Story

176.

This is how you and I will go. Making a mistake, and living the days regretting such choices. I am a useless princess, a girl only able to watch the kingdom suffer. Why must I always be weak for glittering things? Stupid fool (not even your charming smile will save you now).

Humpty Dumpty, the sinister shell of a man sitting on the high wall. I’ve brought your lost sword, so why won’t you let my people go? You’ve cracked their minds and hearts, a mental affliction to madden my soul.

Once upon a time, this land is a place free from all harm. Even now, however, we both know that all the kings’ men and horses couldn’t put you together again. You, son of the depraved, first to destroy your mind and now with brute strength, have you broken others. My hands cannot keep my people’s minds from shattering.

How dare you come, how dare you say that you are only trying to make me understand. If being a monster is what it takes, I will turn away from your eyes (though they shine a bewitching green…).

I don’t believe that you’re innocent just because you’ve got a screw loose in your head.

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170.

This is where it begins: over the garden wall.

The red, faded brick wall, tall and mighty, an enclosure stretching far, astoundingly wide. Chipped, degenerate, bits and pieces floating upwards before cosying themselves at the corners. The layered wall measures four foot, but the solidifying particles increase the humble defense in stature, crawling in delayed time.

Grassy green runs around, spill roots onto uneven clumps and ends. The sweet scent of daisies, gentle petals swaying lightly even in still wind as they lie asleep on the ground. Glimpses of white float in the atmosphere, hung by invisible strings that only the angels can see, them bound to the tired trees. Soft like snow, beauty that melts upon a moment’s touch.

The circle of trees with its array of russet leaves, wizened and wise. A hollow in its heart deep, a possible access to the centre of the earth. Cold and unresponsive save for the lines its rough branches shed. Leaves, first shaky then still, colour of brown turning lighter and lighter into vermillion and sea green. Roots dipping loftily into the stream for a drink.

The tinkling, how lean, clear crystal even when the sky is feeling grey gloom. Where the stream widens, the water gushes with a threatening overflow upward to the narrower path. Fishes, red, blue, yellow and green in delight challenge the current. The occasional hop backwards, as though they are circus creatures putting up a show, their audience the disinterested earthworms and planktons. Goes on and on, a cycle of reverse.

A drenched silver pocket watch, dislodged with fury from the stream and into the nook between overgrown roots. The black seconds and hour hand point at the eight and four respectively. A sad face on the one who knows time best. Any attempt to interfere, turn its frown upside down (hands placed on ten and two) is futile. The whirring sound stirs its hands to where it should be, before a low, sombre hum fills the place. A subtle disharmony to the trickling of water and the occasional blow of the air. Leave it alone, slumbering in the dark, it has done no harm.

The tumble of an odd disposable plastic bag rolls from the stream to the wooden bench, one engraved with constellation marks. Aside from the plastic bag hooked on its arm, it stands alone, almost by the wall. Dedicated to the one who dreams to the stars and beyond, its Latin phrase per aspera ad astra perceivable on its centre. An imperfect frame, likely cut by a knife, slowly etches itself on the bench’s skin, bleeding to remember, bleeding to catch the fleeting.

A glass marble wobbly at the top of the wall, kaleidoscopic, reflecting both the wonder of visible light and its invisibility. Darkness and shadows encapsulated along in this gem. How can one thing hold on for so long before breaking up and apart.

Take it back. Take it in and keep it, only to find out that it’s lost through a pocket hole when it’s too late to turn around.

This is where it ends: over the garden wall.

158.

So much colour to perceive despite its many shades of monochrome in this world. This grin pulling against his will, a billboard commanding attention. 

What is it about her that makes it so different? The store and its array of flowers. Which would be the best for the three words he could barely dare to think of. Pace around, a fool chasing his own tail or a mouse attempting to snatch the trap’s cheese?

I like bravery in a boy, are the words once heard, and with a thudding heart he cannot help but to feel that he can live up to that praise.

Style the hair, wipe the spectacles, don the cotton shirt, choose the bouquet — how much more would be required to say?

152.

The best stories happen in the midst of rain. Rain became a cliché overused, but these things come about for a reason.

Here’s mine.

Water droplets, they ran over everything. Steel railings, metallic floors, soaked soles. Looked up and saw unending grey clouds, the goal of reaching the parking lot feeling a tad too far. There was water enough to drown the city.

Despite being clad thinly, run I was surely going to as there was no other option. Mental countdown, when a voice interrupted it.

“Don’t,” he said.

Thus met a confused one with an amused boy. Pulled up an umbrella, mighty weapon against the inclement weather.

“Let’s go,” his smile whispered. Stray words found their way, yet we knew not of each other’s identity. He vanished afterward, never to be seen again.

He remains a stranger that I will not forget.

Rain, it reminds me of him.

151.

Why me? he finally asks

And the other, why

Stood smiling, unnerving he

 

I am small and rudely insignificant

More sooner gone than here

The nuisance of a sandy grain left in the shoe

Dust upon dust crumbling

Remains buried in cold earth.

 

Why you? He replies

And the other, which

Hastily looked away from the Maker

 

Upon you I lavished love and stumbling affection

A mark remaining ages after

The refuge for the raging ocean

Masterpiece in the unlikely

The soil in which the beautiful grow.

 

Why me? he whispers in quiet wonder

And the other, He

Gently extends the nail-pierced hands as a gift to be received.

134.

An old piece demanding attention. I’ve given in.

An owlish stare belonged to a brunette standing by the tree. She was gazing at some who were holding their respective lanterns. Then, as if one had uttered a miserable excuse of a joke, they laughed uncontrollably before resuming their journey. Certainly they were going for the lantern festival. The frosh in the picturesque park eventually allowed a sigh to articulate.

Admittedly, she knew that if she wanted to go, she just would. The student wasn’t too particular when it pertained to company, and solitude would have been her first choice. Nevertheless, it would be evident for all to see that she wasn’t going to move. A part of her perpetually wondered as to why, oh why, that she continued being stubbornly stuck in the pages of yesterday and tomorrow simultaneously. It was ridiculous and repetitive to recognise that the past, albeit important, had its limits when one considered the present timeline. And the future was definitely a matter so terribly delicate, comparable to a fragile framework collapsing at the whim of a wind’s whisper. Preposterous. Stuck in her thoughts, then and there did a familiar explosion resound. The brunette looked toward the horizon and her eyes widened in wonderment.

Fireworks.

Works of fire.

How horrible that a childish play of words threatened a diminutive smile to surface. Just so horrible, because it was probable that this was another reason why she decided against attending. She often thought that inanimate things could represent a human’s want or need, example being a blanket picturing warmth.

So did fireworks. They were more than a rich person’s way of finding visual entertainment. It was definitely a bearer of definitions larger than the space they occupied in the night sky. In her eyes, they were symbols of interminable warmth and renewal, perhaps even resembling a burst of emotion. An incandescent flame that burned passionately, in ardent adoration and everything like that. Sappiness was not the issue at hand. The real one was this.

Maybe she had been afraid that if she had gone there, being under those lucent lights and burst of gleaming sparks, it would make the brunette find a part of herself that she never wanted to discover. A passion she would rather live without. Maybe there was the possibility that if there was a someone by her side, the adrenaline rush embedded within would play tricks on her mind, causing her to feel and think of things she rendered unnecessary.

Then she laughed, a tinkling chime that sounded musical until a seemingly choked voice marred the expression. The forming of a supposedly easy laugh at absurdity had ended with sadness. Maybe it was both, for the girl herself had no longer known if it had been laughter or tears after all. Nevertheless, whatever it had been, the vibrant explosion of colours were capable of inducing distraction, even if it was only finite in value. Deep down, she knew that it was so likely that she was shortchanging her own self for no appropriate reason.

This destructive display of artwork — had it always been this pretty?

129.

Why do people speak in the midst of a breaking?

Waiting for the boom of fireworks, the roar of a thunderclap

By the bedside of possible death, a wave of congratulations

 

Maybe this is it:

That humans have a softness for honesty

To see truth leave one’s trembling lips

To speak the unsayable because that makes it so incredible

 

Yet we fear consequence:

The rejection, the disgust, the ardent whispers turned into despicable shouting

 

We forget that consequence can also have a wellspring of affection:

The leaning of heads, an iron-grip hug, the removing of a dried leaf from one’s hair

 

We are animated dust kicking up a storm

Leaving sunshine and rain wherever we go

Footprints in the sand eventually swallowed by the mighty ocean

In spite of it all we aspire to be more than just this

 

We climb mountains, we search for new horizons

Finding for a place or someone reminding us to simply be

A map lost, and no place to return to

 

Yet one day, there will be a time when you will watch the sunrise reflected in their quiet eyes

Sleepy yawns gently tugging at the consciousness before a dangerous falling in

And when they ask why you have kept your eyes on them this is what you will say:

 

Once upon a time when no one knew

You defied the odds and became the neglected miracle in the dark

In a world filled with incalculable possibilities we are both here

I thank my God a thousand times for this incomparable moment

 

Blush they will, or turn away

Yet the sly sneak peek will show your shadow melting into theirs

This confession coming clear in spite of your speaking in the midst of a seashore breaking

 

Pick up a seashell, more than one

Build small emblems of devotion with driftwood and hard stones

Let them know, let them know, that even as you are playfully carving names in the ground

That their diminutive smile is a compass, mirthful laughter its tracks

A sign that there might be a home to go to

 

There is so much in a glance

Even as it lies wide open or a furtive sneak

There is so much more

125.

IMG_4859

A mental health awareness project much loved by yours truly, sufficient to include it on this paperless space.

Notice the circle, the perpetuation of repetition, madness and insanity, a downward spiral into unending ideas that would not satisfy.

In this city, its life thrives on prejudiced mentalities.

Crumple the list, a useless try at finding reason within these scattered words.

We and me, a constant battle of wills, the other invisible people in the mind are just as real.

Sea of hands clambering for control of the main body.

The crosshatched thought cloud, a small voice hoping for a heart that would love despite odds.

Yet words hurt like a knife and so, wilt from the inside.

The gun explodes against his head.

Strings desperate, give me a lead to reach the person who has gone.

It’s time to take off the rose-coloured glasses, won’t you open your eyes.

This origami crane I fold, a thousand I would to make a wish for you.

A collage made to gather voices, to speak up for mental illnesses as tangible.

121.

Rewriting an old piece that holds a portion of myself.

Best friends, pursuers of the world hidden within words. She speaks often, but he remains imprisoned in the mind despite superior comprehension. In the quiet reads, there is a feeling to strive for.

There he is, leaning against the large tree trunk, balanced on a branch with a burgundy tome in his possession. The consumption of knowledge undeterred until sight is obscured by pesky hands.

Articulate her name with a notable scowl, earning a laugh from the brunette, bearer of a diminutive smile that he adored best. Hello, she utters, and while he has every intention to shake his head at the impertinence, it does not come to pass as a gentle notion flutters across his complex mind.

She acquired a fear of scaling trees after an incident involving the death of a featherless baby bird. It tumbled out of its twig nest. Accusing herself a murderer, the pain and guilt that beset the heart. This fear he prayed against, that its tendrils would no longer need to tangle with her conscience, that he would be one quelling these possibilities. That they would have to creep past him to get to her.

The silly idea that hums at the back of his mind.

The fact that the brunette scales the tree would mean two things: that she is prepared to overcome her fears, and that she is in want of his company despite adversity. Incredibly heartwarming. Congratulations, he says tersely, before returning to his read. Dissatisfied by his choice, she pesters him with childish methods before imbalance overtakes.

Eyes wide, arm outstretched to catch the falling, astonishment flitting past chocolate eyes, the strange lightness of being before crashing. The throbbing that slowly receded, even she notes the magnificent cerulean sky. Turn to the side, lips that curl.

Best friend, she mildly teased. Didn’t you promise me that you’ll catch me when I fall?

Auburn eyes that crinkle. The voice that stirs wizened leaves.

I already have, are the words he softly whisper as he raises their interlocked fingers before her very own eyes.

And had she not known any better, it is surely in that moment that her heart would have swayed.

119.

This place, a home it cannot be. Lie on the floor, watch cloaked figures drip toxic smiles from the ceiling. Roll a ball, have it defy the laws of gravity and ascend continually. Cracked lines continue from the windowsill. There is a lock but no key. There are spaces with no door in between. In my going I need not move my feet. Just forget to breathe.

House of cards, make one and let it crumple. Dust gathers even in a vacuum. Handsome one, they call me, ask what goes on in my head. Etched palms and peeling lips keep them all away.

Where do the others go when only one can take control?

How can someone out there know the weight of holding on to more?

Free fall into glass ceilings, let them break forever. Destruction is music to deaf ears. Bite marks on pillows, changing writing, codes abundant. Keep the enemies guessing. Black hole spiralling and stealing all that can be.

Strip down and see. Flesh charred with ink. Which world and who to be angered less, to chase fleeting shadows.