MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “relationships”

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”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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.

Words left unsaid

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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.

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”.

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.

Roundabout questions

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So, what do you feel like doing tonight?

It’s a question that entails the freedom of decision, the willingness to abide by it, while also placing the ‘burden’ of finding something to do on the other person.

For indecisive people, this is a challenge.

“I don’t know, perhaps see a movie? We can either go to the cinema or order in and watch one at home”.

He smiled. She wasn’t finished. So he held back his reply a little longer.

What do you prefer?

The question-bounce-back, that returns the responsibility of choosing an activity to the original question-setter. Like a boomerang returning to the one who threw it.

If the person who initiated the conversation continues the questioning of the type, “whatever you want” or, even worse, poses another option, their indecisive interlocutor becomes lost and even more agitated by the daunting task of having to pick an entertainment. And doing something fun suddenly becomes a chore.

Let’s go out. I know you want to see the latest blockbuster and go for a stroll around town tonight”.

And just like that, peace is restored, tranquillity reigns and the smile returns to her face.

He was used to reading her mind even when she herself couldn’t.

Between the words we say and don’t

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Between the words we say and those we meant to say, we lose all those that truly matter”. She told him that after they had both calmed down from their last fight.

People tend to say a lot when they’re angry. They now knew that very well. Rage makes you say things that you may not mean, but mostly ones that are exaggerated. Things your mind regurgitates and convinces you that are true.

He tried to make her see how she was driving herself crazy by her own thoughts. How each person drew their own conclusions and saw whatever they wanted to see.

But just like you are the only one who has control of your feelings and your life, they had to eventually see that the only ones and only thing that mattered was what they did for each other, how they behaved to one another and the words they exchanged. Not what anyone else thought or said.

For it is true that sometimes the heart knows a truth the mind does not.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” – Khalil Gibran

Mid-court

©Dale Rogerson

They had first met there, at the picnic table in the middle of the basketball court. He had offered to share his sandwich with her. She found it an over-generous gesture, given the fact that not many people share their food.

Since then they shared their lives with each other too.

Every Friday night they would meet at the same place so that they would never forget where and how they began.

But lately he started running late and then cancelling on her.

She would still wait for him.

Sitting alone at the table, wondering where he prioritised his time.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Letters unsent

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The world was still asleep. Daylight had not yet broken the night.

She woke in her sleep as if an alarm clock went off inside her. She got up, sat at her desk with a pen and paper. Traditionally. She preferred it to the digital typing of a keyboard. Her pen was rushing across the page, trying to keep up with the words that were pouring out of her mind. She needed to record them all now that inspiration called, otherwise this wave would fade out during her sleep. Expression came at strange hours.

Time was the most precious gift you could devote to anyone. Even to yourself.

She scribbled down all that her heart pounded to say but couldn’t. Those words left unsaid that you always wonder if they would make a difference. He, on the contrary, didn’t have a way with words. He would only reply if forced to. But she wanted to let him know. She wanted to assure herself she had done all that she could; all that was possible on her part. The ball was then in his court. And she was obliged to accept his decision.

She wrote it all. The stubbornness they both had in communicating, their obsession with not letting go of things from the past, their inability to manage their feelings, the wanting it all and getting nothing in the end.  She wrote of how she was holding things to surprise him with, she dreamt of sharing with him her accomplishments and was eager to boast about his development too. But something broke along the way. And it kept breaking.

She concluded her letter stating that it was what he used to say – that they had found the winning lottery ticket – but somehow they had now lost it or simply let it go.

The letter – just like so many others – was left unsent.

The heart is a delicate thing. It hurts even when you’re convinced it won’t.  And the worst of all is when you say you can’t do anything about it. Because that ‘can’t’ has a “don’t want to” underneath. And that perhaps is the most painful of all.

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