Zain and Zeina

October 14, 2018: Identical

Zain and Zeina were born on October 14, 4214. Zeina is a moment older than Zain, who followed his twin sister into the outside world. They spent every moment together, except for when they needed to be separated by gender in their later years. Zain and Zeina experienced the ways of the world together. Most people found it endearing to see such a strong bond between siblings. Yet there was something different about Zain and Zeina. They spoke different languages. Zain spoke Arintese after their mother and Zeina spoke Rubono after their father. Neither understood the words of the other. But they always knew what each other meant.

In old age, both Zain and Zeina wrote memoirs of their lives. It was only after their passing that translators translated their works into a common language. It turns out, they looked at the world in completely different ways, yet shared all the same experiences.

 

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Tara’s Reach

October 13, 2018: Fact

Possibility opened its doors to Tara’s dreams. All around her was fear, anxiety and stress, hanging like the heads of dead animals on the walls of a room she could not escape. Yet Tara looked beyond what’s around her. She reached for those doors. She reached for her dreams. She saw the light ahead like the afternoon from an early October morning. Yet the afternoon comes to Tara, not Tara to it. This Tara knew. Yet even the fact that afternoon follows the morning depends on the Earth spinning, the Sun shining, and Tara breathing in, and breathing out.

 

The Lien

October 7, 2018: Blush

The cold air crashed onto Cotol’s dark face. He walked alone that January morning. Cotol paused mid-way across the bridge that connected each half of the only city he knew. The Lien river is the lifeblood of the city that it cuts in half. Cotol stood just above it, leaning over the concrete rail, in search of an unknown unknown. The Lien was steady and full, just as it had been for millenia. Just as it had been every morning and every evening. Soon the bridge Cotol occupied would be full of cars, trucks, fisherman and donkeys. Cotol stared ahead, watching the sun rise over the Lien, breaking the darkness of that cold January morning with a brush of blush across the dawning sky. Cotol lived for those moments.

 

First Step

October 6, 2018: Provoke

Pinzo pricked and prodded Paul until Paul could plead no more. There was no use for argument. Paul tried everything. It’s too dangerous! It won’t work! He even came up with surprisingly sophisticated logical arguments for a boy his age. The physical effort and mental strain will significantly restrict my ability to pursue broader ambitions should the probability of failure come to fruition! Yet Pinzo was unamused. Pinzo was younger than Paul, and he had high expectations of his dear friend. Pinzo knew how to provoke Paul. He knew Paul needed it. Otherwise, Paul would not have taken that first step.

 

A man in the mirror

September 30, 2018: Silhouette

Svens stared at the silhouette staring back at him. He felt strangely exposed. Svens could make out the object – a bald male head with a bushy beard. The head was facing Svens, so he was unable to make out any facial features from the black silhouette pasted on the white wall that Sven faced. Aside from long ears, an egg shape head and the beard masking the face’s jaw line, Sven relied on his imagination. Rather, his intuition. He wondered who this person is, where he came from, what he lived through, and how he would react to Svens himself. Svens was standing up tall, face to face with the silhouette. He stared and stared, wondering and wondering. He began to create a life for the unidentified man he was looking at. A life that, in retrospect, said more about Svens than any simple egg shape with ears and a beard could say about anything.

 

Lucky Tjoni

September 29, 2018: Talisman

Good luck charms are usually charming from some related memory or sentiment, but not Tjoni’s bracelet. Tjoni wears a leather bracelet around his right wrist. He has done so for at least sixteen years now. He tries to forget what started it all. An impulse purchase from a  kiosk on the top floor of a random suburban shopping mall is not the most meaningful birth for Tjoni’s good luck charm. Of course, the quality of that bracelet was hardly sufficient to last on Tjoni’s right wrist for sixteen years, through sweat and rain and all kinds of terrain. When it first started to fall apart, Tjoni ordered another one by post, and then again online a couple years later, and so on.

All he knew is that he felt naked without his leather bracelet. It was a part of him. It made him  Tjoni. Through the vicissitudes of life, his bracelet was his closest ally. His talisman. His reminder that good luck is only good if you know bad luck. Tjoni knows, at least for sixteen years now.

 

Patience

September 23, 2018: Patience

There is the legend of the tortoise and the hare. There are the poems and holy books that preach of virtues. There are the slogans on front covers of self-help books and on banners of commercial advertisements.

There are the heartaches of failed pursuits. There are the desires that clash with the mystery of the world. There is the anxiety that expands from passive endurance.

And there is the sweet harmony of letting go.

 

Down the Hall

September 9, 2018: Suddenly

Susan suddenly set sight on a simple story. She was searching for a world to spend her Sunday morning in. Her mood that morning was lazy. The further she could escape this world, the more life she could live. And so, she searched the editor’s picks, the most read, the award winners, and the social networks for a long and intricate work. Suddenly, she landed on an obscure website of mini-stories by an unknown author. She thought of the billions of voices in the world. Perhaps this is by a person who is in an opposite corner of the world who can take her there with one of her, or his, stories. And so, she read one of the stories, and then another, and then other. Her own filter took her around the world and back on that lazy Sunday morning. Little did she know, this author lived two doors down from Susan in her same city apartment building. They never met.

 

Athena’s Chapter

September 8, 2018: Authentic

It was a hard day for Athena. The day itself was a rather normal day. The Earth spun 360 degrees. The sun rose and set. People went about their business, working to live or living to work. Emails were sent. Messages were drafted and received. Words were spoken and heard. Hands shaked. Arms hugged. Cheeks kissed. People cried. People laughed. Cars passed by. Planes flew up above. Packages delivered. Photos shared. But for Athena, it was a different day. For Athena, this day was the first day of a new chapter, buried underneath the daily motions of the world. It felt like the chapter of a different book. A book that was not hers. But it was hers, and hers alone.

 

(Un)Lucky

September 6, 2018: Thwart

Commonly used to describe the aversion of an undesirable or dangerous event, the word thwart often presupposes the consequence of an event. An act of goodwill thwarted evil away. A surge in sales thwarted bankruptcy. A red traffic light thwarted a collision. But what if a second guess thwarts a lifelong romance? Or a safe job thwarts a fulfilling adventure? A striking contrast between optimism and pessimism. Do you believe in luck?