Cry.Black.Tears

Silence

Posted on: October 24, 2012

I ran. Hard and fast. I just ran, wishing I could run faster than speed of sound so I won’t be able to hear their mocking laughter that followed incessantly. That obviously did not come true. Of course, I am scrawny for a boy, weak in character, and that naturally made me the butt of everyone’s joke, the person that everyone bullies. Their laughter followed me, no matter how fast I ran, echoing in my mind.

Panting, I slowed to a stop. It was an isolated place with empty shophouses and people barely walk past. I praised my legs, they always know where I wanted to go — a quiet place to forget my humiliation. I walked into the alley and sat down on a piece of cardboard. It was so quiet here, the buzzing of the streets was magically filtered away. Leaning against the wall and with the trees shielding my eyes from the sun, I almost believed I was the only one left in the world.

I enjoy listening to silence. Silence is accepting, like a huge heavy blanket it will wrap itself around you and embrace you. I do not like crowds and people. People talk too much, and the things they say are hurtful. Sometimes I feel like retaliating but I do not know what to retort, and I’m afraid that they will do worse things and say more hurtful things to me. So I keep quiet. Silence is my only weapon, the only thing I could use to defend myself.

Minutes past. Maybe hours, I do not know. Time does not exist in silence. I started playing with the random insects crawling past my feet. I will start by pulling off their legs then chopping their body into half. The creatures would tremble, writhe about, and attempt to drag their mutilated body back to, I presume, their hole (home). It must have been painful but there was no screaming, everything was like a silent movie. It was fascinating, watching them scuttling about in silence, communicating in silence, enduring pain in silence and dying in silence. How wonderful, and I thought why can’t people be like this too?

Then I heard footsteps and I got annoyed like how you would get annoyed when your little brother woke you up from a very nice dream. The pedestrian stared at me like I was some monstrosity. I ignored him. Breaking my bubble of my made-up world, I realised it’s time to go home. Something which I am not very fond of.

As expected, I heard the shouting even before I opened the door. Luckily our only neighbour is out of the country most of the time and or she would not be able to tolerate the shouting every night.

“What do you mean you’ll change? You said that months ago and yet, I saw the both of you, hugging!” Mum’s voice rose to a record high pitch as the sentence end.

“Darling, you are being unreasonable! It was a function and she was just holding on to my arm!” Dad’s exasperated voice was loud as he tried to reason with my near hysterical mum.

I wish I could shut my ears like I could shut my eyes and mouth. Similar conversations go on every night and I am sick of them. Their fights were not not so frequent a few months back but suddenly it was an everyday event like channel 8’s primetime drama. Except that this drama played on weekends too. I walked past the kitchen where they were fighting (they fought in the kitchen because it was the only room with windows that do not face any neighbor, the woes of living in a HDB), into my room and shut the door. I now regretted not soundproofing my room. Their voices were still audible, and I could catch words and phrases. I buried my head under the pillow, attempting to find some silence. I found none. If I had a choice, I would rather stay overnight in the alley than come back to this madhouse.

Next day arrived fast and furious and I wished I could have it fined for speeding. I dreaded going to school, especially after yesterday’s fiasco. I walked into the classroom and the talk ceased. With my head bowed, I walked to my seat, pretending nothing was wrong. Just when I thought the day would end with any nasty scenes, I found myself sprawled on the ground just when I was about to exit through the school gates. My arms and knees bled as they hit the rough pavement. Laughter sounded around me again.

“Get out of my sight, loser. Or do you want to crawl between my legs again?” jeered their leader.

I stood up and walked away without saying anything. The laughter got louder and I covered my ears and ran.

Back at the magical quiet alley, I panted with both hands against the wall. I looked down at the blood that dripped from my knee and down my legs. The red stood out against my pale skin. The wound ached dully. It hurts but I made no sound. Like how the insects suffered and hurt in silence. I felt powerful then upon this realisation, like I had achieved a wonderful feat. Yes, this is how people should be like, silent. Scream in silence, hurt in silence. Everything should be silent. I placed my fingers gently over the wound, caressing the broken skin. With a sudden move, I sank my fingers into the exposed flesh and drew more blood. God, it hurt so badly but I was proud of myself, I had managed to endure without making a sound. My blood dripped down and formed spots on the floor. Drip drip drip they went and I knew I had found it, I had found the way to live my life. I used to be so lost, trying to become one of rest, trying to be ‘normal’ the way others define it. I have no identity, no attachment, no goal, no life. But it’s all different now, I know what I want and how I want to lead my life. I would not try to blend in anymore.

I walked home immersed in my realisation, excitement boiling up within me. I must have looked like a mess, with blood on my uniform and gashing wounds on my limbs. Murmurings could be heard from the crowd but I ignored them. Soon, these murmurings would not trouble me anymore. Back at home, the quarreling continued, and I distinctly heard the words “divorce” and “custody”. I stopped for a moment but did not approach them in the end. Soon, these problems would not bother me anymore. In my room with the door shut, I sat on the bed, earwax digger in hand. My hand was extra sensitive today, the metal felt so cold it made my hand tremble.

This is the moment. The moment that would change everything. I raised my hand and positioned the rod in my left ear. At this moment, I felt like a fervent believer getting to meet God. With a deep breath, I pushed the rod in and pierced my eardrum. Pain seared through my head and I let out a gasp. My world was filled with pain and deafening silence. I dropped the rod, covered my left ear with my left hand and waited till the pain had subsided.

The rod was bloody and left stains on my mattress. My hands were bloody, and not just from any blood but from blood that bled from my eardrums. It was significant, like the blood a girl bleeds when her hymen was torn. I raised my hand to my nose and took a deep breath. Yes, I thought, as the metallic smell filled my nostrils, I had done it. Then I put my finger in my mouth and licked it clean.

The world was as I had imagined, so much quieter now. I could barely hear the quarreling in the kitchen. And mocking laughter would have a harder time to find their way into my mind. I smiled, pleased, and laid down on my mattress. I had done it, I had taken the first step. I believe this is the way human civilisation should be and I had done my part to make the current world one step closer to the ideal. I will continue tomorrow, I thought as my eyelids drooped. It was a long day and I was tired. I fell asleep with my face bloody and the blood-stained rod still on my bed.
______________

Inspired by the idea that my brother’s tuition teacher gave him for writing one word trigger essays for O’levels.

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The glass don’t lie but the twisted mind,
painted the world in sullied dyes.
And naïve eyes though open wide,
refused to throw out beams of light.

So I spun on feet that walk,
till truth up with me it caught.
And the real spectrum did I finally see,
in the dust of its splendor lies my misery.

For Nature though kind never forgets,
what she lends she’ll have it back.
But pity she would never take,
For her work I have ill counterfeit.

There is an old woman who lives and that is all that she does. She lives.

She lives in a one room, she lives on canned food and leftovers and she lives on money scrapped from selling recycles and charity from charities. I see her occasionally, on gloomy days and lonely days, the kind with overcast skies and angry dark clouds that threaten to unleash their anger like water from red fire hydrants except there must be a humongous fire hydrant in the sky. The kind of days during which everyone seems to know that the clouds are angry and they all hide at home shaking like leaves behind shut shutters except the old woman who lives. I see her from my bedroom window hobbling along the sidewalk and looking for recycles. She never look up once and I stare and stare until she hobbles out of my sight.

Sometimes I see her on hot humid days, days when the leaves drag their feet across the cement like I do mine. I see her sitting on a stone chair and her vacant eyes stare into a distance I do not see. Sometimes I see light flickering in those deep wells flecked with silver, like ghosts trying to escape from hell and like shiny lover’s eyes brimmed with tears. They flicker so much, like fidgety candlelight fighting for survival in wind, like a dying heart struggling against the hand that squeezes it. I want to shout and will it to fight, like the spectators shouting and cheering during a boxing match. I can hear the referee shouting one, two, three, four! but the light always loses and the eyes turn back into wells, into wells so deep that you can’t hear the splash of water when you throw a pebble into it. Sometimes I thought I heard a sigh, a sigh so soft it might have been the whisperings of shadows but I know, I know, I’m not the only one who wishes the light to win.

One day I see the woman who lives no more. One day turned to weeks and weeks into months. Perhaps she is tired of living, and living is such a tiring thing. I know because we all must sleep to keep on living. Maybe she was so tired she decided to sleep forever and in her eternal dreams, He in his dark cloak came and she was not even afraid as he led her by her hand into the distance she always wanted to go.

Close your eyes and just imagine
a meadow full of daisies
dancing in the breeze.
You curl up on the grass
and the blades tickle your nose
while the wind strokes your cheek.

That is the perfect place to sleep.

The meadow full of daisies
dancing in the breeze
every nook and cranny
tailor-made for me.
Every bump and hollow
all part of my memory
I gave a sigh of content
and listened to the wind echo it.

Oh, what a perfect place to sleep.

My meadow full of daisies
dancing in the breeze.
However did I find you,
in this jungle of weeds?
Can you feel my heartbeat
when I curl up to sleep
I imagined I heard yours thumping
oh yes I really did.

I found the perfect place to sleep.

“4 for $10! 4 for $10!” shouted the shopkeeper, trying to clear her stock of brand-less slippers.

The colourful slippers hung on a rack behind her. One of them was very unhappy. Let’s call it Size 35 Red for it was brand-less and hence lacked a name. It was unhappy because it did not like itself being sold so cheaply. Why, it thought, even the CottonOn ones managed to go at $5 per pair and the Havaianas are still selling at an outrageous $26.60 despite their buy-2-get-1-free promotion!

Size 35 Red felt shortchanged.

We are all rubber slippers made from rubber trees in Malaysian plantations and we have the same job scope, same function, same quality and same design. Why do they fetch a higher price than me?

The more Size 35 thought about this unjust treatment, the angrier it became.

I, the slipper, tolerated being stepped on by smelly sweaty feet, dragged along hard, rough concrete floors and being constantly submerged under seawater. I even put up with being sunk in mud and having my bottom sitting in pools of urine on the public toilet floor. I endured quietly and never complained even when I was left outside the house and watched as High Heels and Leather Shoes being place upon the revered shoe rack in the house. I willingly endure all the hardship, suffering in silence as the wear and tear erode me thin, and this is how I am repaid? Being sold for a measly $2.50, is that it?!

Size 35 Red was shouting at the top of its lungs and made itself quite red in the face. Sadly the woman could not hear it and its efforts to show its displeasure went down the drain. It was at this moment an elephant of a woman came to buy slippers.

“I do love slippers!” she crooned in a whiny voice to the shopkeeper who was hovering around the woman constantly, hoping to please her into buying some slippers. “They make my feet look pretty,” giggled the elephant woman in her irritating, girly giggle and the shopkeeper laughed along politely.

Size 35 Red shot its size 37 and above brothers a pitying look for this big sized woman would surely be getting a big sized slipper. One of the slipper’s worse nightmare is to be bought by big sized humans because the additional weight made them breathless and they erode quicker.

“I think I would take this nice little red one,” the elephant woman said and Size 35 Red felt itself being lifted off the hook. “Isn’t it a darling?” gushed the elephant woman. “Gosh, it’s slightly redder than the rest! I simply must have this!”

Size 35 was shocked at this sudden change of events and before it had time to react, it was stuffed into a plain red plastic bag along with 3 other size 35 slippers and sold for $10. It turned out that even though the elephant woman was big in size, she had nice petite size 35 feet that she was very proud of. Hence she loved wearing slippers as they allowed her to show her feet off.

Poor Size 35 Red was full of dread as it thought about his future. It was made worse by its cheap selling price. It felt it didn’t get the recognition it deserved. It even contemplated suicide but suicide is rather difficult for rubber slippers. They do not die from jumping off buildings and drowning is of no use too. The only way to die is to set yourself on fire. Size 35 Red lacked the courage to do so, and was thus condemned to fate of serving under elephant legs.

So if you ever see an elephant of a woman wearing red size 35 slippers, please do rescue Size 35 Red from her clutches. It would be eternally grateful to you.

There once lived a girl with two hearts. She had a heart on the left and one on the right. The left heart supplied blood to her left brain and the left half of her body, while the right heart supplied blood to her right.

The doctors did not try to remove her extra heart for it was a risky operation and unlike the baby the two heads, the girl looked and functioned normally. In fact, she looked so normal that you might not notice any oddity except for her need to take in abnormally large amounts of air. You see, she had only one set of lungs to supply oxygen to two hearts and that really put a strain on her poor lungs. The problem was easily overcome – she just needed to breathe with her mouth constantly.

The girl took extremely good care of her two hearts. She ate healthily and did cardiovascular exercises regularly too. She was doubly careful with her hearts for hearts are such fragile things, and she had not one but two of them.

The girl led a normal enough life (if you exclude the frequent collapses during PE lessons) until she met a heartless man. He was born with no heart but he looked and functioned like a normal human being. The doctors were extremely bewildered and astonished, and called him a “most interesting specimen of the Homo sapiens species”.

I have much to say about the heartless man but let’s not go into that. It is the girl with two hearts that we are interested in, is it not? Like how most stories go, the girl met the man and they fell in love. Or should I say the girl fell in love with the heartless man. The girl thought that they were a perfect match, a two-hearted-girl and a heartless man. Why, she thought, my extra heart must be his! God himself must have placed his heart in her body by mistake. Isn’t it sweet how the heartless man had literally given his heart to her for safe-keeping? She used to gush to everyone around her.

As you can see, the girl was a hopeless romantic. She didn’t think that if it were God who misplaced the man’s heart in her body, the man did not really have much of a choice about where to place his heart, did he? If I had a say, I would say that the man would actually prefer to have his heart in his own body, thank you. However, I am just a poor narrator and what I say is of no matter.

It turned out that the poor narrator was right. The girl forgot how fragile hearts can be and made the mistake of handing her heart to the heartless man. The heartless man was indeed heartless, and he broke the heart of the girl with two hearts. We shall not go into details of how he did it. We do not poke our noses into others’ personal businesses, do we? Nono, we are not busybodies. However, I can tell you some of the rumours if you are truly interested. Oh yes, I can. I do love juicy gossips after all but let’s leave it for another time. We do need to carry on with our story here.

So the man broke the girl’s heart and walked out of her life with absolutely no remorse. Luckily for the two hearted girl, she had an intact heart after the other was broken. Unfortunately for the guy though, he forgot about her two hearts and without further thought, broke her right heart instead of the left. He would pay dearly for his thoughtlessness, as you soon shall see.

The girl was in critical condition after being heartbroken. She was sent to the hospital immediately and the best brain and heart surgeons rushed to restore her blood circulation to her right brain and body. They worked hard, cutting, grafting and sewing blood vessels. The operation took 2 whole days and 2 whole nights after which the girl was finally saved. Her left heart now pumped blood throughout her body, just like an normal human being. Unknown to everyone though, the brain surgeon had forgotten to graft one particular blood vessel from the left heart to the right brain. His mistake was not consequential. The girl lived, looked and functioned normally. Her vitals were normal and she was as healthy as a horse. She was discharged shortly and no one knew the brain surgeon had made a mistake, a mistake that caused a part of the girl’s brain to die, the part that controlled emotions. A mistake that changed everything.

If the heartless man had been more careful, and bothered to consider and weigh the consequences of breaking the right or left heart, he would have known that breaking the right heart is riskier than breaking the left. As you all know, the left brain governs logic while the right emotions. Had he broken the left heart and damaged the left brain, the girl might lose her senses and become an emotional wreck now.

However, the heartless man lacked the foresight and the girl who was once a hopeless romantic became a maniac, an intelligent robot devoid of all emotions and obsessed with revenge. Without the hinderance of emotions, the girl became very analytical, practical and cold-hearted. She was soon courted by many big companies for her efficient and effective methods to solve company crisises and became dirty, filthy rich. She told nobody and nobody found out her plans for revenge. She had analysed that this obsession of hers would not go too well with the shareholders and she did need the CEO seat for it brought in loads and loads of money. Furthermore, she was not stupid to the extent of putting herself in suspicion when something happened to the heartless man.

Ner plan for revenge was simple really. She analysed that the best way was to render the man family-less (yes he got married, that bastard), penniless (he married a rich lady and had company of his own), friendless (his friends are all mercenary), and most certainly lifeless. She wrote down her goals with detailed plans in a secret diary and carried them out religiously, often faciliated by her huge financial backing.

Needless to say, the girl got what she wanted. The heartless man was abandoned by his family and friends, lost his company and became a bankrupt overnight. It seemed like a series of bad luck had plagued the heartless man to outsiders, but we all know everything was carefully planned and engineered by the girl who used-to-have-two-hearts-but-left-with-one-now.

No one knew what happened to the heartless man after he lost all his worldly possessions. Some say he was enliughtened and led a carefree life among the animals in the Amazon jungle. That is definitely rubbish. Some say he resorted to selling his body for money in Thailand. That is quite probable. Nobody knows the details but there is one thing we can be certain of – the girl who used-to-have-two-hearts-but-left-with-one-now had her sweet revenge and the heartless man came to a horrible end.
________________

Follow up by TrueStoriesNotThe Heartless Man

Indispensable

Posted on: March 5, 2010

Nobody is indispensable in this world. Not the president, the country still runs without him. Not the CEO, the company still functions without him. and most certainly not you.

“You mean the world to me.”

At some time, some point, somebody will mean the world to you, or you will mean the world to somebody. You feel like you can’t live without that somebody. You pine, you wish and hope. You wallow in sorrow, in fear, in regret, in disappointment. But that is only at some point.

Nothing is forever, the world will change. You can’t mean the world to somebody forever, and that somebody who meant the world to you will cease to be. You are not indispensable.

You can die, fade off, disappear, and it doesn’t change a thing. People grieve, yes they do. But time heals. And the world will still continue to spin. It continues.

The earth can vanish, be annihilated or destroyed, and it still doesn’t change a thing. The universe grows. Other galaxies bud and bloom, and the black holes still suck everything into nothing. It continues.

The universe can go off in a big bang again, and smash into million pieces and release all sorts of gases. But that space will remain, that vacant black space that stretches for eternity. It continues.

And no one will care. No will care that you’re not there.

Day by Day, Time Slips Away

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