He laid his hands on the slender neck and flicked his thumb in a loving caress over the sloping shoulders. His fingers softly traced the edges of the mouth as droplets of sweat fell on his chest. He tightened his grip, a lump formed at his throat, and he let out a low sigh.
The last drop of wine was drained, yet nothing was better than before. He pulled another of these elongated bottles from the carton, this time wiping the opening with his palm instead, before taking another gulp. He couldn’t think and he didn’t want to speak.
A sketch of the chateau on the wine label, with fine cursive print indicating its St Estephe origins, spun discordantly from the rest of the room. How many times had he confided in the deep red liquid within, about his heart that had turned tough and cold like clayey from the region?
The first bottle rolled to the floor; it’s emptiness bringing a resounding clink. There, he saw her face again – the comforting words she had said, the peals of laughter that brightened his day.
He had once thought that he loved these other women in his life, but only came to realise that each of them were shadows of her. Each time he smiled at them, his heart called her name; when he imagined that he had found a new interest, it was but a feeble attempt to forget her.
One mistake – and that paradisiacal life with her was annihilated.
What remained was the smooth glass that felt like the delicate touch of her skin, and the bittersweet Merlot lingering in his mouth to remind him of the taste of her kiss…
The casual mention, almost like a tease, broke him.
A slip of tongue revealed that her career would come to a conclusion tonight.
She would no longer set foot on the stage – this very arena that had left him besotted by her allure. She lowered her head and flashed a fatally attractive smile; the spotlights that touched her softly illuminated the artful shyness. As mutters of protest grew louder, he fell speechless into the darkness.
Crystal-clear notes from the violin began to flit ambrosially to their ears. Each word that escaped her mouth refreshed him like the summer rain, yet pierced his heart mercilessly. Anger, frustration, then helplessness. Despite the five-mile distance, he felt her enchanting hand gestures transcend space to caress his face. No amount of fury could withstand the seduction – he felt a tight compression in his chest, squeezing out his last breath. Blood gushed in his vessels, and his heart melted away.
The last time. This would be the very last time he saw her and heard that one-of-a-kind voice. He knew now, as she took that final bow, that it could not last forever…
Yes – this is the continuation of “the listener”
Not good enough, not good enough, not good enough.
Wish I had paid attention.
Wish I had listened.
Wish I had remembered.
I struggled to comprehend the string of words that fell gracefully in place.
I absorbed the music that whispered into my ears; crescendo, espressivo, adagio…
I watched the moving pictures form a story as it flaunted its artistic beauty.
I heard it whisk by and linger within my mind.
I saw it slipping away into the abyss of hopelessness.
I recalled the days when I’d said …
I wish I had paid attention …
I wish I had listened …
I wished …
Expressionless. Speechless. Emotionless.
That is all an illusion.
Hiding behind the shadows, finding comfort in the dark…
Where black, and blue, make perfect colours –
Expressions morph without restraint from anger to helplessness.
Words penned deep into the canvas as if carving out the heart of a wounded animal.
Tears surge like the rapids that wash a Man aground to scrape rock bottom.
That distance wasn’t unbridgeable.
Hesitance left words to shrivel and die.
Emotions, raw and untouched, wither with a sigh.
But when morning comes, all the madness hides,
Awaiting once again, for the fall of night.
When did introversion, moodiness and cynicism become such a crime? Just maybe, those who bothered to care would learn that the world could do with some silence and differences. Because not all emotions can be spoken and thoughts exist in the mind for good reason.
Every morning a flock of people dash towards the bus stop. They chatter and laugh as they race to find an empty spot to continue their meaningless conversations. In that process, I am invisible to them. They weave by with indifference; they step, trip and kick without a word of apology.
How did this happen? Where are the days when I walk out with freshly-pressed neatness and abundant knowledge? How did I lose my status as the lead source of reference? Was there no-one who could pick me up from this miserable state, to allow me to sit in a peaceful corner instead of this aimless stumbling in the winds?
I blame it on that promiscuous seductress who invites them to caress her even if they only had a minute. She had claimed to know more than I ever could. A flick, a swipe, a look; they couldn’t resist anything she could offer to show.
Isn’t it sad how Man has lost their values and civility. That stupid sexy Tablet has taken over the world and captured all the hearts of these unthinking fools. They crush candies, “farm” and shoot bubbles. But they no longer read, think or care.
What am I, but a forgotten ball of crushed newspapers…
I spotted a crushed ball of newspapers on the floor a some mornings ago. As people rushed to board their buses, whisper into their mobile phones or indulge in some tablet apps, they leaped, somersaulted and maneuvered around the trash that sat on the floor. That ball of newspaper soon tumbled towards me. I chucked it in the bin, and this story came to mind…
They smiled when he appeared; but he wasn’t smiling.
They laughed at his hilarious performance; but he didn’t laugh.
They loved his appearances, but he didn’t love appearing here; in truth, he had never loved anything, or anyone.
With an unrelenting air of dignity, he exudes a pensive mood in that grim unsmiling face. Keeping up with an austere life, he entertained everyone yet did nothing to entertain himself. He had little confidence in the intellect of most and kept everyone at arm’s length. Pleasure was such a rarity that this staid character remained so over thirty years.
He returned, with unchallenged composure and formality. He questioned his ability to amuse or impress. There was no humour in his overpowering cynicism, yet that was what made it so ideal for the role. He found it unfathomable that he had thrived in a character so contradicting to his true self. For whatever it was worth, the crowd still loved him as the comedian they knew him to be.
As sixty years elapsed, he winced with every reminder that he had yet to lead the life he wished for…
And he knew too that there wasn’t too many days left…
She listened to every word he whispered, so gently reminiscing the past that had yet to fade away. In a melodious ballad, he recounted the memories and fears that had surfaced over time. Every step had been a battle – age, income, career – any possible demographic became a source of attack. But they had overcome the onslaught without once retreating from the verbal assaults. The lingering smile unwittingly revealed her inability to forget.
But it all came to an abrupt end. She raised her head to face that otiose empty photo-frame standing barren, glaring at her in cold mockery. He is the past. Their story now only existed within the lyrics of a song; his voice only audible through the mechanical device. Ironically nothing could last forever, but their memory had been eternalised within a choice of words. She pressed her ears against the speakers once more, imperceptibly taking in the last notes of the sorrowful tune, before flicking the switch.
He blinked to shake off the sleepiness, befuddled by his presence in a room that had given itself the eternal duty of depressing his spirits. He had said he wouldn’t leave; where was this? He had vowed to keep safe and return; when was this? What was the commitment, who had he given assurance to and why did he make such a promise? More critically, how can he retrieve the slightest strains of memories that had once resided in his mind, but which had insidiously abandoned him without an audience?
He walked towards the lone window that reluctantly admitted a stream of sunlight. An elusive silhouette pacing at the end the street caught his eye and struck a chord in what remained of his recollection. It had been five years. All images failed to register in his mind, and all the voices didn’t matter. Time could seep away, but this passion couldn’t. Maybe, just maybe, he would one day remember the name of this beautiful face that emerged and wrenched his heart each time he opened his eyes…
A close friend has recently lost her memory due to unknown reasons. She had vague images and inklings of the past, but nothing concrete of the present, leaving a gap in time. I began to wonder what life would be when the building blocks of emotions degraded.
Without memories, what would emotions be?
What would happen when you forgot the very people whom you’d thought of every day, dreamt of every night, and loved so dearly?
We keep our deepest thoughts to ourselves, but when we lose our memories, what happens to these stories that was once the building blocks of our lives?
He obligingly accedes to the twenty-third request for his presence at a gala event. They want him to speak. They’ll like him to dance. They prefer if he makes a comedic appearance. All of which, he had agreed to.
Years of hard work have brought him to where he is today. Days spent on preparations; months kept away from his family; countless failures stacked on the list despite his effort. Had he been a little more calculating, nothing of today’s success would befall.
Yet nothing has changed after the declaration of his accomplishments. He graced every event he was invited to and helped on any occasion where he could spare time; just as he had joined them as a time-filler twenty years ago. He supported those who required his assistance, because he had once been fortunate to meet a worthy coach who had advanced his career.
With a combination of luck and perseverance, this man stands today as an inspiration for those who choose to pursue their dreams. Because every aspiration takes time to achieve – the ability to grin and bear the hardships today, will lead you to a brighter future.
His admirers inadvertently swarmed around him to form a fortification against her watchful eyes. He fluttered within a spinning wheel of flailing hands and symphony of swooning. Unblinking, she took in every move and gesture with micro-precision. Every intimate mention of his name within the clamour made her wince in inexplicable inquietude.
Just a day ago she had imagined a state of certainty; within the span of hours, all her thoughts have been thrown into disarray. Why had she assumed that he was reliable after only two brief meetings? How did she come to a conclusion that he would’ve been the ideal confidant? Had she over-estimated her worth or under-estimated his frivolous charms?
A gush of sourness swelled at the end of her nose as she shook her head. She had fallen for the very same dazzling face and suave demeanour that they all had; convinced by the glib comments he had proffered. As she turned away resolutely, their eyes met. Any attempt to excogitate were foiled, as the flash of a smile and wink put her under his spell, all over again…
There appears to be a severe lack of system or schedule in my posts – midway of recounting my visit to Melbourne, I’d been inspired to write a short story, complain about life, document my observations … Nonetheless, thank you all who come back despite the disorder!