There are photos that capture inside of them a bit of your soul. You look at them and can remember every single sentiment you felt in that very moment the photo was taken. You can sense the aura of the person you’re with. The feeling in the air around you. The emotions that ran inside of you.
There are photos like this that you want to keep forever. Or as long as that lasts.
But there are precisely those photos that hurt the most when that sentiment expires.
When you no longer feel that joy, you want all evidence removed.
Also part of Friday Fictioneers
She remembered it fondly. How she anticipated their first date. He had announced it to her with a paper plane that flew straight towards her. It was their way of communicating. She was walking on air all morning.
He took her to a diner that had just opened and was the talk of the town. The food was savoury. But that wasn’t what won her over; it was the song he chose on the jukebox and how he picked her up to dance rock n’ roll to what thereafter became their tune.
It was their time. And it became forever.
Also part of Friday Fictioneers
He looked out of the window at the cloudy skies. He was physically in his living room, sitting on his couch. But mentally he was far away. Perhaps even on that airplane crossing the sky.
He had never been on an airplane.
He had never even left the country.
He was afraid to leave. To take a risk. He was too much a coward to change his life. He lost too many opportunities and people because of this. And all he had left was to dream. But even that was too much. Because he knew deep inside that those dreams of flying away would never be realised.
On that very plane, there was a girl who travelled all her life. She knew very well what it was like to change environments every now and then, yet longed for somewhere to settle. For some place and someone to call home.
She had just finished reading the romance Erotokritos, the rhymed verses themed around love, honour, friendship, bravery and courage. It was the story of a young man who fell in love with a princess and did whatever he could – even facing exile and sacrifice – to gain her love. But to the young reader, it symbolised more than that. It was an allegory that true love surpasses every hurdle encountered; that when there is a will there is always a way; and that it’s not about finding someone who chases you incessantly or who evidently ignores you, it’s about finding someone who never stops caring or fighting for you. It’s a story about someone who feels deeply and has no problem in showing it in every way possible.
Life is the sum of our actions. These are what make us who we are. What we have the strength to do and what we don’t. What we choose to change and what not. It is who we want to be and who we have the power to become.
If you were granted one wish effective immediately, what would you wish for? Would it be for money, for material goods, or for courage, hope, love?
Lindsey knew exactly what should would seek: fulfillness. She wanted to feel that everything in her life was what she desired; that she had all she needed and wanted; that she was complete. It was something rare for anyone to state, because each person always believes they are lacking something, or they could always do with something more. That sense of incompletion is something that constantly accompanies us throughout our lives.
With everything she was forced to survive during the past few years, Lindsey was hopeful that this wish from a Secret Santa at an office party would perhaps restore the hope and optimism she had lost.
It wasn’t just the sentiment that had gone missing; it was herself too. Because more often than not people lose themselves trying to please others, in their effort to become the person they think will be more desired by another. But in the process, we fail to see that we lose the person that is most wanted by us: ourselves.
It is said that we need to find inner peace before we radiate the light we have inside. When you’ve reached the darkness, you have learnt to walk blindly towards the light. And if you just take a step in the right direction, all it takes is a spark to light the flame.
Birthdays, a good friend told me, are the perfect date to set new goals, to rethink your stance, to start anew, because it is on this day that your life began; that you began. It is on our birthday that we realise how many things change in a year. How different our lives are now from 12 months ago, or from simply one month ago. Time passes by rapidly and if we are not careful, life will pass us by.
It’s not to ponder on the past and forget to live, though. Strength comes from constantly moving forward, continuously evolving and wanting to improve every aspect of yourself and your quality of life.
Hope springs from standing in the dark and looking for the stars. It’s the pressure we impose on ourselves to never give up because better things are coming and the need to believe this is true.
We need to change habits every once in a while. It’s part of the circles that close and new ones that open. To find new people that will enrich our lives and make us better, who will match our level.
Unfortunately, not everyone who comes into our lives stays. And we realise that the people who we thought we couldn’t live without are no longer a necessary part of our lives. There are those who never fought for us, who could live without us first and who left on their own accord. Those who proved they were unworthy of all our love and devotion because they didn’t know how to appreciate or reciprocate it. Those who blamed us for their own inadequate behaviour and demanded things they themselves could not provide. Those who make us regret ever giving them a part of our lives, our world, our heart. Because in the end, those who matter are those who value us, who remain no matter what, who always remember you on your special day, who are there regardless everything else and who love unconditionally.
Each person is responsible for their own attitude and the way they behave – be it their reactions, their words, their actions or inaction, their decency (if any).
It takes time to realise things we were so used to overseeing. Because it takes time for the mind to change course, to alternate its circle of thinking. Time won’t heal your wounds, it will just make it easier for you to live with the scars.
Birthdays are a chance to evaluate where you stand in chasing your dreams and the life you desire. To set new goals, to get back on track with what you want. And what most people want are simple things: to be healthy, happy and loved.
A new birthday year offers 365 new opportunities to do that. To find our way again and make it a better year. Let’s do our best to make it worth it.
For the majority of people, holidays – especially Christmas and New Year – means home. It means being surrounded by your loved ones, the people who know you best and who will be next to you no matter what. They are the ones who stay whatever the situation is and who remind you that you are stronger than you think and can survive anything. You did so far, and you will continue to do so.
There is no place you feel safer than being at home. Because here, nothing can touch you, nothing can hurt you or make you sad. You have a safety net of love that acts as a shield, helping you cope with whatever is causing havoc in your mind. And you can get lost simply staring at a burning fireplace, wrapped up in a fleece blanket on the couch.
When you have a birthday on Christmas day – like I do – you feel this season more deeply. It is your season, your time, your day. Because you have no other all year round. No one is entitled to ruin it for you and you shouldn’t let anyone do so. After all, people hurt you only as much as you allow them to.
When I tell people I have a Christmas-birthday. I get two types of reactions: one is – ‘oh how lovely to have a birthday on this special day, you’re really lucky’; and the other – ‘that sucks, you have everything crammed in one day and don’t get all the attention you deserve’. My view is somewhere in between. I’ve said it before, there are pros and cons to having a Christmas birthday. But when you get to share this very special day with people who really care for you and you’re overwhelmed with love and wishes, that’s all that matters.
A person feels happy when they feel safe and loved. Everything else will come at the right time.
Stay positive and happy holidays everyone!
It was strange for an adult to write such a letter. She had stopped since a few years ago when the child inside her wrote a sweet letter to Santa together with her partner at the time, but she never received a reply despite the elves’ reassurances that she would. Disappointment got the better of her.
But the truth is, she stopped writing to Santa because she didn’t know what to ask for. Or rather, she didn’t feel the need to ask for anything.
This year was a bit different.
“I don’t want you to bring me anything. But I don’t want you to take anything away from me either”.
She could feel the emotional charge sliding through the pen into the ink on the paper.
“I don’t want things anymore. I want people, emotions and experiences. I want the things that will remain intact in time and my heart. I want to be surrounded by people who love me and who stay around for the hard times. People who love in a similar way as I do – with all their heart, unconditionally and without expected anything in return”.
She remembered how easily she could get hurt from those she loved the most, because to them she never raised a shield of protection. She left too much of her heart and soul exposed. It’s something you can’t get back. Because that is how some people love: purely.
But in reality, everyone expects something from others. It’s the source of all disappointment. That we expect and anticipate others to act in the same way we do. But not everyone has the same heart or viewpoint we do.
“My wish this year is for things to fall into place. For our souls to be filled with love and serenity, for those who care for us to be strong and healthy, for all the things that cannot be bought to make us happy.
After all, the magic only happens if you believe in it”.
She signed off “with love” and let it fall in the post-box full of anticipation that this time it would be different.
He had walked out a month ago, but still had his keys. The keys to the home they built together, the one that would house their common dreams.
They hadn’t spoken since.
She didn’t know what he was doing, where he was, what he worked on, how he was feeling. She only had her viewpoint. And that was biased.
It was pitch black outside when she got up. Even the lights had all been turned off. It was the usual hour she felt forced out of bed, too tormented by nightmares to remain lying there trying to sleep.
She took a pen and paper, rarely nowadays abandoning her keyboard, and this meant it was too important to type. It had to be handwritten to reflect the emotion it contained.
“At night, when I can’t sleep, I write to you. Letters, I’ll never send and you’ll probably never read. But it helps me calm down during the nights I’m tortured by the thoughts in my head. When the chaos inside me overwhelms and devours me. I write to tell you what you can’t seem to hear from me. I write in an effort to make you understand. To make you see that even a dragon hides a frightened mouse inside. That sometimes all you need is the reassurance and certainty of having someone next to you at all times, no matter what and above everything and everyone else. I thought that was you. Not to heal me. You wouldn’t do that. But to help me heal myself. Love won’t heal wounds. The feeling of safety and being loved no matter what, who and when, is what makes a person stronger. What helps them heal themselves.
You were supposed to stick around for the hard times too, not just the good ones.
We were supposed to grow stronger together, to grow with each other, helping one another to develop into the best person they can be. We were supposed to form a unit as one – a force to reckon with, a single corps against the world. We were supposed to be ‘us’. A power couple. We were supposed to be allies to one another. Not to demolish each other, ripping ourselves apart from the inside. We were supposed to close each other’s scars, not create new ones.
Yet despite everything – all the words said, all the actions done (or not) – I still wait for you. In the sounds of daily life, in the phone calls that ring, the doors that knock, I longingly hope it will be you. I see you in every single thing that reminds me of you. I still hope you’ll come into my darkness and turn on the light. The light that faded and is now lost. My light that I allowed to be extinguished.
Yet you never do.
That itself should be a sign. Just like all those things we didn’t do: the trips we never went on, the plans we never followed through. All signs. An answer to all the ‘whys’ that won’t let my mind rest.
Yet I still wait. Hoping even now for something to change. Because hope is all we have left.”
In the morning, she booked a plane ticket and left. That same afternoon, he used his keys again.
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.