Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This is for another friend of mine, whose story isn't new, but is something that kills me everytime I think about it.

I couldn't resist.

*dedicated to my eternal squeal-pal. I know how much it hurts, to read your story in print, so I apologize in advance. Then maybe you can do me a favour and write my story. Deal?*

*written as I listened to Jim Brickman's wonderful, wonderful instrumental piece, Secret Love, which I can only cheaply imitate. Listening to that as you read this will give you an emotion hangover*

The Moon -- Capturing Absent Thoughts

The moon was out tonight.
Full and round, reminding her of wonderful things. Oh, she had plenty of those thoughts. She just wished she could share them all with him. She could almost see how he would react to her gushes over the full moon. He would, most likely, stick out his tongue, before giving her an apologetic smile and surrender to her romantic dreams. Not that that would change the fact that he would ever know of how she felt. Because she knew that he didn’t, and would never feel the same.
At the thought of him, the pit of her stomach hurt badly. It was a yearning sort of ache, for something that she knew she could never have. It was exhaustingly painful. She wished she could just forget about him altogether. She wished she could leave his memory behind – the entire memory of him – and not be reminded of him with every passing thought.
She looked up into the sky again, this time scanning the dark for stars. But even despite it having rained earlier tonight, and the skyline being as clear as it could be, there were none. It was as if they wanted to save her the trouble of wishing helplessly on them. Because what could they really do to help her? She sank her head deeper into the dewy grass and sighed deeply, taking in the richly damp air in turns.
He was her best friend. She knew that it was hopelessly cliché to fall for your best friend, but hearts don’t care much about clichés. If they did, she wouldn’t be in this mess.
Maybe his being her truest friend was the undoing of her. They were naturally so close, and he treated her so nicely, like the Prince Charming she used to dream of so long ago, that part of he couldn’t help but hope…
Although she wished she could fall for someone who was more of a mystery. Maybe if they weren’t as close, she could let herself be immersed in this foreign feeling. And yet he always turned to her for a shoulder to lean on, and so she had to know everything about him. Maybe that was what made her fall so hard. Maybe that was the part that hurt most.
He frequently poured out his heart to her, so much so that it was basically an open book in her lap. And he would talk to her about his troubles and troubled thoughts with the utmost ease. She constantly worried about him, sometimes. There seemed to be so much lying behind his calming eyes and his cheerful, ever-sweet smile that made her fret.
But he unknowingly hurt her every time he shared his life with her. How, then, could she ever dream of an eternity of this? Surrendering in uncertainty, she searched the sky for the moon. In her little reverie, she’d lost it. After a moment, she noticed an unusually bright patch of cloud, and realized that the moon was hiding. She knew the feeling.
She knew where his heart lay. And it was not with her. It lay far, far away, far from her reach. It belonged to another typically popular girl, who was nice, sweet and intelligent enough, but she didn’t care two whits about him. And so he was lovelorn.
Her heart nearly broke every time he confided about his love to her. She knew that every word shattered a bit of her, and she wondered if it would ever mend. She used to think that his smiles—the ones that seemed to exist just for her – did the job, but they didn’t anymore. And so she was left with cracks, deep and multiplying by the day, and there was nothing she could do about it. She didn’t have the heart to turn him away.
Once in a while, she would look at the moon, in its many phases; its many faces, and just dream. She would let go of reality and just imagine how wonderful life would be if he just knew.
But he must never know. She’d rather lose her dreams than lose him completely. They had something special, and she didn’t want to ruin it. And she knew that whatever she said would throw them into a situation most strange, so that even their friendship would not survive. She didn’t think she could live like that. She knew that being just as they were was best. It would have to be the best.
For now, though, as she lay beneath the open sky, her arms spread out wide and her mind at ease – she felt like anything was possible. Like she could dream freely, and not be struck down by inhibitions and worries.
If only for tonight.


The darned essay.
It had taken up most of his night, and was likely to take up the rest of it. He knew long ago, and instinctively, that he had a reason to hate biology. The reason lay placidly on his desk, not half a foot away from his head.
The darned essay.
Deciding he needed a break, he crossed his room and sat by the wide windowsill, leaning against the wooden frame and gazing out the window. It made him feel like a character in one of her poems. She was a hopeless romantic. She liked to write of beautiful things, and they never failed to give him pleasant images. Okay, so maybe sometimes the images worried him a bit. But they reminded him, always, of her.
He wondered what she was doing right at that moment. She was probably laughing delightedly at some romantic movie on cable TV. He smiled sheepishly to himself. She always managed to force him to watch the latest chick flick every time they went to the movies. That was less than two years ago, when they first became close friends. Now, he bought tickets for the latest romantic comedy for them both without any questions.
He rubbed his hand over the tired creases of his forehead. Lately, he was getting confused about her. He reckoned he missed her. They had gone to different colleges after high school, and it was hard for them to keep in touch. They were both so busy with their new lives, it was hard for them to have the time.
Actually, he really missed her. He had had no trouble making new friends where he studied, but none of them could shine a light next to her. There was something about her that was so rare. Maybe it was the way she patiently looked at him whenever he struggled to make a point in an argument, the kind they always seemed to have. Or maybe it was how she had nothing bad to say about anybody; not a word that wasn’t nice and earnest. She was so honest, and had such faith in people. Especially in him.
Around her, he felt like he could do anything, and not fail doing it. He felt grand and humble at the same time. Most of all, he felt like he could fly. Like he could soar right up to those clouds up there and reveal the huge, luminous moon hiding behind it. Nobody could make him feel like that. Nobody else.
He found it funny. He hugged his knees closer to him and rocked a little. He used to think that his heart belonged to someone else – someone completely different, not a few months ago. And if that was true, then – pray tell – what was this? So he knew that she was special. So what did that make of it all?
The way she acted around him wasn’t exclusive. She treated everyone the same. That was what was so remarkable about her. She treated everyone the same. And that meant, he realized with a sigh, that her feelings towards him hadn’t changed.
But had his?
He searched the sky, letting his eyes roam freely over the tiled roofs and empty streetlights, and into the deep dark of the heavens. He hated himself for being such a coward. He was never really sure of himself, no matter what people thought or said about him. The only time he felt real was around her, and – he had to figure out what that meant.
He knew that if she would give him a sign, he would know what to do. He didn’t trust himself. He trusted her. And she was indifferent to him. She cared for him, he knew, just like he did for her. He just wondered if she would ever care the same way he did.
He rubbed his temples aggressively. Was he even allowed to think this way of her? She might not approve. It was just wrong, he felt, to feel that way about someone who earnestly cared about him. He felt like he was using her, and he didn’t want to. He felt guilty enough, burdening his every quandary on her, when she never as much as complained about her lousiest day to him.
Well. The clouds moved rapidly all of a sudden, fuelled by a strong gust of wind that caught him by surprise. He felt the cool breeze in his face, and smelled the coming rain. Once the clouds drifter past, he could see the moon again. It was full and perfect, shining bright and gentle in the starless sky. He reached over to his cell phone and keyed in a familiar number, as he tried to figure out what to say.
She should really see the moon tonight…

this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 2:08 pm


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Fine, Weili, you win. I cave.

I cannot express myself correctly online.

The people I constantly pester with messages on Fwenster will beg to differ, but it really is true. I find pouring my heart out onto an electronic basis quite difficult. I am old-fashioned, I suppose. Paper does it for me. Therefore, I have decided to post some of the stories that I am proud to have written. ALLAH does all of the stuff for me, because sometimes even I have to sit back and reread my work several times; I can't believe some of the things I write about. They go beyond me and all the way back to Him, because I can't possibly be solely responsible for the things I write.

This will be part of a series of short stories that revolve around observations about nature, and also the ever-captivating human trap we call Love. Within and without, I say.

I present to you:

*dedicated to two of my dearest pals (one male, one female). May you read between the lines and--God help me--get a clue*

Stars -- If Hearts Could Speak (yes, yes, melodramatic title, no?)

The stars were out tonight.
They rarely appeared in the middle of the city sky. The artificial incarnations of light installed along with development always overshadowed the bright emissions of those gaseous balls, stuck in random spots of the galaxy. She took it as a sign, almost instantly reprimanding herself for doing so, for what good did seeing the stars do for her? It’s not as if he would be staring at the same sparkling night from his part of the world, and think of her, and just know
Maybe it was best to count the stars. She refused to let her mind wander off into dreams that could never be. She hated getting drifted apart from reality in all her idealistic fantasies; making up castles in the sky that would crumble with a single moment, precise and true. She wanted to know that she wouldn’t get lost again in hope.
She couldn’t.
She didn’t want to fall for him. It was the last thing she really needed, along with her hectic, cluttered life. She just couldn’t help it. It was like holding out for a silly bet with friends – you don’t know that you’re in it, until you’re immersed. And that’s how it was with him. She couldn’t find anything spectacular about him (still hasn’t), and yet she found his ordinariness simply wonderful.
She knew she was in deep. As deep as the mud she paddled through when she was stuck out of kindergarten in the rain. Getting dirty was only the logical thing to do.
Falling for him – for the likes of himwasn’t.
Unlike most other tragic love stories filled with suicide and madness, hers was different, in that he actually knew of her existence. He spoke to her almost daily, and made her laugh twice as often, and left sweet messages on her phone for every time he couldn’t meet her.
But it couldn’t mean anything. She knew his type. She hated stereotyping, but nothing he had done thus far had proven him to be any different from what she expected him to be. He was smart, and witty, and charming, and cool, and had certain expectations from certain people. He was different, but he was the same. He was different because she needed him, but he was no different from her own expectations.
He was sweet to her, and caring, and gentlemanly, given that he treated her nicely. Even better than he treated another female friend of theirs that she knew very well, even though he knew them both at the same time; made their acquaintance at almost the same instant. Her friend had no feelings for him, but she insisted that his deviating behaviour was solid basis for comparison. Meaning she thought that he liked her.
But he couldn’t. What could she possibly have that nobody else could? Sure, she was nice and obliging, but she was like that to everybody. She was kind to the point of constantly being used by her friends. She was weak like that. She was very loyal. She would do anything for anyone she cared even an eon for. She never liked to hurt anybody. Maybe that caught his interest.
Why on earth would he like her for those qualities?
She sighed into the cool air, swinging her head to the rhythm of the swing’s pendulum, moving forward and backward and back again. She threw her head back and studied the heavens. It was so beautiful. The moon shone bright, even if only in a crescent. Stars sprinkled the velvet night like little rare diamonds. She treasured the sight with a memory, ingrained into her mind, so that she would never forget.
She loved how he made her laugh inanely. He found the oddest things to say, and she would choke in laughter despite herself. He would be vain and strut, and she would turn away and roll her eyes. Then he’d smile sheepishly, and she’d shrug it away, and just save the memory as a remembrance. She picked up little things of his that way; the little stories, and little habits, good and bad. Particularly the bad. Because if she wanted to build a case against him, she’d better do it well.
Maybe it was just her. Maybe he didn’t really care at all; maybe he was bored with the lack of female company (as he had so loudly complained to her that day five weeks ago – the afternoon was a decadent one), and decided that worst comes to worst, that she would do.
Yes. She nodded to herself, finally letting go of the stars and falling her feet back down to earth. Her sandals scraped the sand-bitten wooden floorboards. That was it, she decided. She would have to live with that thought for a while. It was enough to reel her back in to reality – to how life really was; how it should be.
It wouldn’t do for her to float to the stars.


He had to get out of there.
He had had enough of these annual gatherings, where everybody was anything but true, and where every spoken word dripped pretension. Life was fake enough without having to stuff a bunch of unctuous idiots in his house and in his face. It was suffocating.
Without even bothering to look, he reached in his jeans pocket for his trusty lighter and cigarette. He took a long drag and let it out in a long drawl. He basked in the smoke that covered him temporarily, creating the suitable mask for illusion. Then he smelled the noxious gas and hesitated. He felt a twinge of guilt, deep down in that somewhere where these irritating emotions lay. He let his cigarette hang limply in his fingers. He struggled for a moment.
She made him quit. She wanted him to quit, is the whole truth. And for an entire month, he did. He had to wheedle out a sizable reward from her, but she finally agreed to it. All he had to do was stop smoking for an entire 30 days.
And in return, she promised him a month-full of movie dates.
Well, perhaps ‘dates’ wasn’t the right word. She promised to pay for a movie a week, for a whole month, if he managed to stop smoking for one month. Now that one-month period was over, and he could smoke to his heart’s content.
So why did he feel so uneasy?
He shook his head and lifted his right hand up again to take another drag. The cigarette almost touched his lips before he was reminded of her earnest campaign against him smoking. For weeks at college, she had subtly insinuated to him all the terrible side-effects of smoking, none of which he had never heard before. Still, it amused him to see how she would hint about his habit with a straight face, and casually incorporate it into their conversation, changing the topic if she saw that he had no reaction.
She wasn’t pushy, and he liked that. She didn’t want to really change him, unlike some of the girls he had gone out with. She was pleasant and obliging, and never pushy, unless she had to badger him about a report due. She was the honour society's secretary. It was her job to badger.
The rolled-up paper touched his lips, and he took in another puff of nicotine. Letting it go slowly, he shook his head. She had almost succeeded in brainwashing him. It was nothing short of unbelievable. He never let anyone change him. Not even his former girlfriend of three years. But this girl, whom he had only known for less than a year –
How could she affect him so?
She never even acknowledged him if he was around. He always had to be the first one to say hello. She’d just let him (blatantly) ignore her, until he felt compelled to greet her. And she was immune to his charms. He would try to be witty and make her laugh, but she’d only snort a laugh and roll her eyes. She never understood his faint suggestions, not even when he joked to her about being his girlfriend. If she did, she convincingly insisted that she didn’t. And he’d be at a loss at what to say. He would drop the topic then and there, and try once again, failingly, to make her laugh.
That was another thing he didn’t like. That she could make him feel completely warm inside, and absolutely cold on the surface, every single time he spotted her from a distance. He had even recognized her walk, and memorized her every outfit, and committed them to heart. He’d try to counter this by teasing her about her clothes, but she would just ignore his comments good-naturedly, and continue whatever it was he disrupted her from.
Why couldn’t he affect her so?
There were times when he thought that maybe she wouldn’t really be repulsed at the idea of being his. His own. He had teased the words in his mouth and in his head so many times, it was as natural to him as inhaling that cigarette smoke. Then maybe, he could tease her and get a response; could tug at her hair without her ignoring him. Maybe.
Suddenly he started, staring at the joint in his right hand; staring at it confusedly. She didn’t want him to smoke; what was he doing? His mind ran around in panic for a while, before he relaxed.
It was okay. He could breathe easy now, no problem. He could smoke now. He had won the bet. He deserved a smoke or two, at least. She wasn’t even there to reprimand him softly. Besides, she had only said one month.
Still. He turned the cigarette around between his fingers, staring at it intently. Placed here in the dark, the light from the cigarette was the only thing illuminating the night. He strongly doubted that there would be stars out here tonight. Exhaust – even cigarette smoke enclosed the city in an unnatural darkness most of the time, save for the vulgar ambience of the neon lights.
Still. He looked up from where he stood.
Huh. Wonder of wonders. There were stars tonight, after all.
He gave another glance at his right hand. Flicking it to the floor, his foot fell upon the glowing ember, snuffing it out. He didn’t know why. But he felt she was watching.

He smiled to himself. He liked the thought.

this has been a rant by Syazwina Saw at 12:44 am