Saturday, 30 November 2013

Flowers for When He is Gone

Flowers for When He is Gone - Image courtesy of Wanda Wang

The flowers arrive unexpectedly. 
They weren't suppose to arrive until Valentine’s. 
But here they are now, all these months ahead of time. 
Which means I will not see him until after then. 
A little knot of fear rises from the pit of my stomach, lodges itself firmly in my head, and causes my heart to flap. 

I run a finger over the petals. They shiver under my touch.
I look for a note in the bouquet. There is none. 
I place the flowers in water, and let them be.

It’s been a week now. 
The roses are still in full bloom, the petals soft and tender.

Now it’s been a month and I have seen the roses turn different shades of red. 
Sometimes they are the vermillion streaks of sunset, at other times they take on the colour of blood. 
When the mood strikes, they dazzle brilliantly like rubies.

Sometimes the phone rings and he tells me he is headed to distant lands, at other times I can say he’s been hurt even if he doesn’t always confide.
There are times when he finds the answers he is seeking, and I wish he’d finally make his way home. But then I can also tell he is dreaming of other adventures to pursue, mysteries to unravel.

It has taken me a while to decipher the code but the flowers are my constant companions now. I can discern the slightest shift in colour, the faintest alteration in tint, all in just a momentary glance. And I’d know if he is safe or happy or in danger or sad even if he doesn’t always tell. 

He hasn’t called in a while now. 
The roses have mostly been a dazzling crimson these past few days, so alive, so bright I think there is mescaline coursing through my veins. 
A glint here, a sparkle there. 
Like a candle sputtering and shimmering right before the end.

And now they have burst into flames. 
And before I can do anything, a little ball of fire collapses into itself and vanishes from sight.
I stand looking, staring at vacant space, not quite knowing what to make of it all, when the doorbell rings.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Reindeer on Strike!

Reindeer on Strike

All the reindeer had gone on strike. 
And so Santa had resorted to travelling in a time and space capsule.
“Modern times! Need to keep up with technology, eh,” he retorted when we asked him about the missing reindeer.

The reindeer, he said, are protesting long working hours and demanding higher wages. And since nothing could be done about their complaints, they had decided to freeze in time, Santa said. The "stubborn creatures" (his words, not ours) had become useless when it came to drawing sleighs.

“Lazy creatures with their brains caught in their antlers,” he snorted as he heaved himself down our chimney. 
A sack of presents came tumbling down after him. 
He brushed the soot off his garments, his chirpily red coat and trousers laced with sparkling white cuffs, not a speck of dust or soot from the chimney on them nor on his snowy white hair and beard.

“The capsule is not all that bad,” he continued, as he proceeded to stack our presents under the Christmas tree. “It’s incredibly fast. I can go anywhere in the blink of an eye,” he said, stressing he needs the speed in order to cater to six billion gift-seekers in a single night.

“What about tradition?” we asked. “The stories don’t talk about time capsules, the carols we sing are about reindeer and sleighs,” we insisted.

“That was then, this is now,” he brushed us off. He then emerged from under the tree, warned us to be good children and not go peeking into the gifts before morning, and wished us all a merry Christmas, before scampering up the chimney and out of sight.

The next morning we opened our presents to find nine little reindeer figurines, one with a bright red nose. There was also a note from Santa, asking us to look after the nine reindeer. “Keep them by the fireside, and they will unfreeze with time,” he instructed us.

It’s been a year now. 
Last month, we moved the reindeer closer to the fireside.
Last week, they started to stir.
One went missing this morning.
We think the rest should be back in action before time. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Birthday Wish

A Birthday Wish

Happy birthday to me!!

Exactly two years ago, when the date was 20/11/2011, Dream Pedlar was conceived in imagination.

I wrote a piece titled ‘Hello, Dreamer …’, a sort of a ‘Hello, here I am, hear me out’ piece, which was perhaps the first time I came really close to finding my writing voice. 

At the time, I only had a vague notion in my head of what I wanted Dream Pedlar to be like. Although actual work on it began only earlier this year, and it’s nowhere close to the concept that formed in my head during that winter of 2011, I am still proud of how far we have come. 

Although today is not a Dream Pedlar anniversary - well, it partly is, it partly isn’t - I am excited it’s my birthday (even after all the birthdays I’ve had, I love celebrating my existence!) and I am thrilled that I still love Dream Pedlar, the site, the stories, the art, the creation. 

So thank you for being with me all this while, for reading me on good days and bad, through happy tales and sad.

As we light the candles, I take in a huge gulp of air, puff out my cheeks, make a wish, and blow out. And all my hopes and yearnings mingle with the flames of the candles and the air and the wind and I grow more and more certain of this - I am one with the world, and the world is one with me.

A Birthday Wish

I want to be

… the crest of the wave that crashes on the shore and sweeps away all the seashells on its way out.

… the poetry that rides on the flutter of the breeze until the muse traps it on paper.

… the music that emanates from a hollow, broken piece of wood held together by strings.

… the melody that yields a new hidden note each time you replay it on the tape.

… the quiver in the singer’s voice as she lets a note linger a tad longer than you can hold your breath.

… the story you want to read over and over again until you have committed each exquisite word, each beautiful turn of phrase to memory.

… the colours that bleed from the artist’s brush on to the canvas, rich and resplendent at first, but fading away with the passage of time.

… the drop of water that glides down a wet lock of hair and hangs like a teardrop at the end.

… the memory that has lodged itself so deep into the recesses of your mind you know it exists but the more you try to retrieve it, the farther out of reach it slips.

… the heartbreak that sits at the base of your throat like a lump that won’t go away, no matter how many tears you shed.

… the hollow in your gut that your sorrow carves out, inch by hurting inch, as you realise your loss is irreconcilable.

… the slow, steady movement of the second hand that stretches your wait to eternity.

… the faint flicker of hope that tries to warm your lonely heart on a cold, winter day.

… your thoughts, your memories, your hopes, your fears, your desires, your dreams.

… everything that makes your heart beat, that makes the blood course through your veins faster and furiouser.

I want to be everything that makes you come alive.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Well-Intentioned Advice for Children Unattended To

Well-Intentioned Advice for Children Unattended To

Children unattended to will be given espresso and a free kitten.

As you sip your coffee and help yourself to some cookies, your child can choose from among pixie-bobs, ragamuffins, ragdolls, ocicats, persian kittens, munchkins, minskins, Australian Mists, and Abyssinian cats. 

Whichever your little one chooses, the kitten will wrap itself around your child’s legs and cast a benign, binding spell.

The kitten will then lead your little girl or boy to the park across the road. 
(Oh, don’t bother to look. The garden is not visible to adults. Only little children and kittens can see it.)

The garden has a jungle gym to climb on to, rabbit holes to fall into, stars to count all night, and invisible friends to talk to. 

When your child has had his fill of the park, the kitten will lead the little one through the hedgerows to the other side where treasure-hunters are digging a hole through the earth to China. We hear the hunters have very nearly completed the hole, so your child could be the lucky first to disappear through it and reappear in China, halfway across the world on the other side.

(Oh, don’t you worry, dear parents. The children will be completely safe with the kittens by their side. And if you insist, they can always come back from China in a jiffy simply by sailing over the rainbow.)

If the hole has not been completely dug, the kitten will lead your child beyond to meet The Famous Five. The five - (and Timothy the dog will be there too!) - are a jolly bunch and they will welcome your child to join them on their summertime camping adventures.

When the summer holidays are over and the Five have to return home, the kitten will lead your child to the wise man’s hut, where he has a stash of fairy tales to regale them with. He will read stories to your child until the little one falls asleep, and the kitten will then bring your young one back to you. 

You must then take your child home, tuck him in, kiss him goodnight, and leave him to dream of fairylands and magic and adventures.

The only trouble is, when your child wakes up the next morning, he will go looking for the adventures he dreamt about. Nothing you say or do will dissuade him. 

So, dear parents, if you don’t want your children to go seeking adventures you think do not exist, please do not leave them unattended to.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Street of The Dead

The Street of The Dead

The street is thronged with dead beings. 

Zombies, vampires, ghouls, they rule this place. 

Like monsters running amok on Halloween, the place is littered with all kinds of dead beings - the half-deads, the ones barely alive, some who died barely a moment ago and are only getting used to the sudden turn of events in their lives deaths, and then those who died several deaths every day, and then some more.

Every evening they emerge on to the street, dressed in their finest, from the edges of existence. They wriggle out from the cracks in tombstones. They bleed into existence from the horizon. They surface from the walls that partition homes.

The vampires sashay in their overrated capes, hissing and flashing their fangs at innocent bystanders. Some of the dead are reduced to bare-bones, their dead, decaying skin clinging to their skeletal frames. Some others, freshly lowered into their graves, appear rosy-cheeked and wide-eyed.

There are no leaders, no followers. There are only those who have walked the street a countless times, and those who are new to the ways of this world. 

Every evening they stomp down the street in revelry, sharing stories of their past lives, and their hopes and dreams for future ones.

Some look forward to their new lives, other are unhappy to have lost their old ones. 
Sooner or later, however, they make their peace and step off the street, back into the world of the living. 

Truth be told, even on the street they are more alive than dead.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Painting The Pots

Painting The Pots

The pots and vases stand bare and nude, having just emerged from the potter’s wheel. 

Each one is different from the other. 
Each is unique. 
But you can choose only one each year. 
If you choose a pot that doesn’t like you, you will have to give it up and wait an entire year before you can choose another.

Curved and moulded and shaped by the potter’s hands, they stand tall and firm, and wait to be coloured and painted upon.

Some are painted in the colour of sunsets, the reds and yellows and oranges merging and fusing in a jovial dance.
Some are painted in the colour of peacock feathers, blues and purples and greens twirl and converge and diverge in little rivulets of colours.
A few are painted in monochrome, several others in motifs and designs painstakingly repeated with near-precision all over the surface.
Some are painted into invisibility. 
Several others are painted into life, and they have minds of their own. They walk into houses they like and out of places they don’t.

Every year people flock to the potter’s to select their pots. Some opt for the large ones, others are content with smaller pieces that are just as exquisite. Some are drawn to the bright coloured ones, some others rub the rims of the pots to see if any have magical wish-granting traits.

But no one thinks to look inside. 
None of the pots are painted on the inside. 

Each bears a gift within. 
Some carry the gift of happiness, some carry the gift of life. 
A few (I can’t quite remember exactly how many) bear youth, and only one holds immortality. 

But you can pick only one pot each year. 

They say immortality resides in the prettiest abodes, but I can’t quite be certain of that. 


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