Monday, September 22, 2014

Bald

To my sister, the only reader of this blog and the one who requested a sweet and romantic short story (against my better judgement) to entertain her. 

She exited from the bathroom humming. Her wet hair created a line of squiggly drops as she made her way from the bathroom to the bedroom. She could hear the sound of a keyboard's buttons being gently struck in the other room, and there was an intense smell of coffee. 
"He's working," she thought.
She sat before the credenza and proceeded to brush her hair in long sweeping motions. Her arm soon grew tired. She noticed the clumps of hair falling all round her. She was surrounded by wavy strands of long black hair on the floor. They formed a half circle, like guards protecting her from an unknown danger, A thought came to her. It was of such urgency that she had to rush to the study to divulge the contents of her mind.
"My hair is falling," she announced, standing in the doorway, her hair still dripping.
He looked up from the computer, his glasses on the tip of his nose and looked at her. He laughed.
"You should cut it, you know that," he said with a smile as he took off his glasses and laid them gently on the table. He stretched and yawned like a cat. His hair was flecked with white and his unshaven beard has turned slightly silver. 
"I thought you liked long hair," she paused, "not that I care what you like. I am a strong, independent woman."
"I know," he said.
"Will you still find me attractive when I am bald?" she asked as she twisted a strand of hair on her index finger. There was now a tiny puddle of water next to her feet. The strand of hair soon became a clump that dislocated itself from the rest of its brethren. As she noticed that, she sighed.
"Honey, you are tripping and dripping at the same time."
She glanced down and sighed again. At that, he left his desk, took her hand and led her back to the desk.
"Sit down, please madam," he said in a pleasant tone like a salesman at the beginning of a sales-pitch.
"What are you doing?" 
"Trust me," he whispered in her ear and kissed her neck.
He turned on his computer and after fiddling with the mouse, some tunes started playing. It was swing music of the 30s. Soon, the whole house bounced and swayed to the gentle rhythm of the old songs.
"Oh, I love this music," she gushed.
He went to the cupboard where he kept the coffee machine and started to make a coffee. 
"You need another one, huh?" she said, "you should consider cutting down on your coffee intake."
He then brought the cup and laid it down before her. 
"You know I am not a fan of coffee," she said.
"Trust me," he reiterated.
She took a sip. Her eyes opened wide as she realized the exact type of coffee she was drinking.
"Is that the coffee that I drank in Peru? How did you find it? I searched for days after..." she interrupted her own speech as she took another hurried sip. "Yum," she added. 
"Just close your eyes now and think of nothing but Peru's high mountains and a cool gust of wind tickling your pretty cheeks," he said.
She did just that.
She imagined herself trekking through the lush, green mountains of Peru, but soon her fantasy lulled her into dozing off. The comfortable, leather chair only exacerbated the case and soon she struggled to keep her eyes open. Every now and then, she would resist and open her eyes to see him holding a pair of scissors or a small comb or snipping a strand of hair. 
"Wake up, honey," he said as he shook her awake.
She opened her eyes. "Did you douse my coffee with something?"
"What? No."
He took her hand and led her back to the bedroom. She saw her reflection in the mirror as they walked in and gasped. 
"What? How?" she screamed. Instead of her long, black hair, she now sported a short 1930s bob, one that would could be imagined on a character of a Fitzgerald novel. 
"Remember when we were watching The Great Gatsby? You said that if you were ever brave enough, you would cut your hair like Daisy? I figured now was the opportune moment to do so," he explained.
"But how did you manage it?"
"I took some lessons at that fancy hairdresser's near our building. I showed him the haircut and told him I wanted to be able to cut only this style. I spent weeks practicing on dolls. It was kind of creepy, really," he said scratching his head, "Anyway, he also gave me some products that he told me you would need to manage it."
She remained silent. Something to which he was not accustomed. 
"If you hate it, we can go to the hairdresser's right now," he added.
She still remained silent.
"Honey, you're scaring me. Say something," he said.
She turned around and kissed him. 
"It's lovely," she said with a tear in her eye, "I love it."
They stayed silent for a while, hugging one another.
"But you still haven't answered my initial question, you know," she said, smiling. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Brain freeze

Unlike the onset of the ice-cream induced effect, this brain freeze did not come suddenly or with any searing pain. Instead, it took two heart-wrenching years for it to finally settle in the recesses of his brain. It was a eureka moment when he realized that this agonizing process has begun. He was relieved to know that it was not an illness or that he was about to die. The atrophy that occurred was merely figurative. It was quite ironic that the thing (imagination!) that gave him life was also the thing taking it away.
He knew from the get-go that there would be nothing he could do (nothing he could change) to stop it.  He spent a few days mourning the loss of creativity and the connection he once had with his inner self. He regretted the time he wasted on anything but getting all those thoughts out. Over a stale cup of coffee (and a stale brain), he mulled over all the things he could have done with his former abilities. He teared up as he remembered his former abilities to conjure words from thin air and forge them into beautiful sentences.
They, those who read them, would shiver with emotion, scratch their heads, take a pause to breathe, raise their heads to the heavens and plead. Divine supplication was often uttered as they realized that twist or went through that turn.
He sighed. Oh, how he wasted those precious years of excess to produce so meagerly like an old miser.
And so he let go of all the hopes, dreams and aspirations. Of all the loves, the fails and the losses. Of all the lives created and all the whispers (unsaid, neglected and left to perish). Of all the ones he would have gotten to know and the ones he knew. Of all the pain, agony and labor of creation. Of all the life within him and the one without him.
He waited, like an insomniac waits for a boring film to end (coveting and fearing the last credits).
"Sweet salvation, won't you come to me?"
A birthday. Nice wishes. Smiling faces. Worlds apart, they are. Presents, cupcakes and candles. Gifts, cards and cups. Love, kisses and hugs.
"And to a hundred more."
He could barely think of five more years of this existence, let alone a hundred. It felt more like a curse. In his mind, the wisher became an old hag with drooping breasts and wild hair. A witch, she was, of the Shakespearean kind. The ones who used spit, pee and bleed to make spells, incantations and curses. The ones who gutted chickens and goats (real witches, not the TV kind).
There, another year has passed with an unresponsive mind.
"I am a thief."
He was stealing air, love and supplies from the living. The ones who needed it. A robber of souls, lives and aspirations. He fell from grace, but they were still feeding him Ambrosia. Like a baby, unable to speak (enough!). He wished for the thought police to come and arrest him.
"Do you know how fast your brain was going, sir? It wasn't."
He feared the nights. They all slept, snored and quieted down. Yet, suddenly the morning yawns transformed into nightly energy. Nothing to do, nothing to say. Left alone with a thoughtless brain. Sleep escapes the empty space. It echoes and resounds, hollow like his soul. From a flimsy mind, a divine conversation escapes. An apology, a plea, a prayer and a promise. Divine rejection hurts as well. He remembers the unrequited love of his foolish youth and sighs.
There will be no salvation tonight. Like each and every night. A reverse zombie; he roams the night eating his own brain instead.
The drowsiness multiplies every second until the first glimmer of light shines through. A cat purring by his side. It yawns and stretches, effects of restful sleep. It calls for tuna chunks and loving cuddles. He willingly obeys. The sun now stares him in the face, defying him to stay awake.
He falls, again, with broken limbs and a worn out body. A dead brain ushers him into the listless world of truncated dreams. Running, always running. Out of breath, unable to see, unable to hear, unable to rest. There was nothing sweet, succulent or swimmingly delicious within the dreamworld. His lovers have left it and his enemies have remained. Torture and pain; hate and heat, sweat and tears. Screams, he screams.
Drenched in sweat, he emerges again. The night begins again. His brain is dead again. The words perished again. Tears flow again. Rage ebbs again. The hate swells again.  
Life begins again. The end escapes (him) again.

Monday, September 15, 2014

And in darkness, there is life

If you listen carefully to the rhythm of the city, every now and then, its urban beat would be interrupted by shrieks of frustration. The frustration stemmed from the inability to read, the loss of data, tripping in a puddle of mud or the tragic loss of battery time. Those significantly audible shrieks were frequent especially during the first few weeks, when there was still hope of civilization, technology and light.
Whispers of conspiracy theories would be heard in cafes, restaurants, bus stops and metro stations across the busy metropolitan.
“They are doing this on purpose,” one would hear as they crossed the street with the aid of a flashlight or one of those fancy phones with built-in light. At night, people walking in the street could be identified from the faint bluish lights that led them through the pitch-black city. They seemed like guardian angels perusing the city for escaped demons.
One by one, each citizen stopped shrieking as the darkness became a regular part of their daily life. Slowly and methodically, the darkness lasted longer with every passing week. In a couple of months, after all of the shrieks died and all the protests died, light became a rare commodity. Precious phone calls to loved ones announced the same state in several cities around the world.
Nights became a time when only ghosts, fools and criminals decided to roam the dim streets. Fear and survival instincts prevented the rest from wading through the dark. This meant that days were busier than they have ever been, but quieter and more relaxed. This paradox existed because the lack of technology forced the hurried to slow down and procedures once finished in a few minutes to take days. Streets filled with bikes, skateboards and roller blades.
After the food and medicine ran out, urbanites soon transformed into the people they once dubbed “low-lives”.  Those who wished to remain civil migrated –on foot– to the country. It meant days of endless walking with little or no food and whatever contaminated water they found on the way. It also meant subjecting themselves to unknown perils during the night. Many found the sacrifice worthy so as not to turn into those rabid creatures once known as human beings.

Exploiting others soon became the norm in cities around the world. The lack of commodities with which to trade meant that an able human soon became sellable. Good looks and health became burdens as the freaks, the ugly and the sick were disregarded as worthless. To make for easier filtering, the worthless were marked with a stamp on their foreheads created out of burned flesh and agony.  There was life –for the first time– in rejection. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Standing guard

"Jiggle, jiggle," he thought as the jogger passed him by. He couldn't really see her butt. Not really, on account of the baggy sports trousers she was wearing. He couldn't see her breasts either. They were flattened down somehow. He didn't know how exactly, but whenever he compared joggers' breasts with normal women's breasts, they were always flattened rather than perky. It was strange.
"They must think this makes it better somehow," he thought. In his humble opinion, it didn't; "breasts were meant to be perky. Otherwise, what's the point?"
Every morning, around 5:30 am, the first batch of joggers start to trickle one after the other. They were mostly men, but every now and then, there would be some women. He waited for them. He longed for them. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, he refused to sleep at that time. He knew that if he fell asleep he would miss them. They were, after all, the best perk of this job.
He was 16 when his father died. His uncle came to his mother one day and they had a conversation. Then his uncle took him away. As he left the small, rural village, he could hear his mother ululating and shouting: "my son will be an officer" between jeers and cheers. He took one last look at his seven siblings as the toktok took them further and further away from his home. They went straight to the enlistment camp.
He thought he would be an officer like his mother announced, but then after he was registered he found out, he was to be conscript.
He went up to one of the people in charge. "Ya beh. I was supposed to be an officer," he said naively. The officer responded with a slap that managed to floor him and unhinge two of his teeth from their roots. He spit them out with along with a small puddle of blood. "Clean up your shit, conscript," the officer said as he stepped in the pool of blood and moved away leaving bloody footsteps leading up to his office.
That night he was assigned the cleaning of the entire dinning hall floor. He spent all night scrubbing the floor while his mouth throbbed with pain. He was too afraid to ask for a doctor. All he could do was sob, his tears falling on the floor's muddy surface.
The rest of the year was a series of constant humiliation, abuse and torture. Any kind of thought that had crossed his mind faded away as his body sustained multiple bruises, breaks and bloody lashes.
"Do not think, conscript," they said.
"Obey, conscript," they insisted.
"Push the wall, conscript," they shouted. The wall? How can one literally push a wall? It doesn't matter. Just obey and keep your head down. Those who didn't obey, suffered. No one wanted to suffer. The emotional pain went away after a few months, but the physical pain was always too much to handle. He just didn't want to be hit again and again and again.
He obeyed. It was really his only choice. He could not run away. He wouldn't go anywhere. Whatever money he was given went straight to his uncle. He didn't even see it. He had a bed and three partially hot meals. What else did he want?
Every now and then, they would have to go down in the street "to protect the country".
"Those fucks in the street are fucking terrorists. Your only task is to fuck them. Do you understand, conscripts?" their training officer would say. Every time, they would drill that in their heads.
"Push the wall. They are all walls. Push the wall. Just push the fucking wall," he would remind himself, "then you can go back to sleeping and three meals."
It was on the way to these "missions" that he learned about staring at girls. He saw his fellow conscripts whistling and shouting at girls passing by as they were parked in the street, waiting to be unleashed unto the "terrorists". They sometimes waited for hours, packed in the truck under the sweltering sun. The smell of rotting flesh underneath their heavy suits made the truck reek for miles. The heat was unbearable but no one dared leave the truck, not until they were told. Staring at others was their only mean of entertainment.
He had an inclining that what they were doing was not right, but he also thought it was his right. These people who walked and jogged early morning were trying to lose weight while his whole village were starving. He imagined them stuffing their faces and then going for a run. He despised their ability to choose what to do with themselves; something he lacked.
It was his own way to seek vengeance upon an unfair society. He argued that if people did not want him to look at them, then they should not pass in front of him. After all, they had their fancy clubs to go jog there in peace, but instead they chose the common man's abode. In the street everything was fair game.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The realisation of a revelation

A revelation often occurs when least expected. It does not happen to you while you are searching for it or pleading with the invisible gods to send you one. A revelation is often the result of deep thinking and a random event that you witness or experience. It does not have to be a unique event. You might have even experienced it before many times, but it is this one time that the brain chose to create a pattern with that event as the central point. Hence, you start identifying with that event in a different method.

Unlike fictional work, a revelation does not equal an immediate state of relief and/or a known plan for you to execute. In real life, it might take you a long time to actually start putting this revelation into executable steps. While the thought might be ripe in your head, you could find that many internal or external factors hinder you from executing it. Therefore, if neglected, a revelation might continue to swim freely within the confines of your brain without ever seeing the light of day.

An unrealised revelation might be a dangerous thing since it could lead to overthinking, notions of depression and a sense of great failure. On the other hand, the execution of a revelation could lead you nowhere. Unlike fictional work, which tends to provide audience with linear paths of salvation, real life is more convoluted.The execution of this revelation might produce no significant results that you are left as vacant as before you had that revelation. In fact, you might find yourself even more hollowed out that before. This means nothing just as your life means nothing.

To summarise, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Please consult with your physician before attempting to create or execute a revelation.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Whole-grain muffins with almonds

I made this the other day and it tasted really good. However, I haven't been eating sugar for a while, so anything remotely sweet tastes good for me. It's definitely not for the sugar-fiends. Since I haven't been posting, I figured this might jog my brain a little. Also, I am not claiming it's healthy or anything, it's just tasty.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups whole-grain flour
1 cup warm milk (I used skimmed, but it is up to you)
1/4 cup honey
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 small chocolate bar (any kind, I used orange-flavoured sugar free one)
1/4 cup oil (I used corn, just make sure it's a neutral kind of oil, so it doesn't leave an aftertaste)
a handful of almonds (depending on how nutty you want it, you can add more)

Preheat oven to 220C.

1. Pour the honey in the warm milk and stir until dissolved.
2. Combine flour with baking powder and salt, and then add the sweetened milk and oil. Stir well until everything is combined. The whole grain flour sometimes has pockets of air inside it, so make sure everything is well-combined.
3. Chop the the chocolate bar with a knife (it's a very easy process if the bar is at room temperature) and then add to the mixture.
4. Chop the almonds with a knife or by putting them in a kitchen towel and hitting them with a rolling pin (good for exorcising demons).
5. Add almonds to the mixture and give it a final couple of stirs.
6. Divide mixture unto the muffin tins and then put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is nice and golden.

This makes 12 according to my old muffin tin. 





   

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chance meeting

At first, you are not really sure that you have in fact glanced it. It is out of the corner of your eye...the left one. Yet, your brain instantly matches the face with a memory and something lights up. The person walking in the street, about to cross your path, is someone you know. Perhaps an acquaintance or a distant relative because your first reaction is to duck or run. It is too late to cross the street and so you jump behind a tree that proves to be too willowy for your pudgy frame.
Yet, they see you and instantly smile. They approach you with that smile. You know that the coming five minutes of your life will be completely wasted. You pray to a higher force to rescue you somehow, but they refuse to grant you that wish. The hug you. Your insides get squished. You haven't seen them in a long while and so they seem to believe the hug has to be a long one. You start choking and their hair is all over your face. You don't want to eat hair.
They finally let you go. The physical torture has ended, now comes the social or rather mental torture. They ask you a series of questions about your life to which you have to present an answer that is two sentences or less. Think of it as a pop quiz, only you do not know the answers to those profound questions even though you have been searching your whole life. You have to condense your whole existence in a paragraph to satisfy a mere acquaintance who you will never (hopefully) see again.
It's a harrowing exercise, especially when they ask you if you are happy. As if I am going to gush to a mere stranger about my joy in life. Oh, wait, that is what people do now. I am just not in on it. My bad.
They are always very "happy" to see me. Strange because I wouldn't be happy to see me. I am always left to wonder how happiness has become such an empty word. I don't think people know what it should stand for anymore. It is so overused that it has lost its value. Soon it will join its sister "love" in an untimely death.
The good thing about the chance encounter is that it ends, always, well at least if you are lucky. Then, you go about your business and thank the universe that you remembered to brush your hair that day. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

If

If we suppose that we were randomly created out of a spark somewhere in the vast, seemingly black universe. From this spark, emerged the earth, people, plants, animals, and all those other things. If we suppose that no one made the decision of creating us, that there is no one beneath or above us. If we suppose that we live suspended between two imaginary ideas.

Then, all our faults are our own, heaven and hell are on earth and we become responsible for everything. The randomness of the universe becomes a factor in the equation, but not a dominating one. Then, we stop seeking truth and all the rules we created become meaningless, insofar as the after. Then, only the now persists and nothing else.

Then, why becomes obsolete and how takes its place.

It also means that neither good gets rewarded nor evil gets punished. There is no guardian. Suddenly, the thoughts and conversations you have in your head echoes, unheard and unknown. Then, there is no one laughing with you or keeping you together. When you walk down that dark street, jiggling your keys, singing out loud and looking left and right, no one is looking with you.

You become truly and completely alone. The heavens become a dark, empty space in which nothing resides. When you look up, no one looks back at you, and when you shout, your voice dissolves within the layers of darkness above. Existence ceases to matter, and is surpassed by survival. The glory is all in the now and the more you wait, the less you get. Ambition is no longer contemptible, but admirable, or even sought after.  

We are the universe and it is us. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

On getting older

I am at that age... where people my age are celebrating their children's (more than one child) birthdays. Those younger than me are getting married, some are even pregnant.

However, that is not the point. When you are outside the trending curve, it becomes hard to set a perimeter for yourself. Add to this the fact that you haven't really decided on your life's path yet or even found a career to which you may eternally dedicate yourself. However, with all of these thoughts floating away in your head, at one point in your existence, a kid calls you "aunt" and it dawns on you. There is a 20-year difference between me and that tiny person. That is a whole other human life. In fact, between me and that small individual, there are many other humans. 

Yes, I am getting old, but not in a negative sense, just in the sense that years are in fact passing. Despite the fact that I have achieved some things in my life, they don't really seem substantial or more specifically relevant. The things I have achieved have not enabled me to get closer to the answers I seek. In fact, I may be as distant as I first started. I doubt I even left square one. I may be running in circles inside the square. 

It is a huge square. I don't think I can even see the outlines of it.

I have been doing the same thing over and over again. Like the definition of a madman, I have been expecting different results. However, I cannot -for the life of me- find a break in the loop. Everything I do is similar to something I have done in the past. I am stuck.

Also, I feel like I have squandered my youth away. I have barely done anything, really. I mean I just worked and studied during most of the past years. It's depressing.

I find myself jealous of any young person who has already found their passion or ideal career or whatever. It's sad, but true.

Yet, I can't blame anyone but myself. The country I live in is a hard place, but there are others making something out of themselves in that same place. Everyday, I walk in the street and I hate myself and the people around me, but it is not the worst street in which you can walk. There are both better and worse streets. Lamenting how bad the street is won't change anything about it.

The thing is I can't pinpoint the wrong and neither can I pinpoint the right when it comes to my own life. I don't know why. It is a strange trend, because with everything else, I can tell you exactly what's wrong and what's right. My lack of knowledge to the possibilities and path of my life has become a persistent symptom of an unknown disease. I am sick of it.

The one thing I can assuredly tell you is that no one can fix your life. You have to do it yourself and most of the time, you don't have a clue. I entertain doubts about everything and even though that might be my problem, I find it hard to be certain about anything. Well, except coffee.

My mother tells me that she never really thought about life, but just lived it. I think she is Hamlet senior and I am Hamlet. She is the person who does things and I am the one who over-thinks everything and gets six other characters dead instead of one. I think that reading this play at an early might have messed me up.

In my defense, my thoughts are quite convincing.

I wonder what it would have been like if I was bubbly and thoughtless.

Of all the lives I have lived (I am an ancient soul), I believe this might be the most boring one.  

So, I think I should do different things. I don't have a clue what these things are, but I know that I need to travel more and stop caring about making sense.

This seems appropriate:


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Living in the moment

For years, people have been giving me the same piece of advice: live in the moment. I never really got it. How was I supposed to do that? Recently, I kind of began to understand it. It is the same as yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a present. You know, just let go of things. I get it, sometimes I try to do that. However, my question is what if the moment sucks?

I think the whole point is getting past that moment which sucks and into one that does not suck. I know, so lame. Anyway, I do not have some great wisdom to impart upon you. I think you should live however you want, but the one thing that you really should avoid is stress. It's a killer, and I mean literally. It messes with everything in your body and mind, and I think if you persist in being stressed out, you get used to it. Then, you can not let it go. It rather sticks to you. So, the point is get mad, then get even (lol), no, then get past it. It is not glamorous and it does not feel great, but afterwards you are sort of in peace. I think striving for peace is a good quest.

Also, self-loathing is very much on my mind these days. I am starting to attempt to move away from that. I have been a customer of self-loathing since my pre-teens, and I can tell you it gets you nowhere. So, I am trying to change that image. I think it helps if you become really honest with yourself and vocal with others. Do not let other people's problems fog your thinking process. If someone tells you something you do not like, immediately tell them to back down. It helps. Also, trying to face yourself. For instance, if you don't like looking at yourself in the mirror, do that. If you hate spending time alone, do that. If you seek out distractions so you don't think about yourself, stop distracting yourself. Another thing is to do something you love whether it's a sport or a hobby or just playing with your cat. Be honest about what you like and do that. Then the last thing is if you do not feel like sharing with people or you do not feel like you want something that others want, do not freak out. Do not think that it makes you bad or wrong to just be different. Often we fake our interests to fit in and I think it's one of the worst things you can do to your psyche.

At the end, just make the best out of awkward or bad situations. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

History, on repeat

My sister comes back from the club. Laughing, she tells me: "You wouldn't believe what I saw."
I am definitely intrigued, so I sit up and ask. My sisters have this quality about them that make their stories irresistible to me. I think it stems from my early childhood when I wouldn't agree to go to sleep unless they tell me a story. They used to take turns, telling me bedtime stories, sometimes of their own creation and sometimes from books (they used to change sad endings so I wouldn't fall asleep unhappy). I loved hearing stories especially about the famous duck, Batboota and her offspring. Batboota had many intriguing adventures.

Anyway my sister tells me: "I saw two young girls, riding their bikes. The older girl was riding a normal bike and the younger one was riding one with training wheels. The older girl was riding the bike really fast, while the younger one was struggling with her slow bike. So, she is trying to catch up with her sister, shouting: 'Sara, wait for me' and then I realized history repeats itself. We used to do the same thing."

It's true, I spent many days trying to catch up with my sisters while struggling with my eerily slow bike, begging them to wait for me, which they -of course- ignored. It was never a happy moment when I would finally reach them only to find out that they were going to race all the way back. Like Sisyphus, I was forced to push the literal bike instead of the metaphorical rock.

Yet, when I remember it now, I can't help but smile.

 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Malls and other things

I have become incapable of writing. I have no reason for that except maybe the lack of life? I don't really know. It's not like I had a life before. I never really did.

I hate malls. I really do hate malls. I used to tolerate them in the past, especially when I had some fake friends with whom I had fake outings and a fake love-interest. It was a very fake time of life. I never liked them though. My relationship with malls was kind of a summer affair, it happened just because of availability and it ended when it served its purpose. There is no depth in a summer affair, not if you do it right.

Yet, lately, I have come to hate them so much that being in a mall causes an acute case of depression that only coffee and a night at home can fix. I think what I hate about malls is the people in them and how they go about life being very normal. These are the bourgeoisie, right? The ones who are neither too shallow to waste life, but not to deep to shun it. They are just in the comfy middle part, where life moves in a brisk pace and there are always many things to do. They are the ones who are always busy because they just don't have the time. They are also the ones who have steady jobs and families that contains children. They push their toddlers in strollers, thus eliminating the toddling (yes, that's a word) involved. They go to the movies and eat popcorn while genuinely laughing at some mediocre comic sketch of a life they don't understand. They even laugh in melodramatic movies and eccentric films, while asking "what are they doing?" in an obnoxiously loud voice. They are not self-aware, and they don't usually respect personal space. They are always looking for a bargain and would trample on you to get to it. They live for the latest gadgets and usually spend their money on things they don't need to make themselves feel "relevant". They are the ones that empty a shop of all its clothes when the word "sale" is written.

There is nothing particularly wrong with them, not really. They are, in fact, very good at life. They are the ones who are admired by parents for being sensible, reasonable and family-people. They are not eccentric and they actually like to socialize. They usually marry at a young age and spend the rest of their lives raising their children. They work at high-paying multinationals and love fast food because it is, after all, "fast" and they have no time, remember?

They are nice, well-adjusted people. They are well-adjusted to society's expectations and society loves them. They have a relationship with the community that makes them the envy of the shunned and the unfortunate.

I don't want to be like them, but they do remind me how I suck at life so much, and for that I resent them and hate malls.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Life

Arrogance, we all suffer from it and we all have it.

It's true. Somehow, superiority is written within our DNA. You can try to deny it, but then you will be lying to yourself. You can be arrogant in different ways. For instance, you feel like you are morally superior to your peers, or have a better physical appearance or maybe smarter or more accomplished. Whatever it is, there is always something that makes you feel like you are just a couple of steps ahead of everyone else. In the race of life, you are one of the firsts.

And you love it.

Who wouldn't? We live in a world where superiority is celebrated and in some instances, rewarded. First world vs. third world; upper class vs. lower class, religious vs. atheist, etc... Yeah, yeah, we all repeat the phrases that make us "accepted" in the overly generalized eyes of the collective: "we are all equal"; "God treats us all the same", etc..

Let's face it, God does not treat us all the same. Even in the eyes of the law, those who have connections and leverage win and even unfortunate people treat other unfortunate people like crap. The only reason people want to stand out is to have leverage over others.We are a race that values superiority, well, until it goes against us, that is.When we are inferior, the world becomes unbearable.

No one wants to finish last in the race even when are all headed towards the same ending. Imagine running and running towards the finish line, glancing behind and seeing everyone else tripping and you grin. Then you cross the finish line to trip into a giant pit.

Well, that's life for you.




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Good Thing

I am going to start this post with a sort of citation of one of the theorists I am using in my thesis. It's not a quotation, but just a rewording of what he wrote. I am not doing this for the sake of showing off my information, but I think it's relevant to what I am going to write.

Basically, John Stuart Mill said that a right action induces happiness and a wrong action induces sadness (or something to that effect). I am not going to discuss all of what he wrote or whether I agree with it or not. I am just going to take this sentence out of context and use it for my own sake.

According to the previous statement when a good thing happens, one should be happy, which is the best thing in the world, and Mill actually tied it with morality. The point is good thing= happiness. I think we can all agree on that.

So, what is a good thing?
  1. If you want something, and you get it.
  2. When you achieve something you have been working on for a long time.
  3. Surprise experiences that prove worthy.
  4. Traveling 
  5. Books
  6. Good movies
  7. Awesome music
  8. Friends
  9. Hobbies
  10. A nice compliment from a stranger
  11. A walk in cloudy weather
  12. An ART MUSEUM!
  13. Rain
Of course, there are more good things in the world, probably some of those things cannot really be put down into words. The point is when something good happens, you should be happy.

So, my question to John Stuart Mill, What is wrong with me? Huh?



Monday, November 05, 2012

Hollow

I wrote this a while ago and submitted it somewhere, but I guess it didn't work out because I never heard back. I figured I'd post it here since I haven't written anything in a while. 


“I feel empty,” she said out loud midst the pitch black darkness. She stared into oblivion, and wondered if anything out there stared back. She continued to blink, trying hard to see that which is hidden.

She fell asleep daring the abyss inside her to respond.

The morning shone, allowing flittering rays to enter through the flimsy curtain that hung by the window. The rays fluttered through the room until they landed on her face, urging her to rise. She felt their warmth on her face. Drowsily, she rose from her place of rest and sat by the side of the bed.

She felt different. For the first time in a long while, the hunger that she always woke up with was missing. She shrugged it off and proceeded with her morning routine. It was not until she started to change her clothes that she noticed a change.

As she pulled off her t-shirt, standing only in her bra, she fleetingly took a look at a side mirror and realized what was different. She would have screamed and fainted, but sadly she was not that kind of girl. She couldn’t scream, and to her horror, her body refused to faint.
She stepped closer to the mirror, staring at the back of the room, through her stomach, which ceased to exist.

She slapped herself.

It was still there, the gaping hole that somehow devoured all of her abdomen. Instead of her jiggly, fat-filled stomach, there was a square hole beginning just under her chest and ending at her belly button, which was no longer there.

She checked if any other part of her body was missing; only her abdomen.

She got a pair of scissors and cut through the tip of her thumb. It bled red blood. She was still alive as she still could sense pain. She wondered if maybe that was hell; some kind of manifestation of Sartre’s No Exit with a twist.

She tried the door of her room; it fell wide open at the jiggle of the handle. She stepped outside of her room and she could clearly hear the noise of her household. Her sisters discussing politics loudly, her mother giving directions to the cook, the crackling of newspapers, the clang of utensils, the doorbell…

“Life has not stopped. This cannot be hell,” she thought.

She put on her t-shirt and went downstairs. Her mother was the first to greet her.

“You are not dressed? You will be late for work. Would you like to have some breakfast?” she asked before she kissed her daughter on the cheek.

“Umm, no, thank you,” she replied hesitantly, “dad, may I speak to you for a few minutes?” she asked her father, who was hidden behind the newspaper he was reading.
“Of course,” he replied, “is something the matter?” he asked as he walked towards her.
“No I just need to show you something, in the study,” she responded as she gestured towards the study.
They went inside.
“I need you to stay calm and not panic. Ok?” she warned.
“OK,” he said nervously.
She lifted her t-shirt just a tiny bit to reveal the vacuum underneath it.
“Is that a new computer trick or something?” he asked suspiciously.
“No, my stomach is missing.”
“I don’t understand,” he responded.
“I woke up and found this hole. I think I need to go to the hospital,” she explained.
Her father still stared at the vacuum, unflinching, trying to understand.
“How is that even possible?” he asked the air around them rather than his daughter, “OK, just do not tell your mother. Get dressed,” he ordered.

The trip to the hospital was a silent one. Other than her father’s erratic driving and a few curse words here and there, no one said anything.
She was not worried, but rather amazed. It was something you read in fictional novels, not experience. Involving people in it made it materialize even more; it was more real and pronounced. She saw the dumbfounded look on the usually calm and collected doctor. He scratched his head, looked more intently at “it”, all while clutching the clipboard to his chest as if it was his childhood teddy bear. He excused himself, and when he returned there was a plethora of doctors with him. Medical professionals from every specialization, all looking dumbfoundedly at “it”.

The prognosis: they have never seen anything like it.

It was official; she was a freak, a hollow freak. She was also a case study: emails were sent, videos were shot and tests were done. In a week, everyone knew; someone leaked the video on the internet titling it “Hollow Girl” and the whole world was suddenly witness to her transformation. The public demanded confirmation that “it” was real. Some considered it a sign; however each person had a different explanation: it was the end of the world; she was the chosen one; she is the devil’s child; she must have sinned…

No one knew anything, but for a brief time, the world seemed to stand still as they all stared at “it” just like her father, the doctors and herself. “It” was hypnotic. Just like the Monalisa’s eyes, “it” drew you in and would never let you go. She often found it hard to stop staring at “it” in the mirror. Her mother was not fond of “it”, and she would often instruct her daughter not to lift her shirt and stare.

“It will all be over soon, dear. They will find a solution,” she would reassure herself more than her daughter as she straightened out the house. It was all she seemed to do ever since it happened; she would clean everything and anything, all the time. At one time, when the whole house was spotless, her mother got a bucket filled with water and started cleaning all the cars outside their apartment building. The neighbors were pleasantly surprised.

By the end of the month, there was a published medical study by the same group of doctors who first examined her and were now carefully monitoring her. An excerpt read: “the case subject has no stomach or intestines. The body seemed to have rerouted its whole circulation, bypassing the digestion process entirely. The subject is no longer capable of feeling hungry, and also no longer capable of eating due to the inability to process food. She is kept alive through glucose IVs and other intravenous drugs.”

The one positive, if one could called it that, result of “it” was weight loss. She had always been chubby, something she has struggled with her whole life. However, in less than a month, she withered down to a normal looking person. By the end of the second month, she was skinny, and by the end of the third, she was stringy. She did not look like her former self. No one was capable of recognizing her, but they still wanted to stare at “it”. No one could resist. Children poked through the space, adults tried to tell them not to, but it was too much fun for them to refrain themselves.

One unexpected twist was the branding. After a few weeks, she officially became “Hollow Girl”. No one seemed to remember her name, and she wondered whether she remembered it herself. Her former life seemed like a distant memory. Companies approached her to sponsor their products, and magazines wanted to take her photos, especially after all that weight loss. She was the dream of every fashion designer: no fear of a bulging stomach. She had an elegant spread of her modeling all sorts of midriff-baring outfits. In between shots, her nurse, who accompanied her everywhere, would hook her IV, so that she would not collapse.
It took a lot of liquid to keep her alive, and any extra effort would result in her collapse. The doctors warned her of slipping into a coma if she was not careful. So, she had to save calories by keeping as still as possible. At one time, she spent hours looking out of the window at a fly, whizzing around a piece of rotten fruit. She was mesmerized by the motion. She identified with the half-eaten, rotten fruit, withering away at the fly’s tentacles. Life was the fly.

She tried to milk the situation as best she could. She took any job that was offered despite her parents’ objection. They even made an action figure and a comic book based on her. Her weapons were safely tucked away in her hollow abdomen. Another rendition of the comic book figure allowed a life-sucking storm to emanate from her hollowness. A special compartment built by a brainy scientist made her capable of controlling it. “It” became a source of threat for the world as the storm could suck the whole universe in: she was a human-made black hole. This rendition was not very famous with the children, who would cry and scream every time they saw her, so it got cancelled.

By the end of the year, she was famous and rich. They wanted her to publish a book about her “ordeal”, but she did not have anything to say. She knew nothing about her transformation. She did not know why or how it happened, and despite everything that happened, she did not feel any different. The emptiness within her was even more pronounced now than ever. She saw it every day and “it” stared at her, reminding her of her dare.

After all, the abyss did respond. She became the abyss. She would forever be defined by the abyss, which happened to be the one thing she hated. She had nothing to say about it, and she did not want to explain it. She preferred that each person would make their own assumptions about “it”. She preferred them to think and wonder what “it” meant, rather than defining “it” for them.

Meanwhile, she was withering away more and more each day. A blog that an amateur writer kept about her let people know how she was doing. She had millions of followers on social media sites, and she received emails from everyone; some hated her and others loved her, but everyone knew that her end was near. Some posted teary videos about their sadness, while others rejoiced that the “abomination” would soon perish: a sign of the triumph of good.

She was confined to her bed most of the time, slipping in and out of consciousness as her body finally registered the loss. She often dreamed of strange fantasies while out of consciousness. When she opened her eyes, someone sat beside her. As the world came into focus, she realized it was him.

“Hi,” he said with a warm voice, stifled with oodles of pity.
“Have you come to watch the freak die?” she asked in a frail voice.
“You can’t give me a break, can you?”
“I don’t think you deserve one,” she answered with a smile, “why are you here?”
“I came to see you,” he answered.
“Why? To pity me?”
“I thought we were friends,” he said faintly.
She managed to utter a squeaky laugh, which made her instantly dizzy, “we were never friends,” she retorted.
“Did I cause this?” he asked with earnest concern.
“You always had a great ego.”
“This isn’t an answer,” he snapped.
“It wasn’t much of a question, either” she said, feeling dizzier than before and then she slipped out of consciousness again.

Her dreams that time was about him. She felt herself curse in her dreams.
When she woke up, it was morning and he was gone. She found herself hoping he would be there, but she knew that if he was good at something, it was departing. So, he departed.

When the nurse came, she asked for a bath. She could no longer move, but she was light enough for a normal weighted woman to carry her. She would not let any of her family do anything for her, but depended entirely on her nurse; she was also very compassionate and understanding.

She liked the feeling of water going through her. Although it reminded her of her emptiness, it was amusing to see the bubbles of water emerging from “it” as she began to sink to the bottom of the tub. It was also the only thing she could do without anyone bothering her. She missed diving in a great expanse of water, and sitting in the tub was the best she could do. She was able to dive in the sea only once since the beginning of her hollowness, and it was one of the most difficult and yet invigorating things she had ever done.
She could only sit in the tub for a short while so as not to upset her body’s temperature.

The doctors said it was only a few days away, the end, that is. She wondered what it would feel like, and although it would be very easy to end her life any time now, she refused. She did not want to make it easy for the universe. If she was to be consumed by her emptiness, then the universe was the one to do it. After all, it was its job.

He came again, this time during the morning.
“You left,” she said as soon as she saw him.
“Only after you fainted. I stayed for a few hours hoping you’d come around, but you didn’t,” he answered, limply.
“Excuses, excuses,” she said, smiling.
“You’re in a good mood.”
“I just had a bath.”
“You always loved the water,” he added, touching her hand.
“And you always hated it,” she said as she retracted her hand.
“Only when I can’t breathe,” he explained, an expression of annoyance on his face.
“Read to me,” she implored.
“I’d rather talk.”
“There is nothing to be said. Just read to me. Take the blue book and start from where the bookmark is.”
He unwillingly complied. The book was Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, and the bookmark opened to The Daisy.
She closed his eyes as he read to her; she always loved his voice. His reading was flawless; he paused at every full stop, animated the text with tonalities and most of all, he made it seem alive. She could picture every word he uttered in her mind’s eye. It was as if she was reading the tale herself.

After he read the last sentence, he looked up to find her eyes closed. He panicked for a moment, thinking that she had passed, but when he touched her cheek, she woke up. His face was close to her own as he knelt beside her. His hand still rested on her pale face, and she was staring directly in his honey-colored eyes.
“You know it’s illegal to molest sick people, right?” she said.
He laughed, but said nothing. He just brushed her hair off her face, and continued to look at her.
“You are not the cause,” she uttered after several minutes of silence, “I don’t think there is a cause.”
He became teary eyed as he looked at her, and then he buried his face in his hands.
“Do you think I am the daisy or the bird? They both perish at the end, but I think I am the bird,” she said, trying to dissipate the situation. She was always good at comforting him.

“You are neither. You are you,” he said after rubbing his eyes.
“Now, you are just quoting Dr. Seuss,” she smiled, “the bird and I share the same emptiness, I guess.”
“You were never empty to me,” he replied.
“Just remember me like I used to be, whatever that was. OK?” she implored.
“Always,” he replied as he clutched her hand.

She passed away with him clutching her hand, with the emptiness within her, with the world watching and pitying, and with her never knowing why or what happened. She perished like the bird, neglected when whole, discarded when empty.
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