MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Dancing Shadows

a-big-shadow-dance1As a child Laura wanted to be a dancer. To join the ranks of a famous ballet troop and dance her life around the world. She wanted to be the best. To express every ounce of emotion through the eloquence of dance. And to be so artistically close to perfect that it would even bring her audience to tears.

But that never happened.

When he was young, Mario wanted to live life to the fullest. He didn’t care what he did, as long as he would do it whole-heartedly and enjoy every single moment of it. He never thought about growing up. For him, life was about living the moment. About delving as deep into it as possible. About living then and there.

Until that accident happened.

In the prime of their lives, Laura and Mario were involved in an accident. With each other. One that would inevitably change their lives.

A single second of distraction led to a pileup on one of the busiest avenues in the city. But it was so intense that Laura was told she could not dance again. She was lucky she could still walk and run. And Mario realized that there are some things in life that carry more weight than the frivolousness attributed to almost anything when you view the world through the eyes of a youth.

They changed. Irrevocably. Suddenly. Forcefully.

And their childhood dreams became the shadows that accompanied them for their rest of their lives. Even when they sit in each other’s arms years later and remember that dreadful accident that brought them together, they sigh in melancholy as they imagine ‘what could have been’ and the reason it didn’t.

And how their youthful shadows may dance now, since they no longer can.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Futures Past

One day

clouds rainbow

 

 

 

 

One day you will scratch a card and win
You will manage to run a mile
And hula hoop.
You will leap into the crystal waters of a pond
And rejoice with the resonance of the splash
Only to want to repeat it again and again.

One day you will exit your cocoon
Transformed into a beautiful butterfly
And realize you are a rainbow
Even in the darkest of clouds.

One day you will believe
That you can be the change you want to bring
That you are stronger than you believe
That you can take control of your destiny.

One day you will see
That you can be
Whatever it is
You want to be.
You.

A spade in the basement

Dark basementThere was a strange sound coming from the basement. She had heard it before but never looked into it. Maybe it was an old washing machine stored down there, or even a pet rat. People have weird habits and she didn’t want to seem indiscrete. Walden on the other hand didn’t seem to care, or even notice at all for that matter.

They had been together for over a year when Walden lost his job and they decided to move into his grandparents’ old house. In a city Elizabeth had never even heard of before, let alone be able to find on the map.

She loved him too much to say no.

But then it all began.

The strange coincidences – the postman who was also the plumber, the electrician and the Mayor. The snooping around by every one of the 200 inhabitants of that town. The ‘lights out’ policy at exactly midnight. The rooster crowing every morning, despite the fact that no-one owned a rooster, or even a coop. The fact that all the old people from that village seemed to disappear overnight. And most of all, the fact that no one found any of this unusual, unnatural or in any way concerning.

Not even Walden.

Elizabeth was beginning to feel insane. The simile of a fish out of water was too small to describe what she was going through.

Since they moved there the world as she knew it turned upside down. As if she was in a parallel universe and everything was reversed.

And lately those noises in the basement were becoming all the more frequent, louder and more intense.

She had mentioned it to Walden but he dismissed it as some casual thing you hear – like a bird chirping in the morning (which you never did over there), or a ferret digging a hole (ditto).

So she decided to take things into her own hands. She was going to go investigate the basement.

She took a torch and opened the door. Unsurprisingly, it was creaking. It was also very dark down there and smelled moist and humid. She turned on the flash light but couldn’t really make out anything.

She reached for her cellphone in her pocket, but coincidentally and most conveniently she had left it upstairs in the bedroom.

She was alone.

Or so she thought.

She felt a flicker, as an object moved next to her. She shunned the torch but as soon as she saw the face of her co-visitor she dropped the flashlight and ran for the door.

Why was Walden in the basement, wrapped up in dirt, with a spade in hand? And why had he not told her anything?

Was she living in a horror film or simply a haunted house? Because it appears you never know anyone or anything well enough.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Choose Your Adventure

The other side of the looking glass

antique mirrorThe feeling of the key turning in the palm of your hand as it unlocked the door was one that always brought relief to Priscilla. For no matter the horrors, the exploitation and the emotional drainage she experience outside in the real world, in there, through that door she was safe. “My castle, my home” she would say and she meant it. It was as though in there nothing could touch her.

Until that day. When she walked in to find a couple she had never seen before, sitting in her living room, eating a slice of cake.

She was dumbstruck. She dropped the key and stood still as if she had been petrified.

Hello dear, there you are! Would you like a piece of cake? It’s fresh and not too heavy!” The woman spoke to her as though they had been apart only for a little while since she last saw her. And her voice was so soothing. But who was she?

“Come, have a seat. You must be tired!” The man’s voice was just as welcoming. It was almost wrong not to go and sit with them. They were both so inviting.

But who on earth were they?

Priscilla rubbed her eyes. Maybe it was a dream, or rather a nightmare. She pinched herself, but nothing worked, except perhaps give her a bruise.

Who are you!?” she managed to utter at last.

The couple looked almost insulted. “Auntie Clara and Uncle Tom. Why, don’t you remember darling?

Priscilla was beginning to feel scared. Had she gone insane?

“We arrived this morning, dear. You left us to go to work because something urgent had come up. Your auntie made this cake in the meantime and we were waiting for you. Don’t you remember?

Ok this is all too weird,” thought Priscilla.

The strangest part of it all was that she had absolutely no recollection of what had happened that morning. She only remembered her terrible day at work. But no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t remember what took place before that, or how she even got to work!

Everything in her house seemed normal. All in its usual place. And these people seemed so nice and kind. If only she could remember who they were.

Cold sweat trickled down her spine. For a moment she felt her blood turn to ice. What if she wasn’t even the person she thought she was?

She rushed to the mirror.

Phew! This was one face she still recognized.

But on the other side of the looking glass, Evilia her evil twin, was determined to have the last laugh.

 

Also part of Daily Post: Unexpected Guests

Barry’s flight out

GoodfeathersIt was windy that day. Barry remembered it well. He lost three feathers in that whirlwind that took his town by literally a storm. It was the pain from the third feather being ruthlessly plucked out from his tail that made him take the decision. He was going to go to the city.

Life in a big city was not easy for a pigeon. It was not easy for anyone actually from what he witnessed. He had to fight off human scavengers near the dumpsters in search of food. And no matter how slowly you closed up onto someone sitting on a bench somewhere, they would for some reason “shoo” you away instead of throw you a breadcrumb or something. People in the city were rude. That is what Barry figured a few days after he took the giant flight to move out of his tiny town.

Expectations of course are not always met and Barry found himself in a situation quite different to what he had imagined. In the city you always risked being run over. By cars, by bicycles, motorbikes, rollerblades, even by these ‘people’ on foot. They didn’t care that you were trying to munch away on that big piece of bread you found lying on the floor, or that you were in a hurry to gulp it down before some other big pigeon of the ‘Goodfeathers’ clan came and grabbed it from you. No, all they cared about was that you were in their way. Half the times they didn’t even pay attention to you.

Of course the fact that Barry was quite small compared to the fat pigeons of the city, did not help his case either.

Barry found it rough in the city. There was too much noise, too many people, too many pigeons, and not enough food for all of them. And they were all too egocentric. He had been in the city for a week and had made no friends. Hardly anyone would talk to him at all. Instead he had been pushed over a branch he was sleeping on one night for ‘trespassing private territory’; he had a close encounter with a motorbike helmet; had an ‘unfortunate accident’ on a shiny car top that was parked underneath the tree he was taking a nap in and got violently yelled at; and had to wrestle for his daily crumbs with a whole bunch of pumped-up pigeons.

That night with the owl hooting under the full moon and the car horns filling out the silence that should have been, he decided to put an end to his city expedition.

Living in a city was exciting. But you had to be rough to endure life with such high adrenaline levels. Barry preferred the breeze of his town; the gossip he exchanged with his friends every morning, the fact that the neighbor had named all the pigeons that resided in the tree in his yard; and the silence that came together with nightfall. He would return to the city every now and then; everyone needs such a reality check, simply to appreciate the wonders they already have. “Better be great in a town, than ignored in a city” he thought as he made the flight home.

 

Love is an island

DSC08896Every now and again everyone needs to get away for a while. From the routine, the noise, the crowds, the hectic lifestyle, the stress, the things that simply aggravate you. You need to devote some time to yourself, to things and people you love, and most of all to relax and rediscover the beauty of life.

What better place to do so than on a beautiful Greek island just an hour away from the bustling capital city, Athens?

Islands like Aegina offer you the getaway you long for since the start of each week. And it is close enough that you can decide to go for the weekend only a few hours before jumping on the ship. DSC08818Watching the waves foam as the ship skids through the ocean leaving the city behind, you can feel your shoulders lighten a little as you leave your troubles behind.

Calmly sliding through tranquil waters, you can already feel the anticipation of what awaits you on the island – sun, sea and relaxation.

Even the seagulls can sDSC08828ense it and come to escort you into port as a VIP entrance should be!

And then you reach the marina. DSC08928That awesome place with all these shiny white yachts finely lined up for you to gaze and wish you owned the one on the right, between the two smaller ones, that one with the large mast and sail.

Being on an island – aIMG_0916 small one that is, no matter for how long, makes you wish your life was as relaxed and carefree as the days you spend there.

Taking long strolls along the golden beaches and watching your feet sink into the sand.
Watching the sunset in the arms of your loved one.

DSC08970

Having a drink and a snack at wonderful, picturesque villages.

DSC08935Enjoying a carriage ride by a horse you just met and became friends with before taking you around to see amazing old manor houses that even featured in a movie.

Re-discovering the joys of life, simply by forgetting that every day needs to have a schedule and a to-do list.

Love is like an island. Endless, calm, and ready to embrace you as soon as you set foot there.DSC08838

With friendly smiles greeting you immediately and conversations that can start as easily as you take a breath, it makes you wonder why exactly it is that you live in a busy city where you are constantly pushed and shoved around and not there – there where you walk into the supermarket and the next time you go the cashier even remembers your name. Where you are given discounts simply because you engaged in an amusing conversationIMG_0913 with the proprietor. Where you make friends that are always ready to welcome you back.

We all need a sanctuary to recharge our batteries. To re-energise us, at the same time as it calms us down. To remind us that life is not as hard as we all make it out to be. It’s just that we have forgotten how to live.

 

N.B. All photos are mine taken on the island of Aegina on 03-04 May 2014

P.S. This is my 200th blog post!      

The Journalistic Hunger Games

460475_journalismA taxi driver on our way to my destination one day told me that “journalism is a dirty job”. He said that journalists today must be “part of the system in order to succeed – to say one thing, think another, and do another. They are disgraceful”. And I was left wondering since when this occupation – one of the most wonderful and most important there are, ended up being thought of as inferior, non-profitable and “dirty”.

A graffiti in an EU country stated that a democracy is only as good as its journalists. Yet today almost everyone agrees that journalism worldwide has deteriorated. And this is not only due to the rise of social media, blogs and the widespread use of the Internet where everyone feels that they are qualified to write (about) anything. It is also because the quality of journalism has significantly declined. When articles published are badly written, lack information, are misspelled and without any syntax, how will journalism provide a good example to the masses?

One of the basic principles of journalism is that it will offer citizens the truth no matter the circumstances, and in a clear and simple way. Without destroying values, or taking a stance for or against an issue. This is the way it should be – the simple, unadorned, and unexaggerated truth.

So many journalists sacrifice their life for this exact principle – for the citizen’s right to proper information. In 2013 at least 70 journalists were killed in the line of duty, while in only the three first months of 2014, another 15 have already been killed. A profession for which people risk their lives should undoubtedly be respected. But just as in every other case, respect is something to be earned.

The so much bad journalism that exists today negates any good examples that still remain. And when people are more interested in the lives of “celebrities”, then journalism inevitably stoops down a level, with journalists themselves now becoming part of a profession that is not thought of as highly.

Of course, the fact that journalism is among those jobs where the worker is occupied long hours without a proper schedule, no real holidays or overtime, and receives a meagre salary, does not help at all. And in addition, journalists themselves are often scorned. For example, in high-level meetings such as Eurogroup and Ecofin Councils where the elite of governments, financial organisations and other officials gather to hold discussions and conferences, journalists are the ones who spend twelve-hours a day at the press centre trying to communicate to the people in a simple and coherent way what exactly is going on. Yet, they are often faced with insufficient space in which to work, weak Internet connections, and even lack of food. They are often treated as people of an inferior class, just like many employees, or at least all those who do not have a fancy title giving access to the relevant luxury that comes with. It is as if these employees and the other officials are separated into an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” clan. Journalists have to strive to earn their living (and their food), working hours on end in adverse conditions, while officials, delegates and “VIPs” freely enjoy luxurious lunches, extravagant dinners, and even exclusive (free) guided tours.

If journalism’s real purpose is to reveal corruption scandals for example, then ideally it should be clear of such issues itself. A bad name comes out of a bad example given. But it is now time for journalism and its employees to deservedly revive the glory that they lost long ago.

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