MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “old lady”

If the stars say so…

horoscopeMrs Karapatsos who lived down the hall had a thing for horoscopes. I don’t know exactly how to describe it because it was much more than a simple addiction, or a fixation. It was much more than an obsession too. She would read her horoscope every single day. And from multiple sources too, “in order to have an all-rounded idea”, as she said. She would never leave the house before having read her horoscope.

In fact, one time she recalled that she was late for a meeting at the bank, yet she couldn’t find a newspaper or magazine with the morning’s horoscope and missed the radio show reciting them, so she had all tenants on foot trying to find something that would appease her enough to get out and off to her business.

She claims she wasn’t always like this.

It all started with a strange coincidence.

You see, when she was young, she too was carefree and didn’t pay much attention to such things. Horoscopes were a thing older women believed in, she thought. She considered it a fun game and would occasionally read through hers, whenever she fell upon it. But she didn’t exactly go looking for it. And certainly did not have the “horoscope fetish” she now did. She believed it was absurd that people would read their star signs and spend the day, week, month, even year, expecting /waiting / fearing for what it said to happen.

She even looked into it once. She had an old woman living in her building and had asked her the same thing, everyone was now asking her: why do you believe in this so much?

Mrs Karapatsos received the same reply, she had now embellished: Because we all need something to believe in. Something ‘lighter’ than religion. Ever since forever people have been trying to predict the future. Horoscopes allude to offer that, even if it is only a short-term version of it. We need to feel assured that we know what to expect. That we know what is coming and are prepared for it. No matter if we are never truly prepared for anything. Let alone fate itself. But this old woman strongly believed that the stars knew something more than we did, and those who could read them gave us a glimpse of the future, and we should learn to acknowledge it.

The young Mrs Karapatsos smiled and took it all in with a glass of homemade lemonade and two freshly baked cookies. She never thought of it again. Until one particular day.

Everything was going wrong from the minute she literally got off on the wrong side of the bed. You see, she always got off on the right; it was nearer to the bathroom. But this day her phone rang and she had to get up on the left as it was closer to the table where she had placed her phone. And that is when it all began: the unexpected water shortage when she was rinsing her hair in the shower; the power cut as she touched the switch with a wet finger; the slip on the wet bathroom tiles; the curly hair and the hippy look during an important business presentation; and then, to top it all up, the car crash as she was coming home in the afternoon. It was simply a horrible day. One Murphy would look at and laugh, as it was the very embodiment of his Law.

Arriving home, exhausted, depressed and a nervous wreck, she ran into the horoscope-crazed old lady with whom she coincidentally shared the same star sign. The old lady had not gone out all day, because she said “it was not a good day for Sagittariuses”.

Intrigued with the statement, Mrs Karapatsos searched for her daily horoscope. It read: Be careful what side of the bed you get up from today. A difficult day in all aspects. Be more patient and have more courage than usual. Attention when driving.

Mrs Karapatsos was dumbfounded. Could it really be?

And well, that is pretty much how she too came to believe in “the power of the stars”.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Second-Hand Stories

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Santa run

santa-claus-is-flying-in-a-sleigh-with-reindeerThe white-haired man with the white beard and big belly that had an abnormal affinity for red suits was once again spotted around the park. He was looking at all the young children playing carefree on the swings and in the playground and appeared to be checking a list that he drew out of his side pocket and seemed to have no end. What on earth was he doing? This could take a very ugly turn.

And it did.

Marissa was an old lady who couldn’t hear very well. She couldn’t see very well either, despite the fact that she wore glasses with lenses as thick a piece of gammon at Christmas lunch. She also used a cane to walk, which she would also occasionally use as a weapon lest any “young rascal” would try to steal her bag. She would take her young grandson to the park every afternoon and sit at the bench watching him (or at least someone who looked like him from afar) enjoy himself in the playground. She had become acquainted with the other children and parents who spent their time there too. Therefore, whenever a “newbie” arrived, everyone would notice. They were as easy to recognize as a fly drowning in milk.

The past few days, however, ever since the beginning of December, Marissa noticed the frequent presence of a rather fat and peculiar old man. He was oddly jolly with everyone and was very fond of children. Perhaps too fond, according to Marissa. And he was always there. From the moment she and little Everett arrived, to the moment they left, that old man was sitting on the adjacent bench taking notes.

A week later, after Marissa had ran through her mind all the possible things this man might be noting – all of which were remarkably anomalous, no matter how you looked at it – she decided it was time to take action. She did consider walking over there and whacking him on the head with her cane, then grabbing his list and running to the police to file a report against him as a pedophile. But there were two problems with that: she couldn’t see very well and due to the holiday season more and more people began to draw a liking to red clothing and she might thus end up hitting someone else; and then she couldn’t run very fast, so by the time she had made her way out of the park, he might regain consciousness and chase after her. So, Marissa decided to do the only proper and responsible thing she knew: she would call the police.

Her report said that an old man with white hair and beard, dressed in a red suit that was unflattering for his age, was constantly roaming around the park, observing the kids and making notes. Just to be sure that the police wouldn’t make fun of her, she did send an instant message from her tablet (that had a big enough screen for her to be sure she had captured at least part of the man in question).

It didn’t take long for the police to arrive. The German Shepherd dog accompanying them was already growling, but for some strange reason it stopped the minute its eyes located the old man. And surprisingly it sat down and refused to go near or attack, no matter how much the policemen were yelling. The old man did not even budge.

Yet, all of a sudden, chaos broke out. Seeing that the dog had no intention of chasing or attacking the suspect, the police officers decided to take matters into their own hands. They began to scream, whistle and shout – if there was the appropriate music, it would even seem that they were trying to do the Twist.

And then began the run.

The old man, seeing a handful of unusually frightening young men in police attire racing like raging bulls towards him, got up and began to run too. The kids, thinking this was some sort of festive game, thought it would be fun to join in. And the German Shepherd dog decided it was time to get a move on too. The parents, afraid the dog might attack the children or the police might fire a shot that may reach an unintentional target, raced like mad and white as ghosts, behind the mob. It was complete havoc. And on the side, Marissa was taking photos on her tablet – you know, for evidence.

The old man ran into the forest-y area of the park where a wooden shed was located, he rushed in before the police closed up – the dog was for some reason being intentionally slow at catching up.

And then…

Police, dog, children, parents, the kiosk-owner who had approached out of curiosity, the candyman who was looking for kids to sell his produce to, and Marissa (who was still taking photos), all looked up at the sky, rubbing their eyes. They could not believe what they saw. A sleigh. Yes, a sleigh, a red one with a small turbo engine at the back and a dozen reindeer – yes, those horned animals that look like deer – pulling it along. It all disappeared before the bedazzled crowd managed to take a second blink.

The police stormed the wooden shed, with the dog barking happily beside them. There was nothing in there apart from some hay – most of which appeared to have been consumed – and some firewood. Nothing else.

So where did the old man dressed in red go? And did they really see what they thought they saw?

When the police questioned Marissa, she told them she had photo evidence. But when they confiscated her tablet to see for themselves, all they found was funny-looking selfies of a befuddled old lady in the park.

The revenge of the giant Aloe

Aloe VeraMrs Cliffson loved tending to her garden. Ever since she remained alone in her cozy, stone-built house in the metropolitan suburbs, she decided she would reinvent her garden. At least it would keep her busy and take her mind off being alone.

She began by bringing in all kinds of plants, from flowers to foliage to creepers. She bought all types and all sorts of varieties in order to create what she imagined would be the ideal garden to spend hours admiring. She even bought a small Aloe vera plant. One that would cure every rash or nasty cut she would ever have.

So she got to work.

She got out her spade, trowel and pitchforks and instantly created freshly sowed flower beds, as she also replanted all the plants she had bought from the farmers’ market.

Mrs Cliffson was excited.

She spent her days caring for her rose bushes, her geraniums, her basil and mint and even her cabbages. She had a little section cut off for edible products – such as cabbages, cherry tomatoes, and a series of aromatic plants. All around the garden the flower pots slowly bloomed, radiating their rainbow-coloured glow and embracing Mrs Cliffson’s soul. She was not alone anymore. She cared for something and that paid back. All her plants, in one way or another, returned the love and affection she devoted to them.

But her prize possession – her pride and glory – was the Aloe plant.

That little pot of the shy yet sturdy Aloe vera had within months grown into a huge plant that took up almost an entire corner of the back yard. But no matter its fierce appearance, that Aloe plant was what rescued her.

A few years after the birth of Mrs Cliffson’s garden, she had been diagnosed with a rare dermatological disease. One that would cause strange scars to appear on her skin, appearing as though it was slowly being scraped off. It was a condition that baffled even the most supreme of doctors. She had gone on all sorts of treatment and medication but nothing seemed to work. No-one knew what else to advise. The doctors had almost entirely given up; all they could prescribe now was hope.

Mrs Cliffson was sitting in her garden one day, resting in the wooden swing she had placed in between her flower beds. Her garden had become her refuge, her consolation. And that is when she saw it. The Aloe plant had grown so much that it had almost reached the swing. It seemed as if it was trying to reach out to her. As though it was offering a helping hand. And that is when the thought struck her mind. She immediately got up and cut off a piece one of the Aloe‘s leaves. The juice that ran out onto her hand caused a soothing sensation. Mrs Cliffson rubbed it across her scars. The consequence was almost immediate.

The next day, Mrs Cliffson woke up believing the days and months of running to the doctors was a distant nightmare. She stared at her hands in amazement. The scars were gone, leaving no sign that they had ever existed. She ran out to the garden. The cut-off Aloe leaf had grown back and the plant was complete.

Mrs Cliffson had found her cure. All it took was a little tender, love and care for something that seemingly could not repay you. It is surprising what those small “unimportant” things do for us. Even when you least expect it.

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