POET'S SKIN

I dance around vivid imagery and try to create sparks

Category: Writing

Short Story: As the seasons change

Preface: This story is about a love that was gone as Autumn faded into cold, harsh winter. But did it really go away?

Our brown leather and suede boots made crunching sounds along the bushes that we passed on to in the field of daisies. She was a distance ahead of me, as usual, peppy as she was, exhilarated to be among the captivating field of flowers. She twirled around in her red skater dress, and I watched in silent awe as she spun around and around, entranced in her own world. She giggled and gesticulated in glee, bringing wind to the surroundings as she twirled around in circles, mimicking the blades of a windmill. Closing her eyes shut for a brief moment, she let her chest heave upwards, breathing in the flower pollen that had permeated the air with its tingly, sweet smell. In that moment, I knew what she was doing. She was taking in all that autumn had presented to her. Autumn was yet another gift thrown in by nature to her, wrapped in a special paper only those who felt deeply could unwrap. And she was one of those people. I wasn’t, but I could still acknowledge that every season came with its various prepossessions, likewise for autumn.

The wind started blowing against us and I shuddered as my hands immediately sought shelter in my long, grey coat. The wind was strong enough to send the threads at the bottom of my scarf in flying frenzy and I walked towards where she had stopped to marvel at the sights and smells before her.

“Hey, you cold?” I wrapped my arms around her from behind, using them as armour for her against the cold.

“A little,” she said, and she put her hands on top of my wrapped arms and we stood there like this for what seemed like hours. And in that perennial moment, love was all that we knew.

Finally, she spoke up.

“Arian, life is made up of abstruse puzzles. And sometimes, when I find a puzzle too hard to solve, I just don’t solve it. You know what I’m saying?” She said, looking at me with culpability.

I managed to prevent myself from choking on the lump that had started to form in my throat. I had been through this before and I knew where this was heading, and it was not good. I was not ready for it.

“Yes,” I eventually managed to mutter out. My heart couldn’t keep still. It felt like a thousand lightning strikes had attacked me from the inside out, but still, I had to keep my cool. I couldn’t break down.

“Good,” she said, “Arian, I think it’s time for this puzzle of ours to end.”

With that, she unwound herself from my sewed arms and walked away, back faced, as though it was that easy breaking us like that, as though we were nothing before, before a few seconds ago.

My arms cried out for me as if on reflex and signalled to her even though she was back faced to me. “Wait!”

She turned back and with a glance on my face, a teardrop descended down her cheeks and landed on her shoulders.

I couldn’t keep my cool anymore. The tears came. In between the hushed sobs, I managed to let out, “Why? Why us? I thought we were fine.”

She lifted her hands to her face and swiped the moist tears off her cheekbones. She smiled and said,” It isn’t just about how you think, Arian. It isn’t. Life just isn’t like how it is for everyone. Life treats us all differently, and so does feelings. Wake up, Arian. Life isn’t as perfect as we make it out to be.”

“I thought you said that life is like a beautiful ride along Mediterranean coasts and Tenerife oceans; like frozen yoghurt on a blazing hot day; like a nice warm coat in a cold, harsh winter; like love. That no life is complete without love, without our love,” I stated, hoping she would remember what she had said and perhaps, take her words back.

She stood there, with an astounded look on her face and breathed out, “You actually… remembered what I said.” Minutes passed until she said, “Well, sorry anyway. I changed my mind.”

Then she turned and ran away. Away from the field of roses; away from me; away from that autumn; away from our love.

Winter came right after that, a bitter and cold one definitely. The house felt empty without her voice resonating around the enclosed air that once held only our breaths. The white tiled floors weren’t warm anymore, now that she was no longer here with me. The snow kept falling and falling outside my window and day after day I would just lie there, reminiscing about the memories we once shared, the memories that I am now forced to forget.

Sleep was now just an option, now that she was no longer leaving the bed sheets with her sweet, sakura smell and the room with her love. TV was no longer fascinating to watch, not without her cuddled in my arms and holding a bag of caramelized popcorn, our weekly guilt snack. Housework was no longer mandatory, now that there was no one to draw lots and decide on which part of the house we should work on cleaning. All in all, home didn’t feel like home.

And somehow, winter seemed to understand how I felt. Winter was prolonged and lasted even until January. By January, I was fine. I still missed her terribly, but now only in a small, hidden part of my heart. I acknowledged that perhaps, this love was not meant for me to keep. And in the early days of January, I finally let myself out of the house.

I went for winter parties, grocery trips and perambulated through the cold coniferous forests of the national park. I went for high school reunions and periods of self-indulgence and it all made me feel so alive. I was living again, with or without her. I didn’t need her like I used to before. And from that moment on, I cut out all ties my feelings had with the love I once had with her.

Then on the last day of the winter, I got a call. I still remembered how I came back home, arms filled with bags and bags of winter goodies I got from a party, to the sound of the telephone ringing. It was ringing in a song she had chosen, which I didn’t agree with, but still allowed her to set it as the ring tone anyway. Before picking up the telephone, I made a mental reminder to myself to change the ring tone after this call.

“Hello?” was the only sentence I uttered to the person on the other end of the receiver, her mum actually.

In a jiffy, I was out of the house, driving all the way to the hospital. I picked up speed and wondered if I would perhaps get into a car accident at this rate. Luckily, there were not many cars and I managed to make it safely.

Upon reaching there, I was greeted by a room of mourning people, all dressed in white. I noticed her mum, her dad and a few of her siblings. Then I saw her. A lifeless, beautiful, pale girl, lying on the bed. It then dawned on me that her heart was no longer bringing her a pulse. In that instant, my world came crashing down. That was when I knew I never really forgot her or stopped loving her at all. My knees went weak and I dropped down to my knees beside her bed, yelling at her to come back. I intertwined my fingers with her now cold ones and put my head to her hands.

“Where were you when she needed you?!” Her mum came screaming and wailing at me.

I didn’t know what to say, but I said something anyway. “She… broke up with me a few months ago.”

Her mum stood frozen and as if by realization, withdrew and headed back to where she was seated. She plucked an envelope out from her bag and handed it to me.

“She wanted you to have this,” she said, now more kindly.

I opened up the envelope and unfolded the letter through hiccupping sobs. As I read through it, my blood went stale and my heart felt like it had shattered and imploded. Her demise tore my heart into pieces and this was purgatory, worse than anything I’d faced in my life. And in that letter, I quote her,

“Months ago, I was found to have a brain tumour. The tumour was so large and in such a complex spot that surgery was impossible. The doctors said I only had a few months to live. And in those few months, instead of enjoying myself the way that I should have, I felt the need to let you know how to live without me. It is okay because I was leaving soon, but you aren’t, and it’s not fair to you. I hope that by now, our love has already been tucked away into the back of your mind and that you are already fine without me. I am happy to have spent the last few months without you just so that you can now live happily for the rest of your life even without me. Don’t let our love tear you down, don’t let me tear you down. Be like a balloon from today onwards, be without me. Loving you and always loving you, me.”

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A little bit more

These days, I have been feeling a little bit under the weather, if you may or may not have noticed. Feelings of doubt that once plagued me a long time ago resurfaced itself into the oceans of my mind, sending my thoughts into a spinning maelstrom, leaving me dizzy, disoriented and dispirited. I pondered over and over again, sometimes sending myself to sleep with dried streaks of tears on my face, about why I was the way I am. How I never seemed to be of much worth when juxtaposed beside others, how everything I did would certainly end up in an unwelcome consequence. Inside, I was a shattering vase, imploding from the nothingness of everything, pieces barely spilling over and out of me. Yet, I had to keep my cool and remain just as I was, for I didn’t want to perplex people, who probably have their own issues to deal with too. I didn’t want everyone to see that I was chaos delivered in the form of a human, that inside, I was fragile and infirm of belief.

And keeping my cool was not easy at all, especially when the sinews of my faith started to strain from all the hurt I was imposing on myself just through my bare thoughts. And I know some of you may tell me, “Why be so hard on yourself?” but I say, I am not hard on myself at all. I was replaying in my head my thoughts of self-doubt simply because I was reminding myself how bad I really really was. I hate it. I hate this feeling. I hate it when it’s so hard to stay positive even though life has so much more to give. I hate it when I hate certain parts of myself not because i was “hard on myself”, but because I actually was what I hated to be, I was my very own nightmare. And yes, in many ways, I was my very own enemy. The enemy I can never seem to shun out of my head.

I furtively admit, sometimes, reeking with bad energy makes me feel good. It’s the kind of bad energy that makes you want to listen to sad and frustrating songs for the whole damn day and just sob the night away, wallowing in the kingdom of self-pity. And oh, how contradicting it is that this air of melancholy surrounding me now needs to be removed from my mind, yet sadness and all the emotions it brings along is a form of cathartic release to me. Do I make sense? I think not.

But all in all, being sad is just a really exhaustive and sapping process. I want for it to stop. For it to be abolished from my mind right this instant. I think the abolition can be an expeditious process but for me, I’m going to have to take a little longer and the process will be more gradual. I guess sometimes when you’re at the bottom of the hill and you want to climb right back up again, you just want to ascend up but yet, much slower than you did before, to catch up on all the passing scenes you once flashed past. Maybe these sights flashed past you too fast once that you didn’t even get the chance to marvel at them, but hey, now you’re in the downs, at the starting line all over again, with happiness hanging behind one thin red thread. And I know I will soon cross the grid of the finish line and be at the top again. So let me stop and stare in awe at all that I can see now from this low altitude. Let me be sad for a while, and not say a word. I have a premonition that my happiness is just a bus stop away and look, my bus is already leaving this dark mountainous terrain. I will see you at the next stop, I will see you there. I promise I will be back soon.

For all the Writers: “My dear, your art is beautiful. “

(pic cr: http://silversundrops.deviantart.com/art/Santorini-Greece-309707555)

“You draw! Ah I see, that’s really beautiful of you,” he commented, as they sat together by the clear sapphire blue waters in Santorini, Greece.

Just like how Santorini was lined with rows and tumbles of white architecture, the sea was lively with white boats, and their inhabitants were also clad in shades of white. And in this city imprinted by the color of white, they shared a connection much more than you could imagine.

Her cheeks suffused with tints of magenta and she brought her eyes up to meet his, saying, “Thanks, it’s nothing, really. What do you do, then?”

“Oh… I er, write?” He replied sheepishly, with a foolish grin that made her heart feel like it needed to jump out right that instant.

“Now, that’s what I call beautiful,” She said, nodding her head.

He gave a sigh and replied, “But drawings and paintings…they’re much more beautiful. You can see them, heck, you can even touch them. Writings? You can’t do anything much but read them. They don’t invoke the same powerful feelings people get when they see artwork.”

She was soundless for an ephemeral while, and soon pursed her lips as though she had made peace within herself about what he had just said.

“Perhaps you’re right, that what is being drawn out may seem more powerful, that they teach you how to love what you see, how to appreciate it all, that they induce an immediate flow of emotions just like in the movies. But writings, they’re another form of artwork. They teach you how to feel, much more than drawing and painting can. And that’s what I really admire about you, that you are able to feel right up to the etch of your bones, right up to the corner of your heart. And I hope you know that, you simply cannot compare artwork. Art is art, and all art is beautiful. My dear, your art is beautiful.”


Note: This is for all the writers out there who’ve had a moment comparing your form of art with that of sketching/drawing/painting etc. Writing is as beautiful as all other forms of artwork, it just depends on how much each individual appreciates it. But to me, I really really do appreciate many forms of artwork be it drawing or writing. Don’t ever stop chasing art because the world needs its share of artistic people in a world increasingly surrounded by logical and humdrum details 

What We(I) live for

I think people nowadays plunge themselves into the turbulence of the world and let the frenetic pace of society rule over their life, that they have forgotten what they truly live for. And the worst part is you and I have both fallen prey to the fallacy that the more we simmer ourselves into the things that will make us “succeed”, the closer the proximity of our happiness, our dreams and our expectations.

I think we have forgotten that we can live for surfeit other reasons, that life isn’t just about reaching that one exam grade you always wanted, or about making sure you top the class. It isn’t about late night homework with your shoulders slouched and fingers sore from all that writing. It isn’t about how many people you know in your school or about how large your social circle is or about how stirring your social life is. I hope you know that it isn’t about things that don’t matter, like whether the boy at school likes you back, or if the girl you hate is talking behind your back. What you’re just doing is letting the whirlpool of society take over you that you forget to feel. And not feeling is a dangerous thing. And honestly, sometimes, I don’t even know whether I am still feeling.

So I hope you and me, we, actually, know what we’re living for.

I hope you know that we live for wild and reckless moments – when we’re all too exhausted to care about the makeup that’s on our face or about the expensive leather shoes we are wearing tonight, that we just undo the hair ties on our hair and remove the bow ties off our neck                                    and dance in the rain

that we live for a first love’s kiss, nothing like the taste of innocence and naivety concocted and brewed together in the stupidest yet most beautiful way

I also hope you know we live for sleepovers where we don’t catch a wink of sleep all night                or for 2 AM cycling down the road because you just wanted to see the city lights

how we live for late night conversations at 12 AM with someone screaming at you and you screaming right back in glee and how we live for singing songs that make us go out of tune unintentionally but its okay because we all burst out together in laughing fumes

How could you forget all these?

How we live for lazy afternoons with our backs on the grass, counting the number of animals we can make out with the clouds

and how we live for breathing in the salty damp air every rain pour

How we live for sunsets painted in hues and dyed with blotches and streaks of colors unimaginable

How we live for the exchange of a warm embrace with our loved ones, how they keep us alive

And I know none of these things make sense when put in this order,

but my friend, that’s exactly how I picture life to be too – in its own glorious disarray.

And that, my dear, is how I picture what we (I) live for.

Short Story: Breathe fire into my bones

First things first, it’s been a while since I last wrote a story. Secondly, This story has absolutely nothing to do with my life but just, you know, fruits of my wild imagination. Lastly I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I loved writing it. Warning: This story is not for people who detest love stories that are hard to understand.

Opposites had never seemed to attract, or so it seemed in Abby’s life. It was always the popular kids together with the other popular kids. The hunk of the level with the dame of the school. Or either it was the nerds together with other nerds. The guy who played way too many video games with the girl who watched too much anime. In Abby’s life, there was no couple that were complete opposites -they all just ostensibly fitted each other that of the way sweaters fitted you to your every tiny bend instead of loosely draping themselves over your body. And all these snug lovebirds held loving hands in the school hall and walked on by with shoulders wound around each other’s necks. And Abby smiled, knowing there was no way she could ever meet someone who would fit her in that certain way, because no one was really like her at all. And opposites do not attract in Abby’s life, remember?  Abby was always wandering around in the abyss of her own thoughts, and the ground through which her thoughts fall into runs a thousand feet underground. She was a despairing thinker – her mind always caught up in knots of her numerous, rampant thoughts. To sum it up, she thought deeply about everything. Everything, no matter how infinitesimal, mattered to her. Everything, no matter how  important, took up a space in her maze-filled brain. And if John Green were to know her, he would certainly name her a walking hurricane, only that the hurricane’s in her mind and her mind, was well… her.

Craig was very much the opposite. Never probing too much, never needing to too anyway. He thought on the surfaces of things like minute waterbugs skimming through thin water surfaces, with no intention of diving deep down into mysterious lairs. He was carefree and unenclosed in his own world of thoughts. He laughed genuinely every time someone told a bad joke and he never held second thoughts on what a simple word like “thirsty” would mean. To him, English and all its vocabulary components each only had one definition and he didn’t really bother about the other more interesting definitions behind words with multiple meanings. To Craig, his whole life was bounded around the principle of being simple, staying simple and just, pretty much everything simple.

And then he met Abby.

He was caught off-guard by how strangely her soul seemed to linger in so many different places that were invisible to the human eye. And she was bewildered by the airy nature of his being that she could never seem to grasp.

And just like that, their friendship began. A small little candle flame initially, but cracking sparklers at hindsight. And months of mutual smiling and a little bit of hand holding led to a day beside the lake of a park, surrounded by nothing by the smell of freshly-cut grass and illuminated by the reflection of the moon shining down upon the lake.

“You’re a funny person,” Abby said finally, after moments of queer silence with both of them staring into the dark.

“You’re pretty funny too,” Craig replied, “but… what’s your reason for me being funny to you?”

“You’re never plagued by the things that make me constantly worried throughout the whole course of life, and you’re everything I could never be. Genuine, confident and just… carefree. It’s like you’re some bird or something, everything just seems too easy for you. It never was easy for me, and it never will be. And I hope you know that, I really admire you for that.”

Craig shot Abby the same longing look she threw at him. “It’s funny how you’re saying this to me because…”, Craig runs his fingers through his hair nervously, “I am kinda amazed by you. Amazed by the way you move through life like a storm, so fierce and filled with so much energy. I just get kind of amazed every time I look at you. It’s like I’m at a 3D Cinema, watching a 3D movie, wearing my 3D glasses and just not seeming to get bored of the movie at all. It’s like I don’t wanna leave even though I don’t get the plot of the movie, or the twist it presents me. I just want to stay, to unravel its meaning, to understand the movie and even till then, I know the movie will never bore me, it will just give me more reasons to stay.”

Abby looked down and smiled, for she finally felt what those couples had probably felt at a single point of time. She felt beatific, almost complete. And Craig felt a load off his chest, knowing that what he wanted to say to Abby all along was finally out, out of his narrow shapeless mind.

“You don’t care if the movie is gonna change what you think? That it’s gonna take away how you see things as now? That it’s going to complicate your life and send it into a spinning maelstrom? You really really don’t?” Abby finally managed to spell out, when the feeling of happiness slowly spread around her beating heart evenly.

“I don’t.”

“Well, then breathe fire into my bones.” Abby smirked.

Craig scrunched his face up and said, “Breathe fire into your bones? What/s that supposed to mean? I’m not some sort of dragon, you know.”

Abby threw her head back and laughed hysterically.

“Oh boy, and you’re just on the start of the ride. Are you gonna give up soon?”

Craig shot her a dead stare after realising what she meant. “No way, never going to and never will. You know I will stay. I will stay until I unlock all your mysteries and I will stay even after that. Never, ever, going to leave. Never.”

“Alright.”

And her head rested on his broad shoulders and all through the night, they breathed fire into each other’s bones and together,

they were opposites. Opposites melted together into molten lock and key.

Maybe opposites do attract after all.

Her Callous Friends

They sang and danced with her on days where light was planted upon the blue canvas sky and the color stretched on for infinite miles, the kind of days where you could just throw your hair back and laugh until your insides hurt and you really didn’t care

They were enamoured of her – the way her eyes twinkled when you whisper a secret into her eager ears, the way she made you feel good on days where your freckles stood out like sparkly diamonds and there’s no way for you to hide them, the way she made you laugh not because she acted funny or made use of a heavy loot of satire, but because she was truly humourous.

She was enough just as she was – witty, sporty and comfortable to the people she wrapped her arms around. She was definitely beautiful. She was the kind of beautiful you wouldn’t usually spot on the street, unlike those with clashing accessories and fringed clothes, mad bottoms and ripped tops. She wasn’t the kind of elegant that you’d see on the TV, cup swirling in one hand and adorned in a dress weaved from silk which probably costs more than your entire year of spending. She wasn’t what you would expect her to be, so assertive yet in her own effortless way, as though she never had to try hard enough for anything, because she was already self-sufficient. Yes, yes, she was just that self-sufficient. And I guess that in some way or another, we are all people with lacking pieces and when someone self-sufficient pops up into our life, we admire them for having what we don’t and that’s what draws us in to them. So, her friends stayed by her side. They were fond of her presence and the comfort it would bring them. They craved for her attention. She was a missing piece to their uncompleted puzzle.

And just like that, years passed and the hand holding got stronger. Their friendship blossomed and it bore fruit. It changed colors like the flowers of a plain when springtime came. The flowers turned pink and after some time, even the leaves turned pink too. Their friendship was just that forceful and impregnable.

But perhaps, no one can ever truly be that perfect. She wasn’t perfect. Her friends weren’t perfect. And when autumn passed, they started walking away from her shelter and when winter arrived, they were gone. Vanished. Camouflaged into the darkness which was now all that filled her tear-stricken eyes.

Who can she even turn to now?

“But my dear, I’m always there. I’m always there like the air that you’re breathing. I’ll be at your beck and call should you need a resting shoulder or a warm embrace. In fact, I was always here, watching you grow and watching you fall. So now that you’ve fallen, you can come to me.

And I hope that when the night gets too lonely and you feel so alone, I hope you call me. I hope you have the courage to pick your phone up and dial in my number, because I know you’ll need someone you can cry to, because I know what you’ll be thinking about when it’s late at night and there’s no one home.

There’s no need to thank me, really, for I have once been there, I have once seen it all, I truly have. I know you’d need a guiding hand, I know you might also need much more.”

You accept my shelter readily for you don’t even have a roof to take shelter upon. Desperate times call for desperate measures, you see.

Months passed and just like that, your calls at midnight with you sobbing on one line incrementally fell. They fell and fell. And just like that, they stopped. Your incessant days of looking down on the floor because you were so full of self-pity, they decreased. And just like that, they stopped. You started to smile a lot more than usual, and everyday got better for you. And just like that, you were the self-sufficient you I once saw you as again.

Maybe it’s because distance separated you from them, away from the callous friends who took your love then tossed you into the sea. But my dear, look up at yourself. Maybe, it’s also because of you.

But I am glad I was of help.

Fiction: Extinguishing the monsters inside of you

A blackened teardrop,

a glacial grey heart

the monsters inside

will swallow you up.

They will sink their teeth into the sweet flesh of your remaining hope

and claw at the remnants of your broken innocence and love.

You will no longer hear the trumpets and horns of a world lined above the dimension of clouds,

but the whispers of a being down below, one with with broken wings, one who Is hoping you would suffer the same fate as he once did.

And the worst part is, will you listen to him? Will you listen to him as he sugar-coats his words that are dipped in malicious intent and immoral coating?

Will you succumb to the temptation of – in his words- “doing justice” to people who have harmed you?

Will you harm them in the same way they hurt you?

Will you do things that defy the purity of kindness and humanity?

Will you give in to a blinking pleasure he is promising you? A temptation so luring and so powerful that even if it’s contract is temporary, you will rush forward to sign it with no regrets(not yet anyway)?

He lives somewhere inside you so that you can commit sin, so that the monsters inside of can get a hold over you, controlling your madness, infuriation and depression. And he will strike in your melancholy and leave you in a state that will leave God’s eyes in tears.

Often too, the monsters can control you so dominantly that you lose yourself subconsciously, so much such that they become an integrated part of you, so much such that you have also become a monster.

(Check yourself now. How much are the monsters controlling you?)

What you fail to realize is that

YOU, have power over your inner monsters.

Whether they will stay or leave, you get to choose. Good luck.