Tag Archives: short story

Pruning Trees

This has been on my mind for a while now, since I saw the tree outside my apartment undergo some major pruning. I had felt sad, but I guess there’s more to rejoice.

“What’s going on?” I cried, rushing out into the garden.

He had a ladder against a tree and was at the topmost rung, perched and holding a saw, gazing up into the leafy arms. On the ground lay several piles of leaf-sprouting branches.

He saw me standing arms akimbo below and waved down at me, yelling, “I’m pruning the trees!”

“But why? They looked so beautiful with their crowns of green,” I pouted. “Now they look all ugly and bare!” I looked at the stumps of nothing against the bright blue skies and felt upset all over again.

“I feel like the trees have wasted all their efforts growing themselves out.”

“Yeah I know; they were glorious weren’t they?”

He came down from the ladder and stood beside me, looking up at the stumps too. “But pruning has way more benefits that outweigh this temporary ugliness.”

“Well yeah… I suppose…”

He glanced over at me sulking and laughed.

“Well, pruning helps to remove deadwood that hampers trees from growing to their best potential, and also helps to shape them and redirect their growth.”

He leaned the saw gently against the tree, then continued, gazing kindly at me.

“When they grow better, and in the right directions, they become healthier. At the same time, risks from falling branches are reduced while yield or quality of flowers and fruits are increased.”

“Yeah… I suppose you are right,” I replied grudgingly.

“That’s what you can look forward to. But it will take some time.” He patted me on the shoulder and winked. “But I assure you, it will be a magnificent sight to behold.”

And so I wait, for that magnificence to unfold.

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Chanced

He smiled from behind his shades
Raised a brow, cocking his head
Asking if I was coming on;

Alas, he’s not the one I was
Waiting for, so I shook my head and
Waved with a smile bright as day

To which he waved and returned,
A tad wryly, yet a smile nonetheless
Chanced, before we pulled away.

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Conversing Birds

I flopped into the couch and sighed loudly. He looked up, amused. I sighed again and pouted.

“It’s so difficult being real.”

“Why is that?”

“There’s so much hatred and self-centeredness out there. There’s just no point. No one cares anymore.”

He closed the book.

“What do you propose to do then?”

“Oh I don’t know, maybe I’ll just not go out that much anymore. It’s all so tiring.”

“Listen. What do you hear right now, outside the window?”

If there were such a thing as squinting my ears, that was what I did right then.

“I don’t hear anything.”

“Listen carefully.”

It was then that I heard it. The quiet chirping of a bird. But it was so soft that I would not have noticed it.

“It’s a bird chirping.”

“That’s right. Now, listen again and tell me what you hear.”

This time, I was getting the hang of this little exercise.

“Ah, there’s another bird. No, wait actually there’re two more.”

The birds were sounding pretty lovely actually, sort of like they were having an animated conversation.

“You see, the first little bird was just chirping the way he knows how to. The way he should. That is his nature.”

“And at first, he was just chirping by himself. But then, you heard another one responding to him. And there was a third. And it all started sounding pretty amazing. It became a beautiful three-voice song.”

He looked at me, smiling.

“But here’s the thing. No one could hear him at first. And even when he could be heard, not everyone likes his song.”

“Still, he continued singing that melody, not changing it or replicating another bird’s tune, because that’s what he was made to sing.”

“He’s just being himself. He’s being real.”

“And look what happened: other birds came. They understood what he was singing and responded to him, and now they’re having a mighty fine session.”

“I think I know what you’re saying…”

He gave me a wink before reopening the book.

“You do.”

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The Bachata – Part Three

As the music began, she drew him in, feeling his breath on her cheek.

“Come closer a little.”

His hand was travelling down her body, coming to rest at the small concave low at her back. She gasped at the sensation of his fingers on her skin; it brought back memories from so long ago that she thought she had left behind.

And as they danced, each move was a step back in time, each gaze a stronger stirring in their souls, and each turn closer to sweet destruction.

That dance filled the whole room, so much that everything had to melt away. All she could hear was the poignant beauty of the song in her blood; all she could feel were his hands on her skin and his breath on her lips.

He had that look in his eyes, that same desirous look of fever and wild that she remembered. The rhythm was pounding in her ears now, and all she knew was how perfectly their movements connected her to him and him her.

It was as if they had never parted, and the bachata plays, timeless.

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The Bachata – Part Two

She stood before him and he caught the scent of her perfume in her hair. Leaning in with his lips close at her ear, he spoke in a low voice.

“Do you know that you are the most beautiful here?”

“What do you mean?”

She could feel her face flushing and his intent gaze on her.

“Simply that you are the most interesting, elegant and beautiful woman.”

“Do you want to dance with me now?”

Before she could answer, he had taken her hand in his and wrapped his other arm around her waist. Still blushing, she draped hers around his neck. An upbeat percussion rhythm began and the musicians took the cue.

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The Bachata – Part One

Something I promised a friend; part one first while the rest writes itself, in due time. 😉

Dimly lit and cosy, the interior of the bar contrasted sharply with the summer sidewalks and idyllic outdoors.

She made her way casually, yet not undeliberately down the hallway. The men glanced up and stared; they always do. But she was not distracted.

And there he was.

Tailored blue jacket thrown over white linen shirt and fitted blue jeans, accompanied by the usual glass of red and an air of relaxed elegance, at the far table beside the curtained windows.

She turned and walked in his direction, a slight smile turning up the corners of her mouth as he looked up that instance and saw her. He smiled, then got up as she arrived at the table.

“It’s been a while.”

“Indeed; how have you been?”

“Well, life goes on.”

“Like a bachata.”

“Yes, we dance – sad words to beautiful melodies – and that makes life more bearable.”

A smile in his eyes, and she could not help smiling back. Linking her arm in his, they walked down together to the dance floor.

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For Your Eyes Only

He turned around and lay on his back, shifting his weight a little to make himself more comfy. “Too bad assassination is not my forté,” he mused, his eyes staring towards the ceiling in audible contemplation.

“It’s that I don’t like gambling and have no licence to kill…”

She turned onto her side and watched him intently.

“They can die another day.”

“… and planes. Then again I can learn, I mean diamonds are forever, and tomorrow never dies.”

“Well you only live twice…”

“I’d like to tell you how much I love you though… but the world is not enough.”

“… and with a view to a kill, you would, the living daylights out of me.”

He leaned over and looked into her eyes gazing into his.

“You’re like the man with the golden gun with these puns.”

“Well, they won’t live and let die.”

“No, they won’t.”

Her eyes flickered, a hint of a smile on her lips.

“And I, for your eyes only.”

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Across The Rift – An Excerpt

Today I’d like to feature an excerpt from a piece of writing done by one of my students Rayner L., with beautiful descriptions and rich imagery. We welcome all constructive feedback and comments 🙂

The waves crept towards his feet, caressing his toes gently as they retreated from the shoreline, rolling back into the depths of the sea. The waves repeated, it was a cycle. The water glistened a vast canvas of blue, ranging from light aquamarine to a shade of azure, all the way to a dark turquoise, ending with a deep navy blue at the deepest end of the brine.

He took a deep breath, taking in the paradise that surrounded him. The scent of the sea breeze wafted in the air as the strong wind forced itself against him. He could see the oak wood planks sprinkled with sand making up the footpath that would not wade out further than shallow waters. He could see the coconut trees standing tall beside him, their leaves fanned out and their stems curved like whips, juicy coconuts hanging by threads. He could see the emerald green trees in the distance, on the other side of the shore, a place he had yet to have ventured to. He could see his lonely straw hut, built on blood, sweat and tears.

For as long as he could recall, this was all he had to call home. Despite that, he wanted more than anything to leave this sandbox, to explore the vast forest across the sea, to climb the sturdy trees, to feel the green grass on the other side. He was only divided by a rift, the cerulean body of water that separated him and his search for a better tomorrow. But he vowed to bridge the gap, to one day, set sail.

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Proximity

Come down and hug me.

She had missed his message, therefore hurried back towards the hall; the crowd was filtering out in the opposite direction.

As she entered the place, she saw him in the centre of the room, and she stopped a while at the entrance to watch him. The way he talked and laughed with the journalists, the charmer he was for the cameras. He was always meant to be there.

I’m so proud of you.

She was happy to be there, just watching him from the side, smiling to see him the way he was.

A proximity that was near enough, and they could never be closer.

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Destiny At The Door

How oft could two prompts in one prose fit, and
How oft would two halves in one lifetime meet?

There he stood in his suit, its sheen subtly accentuating the contours of his body beneath it. The corners of his lips curved into a smile as his eyes met mine.

“You’re here.”

“Sorry I took a while; had to settle the guys first.”

“They’re on their way home?”

“Yeah.”

He took a step towards me and I caught the scent of him – a strong mingle of the fragrance he wore and that distinct maleness that was him. The surreality of being this close to him again was swiftly overtaken by the reality of it.

Just a breath away.

Sidling past me through the doorway, he entered the room as I closed the door behind us. Turning around, I looked up to see him regarding me in a relaxed yet intense gaze. I smiled and walked towards him. In the instance I took him into my arms, I felt his around me, and for what seemed like an eternity afterwards, I was contented to remain where I was, a comforting warmth flooding my whole being.

“I’m so proud of you tonight. And I’m so glad I’m actually here to see it.”

“I’m glad you are here too.”

Pulling myself away slightly, I looked into his eyes meaningfully.

“So now we’re here.”

“Uh huh.”

“There’s nowhere else I could be.”

“Me neither.”

“Except, perhaps…”

My gaze dropped to where my fingers were playfully teasing his blazer button. Biting my lip in a grin, I glanced back up. He was watching me. Then, he reached out and gently fingered the topmost clasp of the string of three that held my blouse together. He gazed intently at it, as though examining it in detail.

“How does this work?”

“This is the traditional way of wearing the blouse, held together with this chain of brooches.”

“Ah, I see.”

Still fingering the brooch, he proceeded to depress the surface with his thumb as his finger slid the slender pin behind aside. Pulling it gently away from the folds it held together, he brought it down slowly then released it, letting it hang precariously from its chain as I gasped, feeling a sudden loosening at my neckline.

“So that’s how it works.”

I blushed as he drew closer; I could feel his breath on my lips and his hand low on my back, pulling me in towards him.

“That it is.”

In that moment, time seemed to have stilled and us rendered motionless, except for my quickened breathing and pounding heart. I could feel his lowered gaze on me, and I hung, half fearful, half yearning, on it.

And then, our souls ignited.

The room was spinning euphorically in a slow-motion whirlwind and I felt his arms urgently drawing me into him as I wrapped mine around his neck. His lips were pressed against mine and I could taste the soft moistness of his tongue in my mouth. He was fire, and so was I.

He began flowing into me, and as he did a warmth oozed from my very centre and flowed into my veins and across my body; it permeated every inch of my skin and my pores; it washed over my senses, what I feel and taste, hear and see, and I realised that I too was flowing into him.

The reunion of soul halves, the one I never knew I was searching for.

I was completed, perfected, washed ablaze. I was home.

And now that I know of your existence, I could never leave you alone.

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