Wither (At Relationship's End)
I remember once, when it used to be Summer,
I shared with you my secrets and memories,
and all my deepest carnal desires
of sin and beauty and pleasure.
Even little moments blossom into poignant memories,
when I shared them with you, heart to heart.
But as the seasons changed, and sadness
rose from the horizons,
You grew distant, like the rainbow which disappears
as soon as one tries to get closer.
The leaves crumbled and the trees grew barren,
and the familiar scenery eroded into
a hollow shell of that warmth and lushness
I once tasted with you.
Winter came, and I see you've found that happiness
and I, in all my shame,
could only stare as if caught behind a glass window,
lest I wither you away from my touch.
It is hard to admit defeat,
but the truth is - it's better to be the one letting go,
than be the one who's let go of,
like an old branch falling off the tree.
Sometimes, I wonder if it's better to numb
your heart to the feelings that once were,
instead of absorbing pain from the happiness
which once was,
but then I realise, it once was, instead of it never was.
Perhaps, trudging forth to the future that holds no assurances,
I may find a new happiness,
keeping you close in my memories.
Kiss of Death
In a blue night, I visit his room through his windows. He is sleeping soundly on his bed, his body a comfortable contour under his sheets.
I linger over him, adoring the way he looks in the darkness. A part of me wishes to join him beside in his comfort, and silently, I'd hear him breathe, in and out, the only noise besides the ventilation, and the hum of his alarm clock.
But that is not what I am here for.
His face is turned sideways, resting on his pillow, and I head over and kneel down by his bed, and there, by his closed eyes,
I feel his breath on my face. And then I lean in, and quickly wrap my mouth over his in a tight kiss.
His reaction is immediate; his eyes jolt open in rudeness, and he begins to squirm -- for my lips have been coated with a deep black poison that carries with it a taste of blackberry and the most extreme pain.
So with my hands, I cradle his face securely - while he struggles to pull away from my lips, his muffled screams adding to my delight.
I'm kissing him, not because I know him, or someone has sent me on their behalf to kill, but because it is simply wonderful. Like a music all on its own. Each and every homme is different and unique in the kissing; some of them would breakdance in their beds, some of them would moan and cry, while others would gag and even try to vomit. But all the same, I savour them with the utmost joy.
In his case, he is thrashing on his bed like he's being possessed -- the mattress squeaking and his bedframe rattling; he'll wake up everyone else with that noise, so I climb onto his bed, on top of him, and I hold my own body, my breasts against him to muffle his erratic frenzy.
He tries to paw my face away with his hands, and he does succeed; a brief lapse of my kissing, and saliva spills from his mouth, mine and his - he frothes and gurgles, and coughs out, and I recognise the inhalation before the scream --
I won't let him scream. So I interrupt his gasp with another kiss, and I promise never to let him go until the end.
I hold onto his hands, my fingers clutching in-between his in a deadlock (like lovers), and he is utterly helpless in my embrace, as his moans eventually diminish, and his squirms reduce to petite quivers, and finally, nothing.
And even though he is lifeless now, I linger over his lips for another minute, the fine texture of them bristling with tender lines. The rush of the experience has surged warmth all over my body, and I feel my heart palpatating - I brush aside my hair from my sweat-stained face, and at last, I pull away from him.
His eyes are frozen wide open, the shock of the seconds ago etched onto their expression, a few tears still wanting to escape, and it is a haunting beauty to see.
I leave his room as silently as I've entered it. I don't dwell on how terrible his family's cries will be in the following morning - only on how my next partner might be like.
Far Beyond Eternity
In the dark confines of the closet room, Renton Thurston stares out the plexiglass window at the billowing clouds, orange and purple they are from the unseen setting sun. The wisps make their lovely patterns all around, a blanket of sorts, beneath the violet-streaked dusk sky as the Gekko-Go heads its steady course. And there is this urge within him, just to go out, and fly, fly in this beautiful scene, maybe out in the Nirvash.
But what of this beauty, if there is only Renton there in the air, alone? It would be leaving out the touch of spice that makes spaghetti taste so wonderful.
Immediately, he thinks of the one person who makes his heart beat faster in joy, and his cheeks flush warm with red. He pictures the flowing cyan hair that comes down to her petite neck and those alluring violet eyes. There wasn't anyone else he'd met who had such pretty eyes. He imagines her by his side, in Nirvash's spacious cockpit. How wonderful it must be to share the beauty of this moment with her.. Eureka.
Renton must hurry though. The sun won't wait for them before taking its rest beneath the covers of the horizon. What if I get in trouble? Holland and the others might not like it if I just.. take the Nirvash out for no reason..
These doubtful thoughts are soon forgotten though as Renton takes one last look outside, and then he heads out into the hallways, over to the communal room where Eureka spends her time playing Maurice, Mater and Link at a game of ping-pong. You can see spacious windows revealing more of the passing sky, showering the room with ethereal hues.
Renton goes to approach the joviality, watching on to his amusement as all the combined efforts of the young trio can't seem to catch Eureka's quick curveball. His heart begins to beat faster in anticipation, looking at her supple face – and she looks to him too, noticing.
"Renton?" Eureka goes. He cringes for but a second, as the trio on the other side of the table gaze to him with dirty looks, Maurice especially. ("What do you want meatball head?") Poor Renton, almost forgetting what he'd like to say, let alone why he'd followed his urges here. Link stifles a giddy chuckle under a little hand.
Luckily, Renton manages to regain his composure, and slowly comes closer to Eureka. "Hey.." he says, looking aside at the table and the heat coming out his collar. "Erm.. would you mind if I can talk to you for a minute?"
"He's gonna do it!" Mater blurts out. "With her—"
"Mater!" Eureka shoots that pesky girl a scowl, before turning to him. "Yes. I would love to." She smiles. And thus, he leads her to a more private corner of the room, trying not to mind the children throwing raspberries behind his back.
"What is it Renton?" she goes, looking upon him with the faintest curiosity.
"Well. Um.." His mouth doesn't seem to want to move at this time, being frozen in tense hesitation. This has got to be the most insane thing I'm about to do.. oh man, what am I thinking?
"Is something the matter?" she asks him.
"Oh no.. no, nothing's the matter.." He lets in a little gulp down his throat. How should he put all this feeling into proper words? It all feels like it makes sense, and yet it's all outlandish when it comes to saying it out. "I just.. I just want to fly outside, with you."
Eureka blinks, taking in Renton's words. Her face even lightens up a bit, while his seems to blush so bashfully red.
"It's so beautiful out there," Renton half-mumbles. "All these clouds floating around.. I want to fly out with them. Because it makes my chest.. want to cave in. But it wouldn't- couldn't ever be the same if I'm by myself." His heart pounds against his chest incessantly. "So I want to go fly, with you."
Eureka holds her breath in, being so flattered, and so unsure. It feels like the longest and most unbearable wait in Renton's life, her just standing there, before he receives her answer of her hand clasping around his, feeling so warm and tender, and her reassuring smile. "Yes."
Did he hear her right? It's a whisper of a "yes" from her, one he could barely hear, and yet she has her hand with his. "Yes," she tells him.
He takes her through the hallways of the Gekko-Go, passing by and greeting Mischa along the way – the Doctor eyes them pensively before she continues down. Every step he takes, Renton feels a little more queasy, light-headed. It just feels like a good vivid dream that will burst at any moment now, but the feeling of Eureka's soft hand in his feels all too warm to be some figment of his wandering imagination. If so, then he wishes that none of the others would come across them and put an abrupt end to this moment.
After taking the elevators down to C deck, Renton can hear more of the low, distaff humming of the Gekko-Go's engines, as he leads- Eureka leads him over down into the expanses of the dock, where the gargantuan Nirvash rests within the abyssal darkness. As they step down the staircase from the light of the hallway, suddenly the lights illuminate the place in light of Renton and Eureka's presences.
"Renton?" Eureka asks. "Are you sure this is okay?"
A certain urge is compelling the boy now, far beyond proper reasoning. He would in all likely respect turn back if it were any other time, but not right now, not when the sun is on the verge of disappearing and the moment being missed.
"Yes," he goes, a strange confidence in him now, and he's smiling from out the corners of his heart, and they head on to clamber in one of Nirvash's two spacious cockpits. Renton snuggles himself snugly beside her on the seat, feeling her warmth emanate by the shoulders.
"Shall I drive?" she asks. Now that she's mentioned it, Renton had never really considered who would be flying in that imagination of his. It would be fine for him to show and guide the Nirvash in the painted canvas of air, while she can be free to look around and enjoy herself. Renton imagines he could grasp most of the manoeuvres almost as easily as Eureka can (including the famous cut-back drop turn, ja!) but there is one thing that had always troubled him the most – taking off and landing in the dock itself; the enclosed space would always threaten to collide with the Nirvash while the air never does.
"How about.. you take off from the Gekko-Go," he says, "and then I take over from there?"
"Sure," Eureka goes. She wakes the Nirvash up from its sleep, and the lights of the cockpit come to their shining life as Nirvash assumes a stand-by, idle position. Renton takes in a gulp and feels his stomach sink in preparation for the fast lurches of speed to come.
After checking up on Nirvash's status and knowing that the Nirvash is all right, she sends a command in the adjacent console to set the launch pathway up for take off. The noise of the blaring alarms and screeching of the launch gate being lifted up are numbed and dulled automatically in the canopy for Renton and Eureka's benefit. Through the opening of the gate, Renton can see the pathway angle itself downwards, to the outside purple clouds that flow past sight.
When the launch gate has completely risen, the pathway lights up in glaring green and yellow light leading the way out. Out of force of habit, Eureka finds herself shouting "Eureka and Renton, Nirvash typeZERO, launching!" Renton watches her hands gently push forward the control joysticks, and feels the slow lurch of Nirvash's movement – moving so slowly to the start of the pathway—
The Nirvash bounds forward, its legs propelled along the track to frightening speeds – Renton is continually thrust against the seat, teeth clattering and sweat on his face dripping back; he can feel the bile of the stir-fried dinner welling in him. Eureka keeps her calm, no sign of any worries whatsoever on her face as Nirvash finds itself free in the outside sky. To finish the sequence, Eureka presses a button to have Nirvash deploy out and ride the ref board to glide along the trepar waves in the air.
The billowing purples and blues of the dusk seem much more vivid and haunting from the view of the canopy than Renton had ever hoped to see. Gold streaks from the tip of the setting sun on the right, bathing Nirvash in a yellow tinge.
Eureka's purple eyes meet with Renton's - a hint of beckoning in the glint. She waits, keeping her hands steady as Renton's reachs out to grasp onto her hands, her soft and lovely hands around the joysicks. When he seems to have a good hold, she lets go. In the brief moment, Renton wraps his fingers around the dual controls, feels all of Nirvash – every nuance of its being come upon himself.
He and she fly in the pretty skies, as carefree and joyful as they can be. By his side, Renton sees Eureka avidly admire all the colours, quite sure that she is seeing the same poignent beauty he sees.
"Renton! Look!" Eureka nudges his shoulder, pointing her hand down to the left. And from perking his head over, he sees a vague formation amongst a puff of cloud below, coming closer and clearer. They are little skyfish, an endless swarm, rising up and out from the vagueness, and with their beating wings they fly to be with Nirvash's side. Renton remembers from class that the skyfish would come be attracted to beautiful moments, shared in tenderness. Their lush wings seem to beat forth in time with each other, with the euphoric beating of Renton's own heart.
"It's so beautiful, Eureka."
As the sun becomes a faint orange haze along the dark of the cloud horizon, Renton begins to notice the sharp orange glow of the read-out displays on the dashboard - the Gekko-Go's position lies on the bare edge of the radar, almost out of Nirvash's range. By now, it would seem a good idea to turn back and call it a night. Holland and the others might be worrying, and the thought of receiving Holland's punishing beat downs makes him nervous.
But Renton decides to ignore the pleas nagging inside his mind, instead turning the Nirvash over to chase the last throes of daylight. Maybe this night will be special. Maybe this night holds a wonder somewhere in the air, waiting to be touched.
The stars begin to shine and glow above on the sky – a canopy of bright beacons that stretches on like an ocean of eternity. They seem to be adrift in interstellar space now; Eureka is leaning by Renton's stiffened shoulder, absolutely still on the edge of the seat, taking in all of the night. Renton too. The stars are like he has never seen them before, being such a refreshing and blissful sight. If he reaches up high, he could feel them lap and melt in his hands like snowflakes.
A streak of purple trails gently down the canvas. It's a shooting star.
"Hey," Renton goes. "Wanna make a wish?"
Eureka is hypnotically looking upon the purple, her warm hands clasped around Renton's. For a long while, she does not say anything. Then she turns to him. "I have. What about you?"
Renton looks back to the shooting star, unsure of what to think. He feels the happiest he has ever been in his whole life, so glad of the moment, and there doesn't seem to be anything else he could ever want. Deep inside though, he knows it will all have to end eventually. The thought of this moment, lost in time feels so overwhelmingly.. saddening..
He tries to hide it in, and keep this happiness close to his heart, forever. But it is all too much for one to bear, and he feels it all about to burst – a balloon taking in too much air at once. He finds it hard to breathe.
The tears come down from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks.
"What's wrong, Renton?" she asks.
I.. don't know.
Eureka reaches out to caress – he feels her gentle fingers as they stroke over to brush away his tears. He turns to her, finding a solace in her caring, purple eyes. A sincere, appreciative smile comes upon him.
She looks back, curious and unsure.
His heart on the verge of caving in, Renton lets himself go, and holds Eureka so closely and dearly in his arms, his head by hers over her shoulder. He feels her heart beating faster and faster with his through her chest, her breaths brushing by his bare neck, and the overall blushing warmth from her.
And for this blissful moment, they lie so peacefully still in each other's side, glad.
After what seems like forever, Renton leans back from her, and looks to her straight in her eyes. He has no idea what will happen next, if only this happiness may continue.
"I.." Renton finds himself trying to make words, say something, anything at all, but the words just won't come.
Then suddenly it comes, as miraculous as it is to him as to her – Renton locks his lips with hers in a kiss. It is so indescribably wonderful. He can feel her hot breath mingling with his, the rush of excitement, a wholesome feeling of gratitude in his heart for this moment.
It is the last thing he can remember so clearly upon awakening in the cheap excuse of a bed within the closet room. The blue of the morning sky shines through the little plexiglass window, being the only light there is here.
After that kiss, Renton could not seem to recall the later memory of the night, being only a vague, jaded recollection of things. Perhaps there was the flying back to the Gekko-Go, where upon landing he met with a brutal backhand to the face from Holland, or the worried commotion of Talho and God knows who else, or the fatigued walk through the stale hallways back here.. or perhaps there wasn't anything of the sort at all; the kiss with Eureka was all too much to dream.
Still, he is left with a lingering happiness, however bittersweet it is in his heart leaving him wanting more - if only he could have a second longer with her then, he could say he does love her so. Without thinking it, Renton finds his fingers going over his moist lips. Maybe some of the wet from Eureka is still there, if any. But no amount of lip touching ever does sooth the welling emptiness inside him. He is wanting to cry, so much. The morning sky seems even bluer than he remembers it, and he stares out at the puff of white clouds passing by outside. The engines of the Gekko-Go hum incessantly throughout.
After that, Renton feels the gurgle of his empty stomach – hungry for some breakfast. Wanting to take his mind off the sadness, Renton goes to walk down the hallway listlessly, managing less-than-enthusiastic greetings towards Talho and Matthew who pass him by.
Then he sees her standing, pressing a hand on the windows to the blue skies. The emptiness inside hurts the most now on the sight of Eureka, aching, numbing, overwhelming. But however much it is to bear, Renton tries to bury it all deep inside as he did not want to upset her in any way. He continues his way slowly to the mess hall, as if nothing has happened. He shall forever cherish the imagined moment in his heart, if only to convince himself that such a happiness may happen, sometime, somewhere.
Eureka slowly turns to look to him with her usual shy smile. "Good morning Renton."
He gulps, pausing. "Morning, Eureka."
Then he notices something different in her expression, though he could not tell what exactly about it that strikes him so at first. Whether it is the same look of wonder from that wonderful moment in her purple eyes, or the loving feelings that hint on her smiling lips, Renton subconsciously takes it in, and the tightness in his throat is knife-sharp now, and he could not breathe at all.
"I.. love.. you.."
A looming pause, as she looks back with her quivering eyes.
And she comes forward to meet him, and she blurs before his eyes, and he goes to her blindly. When they meet, his eyes clear and he sees her for a first time, can not help but smile. He knows it is all right, and he reaches out to her with his warming hand, and the fear inside him disappears away forever.
(The white sloping road continues into the sky
Flickering heat haze envelops the two children
Nobody noticing, all alone
They keep ascending
They fear nothing
And then they soar
Longing for the sky
They soar across the sky
Their lives an intertwining contrail)
And thus, they walk over for breakfast, their hand-in-hand high in the sky.
The Malaise of Wattpad
mug's game - a pointless or futile activity
I don't understand the over-zealous rules Wattpad has about mentioning-- err, "promoting" your own stories. On the club forums, you're not allowed to post links to your stories except in those designated threads like this one.
Only once in a thread, amidst hundreds of other stories, until the thread gets refreshed (which is 'whenever'). Do you honestly expect readers to go through every advert in every page, so to give these stories a fair chance at being appreciated?
In reality, your story gets drowned out amidst many voices, like that moment in Titanic where the ship has sunk, and you see Rose struggling in the waters amidst hundreds of others, looking for Jack. Since around April of 2013, when they decided to replace the Share Your Story (SYS) club, not once have I gotten a single reader because I've put my advert up in those "Share an 'X-genre' story here!" threads.
And when it comes to people asking "Is there an interesting such-and-such story I can read," you always see the ambassador stepping in and sanitising the opening post: "No links! No suggesting your own stories!" Like here.
It's okay to mention other people's stories to a wanting reader, but not your own? How silly -- what's there to prevent someone from using a different account and mentioning his own story under disguise, for example?
Ultimately, the way things are set up in Wattpad, you're lucky to even get genuine readers.. that is, if you're not writing the usual "Bad Popular Boy meets Nerdy Girl" plot, or "One-Direction/Justin Bieber/Boy Band" fanfic, or "Hunger Games/Twilight/etc." Young Adult derivative. Or if you're not already an established, published author come to make a token visit to the site:
It's fucking ridiculous.
Maybe if you're really desperate enough, there is the option of signing up for Book Clubs - but the catch is that once the members do read and comment to a certain point in your story.. oui, they do give some detailed comments and critiques, but they do so not because they really want to read more of your story (without you having to nudge them), but because they expect you to give the same to their stories in return.
For example, my incomplete fantasy story, Demon's Paradise.
On chapters 1 and 2, you'll see the club members' comments. After those chapters though, nothing. Except a lone critique from someone else unrelated to the book club.
Or, for asking some critic or an editor to read your story, you have to "pay" them a certain number of comments on their stories.
The thing that really gets me is when you compare Wattpad (writing) to deviantART (visual art). On deviantART, people can quickly fall in love and tell if they like your work, based on the quick thumbnail glances of your stuff.
Wattpad by contrast, all you have to attract people is whatever cover you can make, and the blurb/summary you provide for your story. And perhaps an excerpt line or two. The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" becomes a two-edged sword here, where genuinely interesting writing can easily get overlooked by people (it takes 'effort' to read, hurr durr) in favour of the familiar clichés the masses know and love.
Stanley Kubrick once observed that "most films don't have any purpose other than to mechanically figure out what people want and to construct some artificial form of entertainment for them." People seek the familiar. Whether it be a familiar genre, actors, or a specific kind of emotional gratification, films have become delivery systems for the feelings that we crave. -- Snake Eyes review by tieman64
I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore.
Via Con Me – by QDesjardin
away, away, get away with me
nothing more binds you to these places
not even these blue flowers
let's get away, let's get away, not even this grey time
full of musics and people that you liked
After the velvet curtain has fallen over the illusionist's performance, the applause seems to go on for a very long time. She can still hear it in her ears, long after the applause has diminished away – as she is in the makeup room, wiping away the white powder and eyeliner from her face.
The grips have removed the props from the stage, rendering it bare, with just the black stage floor.
Soon after everyone has left for the night, only silence fills the auditorium, with the dim hum of the ventilation.
Then behind the curtain, a spotlight turns on. Concentrating on a young woman whose lithe form is laid bare for non-existant eyes to see. She is posed, her back arching up to the ceiling, her arms stretched forth and back.
She begins to dance to an imaginary tune. Her feet tap along the floor, swift and quiet and unrestrained – she shuffles to the left, to the right, around the stage's span.
She comes on her toes, stretching herself as far high up as she can, her hands crossing each other, before she collapses down to the ground, as if the strings that have held her up have been cut.
Her eyes glance mournfully at the curtain that will never rise, a smile forming on her lips.
Finally, she stands up and takes a bow at her unseen audience, and she can hear the roaring cheers celebrating her efforts.
One day, the audience will be real.
Long Live the New Flesh!
It is one gloomy day when I visit my university's computer laboratory that I discover something strange on the floor. Pink and thick organic ooze, splashes of it, trailing down the aisles of Linux PCs. It smells like a combination of raw fish mixed in with that awful rotting egg stench.
I kneel down and take a closer look at the ooze. The pink surface looks swirly, with a mild film of colour (like the surface of a soap bubble).
I take out my pen and I touch it with the tip. The piece of ooze seems to squirm from being punctured, its mass clambering away from my pen's tip, until there is a visible hole around where my pen is. Whatever this thing is, it's alive.
It must be one of those lab experiments from the biology students gone awry.
I follow the trail of ooze, careful not to step on it, until I find its apparent source; there are huge mumps of it concentrated around one computer terminal in the dark corner, staining the keyboard and monitor - with someone's box of Oriental takeout just beside the mouse, and the knapsack underneath the table.
Against my better judgment, I investigate.
(my nose burns and my eyes water)
The contents of the screen show a corrupted terminal interface; someone had been attempting to load 'RAGNAROK.EXE' and the results are a jumble of multi-coloured symbols on the bottom half of the screen, as if whatever ticked the computer off had made it regurgitate all the bytes of its memory.
I notice a scrawled note tucked under the Oriental takeout. Pulling it out, it reads: "The battle for the minds of North America will be fought in the visual arena: the Videodrome. The computer screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the computer screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the computer screen emerges as raw experience for those who see it. Therefore, computers are reality, and reality is less than computers."
Then I hear deep, laboured breathing. It sounds as if someone is seriously ill with the flu.
It's coming from the computer screen - the entire screen is shrivelling in and out as if it were someone's chest. I stare at it, baffled, and then I see the screen show Nicky Gumbel, his beady eyes gazing at me and his smile proud and confident.
I see this guy every time I attend Church on Mondays. He preaches about the life of Jesus, and that by dying for us, Jesus took away everyone's sin, so we ought to be grateful for a faerytale character.
"Do you want to know why you are here?" Nicky Gumbel says. "In this room, right by this computer on this very day?"
"Because somebody made a badly mess," I say.
"No! Because you will be the one to help fulfill the prophacy foretold in the New Testament! The Holy Christ shall rise again, and you will be the one to witness it!"
"What happened to the other guy?" I ask.
"He had to go on a vacation," Nicky Gumbel says. "Now com'mere.." A hand pops right out of the screen and grabs me by the collar. It is so sudden that I have no time to react, and I get jerked into the screen, facefirst, squeezing my entire body through the monitior.
To be continued!
The Darkness - by QDesjardin
In the darkness of your room
lying in bed
your eyes open,
Emptiness envelops you
The wistful air
and the orange glimmering light
Your breaths rattle
in and out
Your heart beats steadily on,
That eternal ticking clock
unwinding inevitably towards
In the darkness of your room
lying in bed
your eyes close.
Hiding away behind the shelter of dreams.
Death, and Life - by QDesjardin
To whom it may concern,
I've died. And yet, I'm still alive. It is very strange, oui? But while I have the time, I wish to let you know - there really is nothing you should be afraid of. Because to fear something is to fear Life itself, and that evil Witch in the faery tales - she is really another human being, like you and me, just wounded by regret and pain.
The same wound exists in many other people today, when you bring your dreams with you to someone, and that someone acts as though they have spat in your face, smothering the light in your dreams, and you are left feeling afraid and empty inside.
Many people can be like that.
It's the original Sin they keep talking about in the Holy Bible, when Adam and Eve have once enjoyed a life of paradise, but wanting more than that, they ate from the forbidden tree of Knowledge, and as a result, it seems as if God has cast them aside into the world which is Today. The world where many wars are being fought over so-called Holy Lands desecrated by human blood as sacrifice to their vengeful Gods. The world of school, and academia, where they have you associate the mediocre learning experience of classrooms with real learning. The world where your parents have been taught by life experience to be afraid of surrendering their children to life itself.
It's the world which I'm still inhabiting, even right now, even if you can't see me. Even if it seems like you're the only one who seems truly alive, when you weep, I weep with you too. When you're jumping for joy, I feel joy too.
When you are silent, that is when I can whisper with you -- do not be afraid, dear one. I'm here. I'm listening. I am a ghost, lingering in you, your holy protector. To the extent which I can, I shall deliver you not just from the Temptation of Evil, but deliver you with Temptation into the Good and Noble.
And what is Evil? The natural antithesis of light is shadow - and whiteness co-exists with the blackness in harried symphony. Light is life and goodness, and Shadow is death and badness. But in actuality, they are the one and the same, separated artificially by words. To say that you will devote your life to pure good, and nothing but pure good - it is as false as saying that you can satiate yourself merely by reading the words of a restaurant menu alone.
But if you look at the Shadow (the Apple of Knowledge) as the regions of Life which you have neglected, then you shall see that the darkness is merely natural, that the darkness is the beautiful night in which the Moon and the Stars have the opportunity to shine. In which unspoken dreams may thrive within the beating heart. After all, "The night is darkest just before the dawn," Harvey Dent says in The Dark Knight (2008).
And for that very reason, seemingly dead trees in Winter come back to life during Spring and Summer; they have not died, they just needed to use a bathroom break.
And for that very reason, I am still alive.
I remember an old tale of sailors who were lost at sea. They were clinging onto a small piece of land above the ocean, and they were ready to die of exhaustion and starvation. The ocean waters battered them, and they decided to die a glorious death. They surrendered themselves to the vast currents, and they did not die.
Instead, they found that the underwater corals were beautiful, and that the fish and sea anonemies were beautiful, and that therefore Life itself is beautiful too. The ocean current drifted them to where there was buried treasure, thought to have been forgotten long ago. And the sailors recovered the treasure and managed to return home by a miraculous rescue from their sailor friends, safe and sound.
And that those who 'die' naturally are really just sound asleep, dreaming a more beautiful life than the one they have led prior. Like me. Like you too, someday. Even if we can't see it yet.
Life goes on, in many different ways it can, whether we want it to or not.
The one question remains; with the life you have right now, do you want to live?
The Magic of Fiction Creations
When you go out to see a movie, or read someone's story, or listen to music - you're always priming yourself for what the other meng would pour out for you. You might have the doodads like having earbuds in your ears while reading those words, or the popcorn and audience chatter while the film projects onto the screen.
But what really makes it magical, at least for me, it is the individuality of the artist that's been imprinted in the experience. When you've finished reading something, when you've finished a film - it's not really the plot, or the characters that stick with you (however quirky you might make them). It's the visceral emotion of the experience itself - that's what makes it possible that you can always find something new or interesting when you go back to it after a while.
And the integrity of that emotion, it comes from the author, the director. The honesty in which he is able to express a certain something inside him, into being. That's what gives the work its liveliness and magic to be experienced. It's not really the so-called "respect" the author gives his imaginary audience -- I've read works that have impeccable grammar, spelling, mechanics - but that are ultimately forgettable by the end regardless, because it isn't magical. It doesn't touch. There's a quote from Kurt Vonnegut - your stuff is going to get pneumonia if you try and appeal to the audience, to have the audience pressure you into compromise.
And if you're able to infuse your work with magic, your individuality, then no matter what - I'm sure you can be proud of having made it, even if in the worst case, most everyone else seems to hate it. That is your work, your writing, and that magic in it is going to touch at least someone else's imagination. Because it's true to life as you've experienced it - that life which everyone else experiences also.
I remember there's Karen O punking Lady Gaga - they're both eclectic musicians, and so they might seem similar at first glance. But the real difference as Karen O puts it: "Lady Gaga's so referential. There's a core authenticity missing there. She just takes other things she likes without making it her own." (Reminds me of Quentin Tarantino's numerous hip "homages" to other movies.)
Beyond the Clouds -- by QDesjardin
In the face of a cold, sometimes harrowing world
when places can turn grey and people
would lose all heart
(and it seems like all the magic is beyond reach)
you'd close your eyes and forget this accursed moment,
forget that gravity exists and forget the aching
and instead see the light-hearted, carefree blue
of that beautiful heaven, you could see
while lying upon the summer meadows
and if you'd wanted, Swan's wings would carry you
into mid-air, and you'd embrace the weightlessness
as if that stomachache were to disappear and instead
replaced with those fluttering
Cerelian butterflies, which arrive in those innocent days
when you saw an Angel sitting in the bleachers
beside you, but you couldn't muster yourself
to talk to her (you could only gaze)
or when you went outside one day for a walk,
and your heart could not help melting
looking at the wisps of clouds above
and realising it looked like the misty bottom
of a waterfall, its motion slowed thousandfold for clarity,
And in the midst of dream and memories,
there you see her, having waited for you,
and she beckons you to come,
Alors! you walk together, through the forest's leaves,
and across the shimmering river,
lit by moonlight,
There, she leans in and tells you with a whisper,
"I know why you cry,
and I know that happiness grows scarce;
but just think of me, and I will be there."
And when you open your eyes, it doesn't seem so grey, does it?
At Rainbow's End --
Follow me to where the Colours are,
See the Red Passions aroused in your blood,
The Sanguine Yellows that brighten your days,
Those Lively Greens that peak in Summer's grace,
The Sky Blue gleaning Heavenly face,
(with clouds that puff and tuffle
like the hazy bellows of a waterfall's bottom)
And Violet, sweet Violet,
Who tenderly caresses your cheek and lips
As you chase after the sunset
And the last of its light and warmth
Before the Earth swallows the Sun whole,
And your involuting heart cries out
Savagely for Mother's nourishing eternal love
While the landscape is loveless, spiteful, and shit
With the occasional kindness
A mere if ephemeral substitute.
Don't you want to follow me to where the Rainbow ends?
The Inspired Writer - by QDesjardin
If you were to describe his Writer's Block, it wouldn't be a shiny, golden treasure resting upon his desk. But tangible, oh oui, for it denies him that source of inspiration flowing through the minds of other writers, a river of emotion and story that mows down as streams and rapids. Who is Marie? Who is Mizuki? By any other writer they would be fashionable characters partaking in the grand plot weaved by some purpose. By him, they are just names with the faintest possibilities; which stories would need them?
He stares at the blank white screen of the document, cursor blinking, almost taunting him with untyped text. He makes a title, deletes it immediately, makes another one and finds no path there either.
So he coups at home, in the midst of golden holidays, indulging in the delights of others' fictions and warm cocoa, doubt always weighing on his creative future. He's written a few works, short stories and dabbled in poetry. Is this to be it? Will he be washed-up and hopeless? Imagine how pitiful it would be, how shameful, he shall join the ranks of the damned, doomed to be mocked as a hack, a petit failure.
This shall not be. Non, if he could help it!~
He spits at Fate and Pity's indifference, and the lightning rings through his nerves, raging him like a painful ecstacy, and he would glee when he cheats those set boundaries and fly away with wings he could call his own. He will call upon Inspiration, and steal away the most prettiest divine Muse from the heavens. Make love with her beauty and shine like a star, truly. He is not a nobody. He will sing, sing, even if he is permanently deformed and ugly, sing anyways - for it will be more regrettable if he never does.
He sits down by the cafe table, those onlookers noticing his envy amidst their self-absorbed chatter. Then he closes his eyes, tuning himself into the world of the imaginary, and sees their Muses - each beauty watching over their Artists. These beauties, these Soul Mates, for each their own unique music radiating from their souls. He doesn't see his. Life has forsaken him, it seems.
He sucks away what he cannot naturally have, his heart grinning, feeling the Muses' beauty pouring altogether into him, wonderful.
And then he fashions out of each Muse, his own. His Frankenstein's monster. His Pygmalion's Galatea. And his Muse is so beautiful that his heart aches under the suffocation of the entire ocean, and he kisses her, breathing air by her lips, and she kisses him back with all tender love. How much happiness he is feeling is beyond words.
He musters himself back to the blank document, and after taking a bite out of a chocolate bar, he writes a heart-rending story. At last, he finds his satisfaction.
The End (Wishful thinking.)
If Beauty were such a thing that is as commonplace as the iPad is now, surely people would swoon in their hearts - drinking the precious feeling in. But people don't. Many of those around you continue to live Life, each moment at a time, from waking to sleeping. Maybe you do too. (Do you take it for granted?)
But never does this mean that Beauty is rare. A rare commodity, a luxury like gold in fairy tales. Never will it mean that Beauty will die. It is like air - everywhere, invisible to material sight, not something that you grasp, and when you learn to relax and breathe it.. it fills your heart with that nectar and then your heart blossoms, alive and full. Fulfilled. Meaningfully fulfilled.
It is there when you glance at these brown eyes. It is there when you fall passionately into those lips, when your feet dance to the rhythm, when you're pouring your words out for anyone. That flow. It's also there when you stare (out the windows) at that blue sky we sit under; that blue, blue sky, so endless and radiant beyond feeling. I love it especially when it is evening, and you see another depth to the sky's character - the oranges, violets and pinks show their face upon the clouds. As you may watch the lightbulb descend until it disappears beneath the ground-- have you ever asked how a sunset feels?
The sunset as you swing in the playground, legs kicking for more momentum, the rush, and that secret desire of letting yourself fly suddenly into heaven.
The sunset, with you sitting atop the hill, caressed by your lover's embrace.
The sunset, as you cry alone in soulful solitude, and you glance at the fading sun for a consolation that will never come.
But when you do see it.. and try to bring it to anyone else - those flat-earthers who only know the joys of rooting themselves in mundanity - those Lucky Charms are only cornflakes. And cornflakes are just meant to be eaten, yes? Yes. Yet somewhere inside, your heart can't help feeling a little.. sad. Icarus's wings of fortune turns out to be nothing more substantial than wax and feathers, and when he flies too close to the sun, they melt.
"Why don't you understand?"
And for some, that desire to show Beauty's existence, can turn into a lust for madness. There is but a thin line between the mystical dreamer and the fantastical crank, and it carries an aloofness when you try to express or explain Music in non-musical terms. How do you mean, what is falling in love? I love the hair, I love the personality, but that isn't it. I love you for that beautiful soul, connecting these disjointed elements -- notes into a wholesome melody. I love that you have existed for me, showing me a glance of beauty that I can cherish. I love that I have even existed for you, having endured the process of getting born for this moment.
And when you do speak it out loud, you find yourself being the voice of the alone crying into an indifferent wilderness. A one-sided conversation risking confusion at best and getting utterly mocked at worst. That is Beauty: symbolic, eternal, and unintelligible. The language you'd speak is not commonly spoken - in all its subjectivity. The madman can only confess or pronounce. "Fish fish fish fish fish. Infinity is but the expanding and shrinking boundaries of the end. Red fish blue fish green fish goldfish."
This entails the greater yearning: can you bring this Beauty truly over, for all to experience? If you can, that is great. I imagine it would be more than great. Do show them what they have missed. Show them the electric charge in the air, and the killing realisation to their awareness. Show them the profound in the mundane. What those two Italian ladies are singing about, you don't know. You don't want to know.. are they singing about something so beautiful, that it makes your heart ache because of it? I tell you, these voices will soar higher and farther than anybody in a gray place might dare to dream. Like some beautiful bird has flapped into a drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, if only briefly.
Show them that other world which might exist only in the heart. In that world, crossing the boundaries of time, death and probability, imagination lets you reunite with..
And that's beautiful.
Grow old with me, my Love
With a hand in hand by the evening sun
Grow old with me, my Love
Watch the sunset fade and darkness come.
Grow old with me, my Love
Our children scatter by with a romp
Grow old with me, my Love
See them live and die under Time's glomp.
Grow old with me, my Love
Age cannot wither you, this tender heart
Grow old with me, my Love
No regrets need be ever made.
And when you're old with me, meine Liebe
I'll be happy I grew old with you
And when you're old with me, meine Liebe
Someday, somewhere, we'll shine together.
The wet drops strike Quon's cheeks. Amidst the schoolyard, devoid of others and blooming with a yearning energy, she glances at the puddles on the ground rippling like ribbons with every raindrop. She can feel the same rippling on her skin, an electric tingle. Almost as if somewhere within her, something verges on bursting out towards the grey clouds.
She walks towards the field of crisp green, footsteps on the grass - trodded by the pointed soles of soccer teams.
At the end where the fence borders and hedges waver with the breeze, a shed. A lovely shed by the white goalposts. A shed, its wooden frame withered by the elements, and its surface like an old woman's skin having encountered many tales in a lifetime, yet with no voice to share with anyone.
Its door remains closed, the lock is rusted beyond use. Quon almost cuts herself unhinging the lock from the braceholder, then she strains her arms opening the shed.
There are rooks and balls on the shelves, and a spotlight highlighting a little red box at the top.
Quon tiptoes, her fingers finding the box's edges, tingling - the box feels almost alive, like cupping a slithering frog in your hands. It is adorned with golden tinsel in an elegant manner. Inside it is a key, glistening like a solidified river, tempting to drink if it can be poured into a glass.
Yet she doesn't drink it. She unbuckles her belt and pulls up her dress - up above her breasts, revealing the keyhole over her heart. Pointing the key, she slides its blade into her void and she gasps; her inner self climaxes from the fulfillment and holy light dazzles out her body, out the shed into the planes of rain and air.
Jean et Yana – by QDesjardin
A scant retelling of Adam and Eve's loss from Eden's Paradise.
Once, there was a boy and a girl – Jean-Paul and Yana. When they were very young, they met each other one sunny afternoon by chance, at a beautiful park called “Paradise Gardens.” The sun was in their eyes, and they didn't imagine they'd like each other at first. Girls had cooties, and boys were just pushy, muscle-obsessed bums.
But it was when they both got lost and wandered by a huge fountain, where the angel statues were spewing out water from their lips, that Jean slipped and scrapped his knee. How it hurt – but his mum wasn't around, and so, Yana had the idea to try hugging the boy (like how her own mum would do whenever she'd get upset and cry), and he felt so warm and cuddly in her arms, and she could feel his own heart beating, like hers. And she'd put his knee under the fountain's water, to help soothe the pain and wash away the dirt and germs.
It was a very happy moment for the both of them, and Jean told her about this one time when he was playing toys with friends that he saw a girl crying – because her action doll's arm (Lux Crownguard™, League of Legends) broke by accident doing a karate chop. The grown-ups couldn't seem to do anything except promise to buy her a new doll someday, but that didn't seem nice enough; so Jean tried putting the Lux doll's arm back together using glue. That seemed to work, except now the Lux doll seemed to have multiple sclerosis which paralysed her stiff arm. But at least, the girl was happy, and it made him happy too, ja.
So Jean wanted to try meeting Yana again, but he didn't know her phone number or where she lived – all he could do was wander off into the park during the days, wanting to find her again. Luckily for him, he did. And they would sit under the tree's shade, telling funny stories to each other or jokes, bring their own toys, roleplay that noble Prince rescuing Princess Charming (from the bushes, the fountain, or anyplace that's interesting and conveinent), and even share their own secrets.
But the summer was ending though, and Yana told him that she had to be going away, to a far off country around the world. It made the both of them sad, that fact. Their last day together, they spent sitting down on the grass, holding onto each other, watching the orange and pink sunset in the blue sky. If they could've kissed each other, they would. They were quite young though, and kissing was meant more for teenagers. Have you ever tried smelling someone else's breath? Most of the time, it's bleeh, unless they were chewing bubblegum.
When it was fall and Yana left, their faces were embedded in each other's memories, making an empty hole in their hearts, where a sort of deep, aching sadness happened. I think that was the first time they'd ever felt.. pure love. For each other.
So they grew older. They went up some grades in their respective elementary schools, and there, things were more boring, and more grey. They had to sit still in their seats and listen to their teachers drone on and on about subjects likemath, science, social studies, arts.. so that they were littered with homework and tests during most of the week. It was like a badly chore to do.
For Yana, she discovered her passion for pretty colours and contours. She'd enjoy doodling with colour combinations like dark blue and bright yellow, or rouge and bleu. She'd draw the pretty roses intertwining with each other, or mermaids who splash in pink swimming pools. She'd draw during her spare time outside of school, and then during recess (while the other kids were playing sports and on the playground), and then during one of her boring classroom lectures – where one of her overweight teachers threw a badly fit: "This is the umpteenth time,I'm tired of telling you this!" and tore her paper into shreds before her very eyes, the whole classroom with their mouths gaping open, and she shrieked at her, "Next time pay attention in class, you little inattentive brat!" before making poor Yana stand in the corner as punishment where she silently wept and cried.
For Jean, he'd enjoy watching the cartoons that came on TV. There was Inspector Gadget, Beetleborgs, Transformers, and also this show about cartoon dinosaurs but it's dubbed in Espanol. ("La Trrrooopa Rex!" its theme song went.) And during the night, there'd be exciting shows about Sci-Fi, espionage, murder mysteries..
He'd improvise some memorable scenes with his own action figures – and during school, he'd try getting other kids with their toys to join along with him in the wildest scenes. It was marvellous. Using one of the pretty toys, Elise™ (the transformable spider queen, made in Canada), he'd get her to play the seductress Femme Fatale while Chip Hazard™ (from Small Soldiers) would be the private detective, prodding and asking questions about the cookie monster who stole all the chocolate chip cookies from houses. Hey, that dino over there looks like he's from that erm.. "La Tropa Rex" show. Why don't we have him barge in the scene, eh? He could be the cookie monster's henchman.
Pretty soon, Jean obtained a home video camera, where he recorded his own ennactings with his toys and shared them on YouChew. He grew into making his own amateur movies – "With the best dramatic spectacles, I promise!" – starring his friends, and he'd host his own movie theatre showings; other people can pay a fee of one dollar to come over to his basement and see something that could rival Bollywood's action blockbusters. A movie with karate action, chase scenes through the neighbourhood.. an attempted kiss scene by the hero with his love interest, but it never seemed to feel romantic enough no matter how much Jean tried to adjust their acting.
He made a hefty amount of money (around $237 I suppose), but his mum didn't really approve of strangers coming in, making a mess downstairs, so eventually that had to stop. And ever since, Jean decided he'd aspire to be an epic film director.
In the occasional lapses.. Yana tried her best to remember that comforting face, Jean's face. She'd crawl into bed after a glass of water and dream strange moments,
she's sitting with him under the tree, having him sip sweet honey from her picnic kit,
the black ravens dropping their feathers from the infinitely blue sky,
a lighthouse under the grim clouds, the ocean waves rolling and rolling with white foam,
the angels with their white wings, carrying her into heaven, kissing her cheeks, telling her one day she'll find her beloved Prince.
And when it was Valentine's day in February, she cut out some colours from cardboard paper and glued them into beautiful heart shapes over an ivory card. But she'd only managed to make one, and she forgot to buy some candy to go along with it. It was time for the students to deliver their gifts to one another, and there was this one boy who managed to make her feel so gushy inside – he's cute, he's shy, as if there might be more to him than what meets the eye. She'd only witnessed him from afar, and this could be her chance to get closer to him. While the other students wandered around, chattering, she tip-toed to his desk when he wasn't around and left her handmade card there.
When she saw him sit back down and see her card, she was awestruck when it left him with a little blush on his cheeks, and soon after, she agreed to meet him in a corner. He had shale eyes, and his hippie hair was curly. It felt awkward though; the conversation she tried making with him made her realise how he always seemed so distant, as if keeping everything an arm's length from himself. Yet he described to her the idea of soul mates – the people who wander in their lives, seemingly without any meaning, only to get close to each other in a perfect, blissful moment. And to tear them apart would be to place the opposite poles of very powerful magnets on the opposite ends of the earth, where they would eventually come back together sometime, somehow.
"Are you my soul mate?" the boy asked her. "You can tell a lot about the other person through a kiss." And they tried pressing their lips to each other, and Yana felt a lot of strange sensations from her tongue meeting his wet saliva, and after that, the boy concluded she wasn't his soul mate.
Yana found the notion of soul mates interesting though, and she went through the library, asking for anything that related to soul mates, destiny, underlying fate. She easily paged through the contents of dusty, archaic books, hoping to find anything that would confirm she could meet Jean-Paul again. There were scientific articles, myths, and faery tales. One person out of the world's seven billion felt like finding an irreplacable needle in several haystacks. And all you might really need is a strong enough magnet.
The design of those books had her sidetracked – some of their haunting and dark gothic artristy inspired her into creating such nuanced artpieces, and passersby who'd see her sketching contours would stop by (if only for a second) to obtain a glance of mystery and depth.
When she graduated from school, she found taking University to be dreadfully dull. No matter what, it always seemed that the grey concrete walls, the dreary brutalist environmentwas closing in on her, and there was no escape, and nobody else seemed to feel that way – or perhaps their vitalities had already been drained out of them to realise it. It was a more expensive, overrated extension of school, just so you could obtain an official degree and hope for the best that you get pigeonholed into an acceptable role in society; a bank teller, an IT manager, or a drunken martial arts enthusiast.
There was a movie she saw once – Antonioni's Red Desert, about a young woman who felt the malaise of her pragmatic environment, where the rivers ran red, the blue sky was nowhere to be seen amidst the factory smoke, and real human connection barely existed. She could not bring others to understand her melancholy. It felt like there was no ground beneath her, and that she was always sliding down a slope, sinking, always on the verge of drowning.
One day, the woman's son was paralysed from the waist down, and the woman wondered if he had suddenly contracted polio. And when her son was laying down in bed, she told him this tale:
"There was a girl who lived on an island. Grown-ups bored and frightened her. She didn't like kids her age; they all pretended to be grown-ups too. So she always found herself alone with the cormorants, seagulls, and wild velveteen rabbits. She'd discovered a small beach far from town, with its crystal-clear waters and pink sand.
"How she loved that spot. The colours of nature were so beautiful, and there was no noise. She'd leave only when the sun did too.
"One morning, a sailing ship appeared. It wasn't like the usual toy boats that passed by. It was a real sailing ship. The kind that had braved the stormy seas all over the world, and who knows – maybe even beyond. Seen from afar, it was a splendid sight. But up close, it took on a mysterious air. There was no one aboard. It paused for a few minutes and then turned and sailed off as silently as it had come.
"The girl was used to people's strange ways, so she wasn't surprised. But no sooner was she back on shore when she heard angelic singing.
"One mystery is all right, but two are too many. Who was singing? The beach was deserted like always, but there was that voice, sometimes near, sometimes far. At one point, it seemed to come from the sea itself, or from an inlet among the rocks – the numerous rocks that she'd never realised were like flesh. And the voice was so sweet to hear."
"Mama, who was singing?" her son asked.
"Everything was singing.. Everything."
So one cold day, Yana staged a spectacle where out in campus fields, she lit special papers on fire that would burn differently by colour, based on the imprinted chemicals. It was a very huge bonfire, its smoke extending and billowing to the skies. She meticulously tossed the paper onto the flames, and the fire flickered magenta, cyan and orange, and it looked like the tail-end of a fiery dragon, wavering with gusto. The students gaped in awe at her and her fire, their phones out for the recording, and they huddled by her inviting warmth, until the campus guards arrived on scene and hurriedly extinguished her fire, stomping on the ashes afterward. It left a smell like barbeque mixed with perfume.
Yana got suspended from Acme University #203 for a year (what a shame!), but luckily on that day of her bonfire, a famous artist named Daniel Craig saw the spectacle and saw immense potential in her. He called her up at home, and asked her about the spectacle, and she confessed with him about the terrible malaise she felt – they were meaningless assignments, one after another, when she could be pouring herself into doing the beautiful artistry instead.
"Everyone else keeps saying to get a real job and be productive," Yana told him. "That's how you're supposed to live and feed yourself. But I absolutely hate it. Why can't I live a life of my own choosing, where I could tickle people's imaginings through the eyes?"
"But you could! And I think you should!" Daniel said. "If you come with me and let me take a look at your artwork, I think I can help you find something nice to do. Oh wait – MI6 is calling me, I will be right back.."
And at the same time, Jean was shooting 3-5 minute long music videos for aspiring bands who were wanting more publicity. He'd shoot them by the playgrounds and football fields, or by their cluttered garages with their favourite bikes/cars by the background. Sure, it was nice, and it paid decently – it gave him a chance to practise technique and the basic mechanics of filming, but he wanted to move on to the bigger things, like actual movie making.
Then he leapt at the chance when two of his idol directors, Dr. Uwe Boll and Prof. Michael Bay, happened to be co-directing an upcoming movie "500 Days of Havana" close by his house. His mama would complain about the noise, but Jean found it invigorating to see one of his neighbourhood friends in the actors' chairs, reading his next lines in the script, before Prof. Bay would have him stand up and make tears in his eyes..
the director of photography was adjusting the camera,
and his friend had to enact breaking up with his girlfriend, because otherwise, the badly mobsters would want to hurt her to get to him. Meanwhile, the rain drizzle was pouring down and drenching them (it was actually a modified garden hose off-screen).
"Cut – that's a wrap!" Prof. Bay went.
"Ja, you two did goodly!" Dr. Boll added.
And afterward, Prof. Bay was arguing with Dr. Boll over some directorial decisions – of which, they couldn't settle with words, so they had an improvised boxing match on the neighbourhood street. Everyone saw them skipping lightly on their toes, exchanging punches with gloved hands, the little kids just having bought their freezie ice creams from the ice cream truck. It was way better than TV, and Dr. Boll finally landed an uppercut punch that sent Prof. Bay wheeling onto the ground.
"I guess Hans Zimmer is doing the music!" Dr. Boll shouted in triumph. "Ja, ja."
"Drats!" Prof. Bay went. "I wanted Steve Jablonsky.."
But when Dr. Boll became ill with food poisoning the next day, Michael Bay was desperate – there were so many things that would take so long if there was only him.
Jean took it upon himself to enter the movie set; he helped set up the camera, mobilised everyone into their duties, made the lighting more naturalistic and softer, and also coached his friend on how to better deliver real emotion in front of the camera. The results were astounding.
M. Bay was so impressed by this that he gave Dr. Boll more "extra time" off to recover, and Jean helped complete the rest of the filming, the magic flowing on-set, before saying good-bye to his family and friends and flew with M. Bay over to Bollywood Studios, where the post-production, editing and music-making was done.
It was a very technical process, and it was very fascinating to be able to learn how things were done on real, professional movies. For the music, Steve Jablonsky managed to do the dramatic, romantic scenes first (they were his favourite moments), but the same food poisoning which took Dr. Boll also took Jablonsky, and M. Bay had no choice but to bring in Hans Zimmer, who did the rest of the scenes where there's exciting action.
By the end, the film production was $2 million below expected budget, and one week ahead of schedule. Jean was credited as another co-director. When 500 Days of Havana was released to theatres,Jean snuck in line, pretending to be just another moviegoer, and with the smell of popcorn – he entered the darkness where everyone was waiting for the film to start.
He felt everyone's reactions to the scenes – he recognised the places back home, more vivid and colourful on the screen, and it made him especially happy when the audience was tearing up at his friend's breakup scene with his girlfriend. Man, Jean had talent.
With the overall box office, '500 Days of Havana' just tied with 'Stuck at the Galleria' at $790 million with the earnings, both rated 8.4 on that IMDb site, and when the producers learned the extent of Jean's involvement, Jean found numerous scripts being offered to him – those skeletal words that were potential movies, just waiting to be infused with the flesh and sinew of imagery and sounds.
'500 Days of Havana' never reached where Yana was at though, due to local censorship laws. Instead, Yana was working in an arts studio; she wasmaking commissions for newspapers, fashion and game magazines, and also from some few people who wanted her to draw wacky stuff like large cows, gold and silver cowbells, shirtless One Direction band members, green and pink cowbells, and Garen Crownguard™wearing various armours from 15th century Germany.
As things turned out, Daniel Craig, her co-worker comrade-in-arms, whenever he wasn't busy putting pen to Wacom tablet, he was always out on "travels." He said he was finding some inspiration, but in actuality, the British Government had him stationed where she was. They'd give him a modest salary of £100,000 GBP per month at his disposal in a Swiss bank account, and in return he'd take on their missions all around the world under the pseudonym 'James Bond', codenamed 007. There were various missions like retrieving classified documents that were taken into third-world countries, or rescuing other operatives taken hostage byAlejandro Sosa'scocaine-addicted paramilitary forces. He'd do those missions successfully, with flair and style, and when he wasn't busy otherwise, he was Yana's co-worker at the art studio, making an additional 6,000 bucks per commission on average, completing six commissions per day.
Yana didn't know any of this – at the moment, she was too busy filling in dotted linesfor her piece.Visual artistry needed a certain delicacy and intuition from the artist to do nicely. And "Et voila!" she'd happily whisper to herself when she was done everything, happily satisfied, "C'est finis!" and she kissed her two hands that had toiled under the lamplight.
And outside, she would take a walk, feeling the breeze kissing her cheeks, lightly and gently brushing her hair. She absorbed the intricacies of her surroundings through her eyes. She saw fallen leaves that skittered along the sidewalks and danced in the wind, as snowflakes would often do, and she saw the stylized graffiti people had painted over the depreciated buildings.
And she saw a couple making out on the bus bench, holding each other warm against the season's chill under the orange street light.The way they would move on each other, their shadows contouring their faces, wanting more of each other's embrace, and it fascinated her what they must be feeling in that intimate moment. That love. Vie..
But for some reason, it paled in comparison with the happiness from the depths of her memories. There was the fountain of angels who had water spilling from their lips, sparkling under the daylight, and it trickled down onto the pool. There were the rose birches, their green leaves, the red and white and pink roses themselves beside them, sparsely populated – the way their scent entered her nose..
so gently sweet,
and the way the cicada's chirped in the summer, their orchestrated noise filling the air, brimming the heat with an added familiarity--
And Jean. Yana wondered how he would look around her age – they say that as boys grew into adults, some of them lost their youthful look, and their faces grew solemn like the balding clerks she'd see in public transportation, grim-faced, hurr durr. Some of them were like ugly ducklings; they seemed alright in childhood, but as puberty hits them, they grew more and more majestic, and they could even pass for fashion models. (The ones who went the opposite way, they just needed better haircuts and some makeup.)
Jean was.. it wasn't how he looked, it was the beating heart in his core that she adored. A lively heart. If she leaned onto his chest, she imagined she could hear it thump and thump under his ribcage, like a soothing metronome..
When she was little in kindergarten, she often found it hard to sleep during the afternoon naps, like the other kids did. Then there was one of the grown-ups who went over to her restless self, kneeled down by her, and he showed her his watch – it ticked, barely audiable but visible to her hearing, and though she grew fascinated by the silver linings along the wristband, or the slowly turning second needle, she found her eyes getting droopy, and the next time she woke up, all the other kids were already up and about, and she was missing out on the fun.
Now she put her hand to her own chest, and felt the quivering of her own heart, and that emptiness calling out to be filled.. Jean..
Could he hear her heart? Across the world?
Jean had a string of successful movies, one after another, released no more than two years from each other. His name was celebrated by the public, and often people were asking if he was to be the next Christopher Nolan. If you'd ask him, his own mantra for success was to express the feelings inside as honestly as he could, the joys and fears and sadnesses without hesitation, and to always strive for something that has never been seen before, and to believe in yourself and your desires, ja.
Inside though, he never felt that the movies he made were perfect. Because there was always that something which was missing in his movies, story-wise. That something lodged inside him, ever since he met her.. that girl, Yana, at the park of his childhood home. What was the park's name? He forgot.. Paradise Falls? Paradise Park?
Jean lived in a roomy five-room condo up in Mumbai, where he had a stack of magazines and newspapers that helped him keep up to tabs with current events. He kept a few of his favourite toys in a display case, to help remind him that childhood fantasies weren't just for childhood, they were what helped propel him to being a celebrated film director. He had a nice view out the kitchen window of the Parisian streets which were anodyne during the day and glowed wonderfully at night – it was truly a sight to behold.
He kept his face clean-shaven; he felt that facial hair would itch, and that back in history, Alexander of Macedonia kept his troops clean-shaven too because the enemy during battle could pull at beards and moustaches as weak points. Besides, he looked younger that way.
Damn, he forgot what she even looked like. And just to imagine her as grown-up as him – in a way it was almost unbearable. His imagination gave him images of a princess, who wore something like a white wedding dress, with a translucent veil over her face, a light lipstick of a subtle shade, and roses in her drooping hair. In his heart's eye, she was so.. beautiful.. and he would gladly fall into that gaping hole in his heart.. where there was yearning, searching..
Jean liked to keep in touch with his friends and relatives. He would feel homesick at times – oui, sometimes the impersonal atmosphere of Bollywood could get to him, and to keep in touch with his liveliness he'd want to be able to chat about anything, things which caught his fancy (like exploding tiles and lunchboxes in mainland China) or romantic things and issues.
His parents wanted him to have someone to care about, and they pressured him into finding a wife from the hoards of women wanting to get a date night sometime with him. Most of them seemed nice, but a little on the shallow side, and eventually he settled for a rich woman, Darlene, who would gladly share her fortunes to help fund his future films, without the need to be subject to producers' worries. In other words, he would have the freedom to make a dream come to life without compromise.
So he did, albeit hesitantly – in the actual marrying, he was crossing his fingers after the priest said, "You may now kiss the bride." In kissing Darlene (the first time he ever kissed her), there was hardly any desire or excitement in that kiss, and he knew that it would be more of a pragmatic relationship.
When Darlene moved in with him, it was stifling. She was uptight about the little things like household chores, and she restrained Jean's desire to buy the nice trinkets and snacks around – "You're gonna drain our finances dry like that!" It was a hell. She often shut the windows too, denying any fresh air, saying that it was always cold outside. Mira mira.
He didn't imagine he would want to keep married with someone like that, but the money Darlene promised him - $90 million! Waw..! He could make several small movies with that amount.. or one big movie about almost anything he could imagine. Jean settled with the latter option, and made Darlene cough up the dough.
What sort of movie would it be? There was so much pressure to get the things right, since he knew he only had one shot at this. He remembered how his past successes, however wonderful they were, always seemed to disappoint him. Because they lacked.. that ability to touch that empty hole in his heart. What came to his mind, thinking about that beautiful, aching sensation, was an epic romance movie. It would have a dash of everything he liked, that made him excited, but at its core would be that romance, true to the feelings he first felt with Yana then.
And what would be the best love story Bollywood had in stock? He paged through every script that various writers made, and none of them seemed satisfactory to his desires.
"But there's nothing else left!" the producers told him.
"Damn," Jean went.
It seemed without hope; Jean didn't think of himself as a writer – being able to transmute existing stories into tangible movies was one thing, but actually coming up with a story of his own was another – it just seemed ardeous to do.
Maybe his friends could help him, and he asked if there was anyone who could swiftly come up with an original, heartfelt scenario. Most of them said no, but a few mentioned to Jean about an eccentric story-artist, who wrote things that poked and prodded in the deepest recesses of the human soul, but people were wary of her for her strangeness, her idiosyncratic ideals.
Her name was Quon, and she lived in a pineapple-shaped house by Bikini Bottom. In a few hours, Jean took the bullet train over and rode his way to her place, where he saw her watering her florid garden. It looked like she hadn't trimmed the grass or anything in a long while. He greeted her and he sat down inside with her by a cozy fireplace, asking her about the story he had in mind, but needed help finding the right words to express things.
"You want me to help you make a love story?" Quon asked.
"Well.." And Jean felt that he could pour out that aching feeling in his heart to her, to tell her about the real reason behind it – he described his first encounter with a young girl named Yana by his hometown park, and how it made such an impression on him. And that he also wanted to put in the ingredients of exciting action, friendship, and charming humour into the story's mix.
"I'll pay you anything," Jean told her. "Help me make this happen.."
"I have never needed any money to write," Quon said.
And Quon asked Jean if he knew about the 007 James Bond movie series, because she liked the exciting tactical espionage action, friendship, and witty humour in each of those movies. She asked Jean if there were some James Bond scripts that were yet to be made, and Jean said, "I think so – I'll have to travel back to Bollywood to see."
"There is no need," Quon went, grinning. "I know what to do!" And she went to her lair-like computer room with the wires and cables covering the walls, with multiple monitors and keyboards, where Jean saw her entering the WGB's server (Writer's Guild of Britannia), bypassing every layer of security using her assorted cracking programs, and searched the files to find one new James Bond script, freshly baked from the oven, and she copied the PDF file to her hard drive, where she converted it to .ODT format (LibreOffice) for editings.
Jean was with her every step of the way. This 007 movie script originally had some nice action setpieces in Paris's Eiffel Tower and the museums of Florence. An international action thriller. (Dan Brown would be proud.) And there was a bond girl who James Bond got to steal a kiss from.
What Quon did was extract the essential plot from the script, while re-inventing aspects of it to fit Jean's needs; it was now set around his hometown where he made 500 Days of Havana. It had a backstory to James Bond: when Bond was a boy, he met the love of his life in Paradise Park, by the angel fountain. Now many years later, Bond must rescue her from local cartel villains, instead of SPECTRE's goonies. And the ending would have Bond reconcile with her, and they would consummate their love for each other – a love that will keep them close no matter how far away they were.
It was wonderful, and Jean happily took Quon's completed script. It was time for him to get the right crew and cast on board.
Usually, the producers gave him the crewmembers, but Jean felt he wanted it to be a personal, sentimental film, so he called up his friends all over and had them serve the necessary roles for production. News spread around that Jean the Director was making a James Bond movie, and this helped when it came to casting, as there were many actors and actresses who wanted to work with Jean, or wanted to kick some butt in a James Bond story.
Jean told his wife Darlene to look after his home while he was gone.
MI6 called Daniel Craig – his new mission, should he choose to accept it, was going to have him star the titular role in '007: Reminiscences.'
"Shaken, not stirred," Daniel mumbled the iconic lines.
Now Yana – she'd become an artistic polymath. Earlier on, she discovered an easy meditation method over the internet called "Conscious Mental Rest." All she had to do was sit down comfortably and close her eyes, focusing herself on an imaginary comfort zone, and wait for 20-30 minutes in relative silence, and she would feel refreshed afterward. To do just that twice a day, every day – before eating breakfast, and before eating dinner. There was no need to join a religious cult, or to do strange yoga positions, or pay $2500 for a special mantra that only certified TM masters could give out.
As a result, she blossomed out from just making pretty pictures for a living.She expressed her inner poetry in other ways too; she composed some earthly music for soundtracks, she designed numerous perfumes for FragonardⓀ - she had the idea to make the perfumes cheaper, by simplifying the perfume production process and using substitute ingredients for the spices that had to be bought from Bolivian cartels. The final perfume had the same feeling to the nose, and it also lasted longer too.
She also fashioned dresses and outwear.The cheap, pretty outfits she'd see in malls, she would buy and at home, she would cut them into pieces that she restitched back into far more interesting forms. Then she'd sell the designs to clothing companies, who'd use her design as the templete in which to mass produce more like it.
Yana kept out of the public spotlight for the most part – she enjoyed the solitude where she could reflect to herself her moods and musings. She liked to sit by the lake where people would skate during the frozen winters, and where the swans would dwell during the springs and summers.
She thought of herself as the waters, where she had no tangible form and she could run wild into every crevice, meandering as she needed to.
And also, Yana had her own line of specialty-made cowbells (it's the "Cowstian Dior" novelty line), for all the farmers wanting to help their cattle express their own unique individualities. Each of the cowbells were crafted in the art studio – some with curly shapes, some whose bells would ring the notes of Beethoven's 5th symphony. It was quick and easy to do, so the commissions were priced around $20 online, the price including shipping and handling charges. All the profits went to Alcoholics Anonymous, because she felt it was important to wean other artists from the need to get drunk to be creative.
When Daniel left the studio for another 'trip somewhere', Yana wondered where her artist-in-arms was really going, so she secretly tailed him like a voyeur. She observed where he went home, and through the window, she watched him dance the boogie shake in his underwear, before Daniel started packing some tuxedos, undies and utilities into a silver briefcase.
And she followed him as he took the early morning taxi to the international airport-- the taxi she was tailing him in had hydralics that bounced to the tune of La Cucaracha, because her Hinditaxi driver said 'Wrongfully Accused (1998)' was one of his favourite movies, she should go see it some time.
By the time they reached the airport, Yana left the taxi a little dazed and dizzy, and she held onto a nearby parking meter just to get her bearings, before she saw Daniel Craig striding over to one of the terminals, destined for Mumbai City.
Mira!Mumbai City – that was where Bollywood movies were made, but most of them were forbidden to watch here (under penalty of life imprisonment). Or Daniel could be meeting a pen pal overseas, who knows? Yana was right behind Daniel; after Daniel got his bags checked in, Yana told the terminal woman that she'd have what he was having.
"The express flight to Mumbai City?" the woman said, typing a few keystrokes. "Ooh, lucky you, there's one last spot left!"
That one last spot on the plane was right at the back, and while Daniel was cozing up front, first-class, Yana had to contend with everyone else snoring and blubbering like pigs for the 3-hour flight.
At Mumbai, Daniel was heading over to meet Director Jean-Paul – Yana didn't know that yet, but she saw him enter a lavish condo, so she followed inside after him.
In the lobby, she sat by the red comfy couch while Daniel was playing Tekken III on one of the arcade machines; Daniel was pitting Jin Kazama against his mother Jun Kazama, and Jin constantly got beatdown in the fights because someone earlier made the control buttons a little sticky, so it was kind hard to execute the special combos, gah.
And then for Yana, like a flash, a shudder freezed her in her spot..
Coming out the elevator,when she least expected it, there was Jean – he was all growed up! His features looked more refined, more mature, but the innocence and youth was still there in his eyes. Yana's heart leapt, almost skipped a beat. It was a dream!
But it wasn't a mere dream, it was really happening.
While Daniel shook Jean's hand, Yana stared at Jean from afar with the amazement of someone who just discovered that miracles do exist. All the time, she was hoping that Jean would take a look around and notice her by the couch – then panic seized her. She started feeling terribly shy about actually having to face him.. that vague possibility that Jean might have actually forgotten about her, and even if she'd told him how she remembered him as a child, she might be no more than a ghost to him, a mere will-o'-the-wisp. And if that happened, it would be so unbearable, and that hole in her heart.. it would implode into absolute anguish. Non.. she couldn't bring herself to just walk up to him and interrupt whatever was going on.
So maybe it would be better to find out a little more from the sidelines.
Yana remembered playing Hitman: Blood Money at a friend's house, where Agent 47 had to sneak around, subdue bad guys, steal their outfits for disguises – in order to complete level objectives. Now was a good moment to put that know-how to goodly use, except for the killing/subduing enemies bit, because that's no nice.
She saw Jean and Daniel enter the elevator, and the elevator's marker went to floor 5. So she went up the stairs and upon reaching the 5th floor, she barely saw the door close by the end of the hall.
Yana went out on a limb, and tried knocking on the door just beside. It was an elderly woman. Yana said that she was visiting a friend here, but the toilet got blocked, so she needed to use the washroom – fast!
"Go right ahead dearie," the woman said. "The washroom's this way."
The woman's washroom smelled like apple cinnamon, and the walls were tiled a lavish wine red, but the good thing was that Yana could hear the conversation going through the walls, between Jean and Daniel. As Yana found out, Jean was asking Daniel about his understanding of the James Bond character, like how Bond was when he was off professional duty, and what Bond's central traits were.
And then Jean mentioned something about Bond's childhood, and how Bond would meet such-and-such Yomiko Readman by a fountain in a park, mumble mumble.
Yana realised that Jean was going to direct – that Jean was a movie director, and.. he still remembered their encounter together. She went out, thanking the old woman for using her washroom for an hour, and for her first night in Mumbai, she stayed at a Daler Mehndi 5-star hotel, where she used one of the public internet terminals to look up Jean + Director on Mooo-gle search engine.
19 years ago (circa 2016), Jean was first credited as co-director on '500 Days of Havana'. He made nine movies after that as an actual director, and Yana wrote down a list of his movies onto paper – she'd watch all of them in a marathon soon.
Then she looked up how it summarised his past background; he made a bunch of YouChew movies with action figures and they were pretty popular back in the day. He had a passion for putting smiles on people's faces, and to make his audience experience the full range of human emotion, with the help of personally coaching the actors he worked with one-on-one.
Inside, she compared Jean's own talents with hers; she'd like to try making a movie of her own too.. if she'd been lucky enough to live here instead of back there.
She discovered rumours about Jean's film-in-announcement, 007: Reminiscences.They were just finishing up the hiring process for the cast and crew, but they needed an art director who could help with the look and overall aesthetic feel of the film – someone who could fix the environments, costumes and makeup.
The other people Jean tried hiring, when they showed off their portfolio of prior work, Jean didn't think they were right for it. It didn't have the right feel, that nostalgic and delicate feel he wanted.
So Yana headed to the hiring offices where she asked to apply for the art director of the new 007 movie. It was a balding guy with some sleek geek glasses – his name was Tre Listman, the director of the competing movie 'Stuck at the Galleria' which by coincidence tied with Jean's first film. Jean and Tre had since been best friends, and Tre was the go-fer guy for the hiring process.
Yana showed him her portfolio of artistry over Mooo-gle's image search. Her assorted outfits, her cowbells, portraits and art commissions.Much of Yana's art was done under a pseudonym, a pen name, but I won't tell you since I'm not creative enough to come up with one for her yet-- oh never mind, it's actually "QDesj--*beep*"
Tre was quite impressed, and he promised to show her stuff over to Jean. Yana told him that if it was alright, to use her penname to keep her own anonymity.
"Sure!" Tre nodded.
While Yana waited for Jean's reply back, she went through all of Jean's movies at once in her hotel room for the rest of the day, ordering takeout and Oriental cuisine to be delivered straight to her room. She'd eat, and then she'd be stretching and doing aerobic exercises while the magic of Jean's film vividly poured through the UHDTV (Ultra-high Definition TV, 8K resolution). All the time for her, it was like peering through the memories of that life she'd never got to enjoy with Jean.
When Jean called her over the next day for an interview, he felt that Laputa Madre, the patron saint of fortunes, shewas smiling on his side. He thought that this QDesjardin was a sign that his magnum opus, this penultimate film from his heart, was going to really happen. So when he saw her stride into his condo's lobby, he thought for a secondif he was seeing things; that woman, she couldn't be, could it?
Yana introduced herself as Miss Desjardin, and as she kept her best composure during the discussion with Jean, a tear almost let down her eye, but she managed to cover it up with a well-timed 'sneeze', wiping her eyes on her arm. The whole time, her heart just wanted to.. (confess) it was swelling up like a balloon on the verge of being oversaturated, and it could delicately pop out of a misstep. So she had to wait.. keep herself cool, and wait untilshe and he managed to find their home again. She wondered if he really didn't recognise her for some reason; but after all, it was so many years, where most other people could easily forget, and they were very little then.
Jean felt that this Miss Desjardin was just perfect for being the art director, as she described how she might want to dress up the sets in such-and-such scenarios; he hadn't given her the entire script yet – if that woman really was.. Yana, she'd be able to recognise what'll happen inside the story.
But drats, he had to wait; all the copies of the script had already shipped out to his hometown already, under the highest security protocols (this was a very, very high anticipation movie – if you were involved, it would be no goodly if some bum spoiled the plot before production started).
The entire cast and crew flew out to Jean's hometown. Daniel Craig was chatting up with Jenny Everywhere, his co-star who'd be playing the Bond girl in this one, and he found her to be quite an alluring enigma.
When they drove down the roads in a coach bus, there was a tense look in Jean's eye as he stared out the windows. All the sweetest memories of his childhood came flooding right back – the adventure of life had carried him afar, wandering the world, and he felt like he'd almost forgotten everything important. And maybe a lot of things had changed, but the general colours were still the same. The yellow that ran through the landscape was unmistakable.
And yet.. if he didn't know that this was supposed to be his hometown, it could be a different place entirely.
Yana noticed that one of the cows from the outskirt farms had her green and pink Cowstian Dior cowbell around its collar, hehe.
They all stayed where Jean's mum lived; that old house that had been renovated numerous times over the years to be more roomier, jazzier and sexier to his mama's tastes. Jean hugged his mum – and she told him that he looked much different than she'd expected, a little shorter, even though they'd talked online plenty of times before. He introduced her to the people who'd be staying in the spare rooms down in the basement for his upcoming movie, it was way cheaper than renting out a hotel; during a film production, it would often cost a lot of money to keep a crew away from home, fed and provided for.
His mama told him not to worry – she always had the desire to push her maternal abilities to her limit, and in case she couldn't keep everyone fed, there was always takeout and pizza as an option, wooarrgh!
For the location scouting, Jean asked his mum about that park she used to take him to when he was young.
"I don't remember what it's called.." Jean said. "Paradise Park? Paradise Falls..? Or Paradise--"
"—Gardens?" Mme. Desjardin pipped.
"Gardens.. Paradise Gardens.. yeah, I think that's it, Paradise Gardens! Mama, Paradise Gardens, you used to take me there to that park, but you didn't later on for some reason. What happened?"
His mama told him that the park's caretaker ran out of money to pay property taxes, and he couldn't keep the gardens open anymore. So the entire park was foreclosed, left to ruin, and the city officials still had yet to decide whether to tear it down in place of a new building. It seemed like an old, sentimental relic, and it made Jean and Yana depressed – it was their only tangible connection to each other.
The next day, Jean got permission from the officals to have the garden gates opened, and he brought Mme. Desjardin along in the location scouting – to see how she felt about the place.
They were the merest silhouettes in the abandoned park. The flora had grown all over like rampant curly hair, the grass uncut and looking like moss growth, the trees bending over from their own weight, the grass and flowers growing in the cracks of the worn, cobwebbed pavement. It was a terribly distorted version of what Jean remembered, of what Yana remembered. But in their hearts, they could almost feel that same magic in the air as back then, and Jean briefly heard the circadas chirping from that summer, before hearing silence again, and the ho-hum of city life just outside.
Jean felt Mme. Desjardin's hand holding his, and he imagined that she must be feeling the same sense of.. nostalgia, of yearning and searching for that beautiful thing lost in the past.He might've been right to have picked her over all the other contenders.
They went down the meandering pathways, glancing at what might've been familiar, until they encountered that area where the angel fountain used to reside. Now it was dulled rubble, with one of the angels having chipped off onto the ground.
And Mme. Desjardin told Jean that she could direct a renovation crew into restoring the magic, as accurately to Jean's (and her own) sensibilities as she could. She promises.
So she did; it took only seven days to do, and the day after that,Mme. Desjardinshowed Jean the garden, as it had existed at their tender age. Jean was flabbergasted, and a little perturbed actually at how uncanny it evoked those feelingsinside him. He asked her if she wasn't actually that person called Yana, and to that, Mme. Desjardin could only give a shrug, with a little blush showing on her cheeks.
And Yana observed as Jean found two kids, a boy and a girl aged 5 and 6, and Jean coached them on their lines, when they meet because they wandered by the fountain, and petite James Bond slipped and scraped his knee on the pavement.
It was fascinating also to go through Jean's family album, as his mama showed all the pictures she took when Jean was young, growing up, older and older into the man he was now. If these pictures had anything important to say to future generations, it was this: I was here. I existed. I was this young, I was this happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world just to take my picture in this moment. The shutter has been clicked, and the flash goes off, and time stops into a blink of an eye – just for thisone moment. (When people's houses are on fire, what's the thing they'd want to save after their loved ones and pets? Their photos, holding memories.)
Yana saw all the old toys Jean used to play with; they were the toys featured on YouChew earlier ago, and here they were, stored neatly in the cupboard, clean from dust, and Yana held onto petite Elise, as she figured out how to transform her into her menacing spider form, and back again.
Then she dressed up little James Bond and Yomiko Readman in those outfits she'd liked to have worn as a girl, and if she had been a boy. It was something with a gothic flair; Yomiko got adorable glasses and a black and white dress, while Mr. Bond got something more casual for his childhood: some shabby, yet understatedly cute hand-me-down clothes.
And Yana saw Jean animate his child actors into action, from when she helped sooth his knee scrape under the fountain's crystal water, to when they were roleplaying Prince and Princess – she would have to mend their outfits when they tore through the fabric in the bushes – to when they were lying down together under the tree's shade, and finally.. when they had to hold each other goodbye when the sun finally set.
And she could not bear to hide any longer.
It was one night, when Yana saw Jean quietly shuffle out the house, that she silently followed him under the moonlight, until he was at the Paradise Gardens, apparently alone, but with her as a sort of guardian angel justshying behind him.
He stood there by the gates for a while, staring off over there, gazing at some projection screen showing him all those moments, slipping from the very clutches of his soul – and he held his own arms to his chest, as his inconsolable aching was reaching its peak under the full moon. That hole in his heart, it was bleeding, and there seemed to be no one else around for him to cry to, so he held that suffering inside him as he wandered down the path, like a lost child.
He slowly went over to the fountain of angels, where the angels trickled water and he put his hands out to receive the wetness. And he closed his eyes, tears going down his face.
"Jean.." Yana said, like how one would whisper to console someone young and sad. "Jean.."
The man before her slowly looked up, and she saw that boy Jean in his haunted eyes. He was lost and hurt, but it wasn't his knee anymore that was hurting.
"Yana..?" he asked.
She felt her own tears start to flow. She couldn't help herself. "Yes," she went, "..I'm here."
And the dam inside themselvesjust burst and they ran toward each other by the fountain, and they held and embraced each other, and pressed their lips together and their tears and saliva mingled together with the sweetest taste like nectar – and wave after wave of ever-intensifying feeling surged from their beating hearts, clasped tightly, never wanting to let go, until it became a frenzy of deep, tumultuous rawness,
where they tore at each other's clothes until they felt their own burning skin, and their bodies clung to one another with humid sweatwhen he entered her, and they were making the most beautiful love they could ever manage to experience and give to each other,
until all their melancholy pain went away and they found their peak, their uncontrollable climactic joy and happiness, of one lifetime meeting another lifetime,
and they filled the hole in each other's hearts.
And at last, they slept under the moon's gaze, where together they drifted off, beyond the stars and galaxies, unseen angels guiding them over to that place where dreams are born.
the things you would always say
even now, I remember them
the one you'll love in the future is
right here, though you don't know it
if you open your heart and close your eyes
surely you'll understand
the moon goes down, the sun comes up
echoes engraved in time
only in between the light and the darkness
is the truth engraved
if you open your heart and close your eyes
surely you'll understand
the day is near when everything will perish
but this love will continue on forever
only in between the light and the darkness
is the truth engraved
if you open your heart and close your eyes
surely you'll understand
the day is near when everything will be born
but this love will continue on forever
more more more more higher, crossing over time
more more more more faster, running through the sky
more more more more stronger, exchanging love
more more more more longer, embracing
Closet in the Night – by QDesjardin
It is one night when I hear strange noises from my wardrobe closet that I shuffle out of my bedsheets, groggily put on my slippers, flip the light switch on in my room, and apprehensively approach my closet door. My eyes almost seem to sting from the light – and I see what time it is on the bedside clock: 2:53 AM.
The noises continue. Through the muffle I imagine I recognise the sharp screeching of a bat, amidst many noises I have yet to discern.
I lay my fingers around the handle, and it seems harder than usual to turn.
Alors! The closet door suddenly jolts as I pull it outward, as if a vacumn had tightly held it in. Smoke and dust arise, and I reflexively shut my eyes as a strange, addictingly sweet scent enters my lungs; it reminds me of a mixture of blueberry and vanilla. How intoxicating.
But once the smoke has gone, what catches my attention is the uncanniness inside. All the clothes on the hangars – everything has disappeared.
In my barren closet, there's only a doorway on the other end. A violet door, seemingly glowing with its own light, with the outline of a rose flower embedded on it.
It's silent now. I wonder if the sounds were a mere figment of my imagination – on the rarest occasion, I'd hear things, and it feels almost so real that I ask others if they've heard them too. But they don't.
My quivering breaths seem to putter out my lips as I feel my own heartbeat under my chest. Some adrenaline is surging through me, clearing my head.
The door is still there.
It's too vivid an experience for me to say I'm dreaming. The hardwood floor is greyer than usual, and the steps I make leave ghostly impressions – footprints. Even when I lean and touch the walls (so cold), my fingers are coated with dust which I rub off on my pajamas.
Up close to the door, I start to feel light-headed, as if a soothing lull has been made inside my head, wanting me to fall towards it like a pillow.
When I lay my fingers over the violet door, a kind of electricity flows through my hand and arm, making them feel fuzzy. The door is so different from any door, or anything else in the world. It's slippery – my fingers easily glide over the slick surface. Electrified jello comes to mind.
Then I notice it has no door handle. I look around, and there is just the rose outline covering it in the middle. I try touching the outline, and I feel the door sliding inward with my hand.
I press harder, and my hand sinks in entirely, before I yank it back out. Tingly. A mark shows on the door where I've pressed it, before it mends itself anew.
Is this how you're supposed to enter..?
I'm a little shy about getting caught in-between and getting myself suffocated, so I'll have to put some effort into my entrance – do it all in one go. I brace myself, and I punch through the rose crest with a fist, feeling my arm disappear inside, sensations of heat and cold meshing together. I follow through, shoving my shoulder inside, and I struggle for a while – avoiding putting my own head in until the last moment when I gulp air, holding my breath (to plunge underwater).
I'm immersed in the doorway. It's so overwhelming, my entire body is being subject to fuzzy sensation, stimulating me, piercing my very skin. I wiggle my way through, my lungs slowly building up on me – until I feel the open air on the other side.
I finally pop my head out in the open – phew! I let out a large, heaving gasp, and the air is startlingly humid, as though I'm in a steamy sauna.
In actuality, I'm surrounded by grey webs, their elaborate patterns stretching down forth to the end. Giant spiders come to mind; lots of them, and they must've had plenty of time on their hands to have filled the tunnel's depths.
I don't mind spiders myself usually. They're quite cute once you get to know them. Most people freak out about spiders, like snakes and bees, but I find them terribly misunderstood – they're not there to scare people like you and me; they're just hungry for those annoying mosquitoes and flies that pop out every summer, now and then.
But then again, I'm not sure about the spiders that have made webs so large that their individual, silky strands are tangible to the eye. Maybe these spiders are meant to spin hapless visitors into cocoons.
Or maybe they're not even made by spiders.
The sounds I heard come to mind, and I stand there, staring at where the tunnel must end – my imagination running wild about the fantastical things that could devour me to bits.
I look back at the doorway, where I've came from. I might go clawing back into my bedroom like a scardy-cat if it comes down to it – but right now, there's no turning back yet.
Except.. I actually have to pee.. merde. It's an awkward moment-- I should've gone to the washroom beforehand. (But it could be one of those trick doors that disappear the moment you even look away from it. It's a standard horror movie trope.)
No helping it now. I hope nobody minds if I.. loosen my pants right here and.. like dogs do, I'd be marking my territory, haha.
After I put my pants back up, I notice how my urine starts to hiss through the webs, like it's acid. It eventually leaves a gaping hole at the spot, and then a gust of sucking air comes through the hole, dragging loose webbing and particles into it.
Then the hole grows larger and larger, rapidly devouring with a fiendish appetite, the edges caving in on itself.
I should be running – the webbed floor is quite sticky, and it's a little harder than usual for me to haul my legs up. I feel the gust of wind tugging back at me. It grows stronger every second.
I quickly get tired. My legs start to ache and my lungs burn. A feeling of futility settles in me – I'm not going to outrun the collapsing tunnel, and so I glance behind.
It is an abyss. Fluttering web debris swirling in empty black air, with blossoming smoke. The violet door seems to linger in the midst of space like a frozen illusion. It seems my only escape is now unreachable.
But at least the abyss isn't expanding anymore.
I wonder if I take a few steps forward.. would I fall forever? Non, maybe I'll find that out later. The only option now is to progress the other way, to see where it leads. Let's find out how deep this rabbithole goes.
I'm tip-toeing amidst the webs. It starts to feel like I'm going downhill, even though the tunnel hasn't curved one bit. Going further, the sensation starts to make my tummy turn, and I feel my hair and pajamas shifting.
Then I have to hold on to the side webs – I'd be slipping (forward?) down otherwise.
And then I'm falling before I know it, and I tumble and bounce along the webs, waiting to hit something hard.
It's all a blur.
I awaken to the soft and gentle flow of warm water, lapping over me, my breasts and my nose, touching me all over. The wetness is very soothing. There's light scattering all over the cavern walls, stalactite shapings that are inviting for my eyes to linger upon.
I wish I could linger like this.. forever. It's one of the most beautiful sensations I've ever experienced.
And then I begin to float. I hear the water trickling underneath me; I imagine the water itself is lifting me up like a petite child in her mama's arms.
Slowly I shift. The stalactities seem to move, and I briefly imagine myself floating over an alien, jagged landscape before I'm lifted by my head and back, raised until I'm standing again.
There, I see a clear wall of ice, as lightly blue as the sky itself, and my own, bare reflection upon it.
(I'm quite ugly..)
I avoid making glances with myself at first. My face, in its own way, it is terribly plain and disgusting for me to look at. It could have been one of many different pretty faces I've seen worn by different people. I wonder who could ever really love a woman like me – adore me as they would an exquisite beauty, instead of giving indifferent complements (because politeness expects you to.) My mother and father always say that I'm the prettiest they've ever laid eyes on.. somewhere along the way, I've realised better than that white lie.
I try touching the ice with a finger. It touches me instead. The surface seems to bend and ripple around my hand, and I'm caught – I should know better. Ice can freeze you in place, just wait until you get dared by your friends into sticking your tongue out on the metal pole!
This time, the ice here is crawling down my finger, onto my hand, and then pouring its chilly veneer over my wrist, my arm..
I'm going to be entirely frozen before I know it. But I don't scream this time. My rapidly beating heart is relaxing with the forecoming of my hibernation.
I hope it's true what they say – that cryostasis is possible. That once you get preserved, you can make it out alive when you get unfrozen.
I find myself gulping air one last time, before the ice envelops my face.
I don't die.
It's the seamless transition between closing your eyes in bed, and suddenly you're dreaming before you know it. I'm right above the wispy clouds, high in the daylit sky (the stratosphere) and it's the same blue colour as that ice before. And it's so cold. My breath struts out into petite icicles. Frost has already covered portions of my pajamas, and my fingers and cheeks have gone numb. My lungs want to burst from the stabbing air.
I'm not falling though.
I'm lingering between the point where the misty clouds and the vast blueness meet. It's one of my deepest fantasies, this kind of moment. I've always adored the blue sky. It hums with a kind of mystery and wonder and fascination – the same sky shared whether you're in a shantytown or the most exquisite city in the world.
I'd like to be able to dance with someone I like, over here. Just the two of us, sharing this moment, to a beautiful, heartrending tune.
And then I see it.
It's a lone mass of cloud, higher than its brethern. A dark castle awaits on top of it. It is approaching me, like a balloon that floats under the wind.
And then I'm standing by the castle's drawbridge, its spindly gates already open to me. Hoping that it'll be a bit warmer inside, I enter.
My feet clack on the checkerboard (chess) floor. My steps echo through the dark, sculpted halls. I'm in confined space once more, as I navigate and explore the rooms, populated by fine furniture and faded tapestries. There are bedrooms, study rooms, libraries with the tallest shelves. A vague ambient light follows me wherever I go, assisting my vision.
I come across the dining chamber. It's as large and gloomy as a cathedral hall, with glass tables that extend from one end to another, with silverware, plates filled with fruit, steaming meat and assorted dishes. The smell is tantalising – I'm feeling more thirsty though.
I look around for some water or drink in a cup. I find one by the very end of the table lineup; it's an ornate goblet, with clear glistening water still inside it. How long has it been left out, I do not know, but all I care is to carry the goblet to my lips so I could suck and swish the water around in my mouth, before I swallow it, feeling the water drip in my throat, feeling so satisfied afterward.
I take the goblet with me, just in case I happen to need more.
And then I wander off – I find a gated passageway, eclecticly framed by a wreath of pink roses, where behind it there are stairs that spiral up and up. I try and pull the gate open, only to feel the same electric tingle of that violet doorway on my fingertips.
I pry the gate towards me. The gate's frame wobbles unsteadily, like soft rubber, but still holds firm in place. Then the idea comes where I try pulling and pushing the gate rhythmically, as if I were to make the playground swing go higher, and soon the gate warps backward, tumbling entirely onto the ground.
The stairs seem to take forever to climb. I manage to catch glimpses of the outside sky through the small windows I pass by.
And at last, when my legs are on the verge of crumbling, I find an ornate door, and inside is a curtained bed, with a framed mirror and other cupboards on the wall.
I notice there's someone resting on the bed, and I slowly approach, not wanting to startle, and I pull the curtain back.
It is a man, lying perfectly still with his hands clutched around the hilt of his sword. His handsome face seems to beckon me, as if I were to be the rescuer of the Sleeping Beauty, to lean in and kiss his salty lips.
I try that. They're cold to the touch. But he is still lying there, eyes wide shut.
I open his mouth a little bit, and with the goblet, I carefully pour the rest of the water down his lips, and I see the colour return to his features, his cheeks beginning to glow red with liveliness.
His eyes open. They're brown eyes. They're very pretty. (My own eyes are blue.)
"Who are you?" he asks me.
I don't know if I've ever told him my name, before I wake up back in my bedroom – a rude awakening from my alarm clock's chimes to 7:40 AM. When I check my closet, it's what I've always remembered; my spare clothes on hangers, with some of my old binders and trinkets laying around. I push the clothes aside, to find no doorway leading somewhere indescribable, much to my dismay.
Maybe I'll eagerly await the next night, when I would make my way back to the man in the castle when that rose doorway comes. When I can tell him who I am.