Evolution But I was Still Sad
He was happy when he was with his beloved and his closest friends. He would smile, laugh and often joke around the stupidest of things. People would consider him as someone friendly, but somewhat distant in certain topics and occasions. His smile was not that beautiful and underneath his joking self, he was clouded by dangerous thoughts. He wanted to give up. He really wanted to.
On that day, the sun was shining brighter than usual and his wallet was, unsurprisingly, empty. His money was not that much due to an incident at the road when he was driving his family car. He was sleepy and exhausted. Well, the rest was totally his fault, but strangely enough, he didn't feel guilt. It was strange for everyone, but he wasn't.
On his motorcycle, the sounds of music from his earphones sounded quieter than it should. His eyes were tired and his head felt like it was hit by a sledgehammer. His hands were too tired to hold the throttle and his legs were bruised due to another accident whilst playing badminton.
He sighed and continued his 30-minute journey to the office. An office not too far away and not too close; the perfect distance. Sadly, the traffic was awful and it was honestly torturous. He wasn't in a particularly good mood, but he didn't have any other choice than what he got. If they would just gave him the proper compensation for his work, this feeling of desperation, depression and fatigue would just slightly dissipate. A little while of peace would be great.
The office was empty in the morning and everyone was late, even him. His laptop was sleeping neatly on top of his desk and he forgot to pull the curtains down yesterday. His work for today was still a mystery but his guess was it would be done late at night. It was 11 AM and his usual schedule would let him go home at 6 or 7 PM. Unfortunately for him, that was never the case.
He sighed deeper this time. He put his head on the edge of the table, face looking on to the wooden flooring. He tried his best not to shed a tear or even hit the table with enough force to bruise his fist. He tried his best to endure and be patient. He tried his best to become a better person, but why did it felt like it was all in vain.
This pain of existing and surviving almost disappeared after he met his then-beloved a year ago, but as time went on, this pain just came and hit him just as hard. He wished if there was a God laughing at him at that moment, please do give him a break; a minor success would make him overjoyed, but even that was science fiction.
He hoped that it would be a great day. He really hoped that things would get better as soon as he prayed, but even the act of praying meant nothing if his mind was already on the process of giving up. He thought that his epitaph would be just a laughing crying emoji. He thought it would be funny and hopefully, it won't even come to that.
He wished. He could only wish.
Goodnight. We hope that he would be as happy as the story said.
A cold and piercing gaze through my soul. Looking at her eyes was similar to seeing the sun with the naked eye. The ocean blue colour was beautiful, but distant. She gave me a smirk and a laugh. Unbeknownst to her, in my heart, I was surprised and a little scared of her. For her, it may seem like a joke or even the funny feeling of meeting a stranger's eyes. For me, however, I was seeing my own death and it was looking at me as fiercely as hers.
Bitter Swollen Eyes.
It was around 8 PM. Margaret was sitting inside a classroom, alone. The night sky shined into the classroom through the windows; only glimmers of moonlight was present amongst the darkness. The white ceramic flooring always had a distinct smell to it, although nothing that she could describe in detail; it smelled similar to clay, alcohol and a little bit of jasmine. She pulled her head into the whiteboard, looking at drawings that the students made a couple hours ago.
Margaret, a young soon-to-be teacher, was not ready. The classroom itself was small and packed, but there were enough spaces for kids around the age of 10 to run around freely. The gaps between each desk was around 40 cm, but the children wasn't always that kind to them.
Margaret, a 22 years old aspiring to be an English teacher, was small in size and quite frail due to a sickness a long time ago. She coughed and the sound echoed inside the empty room. Unfortunately, the smell of wood, chalk and crayons were intoxicating to her lungs. Alas, she still sat perfectly on one of the wooden chairs.
Her eyes welled up. It wasn't her fault and in fact, it wasn't even the children's. It wasn't even the creepy older teacher that constantly flirted with her. It wasn't even her mother that forced her to go here and be a substitute for a full year. It wasn't anyone's fault, yet her eyes bawled like she was a 7 years old that lost her mother in a supermarket.
The cold, clear glass window was the only thing bridging her from the outside world. The playground next to the running track next to the storage room near the exit gate. The trees were swaying back and forth slowly due to the winds, there were cats running around chasing each other and there were a couple of janitors left cleaning the parks. A security guard shined his flashlight right into her face. A quick smile and a quick nod from him then he walked off, continuing his night patrol.
The corridor outside was also quiet, except the occasional sounds of water dripping and footsteps from a distance. Nobody should know that she was there that night and the reason that she cried.
Standing up, chest held high, she walked outside with a notebook, a pen, a sweater and a beanie. The corridor was colder, yet somehow warmer.
Too Little Time to Change.
The wind was blowing south. Since childhood, Isabelle was taught to always look out for the sun whenever possible. At 2 PM, the sun would be lower than the countless skyscrapers surrounding her. At 7 AM, the sun would have this yellow tint to it, not quite orange. At 5 PM, the sun felt the nicest; all the rays would caress her pale white skin gently.
This habit of hers, that has been built by her parents, was something that she hated thoroughly. It reminded her of a time where she wasn't her and a time where the world was just not right. She immediately stray from the trance and finally come to her destination for this afternoon.
A small Italian restaurant at the edge of the street, across the police station, and right next to the pharmacy. That place was a friend of Isabelle's dad. Fortunately for her, even after her plastic surgery, Mr. Maxwell would always still recognize her. He would always say that Isabelle's smile was indistinguishable from anyone else's.
"Isabelle!" He shouted from the kitchen, although not even seeing her figure coming in. He walked outside and his footsteps echoed slightly on the checkered black and white ceramic floor. He wore a white apron stained by countless years of serving spaghetti and meatballs. He gave her a big smile before coming close for a hug.
"It's always nice to see you coming once in a while." His huge figure towered Isabelle's and his beard was rubbing towards her short black hair. Different from before, after the surgery, Isabelle felt a sense of unease because it felt way tighter and cramped than usual. Whether it was because of him not being used to what I looked like now or whether I became monumentally smaller than how I was before, it felt distinct from before.
"How's the restaurant?" It was 6.15 PM and the usually-crowded restaurant was almost empty besides a couple of people eating at their own tables. Isabelle's thoughts were filled with assumptions, but was too afraid to asked directly. For her, the man that is sitting in front of her was a part of her family. One that she intended to leave behind a couple years ago.
"So-so. I guess opening an Italian restorant while not being Italian yourself is a hard thing to do." He chuckled quietly; it sounded much like a pirate. Under his breath, he was sighing due to stress. "I guess this city never wanted an Italian restaurant sitting on its street." His voice was ever so slightly quivering; he sounded tired, but his smile was preventing her to comfort him more than this.
"Have you called Phillip lately?" One thing that she loathed about her uncle was his reluctance to share about anything negative. She understood that was something that should stay away from children's ears but this year, Isabelle turned 26. That being said, in the past couple of years, Isabelle have been growing significantly; she was more mature than ever.
"A couple of times, but not long. Most of the time it was for a split second because of our schedule clashing." She lied as easy as stating an answer based on reality. It was a habit that she wanted to unlearn, but it was always much easier to lie than tell the truth and face it head-on.
"That's.... good. That's good to hear." His voice felt different; slightly lower in tone and it sounded odd. After noticing it, her stomach sunk and a terrible pain striked her heart.
"I think it's okay. Sometimes we just need more time in the oven. Pizza isn't made in a jiffy. All we need is more time to... do everything again the right way."
"I think it's okay, Isabelle."
His smile was wide and kind. This was the moment she waited for. Maxwell's smile reminded her of a simpler times, far away from the torture that is adult life in United States of America.
"Thank you, Uncle. I guess... I do need more time in the oven." She laughed whilst holding both of her hands covering her mouth. The breeze coming from the AC was, strangely enough, warm.
"It was genuinely awful. He was too weird for me."
"Just... a feeling, you know. Nothing noticeable, just a feeling of mine."
"You sound... Do you not trust me on this?"
"Hey, it's not like that. You, of all people, know that I know that you are too critical of people, especially to someone that you eventually date."
"I just want to find that person, you know. That single person that is going to be someone I will eventually marry."
"Sounds oddly innocent for someone like you."
"Well, because I am."
"Don't make me laugh."
"That's beside the point. I just wanted to find that perfect someone."
"Not perfect per se, but definitely someone that is ready to care for me for a long time."
"You could say that... How about you? How was your date?"
"We really hit it off immediately, but have a vibe on her that I don't particularly like."
"Speaks too much?"
"I was the one who spoke most of the time."
"Not a good listener?"
"She's a really good one, so it must not be that."
"What did she wear?"
"A black long dress."
"Shit, that is your type."
"Yeah! She also had dyed blonde hair on top of her natural black hair."
"Is she good with her family?"
"She's super close with her sister. Currently living with her."
"That's why. I really couldn't explain it."
"Maybe she's just... too different from the people you've met."
"She's not close-minded, she's quiet but understanding, she's beautiful and actually good with her family; she's basically an alien to you."
"I don't know. Everything should just lead up to me falling in love with her deeper, but I just... didn't."
"What do you think?"
"What do I think, what?"
"Should I just let this go on for a while, maybe it's just too soon for me."
"I think I'm not that... qualified to say that. You should make that decision. I really don't know."
"C'mon. Just need a little help."
"I don't know... Sorry."
"It's okay. Just tell me a yes or a no tomorrow or any other day. Sorry for pressuring you."
"So... what are you planning to do today? I actually got a place that I really want to try out. A sushi place, but it's like a mix between Japanese and Middle Eastern. It sounds weird but hey, that-
"I said no."
"Just... I want you here."
"Okay. I'll be here."
I’m the one at fault.
It was supposed to be the first time we would take our relationship further. We were scared but excited. Not because of the sex, but rather, it's finally the time that both of us felt trust with each other. God knows I need it.
"Hi, honey. I'm already prepared everything for our anniversary. I hope you are too. Love you." I sent her a text message, around 3 PM, precisely after my day job ended. I was excited, really excited. Even my colleagues noticed the wide smile stapled into my face. Congratulations, baby. They would say, with the biggest grin on their faces and some of them hugged me whilst pecking me on the cheeks. "Thank you," I answered them, whilst moving to my work quarters to finish everything for that day.
"Are you waiting for someone? You seemed happy... more than usual, I guess." Father, around a week before, commented on how I looked before the company meeting. I was wearing a black dress, that covered my torso, my thighs and the upper half of my arm. There are frills around my hips, and I wore 2 black earrings. I wore the ring that he gave for last year's anniversary; a rose pink titanium ring on my middle finger. "Thank you, dad. I've been feeling better, these days. Thank you for noticing." I gave him a huge smile. He gave me a smile back and moved forward to hug me.
"I'm finally out. I'll see you soon." A short text message appeared. I smirked. "I'll be waiting." I took another sip of the hot chocolate and took a bite of the donut that I just bought. After a moment, I found myself looking at a teenager, that was sitting on the other side of the cafe. He had a lit cigarette in his mouth, a pair of sunglasses in front of his eyes and a single pink earring on his left ear. He looked angry, for some unknown reason. After a while, he looked at me. We were looking at each other for a while before I gave him a smile and leaving my table. I couldn't let this bother me, I thought to myself.
"Are you on the way there?" Josephine called. "Yeah. The traffic's a bit shitty though." I heard her clicking her tongue. "Okay. Just be safe okay? A big day ahead of us, or rather, ahead of you." She laughed quietly. I could only answer with a quiet nod. "I feel happy, you know. Really, really, really happy." "I know." She hung up suddenly.
"I'm already here. Where are you? Just making sure. Love you, be safe." I gave him another message. I found twiddling my thumbs erratically. I was excited. I turned my head into a mirror next to me and fixed everything that I could fix. My lipstick, my eyelashes, my eyebrows, my cheeks, the short white dress that I wore, the black-red high heels, my brown-colored wavy hair. I need to be perfect, it's a big day. Whilst waiting for the chaperone to come, I found myself giggling quietly under my breath. I can't wait.
"On my way. Traffic." Another short message appeared. "Ok." I typed on the keyboard of my phone and then send the two letters. I looked at the clock above the elevator, 6.44 PM, it said. He was always late, so I didn't really notice anything out of the ordinary. I, again, found myself fixing my appearance countless times. Then, I continued twiddling my thumbs again, more erratic by the moment. My face became paler, my eyes felt heavy, my stomach's growling, my heels are hurting. But, I still found myself waiting, and waiting in the lobby of the 4-star hotel on the outskirts of the city.
"8.11" I typed on my chat with him but held my thumb to press the send button. I turned my head in the mirror, and gave myself a smile. My cheeks hurt. "It's okay, Madam. You look stunning today." Said Jonas, a janitor in my office. I nodded, smiled and walked past him to get to the elevator. "It's okay. I look stunning, anyways." It's a big day for us.
Tonight’s the Night
The blood dripping from the gaping wound I made for myself. A birthday gift that actually lasted for a long time, the trauma, at the very least, would stay. The abundance of bloodstained tissues filled the trash can that's right beside my door. I turned around and looked at the clock. It's been around 2 hours since the initial incident, yet the blood's still vigorously flowing, although reduced slightly. I could feel my senses weakening; from my ever-blurry eyesight, my dull sense of touch and my quiet, hoarse voice when I opened my dry lips.
I let myself fell into the ground. The floor felt cold, but my skin felt even colder, especially because of the flow of blood surrounding my body. It was only supposed to be a usual Saturday evening, I previously thought. I focused my already-blurred vision to the ceiling; I felt cramped.
By the minute, my breathing began to collapse, and I found myself, couple of times, to loss my breath. I tried to control the tears from falling, and it was suprisingly easy. I'm this near to my grave, yet I'm scared. I couldn't let myself open my mouth, let out a loud shriek, to call out my parents in the other room. I'm better off dead, right? Again, my thoughts weren't on my side.
It would become a collection of single line scars that I could cover with a long-sleeves t-shirt for a period of 2 to 3 weeks, was my initial thought when I grab the cold, metal cutter blade.
One wrong step or an absence of a single scream, would result in my death at a young age of 15. Followed to a trip to hell, meeting God, opening my mouth and uttering a single string of words :
"I'm sorry, I'm not strong enough."
The next hour, I found myself in the emergency room, stabbed with a syringe filled with anesthesia around 20 times, my wounds stitched by a young doctor in his mid-20s. "What happened?" They would ask to me.
"I fell." A lie that even they would turn a blind eye to, especially my parents. "I'm sorry." I would continue afterwards, and then let myself feel the needle stitching my skin.
It wasn't what I envisioned to be the end of my life, and the scars of that moment stayed with me 2 years after. Both as a reminder and a reassurance. I could only blissfully ignore everything, until I got the courage to fight it again.
Not particularly. Writing is just another form of storytelling. It's quite the same with movies, games, music. The differences between them are the added features that they have, because of the media used. Let me explain.
Movies are in the visual media, and a film should reliably use that bonus media as a way to enhance the story. That's why there's a common saying of "Show, don't tell." Within a film, you can tell a story, using only the visual medium. Either by creative cinematography, use of perspective and experimenting with the editing.
Games have the benefits of interactivity. As people who play games, most of the time, we want to do what we want to do, expect it's for a quest or a task or something else. We can more freely pick our own decisions, and if it's a story-based game, we could relate more to our characters, because essentially, we are that character.
Music has the benefits with everything audio, because it's their only way to represent an idea. Music could enhance a certain feeling, much easier than the previous two. For example, Jazz is usually used for moments to take everything slowly and relax, whilst rock is usually used for moments when you want to be excited and pumped.
Writing, on the other hand, doesn't have anything that the others have. The only thing that a writing have, is freedom, and I think that's the most beautiful out of them all. With writing, you could create basically anything, with any possible techniques to tell anything. I mean, the others are probably the same, but the difference came on how the freedom could be portrayed. For example, in horror writing, the reader have the freedom of imagination. Take Lovecraft, his creatures are often portrayed as something beyond the human comprehension to understand it. With imagination, the reader could think of about the most horrifying thing imaginable, based on their own fears and doubts; everyone has their own intrepretation of the creature and everyone will be afraid of it. The reason is, that the author gave the readers freedom on how to intrpret the story, and people, although would have different intrepretion, would have the same sensation with one another.
Writing isn't dead, but it's not appreaciated as much as the others nowadays. Because with writing, you have to put in effort to think and to intrepret it. Whilst the other, you could just watch, listen, or play without thinking.
So-so, I guess.
I'm fine, I'm just a little bit tired. The string of words that I would use to everyone, as my go-to excuse. I'm in denial, I don't want to admit that I'm broken or depressed, because I know I'm not. I'm just having a bad time right now, and I only need reassurance that I, an imperfect failure, matter in this world.
"Thank you, for staying alive." The words that would make a smile on my face, but I know, it won't do much if I told myself.