MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “life”

Frames intact

© Mikhael Sublett

“What do you see?”

He took the picture and examined it.

“Destruction”.

“Why?” she pressed.

“Just look at the ruins on the floor. The crumbled wall, the pieces apart. Broken fragments of what they once were.”

“What do you think that represents?”

“Human relationships”, he uttered. “They break in an instant and it’s both frightening and tragic that someone you once couldn’t imagine your life without can become a complete stranger”.

He pushed away a tear.

“But look closer. Don’t you see the frame lying almost intact? It’s simply upside-down but unscratched. Life is what we chose to focus on”.

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Travelling stories to tell

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When things got rough, they used to just leave. Together. They would travel to someplace new, to fill their hearts with adventure and their minds with enthrallment at how vast our world truly is. They believed that travelling – by car, motorbike, train, airplane, boat, whatever means available according to the destination – opened a person’s heart, broadened their minds and filled them with stories to tell. And they had many.

But lately, they became alienated from each other. And consequently from all the things they did together.

She was always excited when travelling with him, because he became almost a different person; someone more relaxed, more serious, yet thoughtful at the same time. He became the person she fell in love with. As if breaking the bonds that held him captive to his daily routine liberated him into becoming a better version of himself.

He loved travelling with her because it lit up a spark in her eyes; she let out a childish enthusiasm and reminded him all over why he fell in love with her in the first place.

Now, they travelled in different directions.

She went to places that were new to her, where they had never been before together.

He, on the contrary, went to all the same, where they had.

Because one wanted to forget. And the other to always remember.

People like handcrafted plates

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“Sit. Take this plate. Look at it closely. Examine it. What do you see?”

“It’s decorated,” Jill replied, her young age obstructing her perspective.

“What more?” her aunt pressed.

“It’s colourful. Artfully decorated. It seems handcrafted. And there are so many details. You need to look closely to see them. To appreciate them”.

“Good. Now throw it down”.

Jill glared at her aunt.

“What?”

“Throw the plate down”.

“But…but, it will break”, she uttered, scared.

“That’s the point”.

Jill let the plate go, reluctantly. It fell onto the ground and broke into numerous pieces of all sizes.

“Pick it up and try to place the pieces back together”.

Jill tried, but there were many smaller pieces that had fractured and were too small to find or stick back together.

“Now what do you see?”

“It’s broken,” Jill sighed, genuinely saddened.

“It’s not the same. It’s not as beautiful. You can see the cracks and even if it is glued, they will still be evident. And the colour seems almost faded because of it”.

“Isn’t it still the same plate, though?”

“I guess”. The little girl seemed perplexed.

“People are like this handcrafted plate,” her aunt finally explained the meaning of this exercise. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. You need to look closely to see all those details that make each person special. But people, contrary to objects, have feelings. If they are pushed aside for too long, like a plate on the edge of a counter, they will fall and break. And once they do, they will carry the scars within them. No matter how much they try to pull themselves back together, to survive and go on, the scars will remain, perhaps faded, but they are still there. Time won’t heal them; it will just make it easier to live with them”.

Jill stared, listening attentively to every word.

“Always be kind to everyone you meet. You don’t know what scars each person hides. And treat people as softly and sympathetically as you would want to be treated. Not everyone sees the world the same way, but kindness is universal”.

Black shopping

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He was racing with his motorbike on the highway even before the sun came up. It was still quiet in town and in the city he got to in less than half the time he normally needed. It was the calm before the storm.

That day was Friday.

But it was not just any Friday.

It was Black Friday. The day all shoppers go crazy, waiting outside stores hours before they open, then fighting each other inside for items they don’t really need but are misled into believing they are a bargain, and then standing in line impatiently in order to pay for them by maxing out their credit cards.

The worse thing about this day was that everyone found something they needed to buy. So the majority of people were out shopping at one part of the day or other, leading to increased tensions, rows, noise and an incessant irritation that seemed to be diffused in the air.

He set out early, exactly because of this.

He wanted to get in and out of a store he found a large TV he had set his eyes on for weeks now. He had saved money and done his research.

He was prepared.

But not enough for how the day would turn out…

The Scrooges of this world

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His favourite character was Scrooge. Either McDuck or Ebenezer, it didn’t really matter. It was the trait he admired. That of being stingy, a cold-hearted miser and filthy rich because of it.

He wanted to have it all. But all was never enough. There was always more.

He lost friends as quickly as he acquired them, because his arrogant style that undermined everyone else around him immediately became evident.

Yet, he didn’t care. People like that seldom do. Arrogance, it is said, is a camouflage for insecurity. People adopt a conceited attitude and raise their voice to be heard, no matter if they’re wrong. They try to dominate every situation to show they’re in control. But what they try to hide is their fears that they cannot conquer.

People cheat and steal from each other, attempting to demonstrate they’re cleverer and more astute. Paraphrasing what the ghost said in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, they wear the chains they forge in life. Yet, in the end, all they achieve is to create a society in which the truly smart people want to escape from, because they are the ones that see through the corruption and lies. They are the ones that read beyond the deceits and the feinted arrogance. They are the ones who distinguish between arrogance and confidence and the ones who understand when it is right to stand up for what you believe and when it is just necessary to go with the flow.  As long as the flowing river is one that leads to an ocean – a greater good – and not one that drowns everything along the way.

“The world is your oyster. It is up to you to find the pearls” – Chris Gardner

The quiet friend

©MCD_Bruno

He sat there quietly. Always on the same spot on the couch where she paused for a rest from her tiring and incessant schedule.

She lightened up every time she saw him. And when they hugged, she would inhale deeply letting out a faint sigh with that exhale.

He had a way of easing the tension she inexplicably carried on her shoulders. She burdened herself with too much stress for her own good. Even he could see it.

But it was enough for him that he made her smile. And that, even if just for a little while, she would let her troubles slip away from her mind. For those few seconds she could empty her head. She found comfort in him and was grateful for his presence.

Even if he didn’t say much. Or anything at all for that matter.

It would be a little strange if he did.

After all, he was just a fluffy teddy bear.

But the person who gifted it to her knew he was much more.

The vicious circles we feed

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There is a place in the heart of the city where people go to disappear. It’s a place you often pass by on your daily route to work, shopping or whatever else you choose to spend you time, money and energy on. But you don’t realise they are there. You pretend not to see them. Not to know that these neighbourhoods are different.

We fear different. We oppose and react to whatever we don’t understand.

We don’t even try to change things. We simply acknowledge that they are not how they should.

And so, we continue our lives, and more people simply disappear out of theirs.

Because it is not easy to actually live. To have a life that fulfils you and completes you. People are used to existing. And documenting their existence to prove to others that they are doing things worthwhile. In reality, trying to convince themselves that they matter.

We close our eyes to those who need help. Because we don’t want to assume the responsibility of change.

And then we protest that nothing ever changes or improves. Like a vicious circle we ourselves feed.

A social condition

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They called it a condition. He called it honesty. But sometimes it made him seem rude. He couldn’t tell the difference.

He was used to speaking his mind without camouflage or fake kindness. If he didn’t like something he would say it, if he disagreed with someone he would point it out. Simply said, he couldn’t feign politeness in a world filled with people wearing masks.

He wasn’t the one to hide; from anyone or anything. But that often got him into trouble. Because not everyone appreciated the sincerity in which his words were uttered.

His belief was that if people couldn’t handle the truth, they shouldn’t be doing or saying things that were contrary to it.

In fact, he was convinced, that if people followed the norms of proper social conduct, so many fake masks would not be necessary.

But that was simply his thoughts. He lacked tact but that did not make him any less of a person than anyone pretending to be his friend.

If you left…

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You told me that if you left, it would be because something made you; some higher force pushed you through the door. But I don’t believe that is possible. I am convinced that the actions we do are the result of our conscious decisions. We are the ones controlling what we do. Our behaviour stems from ourselves, our thoughts and our inner peace.

You told me you were suffocating. That you couldn’t continue like this. I held you in my arms and assured you I was here, I wasn’t going to go anywhere, we would get through things together and everything would be alright.

You seemed like you believed me. Then. When you fell asleep in my arms and you woke up the next day telling me that it was the calmest sleep you had had for days.

You smiled and the whole room lit up.

I missed your smile. I still do. That cheeky, childish smile that transferred the glow into your eyes. You were genuinely happy with me once. We were genuinely happy.

I always thought ‘together’ would be our happy ending. I never saw anything different. In the planning I made for future endeavours, everything in my life included you. I thought the same was true for you. How could I have been so wrong?

And then you just left. And you took the pieces you broke my heart into with you. I never understood how people could behave so coldly. Perhaps because I could never bring myself to act as such.

And then I sat there blaming myself. I couldn’t understand if the problem was not doing enough for you or rather caring too much.

A few days passed and you returned as if nothing happened. As if you hadn’t broken me. You never told me what happened inside you, if anything. What had occurred during that time. What you were thinking of now.

But I can’t return to how things were. Because it is not the same anymore. Now I’m the one who feels suffocated by my own thoughts, my own unanswered questions. And you still refuse to say anything.

I never understood how someone could just get up and leave. Until now. Sometimes to save yourself you need to let go of everything dragging you down. I gave you my heart and you shred it to pieces. I can no longer feign that did not happen.

I’d never thought I would be the one to leave. But there seems to be nothing else left for me to do.

He left the note on her nightstand and walked out the door.

Cherished buttons

©Jean L. Hays

He didn’t sew often, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t good at it. He knew how to do household chores and would always help his wife whenever possible.

His children looked up to him as the superhero he tried to prove he was. It was amusing when they were young and inspiring when they got older.

It’s what she missed most about him.

She still cherished the jacket they bought together. It held fondly so many memories. But what was most significant about it, is that when the button fell off, he was the one that sew it back on.

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