[Fiction] Tomorrow 6|Imprisoned

I feel groggy as the last of my sleep fades away. I rub my eyes before opening them and frown at the still present darkness. My hand is halfway up to my face to check if my eyesight is covered in any manner before I remember that my life is this dark. No tears come now at this realization since they long dried up in what seems to have been weeks of imprisonment. Not even a little beam of light ever enters the room as my captor has the connected rooms just as dark. “So as not to let you suffer while I provide you your food.” He had laughed when he came for the first time and heard me groan at the unchanged darkness.

“Strip a sense away and the rest grow to compensate.” It’s what he said every time I initially begged to be freed. And it was the truth. My sight was gone but my hearing and other senses were way sharper than I had ever realized. Perhaps having the numbing world filtered away had something to do with it. But I won’t give that sicko any credit.

The growth of nails and hair is how I track my duration of captivity and now, as I curl up in my now usual fetal position, I can feel that my breath is the sole sign of life in this place. And maybe I am going crazy but this silence doesn’t bother me anymore. I try to make myself remember. “My name is …” Partly horrified, partly indifferent, I face the realization that I have forgotten my own name as well. In this dark, everything I ever was has been slowly but surely taken from me.

It is perhaps my thoughts that summon him because less than five minutes pass since waking up, I presume, before he arrives. The darkness becomes useful for the first time as I realize via the improved senses that he entered through the third eastern gate. For a few moments I was unsure if that was really the correct gate but the man’s nearly silent steps echoed in the dark and thanks to my instincts, I have a fairly good idea of where this gate is. But I let out of a soundless sigh when I realize that without setting up a proper bait, I cannot get out from here by trying to replace him on whimsical plans.

I remember somehow that I had once tried to use the walls to get to the entrance of this dark room, when I had found out that this place had 20 gates, though which were real and which were fake was something I hadn’t yet figured out how to identify. I am knocked out of my thoughts by a huge sound of the metal gate clanking behind the doors. “Come on now, time for food. You know where to find it.” He speaks and I want to murder him for the impatient tone. Yeah? If you are so unwilling to have me here, why have me at all? And I ain’t your pet, so watch your words.

I speak nothing though, because there was an incident when I did speak up and was given no food or water for so long that I had felt like pledging my life to him just for a bite of food. Though calling it a food is a bit of exaggeration. What I am fed must be nothing more than some water and a half of a dry loaf of bread. I mentally try to plan an escape for when he returns next but the ever present hunger and the overpowering sense of defeat make me unable to even focus on something like that.

In the early days, he manacled my hands and he let me understand the situation just enough to know that I should never expect a rescue and nor should I bother with an escape plan because getting lost seemed to be worse than just staying put. But call it stubbornness, or whatever else you want, I still tensed up and cursed myself for not preparing myself to be near the open gate to prepare to jump him while the place was still dark. At the same time, I must acknowledge that I am too weak to win this by mere brute strength. At some point while I am consuming the garbage like the finest of delicacies, he leaves me alone. It is only after he’s gone and I’m done eating that I realize that he left me here once again. By instinct, I check for the door and feel it locked on the other side. I curse out loud at this. Someday, you’ll make a mistake and I’ll be ready to grab it.

So, having him once again gone, I let out a frustrated sigh at yet another missed opportunity and make my way to the center of the room where my food is left. And having forgotten everything that was once the ‘civilized’ part of me, I hungrily eat it all while being uncaring to the worry of being served poison food.

Whoever my captor is, I know that I am needed alive. And if I die here, then it would hardly be convenient. There is no way that this is for money since I am alone in this world and there hasn’t yet been a demand of ransom. Not that I have any notable amount that would make all this planning worthwhile. So I finally decide to sit here and wait, either for the captor to reveal the reason for this or for the chance to get out of this room. It feels like hours pass as I sit and let my mind run at the full speed for no good reason, except maybe to keep it active. And before I know it, I am feeling sleepy again.

Feeling an urge to lie down, I let out the words that have now become my mantra.

“When tomorrow comes… I would like not to return to my old life. No, I would rather choose to just be grateful for being back in the light.”

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[Fiction] Tomorrow 3|Grief

Without even seeing her face, I knew. The doctor could barely hide the pity in her eyes. And so, before she could even open her mouth to speak, I quickly found my voice. “If your face is showing all you have to say then please leave. I’m leaving as well and will be back in … after some time. Then, we’ll deal with the formalities.” My voice is choking with the unshed tears and the doctor just nods before walking away. It’s a feat to not run, not that anyone cares.

You promised me we would always have each other. That’s the only thing I remember thinking as my body automatically makes it way to the one place it recognizes as safe. And yet, as the door to our apartment shuts behind me, I cannot find anything that feels even remotely familiar.

The smiling couple in the pictures on the wall seem to have been a dream. The way the place has been decorated feels like a stranger lives here. There’s nothing in here that feels like him or me. I move to the heart of the place and find myself in the bedroom. And once again, I’m stuck feeling like a stranger in the place where I have made countless memories.

And so, I sit on the bed, half expecting a stranger to walk in and demand an explanation for what I was doing here. But no one comes. And outside the window, I see the sun go down the horizon with no emotion at all. He has already left me, why should I worry about you leaving as well? And it is that thought that finally breaks through the haze.

He has already left me. The sentence echoes within me as the tears finally erupt. And the crying sounds like the ugly and dying final sounds. Because that is what I feel, like I’m dying. Tears keep falling as I cry and scream where I sit but soon, the dehydration stops hem and makes my throat feel raw. But nothing snaps me out of the grieving. He has already left me. Why should I care what happens to me when he didn’t?

But my mind rebels at the thought and redirects me to the memories of the last night – God, was that only last night? – when we had made plans of him and me and our unborn child. My hand automatically drifts to the – so far forgotten – child in me and I feel the urge to cry once again as I remember the happiness and the excitement on his face.

“I cannot wait for him or her. You’ll see, I’ll spoil the kid rotten and you would have to bring the discipline to the house.” He had commented while we had snuggled in bed last night. “I’ll be the best, coolest dad ever and you will all see!” And then, he had tenderly added. “And we’ll never let him or her think that we are not there for our child. Our kid won’t grow an orphan.” But you did leave and our child will feel like an orphan. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try to be the best parent we never had.

My body once again then resorts to functioning on itself as I rehydrate myself and eat some tasteless food and improve my appearance, even if unsuccessfully. And then, I make my way back to the hospital. This time, everyone who couldn’t be here in the morning is now present and I am swallowed by this new family of friends the two of us had created so long ago that it feels like another lifetime. I drown in their sympathies and feel fatigued when I’m finally let go. Some tears still break loose at the thought of him gone but it is not in me to breakdown in public. And nor do I break. I take care of the formalities and the paperwork and send off each and every single one of my family off while trying, and failing, to give an act of being able to hold it all together. And then, my oldest friend hugs me before leaving and what she says breaks through the façade.

“Prepare yourself hon. Tonight is going to be the worst day you’ve ever gone through. And though we don’t want you to go through it, someday you have to. So we’ll give you space tonight. But know that we’ll be here. Tonight, tomorrow and any other time you need us. So don’t hesitate to call.”

And so, despite a few traitorous tears, I manage to get to the bed without a breakdown. And that’s when the loss strikes the worst.

The quiet is so strange, so distracting, so overwhelming that I cannot focus on anything but it. And the coldness on the right of my bed is so painful that I don’t even pretend to try to sleep. Instead, I stare at the pillow that still has the indentation of the back of his head. Every sound is amplified, every thought is buried. And all I can feel is the loss. I check my pulse and am surprised to feel it when my heart seems so cold that it might as well be dead. I silently cry, and even the realization hurts when I remember how he always knew when I needed him but wouldn’t reach out because I wanted to suffer alone in silence.

My body yearns for his embrace, breaking further into despair as only coldness envelops me. “Come back, please come back.” I beg to no one in particular but even I know that’s not possible. And then, the thoughts of tomorrow penetrate. Oh god, I can’t do this. Go through this loneliness over and over again a thousand times in a few seconds for the rest of my life. And so, I pray. To whoever is listening. To God. To him.

“When tomorrow comes… I do not wish to feel anything. I will raise our child and I will make him happy but I don’t want to feel anything. Not the pain. Not the grief. Nothing.”

[Fiction] Tomorrow 2|Greedy

I toy with my newest possession as I lay down in bed. Resisting the urge to throw it across the room in boredom, I have to force myself to carefully put it down. Now that’s a record. Three hours is all it took for you to get bored of this. What now?

The boredom instinctively urges me and I comply its demand to stretch. The smooth gliding motion of the bare skin on the velvet makes me emit an uncontrolled moan of pleasure as I stretch my muscles to try stopping the lethargy from lulling me to sleep. Outside, the night sky glimmers like a jewellery laden portrait through the tinted windows and can’t help myself as I reach out to the nightstand and pick up the latest digital camera that is gracing the market. The quiet of the place is broken by its snaps and I smile at how well they are now documented. And now, the sky’s mine too. I can see this sky anytime I want, just like the countless others I have saved.

But when have you ever bothered to even glance at them again? I curb my irritation at this question posed by my mind and shake it off. But it isn’t that easy and still it lingers. “Because once you have it, the novelty of it wears off. It’s just another generic thing I have and to sate this desire of having the exquisite items, I need the new ones. I just have to have that new piece that’s barely landed in the market.” Before it can pose any more questions, I begin ignoring it.

I think about this boring place I live in and wonder if those new apartments mentioned in the papers today really is as great as advertised. To some, this place I live in would be worth at least a billion with all the furniture and accessories that is present in here but to me, it is all nothing.

At the mention of money, my thoughts turn to unpleasant roads of the past and I can clearly remember the dark days when everyone just hated me. I mean, sure I bought a new watch rather than the food rations but so what? Couldn’t we manage? And the watch sure did look amazing on me so what’s the loss if I took a little of the household money? The way I see it, haven’t I earned the right to enjoy the money just as much as others? The people in this house are way better dressed and accessorized than any other and still they complain about my spending. Haven’t I brought fame and recognition to our name? There will always be a few haters who laugh behind other people’s back.

A sigh that erupts breaks me from my train of thought and I scowl as I realize that all it did was remind me of how terrible of a life I lived. Honestly, those people should have thanked me as I left my dull and poor husband and the dirty, annoying little brats to their life in the rags. I have now all I ever needed, and will always have more to buy things with. With that, I pick up a shopping magazine and scour the pages for the next worthy addition to this place. After some time of browsing, I pick a watch that is a newer model of the one that revealed the truth about my family. I smile upon reading how they are offering discounts for buying one early. Perfect. Today was so far a waste of time but maybe I can change things now.

And as I begin to order it, my mind drifts back to the significance of the date. Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day I escaped my prison. And I will never be back there again. Feeling sleep now almost about to overcome me, I speak out loud to my heaven.

“When tomorrow comes, I will be ready to have the new and amazing so that I am always being the center of pleasant attention.”

[Fiction] Tomorrow: 1|Drifting

What will you ever do in your life?

Will you ever get serious?

What a waste!

The words echo inside even though I turn up the music way up in my headphones. “Yeah, sorry for not mapping out every second of my life.” I curse at the voices, at the people who just can’t let me be. But no one can listen to me in this quiet park except the insects. And they don’t seem to care.

All I ask is for you to have some idea of what you want.

Riches don’t come to those without a plan.

“Yeah, well, I never planned on getting rich. I intend to just get by.” I answer them now, feeling bold enough to speak now that I won’t be screamed at for talking back in, what would appear to them, an offensive manner. “Seriously, I don’t mean to disrespect any of you. It’s just I don’t know what I want.”

Numb by Linkin Park blares in my ear and I almost smile at how much it resonates with me. And for someone like me, that’s the sign of being a friend. “You folks get me,” I murmur. “But then again, it’s probably just a song for you.”

As if done subconsciously, I automatically check the watch and curse at the late time it displays. Getting up from the grass where I had been lying down, I pat myself down to try to clean up and then jog back to home.

At home, the mood is so depressing that I nearly turn around at the door. Everything’s quiet. Too quiet. It’s hard to believe that only an hour ago, there had been a dinner party here during which everyone who thought they had the advantage of age – after all, who cares about experience or what the person actually wants? – were advising me. And when their words seemed to fail to get through to me, they had devolved into thinly veiled insults. “As if by hearing their words, they expected me to instantly find the meaning of my life and explain it to them too.”

Why can’t they understand that I am in no hurry to rush my life? Yes, I am laid back but without letting me even try, why do they think of me as incapable of surviving on my own? The spark, the drive, the desire that the ones who plan speak of just isn’t in me. Hell, I don’t even know what I want in the next hour of my life. Just because I have loosened the reins of control on my life doesn’t mean I have let go, right? Well, apparently to these people, I’m wrong.

“Let them think what they want.” I answer my thoughts in a voice too low to hear myself as I quietly open the door to my room. I have been lucky to avoid any confrontation so far in the house and am about to let go a huge breath of relief when I spot mom sitting on my bed, looking at the picture on the walls wistfully. “Mom?” I ask, clearly startled by her presence. Internally, I am glad there is absolutely nothing in my room that I need to hide or cover up.

“I remember…” is all she answers as she brings her gaze to me and I just know it’s time for the mother’s approach tactic. But out of respect, I won’t interrupt her. “… you had some many desire of what to be in the future. Granted, most of them were silly and less likely but there was never one your father and I didn’t support you on. But now, when you are nearing eighteen, all those desires are now gone. I will not scold, I will not judge and I will not tell – except maybe your father if the need arises – so please tell me. What changed?”

I sigh in defeat while also acknowledging that at least this discussion started off well enough. And as I sit down upon the bed next to her, I wrap my arms around her shoulder and lean my head on her so that both of us are staring at the family photo we took on a holiday when I was ten. “I… grew out of them. Most of those options? I now know that I couldn’t have managed them. I don’t have the patience of wasting so many years just to become a doctor and nor do I have a technical mind good enough to become a scholar. Art never pays and besides, I wasn’t much of an artist ever. Not a single one of the classes is interesting. Not drama, not sports and not law motivate me either.”

After a small pause, I continue. “And is it really wrong to want some time, mom? I want to be successful in life, at least enough so that I can feed myself and everyone I’ll ever be responsible for and be able to provide them everything they would need, but does that mean forcing myself on a path I have no interest in? What’s the chances of me picking up something just to choose and later regretting it? What then? Because I may not have a plan yet but that doesn’t mean I want to waste money either.”

“I don’t really understand why you lack the motivation to be something but know that I understand your point of view. Tell me still, if you could choose anything to earn your living with, what would it be?” There’s no mistaking the probing question despite the tired tone she presents. I would have smiled if I wasn’t so tired with the same question being asked over and over again with only change in the words.

I don’t answer though. Not because I don’t want to but as I said to everyone, I don’t really have a clue. And so all I can answer is an “I wish I knew, mom. I wish I knew.” There’s no response and we sit together in silence.

She leaves soon after that but not without a last attempt. “I just want you to know that your father and I will truly support you in whatever you choose, whenever you choose. It’s just that we are aging too and we would like to see you well-established before we become unable to help.” The silence that surrounds me then is nearly deafening.

But that doesn’t mean I suddenly am enlightened. And so, as I strip to prepare for bed, I console myself. “One day at a time, bud. One day at a time.” Even I know that it’s a lie to say that I console myself when everything I say is to them, as if to make them understand when they aren’t even here. Thoughts come about tomorrow as I lay down on the bed after locking the door and switching off the lights and I try to show some assertiveness. But I never was a good enough liar. And so, before sleep pulls me under, there is only one thing I can say about tomorrow.

“When tomorrow comes… I’ll manage somehow.”

Building a Brand

In an online interview I read of Nick Bateman, there was a question of how he attained so much popularity in just over a year. His response:

Let’s talk about your epic social media presence.
I started it about a year and a half ago. I realized that if you’re smart with it, it’s something entertaining for people to follow. I’ve always treated my Instagram like a TV show. I make sure I post everyday so people get an inside view on my life, whether I’m working, hanging at home with my dog, or traveling, I’d always try to post something so that people knew what’s going on in my life. It grew rapidly for me.

Source: Fashionweekdaily.com

And so, though I had started the search for the news about the movie adaptation of the book ‘Ugly Love’ by Colleen Hoover, I now had a perfect guide on how to build my own personal brand. (It’s supposed to come by 2017, if you’re curious.)

Though I am 25 days late in starting a New Year Resolution and most certainly no model (or even with intention or hope of being one), I have decided to make a post daily. Most, if not all, will be articles since I am not a regular photographer.

But well, this is an experiment. And let’s see where it leads me.

(And yes, this post is it for today.)