Table for Three

I try to look through the foggy glass windowpane to a far away escape.
My agony drown in the absence of tears and apologies.
Questions rushing through my fragile mind.
The endless waiting, the future without our past, the changed heart without warning, the intrusion of our love, all these heartaches I can’t put into words…

Thank you MasticadoresIndia for publishing one of my short writing pieces. And thank you Terveen for the summary notes in the comment section. I am honoured if you would visit, read the full story and explore more good writings on their site.

The Great Wall


If you ask me about the splendid of the great wall, I’d be too ashamed to admit that I have any connection to it. I would go so far to even deny that I am Chinese.

In 1997, Beijing’s summer was hot and dry. After an unsatisfactory meal, I was dragged to go along to see the Great Wall. I couldn’t think of anything worse to do. I would have been a lot happier to stay in the cheap hotel and enjoy a mouth watering watermelon in air-con.

The tourist bus took us all the way up to the top. People had already been queueing up to walk the Great Wall. I got off the bus, physically felt sick. My stomach was churning and I was about to throw up. My companions were in a dilemma. I saved their disappointment by excusing myself to the bathroom and asked them to go ahead to climb the Wall without me.

A bit of a breeze cooled my head. My stomach started to settle. I saw loads of people gradually disappearing like a snake crawling along the Great Wall. I sat on a chair in one of the stalls. The owner offered a service to write a poem based on my full name on a banner with a Chinese calligraphy brush. I had some time to myself and was curious to see what he would come up with. In less than two minutes, he skilfully moved his brush and created a four-line poem with seven characters in each line. I was beyond impressed by his talent. His interpretation of my name gave a new meaning with blessings and depth.

I could not help but thought that’s my reward for not offending the ghosts by trampling their grave where the Great Wall laid upon. The Great Wall of China was built on human sweat, blood and lives, a place where the crows kept coming back for carcasses buried long ago.

The Promise Ring

You are so far away from me now.
If not for your long shadow, I wouldn’t have remembered us.
All our past was edited into this novel for someone out there to read.
My bookshelves are filled with read books except this one.
The Coke can pull-tab bookmarked the page where he proposed to her with that promise ring.
The innocence of pure love stopped me from reading the rest of the tragedy.

Centrifugation

Denise’s Six Sentence Story word prompt – Coffee


We used to think of our future as retirees.
You would be content to tie our boat to the pier at sunset, with or without fish for dinner, while I would dream that you played the harmonica in nostalgic tunes by the sea.

We wanted simple things until we didn’t want them anymore, unintentionally.
There had been this period of vacant time, spinning too fast and too wild.
We lost hold of each other, and we lost our substance as one.

I often imagine, the day I learn to forget the past, and you learn to play the harmonica, we will share coffees together like two perfect strangers who fall in love all over again.

The Girl in The Wardrobe

The sound of the wardrobe door closes is the best sound in the whole wide world. The wardrobe is like a hedger keeps the outside noise away. Mum’s endless sighing, sometimes sobbing…Dad’s jokes which only his drunk friends would laugh and his limited praising phases: that’s my girl… you are smarter than me and your mum tally up, or just shouting:” what the fuck is wrong with the internet now….fuck the copper WiFi shit…..”

Before we moved into this house, I had to screen out these noises by playing music in hip hop, house, trap genres with my earphones on. I felt my hearing was declining. My school friends told me I couldn’t hear them most of the time. I had headaches sometimes because so much noise.

This house is great, it is only a rental, but it is heaps better than the house we had before, solely for this full length wardrobe. It smells timber and feels grainy. When I close the door, it muffles a bit, but it is so quiet. I finally remove the earphones and stop playing the music. I read, write, draw and play on my tablet.

Winter vocation is coming. I am so excited because I can spend more time tuck away in the wardrobe. I have prepared a blanket and a cushion so I can even take my nap in this world of mine. Oh I also pulled out the reading lamp from the storage. It’s one of those rechargeable lamps with a clipping end. I envision myself reading under the warm light after diner in a cold winter evening.

The trashy TV sound, the storm created by human beings, the agony caused by unhappy marriage and unemployment, are all shut out by this squeaky timber wardrobe door. That is how my childhood will be preserved. I am determined that as long as I have my sanctuary in this wardrobe, I will grow up to be happy.

Lucky Strike

A six sentence story Word prompt – Strike

When Lucy grew up, the world was a lot different; kids were allowed to buy cigarettes and alcohol in the local grocery stores, mostly for their parents and relatives.

Lucy used to skip down the street in her red plastic flip flops, tightly held the money in her little hand; when she arrived at the grocery store, she reached her hand to the much taller counter and said “A pack of Lucky Strike please”.

The shopkeeper was curious to find out where was the sound coming from as he could not see any customer in his store; “A pack of Lucky Strike please for my Papa.”, this time the little hand was waving the five-dollar note to attract the shopkeeper’s attention.

“Ah, hello you, little one!”;
“My Papa said five dollars to you and two dollars and seventy five cents change for me.”;
“Your Papa is right little one.”
The shopkeeper took the five dollar note, handed back a pack of red Lucky Strike and two dollars and seventy five cents in change.
“Thank you sir!”;
“Oh wait, here is a sweet for you, for being such a good girl.”

Red has been Lucy’s favourite colour which reminds her of being a good girl in her red plastic flip flop, red Lucky Strike in hand and a raspberry red candy on her tongue, a sweet memory of her childhood.

In Your World

Six sentence story word prompt – stroke


I am dreading to walk the long sterile corridor leading to your room, which looks extra clinical today.

There is only duty left, instead of any maternal attachment, that I am here every week to see you.

I am a bit envious that you don’t remember my name; you don’t hold me in your arms like you used to; but you stroke the plush cat I brought in like you used to with the family ginger cat.

I don’t understand the world you are living in Mama. You are talking to a toy cat like you always did in front of my teary eyes, and yet you are so far away from me.

Second Best

There were three persons in that relationship. He probably didn’t realise, but she was acutely aware from day one. She had learned to trust her instincts which was a God given gift.

Love is a complicated thing as much as it is plain and simple. There was no room for three. She didn’t show up in his life and serve as a pick-me-up because he was toyed around by his goddess who he worshipped endlessly. The illusive and may-be-one-day possibility hanged over his mind and their new found relationship.

Love is a beautiful thing. It can make you forget any sadness and insufficiency. But time is a cruel reminder. Any newness and rawness eventually wore off. Old habits and feelings crept back in. After all, she was his second best. She couldn’t work out what happened and what changed.

Love is fragile, and it breaks so easily. A slip off the careless hand, a snuffle by unexplainable silence, or a hesitation that lasted a little too long, all shattered in pieces at once. It was a sad reality really, no one came out undone from that crowded room, even it was only in the head space. Our minds set us free as much as imprison us. She chose to fly far away from their love maze and wanted no part in it for self preservation, and she was right, all along.

Fly fly away

When I was little, I loved dragonflies. I lied still by the riverbank and waited for them to land on me, and they did, on the hem of my skirt, on my hair. I was amazed by how trusting they were.

Then there were boys who chased them away, from me. I tried to turn up at the riverbank at different times of the day, so the boys could not find me. But they always did. They brought roasted peanuts and threw shells at me, sometimes cow dung. I wasn’t bothered by their ‘attack’ because I knew that’s the way boys showed interest. I was annoyed by their disturbance of my special time with the dragonflies.

One day I told my uncle that the boys threw peanut shells and cow dung at me by the riverbank. He started to take the buffalo for a wash in the river in mid mornings, and my aunties washed their clothes in the afternoons in the river.

I reunited with the dragonflies in peace and tranquillity. And that was the highlight of my summer holidays at my grandparents’ farm besides slid down the banana tree and ripped my skirt to shreds, but that is another story for another time.

Lotus

Denise’s Six Sentence Story word prompt – Detour

“The Lotus Award goes to Sage Holmes, CEO of the Detour House Women’s foundation.” Her eyes well up in a room full of standing ovation. She is wearing a white dress to receive this life time contribution award among a group of passionate servants who are just like her, spend their lives tirelessly fighting for women’s safety and providing a roof over their heads.

Thirty three years ago, she was one of those women, without a voice, drug addicted and worked in a brothel where she hardly saw any sunlight. There was this Salvation Army woman, chubby and always brought freshly baked cookies to have a cup of tea and a chat with the girls. Her smile was bright and her hugs were warm; she was hope and their only connection to the normality of the outside world.

“I am grateful for this acknowledgement, and I owe it to that Salvation Army woman who baked us cookies and always reminded us by saying ‘ God made you girls like Lotus, living in mud but as pure as snow.’ Thank you!”