MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the category “Short Stories”

Chasing Waterfalls

©MCD

It was a scorching hot summer day, but Jake was of the perception that you should grasp every opportunity offered to you to enjoy life to the fullest. The renowned waterfalls were very close to his holiday stay so he decided to go on the expedition early in the morning.

His car wouldn’t go that far though. It refused to budge further than the asphalt-paved road. So Jake had to get out, put his hat on, grab a bottle of water and take the trail on foot. Trekking was always one of his passions. He thought it would be an easy task.

But along the way, the road became steep downhill and slippery. Then small, sharp steps were added to the challenge, along with pointy branches that hit you abruptly. The temperature became humid and hotter as it took much longer than expected to arrive to the sought destination.

After an hour of trail – given that Jake took a wrong turn and had to go back to find the right road-sign for where he was going – he finally reached a rainforest-like path and could hear the sound of running water.

There was a crowd leading up to it.

Too many people meant he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as he would like. Tourists often did not appreciate the cultural significance of what they were looking at.

Jake finally reached the foot of the waterfall.

You could hear the stream running from the top of the hill into a 3metre-deep pool. But that was pretty much it. There was not much to see and Jake was unimpressed.

Expectations often lead to disappointment. That was his thought at the sight.

And then he had to take the opposite route to return. And it was all uphill now.

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The three faces

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“There is a Japanese saying that every person has three faces. The first face is the one you show to the world. The one you pretend to be, you sometimes even force yourself to present to others. The second face is the one you show to your close friends and family. It’s that side of your personality you only allow those near and dear to you to see. The third face is the one you never show to anyone. It’s the secret thoughts and fears you only keep to yourself. But this is the truest reflection of who you are”.

Uncle Kim had spent many years in Japan. He had a completely different mentality and world outlook to everyone else.

He understood when his nephew was disappointed or tired or sad and knew how to distinguish between the times he needed support or simply to be left alone for a while.

People strive to show others they are OK, they are fighting through anything that is bothering them. We more often than not put on a show to deceive ourselves more than everyone else. We want to appear as perfect as we idealise everyone to be. Or as near to that as possible. Then we chose a circle of our closest people and let them in a little closer to our heart and mind. We share with them some of our own thoughts, dreams and anguishes. But there is always one part we only keep to ourselves. Those things we never tell because often we don’t want to hear them out loud. We don’t want to admit to thinking them.

The truest form of who we are is the only face we see. But isn’t that a shame that we constantly live with masks on? So no one really ever knows one another.

Holding Hands

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Love means never letting go of each other’s hand no matter what,” read the note he left her that morning.

They had spent the entire night in the park watching the stars sparkling under a full moon.

In an outpour of romance then, she had told him an observation she had, that the spaces between her fingers were created so that his could fill them.

As a child, she usually disliked when her parents or relatives or caretakers held her hand. She felt constrained, as if they were limiting her actions or her room for movement. They were holding her hand to keep her close.

But as she grew older, she began to seek the intimacy of this physical gesture. She saw more into it. That it made her feel safe and loved.

Couples hold hands to show each other off. To make each other feel secure and demonstrate that they are there for one another.

Holding hands releases oxytocin in your brains, boosting that special, romantic bond you share with your partner.

In times of need, we want someone to hold our hand. To make us feel that we are not alone. To diffuse some of their strength into us when we’re lacking it.

Like and Love

©Randy Mazie

The outer part of their house wasn’t very appealing, to keep the ‘bad eye’ out.

Their relationship was almost perfect. At first sight, they didn’t really seem compatible, yet, opposites attract. You don’t always choose who you’ll fall in love with, but sometimes you just fall with full force. And it lasts forever.

At their wedding, she remembered a phrase from her grandma: “you like someone because of some of their qualities, and you love them despite some of their qualities”.

Buddha said: “when you like a flower, you pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Cat on fire

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She sat on the balcony every morning among the plants breathing in the morning dew and fresh air. It felt nice being outdoors, even if this was on the third floor of a city-centre apartment. This was her ‘outside’.

The days passed calmly, as they do for an indoor cat.

But there was one day when something extraordinary happened.

Her housemates left early in the morning to “run errands”, as they told her. They reassured her they would be back soon as they had left their food baking in that square thing in the kitchen that heated up real fast and they called an ‘oven’.

It was hot that day. She realised it, as there was no fresh air, not even in the shade provided by the plants.

And all of a sudden, it happened.

Black smoke began filling up the house and causing an increasingly suffocating atmosphere.

She found it hard to breathe and snuck further behind the pots of the leafiest of plants. It didn’t work much, as the smoke intensified and there was a pungent smell that hurt her nostrils.

After a while, she heard commotion, but it wasn’t from inside the house. Her housemates had not yet returned.

And then, the sirens. Loud and shrieking, piercing her ears.

The door breaking open and five tall men, dressed heavily with helmets and bearing a long rubber hose that began to shoot out water. Voices shouting at all tones all at once, people moving in and out of the house, staring at her hiding behind the pots.

The smoke dispersed but the smell remained. She tried to go into the house to see who these people were and what happened, and that was when her housemates arrived and she could hear their voices break with agony.

One of them picked her up and clenched her in her arms. She said it was to reassure her that everything was all right and she was grateful nothing had happened to her. But the black cat knew that the hug served more as a comfort for her housemate, to loosen the tension and calm her nerves.

She had survived a fire.

To her housemates, she was the luckiest cat alive.

But to her, they were the lucky ones.

The depths of love

How do you know its real love? And that it’ll last?” Jennifer asked her godmother that question as she was putting on the veil of her wedding dress.

Her godmother smiled at her and wrapped her arms around her. “I asked that very question too on my wedding day”.

There is no single answer. It depends on the things you are willing to do for the person you love. Acts that go beyond yourself. That demonstrate you value something more than your own person”.

Jennifer looked at her godmother, her thoughts wandering.

I’ll tell you a story,” her godmother began.

There was an emerging photographer who was out on a photoshoot session one day. A beautiful young girl walked through his set at the very moment he clicked and captured her on film. He couldn’t get her image out of his mind. He was fixated on her gaze as she wondered off in a hurry. It penetrated him and remained with him so strongly he desperately needed to see her again. He searched and found her later that week in the hair salon where she worked. He conveniently forgot his cap there, so she in turn found his studio in order to return it to him. He asked her to pose for him for a few shots. She didn’t know it at the time, but he published her photos in a well-known magazine that brought him further recognition for his work.

Their encounter was brief but it changed their lives forever.

She was happy by his side. He made her laugh and she loved him for it.

She loved playing in front of his camera. And he always managed to capture the perfect pose, enclosing her beauty and charm in a single shot.

But one day, when she went into the dark room to get some film which he needed, a bottle of developing agent fell onto her head and into her eyes. She was rushed to the hospital.

He ran by her side, sweating with agony at the thought of losing her. At the thought that something might happen to her.

The doctors said her pupils were destroyed irreparably and the only way to see again was if she got an eye transplant.

Would you give up your eyes for someone else? Would you forsake ever seeing anything ever again, simply so the person you love can spend their life viewing the world? Could you feel a love so strong and profound that you would voluntarily hand over one of your main senses to someone else?

He never even thought about it. To him there was no need to discuss it either. It was a conscious decision it took just seconds to make.

In the operation room, he was lying next to her, holding her hand. His eyes wide open, his last memory was flashing before him. It was his last adrenaline-rush ride at full throttle on his cherished motorcycle before he handed over its keys to a random caretaker. He was giving up one love to save another. Tears were streaming down his face. The doctor told him to take his time. He needed to stop crying for the operation to continue.

He said he was OK. He turned around to look at her one last time. To capture her figure, her lines, her face, so that he could remember her forever. Just before the anesthetic kicked in, his gaze turned towards her, imprinting in his mind her image to last an eternity.

She woke up and saw light. After days in the darkness, the glimmers of sunrays hurt her eyes. But she could make out the people standing in front of her. Family and friends who came to wish her well.

He wasn’t among them.

She thought he had abandoned her.

She didn’t know that he had condemned himself to darkness in order to give her light.

She wasn’t aware that he loved her so much, he gave up his eyes for her. That it mattered more to him to make her happy even if it meant losing something he valued.

Can you imagine a love so great and perfect that it would mean more to you to see your partner happy regardless of if it destroyed you? That would make the other’s happiness your priority? That would erase every trace of egoism from your actions?

What if there was one person like that for each of us? And we spend our whole lives searching for them? Someone who would love us so deeply they would literally give up a part of them for our own wellbeing? Selflessly and unconditionally”.

Jennifer was fighting back the tears. She was deeply moved by her godmother’s story, which was interrupted by the sound of her godfather’s white cane sounding at the door.

She had been told he was left blind after an accident.

Only now did she realise he wasn’t the one who had suffered the accident. Her godmother was.

He gave up her eyes for her. And in doing so gave her the world.

Train to change

©Sandra Crook

The train had just pulled into the station and she could already feel the change.

Her tears had now dried up and she was ready – determined really – to start anew. Here, in this picturesque town in the middle of nowhere, she could be whomever she wanted. No-one knew her here. She could begin her life over.

She stepped out of the wagon and took in a deep breath of fresh air.

She didn’t notice him standing at the door of the station.

But to him she was a flash of light, that sign that life was about to get exciting.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The wrong battles

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Palmer was a farm boy. He was born and raised in the countryside, learning how to grow his own food, how to take care of cattle stock, how to survive without technology. He didn’t feel he was lacking anything. Mainly because he had never had it in the first place to miss it.

He loved being outside, in the fresh air and the unlimited possibilities nature could offer.

But one season, the family’s seeds all perished from a severe draught. The parents were too old to start over and they sent Palmer into town to find a solution, at least to get new seeds so they could salvage their land.

Palmer was soon lured by the town’s marvels. He was won over by the easy life, the quick money, the superficial ties. To him, it was a different world.

He soon forgot why he was there.

He was drawn into gangs and betting games. Fell into the entrapment of women who seduced him and he immediately lost his initial money and any sums he succeeded in gaining thereafter.

But there was one woman who realised he was being played. Alice approached him in order to set his mind straight.

He was mesmerised at her sight. And he tried to grope her like all the rest asked for. But she turned and slapped him instead.

It made his head spin. But at least it opened his eyes.

Palmer soon returned to his good, old self. Alice helped him find good quality seeds that would help his family revive the farm. And they returned to the countryside together.

Alice had asked him years later what it was that finally awoke him from his trance in the city. He replied it was something she told him:

You are fighting the wrong battles. Stop looking that way; it’s not where you’re going”.

Right People, Wrong Times

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“Is it possible to meet the right person at the wrong time?”

“That depends. What makes this the right person and why is it the wrong time?”

She sighed. Unfortunately, not everyone is a mind reader and the things we find it hard to express are usually what we need to communicate the most.

Julie was sitting on the porch gazing at the sunset.

She couldn’t erase from her mind that person she met the other night. They had spent hours talking about anything, everything and nothing. They had shared life experiences, thoughts, ambitions, goals, dreams, all in one night. And she had felt she was falling in love with him, while they were talking.

He had captured her brain and soul and her heart would surely follow.

He made her feel comfortable. Without any fear of judgement or criticism. She felt assured that there was someone on the other end waiting to listen.

As the stars lit up the sky that night, she could see his eyes gleaming. She couldn’t tell if they were radiated by the full moon or his happiness at seeing her smile.

She didn’t know that he felt the same and more. That he had been waiting for her, to get to know her – just how amazing she is – and to do whatever he could to win her over.

All he could think about was holding her tight in his arms and continuing their talk throughout the night until it evolved into the lovers’ stage.

She looked at him with a broken gaze. He understood something was wrong.

“This can’t happen,” she told him. She wouldn’t explain more, not even when he begged her, when he promised that things would be better and nothing would end.

She cried but resisted.

She cried more because she did.

She refused to speak to him, not even when he called or dropped by.

She didn’t want to ruin his life too. That’s what she told her aunt.

“Don’t be silly,” her aunt refuted. “Life is to live it to the last second. Don’t keep wasting it”.

Julie was not to live beyond the summer.

The most important medicine

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They told him he would be foolish to abandon everything he had spent his whole life creating. He had a successful legal office and had a good reputation among his peers.

But when his wife got sick, he didn’t consider it at all. For him it was obvious that his place was by her side. Always and at all costs. It was what they had vowed to each other so many years ago.

He didn’t see it as making sacrifices. He saw it as standing by and supporting the person he loved.

He didn’t care that he spent his whole life being next to her, even when she stopped remembering him. He continued his efforts to remind her of his love for her every day and refused to stop trying or to not be there, for her. So that she would feel safe and cared for.

He believed with all his heart that when you love someone you dedicate to them a part of your life, your time and your interest.

For him being with the person he loved and shared his life with was much more important that work, money and material goods.

Love is sometimes the most important medicine.

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