A #10YearChallenge for writing. A short story from 10 years ago. Read part 1 here.
This was a story I wrote from my travels maybe a decade ago. It's fun re-reading old writings, and learn about how my writing voice had changed through the years:
Things from the writing that I'm slightly embarrassed about now:
🔥 Epic and grand emotions spilled out for all to see. I think I'd gotten more reserved and private over the years!
❤️ It's a story of love and infatuation-at-a-distance after all. Whatever happens in that arena always feels embarrassing!
🌻 Flowery, bombastic language and indirect prose. I prefer to use simple and direct words now in a everyday conversational voice in favour of getting my meaning across.
Things from the writing I would love to do more of:
💪 Be more bold and daring, in love or hate of things, people, issues in life. Over the years, the overly-PC culture of work and the internet had beaten that out of me. Don't get me wrong - pissing all over someone or online bullying/trolling is not right and not what I'm saying here. It's about being confident and assertive of what you believe, until otherwise proven wrong (where then it's best to humbly admit to it).
🔄 Integrating my imagination and emotions more into my (serious, factual) work. That what I enjoy about writing fiction, that one can imagine, and it's alright to use emotions. How may I bring more of that into design and making products?
Now, intermission over. Story continued....
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Berlin, Berlin (2)
Pounding bass, gyrating lights, unknown faces, foreign tongues.
The spaces seem to expand, as I contemplated the fact that here I was, a foreigner standing out so starkly within the uber-cool crowd of Berlin, but seemingly no one cares. I was simply another foreign face within a city which bustled to the beat of new-age migrant liveliness. Leaning against the glass walls which ran all around the club, my back to a panoramic view of the city lights rising out from the ground, like a phoenix from the ashes of death, I lit another cigarette. Why the suffering, M? I feel your pain, but all I could do was to watch by the side as you lay sprawled on the street and bleed. I sensed I could understand what you were going through, but could we touch each other that way? Can it stop? Will it? Will we, one day, huddle at a dark corner, and find ourselves recounting in countless sighs our painful lessons, and whisper in hushed tones about how life's cosmic humour was upon us then?
. . . . . . . . . . . .
In the spur of the moment, she started running. It was becoming quite predictably unpredictable, and I was getting increasingly worried. She would oscillate between morose and mania at the drop of a hat, and at the very moment, she was riding the peak of the wave.
The snow had finally stopped falling after days, and every path is now a dangerous, slippery slope. She was, quite literally and metaphorically, courting such paths, as she skidded along the compacted ice. Once, she flailed her arms up in the air, almost falling flat.
I could catch you now, but who can catch you ultimately, other than yourself?
Over the days, I felt increasingly helpless. Sunk and stuck into something myself, I feebly watch the waves of life swell through her. I wished I could do something, but this were her shores and I was not on it. I could only be a silent sentinel on the other side of the ocean, ever ready with the shields of care, always watchful with my armour of concern..... if she ever called out, or sought help. Though now, any prying would only be as fruitless as trying to bottle the wind. She is the wind - unstoppable, unfathomable, undying.
Would the North Wind notice a weather vane?
But we all had gone through this, isn't it? It was nonetheless starkly hurtful to watch......to see in reflection the darkness hovering, the emptiness echoing, the wounds bleeding, all over again.
Blood. Blood everywhere, ebbing in profusion and collecting into rivers of crimson sufferance.
Screen moan chant
Gone is sleep in whispering wind.
Only sweet gorgeous storms may blow.
and some blood will shine.
When will the hurting stop? When shall the running end? When can the healing begin?
It was easy for me to ask such questions now, with the clarity and luminescence of hindsight. Had I known better there and then? Would I have repeated my mistakes?
Definitely, we need them. The running. The bleeding. The slippery slope. She will repeat my mistakes, and all else who went down the road before us, for sure. Only better...
But let me try......perhaps some solace can still be found, no matter how, no matter what.
I walked up to her side, and drawn her closer with my arms around her shoulder.
"See that end of the street? Where the lights and the building end? I'll race you there!"
"Haha...... OK sure!"
"OK, on the count of three. One......two......hey!"
In a playful attempt at cheating, she shot off; her inhibitions shod and child-like passion ablaze in an instant. Of course, I ran as fast as I could to catch up, but I could never quite reach her, anyhow.
We laughed as we ran, paying little heed to the bemused crowd, throwing glances at each other like children in play, making sure we did not trip and fall. What does matter now? Two strangers, bounded in reality by only numbered days of company, but have not someone wise once said that it does not really matter who you travel with but how far they will travel with you?
We reached the end of the street, both bent over heaving and panting. The warmth of the race and of having partners in race, fired us from within like an oven. The awful Arctic cold of Berlin seemed less miserable now, and we eye-balled each other in clear satisfaction.
"I win!" she cried out triumphantly.
Yes, my sweet......I hope you will......
. . . . . . . . . . . .
(To be concluded...)