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Vanity

Who do you think you are? Your nose up in the sky, as if the air we breathe is too good for your lungs, your mouth twisted in a disdainful grimace and your head tilted so far back. I hope you break your neck as you hold it like that, then we would see it loll right down, blank eyes towards the ground, just as they should be.

They say eyes are the window to the soul. In your case, at least, I think it’s true. This green colour of jealousy must be why you hate the world. What you might be jealous of, I do not know, as you are a stunning masterpiece of beauty. Though I suppose your jealousy could be of your own reflection, it wouldn’t be surprising.

Once, I wished you would cry, as most are ugly when they do, but when you did, your tears became jewels on your cheeks, your eyes sparkled and shone like stars, and I could only hate you more. Beauty such as yours should not be wasted on a heart or tongue as rotten as the ones you possess.

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Decisions

You’re surrounded by doors of choices, several of them, but you’re looking at one in particular, because you think it is the one you want to enter, but is it? You scrutinise it carefully, only a step away, but your old vision is murky and your aspirational dreams are now vague. You let your eyes wander to the next one, which suddenly seems prettier, much less exhausting to go through. Why did you want to try so hard for a door whose path is unstable, whose end is uncertain, when there is this other one right here, paved, tried and ready for you… And easy, very easy in comparison, yet almost useless to the rest of the world. Perhaps it is not so important to change the world, though, you think.

You return your gaze to your door and stare so hard you think it might break, trying to find the motivation, the ambition, the drive which led you here in the first place, buried now beneath mountains of fear and you miss them, but it is hard to dig them out, it is tiresome and you were never one to bother. You look behind you. So many doors…

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Bulletproof

It must be a mercy to physically bleed, you think; because you’d have certain steps and precautions, painkillers even, to take and the pain subsides, starts to heal. Now, though, as you stare at the muzzle of a gun of words, you wonder if the bleeding will ever stop. You’re petrified in your place, you can’t move, you have that smile plastered on your face, because it’s no use, there’s no escape. She gives her advice guilefully, knowing her words are bullets of the past piercing through your future. It’s shattered. Its shards scatter across the ground with ear-splitting silence, but you both pretend not to notice.

In that instant, you look down at the terribly beautiful masterpiece around you, the slivers of a prosaic dream. Then you return your gaze to hers and you see the satisfaction painted in her eyes. You see the hurt, too. Then she leaves, and for both the hurt and the satisfaction, you begin to pluck the shards from your body, pick them up off the ground and you start to glue them together with your meagre supply of hope. You’re very careful, yet their sharp, jagged ends still cut through your skin, so much so you start to doubt whether they weren’t a part of you in the first place.

It’s a tiring process, you know you’ll be at it for a long time, but you carry on, regardless; because suddenly you realise that a future strung together by hope and grief, is more bulletproof than one simply based on happiness and a dream.

Philosophical Thoughts

How come past memories almost always seem better than the present? Does life only ever get harder? Is the past truly so beautiful? Is it really the perfect painting our minds draw with paintbrushes from heaven? Or is that simply a delicate layer of paint, which will peel off with a little scratch of a fingernail?

Will I always keep yearning for the past, when I realise it could never return? Will I always hold this regret? I do not know, but that is where the beauty lies. The future is not a feeble painting of memories, but a big block of wood, waiting for us to carve our lives on it however we wish. Yet, the past and the future are so frustratingly intertwined, it’s impossible to separate them, as if your brain cannot come up with anything more creative than its old pieces, so it looks back and cheats a little.

I go through old photos, I read old books and a smile from the past emerges from my lips. I do not only think about how I want to go back, I also think about how I can make my future a copy of my past and make my old smile an immortal one. Then I dig deeper into my recollections and I see; the hurt, the betrayals and the not-so-fun times. And I think, my brain is the most hypocritical part of my body, frosting my memories with a perfect layer of happiness, so the burnt surface of the past is hidden.

I know I will wake up tomorrow, and this temporary burst of emotions and philosophical thoughts will have drifted along with my dreams and the residue drank away with a steaming cup of coffee. But for what it’s worth, I wanted to write these words down, confident in the fact that in a few years’ time, if I were still alive, I would read them and my lips would curve upwards ever so slightly in the same ancient smile I already understand so well.

A Starless Sky

When I was younger, my parents took us on a 10-hour-long road trip to another city. Before we left, we folded the car seats, so that the area behind the driver’s seat was flat, allowing us all to lie down comfortably enough (I only had two brothers at the time!). My brothers and I brought our blankets and pillows with us in preparation for the boredom, and, in part, sleepiness, we were bound to face.

I don’t remember how it started or why, but some time midway through the journey, my brothers ganged up on me, as they usually did.

“You’re such a girl,” one of them said.

“Yeah, you can’t even punch properly,” the other chipped in, both ignoring my mother’s orders for them to “stop it!

They went on; and being, indeed, a “girl” and the youngest, no less, I submitted to their teasing and started to cry quietly under my blanket. Later, as my eldest brother’s loud snoring filled the car and the other one’s soft breathing calmed it slightly, I realised it was probably safe for me to leave my sanctuary for a little while. My head was positioned right under the window so when I slowly lowered the blanket down and my eyes peeked out from it, I was in awe of the sight flashing above me. The sky, a beautiful dark-blue blanket, was bedazzled with hundreds and hundreds of tiny little sparkly pieces of glitter, sprinkled across it. They were infinite and phenomenal and never stopped, no matter how long I stared up at them. It was the first time I had ever seen a view so beautiful.

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Goodbye.

“It’s because you put me in this position!” She said finally, and before I could reply, she turned around and walked away. Even if she hadn’t, I don’t know how I would have replied. I knew her words were a polite way of saying “it’s all your fault,” and I had no argument against that.

I watched her put each foot in front of the other, distancing us further away from each other with every step. The seemingly syncopated rhythm of her footsteps created the symphony of our goodbye, and I vowed to never forget this sound.

My heart throbbed achingly, and it was as though someone was squeezing it hard in a fist of fire, burning away memories of some of the best days of my life, of inside jokes, of laughter, of endless, countless hugs, leaving only the ashes of nostalgia for me to grieve. However, despite the intense activity inside my heart, my legs were very still, as if conserving their energy to later help mend it. A part of me wanted to run after her, tell her I really need her in my life right now, ask her to forgive me; but I no longer had a single word to defend myself with. ‘Sorry’. Oh, that word is a cliché to me now; I have said it too many times that my lips eroded its meanings away, making it a jumble of five letters with no recognisable implication.

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The Graveyard

I still remember that day, even though I was only five, and only learnt the significance of it years later. I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and I vaguely remember that when Dad was leaving, I asked to go with him. He’d told me he was going somewhere for grown-ups, but I kept begging. In my head, Dad was going to the corner sweet shop, but he didn’t want to take me because I would pick up too many sweets and chocolates. Eventually, he said yes, and so there I was.

I sat in the back seat of the car behind my uncle and Dad, who was driving. A grim sort of silence had dawned upon the vehicle, and all I could hear was its engine roaring. We passed the sweet shop and I stared wistfully outside as it flew past. I wondered where we were going, but for some reason I didn’t dare ask. There were barely any other cars outside. Who would want to leave their lovely, air-conditioned houses to this enervating heat?! I couldn’t begin to comprehend why my father did, but at the time it hadn’t mattered. Every day was a good day for an outing to me, then. I knew of no such thing as weather. I only recognised being cold, being hot, but never too much of either to go out and play.

I looked outside the window up to the sky. A cloud or two were scattered across the blueness. I remembered how just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t even see a hint of this beautiful shade of azure, replaced instead by thick, grey clouds. “How can the clouds just come and go?” I wondered. I had it in my head that maybe that was why it rains, because maybe the clouds are sad to leave each other, so they cry. Where do they go, though?

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