My sister burst into the room, eyes shining with excitement. Her team had made it to the second round of a competition they were participating in. She was breathless, laughing, jumping. In a matter of seconds, she had already left the room to break the news to our mother.
And I just sat there wondering how to tell her that this was at the best part of her life, that she needs to always cherish this little moment and make sure she has many more like these.
Just sat there wondering if there was a way to stop time; longing to stop time. For her to be this happy. To have this happy. Forever.
So I saved the lecture for another day, went up to wish her luck and said a silent prayer for her happiness.
I see her old and frail and sick. Barely able to articulate anything. Shaky. Disoriented. This is what it comes down to, after ninety years of living: being a child, but without the perks. Slowly disintegrating.
Seeing her feels like a gut punch. Every time. A gut punch of pain and guilt pangs.
I can’t imagine what must go through her mind. I can’t imagine how it feels. Or what my father feels.
God, please, please, please give her health. Please, please, please give both my parents the strength, both physical and mental, to help her as much as possible. Please, please, please.
“Good luck to you,” she whispered in my ear as she pecked the air next to my cheek and walked away.
My brain told me to say “thank you” – that’s how I’ve been brought up – but I was caught off guard and cognition was limited.
But she is right. Good luck to me indeed.
In a world where I have to convince, argue and force people all the time to let me keep doing the things I am doing or let me do the things I want to do, I need all the luck I can get.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not oppressed or suppressed. I enjoy almost a first-world like lifestyle despite being a speck in my third-world country’s population. But I definitely live in a place where even a broader mind does not let go of (their own definition of) traditions, social structures and the its-always-done-this-ways. And people like me will always want to travel in two different boats at the same time.
It will always be done this way. Good luck to me indeed.
He looked around the room again as he dabbed the sweat on his forehead.
Lots of people milled about. Too many! But he knew this was it: it was time to run. He shouldn’t waste another seco-
He jumped at the sound of the main door banging open, stricken with panic. Too late.
A vision in white was gliding down the aisle and then in front of him. His fears seemed to melt into oblivion. He realized he’d do anything for her. He was ready to give in!
The minister cleared his throat and began: We are gathered here today…
(Originally written for Reader’s Digest’s 100-word Short Story Competition 2013)
We never do much together but the house seems empty without my sister. I’m sure she’ll have a blast. It is indeed the experience of a lifetime.
Everyone’s really glad that her trip is only for two weeks though, including traveling time. It’s hard to admit that the baby of the family is old enough to leave the nest and step out into the world by herself.
Meanwhile, I use all the technology available to me to stalk her to hide the i-miss-her and the small twinge of green. Flight live-tracking and hotel websites for the win!
How do you say exactly what’s on your mind? How do you give your listener the exact picture that you’re seeing? That exact array of emotions?
And once another person has heard you, whatever you said becomes toothpaste. You can’t cram the words back in your mouth and swallow them out of existence, no matter how much you want to do so later.
Generally, you have to convince yourself to talk. That talking it out would help you with your problem. You talk yourself into talking. And all the while, your heart pounds like a drum and your throat feels scratchy and you sound squeaky like a boy who hasn’t hit puberty yet.
When you do manage to string two words together and spew them out with sound, it comes out wrong. Of the ocean you want to convey, you barely outline a puddle.
And you realize how futile speaking your mind is. The other person might listen but is not going to understand.
So you trail off, have your palate give your tongue a hug and silently brood on.