Flash-fiction

Burnt Match

Image Credit: Januz Miralles
Image Credit: Januz Miralles

Matt arrived late. When he entered the church it was already crowded. Numerous colleagues and students sat on the benches and looked at the coffin where the Dean lay. Matt breathed in thick air and felt overwhelmed with the suffocating vibe of death. He made a hasty step to leave but then changed his mind and only loosened his tie. He leaned against the wall near the entrance door and looked at the widow. As always, he couldn’t take his eyes off her face.

Wrapped in a long black dress that accentuated thinness of her body, she seemed more fragile than ever. Her red curly locks, which usually hung loose to her shoulders, were now hidden under the strict black hat. Her stiff, straight posture and a slight tilt of the head made her look like a burnt match. She stood near the coffin and shook hands with people that kept coming over to her to express their condolences.

“She doesn’t hear them,” Matt watched her force a mechanical nod. “She doesn’t see them. She’s barely there.”

Last time Matt saw her at the Dean’s birthday party. She laughed at her husband’s awkward jokes holding onto his shoulder, and the flame of her hair danced along the rhythm of her laughter. Matt chuckled too, not able to resist her contagious joy.

“What does she see in him?” Matt looked at the Dean’s bald head. “His thick glasses? His false teeth?”

“Well, it’s not fair,” he said to himself. “He’s not so old to have false teeth. But he’s too old for her.”

Now he was too dead. Matt looked at the corpse in the coffin. There were no glasses on the Dean’s nose; and he didn’t smile to show his horse teeth. He looked calm and secure as if he knew that, even dead, he still owned her, as if he was sure that now, leaving this world, he would take all her warmth and brightness with him so that she could never look at anyone else the way she used to look at him.

Matt wanted to come up to her and look into her eyes and say something nice and encouraging. He wanted to try and erase the lines of pain destroying the beauty of her pale face. But he kept standing next to the wall. He was afraid to meet the dark emptiness of her look which replaced lively sparkles that had always flicked in her smiley eyes. For the first time he didn’t want her to know he was there.

He left the church, not waiting till the end of the ceremony. She won’t notice anyway. She won’t care. He had always been in the shadow of her love for another man. Now, he will stay in the shadow of this man’s death.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

The Daily Post

Advertisements
Sketching

Coming Back to the Road

I’ve been blogging for about half a year. By no means it is long enough to say I am an expert or anything, but I have felt comfortable with my own writing routines. Or it seemed so a couple of weeks ago.

I spent last two weeks away from the blogosphere revising my aims and goals, and it made me lose connection with the writing habit that I considered to be pretty solid. It feels as if I was going along a road that I knew would bring me somewhere, but then I stepped aside, just for a moment, and sat down on the grass and looked up at the sky, at white clouds slowly float above. And when it’s time to get back to the road I am not so sure anymore if the path that seemed to be mine is really mine. I don’t know if I have chosen the right direction or if I actually want to go anywhere.

I kept asking myself whether I should blog if I am not sure why I am doing it.

Today I got up at six in the morning. I had no reason to do so, but I woke up with a sudden wish to jot something down. Does it mean that I have been missing writing all this time and that I need to take to it again? Probably yes. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if I know where the road goes. It goes somewhere, and, while I enjoy walking, why not pace along?

There were several times in my life when I felt an unexplained urge to do something new. I never questioned it, I just followed it. And years later, when looking back, I can see surprisingly pleasant results those initial impulses brought me to, although then, in the very beginning, I had no idea of what would await me ahead.

I guess it’s the same with blogging or writing in general. I don’t know where it will bring me. But I can go on and see what happens. When something pushes you from inside you should give in to that urge even if you can’t decipher the message of your inner self yet.

It is so easy to shut down and lose the habit of expressing yourself, especially after a couple of discouraging remarks from people who judge you by your words. But the truth is you don’t write for anyone else. You write because you want to say something out loud, to let go of the ideas and feelings that boil up in your head; otherwise they will have to steam out through your ears and nostrils or run out as tears through your eyes.

Come back to posting your tiny little thoughts, I say to myself. You need it, so just do it. As simple as that. Keep telling what wants to be told. And even if your way of expressing yourself is awkward and full of silly mistakes you still have the right to speak. While speaking aloud, you learn to free your heart and be who you are.

Sketching

No Time To Think

centipede

Life is too short to think too much.

When I start thinking about something too seriously I stop acting. I become an alive illustration of an old story about the centipede that decided to figure out which of his legs should go first, and after that he couldn’t make a step. My portrait exactly. When I plan something too carefully I get paralyzed by the amount of details I have to work through and by fear to make an unforgivable mistake. So I don’t move at all.

Knowing that about myself, I try not to overthink things but act right away. Plunge in and see what happens. It probably won’t work for everyone, but I have to adopt this motto. If not, my short life will end up in infinite hesitation and pondering, “Which way is it better to do?”

The Daily Post

Sketching

The Pine Kingdom

Image Credit; Kim Daniels / Unsplash
Image Credit: Kim Daniel / Unsplash

I was eleven months old when my mother brought me to a camp in the pine forest. The photo of me sitting on the ground and staring at the trees with my mouth open was lost, but this image is safe and vivid on my mind.

After our first travel to the camp we would go there every summer which explains a great variety of memory pictures. I am running in the grass on the sunlit lawn. I am eating berries picking them right off the bush. I am walking along an endless woodland path. I am playing in the sand with a boy I’m in love with at the age of four. It’s a slide show of my childhood.

One of those memories is about my first acquaintance with ants and unfairness. My mother and I walked in the forest and found a big anthill. My mom told me that ants crawled around looking for food, and I decided to give them a wild strawberry I had in my hand. I put it on top of the anthill, and one of the ants bit me. I cried for half an hour, and I still hold the grudge even though my mom explained me then that I should have simply dropped the berry instead of pushing it on ants to try and convince them how yummy it was.

The camp where we lived was set up near a beautiful lake with grayish-blue mountains rising on the other side. I spent days in the lake and taught myself to swim in the warm summer waves when I was about five. In the evening all kids grabbed little torches and wandered in water near the shore looking for crayfish that hid under the stones. Almost every night campers gathered on the lakeside around the fire to share their stories and worries. Accompanied by the droning sound of their conversation, children watched sparkles fly up to disappear in the dark and toasted pieces of bread pinned to long wooden sticks. The bread got usually burned on one side, but you could not imagine anything more delicious than the black-smoked crunchy crust. Well, one thing was yummier: potatoes baked in the coals of dying fire. When potatoes were ready, we rolled these hot balls out of fire and gave them a minute to cool down a bit, then peeled them, soiling our hands with black coal coating. After that we dropped a pinch of salt on steaming white pulp and bit into it, slightly burning our lips and tongues.

In the daytime we made little boats of the pine trees’ bark and then shipped them into the lake. The wooden boats with leaves for a sail rocked on the waves and headed away. We stood on the shore and watched them disappear in the glittering distance and imagined big adventures. I loved pines and believed they were travelers in their core, and that’s why today, when I look at their tall and straight trunks, when I breath in their spicy resinous smell I feel as if I were on board a ship, next to the solid brown masts that reach up to the sky and stretch its infinite sail.

Childhood memories are indelible. If someone tells me today, “Imagine your favorite place where you feel calm and happy,” I close my eyes and immediately see myself sitting at the foot of a tree, on the soft carpet of fallen, yellowed pine needles. In the realm of my vision, I look up at the blue that shows through the lace of green branches, and I want to stay there forever.

Sketching

Odd Memory

As a kid, I had a very strange reaction to the news of death. When I heard that somebody had died I wanted to laugh, and my lips created a creepy grin that shocked me, myself, infinitely. I knew it was wrong to smile, but I couldn’t help it, I felt like laughing.

First time it happened when I was in the second grade. The teacher entered the class and stood at the blackboard. Some boys in the back of the room didn’t notice her and kept giggling over some stupid joke one of them had made.

“Who can laugh on such a tragic day!” the teacher suddenly yelled. The boys in the back of the room got quiet, and the rest of us looked up at the teacher in silent surprise. “Don’t you know that a member of the government died last night?”

I didn’t. But when I heard it I wanted to laugh. I didn’t know why, it wasn’t funny, and the teacher’s angry face looked scary, but my mouth betrayed me and started creating a smile. I bit my lip and lowered my head to hide my face so that nobody could see it and think that I can laugh on such a tragic day.

The teacher decided that I was deeply moved by the sad news. She came up to me and stroke my head. That was tough: I wanted to laugh even harder.

Years passed. I don’t smile at the news of death anymore. On the contrary, I get upset when people I love leave this world. But when I think of that day when the member of the government died I still can’t imagine what was in the teacher’s head and why she expected small kids to care about some total stranger’s destiny.

 

The Daily Post

Sketching

My Two Cents

Today is Blog Action Day and everyone discusses inequality. I guess I can add my two cents.

I believe we all are not equal to each other. And I’m not only talking about social differences like economical status of your family or your race, ethnicity, religion, gender etc. These characteristics are obvious, but to me, they don’t really matter because they don’t describe a person behind all those social labels. I truly don’t care about them, but I believe in inequality although I see it from a different perspective.

Inequality makes life interesting. We are not equal. And when I say that I mean we all, from the very beginning of our lives, are given different abilities. Some of us are extremely talented in mathematics while others are totally hopeless in adding three to one. Some are born athletes and others can’t grab a ping-pong racket properly. Some paint from childhood and grow up into great artists and others never learn how to draw a simple line. We are not equal. But is it bad? Not at all.

Inequality makes us different, and this is a wonderful thing. If we all were the same, if we looked the same physically and had the same pack of skills we would want to do the same, we would have one profession for all of us and we all would have to live the same life. It’s hard to imagine a society made of mathematicians or athletes only, but that’s how it would be. We would be a planet of multiple and extremely boring twins. Who needs that? Nobody. Such a monolithic society would never survive.

Inequality has another side that’s called uniqueness. If you are not able to do something that others do so easily and you envy them day and night it still doesn’t mean you are worse than those ‘lucky’ ones. It just means you have your talent hidden in another place. And if you cling to the idea that you are not equal to those who can do something you can’t you will never give yourself a chance to find out what makes you different, what makes you unique and special.

So I would say don’t care about being similar or equal to somebody else in anything, from social status to everyday habits. Find what is unique about you, what you have that nobody else has, and your inequality to others won’t ever bother you at all.

 

The Daily Post

Sketching

Twenty-Four Are Enough

 50428

When people say, “I wish I had time for this or that,” it usually means they don’t really want to do this or that. Yes, time given to us is limited, and every day contains only 24 hours, no more, no less. But the way we use these hours shows what really matters to us and what doesn’t.

When I don’t find time for something it’s because I am not interested enough to squeeze it in, and even if another hour or two were added to every day of my life I would still spend them doing something else. I would choose to do what I love, not what I claim to love.

Many years ago, when I studied at the university, one of the professors told us about a scientist whose name I unfortunately forgot (but it’s still a true story). That man never lost a minute of his life. If he had to spend fifteen minutes on a bus he would open a French vocabulary to learn some new words. If he had to stand in line in the post office he would read a book about insects (he was a physicist, but flies and cockroaches were a sphere of his interests too). When he had five minutes or even one, he always used it for some meaningful purpose, he read, wrote, studied and so on. And, as a result, he achieved a lot in many different areas of human knowledge.

The professor told us about this scientist to impress and force us to follow his example, to read and learn and improve ourselves nonstop, every minute of our lives. I don’t know if anyone took it the way the professor expected. Many students decided the scientist was just a cuckoo, and nobody expressed a wish to follow his steps. I was intrigued by the idea of not losing time and convinced that 24 hours can be used in a very productive way. But come on, do you really want to live like this, keeping a textbook in every pocket? I don’t. You can add a hundred hours to every day, and I still won’t find time for so much learning because no matter how I claim I want to know everything the truth is I don’t really care.

Twenty-four hours are enough for everything I do, now, today, in my life. And when I don’t do something it’s not because ‘I don’t have time’. It’s just because I don’t really want to and I need to have a solid excuse.

 

The Daily Post