Gazing at falling leaves

Short Stories & Poems

The way these days

Through the maze she wanders
Not lost yet searching
The memories are etched
So you cannot take them away from her

Yet she walks in circles
Not lost but found
She knows that they are there
Obviously hidden

The two minds that she is in
There is no easy way
No certain path along this familiar maze
She remembers the way


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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.

What we share

How do you
Put into words
What we share
And don’t?

Every time
May be
Ever more

I love the written word
But it’s not enough
To describe
What we have

And the lives we share
Our separate lives
Do you really know me?

Our songs
I listen to them to death
Reliving our moments

Every moment is I
Who are you?
You are who
I made you out to be


What might have happened
If she’d met you earlier?
Would you (she) be happier?
Or is it just her wishful thinking?

She clings to you
Do you want her too?
It’s exhausting!

What does she know?
The memories are
Only hers
Every moment is her

She’s infatuated
With her own image

It’s in the mirror
Looking right back at her
How can she not see it?!
All she ever wanted is you

Place time

In the middle of a second
Between the moments
In the transience

I don’t have to
Be certain
Just be

The rest place
Of ennui
Don’t bother to commiserate

That’s the place
See it
With a blink of the eye
Such perfection and joy!

When time (never) stands still

Over and over again
They unfold
The things we held
The words we spoke
When time
Stands still

Over and over again
They twitch and morph
The recollecting, the reminiscing
The memories and thoughts
When time
Stands still

Over and over again
I run away with you
Into nothingness
Why do I continue
When you keep on
Flying away?

Over and over again
It’s not you
It’s time
To let memories be
When time
Never stands still

When I’m alone

When I’m alone
There is company
With the trees around
And the clouds above

Gazing at falling leaves
Looking at passing clouds
It’s comforting
Like a blanket enveloping

When I’m alone
I think of you
Far from the maddening crowd
The blanket closes in

Sometimes it returns
Like it never left
But being alone helps
Me be with it

You are near
I know it’s not real
They are just what they are
In my head and in my heart

Fleeting thoughts

Fleeting, floating
Uncertain, disconcerting
Imperfection and uncertainty
How do you ground it?

Don’t waver, people are looking
Don’t look around, they are judging
Don’t be yourself
You are not allowed

Who is to say
You are not allowed?
Make your own way
You must, you say

The work, the lists and the games
The commitments and the people
All consuming and distracting
Plans neglected, now hovering

Something lost
What is gained?
Fleeting and floating
All in vain

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