Writing Prompt: A Friend in Need

July 25
Finish this sentence: “My closest friend is…”

“My closest friend is… wait. What’s a friend again?
Is it that jolly fellow who laughs with you when you’re filling your belly with that cheap happy hour beer? Or is it the empathetic girl who nods and pats your back when you mope and tell her about the hard times you’re through?

Oh! Maybe it’s the guy in a sleek business suit two sizes smaller than he really is, who says he knows all your schoolmates and business connections, and would love to ‘catch up soon’ every time you meet him?

I’ve got it, I’ve got it. It’s that over-supportive lad who tells you “just do it, the world is your oyster!” each time you contemplate a career move, major purchase, or anything that would change your life.

Did you listen to him the last time he told you it was great to join the competitor firm because you could get a huge pay raise? Right, I think he forgot to tell you about the politics there. I’m sure he knows you hate that decision, but he wouldn’t have time to hear you out. You’ll have to find the empathetic girl who would listen. But you’ll have to repeat your entire miserable life from scratch – she can’t remember a thing! Or you could find your drinking buddy – he’ll be there as long as you pay for the alcohol, and promise not to talk about anything unhappy.

Sorry, I’ve digressed, what’s the question again?
My closest friend is…”

I gave up and stepped away from the mirror.
Even my reflection hates the lies that fill my world.

why is it all a downhill?

Everything seemed to be going downhill; there wasn’t anything to break the fall.

Life hasn’t been kind, but nobody said it would be.

The Optimists would speak of ‘looking on the bright side’, without sharing (i) where the bright side was, and (ii) what was on the bright side, or (iii) how looking would solve problems.

The Devout would tell me to ‘pray and seek peace’ – but again, problems persist. And no, I have little faith in anything these days.

The Depressed would advocate ‘the end of the world’, but hey, we’re still here after that many years. What made you think it’ll just HAPPEN in your lifetime? As much as I wished the same, I am a Rational.

I no longer travel; I no longer smile.
I think before I act.
But lately, even thinking can’t derive solutions… and acting can’t change the outcome.

How does one stop the tumble downhill?

Writing Prompt: Mirror, mirror

July 5
Finish this sentence: “When I look in the mirror, I . . .”

When I look in the mirror, I see reality.

Why is he here?

The portly man who is stern like a soldier, stares at my reflection with unforgiving eyes. He means no harm, but bears a streak of violence in him. He carries a Baselard wherever he goes, ready to lash at anyone who gets in his way. He wipes his hands on his grubby singlet as I push him away. In a flurry, I collide with the gentleman. His face reverberates with dashing masculinity and his eyes seem to bring you into a different universe if you look for more than a minute. I apologise as he helps me up from my clumsy stumble.

I didn’t want to make an audience, but they all saw.

The handsome lady, in her black and white checked shirt, stood watching indifferently, but with an air of sadness in her eyes.
The knowledgeable old man nudged his frameless glasses with the edge of his book and returned to reading.
The girl in her leather jersey tee-shirt and shorts drew patterns on the dusty floor, contemplating the solution to her problems.

Footsteps inched closer, closer, and closer. “Why the hell won’t you pay attention and do as I say, damnit!” The tyrant cussed as he saw me along the corridor.

I grasped for my stocky friend to stop him from whipping out his dagger, but my fingers clenched only the stale air of the room. The tyrant stared at my flailing arms and mocked before walking away.

When I looked behind again, they had all gone into hiding, vanishing into the air like magic. I guess no-one could help me – how silly of me to think they would stay to help.

I never knew their names, but each time I looked into the mirror, I would see them evolve from a mist and appear behind me, like a figment of imagination…

If I looked at the Sun long enough…

If I looked at the Sun long enough, can I be transported into another dimension?

A place where troubles would fade into oblivion.
Some place where the mind stops thinking.
A realm of certainty.

If I looked at the Sun long enough, can I be pushed back in time?

An era when science and technology were only budding.
A period when life was worth more in war.
A time when I could still change things.

Those writers of TV and books – they lied.
If I looked at the Sun long enough, I would only turn blind.
But I would still try to disappear from my own life, today.


Writing Prompt: No, thank you

June 22:
If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

“I hereby pronounce the total ban of the word – GOOD.” the Chairperson of the Ministry of Words and President of the Wordsmiths Association jointly announced.

“For, what did you mean when you’d said he was a good man? Was he a man who brought the bread home, yet never spoke to his lady? Was he a man who gave his last pennies to the old man begging on the roadside? Was he a man who risked his life to save even those he did not know?” They questioned.

“And what did you mean, when you’d said that the situation was good? Was it one which promised a bright future? Or merely where risks were contained? What did he mean to say that the car was good – its performance, appearance, or brand and social status? What did she mean when she’d said the scones was good – was it in its taste, price, or simply because she had a liking for the memories it brought back to her?” They added.

“Tell me, what you truly felt when you told someone that ‘All is good’? Were you referring to your spiraling career? Or your miserable family life? Maybe hiding the lack of social and personal achievements? Wasn’t ‘all’s good’ such an easy answer to skip all that explanation of your difficulties?” They interrogated.

“I’m sure we’ve made ourselves clear, you General Users of Words. You shall, as of today, be attuned to the detailed expression of feelings and thoughts in your conversations. You shall, as of today, be adept with the choice of vocabulary that could replace that pathetic, deceitful, and overused word. If you have fully understood the passing of the bill, you shall now be dismissed.” They concluded.

And without further ado, the crowd chimed in unison before scattering: “Good!”

Writing Prompt: Never

June 5:
Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about.

Memories blurred; words slurred. This time, even all that alcohol was doing little to help.

She remained quiet, eyes fixed, but without focus, on the distant landscape. It was almost like her mind had wandered into a different space and time – somewhere detached from the miseries and sadness that enveloped her life.

Tears glistened in her eyes, occasionally rolling down her cheeks in defiance of the suppression. Her nose would sniffle, unconscious of the deafening silence. A strange calmness on her face masked the emotions that threatened to surge any moment.

Then, like a sacred ritual coming to completion, she released her clenched fists, gently touched the grails of the windows, and nodded, as if having found answers. She pulled the plug on her calming ‘antidote’; her composure resumed.

But what could cure her – what was like a film of olive oil to break the tensions of the ocean – even if only for awhile, she would never speak or write about.

Man on a mission

This video has been going around social media quite a bit lately. I couldn’t be bothered to figure out if this was real or one of these sentimental hoaxes, but I felt compelled to share it. It only takes 3 minutes to watch.

The clip was in line with a question I often asked – what does the mind remember, when one starts to forget? This man remembered one thing, even if he had needed quite a bit of help in other aspects of life.

And in my opinion, what you remember even when you’re losing your mind, must have once been very, very important…