MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

A flower for words

©Dale Rogerson

He left it there, tall, sturdy and fresh, in a vase decorated with a simple bow that made it stand out even more.

It was a simple gesture that would be greatly appreciated. He was sure of it, because he knew her too well.

He could even envision the smile lighting up her face when her eyes would catch sight of it.

He had to leave early that morning, despite the fact that she enjoyed being lazy in bed a while longer when there was no pressing obligation that forced either of them to jump out.

This was a compromise.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Art of Living

©MCD

“If you can handle the mood swings, the unexpected rage, the moaning, the breakdowns, the crying for no reason, the hypothetical and sometimes psychotic scenarios, all those small things that tick her off… well, then you can pretty much handle anything”.

Tom was a psychotherapist. A happily married man for almost half a century now. And his favourite uncle. His advise always worked. And he knew what to do to retain calm in any relationship, to help reconciliation and bring back the good humour of any couple.

“Take her for a walk. Long ones usually help”, he smiled.

“It’s the fresh air. And the gesture that you care enough to comprehend that there is not much you can do. Heck at this state, not even she herself knows what she wants. And perhaps that is what agitates her the most”.

“Walk by the lake. The one with the windmill. She’ll stop and ponder at it. Breathing in and out as it turns, it will help her relax”.

“If you’re feeling lucky, you can even throw something clever, like ‘life is like the windmill; it goes round and round’. Or my personal favourite: ‘All the art of living lies in the fine mingling of letting go or holding on during the winds of change’.”

Coffee stop

©Ted Strutz

It was a four-hour drive to Minnesota. A very long period of time to not speak to each other.

Can we stop for coffee?” she said softly after about an hour and a half passed.

He nodded; “Of course, at the next stop”.

It wasn’t the drink itself that was a necessity for them both. It was the act of reconciling over it.

Coffee, no matter how much a requisite for some to start the day, is a means to enjoying each other’s company. It is the pretext of getting together and sharing views.

Of enjoying life with one another.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Get out of your head

The reason we trouble ourselves is because we prioritise one thought over another. And that former one is usually a source of negativity and hypothetical scenarios that may never even play out. We need to get out of our heads and live in the moment. To appreciate what we truly have now, we need to stop dwelling on the ‘ifs’”.

She looked at him silent.

He was right. But she was too stubborn to admit it.

He gazed into her eyes transmitting a calmness that radiated from the depths of his soul. Even his breathing held a tranquil rhythm. She could feel the serenity soothing her. How could she remain angry at him? And for no apparent reason.

There are so many problems in the world. Serious ones. We don’t need to create more with our minds”, he said opening up his arms to embrace her in a forget-it-all-and-let-it-go hug.

Still she said nothing.

But she smiled, and her eyes lit up.

She loved him for this. For being able to comprehend her mood swings and loving her regardless.

Work and play

© David Stewart

I have to work”, he said springing out of bed with a look of utter distress. The anguish of being behind schedule for all his deliveries fed his insomnia for days.

The weekend retreat did not help at all. The days were OK as long as they were walking outside in the fresh air. But his mind was constantly pounded by the professional obligations he had yet to fulfil.

I know, but first you need to fuel yourself with some energy,” she replied to him tentatively placing a tray filled with a rich breakfast.

He couldn’t refuse the care received.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Up there

©Roger Bultot

Take me up there,” she said, pointing at the high-storey building in front of them.

He had asked what she wanted to do for their first day in the city together. He had been there for two months already before their schedules coincided enough for her to be able to visit.

He was planning on surprising her during the few days she was there. He wanted her to stay there with him. And as soon as their eyes met when she arrived, he was certain of it.

He was going to propose up there, with a view of the city.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Morning signs

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It was like a morning ritual: breakfast, coffee and the daily reading of her horoscope. She didn’t necessarily believe everything she read, but somehow she felt it offered a glimpse of what her day would be like.

Cecilia was a busy woman. Entrepreneur, with her own business since a young age, with diplomas and degrees, she delivered seminars and was a powerful figure in an industry dominated by the opposite sex. Yet, she was great with interpersonal relations, managed to network fast and easily with others, made friends or acquaintances easily, and was greatly popular in the romantic aspect of life too. But she placed the bar too high for the people too close to her. She held high expectations for who she became intimate with, who she shared her dreams, plans and sentiments with, and most of all, to whom she devoted her time and energy.

People often asked her why such a dynamic person as herself believed so much in horoscopes and zodiac signs.

There was no real answer to this. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your social status is. We all need some form of clarity about the uncertainty that dominates our lives.

Indeed, like many articles on the matter note, “astrology may not give definite answers, but providing meaningful explanations of ambiguous or confusing situations can increase an individual’s sense of control over them… It can also provide reassurance about the future, bringing people great comfort and reducing their feelings of distress”.

We all seek something to help us alleviate the stress we feel on a daily basis. Something to explain why things turn out the way they do – a Mercury in retrospect; the planets misaligned; an ascending Jupiter.

Astrology tends to help people deal with negative events in their lives, precisely because it seemingly offers a prediction or reasoning for life’s events. “A number of studies have demonstrated that people are more likely to turn to astrology when they are experiencing personal crises or facing stresses in life, attesting to its benefits in minimizing tension and worry during difficult situations”.

But there is also something more: “Studies show that astrology can greatly influence and even validate a person’s self-concept, as well as increase their certainty about their personal attributes. In short, the ruminative nature of astrology encourages self-reflection, enabling individuals to understand themselves and their environment more clearly”. If we need zodiac signs to gain a greater sense of who we are, believe in ourselves more and become more confident about our own characteristics, then perhaps we should all be aware of what our horoscopes say. We just need to remember that, regardless, we are the ones who forge our path in life.

More than walls

© Brenda Cox

When we finally arrived, it was all there just like in that picture we had created in our minds after so many descriptions we had heard.

It was standing there, frozen in time, as if waiting for its owners to return.

Homes too have a soul. They encompass the feelings and memories their residents confide and build in them. The life we experience, the persons we shape ourselves to be, the laughter and tears we express, they all seep into the walls and are cautiously guarded like a well-kept secret.

It only takes a single breath to remember it all.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The troubles of the world

It’s consoling to feel you are being heard. To know there is someone there who will allow you to lash out, to yell, to moan, to cry if needed. We need those air pockets once in a while to enable us to breathe. Because we can’t keep everything suffocating inside for too long”.

She paused and smiled. Marian could feel zia Giulia’s gentle gaze look right through her. She didn’t need to say much around her favourite aunt. It was as if she had a super-intuition through which she could perceive every emotion, every perplexing thought.

I’m glad you’re that person-to-go-to for your friends. But the problem arises when you allow all those problems you hear to drain into you and you add them onto your own”.

Marian sighed. Zia had struck spot on.

We need to listen, to comprehend, to offer advice, support, or even nothing more than our company and the reassurance that no one is alone. But you also need to know how to turn the tap off. That is how to allow the troubles of the world to slip off your shoulders. Each of us has enough of their own worries to carry those of others too. It’s not selfish. It’s self-care. And it does not mean you’re not being a good friend if you’re not constantly anguishing over the other’s hardships”.

She could sense the confusion, so she lightened the mood and added:

Even a camel will eventually shed you off when you become too heavy to carry. But that does not mean that it won’t accept to carry you back on again after a short while”.

Know your limits. And don’t be afraid to set them”.

Reason you cannot explain

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He seemed oddly familiar. It took one single look to get her hacking her brain if she’d seen him before or if the resemblance to someone she knew was so uncanny.

She felt he would play a role in her life, even from the first moment their eyes crossed. She couldn’t explain why.

Instinct, after all, is reason you cannot explain.

And it would turn out to be real.

He was different to everyone else. Prudent, self-assured, active, social, funny, with witty humour, and above all, charming. He knew how to speak and act appropriately depending on the circumstances, and that was something so undervalued in people nowadays.

But expectation is a dangerous sentiment. You raise people up onto pedestals too high for them to reach at times. And when they crumble down, you’re the one to get hurt, not them.

You’re much better off if you anticipate nothing. Let life surprise you instead. Just go with what you get, and relish every moment of it.

Expect nothing and appreciate everything. It’s the way to avoid disappointment.

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