Weekly Writing Challenge : Great Expectations – “The Deeper Need”

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When I saw the title ‘Great Expectations’ and the topic was about, well, expectations, my brain went fiction. A story started manifesting itself.

But the think-tank then kicked to an even higher gear and started doing its thing. It started to connect elements of our living world and soon a web of thoughts started forming.

This is then a result of my mental musings, normally put into my other blog but as this is my blog for weekly challenges, it will go here. My other blog will link to this location as well.

Anyhoo…expectations…

As the mental processes went into action my thoughts came to social media. As a person who posts up on Facebook and here on WordPress, I realised that like it or not, I’m a victim of wanting an acknowledgement for the things I’m sharing.

It was like a drug. I was looking for feedback; a like or follow or comment – the lot, all to satisfy a need to be heard or seen. It made me contemplate why is it that I go through this wave of thoughts, feelings and such a need.

And then it came to me. Social media was a voice for us to reach out where our real voices had no strength or weight.  It’s a voice for our generation, a means to express ourselves and tell the world our thoughts, our true thoughts.

Now just a note before I proceed on, I’m saying this using myself as a point of reference. I’m sure there are those out there who aren’t affected by this sort of situation. Who have the confidence in them, or are sure of themselves. I’m a victim of occasional insecurities as well as coming from a history of lacking self-confidence. Only ever so lately am I slowly building it up.

Back to the topic. Why do I say true thoughts.

The thing is, whether one recognises it or not, society as we know it today is a ‘factory-system’ society. We come into a society having to follow certain ‘standards’ or ‘requirements’ or what is deemed proper or ideal. It’s a form of expectation.

The ideal body, ideal mindset, ideal hobbies, ideal path in career, ideal faith, ideal results in exams, ideal choices in people, ideal love choices…ideals ideals ideals.

We are expected to be this or that way. To like this or that. To be otherwise would garner weird glances and looks and prejudices.

The thing is, the human being is a being that is special. We are all special. We are all unique in some way or another. We are born with an inner potential that no other has – similar or very close maybe, but definitely not exactly the same.

But society today with its ideals forces us to enter certain expected societal moulds. An example is in our education system. How a student with good grades is deemed a good person while those with poor grades are labelled good-for-nothings.

The thing though is that there is the flaw in itself. Are we to judge that a person is a good-for-nothing or has no hope for his / her future just cause of some numbers or letters? And the point of reference for these ‘marks’ and ‘grades’ are based off information that actually changes with time? Example being new science discoveries that debunk the knowledge found in textbooks. So should we deem people who were judged based off old outdated knowledge good-for-nothing then?

Another good example? History. Ooh la la.

I’ve bear witness to so many changes in historical claims that I’ve changed my perception of how I looked at myself as a history student. I was terrible in history during my school days. And now? I think I’m a better historian than my own teachers. So am I a good-for-nothing now? Are my teachers good-for-nothing as well?

There are many examples of how judging someone just because they don’t fulfill the expectations of society is flawed.

Dropouts end up becoming millionaires – dropping out became the best blessing in disguise. And no, I don’t advocate dropping out just for the sake of dropping out. These successful dropouts of society did so and through that found the right channel to direct their energies to – their in-born potentials.

Not all of us are academically gifted. But we are gifted in other aspects – physically for sports, or mentally for analytical situations and so on. Some are born suited for engineering, or artistry, or sciences, or philosophy, or medical, etc.


 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein –


 

I came from a family upbringing and background where being of an artistic inclination is deemed as being ‘stupid’ and those of the sciences are deemed smart and have a bright future. It’s in this conditioning that there’s a form of expectation and suppression. Expectation of what we should pursue and was deemed right. Suppression of the inner-potential, which in my case, was more inclined towards creativity and writing.

And this isn’t even coming from society yet, the outside world with its many beasts and monsters (grrr! gasp! *rolls eyes*).

The thing about the human spirit is that whenever there’s a suppression of free will, there are two natural reactions. Either you break free and be yourself or you go ‘numb’ aka accepting the suppression and become a zombie of society. Although from numb you can diverge to quite a lot of negative outcomes such as depression, losing yourself or worse.

Social media serves as our outlet to break free. We express ourselves via this channel. Whether it be blog posts, or selfies, or vids on Youtube or FB, or sound bytes, etc. It’s to get a feedback to our voice. We humans are social creatures, beings that require some form of interaction.

To have a like or positive comment is proof that there are individuals / groups out there who share our directions in life (likes, inclinations, hobbies, thoughts, etc). It’s a manifestation in the digital realm of acknowledgement that pushes us and tells us we’re okay, and that we’re not weird or queer or wrong in our decisions and undertakings and thoughts.

As the title goes, society today with its ideals, it’s a form of expectation. Call it rebellious but I kind of find it nice that there’s a movement to be oneself. More and more people are finding ways to express themselves and to break from the social mould of what an individual should be; should look like, smell like, eat like, talk like, hear like, sound like.

To say, “This is me. I’m unique. I’m the way I am.”

I’m not saying that if you’re a sociopath you walk down that path. Oh no. There are of course very fundamentals no-no’s. But I think if you have a quirk that doesn’t hurt anybody but makes you happy, I don’t see what is wrong with that.

I think we as human beings have to start developing empathy and acceptance for others. Use of intellect and the development of a real human heart of compassion to reach out to others, or at least, not ostracize another.

Instead of judging with the glasses of expectations why not change them to glasses of understanding? Learn the history of a person, why he / she / he-she is the way they are. You’ll be surprised that you’ll learn something new and walk away with a deeper understanding that the world isn’t black and white, and it’s not what you’ve expected.

The perception of your world is the result of cultural, communal and societal conditioning. And that bubble of conditioning is actually a very small bubble. Break out of that bubble and you will see that the world is much bigger.

A room is four walls. But open that door and window and you’ll see a different view. Step out through either of them and you will see a different world of possibilities.

Perhaps then you will realise that prejudgments are most of the time uncalled for and expectations should be readjusted and checked or should just plain be made redundant. More often than not, viewing something unfamiliar with curiosity instead of prejudice, you may find more excitement in learning something new about someone else, and most definitely, about yourself.

As a closing note, remember that these are just my opinions and the mental musings of my brain. Just the result of me trying to connect the dots of a material element with an abstract element within the human condition.

So long as you don’t harm yourself or others, stay yourself and find the love within. That you are special, unique and no one should judge you if you’ve done no wrong. And also, that there are people who share your train of thoughts and personalities and that you’re not alone.


 

Weekly Writing Challenge : Great Expectations

Short stories and snippets : Sight

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She looked at me and gave me a wrinkled smile. Well when I said look, I mean I got the impression that her eyes were trained on me beneath the cloth that blindfolded her. It was like a scene out of a Kung Fu movie. The master blindfolded, ready to make a move.

“Welcome. Fancy having a stranger such as yourself here in these lands,” she said.

“Well, I’m just a curious traveler that’s all,” I replied.

“Are you now?”

“Well yes actually,”

Indeed I was. Travelling into this remote part of the world, with a population density so low that the next person is a few kilometers away. It made me wonder why the distance between each other, so I asked.

“Why do you live out here all alone? And I noticed that the last person I met was alone as well and far away. You all live far apart from each other,”

“We like the distance because it allows us to channel,”

“Channel?”

“Yes. Energies from the ground flow better when there’s less resistance from the human presence.”

“Do you all live alone?”

“Not all of us. There are families. But it’s one family per encampment. There are either us lone individuals or a family. Nothing more than that. There’re no large population areas, except for the town near the airport from which you arrived.”

“I see,”

Strange culture.

“Only strange to a stranger. Acceptance and lack of fear for the foreign comes with a clearer understanding of it,”

Now that creeped me out. I was talking to a blindfolded psychic.

“It’s easy to read what’s on your mind. Your thought waves emanated like ripples in a lake and I just felt them. Don’t be afraid. It’s the gift we get for being so in-tune with nature. I won’t hurt you,”

“That’s nice,”

“Believe me, there’re far worse things that kill you than me. Now, please, go ahead and ask your silly question,”

This mind reading business was now getting annoying. I wonder what else could she read. I hope she left the porno corner of my mind alone.

“You’re a man in touch with your primal instincts and drive. Your urge to view the material that fuels the beast in your loins is normal. It’s just your instincts calling you. Your inner animal,”

Had I been drinking a beverage I would have sprayed my drink from my mouth all over her. Her statement made it hard for me to suppress my snicker. She left quite a smile on my face and it was threatening to turn into laughter.

“The way you said it. It was funny,”

“It’s good that you liked that. We all need to laugh and smile no?”

“Indeed,”

“The world is in such state that we all need to learn to smile again. A genuine smile too. As you young people say, a proper one, not a “half ass” one. Half an ass. What’s the obsession with the bottom I wonder sometimes. The lingo of your youth amazes me as much as I do you.”

I laughed, unable to hold it anymore. This is actually turning out to be a good holiday.

“A good holiday indeed. Now ask me that funny thought in your head,”

“Well if you’re psychic then why don’t you read my mind?”

“Because you have a mouth so I would like you to use it now,”

“Fair enough…why do children wear glasses these days? I’ve noticed that nowadays, the age of children starting to wear glasses seem to be getting younger. Too much TV or something?”

I didn’t know why I had that weird thought in my head. I guess it was the imagery I had of children in the many back seats of cars that passed by my taxi as I headed to the airport to leave my country. It struck me as quite a shocker that the age of wearing glasses is getting younger. I guess it’s our current age of technology. Cellphone screens, TV screens, excessive computer games. All that eye poison.

“Those pay a toll on the eyes, but they are just mere pricks. There are worse daggers that cut deep,”

I was now listening quietly, intently.

“The world goes blur for children because it’s the body’s natural defence mechanism.”

That caught me by surprise.

“Wait what? Defence mechanism? How is eye damage a defence mechanism. We need our sight to see the world and do things! It’s even worse if our image goes blurry!”

“It’s not about defending your physical being from what the world has to throw at you. It’s about defending your soul,”

“I don’t get it,”

“The world is full of terrible things. Wars, famine, disease, corruption, lies, murders, bloodshed. The world of men has spiraled into a terrible darkness, slowly but surely. Children are the pure souls brought into this world. They are like white sheets of paper, a vat of milk…pure and untainted by the colours of dirt and impurities.
The eyes are a divine gift that was given to us to see the world in its beauty. Natural beauty that nature provides us. A world with natural terrors such as predators and weather shows us not dangers, but the beautiful creations of divinity. Of how creative divinity can be.
The paradox of life is something of an art. To create another side of a coin, to create the opposite of what is otherwise perfection. Something so perfect can have its other side. Nothing can create such a thing except divinity, powers that mere mortals can’t begin to fathom.
But now, the world is plagued with man-made horrors. Men are beings that started out as yet another perfect creation in the mix of perfections. But they were tempted to be divine when it is beyond their capacity. They sully and pervert the meaning of divinity, creating illusions of the truth.
Take immortality for example. Immortality isn’t about living forever in a physical sense. Everything material will come and go. It is a relationship with Mother Time. She dances with us, and when the music stops, the dance stops as well. It’s the turn for the next dancer to come onto the stage. But we try to seek a fountain of youth, to try and live forever. And perversion of the natural order of things has brought forth more destruction, and steered us even further from the truth.”

“So what exactly is immortality then?”

“It’s legacy and memory. That’s why you have the ability to reproduce, to teach your next of kin what you know. It’s to continue on the mission or quest you have embarked upon. You pass away, but the legacy lives on. That’s immortality,”

“You mention truth. What do you mean by truth?”

“Truth is simply what it is. No illusions or lies but the very nature of things. As I mentioned, the age of wearing glasses these days is getting younger because the human body is reacting naturally to the coming of events in the world. The unnatural horrors of men.
The body is putting up a mechanism to try and steer the innocent souls away from the illusions of the material world. It’s like a mother shielding a child from a terrible sight.
‘Don’t see such a terrible thing! Children shouldn’t watch it!'”

“Then how do we see if our world turns blur?”

“You see with the eye of your heart and mind. As blind people are in complete darkness, their world is perceived through hearing. It is a different world altogether,”

“But they may hear lies,”

“Yes true. Lies do exist in sound as well as sight. But sight is more important.
You have heard the phrase ‘the eyes are windows to the soul’?
That is literally true. Through the eyes you can peer into a person’s soul given the right ability, training or divine gift.
Blurring of the sight is like drawing a curtain to a window. It’s to prevent a sight from entering into what matters the most, which is your soul. It’s closing the window and entrance to the inner sanctum of your being. Natural body reaction.”

“Wow…never thought of it that way,”

“The world today is full of illusions. Many material illusions that drive us in the wrong direction. People fight for power over land that is in reality, just dirt and grass and stones.
People struggle for money that is just printed processed paper that was taken from trees felled, causing damage to nature.
People fight for egos and pride, both of which serve no purpose but to polish a so-called ‘image’ that can’t even be seen. What you see in a person is just a human being standing before you. This ‘image’ is just a figment of your imagination.”

“Image is important. It’s to bolster your confidence!”

“Confidence you say? Confidence that you actually inherently had when you were brought into this world?
Every person born has an innate potential and ability that is unique to them. Isn’t that enough for confidence? That you are special in your own way?
The problem lies in the illusion you call society. Society’s expectations. Society has created this little board game of pieces that dictate what you should be, ought to be and such.
No two people are the same. To lump them into one template of an ‘ideal’ individual is like you lumping two pieces of different coloured clay and try to mould them into one single colour.
In the end, the colour that stands out is the colour belonging to the clay that managed to ‘consume’ the other by overpowering it and wrapping around it, erasing its existance from the naked eye.
But the truth is, the other clay is always there. It never disappeared. And yet we fall prey to such deceptions.
Society is just an abstract concept created by men, the ideals and such created by those in power who wish to stay in power. But what is power? The ability to step over another individual and claim dominance? Are you really that powerful?
Or let’s put it this way.
Do you need to be that powerful?”

It was really a surprise, to be washed over with the tide of a profound answer to our world today. I was amazed and lost for words. The world that I thought I knew, thought I had a grasp of, now seemed so alien. Where, or should I say, what have I been living in?

“You know, I’m amazed. What turned out to be a simple point in direction by another lone person in the previous camp I was in turned into a very amazing revelation!”

“There are no coincidences. Things happen for a reason. You are part of an intricate device. That is the perfection of the natural world. All the gears and pieces are interconnected to each other. You are here at this point in time. Your trip is not a coincidence nor is your destination of arrival to this country.
Mother Time felt it right for you to learn something. You have the capability to take in what was given to you, therefore you were led here. The divines don’t give you what you cannot handle.”

“So I’m told this truth. But why me? Is has to be more than just because I’m deemed ready right?”

“For one, it’s because you are ready. Secondly, you have a mission to leave a legacy to continue the work to restore the damage done by our kind.
We must be responsible for our actions. Not us as individuals but us as humans. Humans are one. We are all connected. We must fix what has been done wrong.”

“I see. Just one question. I’m curious.”

“Go ahead,”

“May I ask, why do you wear a blindfold? I don’t mean to be rude but…did the world damage your eyesight so bad that you know…you went blind?”

“No offence taken. And no. I can see actually. My eyes are fine…”

She removed her blindfold to reveal beautiful emerald eyes. She then covered them again.

“But I choose not to. Because what I don’t want to see is an illusion.”

I blinked. This trip was quite an amazing one. I couldn’t look at my living world the same again.

From then on, I would start to live my life with a whole new perspective and insight. To see beyond the veil of illusions drawn before my eyes.

Have you seen past the illusions in your life?


 

Authors notes :

This story was inspired by a thought I had. As I was driving today on the road I passed by a car containing a family. I noticed the daughter in the car was a little girl wearing spectacles.

It got me thinking on the number of children these days who are starting to wear glasses at such a young age.

As storytellers we tend to ask “What if?”
And my mind went into the works.
Hope you enjoyed this take of imagination and idea. Perhaps there is some truth in it after all. 😉

Weekly Writing Challenge : Time for Poetry – “The Bench”

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The clear bright orange coloured dusk skies,
The voices of the people nearby,
The swaying trees, scampering critters,
The gentle winds that let out a sigh.

The old man sat quietly on the bench,
Looking at the children before him play,
He had a soft smile on his old face,
Serenity was all he felt that day.

He looked at the person to his side,
And the old lady smiled back at him,
“Beautiful isn’t it?” his eyes said,
“Yes it is”, a gentle sweet waking dream.

And slowly, his world faded to grey,
He was suddenly not where he sat,
He was instead standing far away,
The bench a distance from where he’s at.

He stood next to a wee little boy,
Who looked curiously straight ahead,
The man followed the little child’s gaze,
And saw a family walking instead.

The parents were talking to each other,
A girl the mother was carrying,
They were happy and smiling as they stopped,
And sat on the bench, the girl laughing.

The old man turned and saw the boy gone,
He saw an older boy behind a tree,
The family at the bench was gone too,
Replaced by some girls chatting with glee.

The old man smiled at the sight of the girls,
But heard someone behind him walking,
He turned to see a young teenage lad,
Walking to a lone teenage girl sitting.

She sat on the bench engrossed in her book,
Truly lost somewhere on an adventure,
She was startled as he sat next to her,
Nervous he was, in his hand a flower.

She was lost, not knowing what to say,
She stood up and quickly ran away,
The boy called out to her to no avail,
Gone like the wind and passing of day.

But she returned to the bench again,
This time wearing a different dress,
And the same young lad came once again,
A new flower held close to his chest.

This time she awaited his arrival,
She awaited in silence as he came,
No words spoken but any would know,
The lad had won her heart in this game.

She smiled and took the flower from him,
And though the world was a colour grey,
You could tell her cheeks were turning pink,
There was no need for any words to say.

And suddenly there was a loud call,
And there came running a middle aged man,
The two teens at the bench were now gone,
A young woman was there, waving her hand.

He walked up to her and gave her a hug,
She hugged back, dressed for an occassion,
He gave her a kiss, a deep felt one,
A reward for her graduation.

A gust of wind now blew from nowhere,
And the old man held down his cap tight,
As he peered beneath the cap he saw,
Before him at the bench was quite a sight.

The woman stood at the bench all silent,
The man was on his knees, looking at her,
Autumn leaves flew but it was all so clear,
Her hand in his, a ring on her finger.

And she burst out crying happily,
Hugged him tightly, and kissed him so deep,
He smiled back and held her tightly too,
“Yes!” was all she had said, yes indeed.

The old man smiled, a tear in his eye,
He let out a very heartfelt sigh,
And he then heard the familiar screams,
Of little children, of laughter and cry.

A bright flash came and the old man blinked,
Back at the bench where he was before,
He saw the old lady fast asleep,
He smiled at her, the one he adore.

A little cute child walked up to him,
And patted his lap so very gently,
“Grand papa! Grand papa!” the child called,
The child he took, lifted and carry.

A young couple walked up to him smiling,
And the woman gave his cheek a kiss,
“It is time to go home now” she said,
She called out to her two other kids.

The old man nudged the old lady awake,
And they left the bench to leave the park,
The sun was setting behind the clouds,
Soon their side of the world will turn dark.

The old man held the old lady’s hand,
The woman he had loved all his life,
From the day he saw the girl on the bench,
To the very day she became his wife.

My dear sweetheart, my very beloved,
Remember the bench where we always sat?
Do you remember what it meant to us,
In all occassions, happy or sad.

Till death do us part they always say,
I will never leave you my love ever,
Thank you for being there in my life,
From then, now, tomorrow and forever…


 

Weekly Writing Challenge : Time for Poetry

Weekly Writing Challenge : Fifty – “Gift”

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He watched the little girl sleeping peacefully, feeling sadness within. He placed the gift teddy bear next to her and kissed her softly. She shivered a little.

“Happy birthday sweetheart. I love you, always,” he whispered.

He then turned around and followed the angel, the both of them fading away.


 

Weekly Writing Challenge – Fifty

Fifty Words Challenge : Profound

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It’s in the smile, frown and especially tears. It’s not just about physical attraction nor a label put on oneself. It’s about that connection and trust. This thing called love. It isn’t the word, but what it means. There’s a certain kind of beauty to it. It’s simply put…profound.


 

Had an additional idea so decided to come up with it.

Inspired by the weekly challenge found here :

Weekly Writing Challenge – Fifty

Tribute Write 2014

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Down the corridors it echoed,
Of voices from people from before,
Of silent thoughts and memories told,
Of faces of loved ones we once saw.

Respects and apologies given out,
To those living in memories passed,
Free of shadows, fear and doubt,
Suffering in life not meant to last.

May you rest wherever you may be,
And may my life continue on,
And when time comes you I will see,
When days end and I’m restfully gone.

In memory of you, gone too soon, gone too early

WordPress Weekly Challenge “Time Machine” : Finding You

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“You have come a long way haven’t you?”

The monk’s smile was warm with a slight hint of playfulness as he looked up at me pushing the flaps of the entrance to enter. I made a bow of respect and sat before him, my movements slow and controlled as most people do when in the presence of an important person.

“It’s no bother at all,” I replied with a smile, trying to hide my nervousness.

I took a look around. The tent was dim and filled with the fragrant smell of incense, giving it a mysterious yet peaceful atmosphere. I was surprised by the quietness of the interior, considering that this tent was in the middle of a rainforest. It was as if I had entered a different world, leaving the one that I had just came from behind.

“So, when do you want to start?” the monk asked.

His question took me by surprise. He saw the look on my face, smiled even more and continued.

“You’re here to find someone,”

“Yes…yes I am. I heard that you could…help me find someone,” I replied, unable to mask my surprise and nervousness any longer.

“So it seems. People come to me from far and wide indeed to find that which is missing. Please, don’t be nervous. Relax.”

He patted me on the shoulder and a calming effect washed over me. My breathing slowed, the swirl in my head calming down. I was still anxious, but not as bad anymore. He poured what looked like dark tea into a cup and gave it to me. I took it in my hands, felt that it was warm, and took several sips. It tasted like normal tea but it sent tingles down my body a few seconds after every sip. I wanted to ask him what the drink was but decided against it. I took a few more sips and tingles before speaking again to him.

“Someone I know had recommended that I seek you. When I arrived in this country I asked the locals around and they knew you. They helped point out the way here. You have quite a reputation,”

“It matters not what labels are on me. They mean nothing in this world of impermanence. I just serve humanity. So, when you are ready we can begin,”

I nodded and he offered me another cup to drink. This time its contents were different. It was a light green drink with purple seeds floating on the surface. It looked kind of scary and unsafe to consume.

“Please, drink up. This drink will help open your mind and allow you to seek what you are after,”

I sniffed it. It smelled right, like normal tea. I drank it, expecting a terrible taste but was surprised that it was minty and sweet instead. I finished the drink and sat for a minute or two waiting. Nothing.

The monk continued looking at me with a smile. After what seemed like forever he gently placed a thumb on my forehead. A sudden surge of sleepiness washed over me from the bottom of my body to the top of my head. And suddenly my world was black.

I felt like I was floating in space. I looked around but there was nothing to be seen. I was in a complete void, a world of darkness. And yet somehow, I could see the rest of my body even though there was no light source. It was as though I was illuminated by the darkness itself.

But what happened to me? Where was I?

I started to feel panic creeping all over me but the monk’s voice spoke in a reassuring tone, as if he knew what I was feeling.

“Do not worry. Relax. You are now travelling to where you have to be. Soon you will see a light.”

And I did. It started as a small speck in the distance and over time it grew bigger and bigger. It stopped growing at a size that was slightly bigger than me and then morphed into the shape of a doorway. I peered into it and saw the inside of a room.

I moved towards it and entered. I stepped out the other side and was suddenly hit by a wave of nostalgia.

I was in it…in her room…in my home. But not the room I knew in the present. This was the room in the past.

Had I gone back in time? It seemed like it. The dressing table was still in good condition, the bed was neatly made, the mirror still hung up. The wallpaper was still on the wall, clean and proper. The homely smell of the air that was so familiar compared to the musty smell of an abandoned room in the present. Everything in the room was as it was…when she was around.

And then I heard it, heard the sound that made my heart pound. I turned towards its direction. It was coming from the bathroom.

Slowly I inched towards the bathroom door. It was open. I peered inside.

And there she was, standing with her back facing me, humming her usual song. That wavy hair, that body that was a little chubby, that height…everything was coming back to me.

“Hi…” I said weakly.

She turned around and I was immediately hit hard. I felt as if something was gripping my heart. I placed my hand on my mouth as I couldn’t control my tears anymore. She looked at me with an alarmed look and quickly walked to me. She held my arms, her touch sending my body trembling, and looked straight into my eyes.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying? Is something wrong?” she asked, worry evident in her voice.

That voice. A voice that I missed so dearly. It was her, it was really her!

I just stood there, crying. I then hugged her tightly, hugged her so tight that she started to call out that it hurt. But I didn’t want to let go, I couldn’t let go, I wouldn’t let go.

“Hey! What’s wrong?! You’re hugging me too tight!” she said loudly this time, tapping at my sides with her trapped arms.

Reluctantly, I loosened my hug and looked at her. I couldn’t believe it. She was there, standing before me. It was a miracle. It just couldn’t be.

I buried my face on her chest, tears streaming from my eyes.

“You have no idea how much I missed you.” I said between sobs and chokes.

“Seems like you really did. All I did was ask you to go buy me some milk.” she replied.

Same old sense of sarcasm. It really was her. And just like her, I felt her gentle hand on my head as she patted me to calm me down.

“There there. It’s alright. Everything’s okay.”

After a while I managed to compose myself. I looked back at her, wiping the tears off my eyes.

“It’s just that, life hasn’t been the same without you. All these years.” I said.

“What do you mean? I only saw you this morning before you left to the store to get milk.” she replied.

“What day is it? What year?”

“Day? Year? The calender is there on the wall.”

She pointed at the wall to my side. I turned, saw the calender and took note of date. I had indeed gone back in time. Several years back in time in fact. Several years before it happened.

“Wow, I am back. Back in time.” I said.

“What? Back in time? What do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean…I’m not from around here.”

“What are you talking about? Hey! Are you taking drugs? Sniffing that nasty thing? I swear if you took that nasty stuff back home from those pushers I’ll hit you!”

“No! No! It’s not that! It’s just that…it’s…”

I had to stop. I realised that living in my present timeline full of sci-fi stories about time travel, I have learnt and read theories of messing up the continuity of time.

If I were to tell her what I knew, I might alter the future, possibly for the worse. Or could it be better?

I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. On one hand I wanted to tell her so much, on the other hand I couldn’t bring myself to do it; and on the back of my mind I just couldn’t be bothered. I just wanted this moment to last forever, here and now. Just me and her, together again.

“Tell her. Go ahead.”

The voice made me jump. I looked around, searching for the monk but he was nowhere to be seen.

“Where are you?! I can’t see you!” I called out.

She looked at me in confusion and asked, “See who? What are you talking about?”

The monk’s voice continued, “I’m speaking directly into your mind. I know that you want to tell her everything. Go ahead. Tell her. It’s alright.”

“Tell…tell her? Is that okay?” I asked, still searching.

She was now looking more confused and a little scared that I might be losing my mind. “Tell her? Tell who? Tell me? Are you alright? You’re scaring me now,”

“Do I tell her?” I asked again.

The monk’s voice replied, “Yes, go ahead.”

I looked around one more time before looking at her. She was practically on the verge of calling the hospital.

“Who are you talking to?” she asked.

“I need to tell you something,” I said.

“Okay…sure…”

Gently I took her hand in mine and led her to the living room where we both sat down. She was still looking at me like I needed medical help. I tried to compose myself by taking several deep breaths. I didn’t know where to begin.

“I’m not from here,” I started.

“Yes, I think we’ve established that apparently you’re not from here.” she replied. I swore she was so tempted to roll her eyes.

“I’m…from the future…”

“Okay…”

I could see it in her face that she didn’t know whether to think I was crazy or burst out laughing at this terrible joke. But she allowed me to continue and I did.

“I went to a monk to ask for help to find you. Things have changed in the future.”

“What happened?”

“You…passed away…”

“Well, okay. I mean, we all eventually get old and die.”

“No. I mean, you passed away too soon. A few years from now, you will die.”

She was silent this time. I could see disbelief and a hint of fear in her eyes.

Silently she asked, “How?”

“Cancer…”

I gently placed my hand on her, where her womb was.

“Uterus…cancer of the uterus…”

She was silent again. I didn’t lift my hand up from where it lay. I then looked down, and took a deep breath and continued, this time tears flowing down my cheeks.

“The years after you died, were torture. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. You left too soon. I missed you so much. I tried to pick myself up but things were not the same after that. I forced myself to continue on. But slowly things started to go downhill.
Life without you was a life that was meaningless. You were the reason for me living. When you were gone, I just didn’t care anymore about anything in the world. I even contemplated suicide. I struggled through college and nearly dropped out. But I somehow managed to graduate. I got a job but it wasn’t working out too well either.
Changed a couple of jobs, all of them I left after having trouble with the management. The pressures from the household didn’t help either. In my current workplace, things are starting to get a little sour. But something happened.
One day, a colleague of mine returned from a trip. Like me, she lost someone dear to her years ago. But she heard of this monk that I told you about that could help her find what she was seeking. That trip she returned from was her finding him. When she came back she was a different person. She advised me to seek him and that he could help me. And I did…and here I am…”

She was silent as I told her everything and remained so when I finished. I wiped my tears between sniffles. The silence seemed to last an eternity. Finally she spoke up.

“I knew…”

“What?”

“I knew. Somehow I knew. I always knew my time would come.”

“What do you mean?”

She placed her hand on top of mine that was still resting on her womb.

“I always knew that there was something wrong with me. I felt weird here. My womb didn’t feel right. But deeper than that…I felt something in my gut. That somehow…something was going to change. Something really big was going to happen.”

“You knew you had cancer? Even before you got the doctor’s report?”

“No…I mean, physically my womb felt weird. But instinctively, perhaps it’s women’s intuition, I felt something was coming. And something inside of me told me I didn’t have much time left. That I needed to make the best of my life. And that I had to make a difference in the lives of those who mattered…”

This time it was my turn to be quiet and contemplative. What she said sent me down into a spiral of thoughts. Perhaps it was true that women had this instinct that guided them well. Intuition was a gift women had quite a natural affinity towards. But why didn’t she tell me?

“Why didn’t you say anything? That you were feeling weird?” I asked.

“I couldn’t bring myself to. I couldn’t let you worry.” she replied.

“You could have told me,”

“I didn’t want you to worry,”

Again I went silent. I then spoke up.

“The doctor…when you came back from the checkup. The doctor said he found a growth in your uterus. But he was hopeful. You went for chemotherapy. At first it seemed to work. But the cancer relapsed. And soon after it spread all over, first your liver, then to various parts of your body most. You were hospitalised.
The pain was unbearable. You had to be on strong drugs just to go to sleep. The days before…before you passed…you suddenly couldn’t speak anymore. I…I…”

Tears started to well up again.

“I was at your bedside. I was there when you let out your last breath. The gaps between your breaths started getting longer and longer, until it finally stopped. I kept looking at your chest, hoping it would rise. The stillness of your body. It’s an image that I can never get out of my head. It was haunting. I’m so sorry for not being able to save you. For not taking care of you.”

She held me close and gave me a reassuring pat.

“It’s alright. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault.”

“I’m so sorry. But..but now, now that I’m here, we can set things right. We can change things! We will find a way! A way to cure you!”

She looked at my face, my red puffy eyes betraying my happiness and hope.

“I don’t know. This is just so much to take in. So much information. I just…I need time to think about it.” she said.

“Sure sure. I mean, we have time now. We have time. We can do this.” I replied.

We both sat in silence, hand-in-hand. It was a moment so wonderful, to be able to see her again. To talk to her, touch her and know she was there. That she was real. I didn’t want to let go of her. I couldn’t.

I looked around and saw, hanging on the wall, the picture of a man. Suddenly, anger surged through me as I stood up and walked towards it. I took it off the wall, gripping the frame tightly, hatred filling me up.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“You know…in the future, some of the people I spoke to, they told me that cancer was a sort of self-destruct mechanism of the body. That is it activated when your body is in a dire state of incredible stress and negative emotions. This man…this man is nothing but trouble. He’s the devil!” I explained.

She was quiet as she walked up to me. She rubbed my shoulders gently. I was still gripping the picture frame tightly.

“You know, I’ve always wondered,” I asked, “Why did you not leave him? It could have just been us together. Just you and me. Why did you stay with him?”

She let out a resigned sigh.

“Sometimes, a person has to do what a person has to do. Even if it’s painful…” she explained.

“No! This man here did nothing but hurt you! He left you sad and hurt while he chased other women! While you silently cried at home and kept it in your heart!
When he was angry he took all out on you, on us! He took your money to spend on himself and his mistresses, those whores! He didn’t care about how you feel!
That hurt in you manifested into cancer! Why did you let him do that? Why didn’t you leave him? For all we know, while you’re here he’s probably at the office now chasing some skirt!” I replied angrily, my voice raising and on the verge of shouting.

“Please…please calm down…”

“How can I calm down?! This man killed you! Took everything from us! He used you!”

I threw the picture at the wall, shattering the glass. I felt her arms wrap around me as she held me tightly. I could hear her crying and struggling as she spoke.

“I just couldn’t. I stayed for your sake. I was scared too. I was afraid I was incapable once I left him. I was afraid we had nowhere to go. Please…please don’t be angry…” she said.

I felt angry tears welling up in my eyes. I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists, breathing hard.

“I’m not angry at you…I’m angry at him…” I said.

“I know dear. I know…” she replied.

“It’s just that…for all you’ve done for me, for the family. I want you to be happy. And I want you to be alive. You didn’t deserve to go. It’s not fair…it’s just not fair…”

“Sometimes, life isn’t fair,”

“No…this must change somehow. You are a good woman. You deserve better. If I had a chance I would kill him.”

“No please…no.”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s your father! No matter what he did, he is still your father!”

“I don’t have a father like him who treats his family like this! Who treats you, mom, like this! I will kill him! He took you away from me in the future! I won’t let him take you away now that I’m here!”

“Please don’t!”

She held me tightly, as if hoping that it would quell my growing hatred.

“Please…please…for my sake, for your mother’s sake, please don’t do anything terrible…”

She was now crying harder and it snapped me back to my senses. What was supposed to be a mission, a journey to go back in time to find her ended up in this situation. I turned from a man on a quest to a broken soul who became a person no better than the man who betrayed his wife and family.

I couldn’t bear to see her crying. Seeing her in that state shattered me. I collapsed to my knees and hugged her tightly, crying as well.

“I’m sorry mom. Sorry. Please forgive me…”

“It’s okay son…it’s okay…”

I guess I was being unfair to her. Here she was, being overwhelmed by the news of her demise and I was giving her a hard time. She had so much to handle and yet she was still being a loving peaceful mother to a raging son and wife to an ungrateful husband. I was amazed by her display of courage and strength in the face of immense adversity.

I felt ashamed at my weakness and my attitude. I was not keeping calm and being the man I should have been. But could anyone blame a person who lost the very thing that mattered to him.

What would any normal person do?

But that was the beautiful thing about her. She had the world on her shoulders to carry and yet despite all that she still found it in her to forgive my father. She sacrificed her own happiness for the sake of her son. I could not have asked for a better mother to have taught and raised me.

My mother gently took my head in her hands and held them so that we were looking at each other.

“Remember son. You must be strong. Whatever happens to me, you must grow up and be strong. I will always be there with you,”

“I will. I will do my best. For now I’m just happy to see you again,”

“I’m happy too. It’s good to see you too,”

“I love you mom,”

“I love you too son,”

We hugged each other and remained embraced in silence. I wanted this moment to stop and stay still forever. To finally be with her again and never lose her. I felt that my life was whole once again, complete as it was before her passing.

There was something truly comforting about being in her embrace. Nothing in the world had ever made me feel so safe and secured. Soon I was calm again.

But suddenly a thought came to my mind. I realised something that I had not realised when I first saw her upon my arrival. I guess I was too overwhelmed then with emotion to really care. But now the thought started to bug me. I pushed away from her and looked her straight in the eye.

“Can I ask one thing?”

“What is it?”

“How did you know it was me?”

“What do you mean?”

“How is it that you can recognise me? I mean, now that I think about it, this is weird!”

I stepped back, this time feeling a little creepy.

“At this point in time I was still a teenager. But here I am as a young adult, with a changed look. Why aren’t you acting like you can’t recognise me? You’re not supposed to recognise me as I don’t look the same now as I did as a teenager in this time period,”

“What do you mean? You still look the same to me!”

“This is weird! I’m different looking mom!”

“No. You still look the same,”

“You are the same to her no matter what…”

The voice made me jump. I looked to my right to see the monk standing before us.

“You! What are you doing here?! I’ve never met you during this period. How is it that you’re here?! When did you come into our lives in the past?!”  I asked, beginning to feel really freaked out.

“That’s because we’re not in the past,” he replied.

“What?”

And suddenly the room disappeared and I was back in the dark void world. The monk continued to speak.

“We’re not in the past. We’re still in the present. Your body is still here before me in the tent. You are now in a different conscious state. You are in your memories that have been hidden in the deep corners of your mind.
You see, with each passing day, layers of new experiences and memories replace the old ones and the latter is pushed to the back of the mind. Memories made are never lost, only forgotten. We only need to recall it for it to resurface again. This memory was the one your mind decided to enter and manifest.”

“So, my mother who I was speaking to, she’s just a memory? But how is it that she can talk to me with a high level of consciousness? It’s as if she were alive!
And also, during this time she has sent me out to get milk. How am I back in the house when I shouldn’t be having a memory of it as I’m out. I can’t be speaking to a memory of her that I do not have as I’m not around to have such a memory,”

“Your mind has manifested the house the way it is as a stage for you to move around within this memory. And you are indeed speaking to her. She is your mother.”

“I don’t understand…”

“What I have done is put you in a state of trance and clarity of mind. The drink that you drank altered your state of mind in a way that eased the search for a memory.
Once the stage has been manifested from your memory, I then called upon the soul of your mother to come visit you here. I bound her to your soul so that you can communicate with her.”

“But I’m different looking now though than how I would have looked during this period. But it seems that to her, I never changed. I still look the same,”

“Yes. You see, the reason why she does not see any changes in you now is because to her you will always be her child. It matters not what the child looks like. Her child will be her child. Such is the power of a mother’s true love for her child. Such is a bond that is never broken. You will always be her precious one, even until death do you part.
She does not see you with physical eyes the way mortals do, but with the eyes and perception of a soul. Souls see the world differently. She sees by feeling the bond between you two. Her image of you is manifested by that bond and what you mean to her.
An example would be the sight of blind people. They ‘see’ things differently in their world. Just because their world is darkness does not mean they don’t see. They just have a whole new definition to ‘seeing’ using their other senses. It’s just a matter of perception. Your mother’s soul sees by feeling the strong bonds between you two.”

“But how is it that I can see her in her full physical glory? I can feel her, hear her, smell her. She’s so real. It’s as if she were truly alive and right there.”

“That’s because she manifested herself from your memories of her. Her soul used your memories of her as a ‘vessel’ to appear before you. The way she looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like in this period is just as how you remembered her.”

“But if it was truly her soul, she should know and remember of her demise. It’s as if her soul never went past this period in time. She didn’t know of her final days dying from cancer.”

“When a soul leaves the body to go to the new realm it’s supposed to go to, it sheds all its memories. The bond that you have with her allowed her to reconnect back to those lost memories by letting her ride on your own memories when your souls connected.
But as the memory that was chosen by you to be the stage for this meeting was during this period, only memories from this period are accessible to her. You could have chosen her deathbed as the stage but I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.
Your mind chose this particular moment, probably because it was the most intimate and happiest moment in your life when she was around.”

It was true. It was during this period that I was indeed the happiest. Because soon after, she would be visiting the doctor to do that checkup, and she would then return with the news, trying to hide her fear of death from the silent killer that was growing within her.

The years to follow after that was a torrent of torment for us as she approached her final days. It was an emotional roller coaster. I tried to recall back and realised that throughout those dark moments before the end, she still held her head high and kept on putting up a smile in the face of impending death. Even though I have caught her crying silently in her room all by herself. And the chemotherapy made her sick, causing her so much discomfort, constantly throwing up.

My father was still himself then, philandering around, even when his wife was dying. Although her death later changed him in some way. Perhaps out of regret? Who knew. Never knew the devil could feel remorse.

But the devil he was indeed, for he got worse. He got more unstable in his emotions. Soon after, his business went bad and he took it out on me. Arguments were common, sometimes breaking into physical altercations. He soon brought one of his mistress into the household and she just added to the misery and complication of a life gone wrong. She toyed with his heart and played a twisted game of emotional politics. It was indeed terrible, affecting me in my everyday life. I was surprised I hadn’t gone insane.

And now…

I was silent, swimming in the pool of thoughts and memories. Trying to make sense of everything. It all seemed clear now. As the storm of information started to settle down, a sudden wave of sadness swept all over me. I started to cry a little.

“I really thought she had come to life again. This is almost cruel. To be able to talk to her, but to find out she isn’t really here. Well she is, but not fully here.”

“You are here because you had to hear what you needed to hear. As death is inevitable, so are there reasons for things that happen and will happen.” the monk replied.

“And what was it that I needed to hear?”

“A reminder of a legacy she left in you. That she will always be with you. That she loved you and did the things she did for a reason and that reason was you. She sacrificed everything – her happiness, time, life and energy for the person she loved more than anything in the world, even herself.
Make no mistake, you have indeed spoken to her, the real her. I brought her to you to speak what she needed to speak. She has now returned to where she belongs, a place where mortals can’t go. But a part of her is in you always. You will always be her child. She lives in you. That bond between you two is proof of that.”

The monk allowed me my tears as I was overwhelmed with emotion. One could never really fathom just how deep a mother’s true love was for her child.

After the tears were over, I remained silent as I allowed the fact to sink in. She was truly gone. I mean her soul was around but no more in the physical realm where I belonged. I had lost her once again. So close yet so far. Still out of reach.

I sighed.

“I really thought I was in the past. I really thought I had gone back in time, and perhaps maybe I could change something. Change her fate. Now I have to wait until the end of my life to see her again.”

The monk’s gently replied in a voice that made me feel he was smiling as he spoke.

“Consider instead that at any given moment things just happen instead of looking at it as something that is quantifiable like time. As you lose her so shall you meet her again when it happens. You will realise then that time has no hold on you in the sense that you know it.
Time as you know it does not exist. It’s a concept made up by men. Do not be bound by such a concept.
An example would be the famous phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”. It’s simply because when you’re having fun, your mind is taken out of the cage of counting or observing time. And before you know it, you suddenly realise years have passed you by.
Look at your age right now. Isn’t it amazing that you’re at your current age now, that all those years just went by without you realising it?
Only when you stop and take note of how much time has passed you by do you get trapped by the man-made concept of time. Imagine yourself three years ago saying ‘three years is so long’ and suddenly, those years are gone and you are here right now. Where you focus your mind is key.”

I was dumbfounded and yet strangely, it started to make sense. Instead of being upset and depressed over losing my mother again, I was starting to feel amazed and filled with a sense of wonder for the revelation I just had.

Maybe perhaps time was indeed just an illusion. Eventually things that have yet to come will come to be and then, it will come to pass as well.

“So what now?” I asked.

“Now, we come back to where we are supposed to be. And we continue on with our lives doing what we must do.” the monk replied.

I looked at his blank expression as he continued eating his pudding, rocking his body back and forth, humming and spewing the occasional gibberish. I then looked up and around.

It was a beautiful cloudy day. The main courtyard of the care center for the elderly was filled with many people.

How many years has it been since that visit to that monk?

I couldn’t tell really. I lost track of the years. I guess time does fly by when you’re not looking and scrutinizing it constantly. I looked up at the clouds, smiling a little.

“Mom…wherever you are, I’m continuing your legacy of love and compassion. I do what I can. I’m not perfect, I’m no saint. But I do what I believe you would want me to do.”

I looked back at him and smiled with a slight smug.

“Silly old man. You’re lucky to have had a wonderful wife and mother who raised her child right. I can’t forget what you did, but I do this for her.”

Maybe…just maybe, I could learn to forgive him. Not forget, but at the very least, forgive.

I kind of felt sorry for his state. Dementia had taken over his mind. No longer was he the man I knew. He was now lost in his world that no other mortal could go. It was a world only he could perceive.

I looked back at the sky. There were no grey clouds, only beautiful fair weather cotton puffs. The sun was hidden behind them bringing the promise of a cool beautiful day, perfect for being outdoors.

“Mom, one day. One day, when I die. I’ll look for you. I’ll find you up there in heaven. I promise. I’ll find you and we’ll be together again…”

…Forever…

– The End –