MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “short story”

Getting lost

Have you ever sent someone in the wrong direction?

I stared at her, troubled, not knowing what to answer. Or rather, how to answer that politely.

Jenna was amazed at how many people would ask me for directions on a single outing. And that’s in a neighbourhood I don’t even know very well. Heck, I don’t even know my own neighbourhood.

What do you mean?” I responded perplexed.

I consider it an achievement if someone asks me something and I actually know where it is to tell them!

I’m the kind of person who gets lost two blocks down their house.

Yes, it happens.

When you have absolutely no sense of orientation whatsoever, getting lost is the easiest, simplest, and the most rational thing that can happen to you.

I was once told to “just continue straight ahead down the road” to the Metro station, and I got lost somehow, having to ask Google, the GPS, and a passer-by for help, in order to reach the desired destination 15 minutes later.

It happens.

And it is absolutely natural.

We’re not all born with a tracking system or a compass inside our heads.

It’s not easy finding your way around.

It’s actually an accomplishment getting somewhere without a GPS, and if you manage to go alone (helpless) a second time around, it is really something to be proud of. Let alone if you take a different route to get there.

So, you can just imagine the confidence booster it is when someone asks you for directions and you genuinely know the correct answer to help them get there.

Of course, you’ll get a few people lost first before you consolidate the route in your head to be able to pass on the knowledge.

But that’s just something that happens too.

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The many forms of love

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So what’s the secret to a love that lasts forever?

She sat cross-legged in front of their old armchair where grandma was sitting. Grandpa just arrived with their morning cup of tea and a rose on the tray. They were by far the most loving couple she knew. Their relationship counted decades and was filled with ups and downs. But they were always there for each other. Supporting one another all the way in their common life journey.

There’s no one answer to that,” grandmother smiled.

It’s all the tender things that show each other we care. The fact that we never stop laughing. Or having something to talk about. We trust in that we’ll always have each other.”

The not giving each other a reason to nag,” grandpa added poking his wife.

It’s the smallest of rituals like having dinner together, or going for a walk. Cooking or cleaning in turn. But it’s also about remaining attractive to each other.”

Keeping the spark alive,” he winked.

Love has many forms,” grandma stated. “You’ll know it in your heart. Because no matter how far you reach that cliff, your partner will never let you fall. We don’t give up in times of trouble; we become closer and fight it off as one”.

Grandpa kissed her on the cheek as he handed her the rose and grandma blushed like a teenager still in love.

Shine a light inside

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There are two types of people in the morning: the chirpy one, who chatters, sings, and is hyperactive from the moment they get out of bed; and the one who doesn’t want a single noise to interfere in the still sleeping zen phase they are painfully trying to get out of.

Miranda was the second type.

Alan was the first.

You can see the problem.

The worst was when the only chance they had to discuss about something was before going to work in the morning because often their shifts did not coincide and they could spend entire days without seeing each other. Despite living in the same house, they didn’t always have the energy after work to talk about anything.

This made it all the more complex.

Because she was also the type to keep everything inside. She restrained herself from expressing what bothered her, be it from the slightest of things – from their online presence, to his behaviour towards others, to her problems at work, or financial difficulties.

The body had a mind of its own, though, and it began to demonstrate its anguish and exhaustion in various forms. The signs were ignored and neglect led to stronger pain in every form.

He saw what she refused to.

How she faded her own light and began to personify that “what doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness (Marcus Aurelius).

So he surprised her with a week away.

To a place she only dreamed of; where mice and ducks were favourite cartoon characters; where laughter was the only sound you could hear; where to feel the innocence and carefreeness of a child was mandatory.

Learn to believe

Life is not like a fairy tale; if you lose your shoe at midnight you’re drunk!

Oh come on, you’re exaggerating”, she confuted. “Sometimes, we do meet a Prince Charming. Life can surprise us pleasantly”.

Sure, but how often does that really happen?” Her pessimism was disarming.

The teenage girl grinned and lowered her gaze.

We need to believe that wonderful things can happen. You’re never too old to dream”.

Hm, but like Eugene O’ Neill once said, ‘obsessed by a fairytale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a last kingdom of peace”.

What’s wrong with that?” she questioned as she turned on the Disney channel. “We become intelligent through the stories we read because we cultivate our imagination, we learn to dream, and we are convinced that dragons can be beaten. Isn’t that the point, after all? To believe that we are as strong and confident as we set our mind to entrust? And that nothing is as impossible as we think? If we don’t try, we’ll never know”.

She left her interlocutor speechless. So much, that all she could do was get the popcorn and share the couch as the movie began.

Chin-up

He had a way of getting her to smile even when the tears where trickling down her blushed cheeks. Even when she frowned, he would manage her to laugh; that heartfelt laughter that was so contagious he could not help but chuckle along with her.

It was rare to find someone so supportive. Who could not only withstand but also handle her mood swings. She knew it was difficult. This modern era caused a lot of psychological and mental stress; she couldn’t even deal with it herself, let alone expect someone else to.

She was easily disappointed with the world. With friends that turned out to be foes. With backstabbing behaviour, with job offerings going to less-deserved people with under-achievements, with luck not being on her side apparently. She often surrendered arms because it was easier than continuing to fight a battle you were constantly losing.

But he knew more about it than meets the eye. He had faced unimaginable challenges throughout his years and was determined to not give up. Failure was not an option, and he kept repeating that to her so as to make it sink in.

During one of those heartbroken breakdowns where everything seemed bleak right from the sombre start of the morning, he looked her straight in the eyes, gently touched her face, and said, “Chin up, princess, or the crown slips”.

She smiled timidly. But it was enough to dust herself off and start over.

Wheel for yarn

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was one of those old houses that still enclose the aroma of another time as if carefully locked inside to transfer you there.

She loved these places. It made her feel like entering a time capsule and travelling back through the ages.

A woman once lived here who knew how to spin wool for yarn. It was a quality skill to possess, and she probably made a living out of it.

Now, many aren’t even able to recognise what this wooden spinning wheel even does.

It’s a dangerous thing to forget our past; it blinds us to our future.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Choose your outlook

We’ve been through so much already,” the little girl said, tugging on her father’s coat. “If someone offers us help, I say we take it”.

He looked at her. It was true, leaving your homeland with only whatever you could carry was a torment in itself, and a heavy burden for any nine-year old to bear. The series of misfortunes that ensued was something refugees were prepared for. Particularly those violently expelled from their own country. 

They had just met someone who promised to get them to safety. But after a couple of failed attempts to believe people who vowed the same, the father was now distrustful.

Not everyone is good”, he told her.

Her mother soon arrived, her eyes drooping from exhaustion. She took the little girl’s hand and gently placed her arm around her husband.

There is still so much good out there”, she hummed. “But life is how you want to see it”. “If you want to find the good, you’ll find it. And if you’re constantly looking for the bad, it’ll catch up with you”.

They all breathed a little slower now. The realisation of this truth sinking in.

We need to acknowledge that practical optimism is a much better framework on life than default pessimism”.

Let’s choose to believe that everything will work out”.

Luck and what we make of it

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It was a seemingly ordinary day. Whatever ‘ordinary’ may be defined as. Because, although he had everything perfectly planned to the minute the night before, the next morning everything capsized. It took him seven snoozed alarms to finally crawl out of bed. There was no milk in the fridge for his breakfast, and when he reached the bus stop, he had to wait half an hour in the scorching heat, as there was an error in the schedule.

When he eventually reached his appointment location about an hour later, the person he was supposed to meet was herself running late due to an unprecedented occurrence (health-related). He could only wait. For another half hour. In the developing heatwave.

The day only slightly improved after the meeting (set to last for 15 minutes but turned into a 2-hour visit) ended and he rushed to see his girl. Lunch together appeared to alleviate things.

They even bought a lucky bamboo together, in the hope that their fortune would change hereafter.

There was a spare penny after the payment, which he decided to pass on.

During the evening, he rushed to the supermarket before heading home for some urgent work. The cash in his wallet was one penny short of the bill he had to pay.

The penny from the bamboo.

His eye twitched as he counted the coins.

Luck, they say, is something you make. But is it so? Is it the choices we make or the circumstances that occur? And how much do we impact everything around us in the end?

He sulked home, hoping the lucky bamboo would do a better job as of tomorrow.

The next ship

©GE

Sunset was her favourite hour. It was as though the world suddenly relaxed following a stress-filled day and the sky breathed a sigh of relief. It was evident in the atmosphere. You could feel the air more tranquil, more serene.

It was his favourite time for walking. Free from the heat of the morning, and with still enough light to enjoy the path.

Their course was by the sea. Water was integral. She had told him that since they first began searching for a common roof.

But now, the city chaos had become too overwhelming.

“Let’s just leave”, she said in a breathless exasperation.

He stopped in his step; turned round and gazed right into her eyes.

Let’s”, he said in all severity.

The next ship sails at dawn.

Mutual desire

© Lisa Fox

The moral from the story of Rapunzel is that if there is a will from both sides, a way will always be found”.

She smiled in that sweet mischievous way of hers.

He looked in her eyes, trying not to crack a grin.

But there is more to that, no?

Just cling on to this part, though”, she insisted.

It’s clearly a concept of finding a solution out of a mutual desire for ensuring each other’s company”.

Her eloquence was one of the things that he admired about her, and which drew him further into falling in love with her.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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