe now was hope.

Mrs Cliffson was sitting in her garden one day, resting in the wooden swing she had placed in between her flower beds. Her garden had become her refuge, her consolation. And that is when she saw it. The Aloe plant had grown so much that it had almost reached the swing. It seemed as if it was trying to reach out to her. As though it was offering a helping hand. And that is when the thought struck her mind. She immediately got up and cut off a piece one of the Aloe‘s leaves. The juice that ran out onto her hand caused a soothing sensation. Mrs Cliffson rubbed it across her scars. The consequence was almost immediate.

The next day, Mrs Cliffson woke up believing the days and months of running to the doctors was a distant nightmare. She stared at her hands in amazement. The scars were gone, leaving no sign that they had ever existed. She ran out to the garden. The cut-off Aloe leaf had grown back and the plant was complete.

Mrs Cliffson had found her cure. All it took was a little tender, love and care for something that seemingly could not repay you. It is surprising what those small “unimportant” things do for us. Even when you least expect it.

La Hora Gris

La Hora GrisThe first time she died it was around noon, on a stifling hot day. Her carriage had ran off-track. Something had scared the horses and they sprinted off course, almost inverting the carriage as they went, knocking it on obstacles right and left. She was already injured when the carriage fell sideways onto a giant rock off the stone-covered road. The horses were so terrified that they continued to run at full speed. So fast, that they never even realized there was no more ground left to trample on. And the carriage fell off a high cliff. And that was their end.

The second time Teresa died, it was during a tornado. It was monsoon season, and everything happened too fast. As the saying goes, ‘when it rains it pours’, and there was certainly hail that day too. She was caught in a stone-house, not built to last such natural disasters. She could see the whirlwind approaching, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The feeling of getting caught up in this monster, was like being pulled into a roller coaster from which you can’t escape. And then it all goes black. And you remember nothing more.

The third time, death came silently. Teresa was aboard a large cruise ship with her boyfriend. They had just gotten engaged in the most romantic of ways – he had even arranged fireworks for her – and she was over the moon. They were cozy in their cabin suite, falling asleep in the early hours of the morning, when something immense, hard and bulky crashed onto the ship. They hardly felt the water filling up their room, and it was only seconds before this force of nature took their last breath.

Teresa’s fourth encounter with the Reaper was during a car chase. She was after a known-fugitive. She knew this meant a promotion, recognition and acknowledgement that she was good at what she did. And that women could be just as good police officers as men. But when she finally trapped the fugitive and there was no way out, out of seemingly nowhere, he fired a gun that hit her straight in the heart. Her consolation lay only in the fact that she managed to fire right back and get him for it.

They say if you have one encounter with the afterlife, you would always remember it. Teresa had five. And she remembered every last minute. Even the shark bite that took her fifth life, when she tore her foot in the ocean outside a reef she set to explore. She remembered how she screamed and splashed, but there was no-one around to hear her because she had drifted too far out.

But somehow, she never remembered what happened afterwards. After the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. After she had crossed over.

It always felt like waking up from a dream. She was simply starting a new life, as if that was where she left off. It was strangely natural. But she never gave it too much thought.

Until now.

Lately she had always been tormented by a thought – an obsession that penetrated her very being. It was the only thing that terrified her. La hora gris. The grey hour. When it is neither night nor day. But when it is better to fall than rise. That was how it had been imprinted in her brain. That hour of day scared her, more than anything.

It was that hour that she felt her end would come. Her final end. That hour that would take away everything from her. And that is why she rarely kept anything other than the clothes and jewelry she wore.

She spent a couple of years worrying about this fatal moment.

Until she met a man on the pier by her house. He appeared oddly familiar, and for some inexplicable reason she felt she knew him, deeper than any other person she had ever known. She felt a connection with him. A mysterious, incomprehensible feeling of trust, affection and attraction for this man.

And it was all realized when during that grey hour, he came towards her, smiled, and said: “Don’t drive yourself crazy and enjoy this moment, because you never know when life is going to hit us again.”

Instantly she knew. He had been with her all this time. He had accompanied her through all five lives. He was the carriage driver, the owner of the wooden shack, her fiancé, her police chief, her scuba instructor. He had failed to protect her all those times. But now he was right there. And everything would be all right.

Something spiky this way comes

hedgehogIt was a dark and stormy night.

It had to be, because nothing remotely as thrilling or exciting happens during a bright sunny morning. For example, you would never expect a thunderstorm to turn into a tornado that would gulp up your house when outside the birds are chirping gleefully, the sun is shining and there is not even a cloud in the sky.

So to set the atmosphere right for what would ensue, it was dark, stormy and all-in-all quite terrifying.

Amy and Adam were tucked up under their fleece blanket with a bowl of fresh popcorn steaming between them on the couch. They were watching a movie they had just downloaded. And outside the wind was howling.

Fittingly, Adam had chosen an action film to watch, and Amy often got scared, so much that she would jump up in her seat and pour popcorn all over the couch. Adam would just laugh and hug her tighter.

Little did they know, that while they were enjoying their night in, there was something creeping into their front lawn.

As the storm receded, and the wind subsided, the night became quieter. That was when Amy and Adam decided to go to bed.

But that was when he reached the outside of their front door.

Spikes all out, he remained there all night.

Until Amy, opened the door early the next morning and screamed.

The spikes had pierced her foot – she was used to walking around barefoot in the house, so it hurt even more.

But she forgot all about the pain when Adam picked up the perpetrator and she stared into his puffy eyes.

Hedgehogs are cute. And they too are scared of dark and stormy nights.

All it takes is two seconds

night roadLately he didn’t feel like running around anymore. He could sense that something had changed. She had just stopped coming suddenly and no-one could tell him why. Matt too hadn’t really left the house in days. He just spent his time glued in front of the TV screen, as if trying to lose himself inside whatever it was he was watching. It was like this for a couple of weeks now, and Harry was becoming restless.

His play-wheels were no longer rolling joyfully. They would only occasionally turn if the strong wind howled through them. But he didn’t feel like performing like a circus act. Not since she stopped appearing.

Harry had loved Rosa since the moment she picked him out from the tens of other hamsters in the pet store. He knew he had found a person who would love him unconditionally and treat him more than just an animal. And she did. For Rosa, Harry was a member of the family. The one she planned to one day have with Matt. She spent entire days at Matt’s house with her laughter bouncing across the rooms and filling every square inch of the loft. Harry loved it. And so did Matt. He was different around her. He seemed more alive. More optimistic. More energetic.

Matt wanted to ask Rosa to spend the rest of her life with him. Harry knew she would accept. They were meant to be together. After all, they would never had gotten him together if they had no future. He was not destined to be the product of a separated family – he just knew it.

But that fateful night, the life of all three of them radically changed forever.

Matt had prepared a romantic candle-lit dinner in his apartment. He had a big surprise planned out and Harry was going to help. Rosa was on her way. She was a bit late and sent a message to Matt as soon as she started the car. She was excited too, although she didn’t know what was awaiting her. But when she heard the message tone from Matt telling her he couldn’t wait for her to arrive, she bent down for two seconds to confirm it was from the love of her life. But two seconds were more than enough. In the dark of night, Rosa went slightly off-road. The speeding sports car that was wrongly attempting to overpass her, though, was unforgiving. It crashed onto her and threw her into the air, rolling twice before she landed on the sidewalk, car destroyed, and out of breath. The strike was fatal.

That was the moment Harry had sensed things had changed. It was that moment when a strong breeze blew in through the windows and blew out the candles Matt had prepared. It was that moment when they both stood in silence, somewhat knowing that they would never be the same again.

Finding ghosts

MemoriesThere is a saying in Asia that if you see a person who looks remarkably like someone you know then it is likely it is his/her double or “mythical twin”. Supposedly it is linked to a belief that when people were created they were split in half and that is why you sometimes find look-alikes. However, the feeling that overwhelms you when you meet someone who looks almost astoundingly like someone you know, knew, and loved, cannot be described. Even if that person resembles a four-legged family member. It is like running into a tangible ghost.

Emotions flood into your veins, causing an adrenaline surge, cold sweat to trickle down your spine and an unfounded hope that it is truly the person you thought you saw. It is a surge of feelings alternating in seconds and bringing back memories, moments that were and can no longer be. As if you are given a second chance to obtain another memory. But you know it will never be the same. A copy is never as good as the original. Nonetheless you still want to believe that it is almost the same. That for a while you were granted some extra time with someone who meant so much but left too soon.

It is similar to that feeling that surrounds you when you visit a place that held memories and experiences you created with someone you loved but is no longer at your side. It is a sweet melancholy that acts like an anchor on your mood, bringing you down. Because some things cannot be forgotten or replaced. No matter how much you try to create new images, the moments in life that were so deeply and profoundly engraved in your soul can never be overwritten.

Surviving without the Net

mac-internet-sharingThere is a child in a pram holding a tablet. It can barely say two words but it knows how to swerve its fingers in order to play a virtual game. There is another one which needs a screen in front of it depicting moving images, so it can eat a spoonful of food. Then there are the older ones that have a smartphone stuck to their hands as if their life depends on it. There is a man who enters the swimming pool with a digital gadget in a waterproof case. And these are not unique cases.

We spend our days fixed onto a screen; a digital depiction of reality, while real life passes us by. We are so deeply addicted to this new-age “disease” that we cannot even imagine life without it. Without a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or simply put, the Internet.

So much, that when you are found in a location with no Internet access, you immediately classify it as an uncivilized place – because, really, who in this day and age does not offer free Wi-Fi!? – and then you struggle to survive a few days without the one thing that has become an intrinsic part of your day. You can feel the withdrawal symptoms already kicking in in less than 24 hours. You desperately try to find a Wi-Fi network anywhere. Simply to log-on and surf the web. Just open a browser onto any page. To view anything. Simply to feel ‘safe’ that you are online, even for 5 minutes. To sense that you are in familiar space, no matter if that is virtual.

By the end of day one, your hands are already itchy. You are even considering knitting. Simply to keep yourself busy.

We have become so addicted to the Internet – that place where you can find literally anything – that surviving without it seems like balancing without a net. And as we become all the more connected and digitally forward, we become socially awkward network junkies. All the while, reality continues to pass us by, without us even noticing.

The duckling run

free-widescreen-animals-duckling_100458The minute he heard the splash into the crystal clear waters of the lake, Fuzzy started to run. His little duckling legs had never moved so fast in his short life. He didn’t have a lot of time.

The Master might get out of the lake any minute now. But according to his daily routine, which Fuzzy had closely monitored for over a week, he spent at least 25 minutes in the water, swimming and enjoying the tranquility that only those calm blue waters could offer.

Fuzzy’s mother told him not to go near humans. They could not be trusted. One minute they would extend a caring hand and the next they would pull down a heavy object over your head. There was a thin line between love and hatred, she always said. But Fuzzy somehow wanted to give humans the benefit of the doubt. After all, this certain one seemed alright. He was a sort of ‘live and let live’ mentality.

But today Fuzzy felt daring. After all, it is good to take a risk once in a while. It keeps the adrenaline pumping, he thought. So he ran.

Within two blinks of an eye he was there. Now he simply had to locate his exact target. From what he had observed, the Master placed it under the clothes he left on the river bed. So Fuzzy dug under the shirt. And there it was. Black and shiny. He had seen him operate it so many times, he felt almost like an expert himself. It only took the push of two buttons. And…. Mission accomplished!

He had just taken a cute duck selfie! And he was so proud. He was certain the Master would enjoy it too!

One box is never enough

box-of-stuffThey say that one of the steps to healing is practicing a ritual where you place every physical object that reminds you of a story that ended into a box. Out of sight, out of mind. Maybe it will work. But this ritual is much harder than it seems.

You can place things in a box. Like photographs, notes, letters, soft toys, books, memorabilia, even clothes. But how can you put away memories, experiences, feelings, hopes and dreams? How can you erase from your mind events that happened and made you stronger? How can you simply forget the feeling of carefree happiness? How can you simply chose not to remember?

It takes the slightest thing to associate with a memory – a song, a quote, a book, a movie, a TV series, a perfume, a game, a car, a dish – random everyday things that will get your eyes all welled up. Because no matter however much you try, a life cannot fit into a box.

And even if you do attempt to place as much as you can into a four-sided cardboard to stick at the back of your closet or under your bed, you will always have to face a single fact – that one box is never enough.

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