Posted in prose

ten things i know to be true

10. WiFi does not, in fact, stand for ‘wireless fidelity’.

9. Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. School may have taught me this, but bitter Tumblr users drilled the fact into my head.

8. forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit is latin for “perhaps  it will be pleasing to remember even these things one day”.

7. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ originated in ancient Greece, from the love story of Psyche and Eros. So technically, all retellings of Beauty and the Beast are essentially retellings of a part of Greek mythology.

6. This, too, shall pass.

5. Sorry may not put sugar in your coffee but sometimes the spoken word is all someone’s got. It would be infinitely better if actions could be used in place of those words, but you don’t always have that option.

4. The world does not revolve around you. It doesn’t even revolve around the sun; it revolves around the center of mass of the solar system, which coincidentally happens to be very close to the position of the sun.

3. Chocolate is the best antidepressant. Except when it comes to people who dislike chocolate, whom I will frankly never understand.

2. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only change from one form to another.

1. Put yourself first, sometimes. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to do so, you know.

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Posted in prose

misunderstandings

So I got this university assignment from my tutor; it was related to dialogue and subtext, and by that I mean I had to write a piece centering around dialogue, with as little outer description as possible. For whatever reason, I’ve decided to post my assignment here, along with the prompt I chose to base it on. Enjoy!

Prompt: A couple in their early twenties are talking in their rented flat. Person A has just accepted a job offer in a distant city and is planning to break up with their partner before leaving. Person B assumes that they will be moving together to the new location.

“Becky, I got the job.”

Rebecca, draped over the living room sofa, looked up in surprise. “Oh, wow, congratulations!” she exclaimed. “I knew you’d get it! You deserved that position, after all, you really did, and I’m glad the company’s manager realized that. Wait, didn’t you mention earlier that the job’s situated in Brooklyn?”

“It is,” Nathan confirmed. “I’ll have to move there – and soon, seeing as work begins next month.”

“That’s barely three weeks away! How in the world does the company expect us to move to an entirely new city in just that much time?” Rebecca got up from her position and started pacing. “We’ll have to find an apartment in the first place, not to mention furniture – say, Nate, dear, should we move our current furniture or sell this and buy new things in Brooklyn? I really don’t know which would be more convenient.”

“Actually,” Nathan said, “the company’s got its own housing facility for employees, so I’ll be staying there. Becky, I need to tell you-”

Rebecca interrupted him, saying, “A housing facility? This company you’ve gotten into really is the works, isn’t it? Oh, this is simply splendid. At least that matter is resolved. I still have to think about everything else, though, like what to take with me and what to leave behind, not to mention informing my parents of the move. I wonder what they’ll think of us moving to Brooklyn, of all places. It is terribly far from here, isn’t it?”

“Becky, I intend to move to Brooklyn myself. On my own, I mean.”

Rebecca blinked. “What? Oh, you mean you’ll go first, and I’ll come later? That’s really thoughtful of you, sweetheart. I know you know I’ll have to quit my job, make sure there’s something new on the market that I can take up in Brooklyn, and that may take a while, but really, you needn’t worry about all that. I’ve already brought up the possibility of my leaving to Sue, seeing as I was absolutely certain you’d get the job-”

“Rebecca,” Nathan cut in, before she could say any more, “what I mean to say is, I’m moving to Brooklyn on my own. Without you; and no, I don’t really want you to come with me, either now or later.”

After a pause, Rebecca answered, “A long-distance relationship? Sweetheart, I don’t really-”

“No, not a long-distance relationship. What I’m trying to say here is that I want a fresh start, without any of the ties to connect me to this place. I… I want to break up with you, to start my new life in Brooklyn without you.”

Silence.

Then: “You’re being ridiculous.”

Nathan could not have been more surprised; he had been expecting tears and, possibly, screaming. “Wait, what?”

“I said you’re being ridiculous. We’ve been dating for two years, Nate. You can’t just throw that away on a whim, you know.”

“That’s the thing, it’s not a whim!”

Rebecca continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “I’ll talk to you when you come to your senses, when you realize that you are, in fact, being completely and utterly ludicrous right now.”

“But I-”

The door slammed.

Nathan was alone.

Posted in prose

i. the devil

“In every set of twins, there is one angel, one devil.”

Her brother was, by all definitions, perfect.

Everything he did was magnificent, flawless: his spotless school record; his 4.0 GPA; his unfailingly polite manners; his unique ability to never piss off the parental unit – all of it and more just went to show how amazing he was, and how she could never hope to be comparable to him.

That didn’t stop her parents and teachers from comparing them, though; everything she did was wrong in their eyes, and even when she did something right, it was immediately weighed against how he had performed the same task. She, of course, was the one who, from their comparisons, came out lacking.

“Your brother could do this better.”

“Your brother got an A+ on this assignment, while you got only an A.”

“Your brother works so hard; why don’t you do the same?”

As she got older – and more rebellious – their remarks progressively got worse:

“Your brother passed his exams with flying colors; why did you fail?”

“Your brother never sneaks out of the house to go to late-night parties; he’s never given us reason to ground him.”

“You’re twins, aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be as intelligent and hard-working as he is?”

…and so on.

When her temper finally flared, unable to stand their words, all she got was shocked looks and more comparisons: “Your brother never talks back to us” and “your brother has never once lost his temper” being the leading ones.

Why did her brother never talk back to them? Because they never gave him a bloody reason to do so, that was why! Nobody ever complained about him, they never found any fault with him. It was always her wrongdoings they noticed. Even when he, surprisingly, came home three hours after curfew, her parents forgave him because “it’s nothing compared to what your sister does all the time. She’s a disgrace, really.”

Her brother was, by all definitions, perfect; everyone loved him.

What she hated the most about herself was that she adored him, too.

Posted in prose

ii. the angel

“In every set of twins, there is one angel, one devil.”

She was an unstoppable force; nobody could control her, least of all him.

He envied her don’t-care attitude towards the world, her ability to say and do whatever she wanted, her freedom. If she didn’t like something their parents or teachers told her, she’d ignore it and do the exact opposite. How she stood up to them, he had no idea. He had always wanted to be able to do the same, to look his parents in the eye and somehow manage to say, “No.” He’d fantasized about it thousands of times, but never actually built up the nerve to carry it out. The most he had ever done was come home way after curfew, and that too was simply because he had lost track of the time whilst in the library. His parents had barely batted an eyelash; his sister hadn’t spoken to him for three full days after that incident. Thus, he could only blame himself for where he was now: pre-med, on his merry way to becoming a surgeon like his parents, when his real love was for the planets and stars.

She had escaped his fate, though. That, too, with only the simple “No” – along with a million expletives, but he sometimes wondered if she was unable to utter a single sentence without them. So there she was, studying Accounting and Finance – simply to spite their parents, not because she had any particular love for it, he was sure – and here he was, regretting every single life decision that had brought him here.

What he envied the most about her was, to be sure, her knack for making friends. A word here, a grin there, and voilà, she had a new friend to hang out with, and three new exclusive parties she was invited to. Suffice it to say, the only parties he knew of were the ones he read about. Boys and girls alike flocked around her, attracted to her like moths were to light. And that was exactly what she was – a brilliant, burning flame of life, nowhere near sputtering out, bringing light with her wherever she went. He would never burn as brightly as she did, not in a million years. Sure, his teachers adored him and his parents were constantly praising him, but he knew for a fact that when they looked at him, they saw only his achievements, nothing more. When people looked at his sister, they actually saw her, not her grades or her achievements. He desperately wished he could know what it was like to be loved like that, the type of unconditional love she had somehow managed to gain from nearly everyone around her, including himself.

She was an unstoppable force; nobody could control her.

He fervently hoped that nobody ever would.

Posted in prose

shadow

“Now you see me; now you don’t.”

He was there, and then he was gone.

He wasn’t ever actually present, not really; just a lone figure in the corner of someone’s eye, or a stray thought in the back of someone else’s mind. Even a ghost would have more presence than him – at least people reacted to seeing ghosts. How else would ghost stories circulate around the world?

There weren’t any stories of him, though. Nobody knew enough about him. Yes, if anyone actually noticed him, they may have managed to put a name to his face, but it would be gone just as quickly, their attention immediately attracted elsewhere. Nobody knew where he lived, or what he did for a living, or his hobbies, if he even had any. Nobody even cared to know; why would anyone want to learn about a shadow of a person, someone they barely even knew existed?

In a room full of lively people, he’d be the only one unnoticed; on a bustling street, he’d be the man on the bench everyone passed by but nobody gave a second glance to; in a bus, he’d be the person who sat neither at the very back nor the very front, but somewhere in between, with his shoulders hunched and eyes cast downward as if he was trying to make his already slight presence even slighter.

Nobody knew him, yet he knew everyone.

Don’t shadows always know?

Posted in poetry (ish)

when i am gone

when i am gone
the stars will still shine
the moon will still glow
the sun will still rise

don’t leave me

when i am gone
leaves will still tumble
flowers will bloom
snow will still fall

i can’t live without you

when i am gone
children will play
and people will smile
and laugh, and cry

nobody can replace you

when i am gone
the world will go on
but will you remember me?

i will never forget you

Posted in prose

jetlag

imagine yourself in this scenario

You’re on your way to your home country: a thirteen-hour flight which leaves you with a sore body from sitting still so long, followed by an hour at baggage claim in the midst of near a hundred other people pushing and shoving in order to get to their suitcases first. Next up’s the ride with a couple of your family members, who’re in charge of taking you home. You love them, you really do, but sometimes you wish they would talk a little less and let you sit in some semblance of peace and quiet a little more. You only manage to get some time to yourself after the meet-and-greet with every single one of your family members – and those are in abundance. They want to know everything about your life, from the details of your job to the kind of food you eat, from the general weather to the colour of the tiles in your apartment’s bathroom; they won’t let you leave until the FBI-esque interrogation is announced officially complete by all. The moment you land on your bed, tired and weary as heck after the overlong day, you’re wishing for sleep to take over you and grant you a few hours of rest and relaxation. However, sleep takes a while to come; the entire journey’s on your mind, replaying itself over and over, and thoughts about what’s to come in the future simply cannot leave you alone.

or this one

You’re on your way to someplace new, a part of the world you’ve heard a lot about but have never seen in person; in other words, you’re going on an adventure. The flight, however, is thirteen hours long, and by the end of it you can barely stand, you’re so sore from sitting in one position for so long (we’re trying to keep these two scenarios as similar as possible). Baggage claim is, of course, literal hell. That’s not all, though – you also have to suffer through the harrowing taxi ride with the most obnoxious-smelling cabbie you have ever seen – or rather, smelt (nobody’s around to pick you up). The drive to the hotel takes another hour, and you think you could maybe sightsee on the way, and unsurprisingly, the city you’ve landed in meets all your suppositions, living up to the hype… not. This city is grievously lacking in the expectations department; you’d prefer to stare at the cars ahead in the rush-hour traffic than look at any more of the disappointment around you. Reaching your hotel and breathing in the fresh air outside the stinking cab is a prodigious relief. The hotel itself may not have a five-star rating, but its simple decoration, hospitable employees, clean air, and comfortable bed make up for the rest of it. You don’t bother to unpack, instead deciding to kick off your shoes, stretch your muscles and lay back on the bed in blissful content. The moment you land on the bed, tired and weary as heck after the overlong day, you’re wishing for sleep to take over you and grant you a few hours of rest and relaxation. However, sleep takes a while to come; the entire journey’s on your mind, replaying itself over and over, and thoughts about what’s to come in the future simply cannot leave you alone.

compare that scenario to this one

You’re at home, wherever that is. Night has arrived, but it isn’t very late, so you shouldn’t feel tired at all.

But you do. A lot.

You haven’t done anything exhausting today; you haven’t gone out partying or visiting anyone’s houses; you’ve stayed at home and done whatever you liked (although that was mostly wasting time on the Internet). Yet even after a completely relaxing day, you feel as if you’ve just sat down after a fatiguingly long journey: that of your entire life. You want to go to sleep, in the hopes that it’ll revive you, but sleep evades you; you’re too wound up by nothing and everything to sink into sleep. You don’t want to move. You don’t want to talk. You don’t even want to think, although that’s the hardest to actually accomplish. You get pissed off if someone even looks at you wrong (or so you think); everything and everyone around you is irritating, is too much: too much life, too much energy, too much wakefulness. All you want is to be left alone and in tranquillity, away from the rest of the world. You’re bone-weary, exhausted of the life you’ve lived so far, unwilling to go on. You wish you could somehow stop living, stop being alive, without outright killing yourself.

can you see the similarity between the scenarios, with one journey being physical, and the other metaphorical…

or is it just me?

Posted in poetry (ish)

paint my thoughts

when i was six, and an innocent child
we all lived in a small house by the sea
my mother, father and i
my parents painted the walls of my room pink
because i wanted them to.

when i turned nine, and a tad bewildered
we moved house, ’cause “money’s short, my dear”
i wanted my walls to be painted blue
to remind me of the sea i left behind
my parents grumbled, but they agreed.

by the time i was thirteen, and finally enlightened
we had moved again, to hide
just my father and i
i painted my walls a vicious red
like the blood on my sweet mother’s body.

at the age of seventeen, and bitter
while my father was lost in a bottle
i repainted my walls a landscape of bright colors
to hide the fact that my mind
was black upon black.

as soon as i turned eighteen, done with life already
i was out of that hellhole
the walls of my small, new apartment stayed bare
’cause i couldn’t find in myself the energy
to paint, at all.

Posted in Uncategorized

prescription

“good morning; my name is dr. heartsick, and i will be treating you today.

here is your mandatory dose of unrequited love; take one dosage every morning and two before bed. side effects may include

sleepless nights

loss of appetite

damp pillows

bloodshot eyes

mood swings

severe heartache

a disregard for society

an inability to express yourself in words

but don’t worry; if you take your doses for long enough, you’ll eventually get used to it all.”