she brews a jug of black death, its fumes lazily curling around her in an embrace. outside, it is a stretch of endless white, pale, pure, pristine, unmarred. wait for the morning, he says last night as his arms encircle her waist, pressing kisses against the nape of her neck. wait for the morning, wait when all the whiteness turns to grey, black, kissing the asphalt, returning to oneness, calling others to join them. even if they fail, today, they will do it tomorrow. she remembers the way she frowns, the pressure of her eyebrows knitting together in anxiety. he laughs. it is easier to ignore their songs when you have known them for your entire life. after a while, they get bored, they vanish as quickly as they come, and it starts all over again, in whiteness. now go to bed. she presses her fingers against the china mug, sipping away. she smiles at that memory, warm in the knowledge that he sleeps upstairs, far away from those siren calls, perhaps until dawn, when his footfalls will trail his solid frame, his lips against her forehead, sleepily whispering good morning, you have been thinking a lot again, haven’t you.
this will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. perhaps it will take two full years of concentration to be confident enough to scale such heights. or two decades of your life. maybe even two centuries. can humans live to be beyond a hundred? what if you truthfully require two hundred years to do this, and yet to be deterred right from the start because it is theoretically impossible to do it given that no one lives up to be more than two centuries old anyway? but how can you tell if you need two years or two decades or two minutes or two hours – no, surely you cannot tell. but in essence, it is an everest to climb from the viewpoint of time. but you will have to do it or else you will not be able to live with the fact that you never tried. there lies practicality too – should you just stick to your mundane existence and live the life others expect you to, or try and take on greatness?
so gently, you pick up your courage and do it. you press your fingers into the fresh earth, and start digging.
so what are you going to do? the machine asks idly as he drops more of them into the box. eyes as wide as saucers, cheeks flushed pink, the rabbit looks up at the machine and shrugs, still clutching the heart with his tiny paws, hesitant. the machine shrugs in return. alright, so be it. not that you will have much to say once you’re out there. they put you in places where you get displayed, people either ignore you or notice you, then someone may bring you home, for themselves, for someone else, and you live your life with them, or outlive them, or they outlive you, or you stay forever. the rabbit gapes. no, really, the machine chuckles. timidly, the rabbit replies. i will go out there and bring this – he waves his tiny little heart – to someone. the machine smiles. goodbye. may it be that you give that to someone deserving.
the rabbit holds his tiny little heart close to his chest, guarding it tightly. not just a little heart, but one filled with little hopes. courageously, he hops on board a plane, eyes still as wide as saucers, his white fur at home with the snow.
her body sings with his, sings to the sound of a cosmic symphony, of oneness and wholeness, of being nothing more than a mere speck seen from the telescope of entirety yet a contributing part to the complete. her heart sings with his, sings to the colours painted by strings and woodwinds, to the rhythm of the march of the percussions, to the brightness of the brass, all led by glittering lights spread across black velvet nothingness, its depth unfathomable, its vastness unprecedented. her mind sings with his, sings to the simple, little things like waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee while watching the slope of his back as he pours himself one, like quiet talks of nothingness, like bonds of a molecular level now extended to that of the soul – entities seemingly separate, reaching out, singing together, fingers gently touching, intertwined. there, occasionally, lies an entire universe between them, but they smile, at the universe, at each other, watching in companionable silence as every particle goes about on its orbit, its natural course, occasionally colliding into another world, extending a hand in kind, holding, to each other, to her hand, to his hand, connected.
It was first coined by a Norwegian during a meeting to describe the same instruction being repeated within the same document. Technically it was a wanton misuse of the term but its effect was felt like a runaway train. Suddenly it became the word of the month. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon without subjecting the term to further scrutiny. The effect was more amusing when people started to repackage the term to their own purpose.
Out of the meeting, the supervisor told the technician that certain area in the document was rescinded for not wanting to double-dip. Effect was applied only on future documents. For past documents, some applied, some don’t. The inconsistency with which the instructions were given out now became flagrant, leaving the technician with a confused frown.
The boss said that he did not want his subordinates to double-dip job scopes when in the subsequent sentence he told them to look into each other’s documents, seemingly oblivious to the oxymoron that he had committed.
Sometimes even if a word may appear to mean something, it may not be the case. Maybe English is just a funny language, what’s funnier is how we seemed to understand each other.
That evening, the weather was in two minds. The city was awash in its ambiguous light, like everything that is in-between. The young woman in grey coat was pleasantly surprised when he bought her pink roses from the old lady at the square.
They stopped by the bridge to take in the sight of the city by the Seine when he began tentatively, “so here goes.” It was not like him to falter. Her hand flew to her mouth when she set eyes on the dainty box of royal blue that he fished out from his pocket. As their eyes met, she knew that she had found the answer. Holding her gaze, he asked, “… Will you marry me?”
“Oh my god,” she mouthed. Trembling, she extended her hand before retracting it abruptly. “Wait, I’m supposed to say yes first right?” They were first taken aback by her sudden outburst and broke into peals of laughter. Despite herself, tears streamed down her cheeks as she watched his trademark laughter whenever she was being her erratic self. “Yes,” he replied in mocked sarcasm and took her hand and slipped on the golden band on her wedding finger.
she secretly sleeps with it, as if it is the perfect lover from the movies, their bodies moulded to fit each other. it shifts, though it is hard, but it does not stop her from having it close to her, as close as closeness permits, locked in a sacred union. her body is giving off heat like a furnace – outside it is snowing as if apocalypse dropped by to say hello – and she is burning up from the cold she caught half-a-day ago. the year has been and will continue to be tough. lifespan has lengthened to numbers barely comprehensible to humanity anymore – they might as well as stop celebrating birthdays and start celebrating immortality. social disequilibria follow suit – they now go on for millenia. but it is alright, she reasons to herself, burying her face against the cotton case, feeling the presence of it comforting. there is it. the heat will allow for its transformation. suddenly she panicks. what if it is pressure that needs to be applied, not heat? what if by then, humanity’s perception of value changed?
seized with terror, she clutches her sack of charcoal closer, tighter, waiting for it to shine.