Crossroads

He watched her as she slept in his bed. She looked happy and serene. Their talk last night did her good.

He got up and took a cold shower, replaying the events of the night before. He found himself at a crossroad: the path was diverging and his decisions could no longer coexist. But what was he hoping to find? What could help him make up his mind? This wasn’t just about him anymore. It wasn’t a decision he could afford to rush into, but he must not take too long, as the opportunity could evaporate at any moment.

He went back to his bedroom and saw her, waiting for him. She smiled. He returned the smile then went to his dresser as he put on his work clothes. She watched his every move. Something was off about him lately. She could tell how distant he’d become. He was quiet all the time, in his own little bubble, barely noticing her, as if his thoughts overcame everything else.

“Joe?”
“Yeah?”

He didn’t turn, staring at his face in the mirror, fixing his hair.

“Are you okay?”

He nodded. She could tell that he wasn’t really there. She could feel that he wasn’t hers anymore. She could tell that he was going to hurt her again, he was going to leave.

And with sadness, she realised they needed some time apart.

Oath of Secrecy

Hello fellow travelers, I hope you haven’t abandoned the paper planes while I was away. I have disappeared for various reasons, the most obvious one is the serious lack of inspirations that I have been going through. I’ve been trying quite a lot and checked in daily on the blog, but in vain. Maybe this will get me back on track, I’ve missed writing here. Thank you for sticking around.
T.O.P.P.

He stood out of the crowd.
He loved to believe that. But even if he did, it would be for wrong and unflattering reasons.
Every night, he lay in bed for a few minutes, he stared into the darkness and sank into his thoughts. he’d usually fall asleep by the time the clock struck one. But he never slept too much and it only took a couple of hours before he opened his eyes again, more tired than before his short rest.
Just last night, he cried. Never really figuring out why, but he couldn’t stand it anymore. His mind kept going back to their disappointed stares. They were judging him, unintentionally maybe, but judging nevertheless. It was overwhelming and broke his heart into pieces.
Little things seem to matter a lot more than they should, making him constantly restless and nervous. A silent stare that lasted a second too long, a short sigh, a dish not cooked to perfection, an accident somewhere, a temporary lack of affection. It was nerve–racking.
He had to admit it’s been a tough year so far. Not that he was too optimistic but it exceeded his worst expectations.
He had a hard time expressing that out loud. Even though, they’d probably say it was the only thing he’s been talking about lately. And they weren’t completely wrong.
Maybe he should learn to manage his ideas better, he should keep some things to himself, hide his darkest thoughts in the deepest drawers of his brain and show them instead how interested he was in their lives – because he truly was.
“If there was ever a time to seize the day, now was that time.” He laughed. As if he never tried that one before.
Maybe one day they would see things eye to eye but for now, he would make an oath of silence and secrecy. Patience and prayers. He couldn’t see any other way out of this mess.
But in the end, maybe it really didn’t matter, he thought.
And in that moment, he had nothing else left to say.

 

All Grown-Up Now

– Where were you last night? You didn’t answer my messages.

– I saw her.

– Oh! How did it go?

– She wanted us to have some time alone so she invited me for dinner. To this restaurant, we always went to before. Had a nice meal and few drinks.

– Did you talk?

– We did.

– And?

– She said that she understands why I need to leave and that she will miss me.

– She understands that she’s the reason you’re leaving.

– She does. She was so mature about it. You know it was a much-needed conversation.

– Why didn’t you tell me about that when you went home?

– Because I didn’t go home.

– What? Did something happen? After dinner?

– Kinda.

– You spent the night with her?

– She insisted, practically begged me for it and she had a point.

– A point?

– I had a lot of wine. I wasn’t sure I could drive that far.

– So what happened there? At her place?

– We kept on talking about the flight and the apartment I rented and the classes I’m most excited for. And then we were really tired. And…

– And what?

– She wouldn’t let me sleep on the couch.

– Oh no!

– So we slept on the same bed.

– This is bad.

– She asked me to hold her. So I did. Then after a while, we switched positions and she held me tight. And about 3 AM, I was still up, couldn’t sleep. She woke up as well and asked me not leave. I said I’m staying until morning but by 10, I’ll have to be home. I have to pack. She insisted. Don’t leave. Don’t leave me. I can’t stand the idea of you being so far. And then she started kissing me.

– I knew it!

– I told her that we shouldn’t be doing this. She wouldn’t listen. I insisted that we weren’t together anymore. I kept remind her that she was seeing someone else and that I don’t want to be that kind of a person.

– And?

– She stopped. She apologized. For everything. She kissed my forehead, wish me good luck and all good things then put her arms around my waist and closed her eyes. Get some sleep, she said, you need it. I didn’t sleep for a second of course.

– Making the most of the moment?

– I love her smell. I love her kisses.

– I know. It’ll be easier when you come back, I promise.

– You realise that I’m not coming back, right Liz? This whole Masters abroad thing is just a cover-up. I want to start over.

– You can start over here. Fall for someone else. Build your future…

– I can’t. Everything in here is about her. Everything in there will be about her too, but at least there, I can’t go see her everytime I’m missing her. And eventually, I’ll move on.

– What about me?

– What do you mean?

– How can you start over without your best friend? Won’t you miss me? Or is it only about her in your heart and mind?

– My best friend is tougher than anyone I know. She can handle anything. It’s me she should worry about.

– Nope. I won’t be worrying about your ass. You’re choosing to run away.

– Come on, Liz! I’m not running away. I’m starting over.

– Okay “starting over”, got it.

– You don’t think I’ve been miserable about having to leave you? I wanted to ask you to come with me. But you have a good thing going for you. You’re getting married, you got promoted. Things are looking up. I don’t want to jeopardise that.

– I was waiting for you to ask me that. I would have said yes. I would have joined your adventure.

– I know. Exactly why I didn’t ask you.

– Look at you all grown-up now. Sometimes I wish I could have the childish, so-far-from-mature version of you. It suits you better.

– Amen to that!

– Cheers.

– I’ll miss you.

– Makes two of us.

– You’ll come to the wedding?

– I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Fiction Challenge #3

Hey, you guys it’s been a while but I have an excuse. I’ve been trying to find inspiration but it’s been hard to come by. But I’m happy to share this new story and right on schedule with Valentine’s Day. Thank you for reading and keep sending us your feedback and ideas.

PS: This fiction challenge is a bit different. We used the first line generator to generate random sentences scattered around the story.


The water looked deep and inviting but this wasn’t where she wanted to be. She looked down once more. Was this really the right decision? When she imagined the situation earlier, she didn’t picture the cliff that high. It didn’t look like anything she expected.

She sat on the edge and thought for a moment.

Why was she here? She felt unloved. But that’s not uncommon.

What changed? She desperately wanted to face him but always came short.

Whatever happened to her. Just a few years ago, she would mock girls who let men control their minds and lives. I guess she should have never judged them.

She was miserable because she married the first person who asked her. Because her mother insisted that no one would ever love her. Because he was the first one to ever notice her. The first one to kiss her. She was miserable because she married him – despite his many flaws – because she thought it was all she deserved.

She stood and looked down again. Was she brave enough to go through with this? Some people would call that cowardice though: Leaving her kids behind. Giving him that satisfaction and going away that easily.

She didn’t want to do this. Maybe she should give life a second chance. She could go home and give him a piece of her mind. She would tell him that she find out about her, the constant business trips, the nights at the motels and that she was going to leave him.

She could do it.

If she found strength to stand on this cliff, she could face him.

But a minor error ends all hope of success.

Her foot slipped and she started to fall.

And in the end, nothing mattered. From now on, it was never going to be an ordinary day. He would forever remember how she chose to end it all over spending another night by his side. And in that moment, all her thoughts vanished and in the last seconds, before she reached the water, she felt no regret.

Appreciation 

“Stop. Don’t even think about that.”

“We both can’t do anything about it.”

“You can, so just stop!”

“I believe that artists are truly appreciated only after their death. In a perfect world, they would get their deserved recognition during their time on earth.”

“There is no such thing as ideal conditions. If there were, you wouldn’t even call yourself an artist. Suffering comes with the package.”

“Maybe it was a wrong career path.”

“I thought writing chose you, not the other way around.”

“Sure, but maybe it wasn’t really my calling. Now that I’ve been doing it for such a long time, I feel that it needs someone stronger. Mentally. Someone with a vision. Someone who wouldn’t suffer as much during his pursuit.”

“Pursuit of what?”

“I don’t know.”

“What’s your goal? Why do you write?”

“I don’t have a choice. I do it because it’s equivalent to drinking and eating.”

“Then why did you start?”

“Well because I thought that expressing my feelings would make me feel better. Then I guess, it became an addiction.”

“Maybe that’s why you never get better. Maybe it’s a circle you’ve dragged yourself into.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that maybe you find your inspiration through hard times, write about that, get acclaimed for your writing. But then out of fear of not finding inspiration again, you never let yourself out of this dark place.”

“I don’t think it’s that easy.”

“Maybe it is.”

“I don’t know.”

“Think about it. Maybe you’ve never been depressed in the first place. It was you all along playing tricks on yourself. All for the sake of art. So maybe you were meant to be an artist after all.”

“So I’m doomed.”

“Doomed?”

“I have to die for the sake of my art.”

“Oh god no!”

“Yes.”

“Don’t even go there. Stop playing the victim!”

“And maybe after my death or in another life, I’ll be cherished and appreciated. Life will be great again then.”

“Stop. Don’t even think about that.”

“You can’t do anything about it.”

“But you can, so just stop!”

Diary of a Lonely Shrink

Chapter 01: Karim

“In what ways would the world be different if you hadn’t been born?”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on Karim, give it a little thought.”

Karim stared at him for a minute then sighed.

“I have no idea.”

“I cannot help you if you don’t try a little harder. We talked about this.”

He put his glasses back on and wrote down few notes.

“You write something every time I don’t ‘participate’.”

He kept on writing, paying no attention to Karim.

“I’m miserable, doc’!”

He let go of the pen then removed his glasses.

“Why is that, Karim?”

“I’ll never be good enough to anyone.”

“You shouldn’t say that.”

“Why not? It’s true. I’m only a disappointment to everyone around me.”

“I think you’re exaggerating a little. A lot.”

“That’s what they all tell me.”

“Maybe they have a point. I mean, maybe you should try to trust a little more. Maybe try to be a little more confident or see things from a different perspective. A more optimistic perspective.”

Karim laughed.

“They tell me that too.”

Karim stood up and started walking around the room under his observing eyes.

“It’s not like I’m not trying, you know? Actually, I don’t know. I’m just giving up.”

He looked at his patient.

“We all have these moments. I promise you that it will pass.”

Karim nodded as he looked at the huge bookshelves surrounding the office. He stared at him for a moment, trying to keep the conversation going.

“It’s a technique I learned.”

Karim turned to him.

“What? What technique?”

“I pretend to take notes and you immediately start talking. And you spill out whatever’s on your mind.”

Karim laughed.

“What other techniques do you use on me?”

“Ah plenty, but like a good magician, I must never reveal my tricks. I already jeopardized a lot by telling you this small secret.”

They both laughed. His phone beeped. He looked at it.

“Well our time is up for today, but I want you to think about what I asked you earlier.”

He stood up as Karim came closer to him.

“How the world would be different if you weren’t born?”

Karim shrugged.

“A happier place, probably.

Karim had the saddest smile on his face.

“Good night, doc’. Drive safe.”

He watched as Karim left the room defeated. He probably shouldn’t have said that. He should never have given him the opportunity to end on a bad note

“Hey, Karim.”

“Yes?”

“I’m expecting you at 8 on Friday.”

“Of course. I wouldn’t miss it, you know that. See you then!”

Karim left the room as the shrink took a breath of relief. Suicide postponed. At least until Friday.

He sat behind his desk.

Done for the day but he just wasn’t ready to go home. He opened one of his drawers and took out his favorite Scotch. He took the remote and turned on his stereo. And as Jazz started to play, he started to drink.

He drank to the tunes and never got up until hours later. He put everything back in order and stood by the window.

“How the world would be different if I hadn’t been born?”

He thought about that for a moment and as he looked at the view from the twentieth floor, the lights went out all over the city.

“Midnight. Right on queue” he mumbled. “Better head home then.”


End of Chapter 01

Protection

She had protected herself… She tried to at least.

Sometimes when you keep your guards up, you also keep the good people away. But she had become prisoner of her own fear and doubt.

But if the one person she trusted above any other could leave her so easily, how could she fight this fear. The person she loved the most, the only one – she felt – who didn’t just tolerate her but actually enjoyed her company. Why on earth would she ever let anyone else in? Why in the world would ever trust again? How could she hope that their feelings would honest, or hope they would share whatever feelings she might have for them, or hope that they won’t just get up and leave, or hope they remain in her indefinitely?

“Hi.”

She could feel her aching. His voice had never sounded so cold.

She turned to him. “Hi.”

“I brought you some breakfast.” He puts two plastic cups of coffee and a couple of sandwiches on the bedside table.

He took his cup and drank silently as she stared at him, replaying the events of last night. She ruined their plans after she came up with them.

“I’m sorr…”

“It’s fine. You need time. I get it.”

Did he really?

“I shouldn’t have rushed you like that.”

“You didn’t. I wanted this too.”

She sat on the bed.

“I don’t know what to do.”

He came closer and sat next to her.

“None of us really do.”

His hand brought her closer to him.

“We just need someone to tag along.”

She looked at him and smiled.

“We just need someone to protect us.”