The Date

100WW

He kept chattering away, pausing only to take a bite, and every time he did take a bite he would start off on a whole different direction entirely. To be fair, it wasn’t as if his anecdotes were boring. Neither was he hard on the eyes. On the contrary he was handsome, intelligent and quite articulate. A polite gentleman too, going by the courtesy he had shown both her and the hostess. Her girlfriends would insist that this was the perfect first date. Yet she kept looking around waiting for the meal to end.

He may have been the perfect date, but he was not ‘him’.

 


In response to: 100 Word Wednesday, Week 14
Image by: Anjo Beckers Photography

Breaking out

100WW

Shackles of words so often spoken shred my skin as I tear apart the thickets.

Act like a girl. Talk like a girl. You can’t do this. You shouldn’t do that. For years I have been defined by others, conformed to standards set by the patriarchs. I have been loved, but that love has always come with terms and conditions. Be strong but needy, brave but within constraints, be smart but don’t have opinions.

Enough.

I don’t know what’s out there for me. I may not make it, but I’ll fail on my own terms. I may never find that perfect soul-mate, but at least I’ll find me.

 


Written for Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Weekly Challenge for photo by Toa Heftiba

Cognizance

The blank page glowers at me from the screen. I revel in its vast emptiness. Here before me is the vessel that will hold my invaluable thoughts and words and preserve them, perhaps for posterity. But an awkward silence hangs in my head, stifled like a hot summer noon, twiddling its thumbs.

I jiggle the cursor around, making imaginary doodles on the page, trying to churn the vacuum, searching for the words that live on the edge of the precipice, but nothing comes to fruition.

The extraordinary, someone once said, was rarely found in the obvious, but in the hidden recess of what remained unconsciously observed and consciously unremarked.

I start typing, one word after another, filling the void with random thoughts, emotions spilling over from my imagination.

I pause to commune with my vessel and can almost feel the page’s disappointment at my feeble attempt. It had poised itself for loftier accomplishments, philosophical introspections, a classic novel or great poetry perhaps; instead all it had achieved in its short inglorious life was to have its virgin surface sacrificed to a novice’s ramblings, like untidy clothes strewn on a pristine floor. Its despondency is almost palpable.

I teeter in this fugue state until a sudden effervescence in the stream of time snaps me out of my cogitation.

I am the brightest star in my mind’s galaxy and I am OK with that.

cogito%20ergo%20sum

 

The rush

Now I’ve found another crush
The lush life’s given me a rush
Zara Larsson

I know it’s weird, but I’m in love with the idea of falling in love.

I’m in love with the crazy unpredictability of it all, the thrill of the find, the bated breath hope that could he be the one, jumbled with the anxiety of am I good enough for him, the insecurity, will he notice me, the subtle hints, blushes, laughter, witty retorts, the primeval mating dance, now I want you now I don’t. Stealing glances, the static, that crackling in the air that happens whenever we get within a foot of each other, like, if his hand brushes mine, one or both of us will be instantly electrocuted. I love the discovery, noticing every little thing about each other, the shades in his hair, the flecks in his eyes, the moods in his smile, the exchanging of little stories. Then the courtship, dressing up for him, planning special gifts, celebrating milestones only we both know, the constant teasing by friends, pretending not to be bothered by the jealousy of others, the satisfaction of knowing that I got him. I yearn for that fluttering at the feeling of his body pressed against mine; sinking into his heat and feeling the flush permeate my senses and pulse in my core, like the room was warmer somehow, and my future within its walls a little less bleak.

But then slowly and inevitably the feeling starts to slip away, getting lost in the maelstrom of insecurities and miscommunications. The endearing gestures start to suffocate. Tendrils of lies start crawling out of hidden crevices until I know, I know that sooner or later he’s going to hurt me, leave me, and I won’t endure that, I won’t. The empty feeling is starting again. I need my fix. I need that rush of being in love. But it’s not there. He’s not the one. I turn and walk away.

*

I find myself seated across from him admiring his strong nose and the eyes that light up as he talks about his job. He smiles a lot and there is something light and happy about him. He’s tracing my fingers as he talks. Slowly his fingers move to my palm. I close my hand around his, deeply inhaling his clean fresh scent, feeling that familiar rush creep up again, wondering…
Could he be the one?

The Dating Game

Shannara paused briefly before the mirror to give herself one last quick primp. She flicked her hair a little in front, giving it more bounce. The Vegetal bio colour that she had used had given her mane a warm honey tone. She quickly glossed her lips and pinched her cheeks to give it a bit of colour, all the while wishing that her cheekbones were a little higher, her eyes a little bigger, her tummy a little flatter and her hips a little slimmer.

“You look like Rose from the Titanic”, her roommate had said, her expression so sincere that she could have been in Hollywood. Probably just her way of politely pointing out how fat she had become fat.
“I wish! Maybe if the entire Hunger Games prep team had worked on me overtime.” Shannara had retorted.

As she walked into the restaurant, she was having second thoughts. Dating was crappy. She did not relish telling people about herself only to have them eventually decide that she wasn’t what they were looking for; if she had to hear “It’s not you, it’s me” one more time she was going to either explode or puke.
There was an empty table closer to the fireplace, and she chose to sit there; a strategic decision taken hoping that while the flickering flames would highlight her hair and skin tone well, the shadows would conceal some of her bulges.
With the nail of her thumb in her mouth she scanned the restaurant, biting down harder than she had intended and swallowing the fragment.
Then through the crowds came a guy in formal shoes and a crisp linen shirt. For once his face matched the profile picture. He stopped, smoothening any errant crease off his well pressed shirt, dialed a number on his cell, and looked around, peering from above his spectacles. He was a nerdy data analyst, a number cruncher who considered mathematics a hobby and read books people had probably never heard of. He had to be the one, he just had to be.
The instrumental version of Every Time it Rains by Ace of Base began to play. Zoning in on Shannara’s ring tone, he walked towards her. The flames were dancing all over him, making streaks of red run over his copper mane. His face was shadowed so his eyes appeared as a forest green unlike their amazing faded green. He looked up at her, a shy smile on his face and in a bass baritone said “You look way more beautiful than your profile picture. I hope you won’t think I’m not in your league!”

The deadly orchestra

Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we’re fighting for
All that I say, you always say more
-Adele (Turning Tables)

When did my happiness become offensive to you?

The same wit and smile that you once claimed to love are now the tools of Satan. When I dress up I’m a whore, when I don’t I’m a slob. If I laugh too much I’m a temptress, if I laugh too little I’m a wretch. Every conversation is an opportunity to establishing dominance and everything that you have ever given to me or ‘allowed’ me to have is a debt. Everything I do is a transgression and nothing I do is right. I’m cornered and denigrated and when I ask you why, your deadly orchestra starts. The deep timpani of your allegations interspersed with the loud drumming of your accusations. You know that the strident chords of your crescendo will silence all my words. Your eyes light up with a perverse glow as my mind starts to shut down.

My shutdown!
The nightmare of my reality and the nightmares of my dreams have started meshing together and I have become so blasé that I now clinically analyze myself.
Just like the stages of depression, my shutdown too has its stages. At first I’m shocked that you could take my simple words and twist it into something ugly and hurtful. It makes me angry that can perceive an infraction where none is intended and unleash such venom. My feeble protests are no match for your rage. You know that I am incapable of being heard above your voice, which is probably why you rant so loud. In the middle of all that white noise that’s seizing up my brain I wonder- Is the boy asleep? Can the neighbours hear? How will I face them tomorrow? Will this shouting ever stop? Will this shouting never stop? Then comes the depression. You have crushed my self-worth with such nonchalance. I realise that there is neither hope nor escape. Your crescendo has bludgeoned my shattered soul into acceptance. I know that there is neither hope nor escape. I collapse within myself and wait for the final mercy. Glorious death – the ultimate symphony.


Written for Daily Prompt: Bludgeon
and November Notes

El Condor Pasa

“El Condor Pasa (If I Could)”

I’d rather be a torch than a candle
Yes, I would
If I could
I surely would

I’d rather set aflame than melt away
Yes, I would
If I only could
I surely would

Away, I’d rather die away
Like a blaze of light that’s here and gone
A candle gets burnt down to the ground
She gives the world its saddest sound
It’s saddest sound

I’d rather be an adventure than a prayer
Yes, I would
If I could
I surely would

I’d rather feel you hold on till the very end
Yes, I would
If I only could
I surely would

(My version. Excuse me Simon & Garfunkel)

I see the romance in a candle, the heroism of spreading light even at the cost of yourself, even with your dying breath. The subtle beauty of diffused light soothes one even in the dark. The colours, rhythm and dance of a flickering flame. There is breathtaking passion in melting wax running down like lost tears in the moonlight. Love and sorrow, the twins… first the love, fragrant and strong, then the sorrow of dying embers bidding a final farewell. It is for this that we offer them at the altars of gods.
I see the beauty in a candle.

But I’d rather be torchlight.

Bright. Practical. Not somebody who will give herself up just to light up your world. Don’t romanticize me at altars; take me on your adventures. Hold me in your hand, heck fix me on your head, but don’t leave me burning on the side. Always be aware that I exist. Through tempest or rain, I will not flicker, I will not surrender.
And when our adventure is done, when I go out in a blaze of glory, just change my batteries and let’s illuminate the world again.


Candle

Shattered

Shattered promises
Slivers of glass
Distorted reflection
Contorted life
Callous words
Hope’s debris
Piercing Cutting Bleeding
Stains where I tread
Aching memories
Cancer in my soul
Last straw
Final nail
Desolate exhale
Veiled in Shroud
Smile of death
Shattered promises
Slivers of trust


Promises

The Tattoo

I trace my finger over his back, very carefully, ensuring I touch only the parts that I know he cannot feel, attempting to read the story that he will not share.

His thick neck and broad back is honeycombed with large raw-looking purple shrapnel scars which gradually meld into smaller pits closer to his lower back. He hates it when anyone looks at him. He was a university swimmer but now I can’t even get him to go to the pool with the kids. He’s grown his hair long to cover what his collar won’t. I run my finger through his dry bleached hair, the colour of straw. The change was really confusing for Freya – How come the sun makes your skin darker but your hair lighter? Even though he’s downed a very potent concoction of three different medicines and should be out for the entire night, I remove the dressing very very slowly. Any perceived sudden movement or sound could spiral us into hell.
Feeling like a voyeur, I squint down to see it; and it takes my breath away. The tiny little dog tags with the names of his brothers, immortalised amidst the scars of his soul.

I bend closer to his right ear where I know he can’t hear me and whisper my love for him, and for the brothers he carries so painstakingly in his heart.


Careful

The Squirrel who never ate his acorn

Dad was shaking his head repeatedly muttering ‘Crazy old fool’. Mum was clutching dad’s hand, dumbfounded. Somehow I knew they were talking about Uncle Scrooge.

Obviously that wasn’t his real name, but he was such a miser that we kids had christened him thus. Scrooge was mum’s widower uncle who lived all alone. Which was a given. I doubt anyone could have survived his acerbic tongue. In fact, we strongly suspected Mrs Scrooge had passed on out of sheer frustration. Yet for some inexplicable reason (to show us how good we actually had it?) mum had decided that he needed to celebrate every holiday with us.

I don’t know if tightwad Scrooge was actually poor. He often extolled about how he didn’t squander money even though he was ‘rich’ unlike dad who had absolutely ‘no value for money’. Yet old gasbag lived like it was his sacred duty to preserve every dollar ever printed. He never spent a buck unless he absolutely had to, and never spent more than a penny even when he had to. We often wondered why he carried a wallet when we had not seen him use it even once.

On Christmas the kids got (what were allegedly) toys made of recycled waste, dad got free investment and budgeting advice ‘worth a million bucks’ while mum got a kiss and a stack of ‘all the best coupons that he had collected just for her’. But to be fair to the old devil, he was unbiased in his miserliness. I don’t recall seeing him in anything but his old blue jacket. When it developed a tear, mum offered to take him shopping for a new one, which launched another one of his lectures on how ‘kids nowadays have no value for money’. Mum was forced to darn that one and it continued to grace many more Christmas dinners.

Gradually the stress of constantly scrounging took its toll on old Scrooge and one fine day his doctor announced that he needed a pacemaker. ‘Doctors nowadays, no ethics, it’s all a money making racket. I asked him if he could give me a guarantee that I would be 100% healthy for the next ten years, but he wouldn’t. I’m supposed to trust him with all my hard earned money and he won’t even give me a guarantee. Humph! My father lived till the grand old age of 92, and his father before him lived to be 95. This old ticker isn’t stopping any time soon.’
There was no changing his stubborn mind.

But the old ticker didn’t last that long. The funeral was a small and simple affair, befitting of Scrooge. He was buried dressed in his beloved darned old blue jacket.

Which brings me back to today, and Scrooge’s bank book that mum had found while cleaning out his closet, with its six digit balance. The crazy old fool who had lived like a pauper, was in fact very rich. In fact, he was probably the richest bones in the cemetery!


Value