Story

He said, you’re not like other children

The disappointment of a father evident

Hiding the tears of a sobbing wife

Shunning leers from prying neighbours

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Depending on the boy’s mood

He cries profusely into pillows

He makes mad crayon sketches across the wall

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Finding symbols in things unmeant

Hearing what others cannot

Seeing all the colours in invisible light

Feeling the cracks on the floor

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Insistently speaking to a twin who is not there

Drawing friends with no eyes

Watching trapped bugs melt in spider webs when others would choose to play with dogs and cats.

Pinpricks of light, wandering stars gravitating toward a force bigger than their own.

Though frequently perceived as shy and ordinary, small and obtuse, two individuals are running to chase a distant falling. Eyes that forget to keep to their feet, fists clenched are released and raised frantically. Darkness and tangled roots, damp grass and twisty trunks, feet that meet and trip.

I’m sorry, she says abashed, picking up the other’s glasses. I’m chasing a shooting star.

A hand stretches to take what is his, and a smile grows across the face.

So am I, he quietly admits. I can’t let something beautiful die without anyone ever knowing it. It would be a real waste.

Blink.

Would you catch it with me?

She dreamt of a stranger, his fractional smile a mere flicker before he disappeared over the building’s edge.

This wakes her up, filling her with irrational tension. A haunting peculiar for it is a place never seen before, with a faint touch of the ethereal.

Who are you, she quietly asks with an arm outstretched, but her words are simply mixing with oxygen.

Weeks go by, and it remains a sequence that slips in uninvited from time to time. The same wakefulness will capture her utmost attention, but there is no clue. Until one day, in the most ordinary of ways, she sees him in a street full of people. And mad is she, certainly, to have glimpsed a cordial curl of the mouth?

His gaze averts, and she pursues. Though foolish to endure without reason, she will not be deterred. They arrive on the rooftop, a scene startling alike. His foot leaning by the end of all that is.

She walks slowly, terribly afraid to see that moment. When she is but two steps away, his voice breaks.

Do you trust me? are the words uttered.

Take a deep breath. Nod of the head.

Close your eyes, he murmurs with a faint smile, and she does.

Hands curve themselves and then, the lightness of being. A scream. They are falling into gravity’s coarse arms. There is no comfort in the aforementioned thought.

He whispers against her ear, believe.

And believe, believe in facing the unknown courageously and this is when they fly upwards by the spread of his wings. Her eyes widen.

You’ve always been too afraid to face the end of your dream, he says with a gentle smile. And now you finally know.

He is found in the midst of chaos and split silver. Cracked mirrors and loose shrapnel.

I can’t take it anymore, he mumbles brokenly.

Do you know, do you truly know what it’s like to be unseen? Alone in a crowd, or to face a reflection that will not see you in the eyes?

I am in a mental museum, full of the dead and the past, and I’m here beyond opening hours, trapped in a space that won’t let me go. Even if there are others here, they exist past the velvet rope that I cannot cross.

And in spite of it all, I am the joke, for I find myself like air — I’m afraid that I may disappear if someone does touch me.

If no one thinks of you at all, he painfully asks, do you truly exist?

The shadows breathe across the ruined floor.

People don’t remember the moon until it hides behind the clouds, she whispers softly. But I’ll have you know, that I always have been looking for the moon. You do to me what the moon does to the tide;

You draw me in.

(And even on days when I don’t see you, I know you’re there.)

Once, I wrote this for a contest entry. Since nothing happened, I decided that I could leave it here.

In this world, time travelling is a right. It is not a mere privilege belonging to the well-dressed elites. No matter who you are or what you have done, it is a unique situation where implementing this right is as simple as walking through an office door. A specific one. Alongside the fact that as we all know of our typical government institutions, the waiting line makes for cheery company.

Numbers are taken even as one waits in increasing impatience for the special appointment. Feet are tapping, constructing an unintended chorus of tap dancers if one listened close enough. Here, silence is mandatory. No one wants to know why you are here to change something in the time frame. In fact, they would rather not be enlightened in this manner. This unspoken rule befits all.

A newspaper picked up for perusal is immediately dismissed. The state of the economy is no smiling matter and as it happens, yours truly is an entrepreneur in this field. There is no tomorrow, the headline contemplates. What is tomorrow, however? Is the stroke past midnight, or the voice that tells you keep going forward? We live in a sea of ambiguity, with no permanent anchor to hold us. This reckless freedom brings me to a particular attention.

In this world, the number one has not always been the first. (more…)

I met a butterfly crusher once.

There by the beaten garden path, when my inquisitive eyes prompted him to say hey. He looked mighty curious, with a faded jacket and pale shoes. While my mother told me to avoid strangers, I stayed anyway. Sat next to him on the wooden bench.

Do you want to see a magic trick? is what he asked back then in an odd voice.

Child that I was, an evident yes.

He covered his right hand on top of the left palm before taking it away. The magic occurred, in which a turquoise butterfly landed neatly on his left palm, as though on command. (Later in my years, I found out that it was sucrose.)

It gently flapped its wings with a rhythmic heartbeat before he crumpled his fist.

Why did you do that? I remembered yelling. It was so beautiful!

Shrug of the shoulders, a cold look in my direction. Look, kid, he mused, the beautiful are foolish. They are fragile and insignificant, imaginative whims of someone who has nothing better to do. He dusted his hands and left me.

Powdered butterfly wings mourned itself at my feet.

Child that I was, I should have said no.

The child and father, by the park where the dead leaves sway. He says slow down, you might fall, but she pays no heed. In fact, a sulk made, arms crossed.

You don’t love me, she says.

That’s what you claim to believe, he replies, seemingly undaunted by the statement.

How have you?

He blinks gently, the lips that curl. My child, he whispers as he took her little hands into his large ones. Listen closely.

My eyes, they watch over you. It’s your shoulder I hold, I read you bedtime stories to sleep. New ways I find to tie your shoelaces and your scarf. Mouthing hello and goodbye from across your kindergarten street. I love you, my child, by giving and taking away.

Her little hands are torn away from his large ones. Tears brim in beady eyes, hands that shake involuntarily.

If you loved me, she sobs at last. Why would you take away?

My child, you know not what you want, he says as he knelt on the ground beside her. Do you trust that I love you?

Eyes that exchange glances. In the quiet. Words, they came to life.

Hey. How would you describe your sister?

The young boy looked up at the older, eyes wide, perplexed, before they fell a gentle droop.

Cold feet.

Eh? The older, surprised. Here I thought that all little brothers would say something nice about their sister.

Tilt of the head. I mean, she has actual cold feet, noted the young boy. Sometimes I can’t sleep, and I notice that her feet shiver. They’re icy to the touch.

A small, childish laugh. Even when she wears socks or hide them under blankets, it doesn’t change that fact.

I think, the brother mused thoughtfully. My sister walks in the field of dreams barefoot, and that’s why they’re always cold.

The older chuckled. That’s incredibly adorable, you know? I might have fallen for your sister just a little more.