Story

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.