MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “excitement”

When time stops

rope bridge sapa vietnap“Come on!!” she bounced impatiently in front of him, her face beaming with excitement. The adrenaline pumping in his body made his heart feel like it wanted to pounce out of his chest. He looked ahead, trying to avoid looking down.

A rope bridge extended in front of him. It was everything but what you would describe as ‘safe’. But this is what she described as “an adventure”. “Something different; something spectacular; something out of the ordinary,” she had told him.

Come on!! It’s either this or skydiving!”

“I’d much rather do the latter at the moment,” he replied trying to contain the tremor in his voice.

“Well, if a step breaks on the way we might do both!” She joked, but deep inside she was as scared as he was terrified.

He paused for a moment, allowing himself to inhale the amazing scenery that surrounded him. It was all so serene; so quiet; so calm. It was as if time had stopped.

That is how he always felt with her. As if nothing and no one else mattered. It was a record for him. Falling so deeply and feeling so much in such a short time. But it was one he was happy to break again and again if it meant being with her and experiencing so much more than he could have even imagined before she came along.

“Come on! It’ll be dark soon.” She extended her hand as she pranced ahead bravely feigning a first step.

“Wait!” he called out.  He took her hand and aligned himself beside her.

Together.”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Record

Flakes of excitement

http://cdn.pcwallart.com/images/snowflake-clipart-wallpaper-4.jpgAs the first flake of snow fell on his nose that evening, he could feel his entire body jolting with excitement. It was snowing in the city centre and everyone was thrilled. Perhaps a little too much, acting as if no-one had ever seen snow before and posting it all over social media. It wasn’t that strange a happening. It was winter and it was snowing.

No matter how many times he had seen snow before, he would always feel that same rush once the snowflakes began to fall, like cotton balls gently dropping from the sky. Everything seemed calmer and more silent when there was snow. And there was something so much more magical going to bed or waking up to a city dressed in white.

What he loved most was the white lumps gathering on the trees. They were usually among the last to dissolve in the morning sun and added a different sort of wintery glow to an otherwise routine stroll around the city.

No matter the years that passed, he would still rush to the window to see if the snowfall was continuing, and would often refuse to go to bed unless it stopped snowing, anxious to see how thick the white carpet would get.

It didn’t matter how old or young you were after all. What mattered was that you enjoyed those small, often seemingly insignificant, moments in life that make you feel grateful to be alive.

The dangers of living on the edge

http://img09.deviantart.net/afbe/i/2012/154/f/6/living_on_the_edge_by_bendianna-d5261od.jpgIt’s not what you think. The danger of living on the edge is not that you’ll stumble and fall over. No. It’s that once you step back, everything will seem too dull.

Because, let’s face it, we all need that adrenaline rush from time to time. That feeling of excitement you get when you’re doing something you’re passionate about. Or when you’re racing against time to reach a deadline. Or even when you’re simply daydreaming about all the things you are determined to soon accomplish.

It’s a great feeling to have this constant buzz in your veins. To feel you heart pumping fast and to be happy about being so…well, “on-edge”. For some, it is a way of life. To not have time to be bored. To not even have time to consider the fact that 24 hours in a day are not enough. For others, it is just too much going on.

But for those who are used to being constantly engaged with stuff to do, with emotions, and with never-ending obligations/passions, living “on-edge” is routine.

The danger comes when you suddenly find yourself forced to step back and take a deep breath. When a cold or an illness overpowers you. When you run out of so many things to do (it does happen). Or when you simply allow yourself to lie on the coach and relax, doing absolutely nothing. Having spent days and months with little sleep and in constant motion, this is when the danger becomes more evident. It comes in the notion of boredom. Because that is what happens.

It is like when you go dancing for five nights in a row. That “happy feet syndrome” becomes part of who you are, and you are addicted to swaying as soon as music sounds. When the music stops and you have to sit down, it all seems too boring for you.

The same applies to when you are running. You run through parks, avenues, busy streets and neighborhoods; observing people, animals and noises. But when you stop, walking seems just so…dull.

It is dangerous to live a life in constant agitation. But it is equally hazardous to live one which you don’t enjoy to the fullest. The key is to find the right balance between the two. To know when to run and when to walk, when to dance and when to sit, when to stress out and when to relax.

Tracing fire

water drops on faceIt all begins at the head. Most things do. It is the source of everything. The thoughts, the images, the fantasies, the emotions. And when something like that sticks to it, especially on a sizzling summer day, everything simply heats up even faster.

It forms on the sidebars of your forehead. It appears without you even knowing it. You never even realise it is there until it starts to move so slowly you can barely feel it. It trickles down your cheek, caressing your neck like a silken scarf. It tickles your shoulders as it continues to seduce its way below, licking every inch of your burning body. It rages on its downward path, tracing fire as your body burns, ready to explode. By the time it embraces your legs it is has almost disappeared, evaporated in the mist of your vigor.

And you are left steaming under the scorching temperatures, wondering how a single drop of water can have such a powerful effect on your entire being. The greatest things, perhaps do indeed come in the smallest packages…

Head in the clouds

flying over clouds and rainbowYou know that expression “you’ve got your head in the clouds”? Well, some people actually do. Like Jazmin.

It was only natural she would become an air stewardess, as her father was a successful pilot and she often exploited the free travels she received as part of the perks of being a pilot’s daughter. By the time she was eight she had already set foot in all continents and was the youngest frequent flyer the airline had ever seen.

It was a logical aftermath, therefore, that Jazmin would choose to make a profession out of what she so loved.

Every few days she would embark on a different destination in another part of the world, ready to savour new cultures and mentalities.

She felt as if wanderlust – that strong desire to travel and constantly be on the move, to explore the world – was an emotion running in her veins ever since she was born. Combined with “Fernweh” – that crave for travelling, being homesick for a place you’ve never been – Jazmin was the personification of the ultimate traveler.

She rejoiced every time she set foot on the plane, and never really felt like home anywhere else. She was very well adapted to life on air that she had difficulty adapting to life on the ground.

The excitement and enthusiasm, however, began to fade three years later. Jazmin began to grow tired of the constant change of location, of the packing and unpacking, of the same air routine every couple of days. And she began to feel jealous of the young couples who would come on board, exhilarated that they were fleeing to an exotic destination, together. That is what she now longed for. Sharing this Fernweh that dominated her existence with someone else. Having a partner. Having a home. A stable place to which to return.

It was not too long after she admitted to herself that she yearned for some stability in her life of travels, that one particularly charming passenger made her heart skip a beat, so much that she almost poured the hot coffee on the person sitting right in front of him. Jazmin blushed, and the dandy gentleman radiated what she was for so long expecting – a smile that would make her feel at home.

But he disembarked, leaving Jazmin to wonder if should would ever see him again.

Until she found the note he had left for her on his seat. It was a meeting place for their first date, and the start of their life together. A life as colourful as all her travels, as energized as all her trips, and as loving as all her desires.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

The tomb of a king and the trouble of a peasant

Macedonian starIt was not every day you would visit a King. No matter if he was no longer alive. A King would forever be a King. And that was important and majestic in its own right. Billy had learnt to live with the bare necessities, as his farm would produce all he needed to live and some extras to sell at the market. That was all his income and how he managed to scrape by. So, to him, an audience with a King was something extraordinary. A true privilege. At least he thought so.

The discovery of the royal tomb found deep underground by archaeologists who had devoted a large part of their careers excavating in search of this, had taken the country by surprise. No-one expected they would be lucky enough or even blessed with the honor of witnessing at least some of the riches a past monarch had lived with. And to everyone’s delight, it was announced that this was the Warrior King, the General, the one who had united their country and who had made it the most prosperous in the region, at least during his reign. He was the figure that adorned their national currency, whose name was on countless of streets, buildings and auditoriums. He was the King children first learned about during their history lessons. And now, Billy would go see for himself the magnitude of his greatness.

Even that, though, was no easy task.

It was winter and a heavy one for that matter. The town had never been so snowed down for at least twenty years now. But it was a day when Billy did not have a market to go to and he wanted to escape the frost. The royal tombs were located an hour’s drive away, he was told.

So he went to the train station and purchased a return ticket. It wasn’t too expensive and he was already excited about his venture. Then the delay came.

The train had ran into some bad weather, which caused it to slow down. But it was not too bad, Billy thought. A half-hour delay would only mean he would have to read the inscriptions that accompanied each relic a bit faster now. The museum, after al,l was only open for five hours during the day. It was located in the very space the tomb was found, especially constructed so as to preserve and properly exhibit the findings. So it was only right that it would be open while still daylight – because, really, who would want to be touring a tomb after dark?DSC00784

So, anyway, Billy had an enjoyable train ride to his destination, although the heating seemed to not be working properly because by the time he had arrived he could not feel his feet. He thought two icicles were attached to his lower ends instead. Once off the train, he looked around, hoping to at least find a café where he could grab a hot drink to get his blood flowing normally again. But there was nothing.

Absolutely nothing. This station might as well have been located in the middle of his field. There was no sign of civilization around it. Nor any other train for that matter. There was only a bus, whose driver was hastily announcing that it was departing any minute now. Billy ran up to him and enquired how he could get to the royal tombs. The bus driver said it was another half hour from there but this bus would take him to the centre of the town and from them he would have to take another bus to go to the Museum.

Billy was already getting a headache. But there was no other way, so he took a seat on the bus (after paying of course) and tried to understand how his route would fan out now.

DSC00776It took Billy three and a half hours to finally arrive at the museum. You see, he unfortunately got on the wrong bus at the town centre and was driven off somewhere else, so by the time the next bus came he was already waiting for 20 minutes in the cold. And in this next bus, which rattled like a wooden cart drawn to market, the bus driver said that he should obtain his own ticket from the machine, but the machine would not cooperate, and he could not make any sense out of what the old men on the bus were trying to tell him. In the racket that was going on, he sensed that the stone gates and the large sign that said “Royal Tomb – Museum” was where he should get off. He thanked everyone, still not understanding their response and jumped off.

Billy was awed by the Museum. The Royal Tombs were strategically camouflaged under a hill that had turned white from the snow that was now falling heavily. As you walked inside, you could feel the imperialness overwhelm you. The gold jewelry, together with the silver blades, shields and weapons and other precious ornaments that were found in the sealed-off tomb sparkled in the darkness of the museum. It was all too much for words. It was so much more than Billy ever imagined. There was even the exact entrance of the royal burial chamber, left just as it was found by the archaeologists. You could just feel the magnificence it emanated and the chills that would have filled the very people who first discovered this.

Macedonian-queen's-wreathBilly was enthralled and enraptured by every piece of that museum. So much, that he did not even realise he had seen it all, twice, and that it was now time to go. He had to hurry back if he was to catch the last train home.

But did he have to scramble with bus routes again? Fortunately, there was a tourist group leaving the museum at the same time, and he was smart and lucky enough to smuggle into the back of the bus without being seen; he was small enough and looked foreign so he could easily be assumed to be one of the group. The only problem was, he didn’t know where the bus was heading to.

The group stopped for lunch somewhere, and Billy jumped off, noticing that a bus with the same number as the one that brought him from the station was about to depart across the street. He ran again and jumped in. “I bet the Kings didn’t have such problems,” he thought to himself as he arrived at the train station still panting.

DSC00815Just as he got off the bus, the train stationmaster appeared, straightening his thick white moustache, and pulling up his trousers to cover his oversized belly. It was snowing very heavily now and the train tracks could not even be seen.

I’m afraid you’re gonna have to find alternative transport, young man. There are no trains passing tonight.

Billy froze. Literally. You could stick a hat on him and call him a snowman.

The bus driver who had just dropped him off felt pity for him and offered to take him to the suburban bus station, where after more expenses and another couple of hours, Billy was finally back home, wrapped under a blanket in front of the fireplace.

It’s no easy task visiting a King!

 

N.B. 1 This story was inspired by a visit to the Macedonian Royal Tombs in Vergina, Greece and the adventure to get there.

N.B. 2. The photos are mine, taken in Aegae (Vergina) and Veria respectively on 30 December 2014.

Caged

tiger in cageWe all love going to the zoo. It’s a fun-filled entertainment park where you get to view all these amazing animals from all around the world. Animals that otherwise you would rarely have the chance to encounter. But what makes you wonder when at the zoo, is how these creatures, these animals who were literally born to be wild, can remain confined in the closed spaces they have been assigned. Caged. Just look at the lion, the “King of the jungle”, the beast of beasts, wandering restlessly inside its cage. The tigers spend most of their time “drifting” and then lying down as if admitting defeat and falling asleep. And every so often you hear complaints that “they aren’t really doing anything exciting”. But how can they? They really don’t have anything to do. All they look forward to in their days is for the gamekeeper to come along during feeding time. Back in the wild, they would have been running countless of miles, chasing their own food and experiencing the thrill of being alive. No wonder the Penguins of Madagascar keep plotting their escape from the zoo.

Living in a closed society, in a country that considers itself to be as entertaining and glamourous as a big city, but at the same time can’t shake off all the negative perks of a close-minded village, is very much like being caged.

There is hardly anything new or exciting to do, because it all just seems too pretentious. And it most often is. People attend events, concerts and openings etc, merely to appear in the relevant magazine section. Simply to be seen. It is a society that obliges you to have a broad network of contacts in order to get anywhere or get any work done. But at the same time, it is one which criticizes and talks about you consistently, as if you are the only one people should occupy their time with. And there are people who believe that you shouldn’t be seen doing pretty much anything, exactly because of the gossipers.

It is tiring most of all to deal with this stagnation when you know you have a restless spirit. When you know that this way of life has become stale and it is simply not good enough anymore. There is something better out there and you need to chase it. The point of feeling alive is to gain new experiences, to taste new things, to meet new places, to constantly learn. To smile more than you frown. To feel your heart flutter with excitement at the thought of going anywhere or doing anything. Once you lose that, then there is pretty much nothing left.

We were born to move around, to explore, to discover, to live and then settle.

In societies like those closed-up in their shell, people behave as if they are constantly the centre of it all. As if in the seven billion people that occupy the Earth, these are the ones that matter. And in some surprising way and as unwelcome as it may be, no matter how far you manage to fly away, they always manage to clip your wings and pull you back, like a tamer tugging at your leash. It is alight, even entertaining for a few weeks, but then, you sort of run out of reasons to get up in the morning and while you do enjoy the comfort and safety of this home, you crave experience and the new adventures that await out there. After all, when birds fly out of the nest, they (usually) don’t get pulled back in.

Like this amazing article states, “starting over isn’t about changing your scene, but the way you’re living in it. It’s about opening your eyes again, walking to the ledge and looking up, down and across, once again comprehending the vastness of life that sits openly waiting for you”.

Every now and then we all need a fresh start. Somewhere new. In order to get your pulse racing again. To vividly feel and inhale everything around you. To reignite your passion for life. To garner new life moments and new friends. To be reborn and keep moving on. To simply feel alive again.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Make It Anywhere (“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” goes the famous song about New York City.)

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.

So far yet so near

mailbox (2)How many times can you honestly say that you looked forward to the mailman coming? How many times have you rushed to the postbox to see if you had a letter, other than some package you ordered online and of course not the usual bill you have to pay? A true letter. A correspondence from a friend. Something that would make you check the postbox in anticipation, eagerly awaiting that small envelope with that familiar handwriting addressed to you. And in that, it would enclose news, something you would otherwise share with your friend over coffee, or a walk in the park. If only you were not separated by so many miles. And the small problem of never having actually met…

I have one such friend. A person with whom I literally grew up.

The other day, I was sorting out some old stuff. And I found that I have been sharing my life with this penfriend since even before my teens. It’s funny to see how we evolved together. How we shared our daily routines, from the time we went to school, our high school crushes, our hobbies and interests, and how this later turned out into something more “serious”. Into going to study what we love at university, finding work and leading a “grown-up life”.

My friend and I have shared a lifetime together. But we have never met in person.

Having only known the image of each other from photos, we grew closer together from our writing. From these letters we exchange every so often. Even in this digital age, and despite our contact on social networks, we still write letters to each other in the traditional way – yes with pen and paper. Why? Because it’s fun! Because no matter everything else that changes, this is something that remains constant. Because no matter where in the world we are, we still write to each other and share our experiences, our thoughts and concerns. Because there is a certain elation in getting a letter in the post, that you know is exclusively for you and does not demand any money in return. Because it simply is a joy.

Growing up with a penfriend from across the world, I have learnt to indulge into different cultures. To want to know more about how people outside the constraints of my nation live, think and act. I have learned to appreciate difference and diversity and have learned to value the importance of human contact. You can’t live life alone. And sometimes when you want to escape the toxic routine of your daily life, having a penfriend, someone who will let you in on their own life even from afar, will help you do just that.

I love having a penfriend. And after so many years and countless letters, I still look forward every time to the moment I will open the post box and find her letter waiting for me. It is an excitement that words cannot describe. Because sometimes it is the joy in the simple things that become your greatest treasure.

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