MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “story”

Set in stone

stone-house

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was part of their family heritage ever since her relatives remembered. But she was around to see it refurbished. The stone walls were whitened and reinforced and the interior completely renovated.

As a child, she pretended it was her castle and she was longing for her prince to come riding along on a white stallion.

Over the years, she stopped being so demanding though. He didn’t have to have a horse. And he didn’t have to be royal.

When she saw him approach, she realised that all that mattered was him being a decent person. And to love her.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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This too shall pass

flowing riverThere is a story that an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away“. It manages to express a lot – caution in the hour of pride and console in times of pain.

Our times are more in need of this phrase than ever. Because everything can change in a second. Joy and sadness alternate like a spinning wheel and – with everything at our feet – it is easy to get carried away, to exhilarate or to despair.

We might have been convinced that good things don’t last long so we should relish every moment we have. But the truth is, the really good things only last as long as you put in the effort for them to, as long as you keep trying and keep holding on to them.

Whatever it is, this too shall pass. So will we. There is thus no use in being miserable; instead, we should look to make the best out of every situation.  After all, what’s the point of being here if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable and above all be happy?

 

When things are bad, remember:

It won’t always be this way.

Take one day at a time.

When things are good, remember:

It wont’ always be this way.

Enjoy every great moment.

The human weakness

https://trans4mind.com/quotes/reflect.jpgHere’s how it goes; if you want a pep talk, then you’ll have to learn to swallow the truth: No-one cares what’s going on in your life. They don’t care if you’re sick, if you’re tired, if you have personal problems, work difficulties, or whatever. They don’t even care if they call and are interrupting you from something, or if they send you a message and are disturbing you. They don’t care if the time you devote to them means that you’re missing out on your own time, which you could have spent doing something else. No-one cares about all that. All they care about is getting what they want from you.

Everybody has their own business to attend to. Everyone has their own path to follow, but that doesn’t mean it is the same for everyone. That is what we need to acknowledge and understand. Because it is said that successful people never worry about what others are doing. What you should worry about, is doing whatever it is your doing right. Like Paolo Coelho says, “We can never judge the life of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path”.

Humans have an inherent and unalterable weakness: they are, by nature, selfish. What they care about is themselves: how to further their own interests, how to achieve their own goals, regardless of whom or what they trample on. And to add to that, they are greedy. They always want more and nothing is ever enough.

If you can master these two characteristics: if you can teach yourself to care about the lives of others too, to be more sympathetic to their own needs, and to realise that you don’t know their story or what they’re going through; if you can convince yourself that things could always be worse – you could have nothing – then you will become a better person. And if you can pass this on so that more people can become better, then that is how society will improve.

Be positive and smile, even when things don’t seem to go your way. Even that slight gesture may change someone’s world.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Recognize

Don’t sing too often

http://f.tqn.com/y/buddhism/1/W/B/B/-/-/453331569.jpg

In these contemporary times, where everything is public and in plain sight, there is the prevailing sentiment that everyone wants what’s best for you, as long as it’s not better than what they have. Jealousy is a nasty thing. Envy is even worse.

According to the ancient Greek poet Callimachus, “jealousy is the daughter of self-love and inseparable sister of envy and malice.”

Jealous people are often insecure, feeling inferior towards others, or desiring something that the other has. But jealousy is a negative emotion, transmitting a gloomy aura.

Paulo Coelho says “never hate jealous people. They are jealous because they think you are better than them”. The simple knowledge of this fact should suffice.

But there is something more.

Sometimes we are the ones who provoke this so-called “evil eye”, because we so want to share our good fortune, our happiness and optimism with others. In the era of social networking and continuous (digital) exposure, however, this isn’t exactly the best option.

There is a relevant story on precisely this: once upon a time, there was this little sparrow, who while flying south for the winter froze solid and fell to the ground. And then to make matters worse the cow crapped on him, but the manure was all warm and it defrosted him. So there he is, he’s warm and he’s happy to be alive and he starts to sing. A hungry cat comes along and he clears off the manure and he looks at the little bird and then he eats him. And the moral of the story is this: everyone who craps on you is not necessarily your enemy, and everyone who gets you out of crap is not necessarily your friend, and if you’re warm and happy no matter where you are you should just keep your big mouth shut.

There are some people who draw misery out of the happiness of others. There are those who instead of turning jealousy into a productive impulse to become better themselves, convert it into envy and attempt to darken the lives of others. So perhaps let us rather see how we can make our own souls brighter, stirring from within us the change and improvement we seek, and let’s try to envy others less, as they may be managing to do exactly what we hesitate to act upon.

Stronger than you

https://daabrams.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/img_8403.jpgEvery person has a story to tell. And unless you know what that story is, you really are in no position to judge, criticise, or make fun of them. No matter how light-heartedly it may be. Because you surely don’t know what the person hides behind the smile they constantly wear, or the glimmer that is so apparent in their eyes. You can’t tell if what they are laughing at may be burning them down inside.

If you take a moment and observe the world around you, the people with whom you are surrounded by each and every day, you’d be amazed at the vastness of different tales that exist. Personal tales of courage, of strength, of survival. People who have fought diseases and won, others who are fighting them every day. These latter ones are perhaps the boldest, because it is harsh knowing that what you have cannot be cured. At least not yet.

That is what the theme of today (25 May 2016) is: #WorldMSDay. It is about raising awareness about an illness that creeps slyly into people’s lives and sticks with them, no matter how insistently they try to shake it off. Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, one that has been described as the disease of 1000 faces, because it affects everyone differently. People are forced to live with it and go along their lives, working, partying, exercising, like everyone else. Just not. Because they have to fight harder. They also have to face the uninvited and unintended (sudden) onsets of fatigue, of somewhat intense mood swings, of becoming more introvert at times. Now, if you’re a woman, once a month you face similar reactions in a more insane manner. But it’s not the same. And it is certainly not something that is easy for others to understand. Nonetheless, like this year’s theme (#StrongerthanMS) demonstrates, people diagnosed with MS can also be productive members of society, just like everyone else – athletes, politicians, actors, educators, professionals, musicians, anything – and here is a list of celebrities diagnosed with MS to prove it.

You don’t really fully comprehend any of this until it becomes part of your life too. A few years ago, I met a person giving his own battle daily. And he is one of the strongest people I know. Because it takes courage to make your private story public. To let people in to your thoughts and make them aware of the challenges you face. But like C.S. Lewis said, “hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny”. Because sometimes, things happen so we live a better and fuller life. And people who realise the futility of most things we anguish about daily, are the ones who know best how to appreciate the small things, the simple moments that make life great.

It is not the people who run after the spotlight who deserve it, it is the ones who fight alone in the shadows, for they are the ones who offer inspiration.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Pensive

The impulse of an act

wooden bridge nightWhat happened last night?” Vivienne rubbed her eyes as she awakened in a jail cell. Her best friend was sitting right next to her. She had clearly been awake much longer; perhaps she had not even slept at all.

You don’t remember?” Charlotte stared at her wide-eyed. She seemed furious. A bit puzzled too. And quite stressed.

Don’t you remember anything about last night? Nothing? At all?” the panic in her voice was now evident.

Vivienne was still trying to wake up. The litres of alcohol she had consumed the night before were now catching up with her, causing an invisible hammer to pound on her head. She held her head up and calmly responded, “not a thing”. “What did we do?” her curiosity was pure and naïve. It was as if she was asking why the neighbor was piling boxes in his yard. As this did not affect her. As though she did not just spend the night in prison.

Charlotte was furious. And the more angry she got, the more Vivienne wanted to know what exactly happened the night before. She felt as if she was watching her favourite TV series and it had been cut-off at a cliffhanger scene.

The last thing I remember is drinking shots at that bar by the river. Everything is a blank after that. What happened? Did we do something bad?

No honey, we were brought to prison for our own safety”. Charlotte was a master in sarcasm. And she performed best at moments when her rage overwhelmed her.

Sweetie, you got hammered last night. You literally drank a bottle of wine on your own at Spencer’s house, then when we went for Mexican you had half a pitcher of Margaritas, and it was you who insisted we go for more drinks after that. We conceded mainly because you were so upset after seeing Weston again after so long. So we went to that bar by the river that you remember. And we said we’d have one drink. But the waiter took a liking on us – probably you, that is – you were so… friendly and cheerful with everyone; it was bound to get misunderstood.

It’s not my fault I get overly excited when I drink!

Charlotte raised her eyebrows at her. “So, what happened?” Vivienne felt she was listening to a story, not a recount of what she had done the previous night.

We had three rounds of shots and you had another couple of glasses of vodka. You started to get dizzy so the guys suggested we leave and get you out to the fresh air. That is when we went to the bridge and you saw the wooden boat right under it…

Oh no…” Vivienne knew where this was going. She knew herself too well. And her drunk self was even worse. Or rather, more unpredictable and impulsive than her normal self could ever be.

What did I make you guys do?” she questioned in full embarrassment.

You ran down and literally stole the boat for a moonlight stroll. We had to get in too, to control you. But you started feeling woozy and rocked the boat, overturning us all in the freezing river. It was your screaming that brought the police.

And they arrested us for that?” Apparently, it was not a good enough reason.

Oh no, sweetie. They arrested us because you threw up on one of the police officers and then slapped the face off the other one because you hallucinated into thinking it was Weston. That’s what we got arrested for.

But why are you here then?

Because I’m so stupid to care so much for you, I didn’t want to leave you alone in this state of yours. Who knows who else you would molest.

So, I wasn’t left alone at all after that?

Well, just for a couple of minutes when I went to call Justin. He’s bound to come bail us out any minute now. We’ve already been here for six hours.”

OK. So in those few minutes, I didn’t…you know… do anything else, did I?” Vivienne was genuinely frightened. It is scary not remembering part of your life and the actions you may have taken during that time. Especially if they will affect your present or future.

I sure hope not.” Charlotte knew her friend too well, but loved her the same nonetheless.

Their discussion was interrupted by a prison guard coming to let them out.

Is Justin here?” asked Charlotte.

No,” the guard replied. “I made some calls.

Why?” asked Vivienne surprised.

You said you’d only go out with me if you weren’t in here, didn’t you? And I do think we would match. Don’t let my job fool you, I told you I am a trained lawyer. I just can’t get a decent job just yet”.

Vivienne gulped. Her face was heating up and her stomach was churning the previous night’s alcohol.

Charlotte laughed. At least the lawyer-turned-prison-guard was cute. He was young, tall, handsome and athletic. He couldn’t be that bad.

A few days later Vivienne did go on that date with the prison guard, whose name was Leo, by the way. She was blown away at how different he was outside the prison. And so was he. She was careful not to drink too much this time. But she was equally cheerful. It was the excitement of realising that sometimes it is on an impulse that your true desires are revealed and you are pushed into taking the actions that otherwise you would talk yourself out of.

A Dog Named Bob

cute_brown_puppy_dog_with_big_begging_eyesHe was a mischievous one. It was reflected in his eyes if you looked closely enough. But they fell in love with him as soon as they saw him as a newborn puppy sitting silently in a box, wagging his tiny tail and gazing at them with those adorable black eyes. How could you say no to that? Have you ever seen what real puppy eyes have the power to do?

They never regretted taking him in. But they would soon find out how mischievous a dog named Bob can be.

The Hamleys were a family like any other. With three children and everyone always going about their daily business, going in and out of the house at their own pace and gathering once a day for dinner. That was usually when Bob too would manage to scrape some real food out of the family, using, of course, the power of his enchanting black eyes. It is not that he was not fed during the day. But a cooked family meal always outdid any processed can food. One day they neglected to give him a piece, as they were quarrelling about something, but Bob managed to discretely steal a large streaky piece of bacon from the youngest member’s plate. Nobody even noticed. That is how busy they were…

Bob’s favourite pastime in the mornings was running up to the mailbox and waiting for the postman to appear. For some inexplicable reason, dogs always love to chase this poor man who is delivering letters. Bob would never harm him, mind you, but he would always wag his tail happily, waiting for some attention, and manage to transmit this happiness to the mailman. Which was always delightful.

Another day, Bob noticed a bluejay sitting in the tree outside the house. He was sitting underneath it staring at it for hours. Until he decided, he would ask the bird to come down to play. So he barked the neighbourhood awake as he jumped and screeched up and down the bark of the tree. The bluejay got so startled that it flew into the house through the open kitchen window and fell into the bowl of syrup the mother of the family was using to bake something – nobody ever found out what it was, as the syrup had to be thrown out following the bird incident. The bluejay is OK by the way. It flew straight back out again, and presumably passed by the river to clean up.

Bob was a strangely adorable but very mischievous dog. What is not known though is that he is very famous too. Because one day, the father of the Hamleys decided that his dog’s adventures were too funny and priceless to be kept sealed inside the house. So he sat down, got out his ink markers and began scribbling away. That is how the most famous book describing a beloved dog’s adventures was born. From a simple dog named Bob.

Also part of Daily Prompt: A Dog Named Bob

Words of the wise

roller-coaster“Do you remember what it was like the first time you got on a roller-coaster? The excitement you felt when standing in line, the thrill that engulfed you as you took your seat, the adrenaline rush, the fear and the nausea, and the pleasant relief at the end? Life is like that. Like a roller-coaster. Love is like that too. In time you learn to become stronger and wiser. But that does not mean you stop loving. Or living”.

Grandma May always had a way with words. Her voice was as soothing as a hot cup of chamomile tea. And she always knew exactly what to say at precisely the right moment. Tricia could think of no other person to turn to whenever she needed a word of advice, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a hug.

Ever since she was a young child, she would run to Grandma May whenever she scraped her knees and needed consolation, whenever she would fight with her parents for some reason or other, whenever she felt betrayed by her friends, and, above all, whenever she experienced a heartache. The latter was Grandma May’s specialty. It was not everyone who could mend a broken heart. But Grandma May knew all too well what it felt like, enough to be able to convince even the most heartbroken of creatures that they will survive. She never told Tricia what she herself had gone through in life. Even when she outright asked, Tricia would never get a clear response, only some sort of wise-person talk, like something Yoda from Star Wars would say.

“How can you be so sure that a love like that will come again? What if that was it? If you had your chance and you missed it? Where will I ever find someone who loves me as much? Who will care for me so? Who will I find to match with so perfectly?”

Tricia was firing out questions as if her torso was a machine gun that had been kept silent for too long. Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she lay in Grandma May’s arms and wondered how life can go on after such intense pain.

Grandma May had brought tissues, tea, cookies and a blanket. And she decided to tell her a story.

“A long time ago, when there were enough women and men to form communities, the first heartache appeared. For now, people were free to choose who they wanted their partner to be. When a pair was formed it was usually for life. But on rare occasions, the couple split. They simply decided they could not continue on the same path together because their thoughts were heading on two different trains. I know you’re probably wondering what these prehistoric people were thinking about, but I’ll have you know that ever since our hearts began to beat, our minds began to think. The couple who split up ran to their own families and asked exactly the same questions you do now. It is natural. Everyone does. It is part of the process. The wisest man in the village – he also happened to be the eldest – took each aside on separate occasions and told them this: In our lives, we all must pass through different stages in order to grow. Just as we go through extreme jubilation when we are happy, we also go through severe depression when we are sad. But our minds and bodies have developed their own mechanism to deal with these roller-coasters. It is something you may know as the Kübler-Ross model, or more simply the five stages of grief. It consists of the stages we go through in order to, in a sense, mourn for a period of our lives that has passed. In these five stages we go through denial (refusing to accept that this phase in our lives is over); anger (at everything and everyone for having led to this); bargaining (in an attempt to make things right if something else where to be done or if we tried harder); depression (because you begin to realize that you have to go on alone, no matter how much you may miss your previous life phase); and acceptance (when you truly acknowledge the fact that life goes on and you must rejoice the memories and become stronger through the experience). It is our process for recovering, becoming more resilient and moving one. Above all, however, it takes time. And just like every heartbroken soul that came after this couple, we all survive. It takes time and patience and lots of strength, but it does work. Keep yourself busy – but don’t forget. Learn new things – but don’t regret. Become tougher – but don’t stop being kind. You will get through this. Everyone always does.”

Tricia was watching Grandma May dumbfounded. She had stopped sniffing and sat there mesmerized by her words. She had nothing to say. No words could come forth to be uttered at this moment. Maybe it was better that way.

So, she got up and brought a board game for her to play with wise Grandma May.

Don’t talk. Just listen….

unknown call– Don’t talk. Just listen. Did you see the fireworks yesterday? Yes, just after the new Prime Minister’s victory speech? It was as if the country was having one huge party. Well, I don’t blame them. I mean the guy’s just 40 years old. And he is not bad to look at either. Plus, the casual, no-tie look makes him more likeable. I think that’s one of the reasons why he won over so many people. He managed to convince them that he relates to them. He is one of them. And like he said, he wants to have a government that belongs to all the people. Well, good luck. It would be great if at least somebody managed to do so. But did you see the fireworks in the capital’s centre? It reminded me of those 4th of July fireworks. You remember then ones. That is when I met him. You know who. That bastard who broke my heart. He played me like a fiddle on the roof. You know I ran into him the other day at the supermarket? He was shopping for groceries. At least that is what he said. He looked good. Was wearing jeans and a shirt. A shirt I got for him. It felt very weird. To be honest I even forgot to buy half my shopping list after I saw him. I was so depressed by the time I got home, that I spent the entire night watching series on TV and going to bed by midnight. I know it’s pathetic, but what do I do? Come on, you know what I am talking about don’t you?

– I’m sorry, who is this?

– Becky? It’s me, Deborah.

– I’m sorry, I’m not Becky and I don’t know any Deborah.

– Oh. Well, this is embarrassing. I am so sorry.

– Not a problem. I hope everything works out. And don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It takes time. Stay strong!

– Thanks! Sorry again for this awkward call!

[Dials Again]

– Don’t talk. Just listen…

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Unknown Caller

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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