Summer is over in my side of the world, and in two weeks I will be on a daunting new adventure. I've spent the last month wondering how it will go--so much so that I haven't done anything but think about it. As usual, writing about it is the only cathartic way I have to get over my anxiety.
Summer's last breath
Ends in sky-tears
That kiss the soil
In its vain effort to console the earth.
I try to catch vapour
And remember hazy memories made
In careless, spontaneous moments.
But my hands
Are open system jars,
And the wind coaxes vapour
From my fingertips.
From double paned windows
As memory of its existence fades.
I hope to call it back,
To hear its gurgling familiarity
Tickle my ears again
But I cannot remember its name.
Apologies—this letter is rather presumptuous. To be honest, I’m not sure you’ll actually exist. We haven’t met yet. I have yet to earn my MD stripes. At the moment, I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that I’m actually getting into medical school—still mustering up the courage to go through five? ten? more years of hard work.
To be honest, I’m anxious. I’m about to embark on a training program that will allow me to hold a human heart in my hands, to deliver a living child into this earth, to transfer vital organs from one human being to another. I feel the responsibility weigh against my shoulders heavier than ten elephants. I haven’t done anything as important as this. I’m a very small person in a very big world. Future Patient, you might be concerned at this point. If I’m this much of a wreck, how am I supposed to be your physician?
Dear Future Patient, this is may come as a shock to you, but even doctors are human. I’m not entirely sure about everyone (who knows?) but I, certainly, am human. I have feelings. I have moods. I have perspectives.
My humanity, however, will not keep me from becoming a better doctor. In fact, I’m hoping that my humanity will help you as much as my medical training will. I know how much parents can worry over their child (hi Dad and Mum!). I know how embarrassing those first few years of puberty can be. I know how frustrating a knee injury can be. I know how the little things can seem so big. I know how difficult it is to lose someone so suddenly.
I know what it means to be human, and I am not inclined to forget.
If anything, I promise to stay human (unless aliens abduct me or I, for some reason, require a mechatronic heart).
I promise to see you as human.
I only ask that when I do stand before you as your physician, that you’d see me the same way.
Our lives were always tangent:
A tango of touch and go
With photograph moments
That never seem to fade.
Forward in time,
Down thin jumpers
And loose shirts.
Greedy hands stretch
From the back of my mind,
Rewind cassette tapes back years and years
To whispers exchanged
Across three sided cells,
To eyes wandering past the present,
To eyes watching vague gallops of the future,
Oblivious to their empty pages,
Oblivious to today’s bliss.
You and I
Patched up holes in each others armour
Made by careless words
Yelled from rooftops
By knights and maidens
Too small for the platforms they occupy.
You and I
Lay across intersections
At 3 AM,
Pretend the headlights were comets
And we were spaceships
Lightyear-speed-catapulting through space.
But the next season took you away,
Asteroid-stole you from my core,
And you explored your side of space
Unaware of the patch of grass I’d saved
In the event you’d land back down beside me,
Feel the breeze in your hair again,
Tell me how much larger Orion was from up there.
But we became parallel lines,
Weary from straining,
Forgetting how to pronounce familiar greetings,
Losing each other in shadows of memory,
From where the years have filled us up
With new holes
We’ve learned to patch up
With hollow hands
Meant for holding,
Used for hiding.
For twirling telephone lines,
For hesitating over keypad letters,
For the backspace.
For the backspace:
Days of carefree laughter
And nonexistent ‘apart’s,
When we dreamt of free roads
And bare feet.
Days when hands were used
Evening arrives the way it always does,
Shoves the door open
Amidst suspended apartment dust,
Drifts through my bedroom window
With news of comets
Transporting space messages
From eons away.
I hear the neighbours yell and argue,
And pretend they’re croaking toads
Professing love to potential mates
Instead of animosity,
Or variants of hate.
The hum of the traffic below
Transforms into cricket lullabies,
Evaporates from concrete swamps
That rarely run dry.
I try not to dream
Of babbling brooks
And rolling hills.
I try to stay present,
Shove the pangs of discontent from my chest,
Lie to make today more bearable,
Lie to get closer to tomorrow
Where perhaps I’ll travel
To seasides and coasts,
Envelope myself in their salty wind embraces.
With my arms buried in wool,
And my heart fortified with stone
To firefly coves
Far away from city lights
To make me believe
In all I’ve lost
Before I slip
Back into compact homes
Boasting more gold than fire,
Allow the sleepless night below
To sing me to sleep.
Christmas is right around the corner, and I hardly know how to feel or what to write or what to do with all this time during the term holidays.
I've managed to write a (semi-)cheerful poem for the occasion.
Our family's had an unconventional way of celebrating Christmas these past few years. I suppose growing up does change the way these occasions are handled within the household. Family, however, always comes first.
And above all, the love of all things dearest to our hearts.
Hopefully the season's hustle and bustle does not draw us away from what (or Whom) we gratefully celebrate on Christmas.
Amongst chocolate bars
And torn wrappers,
He folds his paws
The way proper pups do
When their masters
Centre their joys
On forgettable prizes,
Waits his turn
The way desirable pups do:
Amongst candy wrappers
In favour of more glamorous presents.
On warm hearths
Are emptied of their contents,
And sleepy faces
Are filled to the brim
With smiles and cheer
Until the next morning
When crumbs remain
In place of cookies
The big fat North Pole myth
Had “gobbled down,”
And a proper pup
Gets his Christmas cheer:
And short attention spans
That remind him
Of all he holds dear.
The end of the tunnel
Lit you up like a Christmas tree.
Your hollow eyes healed
Back to the first day
You witnessed the lamp lights
Illuminate the street.
You were Peter Pan:
Forgetting about shadows
That still linger in my memory,
Flying to a Neverland
You’d made up in your daydreams.
You lit up
The way aeroplanes do
When they flash blinking starlight signals
And plummet towards the sea,
Touchdown on runways
Welcoming them home.
But the round trip distance
Was enough to alter your view of familiar places
Your heavy feet automatically brought you to.
The sky is no longer the same shade of blue,
Neither the morning as lively as you expected.
The end of my tunnel
Was your open armed embrace
Taking me back to summertime,
Back to sleeveless tops
Keeping burning skin alive,
Tear stained faces
Mourning for dreams
That died before the Autumn leaves fell,
Before nature pronounced them dead.
The end of my tunnel
Was open space aimless,
A single barren tree in the forest,
Your hoarse voice whispered
“It’ll be okay,”
But the leaves of our favourite fire tree
Let go of its flames
As Winter arrived.
I am beginning to realise how intensely one person can affect another. Compounded with that idea, I am also beginning to realise how fragile one can become once overcome with affection.
It seems terrifying, and I wonder why the business of attraction is so messy. I've been wondering why attraction exists despite good sense. It seems so, incredibly, illogical.
And yet it is warm and desirable.
Peripherally relevant to that, there's a quote from the film Interstellar I've been dwelling on lately.
"Love isn't something we invented. It's observable, powerful, it has to mean something."
When I was younger, Mum would tell me
To steer clear of the breakable glass,
Go play with soft pillows that flop when thrown.
We only had so much plates and mugs in the house.
But I broke far too many plates anyway,
By scampering through the house unsupervised,
Allowed mirrors to slip through my tiny fingers,
Allowed light to scatter on the floor
Like crystal fragments the stars forgot to pick up.
And I would stand perfectly still
In the centre of shattered starlight,
Knowing that cut glass would not stay clear forever,
Knowing my veins would stain it red.
I learned to temper my touch,
Holdfast the blue porcelain,
But not tight enough to crush.
Hold things like you do the bow of your violin:
Gravity is greedy,
The earth pulls down anything remotely heavy.
The weight of a word
--Love for example--
To send entire atmospheres
Plummeting down to the ground.
Hold it the way you hold your crisp paged books:
Like the text had surfaced from Alexandria’s lost library,
Like you’re holding the very last copy.
With light fingers,
I learned to hold my heart.
Fragile are the parts we keep hidden,
The parts we realised could shatter when broken.
So, please, be patient
Fragile are we
Suspended in between my dreams and reality.
I wish we could collide so fiercely
The way giant gas clouds are pulled together by gravity,
To form brilliant suns
That illuminate rivers,
Cause them to laugh
And splash waves onto embankments.
I wish we could collide so fiercely,
But I would explode in plumes of Helium,
Shatter into a million incoherent pieces
Into a being who is not me.
So, please, be patient
If the concept of ‘we’ should even exist,
‘We’ are volatile hearts:
Gunpowder stored underneath a furnace.
We could collide,
But I’d rather we slip slowly into each others palms:
Parts of ourselves we never knew we wanted
Until we’d caressed its delicacy at the tips of our fingers.
Patience is, perhaps, the longest road we’d tread,
But I know not another course of action.
I’m not used to taking things anywhere,
My pace is as slow as a coma patient’s response,
My hesitation is the acknowledgement
That ‘we’ fall under the category of ‘fragile things,’
I know that life has its own gravity,
And I don’t want to be too greedy
Lest we shatter
Like crystal fragments
Or falling stars
That stain red from our veins.
To say it has been a bad week would do injustice to the chaos that has engulfed my mind these past six days.
I wish I could claim that writing helped...
But I can't.
Not this time.
Some weeks, I type in lines that mean absolutely nothing to me. Thus, I scribbled this poem down out of frustration.
I start loading the page
With plotline bullets
Only to shoot blanks
That create nothing
The stories I tell
Are meant to leave imprints
Upon otherwise moving targets,
But I am unable to tell them,
My mind is empty,
A series of ragged uptakes
I am a storyteller
With a blank piece of paper,
Reading scribbles and notes
That form sentences and thoughts,
Cohesive paragraphs that make up plots,
But none worth telling.
I sit quietly,
Gun blanks at the walls,
In the hopes that a bullet would connect properly,
And that I can take up my post
As a storyteller
With books in hand
Instead of random pieces of paper.
I scribble down
Handwritten grocery lists:
Alien invasion things to do,
Shooting star wishes to buy,
I scribble down
To get through long, fleeting days.
1. Get up and try not to fall back to sleep
2. Get up after falling back to sleep
3. Get up to snooze the alarm
4. Get up to the snoozed alarm
I scribble down
Long winding lists
In the hope that one day I’ll get it right.
1. Decide what I want in life
2. Decide what I really want in life
3. Stop changing my mind about what I want in life
My pens are now hollow tubules,
Memories of lists
I basketball free throw shot in the trash,
And my eyes are aeroplane air dry
From deciphering letters in the dark,
Hoping to find riddles
Hidden from the light.
To get from scratchy tones to smooth waves of music involves a great deal of practice. Yet not all practice yields proper results. Screechy scratchy practice will yield screechy scratchy mastery, and the converse is also true. But over time, if one practices right, screechy scratchy tones give way to pleasant melodies.
It just takes time...
In my case, a fair amount of time.
A rookie like me, then, has to start somewhere. So, I started with scratchy tones, disturbing most of my family by playing at odd hours. Mum claims that my violin sounds like a baby crying, and my sister wears headphones to drown out my playing.
Mum used to read us this story that ends with "try, try until you succeed." I wonder if one tries and tries and simply doesn't succeed. What must he do to succeed then? Try harder? Try smarter? Give up?
After months of playing like a musician overcome by stomach cramps, Mum and the rest of the family were just about ready to throw me out through the window, but miraculously, after somehow blistering my fingers and breaking a couple of strings, I drew my bow and out came a melody.
How odd it is that the smallest successes are often those that provide the most comfort.
And how wonderful it is to finally achieve some small success.
an adaptation of the old Chinese idiom
Thirteen metres high, five metres across, no corners, or anything that could connect her to the outside world except a full moon shaped hole where the roof was supposed to be.
This was Claire’s sanctuary.
She woke to the sun lavishing her with warm kisses, and fell asleep to the wind singing lullabies in her ear. If the sky began to cry, her tears never seemed to fall into her deep hole. If the sun seared the soil in anger, his hot claws never seemed to reach her pit.
For the most part, Claire was left to her own devices—which, given that she never left her little hole, were scarcely abundant. There was daydreaming, then there was stargazing, and of course there was sunbathing—not that the sunbathing ever improved her pale complexion. Besides her pallor, she was (contrary to popular expectations) quite content with her lot in life—and more so with the hole in which she lived in.
The only time her contentment was ever up for discussion was the only day of the year she ever had a visitor over—but her visitor never came in, mind you. Robin was not very tall, and would most likely tumble to the bottom and never ever get back out if she did try to get in… Not that she ever wanted to, anyway. Instead, Robin poked her head into the hole, and had a long chat with Claire.
“This year, the gardeners planted rose bushes,” she said to Claire. “Oh, how I wish you’d come up to see them.”
“Come up?!” Claire gasped. “But-but there are people there! And snakes and birds! No, Robin, I’d very much prefer to stay in here where it’s safe.”
“But the rose bushes, Claire,” Robin said with a dreamy sigh. “They’re beautiful—all red under the sun.”
“Never you mind that,” Claire said, sticking her nose up. “I, too, have seen the sun’s beauty as it rises. And I’ve seen the full moon in all her glory. Frankly, I doubt I’m missing out on very much. I do believe you should have your own little hole to find safety in.
“And give up the vast horizon?” Robin shook her head. “Not for the world.”
“Horizon? The sky is round, with edges, you see, Robin,” she clucked at her friend. “How distorted the upper world has made you. Vast skies? Bah! It’s such a queer thing! Preposterous! Everyone knows there’s no such thing. The sky is shaped just like the moon—completely circular.”
“Oh, yes,” Robin said, rolling her eyes. “Everyone knows that.”
And Claire was quite confident in her own little hole, thank you very much. So Robin said goodbye, and watched the roses stretch their petals towards the sky as night fell wondering as she got into her car how anyone could think of full moon shaped skies and remain contented with their life.
When I was in Japan earlier this year, I had the pleasure of watching the cherry blossom trees bloom. It was the tail end of the wonderful season, but I witnessed it nonetheless.
This short story is about seasons and the inevitability of change, but also about how the inevitability of change isn't as inevitable as we perceive it to be.
When the sakura trees are teased by the Spring wind, they tend to cry buckets of tears despite the pleasant season they find themselves in. At this time of year, the weather is caught between the sweltering summer and the frigid winter: a glimpse of nature’s youth, ushering the pink-sea-week in.
As per tradition, Kaoru emerged from his hovel to gaze at the park’s pink riverbank littered with couples and foreigners posing before plastic cameras. His dark hair fluttered in the Spring breeze the way over grown grass would. He ran his long fingers through his hair. It was getting too long, but he didn’t have the time to chop it off. Instead, he pulled a rubber band from his pocket and bundled his hair into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. This will have to do for now, he thought. His watch, as usual, told time five minutes too soon. He was, therefore, fulfilling tradition five minutes too soon—as he had done for the past five years or so.
But things had not changed—Kiri’s watch was still ten minutes too late, and had thus kept him waiting for fifteen minutes, as was tradition.
Kaoru didn’t mind. He turned his angular face to the sky, and allowed the pink petal snow to catch on his long lashes. It was only once a year, after all. After today, it would all be over again. Whether or not he was pleased with this idea was still up for discussion. He couldn’t seem to decide.
Instead, he allowed the memory of last year to push through the flurry of other thoughts in his mind. His hair was short again, cropped close to his scalp, and Kiri was her usual cheery self. A light drizzle had dispersed the crowd ever so slightly, but just enough for Kaoru to exhibit a rare act of spontaneity as he ran past the riverbank and into the park’s grassy field covered with cherry blossom petals. There he collapsed upon it, eagle spread as if it were his own bed. Kimi laughed, and Kaoru hid his smirk behind his hand. Her melodic laughter cleared his mind of all relevant thoughts. It was enough to stop his heart, perhaps, but it had not happened just yet.
“Are you going to keep chasing sakura petals every year, Kaoru?” Kiri teased, pushing her long hair behind her as she gathered her white cotton skirt up to run behind Kaoru.
Kaoru bit his lip, glancing at her tentatively. “Would that be a bad thing?”
“Not particularly,” Kiri shrugged. “Why do you do it anyway? Chase petals with me every year?”
Kaoru gazed at the clear blue sky obscured by the cherry blossom trees. If he himself could only admit the answer… But now was not the time. “It’s tradition,” he said instead—not very convincingly either.
“Sure,” Kiri scoffed. “As if an eighteen year old nerd would be so sentimental about some petal chasing ritual we came up with ten years ago.”
Kaoru tried not to fidget under Kiri’s intense gaze, and somehow found his eyes tracing the soft curve of her chin and the slight pinches around her eyes.
When she frowned at him with her coral tinted lips, Kaoru shut his eyes firmly, and said, “it’s tradition,” through his tight wind pipe.
But this year, Kaoru knew, would be different. Though Kiri’s lips were still tinted coral like last year, and she still dressed in cotton skirts, and though she still refused to tie up her long hair—though everything was absolutely picturesque, everything had so obviously changed. Perhaps because it was the sort of year that was meant to change everything.
“There’s no space to run,” Kiri said, frowning, but Kaoru had no intention of running.
He shrugged. “Let’s walk by the riverbank instead, then.”
“Finally tired of chasing petals, then?” Kiri smirked.
Kaoru gave her a tight smile, looking her straight in the eye. “Would that be a bad thing?”
She sighed, shaking her head gently. “Giving up on your yearly tradition just because you’re going to Tokyo for university. It’s not like you, Kaoru.”
Kaoru simply shrugged, and stared at his feet. “Chasing petals is not like me. It’s time I grew out of it.”
Kiri frowned, not understanding.
But Kaoru knew what this implied.
“You’ll be staying here for university, then, Kiri?” he asked nonchalantly.
Kiri beamed, though the conversation’s direction confused her. “Of course.”
Kaoru merely nodded. “Ganbatte.”
The sakura petals fell heavily around them, as if the sky were mourning the end of an era. In fact, the trees were shedding the tears Kaoru never could. He tried to memorise the moment, implant it behind his eyelids. He tried to memorise Kiri’s cotton skirt peppered with pink, tried to memorise the river caked with pink frosting, tried to memorise the faint rustle of the blooming flowers above him, tried to memorise how his heart beat heavily next to Kiri’s before time passed by too quickly.
Tokyo was a long way off.
His revelation came five minutes too early, and Kiri would realise it ten minutes too late, when chasing petals would no longer be an option, when the one word that would have saved it all could no longer be uttered—“stay.”
I suppose a disclaimer should come first. This is just little me on a little sad rant after watching the news about Gaza and Ukraine. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to any war for whatever reason.
I've been told that some conflicts are, what they call, unavoidable. I've been told that sometimes war is necessary... But at the moment, I don't really want to believe those statements. I just want peace.
I don't expect everyone to agree with this little piece, but I do hope (if you don't agree) that you, dear reader, would be polite even in your disagreement. I'd appreciate that.
Dear World Leaders,
I am not a political activist, nor do I study politics for a living. I am, however, a citizen of this world and I believe I have the right to say that the fighting has to stop.
I’ve been told that the beauty of living in the twenty-first century is how we’re somehow more interconnected. I’ve been told we’re all weaved into a web called the world, and we are all human.
I’ve also been told that conflict could be resolved whilst “minimising casualties.”
It’s funny how ‘minimal casualties’ are always comparative—to the past, to other wars, to conflicts that reach beyond the bounds of my memory—but still, here we are, in a supposedly progressive world and still the fighting continues.
I do not pretend to understand politics, or differing ideologies, but I will say that I understand the humanity of us all. We are, all of us, made up of flesh and bone that bruises and breaks too easily. We are mortal in the very sense of the word. We open our eyes to wake, and we close them to sleep. We were never meant to survive rocket launches or metal bullets to the chest.
But of course, you must win your wars. You must win because somehow one side or the other is more right. You must win your wars.
And what about the rest of us?
The ones you call casualties?
Out there, where planes crash and guns fire like metal popcorn in a microwave, out there people are dying. Do you understand? They’re gone. You can never ever bring them back to life. No amount of apologies or convictions can change the fact that too many families have been broken by death and too many children have had their dreams replaced by the nightmarish sound of gunfire.
I don’t care how much ‘repair’ you can do. These moments will never be returned as fresh blank slates. Time only progresses forward, and the more time that goes on the more people die. You do not have the elixir of life. You can’t bring them back. You can’t ‘make this right.’ Not this way, at least.
I understand—you believe you’re making the world a better place. I understand—there is right and wrong and sometimes, action is necessary.
But I don’t understand how more war can bring peace.
Victory will never bring back the dead.
Victory will never rewind the damage.
I understand—there are things worth fighting for.
But are guns necessary?
We call children who fight with fists barbaric. We praise children who talk things out like ‘adults.’
So what exactly are we doing fighting with fists, creating bruises, allowing our people to taste blood on their lips?
I just don’t understand why you think this is okay. I hope I speak for everyone by saying that I am just more and more frustrated because the death toll keeps adding up.
I’m just concerned for others like me who have dreamt big dreams. I want to dream with them, to tell them that their dreams are valid, but they’re living in nightmares. How do I reconcile ‘ideology’ with ‘humanity’?
I don’t know.
I’m just throwing things into the void, I suppose.
But I wish it would all stop.
Too many people have died.
One casualty is enough.
Please, if you can, let the death toll stop rising, I beg you.
Make war avoidable.
Let people live.
Time as we know it runs a constant stream. It flows ever forward, never backward, never subject to anyone’s will but its own.
It’s a strange concept that we all learn from an early age. Once a moment has past, it is impossible to take back. Time is like glass. It can be broken down to a million pieces, a million little moments, a million little seconds and minutes and hours and days. We can try to comprehend its complexity this way (as we so often try to comprehend what is beyond our limited human minds) by chopping our experiences into smaller portions. We say that our year is made up of key moments—places we’ve been to, people we’ve met, people we shall never meet again, consciousness turned to ash, new gravestones lain on fresh carpets of grass.
Still, a photo is more than parts put together. Snippets of time is not the same as the entire picture. To say so would mean that Mona Lisa is a masterpiece solely for her smile—and many would agree to this statement—but the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece because of the entire expression of her face, as well as the way her shoulders seem to slack, as well as the backdrop she had been painted in.
Such is also the reason Jane Austen’s novels are classics--Pride and Prejudice is more than Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, or shall we ignore the contribution of all the other characters who have made their appearance?
The riddle of life necessitates a glimpse at the entire photo—such a glimpse we perhaps will never truly see in our lifetime, for who is to truly say they’ve understood a person’s life and all the interwoven complexities hidden within it? We all have secrets, and sometimes, there are parts of time hidden from even our own selves—parts of time we can’t remember quite so well.
But what’s more perplexing than the riddle of life is how its preciousness is amplified by the little window of time we are given to live it. I’ve heard it said that the greatest equaliser is death itself, for no natural human being can escape it (although we’ve all tried). Once a person is gone, it is impossible for them to return. Not as they once were, at least. Never as they once were.
As such, I’ve dwelt upon this thought for the longest time—perhaps I am morbid for doing so, for calculating the number of years I have left to live, for estimating how much time I have left before my own little window comes to a close.
Bear with me.
If I had a total of sixty (or seventy) years to live a proper life, give or take, I have blitzed through a third of my existence already.
And what have I to show for it?
To be honest, mostly nothing. I’ve done nothing of significance at all. I am not a person of great repute. I have not read enough books to make me wise. I still quarrel with my parents and siblings over the most petty things. I continue to get upset over trivial matters. I sleep in when I ought not to.
The list goes on really.
My window of time leaves me feeling helpless.
Granted, I do believe in an afterlife, but it doesn’t mean I plan to squander my years away. I wish I could do something meaningful.
The facts of my existence, however, have made it quite plain: I am not as others—capable of creating stained glass artwork out of their lives. I am simply an ordinary individual being, just as so many of us on this earth are destined to be.
And I don’t think that’s a bad thing—a peaceful existence is one that many undervalue.
There’s a movie that has come out in recent memory. I first meant to watch it only because it starred three Harry Potter actors, and that was it. It has an interesting plotline, and I’ve always been fascinated with plotlines (suppose it’s the writer within me itching to reveal itself), but I hardly knew that when I'd first seen it.
The film’s name is About Time, and it’s rather clever. Tim, the main character, can travel to any event he remembers—in his lifetime, of course, he can’t go off and kill Hitler, as his Dad explains.
But the movie isn’t about this extraordinary act of bravery. It’s about how Tim goes through life the best he can.
Even if time travel were possible, it wouldn’t solve all the problems life brings us. We still have to stand watch as our parents eventually pass away; we watch as our friends make their own mistakes; we chase after our dreams and watch as they slip casually past our fingers.
Tim’s main goal in life is to live the most extraordinary ordinary life possible.
And I’d like to think that’s a brilliant way to look at our little window of life: a chance to make every single day extraordinarily beautiful in our own special way; a chance to leave fingerprints across people’s hearts by loving them with all our hearts; a chance to spark warmth in other human beings by simply truly staying present in the present moment.
It’s an ambitious feat—to live each second the best way we can—but then again, what better way is there to live?
There was something about it, Chara decided. There was something about the music that made her blood rush properly—not like lethargic fluid simply going about its job, no, it rushed through her veins as if exhilaration lay within its core. She’d never been to a concert before—she never had reason to—but now, standing as a speck in the sea of the small crowd, she saw its appeal.
Individual human beings tightened to form a single collective, moving to a beat that was not their own, moving in sync though actual movements vary. It was not like a club where Chara feared being pressed too firmly against some stranger’s chest. It was not like that at all.
She had space enough to breathe, but she couldn’t—she didn’t feel claustrophobic, mind you, the breathlessness was a proper sensation. It was as if every drum beat sucked the air right from her lungs, and the rests in between were permissions to suck air back in. Chara was not particularly fond of having her breath knocked out of her, but this was ecstasy.
It was at that moment she practically ignored her companions and threw herself into the waves of music. The entire set was ironic: the rhythm was lively yet left her tranquil, the singer’s mangled voice sounded incredibly whole, the instruments distinct but blended congruently, the crowd moved harmonically yet each swayed to an internal tune.
When she ran her eyes lazily across the stage, Chara knew she was screwed.
Her fiery soul was ignited by dark orbs that went on and on and on until forever. They seemed to stare straight at her from the stage—the eyes’ keeper was casually beating the drum set before him, smirking, twirling his sticks in his hands. Chara felt like an ocean had erupted from the dam of her chest. With every beat, the drummer dictated the ebb and flow of her heart. The pounding infiltrated her system, found its way into her bones, poked around, and decided it was a neat place to stay.
All the while, the drummer continued to smirk, thumping with his feet, controlling Chara’s heartbeat.
It was the kind of smirk that hid a sharp tongue behind its lips. The kind of smirk that told Chara how this man would have said her name. It wouldn’t have rolled off his lips like honey, no. The drummer would have said it like a flint scraped against a rock. He would have ignited sparks of ember in the soul Chara had kept bundled under blankets. He was the type of man who would have promulgated his admiration, or his revulsion. He was not the type of person Chara fancied latching herself onto.
Yet, his eyes pierced her with a perverse yet pure intensity. It went against all her logic; she knew it was rude to stare; but Chara found she could hardly turn away.
It was a terrifying sensation mixed with thrill and confusion. She knew for a fact that the drummer was not smirking at her—the spotlight was just aimed towards the singer right smack in front of him, and he, the bludger he was, was avoiding the glare.
Yet he, the bludger that he was, was avoiding it by looking in her direction. Coupled with her rapid heartbeat controlled by his bloody drumming, Chara felt her sensibility being pushed aside.
At this moment, all that mattered was the ecstasy (not that she would do anything rash after the music stopped, that is)—and so, she threw her head back once again, allowing sighs of euphoria to escape her lips. She lost herself in the blaring music, lost herself in the pounding of her own heart.