Tag Archives: Short story

Looking Back

Kierk Gaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward”.

Like a baby, I was sensitive to people’s emotions during my convalescence at the hospital. Those who came with tears filled eyes made me feel I was worse than I felt, while those with long faces made me silently wish I were dead.

On my third day in the ward, I demanded for a mirror because I thought they had lied to me about my face and head. But when I looked in the mirror there was no scratch.

Nevertheless, there was one countenance I couldn’t understand, the faraway gaze of some elderly visitors. They seemed to be staring at my face but they weren’t; and sometimes they would be gaping so long into some spot above my head. It was disturbing. I couldn’t fathom their unspoken words then. Now, I do.

What I couldn’t see then or didn’t want to see, they could perceive. They weren’t thinking about my present agony because they knew it would pass. They were taking a peek into my future, a life filled with disappointments, solitude, hardship, despair, resentment, and misery. All I had lost forever, all I would lose and the acceptance of the uncanny truth that life would never be the same again.

The day I left the hospital after four months was the biggest day of my life. I had yearned to see my home again. I longed to be in my bed after several nights in the hospital. I was finally getting a break from the choking routines. However, on my first night home, I wanted to run back to the hospital. My bed was too soft. There were no rails on the sides to grip onto for support. There was no chain to grasp to get up. It was frustrating, I couldn’t get up by myself. I didn’t know it was easier because of the gadgets attached to the beds at the hospital.

I should have known it was not over when on our way home I couldn’t open my eyes. I was gripping the car seats like a lifeline. I screamed when a truck took a turn ahead, almost facing our car. My mother held my hand and kept telling me it would be fine, we would soon be home. But I was not fine, not for a very long time. And I never made it home. I was frozen in time on the street that sunny day where my journey began. It was then I understood the distant stares of my elderly visitors.

Since then, every day is a new day for me. Each day a different way of living it, of doing things, a brand new experience. So I learnt not to live them before they arrive because they fill me with dread and anxious of what else life has in stock for me. I found new ways of doing old things. I found strength and pride in my yesterday accomplishments. They gave me the courage and determination to face tomorrow, to never give up, and to never stop believing.

My journey so far have taught me to look back once in a while to see how far I have come. If you are always looking ahead like an athlete, you only see how far you have to go and all you need to overcome. But a glance backward once in a while buoys the spirit, ignites the heart and reminds you why you are on that road in the first place, not how you get to the end of the road. It fills you with pride of all you have accomplished and reminds you why you can’t give up. Most importantly it fills your heart with praises for all you have, all you had and to look forward to all you can have.

After my accident, I had nothing to look forward to. The future was cloaked in a fog of vagueness, terror and uncertainty. All I could see was pain, sleepless nights, pity and sympathy. A future that has no relationship with my past, where my past is severed from my present. Where I would always have to compensate for my lost, make up for it, explain and defend it. It was scary and infuriating.

All I had was the present, where I could trip and fall, where I could barely move unaided, endless therapy, shamelessly depending on others, something totally different from who I used to be. I didn’t want to peek or think. I started with the present, taking it one step at a time, not thinking about the future; one day after the other.

From it, I built a new past, recording my recoveries and progresses. And each time I got to a point of despair, I would picture how far I had come and what a waste it would be to throw it away. I would remind myself how I didn’t give up when my wounds were fresh, when I couldn’t sit, when I couldn’t walk. All the times I fell, got up and kept going.

Looking forward demands more prayers for the will, the strength and courage to keep moving. Looking back is appreciating the Lord for His goodness. It opens doors for more blessings and gives meaning to life. It fuels and propels the spirit to harbour; looking forward keeps living the life.

Thinking back fills my heart with praises and gratitude; I am not where I was yesterday, and if I am here today, I would be somewhere farther tomorrow. I am looking back with gratitude, and moving forward with grace.

Advertisements

The Woman in the Mirror (1)

I saw her today, this morning. I have seen her every day for as long as I can remember. But today, I really saw her, the woman in the mirror, when she told me her story.
When she was a young girl, she would only look in the mirror to check if her hair was well brushed. To see if her appearance was modest enough for the church. She couldn’t stay too long because it was vain. When she became a lady, she would sit in front of the mirror to admire her beauty. She would stare just to revel in her freedom to do so for as long as she could. She would squint, then widen her eyes, pout and pucker her lips, roll her tongue and finally gently applied her make-up. She would take extra care on her big black eyes and sumptuous lips. And then she would stare some more to admire her handiwork.
Today, she looked nothing like the girl or the lady. She is a woman. A woman who stared long and hard in the mirror but saw nothing of her exquisite beauty. A woman who now looked into the face in the mirror, beyond the face, into the woman to see her soul, her heart, her journey. A woman who bears no resemblance to the girl or the lady.

The Old Album

When I found the album it was caked with dust. I wonder why it looked like a relic of the Second World War, I had flung it to the back of the closet, where I couldn’t reach it. But now I can, I’m much better, stronger and steadier. I opened it and was surprised that it opened to the last picture I saw. It was the picture I took at the front of our old house on my birthday five years ago, before everything fell apart. Except it looked nothing like me. I was darker, simpler calmer and very innocent with big eyes; uninteresting and young, but of course I was younger. I was dressed in a sky blue shirt and a dark blue knee-length jean skirt.

It shows the legs, nice, shapely smooth calves. I had nice legs, I know it and people said it too. They looked awesome, but they didn’t feel like mine. The last time I saw the picture, my whole body went still and everything around me too. My heart wouldn’t stop hammering at my rib-cage. My eyes were so heavy with unshed tears, I wanted them to drop to at least mourn their dead mate. But they wouldn’t, so I flung it.

Today, the picture look so unreal and so far away, a lifetime away. I looked down at the left limb where the rest of the leg was supposed to be. It stopped mid-air like a frozen raindrop waiting for someone to press the play button. And the right leg has put on a muscular and fierce looking armour; wearing protruding veins and scars, its warrior badges in place of its former sexy look.

The residuals of the traumatic experience has faded into occasional nightmares and buried amidst counsels of accepting the present, look into the brighter future and forget the past. I closed the album and stared at the face looking back at me from the mirror on the wall and wished she could tell me what this is, healing, denial or acceptance?

Submission – Microfiction Award

The IV  Edition of International Award (Museum of Words) for Microfiction is open for submission.

The competition first prize is $20,000 for the best short story.

All entries will be evaluated by an international jury of great prestige, and the finalist’s stories will be published.

A maximum of two stories per person of no more than 100 words each, should be submitted from the following link:

http://www.museodelapalabra.com/en/short-tales-contest/4-edition/participation-form

If you are interested enter the following code in your participation form : 23689