MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “surprise”

The off-course bus

http://ttvalueinvesting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/route.jpgIt arrived on time and appeared just like any other of its type. It had four double doors symmetrically situated across one end, large windows, and an advertisement painted across both sides. From its exterior, it seemed like a normal bus. Even inside, it did not differ from others – it had enough space for passengers to be seated or standing and it was in great condition. Almost new. But there was something that made this bus special. You couldn’t tell at first. And most of all, you never expected what would come.

You would stop the bus at the stop and get on, maybe even find a seat. You presumed it would take you to your destination – the city centre – relatively quickly. But half way there, the bus would suddenly change course. If you were too distracted in your own thoughts it would take you a while to realise you were off course. Others would acknowledge it as soon as the bus took a “wrong” turn. Some passengers would react. Others would stress that they would be late for their appointments. Some others would simply remain silent, waiting to see what would happen. The driver would not respond to any.

After a while, you would realise the bus was not going to the city centre. The passengers that reacted intensely would soon tire and be quiet. And as the bus took an unknown route, almost all passengers would begin to plan scenarios in their head of where they would end up. These ranged from a serial killer bus driver that would throw them off a cliff, to a surprise destination where a millionaire would host a party to advertise a new acquisition. You would conjure in your head whatever you wanted, but you would be well aware that expectation was always the root of all disappointment. So you would try and pretend that you didn’t care where the bus was going.

After a long while, the bus would return to its course and, taking double time, would end up at the city centre, where it was supposed to be going in the first place. But, during that route, all passengers would have calmed down and, lost in their thoughts, dreams and mental to-do-lists, would not realise they had arrived. That was the point of this bus – to make you understand that what matters most is the route and how you get to your destination, not so much your final point of arrival.

The surprise bomb

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0031/8592/products/Mystery-box-Black-closed-David-Blaine.jpg?v=1493223671Don’t touch that!” The fire chief yelled as he ran towards Levi. The latter raised his glance in fright and froze in place. Wasn’t this what he was trained to do? To prevent bombs from detonating?

The fire chief raced to Levi’s position, gasping for air as his glove-covered hands passed over the black box. His fingers barely came into contact with it, but he was already trembling as if the lives of thousands of people who worked in that building depended on it.

All residents and employees of the tower had been evacuated and for the past twenty minutes, it was only the fire fighters and bomb squad who were found within those walls. They could feel the time ticking menacingly away and with every second that fled, they felt their breath grow shorter.

This was the fire chief’s ultimate act. He was going into retirement the very next day. This was his last mission. But it was Levi’s first. As experienced and as calm as the chief was, Levi was exactly the contrary, trying to masque his anguish and fear through a calm demise.

The fire chief opened the box with fingers shaking and sweat dripping from his forehead. He didn’t know what to expect – it could be anything, from a ticking bomb to a mere post-it informing of a prank. He wished it would be the latter. But instead, inside the box he found a smaller black box, and inside that, another even smaller. His temperature began to rise as his cheeks flushed. Levi looked on with eyes wide open. He could feel his heart pumping eager to beat out of his chest.

The fire chief took the smallest box in his hand and with a move worthy of a surgeon carefully opened it. Inside was a cupcake. That’s right. A small muffin-sized cake with icing on top. He examined it on all sides and was assured that it was a harmless dessert. That is when he finally lifted his gaze.

His men were standing around him, giggling and waiting for his reaction. It took him a while to figure it out. They had surprised him with one last adrenaline-rush. But all this was, was a farewell party.

Levi smiled. If only all bomb detonation missions would be as easy and happy-ended as this one.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Detonate

Receiving a daily jolt

https://dawsonpower.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/How-to-help-an-electric-shock-victim-300x300.jpgIt is often said that a small shock, a surprise or an adrenaline boost rejuvenates your system because it causes you to…well…wake up!

Sometimes you need such a jolt. Something to stir you out of your mundane, almost automatic daily routine.

It’s not really something you look for. It’s rather something that arrives on its own. When you least expect it. The best things usually come like that – unexpectedly.

So, free your mind from automation and allow yourself to add a spring to your step and a daily change in the things you usually do. You’ll see a great difference. Because even the smallest alterations may lead to great results.

You just need to try it and be optimistic it will work out.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Jolt

To the moon

https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/pri_36173762.jpg?w=748&h=519&crop=1

“You owe me a full moon”

He found the note when he returned from work that night. She wasn’t there waiting. She had told him she wouldn’t be. She had asked for a moonlight stroll that day. But he was called urgently into work. He could not refuse. There was nothing more she could say.

She had returned to her apartment convinced that sometimes work took priority over her and there wasn’t much she could do in these financially hard times. Work was getting the best of all of us.

The good thing about full moons is that they come every month. Like a female cycle. And there not all that different from each other. It all depends on the circumstances and mood you view them in.

He rang her front door bell at an hour when she certainly wasn’t expecting anyone. She was pleasantly surprised. He appeared at her door with a pink rose. She asked what he was doing there at that time. She knew he was tired after work.

I’m taking you to the moon” is all he said.

The perfect gift

http://5pz91qmfi1-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Screen-Shot-2015-09-03-at-1.49.24-PM-640x250.jpgWhat does anyone really want on Valentine’s day? What does anyone want on any day, really? Because 14 February, in essence, is just another day. But it happens to be one on which couples suddenly remember they’re in love, and singles feel the need to demonstrate why they’re better alone.

Susy and her husband had agreed that they were in love all year round, and they would show it to each other as often and as much as they could. For them, this was just another day on which they had an extra reason to go out and enjoy themselves.

Jonah was racking his brain for days trying to find the perfect gift for his wife. He wanted something special. Something different. Something memorable. Apart from the standard flowers and chocolates in a heart-shaped box, that is. So he decided to take her for dinner to a restaurant they had never been before, but one which was acclaimed and seemed to match her liking. She was the person who would get excited with the little things, so she was bound to be thrilled.

Susy, on the other hand, had difficulty in planning the perfect gift. Because what amounts to perfection? She thought of a framed photo of them, but couldn’t chose just one. And she didn’t want to fall into the commercial trap that took over this specific day.

So she did something different.

She took the day of work on the eve of V-day and stayed home to surprise him. She prepared his favourite dessert and planned a relaxing walk along the beach at sunset. The sparkle in his eyes and the smile that stretched across his face when he found her home, unexpectedly waiting for him, was all she needed as an acknowledgement that sometimes the perfect gifts aren’t things; they are moments, people and actions that show us we are loved and cared for.

Stirring an awe

http://d1bghp9m77ju8l.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Random-Acts-of-Kindness-349x218_c.jpgIs there anything in this world today that could cause your awe?

Audrey was shocked at the essay question laying before her. It certainly managed to prompt her into thinking hard and in that alone it was successful.

But was there truly anything in this 21st century that she could say still surprised or even shocked her?

In a period that has seen almost everything – from peaceful and violent revolutions, to deadly wars, to climate change, to drugs, sex and alcohol, to liberalism in every sense, to more rights for all, to the rise of various communities, to technological advancements beyond belief, and to space explorations, what would you say continues to amaze you?

Audrey wrote down one word.

Humanity”.

And explained: Precisely in this period that has seen it all, discovering that people still retain some form of humanity and emotion inside of them is what would cause my awe. Seeing that they care for those who can do nothing for them in return – animals, paupers, homeless people. Witnessing random acts of kindness that occur out of the goodness of people’s heart, without anticipating any favours in exchange. Small gestures that may brighten up someone’s day: allowing someone to pass in front of you in the supermarket queue if they only  have a couple of items to pay; smiling and saying ‘goodmorning’ and ‘have a nice day’ while serving; offering a glass of cold water on a hot day.

This is what would cause an awe, because at a time when we have become so used to having it all, we have become so accustomed to losing ourselves in the process, together with the little things that truly matter.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Awe

The benefits of expecting nothing

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/271/19556344430_40ee1d3f10_b.jpgSurprises are beautiful because they come without waiting for them. Without expecting them to happen. And that often augments that wonderful feeling of euphoria that overwhelms you when you realise that sometimes what you are looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us” (Ashley Montagu).

It is like when we were children and out of the blue received small presents, simply for acing a test, or because there was a toy on offer, or because we hadn’t seen a particular relative for some time. Remember how excited you got then? From those little drops of unexpected happiness that got you active for hours, if not days?

There is a saying that happiness sneaks in through a door that you did not even know was open.

From impromptu decisions you may take, which may later affect your life in greater ways than you may have ever imagined. In simply allowing yourself to take a chance and try something different. In living every day as it comes, fully and deeply.

Sometimes it is indeed better not to expect things to happen. Because it’s better to feel surprised than disappointed. And in the end, it is the unexpected that changes our lives.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Childhood

The Festive Happening

http://rlv.zcache.com/reindeer_christmas_party_invitation_soft_grey-rc8e45aaac1b64d25b81e718f3b8f457f_zk9gs_324.jpg?rlvnet=1The sun set early this time of year, wrapping the snow-capped slopes into a flurry of darkness. The elves scrambled to turn the lights on, earlier each day, until the chief elf finally remembered they had an automatic mechanism they could activate to do it for them. Today was special though. There was a happening being planned for a month now and everyone was very excited.

Mrs Clause had baked her famous huge vanilla cookies with colourful chocolate buttons that melted in your mouth with the first bite. The elves were busy with decorations, confetti, presents and the like. Santa was overseeing everything as usual. And the reindeer were trying to keep everything hush so that Rudolph would not find out. But once again, Rudolph felt left out; as though all the other South Pole residents knew something he didn’t. He was so sad, his nose would not even glow.

When evening set and the elves deemed the time was right, Dasher, Comet, Donner and Blitzen feigned they had work to do at Santa’s stables and quietly left. Vixen and Cupid were trying to convince Rudolph to join them for a nightcap, while Dancer and Prancer rushed awkwardly into their room throwing garlands and sparkles overhead the saddened reindeer. They wanted to get Rudolph into a festive mood. It was his day to celebrate, and he should not be distressed about silly things. To Dancer and Prancer everything not worth laughing about was silly. They did manage to get Rudolph to crack a smile, though. But he then moaned “leave me alone”, and rolled up on his bed.

Vixen knew something more radical should be done. She signaled to Blitzen from the bedroom window and he ran to Santa for the emergency signal.

The whistle was heard almost instantly making Rudolph jump up like a spring. It was his secret communication with Santa. He was the only one needed whenever he heard it. He ran out the door without saying a word, and the other reindeer rushed to the stables.

Santa, what is it? I came as fast as I could!” Santa smiled and placed his large arms around Rudolph’s neck. The red velvet coat felt like a warm fuzzy blanket around his frozen fur. “Have you forgotten what today is?” asked Santa with a mischievous smile forming on his plump face. Rudolph had not noticed that they were standing in a dark stable all this time. When a dong was heard, he leaped back and out of fright, his nose began to beam red. Was there danger there? Did Santa need protecting? Rudolph was scared and still did not understand what was going on.

Suddenly, fireworks began to sound in the cold, frosty air and a loud festive “surprise” filled his eardrums, as lights, candles and decorations fired up inside the stables. Rudolph looked around in amazement – they had all remembered. It was his birthday, and this was the loveliest surprise he had ever had. And when Mrs Clause came forth with a batch of freshly made soft-core cookies, he knew there was nowhere else he would rather be.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Safety First

More festive reindeer stories here.

The element of surprise

surprise-boxAristotle had said that “the secret to humor is surprise”. And it is true. Because if you really consider it, “the moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us” (Ashley Montagu).

Surprises usually entail a positive connotation. The word itself springs to mind something pleasant, bright and joyful. Who wouldn’t want a surprise that means being granted a wish so unexpectedly? Being given flowers without reason? Receiving a gift just because the giver so feels like it? Or even getting an unexpected (but very welcome) visit when you are home feeling lonely?

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us” (Boris Pasternak).

Surprises enrich not only our psychology – usually lifting our spirits – but they also train our minds to acknowledge that not everything in life can be planned. And no matter how good a scout you are, you can’t always be prepared.

Life throws a lot your way. You just have to learn to accept and deal with it as best as possible.

And never stop hoping that a surprise might eventually come knocking on your door. Because wouldn’t it be lovely if just once things turned out as idyllically as they do in your head?

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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