Disjointed, Short Stories

Being a fan of comic strips, I have been thinking about making my own comics since quite some time. Unfortunately, I lack the necessary drawing skills. Maybe one day I can collaborate with an artist and write the script for comic strips instead. Also, I have recently watched a good show on Netflix- Love, Death and Robots, and it has rekindled my fondness for short stories. With my sources of inspiration explained, I share here a few short-stories that I wrote about an hour ago:

   1. Losers

We did not win because three stones had remained unturned. Plus, one of them had shattered. Unturned pebbles are a complete deal-breaker.

2. Biked-in

I took my bike out for a walk one day. We went to the beach and heard some uncalled-for laughter. We came back home with sand in our feet and pedals.

The next day, my bike took me out for a ride. We went to the movies and attracted some unwarranted stares. We came back home with life in our hearts and handlebars.

One night, my bike and I decided against going out. We stayed at home and nurtured some unprompted sadness. We came back to our senses with a void in our minds and drive chains.

3. Scarlet’s Letter

Scarlet wrote a letter and forgot to post it. As the night darkened, Spirits of Unfinished-business descended and claimed the letter as one of their own.

Scarlet remained unaware of the aforementioned event. She even forgot about that letter completely.

Consigned to oblivion in her writing desk, the letter oozes out demented words into every single thing that she writes. Everything that she writes now, becomes the unsent letter!

4. June

June would look in the mirror and marvel at her own beauty. With sun-kissed hair, sparkling seas for irises and a brilliant, sandy complexion, she would scoff at May and July, oblivious to the fact that she was sandwiched in between those two. May and July, however, couldn’t care less. They often forgot she existed.

5. Grass

The grass was greener on the other side so he borrowed some. Two shades of grass then grew on his side. The other side immediately regretted sharing.

6. No Fight Left

I roll up my sleeves with a great effort and feel the thick, sticky sweat trickle down my forehead. As weariness finds a home in my bones, I am made aware of the fact that there is almost no fight left in me. With my sleeves now out of the way, I dip my arms in the lukewarm, stagnant water and a wave of nausea hits me. I cannot bear to look down. Or sideways. Or anywhere where there is a chance of me locking eyes with the unwashed clothes! I hate doing laundry!

©Aaysid

 

 

To All the Books I Have Read Before

Familiarity. A comforting concept. Warm, safe and satisfying. It is reliable too. A thing to fall back on, or in some perturbing cases, a thing that doesn’t let you get up thereby preventing a fall altogether. Everlasting? Why not! However, like all good ideas in the world, it is too good a notion to be just good!

I wonder if my spirit animal (I don’t know the exact meaning of this term but I guess it is somewhat like a Patronus) is a beaver now (was definitely a turkey in the past)? I wonder about that a lot. Beavers make dams and that is the only thing they make. Their fragile dams, constructed entirely out of twigs, stones and leaves, do not stand the test of time but that doesn’t stop them from constructing new ones. Why don’t they make other things? Dams are pretty advanced structures and if they can make those they can make almost anything, but they don’t. Then again, why build anything else when you have mastered the construction of dams? I have never built a dam in my life, just a few bridges that I forgot to check up on later, but I am beginning to relate with beavers so much. Just like them, I am getting too comfortable with familiarity.

Now coming to the real problem – at the start of every year I make a list of books that I plan to read throughout the year. I had been doing quite good with that list in the past, maybe because it was realistic (just had five or six new books, none over thousand pages). Since a few years, however, I find myself struggling with it. The fact (more like a sudden realisation) that there are too many unread books and just not enough time anymore (ageing and shortening of attention span) makes me start more than two books at a time and not all of them manage to get my fingerprints all over their last pages. Life has always been busy in one way or another, but never before I had turned my back on a book. It would feel like a transgression. Now, I am just an unapologetic abandoner.  This, unfortunately, is neither the only reason of the ordeal, nor it is the biggest one ! It all comes back to the beavers, dams and the concept of familiarity…

I never had a proper place to put all my books in the house. I just had two shelves so that had meant not keeping too many books. I had access to libraries most of the times and felt good selling and buying books to and from the thrift stores. Sharing with friends, rather pestering them to read, was and still is a hobby, but somehow or the other, there are some books that I couldn’t give away and some that I cannot ever give away (the ebooks). Those books have now acquired ghost like characteristics. They are haunting me. In the worst way possible.

I pick up a new book, and after a few pages, I get this urge to read that part from Stephen King’s IT where Mike Hanlon calls everyone from the Loser’s Club, or that part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Ron manages to find that secret radio show hosted by the members of the Order of the Phoenix or that ending from The Catcher in the Rye where Holden watches his sister ride the carousel…the list goes on. Thus, what I have been trying to convey is that recently, whenever I manage to find time to catch up on my to-read list, I end up reading the books that I have already read (not just once, but about a hundred times)! My mind refuses to handle new stories and form new affiliations. It has grown accustomed to familiarity. I wonder if there are other people out there, presently being haunted by the books they have read before?

I bet somewhere out there, beavers are not amused.

Getting Out of Conversations

At least one of us had to be hallucinating that day. I bet it was me…

It was just like any other day except we had finished work earlier and had been allowed to go home if we had wanted to, but the weather was just too nice to leave that place so most of us had stayed. She (of all the people) and I were standing in a crowded corridor and I don’t remember whose idea it was to start talking. The conversation was mostly one-sided and her words seemed to be rocking back and forth in the air that was already saturated with enough inane banter. I somehow end up in drawn-out converstions a lot and before the particular day in question, I had not experienced what it was like to get out of them.

My imagination has been my oldest friend. We hang out often and it has saved me from unforseen troubles on a number of occasions. That day, it took me to the bottom of a great mass of water. I’d like to believe that it was the bottom of a great, blue sea. There was a huge hole there that I was getting into (with a book in my hand) and I had felt like staying there undisturbed for as long as I had wanted to. I imagined that things were not drab because I was not stuck in a tedious heart-to-heart any more, but was reading inside a hole at the bottom of the sea! Reality was reduced to only a minute, insignificant concept in my head. I have been told repeatedly that life does not work that way. I am still working on a way to untell myself that.

Coming back to the place where all was not well- I had crawled out of my imaginary underwater haven and was trying to focus on her face in hopes to see whether or not similar signs of boredom (or something more sinister) were registered there. She was pausing between sentences, mostly to chew on her lower lip and every now and then her gaze kept darting sideways. It was difficult to discern, however, whether she was alright with me not having much to say or she in fact had no idea that I had spaced out a long time ago. Just then, out of nowhere, I had a strong urge to fall asleep. Right there, in the middle of it all! From that point onwards, keeping my eyelids apart had begun taking an enormous amount of effort out of me.

Mustering a chastened smile on my face, I sneaked a look at my wrist watch and found out that I had missed my shot fifteen minutes earlier and if things had kept going the way they were going, I had a slim chance of catching another break like the one I had missed. I blinked rapidly a few times, curbed a yawn at the back of my throat and tried putting up the best expressions that I beieved could insinuate the act of listening.

Fifty five minutes had passed and she had given no indication that she had to use a restroom again, like she had to fifteen minutes ago. Instead of removing myself from that awful situation while she was gone, I had remained rooted to that spot as not to appear impolite when she’d return. Politeness causes more damage than rudeness (why no one ever tells me that is still a mystery to me). Anyhow, I was stuck there, waiting for her to stop talking. I began loathing my mind for acting like such a weakling and making me feel that helpless. I was not finished rebuking it when suddenly, both my arms had registered a violent movement and my auditory neurons had manged to reconnect with my brain, for she had grabbed me by both arms, shaken me and while wearing the most perplexed look on her face shouted, “What do you think I should have done? Why are you looking at me like it was all my fault? What in the world is wrong with you?”

I don’t know whether there were any acceptable retorts to that or there existed ways to effectively manage that situation, because I had simply seen it as one big opportunity to bring an end to the mayhem once and for all. My sleep-craving head, bored-out-of-its-life heart and dwindling-imagination joined hands and out of my eyes unleashed a river that couldn’t be dammed! At least not for a couple of minutes…

It has been quite some time since I have last found myself in a lengthy exchange. Chit-chats are all I find myself involved in now. I am now known as a woman who bursts into tears during unwanted, stretched out, unimaginative conversations.

Not Making A Statement

 

I saw her wearing a beautiful and very intricate gold anklet. It was a remarkable sight. Was it on her left or right ankle? I don’t remember that particular detail, but what I do remember is a strange, blue feeling that had originated in my head precisely at the moment my eyes had acknowledged its presence. One of my friends used to say that it was wrong to look at people’s feet, and that a person who held a grudge against someone would look at that someone’s feet. I must have so much hate to give because I tend to look at feet a lot. In fact, one of the first things I notice about someone is their feet. Maybe it’s because I look down a lot or maybe, I do hold grudges! Anyway, the ankle-girl had messed with my head quite a bit and for a few nights afterwards, both my dreams and nightmares had featured things that I could never wear!

I skipped combing my hair for a day and then it became a habit. I realised that I could save at least five minutes from my morning ritual that way. The time I had saved helped me to not leave for work on an empty stomach. I got myself ugly hats to hide my unruly hair and big, dull scarves to wrap around my head, making them disappear altogether. When someone would complement my hat or scarf with suppressed grins and twitchy eyebrows, I would feel a twinge of embarrassment, but that was all. Soon people got bored and stopped hurling praises and it had gotten easier to carry on with that “look”. Sometime afterwards, I found out that if I washed my face properly before going to bed at night, I could save more minutes from my morning ritual. This idea, however, had backfired, because it had added five more minutes to my bedtime ritual and that had meant less reading time. I simply couldn’t keep up with that. Deep down I knew there was a better way to do things. I could wake up a few minutes earlier to be able to style my hair and wash my face with some fancy liquids, but deeper down, I didn’t want to do any of that! I was choosing comfort over beauty. Or something like that.

One not-so-fine morning, I got into a heated argument with my roommate. We had never fought before and I was running out of mean stuff to say pretty fast. She, however, showed no signs of weakness and then out of the blue, she said something that had helped replenish my stock of nastiness as well.

               “I can look right into your little, eyeliner-less eyes and tell you that I am moving out!”

That had hit home, collided with the ceiling and broke free! Why would my eyes feature in our petty feud? How dare she insult my harmless, all-natural eyes! I doffed my scarf, folded it into a ball and threw it right in her face. She didn’t move out by the way, but my temple often throbs at the point where her sneaker had hit me that day…

Coming back to that anklet-girl who had stirred up a storm inside me; it took me quite some time to figure out why the whole thing had bothered me so much. I was jealous! Yeah, it was so simple. I was jealous that someone could wake up that early in the morning to dress nice, fix her hair and don an anklet (she must be skipping breakfast)! I could not make peace with the fact that someone could be happy with being so uncomfortable. I knew if I wore an anklet, I’d actually start having trouble walking. It might sound totally bizarre to some that something as delicate as that anklet can weigh me down, but it sounds very normal to me, and I bet it does to a lot of other women as well (okay, not a lot, just a few).

There are people out there who think that women who do not wear make-up or dress up pretty are trying to make some sort of statement. That might be true for some. Not for all of us, though. Some of us are just downright lazy!

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