MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “October, 2015”

Treacherous Love

forbiddenloveShe could understand when he would arrive because her heart skipped a beat. It was as if she had a telepathic sensor locked with his presence and she could sense him coming a mile away. She found herself longing for the moment she would see him again and couldn’t wait for the time to pass until that ‘next time’. She knew it was wrong. But she couldn’t help it.

She hoped he felt the same. He seemed to show that he did. She felt so safe and natural with him. As if the entire world disappeared in his arms, melting away in his kiss. But it never lasted for more than a few hours. And that prickled her heart like a rose losing its petals and having only its thorns remain. And as time passed, it hurt all the more.

They both knew it was wrong. Their society would not accept it. She was betrothed to someone else. Someone she had never seen before the day of her wedding. And he returned home to another. One others chose for him. She couldn’t stand the thought that someone else was sharing the most private moments of his life. She wanted that to be her. She wanted to be the extension to his arm.

They moved into this relationship knowing what they were getting into. They promised it would be carnal, to satisfy the lust they felt for each other. Yet, she fell deeper. She allowed herself to fall in love with him. To get stuck onto a reckless path, one she nonetheless enjoyed. And each time she saw him, talked to him, touched him, she was swept away further. Into a loop she knew she would never be able to untangle from. She found herself begging him to stay when she knew she should not even be there. His name constantly echoed in her mind. He was all she could think of and kept hoping he did the same. She could not step back though. Not now. Because they were both in too deep. And, quite frankly, she didn’t want to either.

Nothing safe is worth the dive. So maybe, she thought, it’s not really about that happy ending that they know will never come. It’s about the story they share together. And maybe that would make it all worth it. Because some hearts are meant to be broken, so that others can find their happiness.

The time we never had

Siamese-cat-walking-away-Stock-PhotoHere we are, trying to live the present as it comes. Desperately trying to seize the moment, to make the most out of every opportunity that lingers in front of us. We try to convince ourselves that we are doing the best we can with our time. That we are not letting it go to waste, because that would be a shame.

But deep down we know that nothing can beat a ticking clock.

Whatever will come, will do so either way. All we can do is live, so as to say that we experienced everything we could in the timeframe we had. That we sucked the juice out of life and enjoyed it. With no regrets. Other than the (more) time we never had.

People come in and out of your life constantly. Even with them, their time is always limited. Even if it is with a pet. More so when it is with a pet. Because, sometimes it turns out to be more than that. More than simply an animal, a friend, a companion. Cats are usually the ones who own you. They tie you down without you even realizing it. But you don’t mind. You actually enjoy it and are all the more grateful for it too. Because you know that this bond is for life.

Three years ago today, that specific time was up. At least in this world. That eternal bond doesn’t break. You promised it to each other and you know it. That bond is forever. No matter how quickly time flies. No matter how much more time you wished you had.

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind”. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

When everything screams go

standing-out-from-the-crowd-conceptWhen everything screams go, why do you stay?

Why would you persist in something you know might not even work? Why do you insist on devoting your time, energy and soul into something that may not even be worth it in the end if it doesn’t last?

You do it because you secretly hope for something that will change. That will make the fantasy in your head the reality that you live.

Thomas Edison tried and failed many times before he finally invented the electric light bulb. He himself stated, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”. Effort doesn’t have an expiration. All it needs is your perseverance.

Would you consider yourself crazy for staying, when everyone else leaves? Because as everyone rushes to the door, you stay to put out the fire. Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis believed that “every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all is not to have one”.

It takes more courage to stay than to simply run away. Because you know what you have to deal with. You know that the situation is not in your favour. But you still choose to deal with it and fight rather than surrender and abandon all hope.

Maybe you are a little crazy for doing so. But remember, “those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones that do”.

Fine Art, Flawed Artists

books1There are times when you come across a book that you cannot put down, not because of its plot or fictional narrative, but because it is so inspiring you want to learn more. When such books are recommended by people who know you well enough to safely bet that it will enrapture you, then you are certain to read through the entire book in less than a couple of days.

Clive James’ Latest Readings is such a book.

Masterfully written it is witty, funny, absorbing, entertaining, inspiring. The flow of language is so effortless that it can be read in a gulp. There is a uniqueness in every line, blooming with such an exquisite narrative, that it makes you feel as if the author is sitting right there conversing with you.

Although an esteemed literary critic, in this specific book, James does more than simply review the books he read. He reviews a lifetime of reading books. Because he artfully combines his opinion of the book’s content, with its background epoca and its context, associating everything with current events – from the rise of ISIS, to the digitization of the written word, to Bill Cosby’s trial, even to recent TV series and movies. And all of this is combined with a telling of his own state (he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia) and the fact that he was melting away, or, like he says, “slipping into time”.

This is an illuminating book in many ways, because, although some books and writers may not be familiar to you, he will awake in you the urge to read more. He will illuminate the dream of having a large room with huge double doors opening into an entire library full of books. One that contains bookcases rising up from the ground to the ceiling, so complete that you need an incorporated sliding ladder to move across them. A library so full, that you would eventually need to smuggle books in and hide them, as he does, being under embargo for bringing in more books. And he encourages you to love books, despite the rapid conversion into the “rational solution” of a digital form, as “being book crazy is an aspect of love, and therefore scarcely rational at all”.

But he will also inspire you to become a better author in order to produce the book you dream to write. He urges you to be open to self-criticism, because “unless you can criticize yourself, you are not a writer”. He even calls out to journalists themselves, a dying craft of our times, stressing that “journalism is the first draft of formal history”.

He explores the background stories of the writers themselves, opening up details into their lives that you never knew. One of the most memorable phrases in the book is that “fine art is usually work of flawed people”, giving you hope that no matter your troubles, you can always produce something great.

His ode to Ernest Hemingway is beautiful, particularly noting that “he was a giant of who dreamed of being a giant” and was an author able to deliver such a convincing narrative, such that “his way of putting things was a transformative illusion”. His closing reference to Florence Nightingale is also both touching and enlightening.

What is most astounding throughout the book is that, despite his illness, James never gives up. He doesn’t abandon his wit and sharp intellect, nor does he stop reading, expanding both his knowledge and his world. And that, is perhaps, the most inspiring aspect of it all. After all, as he so deftly states, “If you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do.

A worthy meal

champagne-and-oystersHe spent his last £30 on a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne.

He didn’t mind that he would now be broke. It was worth it. The oysters were exquisite and the champagne was bubbly and fruity. Not that he had anything to compare them to.

He had just arrived in the country he now called home. He was one of the thousands who believed fleeing from the only home you know was the single chance you had for a tomorrow. The future was all he would think about when he stepped his trembling body into that rocking boat. He didn’t know where he was heading to, but looking back at the fire burning his village, he knew forward was the only way he could go.

Life is full of surprises, they say. For when he reached the shore, the informal “welcome committee” consisted of one of his cousins who had arrived a couple of years ago. Following a reunion that alternated between tears and jumping jacks of joy, he soon found a new home, even if just a temporary one.

However, finding work was not easy. There were so many unskilled workers asking for jobs, the competition was so great, that it all came down to who would accept less.

His first job interview failed because he couldn’t understand what the employer was saying.

His second because he couldn’t respond fast enough.

His third because he did not give adequate replies.

His fourth because his reply to the question “where do you see yourself in five years” was “alive”.

His fifth because he was too old for the job.

His sixth because he had no experience for it.

His seventh because they had already hired the person before him.

He needed money somehow. He needed food. His stomach was already grumbling and he could not continue to live off his cousin forever. It was not proper. All he had left was £30, which he insisted that he would soon pay back no matter how much his cousin refused. His meals had consisted of bread, cheese and apples, as little as he could eat a day in order to save the cash. But he was now drained. He needed a proper meal.

Autumn had settled in and the brown crispy leaves crackled under his feet as he tottered pensively along the central avenue. The rain began to fall, slowly at first, caressing his stress-sweated face, and then rapidly like a torrent attempting to cleanse out the pain of his soul all at once. He stood still in the street, as people all around him rushed for shelter. He had lived through worse. A little rain would do no harm. On the contrary, it was welcome. The avenues began to fill with water like empty tanks fill up. The hundreds of fallen leaves had blocked the gutters, tapping all the water into the streets. There was no outlet for the water that was now raging from the dark sky.

He looked around and saw cars struggling to move ahead, pedestrians getting soaked. And there was so much noise – the honking, the screaming, the thunders, the rain…

He looked down at his feet, which were by now in a puddle of rainwater mixed with black-trampled-on-leaves. Right in front of him was a blocked gutter. If he could just remove the dirt, he would manage to alleviate some of the gushing water and perhaps restore calm. He took a fallen branch from a nearby tree and began to clear out the gutter. He then proceeded to the next one further down, and the next one. By the time he reached the top of the avenue where all the fancy and elitist restaurants where, the rain had diminished to a drizzle. Exhausted as he was, he stopped to check the result of his feat. The roads had mostly cleared from the rain, everyone seemed less annoyed, and it was quieter now.

The smell of wet leaves reminded him of how hungry he was. He stepped into the restaurant in front of him and ordered a royal lunch. He didn’t care people looked at him disapprovingly. In his one month there, he had done more for them than they had even thought of doing for him. It was time to live in the moment. When he saw a municipal worker approaching him with an applauding smile on his face, that was when he thought that just maybe, that moment would give something back.

The story was an entry in the Guardian Masterclasses blog competition.

Do you remember?

Memories“Do you remember that time at the lake, when you fell and as you sat on the frozen ice it broke, and when I came to help I fell in? We were laughing so hard, we had forgotten all about how painful it was!”

                “No. I don’t remember.” Her face was cringing, as she desperately tried to recall the memory.

“Do you remember our first dance? It was that song you still love; it was during a full moon, during our dinner at that French restaurant you chose. You were wrapped in my arms and looked into my eyes, and that is when you first told me you love me. Do you remember? I was in tears when I told you back how much I love you too.”

                She began to cry. She could not remember. No matter how much she tried, her mind was blank. It was as if this all happened in a movie she once saw and now had forgotten. Her head hurt from trying too hard to remember something that was no longer there.

“Do you remember the time you told me you were truly happy? We had gone sailing and a miscalculation on my part – let’s call it that – caused the boat to topple over. We fell into the sea and you began to splash around, jumping all wet and soggy over my shoulders and grabbing me so tight. I could feel your laughter resonate in my chest.”

                “No,” she said tearfully. She could not remember the incident at all. She remembered nothing.

On the contrary, he remembered everything. Every detail. Every experience. Every feeling. Every laughter. Every tear. Every moment. Every word. So vividly.

He always thought memory was a choice, but after her accident, he began to reconsider this perception. It was not her fault. It was not as if she chose to forget.

But he didn’t know what was worse: the fact that he remembered everything, or that she remembered nothing at all.

Change in the silence

Change - leavesYou can hear it in the silence. The change that is coming. You can feel it in the air around you. You can sense it In that cold breeze that causes your eyes to water.

Changes are often unpredictable. They are a fundamental part of life. And we are usually the ones we’ve been waiting to change.

But sometimes, just some times, those changes are strange. Not that they are not welcome. On the contrary. But in that they seem to affect everything we’ve ever known up to that point.

It is when you see people who have inscribed their names into your heart, now being with someone else.

Or when you see loved ones being happy. With others.

It is that melancholic feeling of witnessing the change that is happening around you. Without you. Despite of you.

It is that feeling of trying to make sense of everything, but no matter how much you try, or how much you think you’ve managed to sort out everything, there will always be that small “issue” in your life that you can never understand.

There are some things in life that no matter how much everything else changes, those will never do. They usually involve feelings. Ones so strong, they can break down every single defense you raise against them.

But at times, regardless of how hard you fight, resistance is futile, because maybe some things are just not meant to be. At least maybe for the time being.

Perhaps in a year or so, you’ll look back at it all and wonder what you were so worried about. Perhaps it is all just a matter of time. And faith.

But like Alan Watts said, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

The writing on the wall

WaitingCaterina looked at the clock on the wall. She was sitting in the waiting room for forty minutes already. But this was normal given the occasion. It was a very popular office and urgent things kept popping up. After all, it wasn’t easy to see a Minister.

The waiting room was reminiscent in name to lobbies of medical practitioners. But the atmosphere was very different. The couches were brown leather, but of the “professional” sort, that don’t make noises when you slide across them, and don’t sink as you fall into them. The walls were painted a soft yellow colour that reminded dreamers of the pale colour of sunrise in autumn. And right across the main couch was a framed canvas that read “Good things come to those who wait”. It was a fitting advice, but was it true?

Caterina worked as a press officer for a non-governmental organization that closely cooperated with the Minister. She had booked the meeting a couple of weeks in advance and had everything prepared for today. But now, all she could do was wait. And as she waited, her mind drifted. She stared at the writing on the canvas, noticed how the light colours and the curves made the whole painting seem so much more optimistic, and how it actually managed to transmit that positive perspective to the viewer. But Caterina could not shake off that feeling she had lately – that she was alone. No matter the many people who encircled her during the day, she would always return to a home where she would be alone. She missed having someone to share her life with, and her mind (and dreams) were constantly fixed on this thought, or rather, grievance.

That was until today. Because today, sitting right under that prophetic painting was Johnnie. Johnnie was a government aide. He was perfect for the job because he was a “people’s person”. He was extrovert and always knew what to say; he could start a conversation out of nowhere, and had a way of making everyone crack a smile. And, according to Caterina, he himself possessed the most engaging smile she had seen in a while. When her eyes fell on him, he smiled widely and winked. Caterina blushed, smiled, and turned her eyes to the floor. Every woman loves being flirted with, but it is the ones who dare to make a further move that usually win their hearts.

Johnnie was one of those guys.

He got up and transferred himself to Caterina’s couch. “In the next minute, I will have been here for an hour. And you?” he inquired. “Fifty minutes,” she responded a bit embarrassed.

Seems I’m winning this one,” he joked. She laughed. And he smiled so that his eyes gleamed. Men love to make women laugh, especially if it reveals a spark in her eyes.

Caterina was one of those girls.

That was the day they both realized that sometimes, the good things come when you least expect them, as long as you are open to seeing them and seize the opportunity that arises. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how long you wait, if what you find truly compensates the waiting time.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Waiting Room

The things you’d rather not know

sealed envelopeThere are some things in life that you’d rather not know. Because sometimes it is better to live with the notion of reality that you’ve formulated in your head, rather than the truth.

Sometimes it is better not to know. Because knowing changes everything.

There are some things that affect you even if you try to deny it. That haunt your dreams at night and stray your thoughts during the day.

There are things that change your whole perspective of life.

But there are things that you wished you’d never known, because it hurts too much now that you do.

Because expectation truly is the root of all disappointment. And the more you know, the more that illusion you built up for yourself crumbles down.

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. In most cases, it is certainly a calm of mind.

And sometimes it is just better to not know certain things. Because maybe that’s how curiosity did kill the cat.

But you’ll always be left to wonder, if it is better now that you know, or if it would have been better to continue living with the false belief of not knowing all along?

Life is a constant dilemma. And the choices we make will undoubtedly affect our entire view of the world.

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