MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “escape”

The run on a Monday

http://combesetcretes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/072282f3-6d65-4182-8ec1-8d9e63dad0a3.jpegLike most people, Isaac disliked Mondays. It wasn’t really because something dreadful happened on this day, but because he associated it with the fact that a new week full of responsibilities and duties began, taking him away from his loved one and forcing him to better manage his time. Often he failed to see that it was the start of a week where wonderful things were waiting to happen. Positive thinking is always a crucial factor.

This Monday, however, Isaac was also troubled by something else. He wanted to move things on with his girlfriend but the time just didn’t seem right, and lately she too appeared distant, as if something was holding her back. He just didn’t see what.

They were running partners. That’s how they first met; while trying to run away from their troubles, they ran into each other. And they became more than friends. Running was a hobby they did together. And they didn’t always have to talk while at it. That was the best part about their relationship. They were comfortable even in each other’s silence.

Alyssa, on her part, always found Mondays to be the start of a week when everything should be put into place. It was the day to organise everything, but by midday she often allowed herself to be overtaken by the melancholy of the season – whatever that was. Right now, it was the autumn blues.

Lately she had invested all of her energy and excitement into a race she and Isaac had participated in. But now it seemed that the wheel of emotions had once again turned and she felt somehow depressed, not really knowing why. It was the time when her thoughts muddled her mind, depriving her of sleep or even some hint of serenity.

She put on her running shoes and went out the door without thinking about it too much. She would just run. It didn’t matter where or for how long. All she needed was to feel better.

Lost in her thoughts she acknowledged she was upset. At a time of emergency a few days ago, Isaac did not turn to her first; but rather to some other friends and relatives. He preferred to give them access to his home, despite the fact that it was Alyssa who spent a lot of time there, sometimes even more than Isaac himself, and it was she who helped him with household chores when necessary. Yet, he bypassed her and thought nothing of it. To him it wasn’t as important as it was for her. She felt hurt. But how do you discuss a controversial matter without leading to a fight?

She began running faster, her heart now beating into her chest.

Her shoes ran over the fallen yellow-brown leaves, the crackling sound being the only thing that she could hear, apart from her very loud thoughts.

Suddenly she could feel someone behind her. He was running up to her, almost chasing her. She turned around without stopping and was surprised.

It was Isaac. He had found her, even though she never told him where she was. He smiled and caught on her tempo.

Perhaps it was a sign that he would finally open his eyes as much as he opened his lungs to breathe in more oxygen. That’s what she truly needed: for him to comprehend even the things she didn’t say. It was difficult, but in essence, the things we fail to do are not the ones that are impossible, but the ones for which we do not try hard enough.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Athletic

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How to disappear

Boat+and+Aegean SeaWhen she walked past, heads turned and whispers began to be heard louder than buzzing bees. Rebecca was the kind of woman who could not pass by unnoticed. It wasn’t just her beauty and decisive step that caused people to stop and stare. It was the fact that she was famous. And celebrities had that effect, no matter how much they sometimes wished they didn’t.

Rebecca had risen to fame quite suddenly. A quite afternoon reading session at a small town bistrot led to her being noticed by a hotshot producer who was out searching for his new (unknown) muse. She was offered a hefty remuneration and was promised “an experience of a lifetime”. Rebecca was the type of person who grabbed life by the horns and enjoyed every moment of it. So she decided to try it out. What did she have to lose anyway? Little could she expect then, that what she was giving up was life as she knew it.

The film was a huge success and Rebecca became a star overnight. She could no longer go anywhere alone as she could not fight back the stream of paparazzi following her every step. She was given a strict set of guidelines of what she could and could not do, what she should say, even what to wear and where to go. Soon, Rebecca grew tired of this new lifestyle. She wanted her independent existence back and was determined to get her way this time.

During her few days of forcefully obtained summer vacations, Rebecca managed to secure an hour for scuba diving off the coast of the little island where she was staying. She had everything prepared days before. Her oxygen was enough to last a couple of hours. She had stuffed some money inside her diving suit and had already planned the route she would follow so as to “drift away”. And thankfully it all went smoothly. Rebecca went scuba diving on a windy day when the underlying currents were too strong for an inexperienced diver to deal with. She was carried away and her body was never found. Her mysterious disappearance dominated the press for a couple of weeks, but, like so many other cases, was soon forgotten.

That was exactly what Rebecca wanted. To escape from the media spotlight.

She changed her name and thus identity and continued to live a “normal” life somewhere else. Somewhere where people recognized her need for privacy and respected it.

Because sometimes all it takes to truly disappear is the will to actually do so.

Those who run

Run-With-The-SunPeople run. From the things that irritate them. From those that hurt them. From the memories they seek to escape from. From the reality they don’t want to deal with.

Everybody does it and some point or other. Even if it is just by dreaming of escaping to somewhere else.

People want at times to feel secluded, shielded, protected. They want to feel in control of their own destiny again. As if they truly are responsible for their lives.

So when Margaret just got up and left one day, shutting out everything and everyone, she knew she wasn’t alone. There were millions of rebels out there who wanted “to change the world” and who believed that to do so you needed to first change your submission to the status quo.

But it is not always like that. And Margaret would figure it out harshly. When the bubbles would burst and she would realise that there is no true escaping anything. Because no matter how far and how much you run, there are some things you will always carry with you.

You may still choose to run.

But it is the people who stay, who demonstrate the greatest courage.

The dress and an escape from the truth

the dressIn the last week, we have been arguing over the colour of a dress (blue/black or white/gold?), have witnessed llamas run loose in Arizona, and have been baffled over a Senator’s questioning of the effects of climate change by tossing a snow ball as evidence.

All the while, it has been revealed that the masked Islamic State (ISIS) militant known as “Jihadi John”, seen in the videos beheading Western hostages, is a Kuwaiti-born British man from West London, while ISIS militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum destroying thousand-year old priceless artefacts.

Meanwhile, Eurozone countries continue to bewilder each other on account of their increasing economic problems, leading to internal strife, while the fighting in Eastern Ukraine is ongoing and getting worse.

It is interesting to how we chose to see as news what is more enticing and entertaining to us. The fact that conflict is rampant across the world no longer surprises or even affects us (unless we are in those impacted areas). Nor are we touched by the world’s financial problems, even though these affect our own economic state and employment status. These are things we seek to get away from when surfing the web.

Instead, we’ll click to watch Madonna fall at her Brit Awards performance, we’ll enter the worldwide viral debate on the color of that dress, and we will laugh at the videos of animals doing the weirdest yet cutest of things imaginable.

When we enter the world wide web, we seek to be informed, but at the same time entertained. Our attention span diminishes rapidly when we begin to read a long political analysis on the state of affairs – simply put, this is boring. We want something that draws our attention, that is quick and easy to read, and that is entertaining enough but enlightening at the same time.

We like to engage into quizzes on what your choice of wine says about you, for example, read the daily horoscope and cartoon strips, and be inspired by a quote someone famous said long ago.

What we don’t like, is to be reminded that nothing seemingly works as it should pretty much anywhere; that those who were elected to represent us are sometimes just as corrupt as the people they criticize and place behind bars, and that corruption and clientilism are two trends that may possibly never be transcended.

So we turn to entertainment. To momentarily forget the harsh reality and drift into a realm where all there exists are celebrities falling from grace, animals proving they’re smarter than us, and meaningless chatter on trivial issues.

We all need to get away for a while, and if this is the way to achieve some serenity of mind, then so be it. Just remember, The Dress is the colour you see, and all that says about you, is that you can at least see there is a dress.

Meltdown

Are you living your dreamIt’s always there in the shadows. Looming in the cupboard and in the drawers. In the places you least expect it to be. It takes the slightest bit for it to sneak up on you. But when it does, it covers you tighter than the black cape that wraps Batman in the midst of the night. Some find it after the second bottle of wine, some after a nervous breakdown, others during a breakup, but more often than not, it is there in the simplest and smallest of things, waiting to be noticed.

Parker was a quite boy. He was the smartest in his class all through college. He grew up to become a charming young successful professional, and career-wise he had a lot of potential. He lived up to and beyond the expectations of his superiors and everyone praised the fantastic work he did.

Then he went home.

He went home to an empty house. Not even the cat would stay there because it was so cold, as he was at work all day. He ordered in food or picked it up on the way home, never having the time or energy to cook something on his own. He was in a town where there was nothing much to do either and all his college friends where someplace else. He was the only one who had returned to his hometown. And he disliked this, more than he hated the burnt mushrooms on his pizza.

Parker’s life had become nothing more than work and home. And although he enjoyed the flexibility of sometimes working from home, he chose not to. Because no matter how many electronic messages he exchanged with tens of colleagues, not leaving the house meant he had absolutely no physical contact with anyone. Not even the aforementioned cat. The isolation he already had was more than enough.

His job was that of a copywriter. And that did not mean copying other people’s writing. It meant coming up with inspiring and unique ideas that could be used in, for example, advertising a company or product. And Parker was great at that. He had a creative mind, mainly because he dreamt a lot, and could find inspiration in the slightest of things. To him doing this was as easy as breathing. Until it stopped. Being easy that is.

Because it hit him.

It came when he least expected it. It was triggered by the tiredness, the spying on others through their social media accounts, the exasperation of being stuck here when everyone else was seemingly living their lives and doing the things he wanted to do, the not having anyone to follow away, the not being able to fully indulge in a head-over-heels love affair, the simple realization that he had not accomplished half the things he had dreamt of doing by now.

That is when the meltdown hit him. And it struck hard. This time was worse than when he finished college and didn’t know what to do. It was worse than running out of Nutella at midnight on a weekday while studying for a midterm, and even worse than the sobbing that ensues a depressing Gilmore Girls episode. This time it was painful. Because, this time Parker did not want to do anything. At all. He did not leave his home for two weeks, at least. The cat was forced to come over and see if he still existed.

And that is when he realized he would do something to change things. Because he realized that even his cat had moved on, when he saw that someone else had put a collar on it. That was the trigger to get up and do something.

He packed up a suitcase and left.

He would go to the airport and fly out on the first attractive destination he would find. He saw it done in movies so many times. Thinking practical and realistic all this time never got him anywhere anyway, so why not take a risk?

He would start afresh somewhere new. All he had to do was accept the challenge. And he was more than ready to do so.

What point was there anyway to keep on dreaming, if he would never even try to accomplish them? Otherwise, they would just remain that. Dreams. Unfulfilled.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: All Grown Up

Selfish Shellfish Selfies

ShellfieGo into a café. Look around. How many people do you see who are really conversing? Who are actually talking and listening to each other? Look at their hand gestures, their body movement, their eye contact. Any? Now, count how many people you see instead being distracted by a digital device. Too many to count, huh?

It’s amazing how the first thing we have come to notice when entering a café, a bar, a restaurant, is whether they have free Wi-Fi or not. As if that is the criterion of whether their food will be healthy or tasty, or even edible. Because of course, we then have to check-in, post on every social media account we have, that we are at that specific place. And then, we have that irresistible need – that feels like an itch that must be scratched – to take selfies of everything, as if that is what will prove our existence.

We have become such narcissists and so self-centred that when someone asks us what we do, we hesitate for a while, and our thoughts run to the last thing we posted or read online in order to find an interesting conversation starter. How many hours of the day do we spend sunk in a screen, reading. As though we are shellfish retreating in their hard exterior, waiting for the moment a pearl will emerge. Reading about the news, about other people’s status updates, about pretty much everything. Because we need to be informed about everything. And then we also need to have an opinion about everything too. And we obviously need to post it to demonstrate that we are opinionated and follow the current trends.

But just consider for a moment, what happens during a power cut? We sit in silence not knowing what to do. And if we still have charged phones, we might take a selfie and save it for later, to post as soon as power is back – #blackout #nowwhat #awkward.

Is this what we want to be remembered as? The generation hashtag? We are so busy trying to prove that we are active digitally that we don’t really do much in reality. What is the point of going for a hike or for a cross-country train ride, when you keep posting updates of your location? How are you exactly enjoying being in nature away from the digital insanity? Sure, take pictures, but save them for later. Then you can comprehensively recap your experience and tell others how worthwhile it was to escape for a while. Prompt yourself and others to step away from the screen.

Because, honestly, is this all we have to show for ourselves? That we are selfish shellfish taking selfies?

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

Also part of Daily Post: 21st Century Citizen

A snowy escape

Five-Snow-AngelsNickie was excited. She had spent all week waiting for the weekend because that is when it would take place. A road trip to the mountains! But when Saturday came, she woke up to a cloudy sky with the sun losing at hide and seek. She was despaired, fearing that the trip would be cancelled especially as it suddenly began pouring with rain, accompanied with loud thunder and flashing lightning. She dreaded when the phone rang. She picked it up, while her heartbeats increased to a hundred. “Hey girl, don’t forget to put your boots on and dress warmly! I’ll be there in ten minutes!” That was it! It was still on. Nickie pulled on a warm fuzzy sweater, grabbed her woolen cap and mittens and rushed to the door.

Akira pulled up in ten minutes. Jennie and Edmond were already in the back seat with a huge smile on their face. They were all enthusiastic, despite the rain that was coming down harder now. Akira was a keen driver though and they all felt safe with him behind the wheel.

The town seemed grey and gloomy. There was hardly anyone walking around, not even driving for that matter. People preferred to stay indoors rather than give in to the howling winds outside. It was as if a blanket of depression had fallen over the city, transmitting that very feeling to those underneath it. That is why Nickie was so happy when they were now passing through a forest. The green of the leaves that had not fallen conveyed a sense of freedom. There was tranquility found in the forest, one so different to any other emotion felt anywhere else. It was so peaceful. It almost felt as if this acted as a shield to the hailstorm from which they had just escaped. The rain was significantly less here, and Akira could finally slow down the windscreen wipers, which so far were frantically jumping up and down.

But the magic really began when they reached the mountain. The winding climb up was not Nickie’s favourite. It always made her stomach turn, so every driver she was with knew well to slow down and be particularly careful. The first signs of what awaited for them at the top appeared from the white dots that appeared on the green leaves of the wild plants growing at the side of the road. Slowly the white glimpses overtook the green and the road itself began to be covered by snow. Snow!! Nickie felt the adrenaline rushing through her veins. As soon as the mountain peak appeared and she saw the entire slopes and valley covered with in snow, she placed her cap on, flaps covering her ears. Jennie and Edmond laughed but they too put on their mittens. As soon as Akira parked and said OK, they all ran out, like a herd finally gaining their freedom.

Nickie ran to the middle of a snow-covered plane and fell onto the snow. She loved this feeling, of a fluffy white blanket onto your back, while staring at the cloudy sky above and the snowflakes falling from the trees. She had always seen actors in movies doing this and she finally got to do it too – a snow angel! She felt so liberated, so carefree, so alive!

The four of them spent an entire day up in the mountains playing with snow, to the point where they didn’t want to leave. Akira had a surprise lined up though – they would stay at the mountain cottage tonight a bit further down, so they would have one extra day to play in the snow. Before they left, Nickie and Jennie began building a snowman. Akira and Edmond at first laughed, but soon began filling up the snowman’s belly. He was a cute one. They even placed two big stones for eyes, a twig for a nose and a lien of pebbles for a smile. He even had two larger twigs for hands. It was almost as if he winked and waved as they headed to the car, satisfied at a day away from worries and troubles. As if the snow had lightened up their gloomy moods. “This escape was so necessary”, they all agreed as they made their way to the cabin.

Catching that Zen moment

travel 2It already starts during the return trip. That feeling of melancholy that slowly creeps up on you when you are about to depart from a place at which you’ve spent a few amazing days. You’ve already sort of lost touch with reality, at least for a while having left aside your routine, even if you worked during your trip.

No matter what the reason for a trip, a change of location certainly offers a breath of fresh air. Scientists have even argued that traveling is good for the health because it creates new neurons and it augments optimism and the feeling of happiness. Indeed the fascination of going somewhere else, somewhere you don’t see on a daily basis, triggers in you a wave of excitement that in fact also makes you a much more positive person and brings on more smiles.

Traveling is also good for the soul. It opens your mind to new cultures and mentalities, it allows you to discover new places and meet new people, and it makes you more dynamic and sociable, particularly if you try to engage in the ‘normal’ life of the location and not simply follow the tourist route.

But the worst part is when you are preparing to leave. That is the instance when it hits you that the fun is sort of over. That you have to leave the friends you’ve stayed with to return to your routine, however agreeable that may be. Somehow, whenever you return to your home and familiar surroundings, nothing seems the same. You see everything differently, at first often with an inevitable comparison, and something always seems to be missing. It does take a while to reacclimatize yourself. Especially if for so many days you were speaking a different language, as at home this would offer an additional incentive for people to consider you a foreigner in your own country.

It is difficult to return to base. Just imagine how astronauts would feel. Nonetheless, there is nothing to regret. The trip has certainly opened up your mind, relaxed your soul, and soothed your heart. And that alone is something to be grateful for. For having the luxury to travel. To see other cultures, (re)encounter friends, and reach that Zen moment that escaped you for so long.

Plane-hoppers are like leafhoppers without a leave

PRAGUE_SPAN-articleLargeDo you ever wish you could just get up and leave to escape reality? Just board a plane and fly out. Wherever that may take you. And from then fly off to the next destination, however random that may be.

Jennifer was a plane-hopper.
She would do just that. Get on a plane and leave.

It takes courage to make such radical decisions and carry them out. But Jennifer had always done so. Whenever her heart was in pieces because of a nasty break-up, or things didn’t quite turn out the way she expected she would just take a plane and fly out. To a destination she would pick by chance and then let fate guide her.

Contrary to whatever television series may depict though, Jennifer used these escapes to clear her head. To think her life through and understand what it is she wanted. She often fled to her friends abroad to hold night-long talks like they did when they were young. Now it seems that as they grew up their problems also proliferated. And the pain that came with them also intensified.

Jennifer loved the feeling of flying in the clouds. Literally. Thousands of feet up in the air, for a few hours cut-off from the world was just what she needed when nothing went right.

Now she was on her way to Prague. That was the destination first available when she asked at the check-in counter. So she took it. She had never been there and maybe the sight-seeing excursions would help get her mind off the pain of her broken heart.

As she flicked through the on-board magazine referring to the city she would soon land at, Jennifer could imagine herself walking by the river and along the picturesque streets. Yet all she could think about was one person and one thing – she looked at her phone and wondered if she would ever hear the sound of a message arriving, that sweet greeting “Hey you!” that would restore the smile on her face.

It was up to fate what would happen but she certainly knew one thing – love is a strange thing that no one can master, no matter how good a ninja you may be.

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!      

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