Gazing at falling leaves

Short Stories & Poems

Category: Untitled

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“What should I have for lunch?” SL wondered as she pounded her feet on the treadmill. Her friends have already decided to eat at McDonald’s.

“How about a Big Mac meal with upsized French fries and coke? Should she have chicken nuggets to go along? Or would a hot fudge sundae be a better way to end the meal?”

Suddenly, any impending gloom had vapourised along with some of her perspiration. She tried not to think about the people who will turn up for lunch today. It was usually five of them, including SL.

But as soon as she decided that she would have both the nuggets and hot fudge sundae with her Big Mac meal, she started wondering if Ben would be there and how she should behave.

She hoped really hard that he would not offer to queue and buy the meal for her. She was so embarrassed the last time. Everyone in Group V knows that Ben likes SL. So did she.

“What should I do? Offer to pay for his meal? Would that lead him on? Please, I hope he won’t ask me out. Should I just have McDonalds at another outlet and meet them at Minds?” SL breathed out louder than usual through her mouth. This was more exhausting than running.

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She knew that she shouldn’t be lost in these thoughts or else it would likely be a downward spiral. SL has been doing so well in the last year or so. She has managed to stave off so much of the sadness that plagued her in the last nine years since she lost her parents.

First her mother who died in the hospital and then her father who died of heartache and loneliness. They left her one after another.

In the deeper recesses of her mind, it used to be “mommy” and “daddy”. But now it’s just “mother” and “father” because it was easier to bear. Initially. But seriously, now she cannot remember when was the last time she referred to them as “mommy” and “daddy”. Perhaps when she was little.

She shook her head hard from side to side as if that would shake off those thoughts and ran to the door to put on her running shoes. She grabbed her keys and bolted out of her house.

SL broke into a brisk jog. She needed to get there as quickly as she could. She was very sure where she needed to be as she ran towards the treadmill. Aahhh yes, this was her refuge.

The gym at her condominium was flanked by four glass walls, three of them looked out into a lush landscaped garden. In the centre of the garden, was a four and a half metres water feature wall. The fourth glass wall faced the swimming pool.

As SL hopped up on the treadmill, she set its speed to one where she was running furiously, panting and perspiring. She didn’t know what speed that was. Anyway, it was always different depending on her mood. She never actually registered the speed or how much calories she burnt or her heart rate or any of those measurements on the treadmill. She just knew that she wanted to run so fast till her heart burst and maybe, it might even be a good thing if she blacked out from the run.

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She walked to the window and looked.

She wasn’t really looking for anything or at anything but she was disappointed. She looked up at the sky and was dismayed that it wasn’t a bright, sky-blue spotted with fluffy clouds like that in her childhood. It was cloudy and hazy.

When she bought this apartment she could see the sea and as the waters stretched far ahead, it would eventually meet the sky. But right then, she was simply disillusioned, perhaps even depressed at the view before her. Another apartment block stood between her and the sea.

Sometimes things like that made her unhappy. It’s not as if the other apartment block rose up suddenly before her. Yesterday, she accidentally added too much washing powder into her laundry and had to run the wash cycle three times. That riled her to death.

In a bid to dispel her misery, she wished really hard that the winds would change then so that it would blow the haze and pollution away. But deep down, she knew that she had to wait a few more weeks for the dry spell to pass.

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