Words to the Reaper

Words to the Reaper
by Maclean Patrick

Death is a friend,
He leans over when I stood alone,
That time at the beach, looking out to sea,
“Do you see the sunset?” Death asked;

“It’s the same everyday,” I replied,
Death smiled and placed a hand on my shoulder,
“True.”
Death smiles, a smile like that on a kabuki mask;

“You’re too depressive,” Death points out,
“The sun will set each day, the sun will rise,”
“You may see it, you may not,”
“But every sunset is different, every time;”

Depressive?
Look who’s talking, I entertain the thought;
“Easy for you to say. You’re not worried about dying,”
“True,” Death remarks, “Depends which side you stand on the line.”

“Line?”
“The line of life or death.”
“Why is that important?”
“Where you stand will determine how you live.”

Death rubs my back,
It’s an icy touch yet sublimely warm,
“Choose how you want to live, to live to die or die to live?”
“My friend, you can always choose what you need to believe…”

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Shopping Therapy – Buying a leather jacket to beat depression.

wolverine-leather-jacket[1].jpg

Ok, I don’t look like Wolverine but don’t you just love leather jackets. Don’t you just love leather?

I was feeling really pissed the other night, someone ticked me off and it caused turbulence in my rather calm mind at that time. I hate it when people screw up your almost peaceful day by being plain rude and disrespectful. So taking a page from a friend, “Shopping therapy always works.” (The ladies have always known this since the beginning of time.) I went out and bought myself a jacket – leather and all.

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I don’t want to look back in time.

They say this is the time to look back and look forward and we all hear the same thing each year or we may even wish the same as we did the previous year. Mistakes would not be repeated and we would do better the coming year. We make that solemn promise to ourselves, we won’t make the same mistakes twice but somehow “never” should never be spoken. We draw up a list of things to do and not to do and we wishfully hope 2010 would be the year things would be different.

Maybe it would, or maybe it would not.

Who knows? We can’t tell the future. And we make the best decisions based on the best and most current information we have at this moment in time. So in fact no decision is a bad decision. Only with hind-sight do we determined based on some form of measure, which is bad and which was good. So can we truly say 2009 was a bad year or not? What may have been a bad choice could lead to a good situation in 2010. We never know.

I am saying this as my friends start wishing each other Happy New Year on Face Book. I am an ass when I start thinking, and I’m treating this day like any other year. And I won’t be promising myself anything neither am I expecting much either.

If you step back and look at days and time and years, EVERY 24 hours we live is the same in terms of measured time. The sun rises and the sun sets.

We (humans that is) invented a form of measurement to quantify and divide time in units we can easily refer too. So today is the 31st of December 2009, and tomorrow is the 1st day of 2010. But what if every month had 40 days? Or 60 days? Or what if we lived in 12 hour days? Then 2010 would have been upon us in half the time.

I don’t want to look back at 2009 because it would mean I have to look back all the way in my own remembered history. 2009 should be looked at in reference to 2008 and so on so forth. And looking forward to 2010, can I safely say I won’t make the same mistakes? After all we humans are creatures of habits.

So don’t live in the past, neither don’t fantasize for the future. Live the NOW and savour every moment lived. Time would move relevant to how you perceive it. You want it to move fast, it would move fast. You want time to move slowly, it will move slowly. Time is relevant to the position of the observer, who stands looking at his watch moving clockwise. Ironically, even if our watches moved anti-clockwise, time would remain the same.

Every minute is a 60 second pulse and every second is a 100 mini-second pulse. So if your clock tick backwards it would still be the same as those ticking forward.

So for tomorrow, I want to create something new. Regardless, if its the new year or not; I choose to create something new. To add to the excitement of a changing universe. To introduce something that would find its place in time and be remembered by those that share the same space with it. I want to add to the jumble of created instances we have crowding our existence.

How do I do that?

By doing what I do best. Writing. Composing. Seeking the story that needs to be told. Adding to the body of stories people carry stored in their minds.

For that, I want to experience life. Each day as if it was my last. To live with urgency. To live as if life dependent on it. To not be afraid to take part in the trickery of life, and be able to say at the end of it.

“I lived my life.”

There’s a story in every moment

You can sit on a plane or at a (boring) meeting and there may be a story lying in wait. All you have to do is turn, smile and talk to those around you. Every one has a story, has a phrase that sticks, has a tale to tell and places they’ve been. All you need to do is turn, smile and start talking. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with the ones near you. And above all, after asking, listen to what they have to tell and take note. You never know when that phrase would seem appropriate when you are writing conversation or laying down a plot.

There’s a story in every moment.

Too many times we try too hard to fomulate a great story. We labour over ideas that HAVE to be spectacular, mind blowing and out of this world. We fashion large words and create outlandish worlds to plant our single dimensional characters.

But stop and talk to those you meet on the bus or a plane or sitting at a coffee shop and you’ll gain a wealth of stories. Real stories with real people, living real lives with real problems and moving in real time. You then take on the role of scribe and thus, chronicle the lives of everyday people. It doesn’t have to be outlandish or spectacular, just honest and true.

Try it. talk to someone and listen to the story, yet untold.

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Second book off to publishers.

I finally took the step to submit my 2nd book to the publisher of my 1st after waiting (fruitlessly) for MPH to respond to my queries. Here is chapter 7 from my second book – The Bicycle.

CHAPTER SEVEN

A gang of ducks made their way toward the lake. They waddled confidently in single file across the foot path and manicured lawns of the Butterfly Gardens, oblivious to onlookers on their routine afternoon walks, who found the whole scene rather cute.

The bicycle lanes at the Butterfly Gardens were leveled and smooth (for it was a new park planted with various flowers to attract butterflies). Sam did not want to take the chance with the bicycle on an uneven path neither would he ever think of riding on the main road for Malaysian drivers had a habit of hitting anything without the customary four wheel setup.

Getting Elizabeth to sit on the top tube of the frame took some convincing on his part. Fearing the tube would buckle under her weight, he had asked that she peddled and he walk alongside her. She waved it away as nonsense, knowing full well that she was not that heavy and that he was merely being fussy, insisting instead that he peddled them through the park.

She sat on the top tube and he steadied himself and slowly he pushed on the peddle and they moved forward. Initially a little slow but eventually they picked up speed as Sam got into his rhythm.

It was a beautiful afternoon for a bicycle ride. The sun was low and a gentle breeze blew among the trees. The lanes were shaded with low overhanging trees growing along the sides with hibiscus hedges planted in between the trees. The sound of crackling dry leaves accompanied them as they rode along the path that winded its way round a lake shape like a pear.

She leaned against him and once again he caught the scent of her perfume, intermingling with the warm air and blooming flowers bathed by the afternoon sun. Just you and me, the thought crossed his mind. Just two people caught in a web of emotions bordering on friendship? He could walk away from this if he wanted to but something deep inside convinced him to stay on, to walk down a path he was not familiar with, to peer into the darkness and grapple with a feeling he knew little about.

“I like this,” she said, turning her head to gaze up at him.

“I like it too,” he replied, catching a twinkle in her hazel brown eyes. ‘I can’t keep my eyes of off you,’ he thought. ‘Why?’

He held his gaze for a second longer and permitted himself to savor the moment. Knowing full well, moments like these do not come often. There was that feeling again, the kind you get when you are waiting for your new car or when you are expecting your boss to announce your promotion. It was a tingling in his stomach, butterflies? Or was it more like crazy South American killer bees on a rampage. Whatever it was, it only happened when he was close to her and now having her sitting on the bicycle with him intensified the buzzing in his stomach to the point he was now weak in the knees.

It was a deep yearning. A yearning for something more than just friendship. It was a yearning to have her with him at all times. For as he cycled he realized that as everything around them moved by, she was still with him. The scenery changed and morphed into various pictures yet she was still there with him, still the same person he had grown to…love? Was he falling in love? Could he actually be falling for Elizabeth? Why now? Why did it not happen before, during their early years? Or maybe they have been in love all this while, dormant and silent, only to be awakened by the bicycle. A bicycle, which had seen love beforehand and now passing it on to them. Serendipity. The word flashed in Sam’s mind.

There was a time he would not have given a hoot about her but ever-since entering university, where one can choose how they spend their time, he had spent most of his time with her. He needed a friend and there was none closer to him than Elizabeth.

She was the constant in his life. The fixed point that did not change as the surroundings moved along and that was the way he wanted it and that was the way he hope it would stay.

She hummed a tune as he cycled down the path heading towards the lake. It was a tune he recognized, a song from the play where they first met. She rested her head on his chest, “I can hear your heartbeat.”

“You like that don’t you?” He asked. Not the smartest of questions but heck, he wanted to know what she would say in reply.

“Duh? You know I do. You have a nice heartbeat. Steady and soft.”

“A heartbeat is a heartbeat,” he commented, ‘it beats for you,’ he added, though it was only in his mind. A thought he wished he had the courage to speak out.

He quickened his pace, allowing the wind to gently caress her hair, which she had untied and allowed to fall free.

Elizabeth looked up at him, “Are you okay?”

“Besides having your hair poking up my nose. I should be fine,” he replied and winked at her.

“Funny? You think that’s funny?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s not working,” she smiled at him. She was being cheeky with him, flirtatious even but this was Sam, the unromantic moron, who probably would not know if a girl was interested in him even if she said it into his face.

“What’s not working?”

‘Yup. Sam, the unromantic moron.’ Elizabeth felt safe around him. Safe to be herself, knowing Sam would not flop over silly to impress her in order to gain her attention or win her affection. No, Sam was her best buddy and she could count on him to be her best friend, no strings attached, no emotional connection.

“You, trying to be sweet, funny. Trying to be romantic,” Elizabeth replied.

“You told me that I needed to be romantic around girls. So who else can I practice on?”

“Your mother.”

“Crazy girl!”

She laughed and pressed her head against his chest, “I like this.”

‘Me too,’ Sam thought, ‘I love it too.’

“Sam?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you so nice to me?”

“Why? Cannot-kah?”

“No. Just that you’re nice…when you’re like this.”

‘Like this? What do you mean by that?’ He thought. “It’s always good to be nice to people…it’s…it’s the right thing to do.”

“Being nice?” She asked, shifting her head slightly.

“Yes,” he replied.

“But you’re only like this to me.”

He smiled, “Because I spend most of my time with you,” he replied.

“Why?”

He cycled along a curve where the path was level. Hedged on both sides with little red and white roses. He peddled slowly, taking his time to mull an answer.

“I’m comfortable with you,” he replied.

“But most of the time we argue and have those intellectual debates and I call you names.”

“And then we laugh.”

“Yeah. Then we laugh.”

She shifted her head, the top of her head touching his chin.

“Don’t you get irritated by me?” She asked.

“Crazily irritated. You drive me nuts.”

“Then why do you stick with me?”

“Because you’re fun to be with and I wouldn’t want to trade that for anything.”

“It’s not working,” she smiled and gently pressed her head into his chest.

He smiled and quickened his pace. His peddling was smooth, his thoughts were at peace knowing that she was happy. He knew that regardless of what she did to him (teasing, battering, sarcasm), he would take it and at times laugh it off.

He was always gentle with her. Always the friend who stuck by her during the hard and good times. He was there for her even during the times she said she did not need him and there were those times when she got depressed and shut the world out. Those were the times he hated the most. He would not hear from her for a day or two. His calls would go unanswered and his messages un-replied.

They went by the lake, scaring a flock of ducks waddling on the shore. The water sparkle like fireworks as the ducks scampered into the water, quaking angrily at the two intruders on the black bicycle with white trimmed tires.

They stopped under a low hanging willow tree by the water’s edge where they sat down to enjoy the scenery.

She sat beside him, tucking her legs up and resting her chin on her knees. Her hair was tousled and he found it charming.

“That was fun,” she said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Yeah, we should do this more often.”

“Won’t you get bored?”

“Not as long as the company is good.”

She giggled, hearing him say that, “The company is good?”

“What?”

“Trying to be romantic again? It’s not working.”

“Romantic? I’m just stating a fact. Having good company is a…a…good thing…especially when I’m…with you.”

“Why do you stammer when you say that?”

He did not answer her, choosing instead to look out onto the lake. It was not easy for him to talk about his feelings. He got tongue-twisted and messed up his words so he preferred to keep quiet than risk talking.

“Why so emo?” She waved her hand in front of his face, breaking his gaze.

“Nah, just thinking.”

“About your grandmother? You should ask her to tell you more. Maybe you can write a play out of it.”

“Yeah. Just that she still loves the man. After all these years she still thinks of him. Like it happened 50 years ago. How can she hold on to something for so long?”

“It meant a lot to her, I guess. You don’t really forget your first love. It’s takes a long time,” she replied.

“You still think of him?”

“Him?”

“Jason,” he replied.

Elizabeth turned her gaze towards the lake as angry quaking ducks swam by them. Tucking her stray hair behind her ears she sighed, “Sometimes.”

“Sometimes?”

“Well, I still think of him. I still get angry. I still feel hurt. It makes me cry. Like I sometimes wonder why I wasted my time with him. That jerk! How easy it was for him to forget me and chase after that other girl, what’s her name?”

“Tina.”

“Yeah, Tina! Bimbo! After all we’ve been through. He takes off just like that, with a dumb bimbo who thought Guatemala was an African state.”

“Er…where is Guatemala anyway?”

“Look it’s in Central America. Everybody knows that,” she said.

“Alright, geography aside. You were the one who wanted some time off. You wanted the space, right?”

“Yeah. But I told him I wanted time to rethink the direction of our relationship. I felt it was not going anywhere. With all that pestering. You know, be more lady-like, be more feminine. He wasn’t doing any good,” she replied, agitated and upset. “It took him only two months to find a replacement. Two months! Am I that easy to forget? Am I that easy to let go?”

The question hung in the air as Sam pondered an answer. He had heard this a hundred times before, during the months following her break-up with Jason. He had heard her reasoning, her tears, her laments and her anger.

She took out her frustrations on him, pinching his arms or punching his stomach. But she did far worse then just hurting Sam, she also hurt herself. The lines on her wrist visible as she tucked another stray hair behind her ear.

“No, you’re not that easy to forget. You’re special, unforgettable. Only fools cannot see that you are a wonderful person. You didn’t do anything wrong. You listened to your heart and told him what you thought. You were willing to give it another go but he was the one who couldn’t wait. So don’t take it out on yourself. okay?” he replied.

Her hazel brown eyes held his gaze. Eyes that sparkle when she was happy and glazed over when she cried.

He wiped a tear-drop, clear as crystal, streaking down her right cheek, “You did not do anything wrong. You loved him yet he did not reply it in kind. So he’s the one missing out on something wonderful, something beautiful.”

“I’m not beautiful,” she said softly, her voice drowned by the passing breeze.

“Well…cute?”

“Cute?” She whispered, “Ugly but adorable?”

He smiled and reached forward to hold her. She did not object, falling willingly into his embrace. He gently rub her back for he knew she liked that.

‘You will always be beautiful to me,’ the thought made him tighten his hold.

A gentle breeze blew and the willow tree swayed, its branches dancing on the surface of the water. Stray rays of sunlight cut through the tree tops and like golden blades they pierced the lake water. The ducks made a game out of swimming between the golden blades oblivious to the two on the lake shore.

“I’ll be fine,” she said as she broke free from his embrace. “I don’t want to fall in love anymore. It hurts too much.”

He had heard that statement before. It was still her choice but it struck him hard each time he heard it. Now how was he going to tell her how he felt?

There was a chance that she would turn him away the moment he revealed his feelings and he could lose the one person that truly mattered to him.

Sam nodded, he understood fully what she meant. She was shutting out any idea of love from her life. It also meant he would have to keep his feelings to himself.

‘You have to be honest with yourself even if it hurts. It is a risk worth taking,’ his grandmother’s words echoed in his ears. No, he was not willing to take that risk. He was not going to disturb a friendship that meant so much to him. He would keep it to himself even if it hurt him most.

His grandmother was wrong, this was not a risk worth taking.

“Well, if you don’t want to fall in love ever then that is your choice. No-one can stop you from making that choice. Right?”

“Right! And you would remind me of that, okay?”

“Right,” he replied, though deep down he regretted his answer.

“Oh my gosh! That would mean I’d be a spinster.”

“Isn’t that your life-long dream?” Sam asked.

She threw him a look, a face contorted like an angry duck which proved hard not to laugh at. He chuckled softly.

“You always laugh at me.”

He tried hard to restrain himself.

“Fine! Go ahead and laugh. Ish!”

He broke into a fit of laughter and she threw her hands into the air as she watched him roll over to his side. It did not take long for her to laugh along with him.

He sat up, wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled, “Look..one day, you’ll find that special someone. Someone like you would never end up alone.”

“What if I do end up alone?”

“Well, you have me around,” he said confidently.

“Yeah, I’d probably get so irritated. Probably get married just to escape you!”

He allowed the statement to fly over his head. She did not mean it but it still struck him. He had meant what he said. He would be there for her and he would gladly do so even if it meant he would be hurting the whole time.

“Sam, you’re a great friend,” she reached for his hand, “You know what? I’m glad you’re here with me. I want you to know that,” she held his hand as she said it. Her thumb moving in a circular motion over the ball of his palm.

“Eli, I’ll always be there for you…someone has to look out for you.”

“That…might just work,” she said, holding his hand and smiling.

Standing Still in Life

Life is life and in life all things are fair. In good and in bad, life is fair because that is life. So we shouldn’t scream over in-perfections of life. We stand still and accept the role life has to play. And it is in times of bad, we stand still and view our life with keener eyes. It is during those times we seek our strengths and gauge the force that pushes us up and down the mountains of life itself.

We stand still even when it hurts or when others view it differently. My view will be different then yours and I stand still base on my view not yours. Should you then judge me for my stand base on your view? Instead, it would be wise to catch a glimpse of my view and align your view to mine. If you still cannot accept it then be it so but allow it to enrich your view. To teach you that in life, views can vary and it can provide us much insight and knowledge. Start a collection of views.

Standing still and allowing life to be life would teach us to live to the fullest.

Sometimes even when standing on the wrong side of things could teach you lessons those who stand on the right; would never learn. Avoidance of life would merely mean your bottle of experience is either half empty or less full. Let life be life, and understand that in life, all things are fair. It is life being life.

Standing still would teach us, life moves to its own beat. And it is a beat that moves the universe. As a writer, it is this beat that we train our ears to hear. We write about life and how life orchestrate peoples’ tempo. We write so others may see the depth of life itself.

As for me, at the end of my time here. I want to be able to say, “Look at my bottle. It is filled with life lived to the extent of its fullness. I have seen things, felt things, said things, thought things; none of you may have known. I have lived life and found it beautiful even when my experiences were ugly. Life is fair. To each his own and to each his lot.”

Being Happy

If a person makes you smile when you wake up, gives you the giggles when they whisper your name or stops a heartbeat when you catch their gaze, then love them with all that makes you happy; because in love, all is fair and life deserves the happiness we gain from it.