MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “park”

Coffee in the park

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/t/paper-coffee-cup-book-grass-green-summer-sunlight-park-55085045.jpgHe was waiting for her with a book in hand outside the small coffee shop where they had agreed to meet at 6pm sharp. She was ten minutes (fashionably) late. On purpose, of course. His eyes lit up when he saw her approaching. She tried to hide the glow of her own eyes through the dark sunglasses she still wore even though the sun had already began to set.

He greeted her and told her he would like to go sit on the green hill opposite the café where people went to gaze at the world as it went by a few feet away from them. She agreed without hesitation. It was an alternative offer to a mere coffee appointment and she was curious to see where it would lead.

He ordered the coffee and took her hand. She couldn’t help but blush, even after all this time.

The last time she had seen him a week ago she had left in a rush to hide her tears. He was as cold as an iceberg. But both their pride made them stubborn enough to remain apart even though they wanted to be together.

For minutes, they discussed the people that walked past, the streetlights, the current events, everything other than what was truly on their minds.

Then she dared ask, “what is this book you have?” She was a bookworm and he knew it. She could get lost in books as though she was drowning in an ocean.

He didn’t look at her, but a faint smile formed on his face. “There are some things I can’t say. It’s what you complain to me about. That I don’t speak enough. Or, rather, I don’t tell you how I feel enough. So I found another way to do so. I want to read you something. It’s exactly what I want you to know. What I wish I could say to you. What I want you to understand about me.

She gazed at him as he took the book – a blue one with yellow pages – and opened it to the marked page. He cleared his throat and began to read, gently as though in a lullaby, with emotion emanating from every word he pronounced.

I love you even when I hate you. Even when I want to be angry at you, I can’t. Because I’ve fallen so deep, I can’t get out. And I don’t want to. I become silent because I fear of you knowing this. Because it scares me that I am so vulnerable at your hands. That I lose all control when I’m with you, when I simply lay eyes on you. You awaken in me everything I want to be. That better person I would like to be, the one I strive to become. I say nothing because I want to say a lot. Because I fear you’ll realise you deserve so much better than me. That I am not worthy of someone like you. Whatever adjectives I find to describe you will never be enough. And I fall silent because I fear that you will realise you deserve better and walk away. I know I become overly jealous and possessive. It is the fear in me coming out. And that turns into anger because I am afraid I won’t be able to keep you. I love you even when I say I don’t. Because you have awakened in me an emotion that I never knew existed. And I love you for being you. For being here with me. For loving me.”

He closed the book and she swallowed with difficulty. She turned her head quickly away because she didn’t want him to see the tears forming in her eyes. She managed to keep them from trickling down.

That’s beautiful,” she told him. “Who wrote it?

He opened the book again to the marked page.

I did,” he said and revealed the yellow post-it he had written it all on.

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Ten chairs of same size but of different quirks

There were ten chairs arranged in a perfect circle right in the middle of the room, exactly twenty metres from the door and with a diameter of precisely four metres. Abigail herself measured it all every Tuesday ten minutes before the clock on the wall struck 4pm. The other seven members of the group usually began entering at five minutes to four, with only Kaitlin coming in at 4:02pm every time.

Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was a drag. But going to a support group meeting in the hope of being able to alleviate the symptoms was something close to unimaginable. How could you accommodate the Obsessiveness of eight different people, especially when some of their OCDs actually conflicted?

For example, Arnold had to sit exactly in the centre of the group, something that had to change each time a group member was absent; but it would also have to accommodate Justin’s need for him to have an almost equal distribution of male and female “colleagues” on either side. And then, Mika always had to be the one to speak last, while Isaac wanted to have the word seventh in line. It was chaos for their coordinator Patrick. But what was worse was the fact that the OCD support group was not really helping anyone improve. If anything, it seemed to make things worse.

Abigail now began going in fifteen minutes earlier to measure the distances of the chairs and doors, irritated that Samuel came in a few minutes later and moved his chair ever so slightly, but enough for her to be compelled to take out her measuring tape and begin all over again.

Caleb had to tap his hand on the back of his chair three times before doing anything – literally, anything – before sitting down, before speaking, before getting up. Ray had to wait for absolute silence before he began to talk and even the slightest sneeze could get him off-course, so that he would have to restart his speech.

Patrick himself didn’t really have any obsessive traits. Well, at least not before he started the group sessions.

Now, three months later, he started noticing things he didn’t use to – the distance between chairs, the whiteness of paper, silence and noise, the order of lists, promptness of time, colours, decorations, the organization of a room; those little things that to any regular person might not seem important.

He feared that soon he too would need counselling. So he decided to follow a new method.

He took the OCD group on a field trip to the park. He laid down a brown plaid blanket and called them all to sit. There was no measuring, no time delays, no tapping, no counting whose turn it was, no total silence. It was just a group of people during a weekly gathering in the park.

Surprisingly it worked. For that one hour, everyone forgot about their OCDs and were just friends having fun in the park.

Until they left. And it all started again. The insomnia from not counting enough sheep, the measuring of the furniture, the tapping, the order of the lists.

Patrick decided to change the location of the meeting every now and again and hope something would work.

By now, he too had began looking at his phone screen more often than usual, swiping all screens back and forth twice before he would put the phone away. He used to think OCD meant something else, like Overtly Characteristic Denial or Other Central Differences or even Ominous Covert Detective. Now, he had learned exactly what it meant and what it felt like. If only he could now shake it off. Maybe even twice.

An intricate loop

lost ringShe suffered from being too organized. If that ever was a sickness, she was the number one patient. Victoria was obsessed with having everything in order. She felt it was the only way she could control whatever life threw at her. That is why she succumbed to a panic attack when she realized that afternoon that she had lost it.

The ring Danny gave her.

She never took it off her finger, unless she was washing clothes by hand. Then she would place it on the little shelf under the mirror on top of the marble wash-basin and she would stare at it, daydreaming, as she scrubbed the delicate clothes clean. Once she had hung the clothes to dry, she would return, soften her hands by rubbing on cream, and replace the silver ring to its rightful place on her finger.

But today, something went wrong. She realized the ring was missing from her finger when she reached for a piece of cake during afternoon coffee with her friend Emily who had come over to share some gossip. What ensued could only be described as havoc, as an anxious Victoria stormed the bathroom and then paced nervously around every room of the house, re-tracing every step she had made – and which she remembered – in order to find the lost jewel. Emily could do little to console her friend.

It’s hard being a perfectionist. You can never take anything lightly. And never let anything go. Not even when Danny said the ring could be replaced. But for Victoria it would never be the same.

——————–

It was a beautiful afternoon in the park and Vincent had taken Buster out for a walk. The golden retriever basked in the sun for a few minutes, then sprung to its feet and called for a game of Frisbee. Vincent loved this game as his dog always made the most unaccepted leaps, catching the Frisbee in his mouth, no matter how far it went. So he always tried to throw it as far as possible; for him this was also a very good way to make new acquaintances. And Buster was on his own so adorable.

The Frisbee was heading for the lake when Buster made a leap worthy of professional jumpers, and caught it with his teeth glistening in the sunlight as he fell in the waters with a grand splash, cooling everyone who happened to be around the scene. Vincent ran to apologise to the surprised onlookers, when he saw something small glistening at the edge of the pond.

It was a silver ring.

He picked it up and read the inside engraving “I will love you forever, Danny”.

Someone must be very concerned this is lost, he thought. But on the other hand, what if it was intentionally thrown away? What if this was a love story gone all bad? Sometimes love doesn’t always head in the direction the heart wants, he pondered, as Buster joyfully bounced to his side requesting another round of Frisbee.

——————–

She had done this for ages. It was a profession carried on for generations, for as long as she could remember. Her mother had taught her how, and she was in turn trained by her mother and so forth. They roamed the country practicing it and she had learned to read people better than she read the cards before her.

People came to her seeking a glimpse into their future. They wanted to feel the illusion of being able to control what would arrive. The majority never really believed the fortune-teller and they all thought that she was just taking their money in exchange for a few positive words that had no reasonable basis. Yet they still went. People are like that. Silly and gullible.

Yet they are also longing and hopeful. And this is what the fortune-teller relied on.

She only remembered the cases that most strongly made an impression on her. And there was this one couple she could never forget. Not even five years later. She had felt their aura since before they had entered her tent at the local fair. The young woman had convinced the man to go see her. She had said it would be fun. They were newly-weds and you could tell by the sparkle in their eyes, by how they gazed into each other so lovingly, by how in love they appeared.

The first thing the fortune-teller noticed when they sat before her was the silver ring on the girl’s finger. There was something about it. It had brought them so much love and happiness, but for some reason it would also bring them so much pain and suffering.

She pretended to look into the crystal ball and began to tell them that they would have a long and happy life together. The couple smiled and squeezed each other’s hand. But the fortune-teller was not telling the truth. It was one of those rare instances that she looked into the ball in her hands and felt a déjà vu. She felt her vision become misty and could almost see what the couple’s future would be – it was cloudy and grey, shadows had creeped over their rays of sunshine, and it was all caused by a small circle, a loop, a ring.

Hold on to each other, but not too tight, or else you will lose one another forever,” she said as the couple walked out of the tent. The girl looked at the fortune-teller as she turned to leave. She said nothing, although her smile had faded.

The fortune-teller looked back into her crystal ball and saw a reflection of her own dark complexion staring back. Fate was never something anyone could ever foresee. Or control.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

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.

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