Aside

Writing101 Day#2: A Room With A View

June

22ND SEPTEMBER 2132.
15.5 HOURS SINCE I LAST SAW DAY.
LEVEL INFINITY HOTEL LANDING PAD, ROSS CITY.

 

I step out of the plane and take in the gleaming whiteness of my surroundings. We have landed magnetically inside a glowing red ring atop a skyscraper, where the air is pure and refreshing. I’d imagined Antarctica, of all places, to greet me with a frosty rush of wind or a blinding glare from the sun reflected on a snowy landscape. But apparently, Ross City is not that place. Instead, I stand amid an urban jungle of glossy structures that stretch into the clouds, all interconnected by wide bridges that overlook the metropolitan buzz some 300 storeys below. Peering over the edge of the platform, I realise how nauseatingly high we are, and take a step backwards to steady myself. However, looking upwards is just as dizzying, as the city seems to be vertically infinite.

Before I can get lost in my thoughts of wonder, a pair of glasses is pressed into my palm, and I am told to wear them for the duration of the visit. They are slim and the frames are made from a lightweight metal; when I place them on my face, they feel almost invisible. I open my eyes to find a brighter, more vivid cityscape around me – but that is not the only difference. Every person in my periphery has their name and a numerical status floating above their head, like a simulation in a video game. I imagine what the numbers could represent and why they are needed here. Anden walks over and flashes me one of his effortless smiles, whilst asking me to rejoin the group: his number increases from zero to one. A smile = a point? Fascinating.

Lady Medina leads us along an extravagant ivory bridge, into the Level Infinity Hotel. With each step I take, rainbow-infused swirls formulate on the plush carpet under my feet. The hotel’s foyer is lined with projections of live footage from various parts of Ross City. One screen, showing young boys racing through a street on hoverboards, catches my attention. This right here is the future. No wonder the Republic needs their help.

Aside

Writing101 Day #5: Be Brief

It was none of your business, but you picked it up anyway.

The envelope was sealed, but you opened it anyway.

Those words were not meant for you, but you read them anyway.

The fear and the pain did not demand you to feel them, but you wept anyway.

Those secrets would haunt you, but you let them.

~

The letter was not addressed to you, but you slipped it inside your pocket and continued on your way.

 

Aside

Writing101 Day #1: Unlock The Mind

So I now have the task of writing continuously for 20 minutes without stopping, and I think that’s going to be a hard task, considering my fingers type faster than I can think. But I have to keep going, no matter what comes out onto this page. And I really don’t want to make spelling mistakes either, because going back on myself will slow me down, even though this isn’t against the clock or anything. I just have to type, type, type, tap, tap… this is an obvious filler. Anyway, how are you? Who am I talking to? I don’t know. Am I talking to myself? I don’t know. Will anyone see this? Probably not. So I’m talking to myself anyway. Well in that case, I’m not doing too badly, thank you for asking. I had 3 exams today. It was quite tiring. The thing about exam periods is that you forget what actual school is like. You think, “Urghh, I hate exams. They’re so hard!” But when you go back to normal lessons, you realise that staying awake for however many hours school lasts, is just as hard, if not harder. Sorry, distraction. Just heard a pigeon cooing ambiguously outside my window. I’ve been using the word ambiguous a lot recently. I don’t like it now that I know how commonly it’s used. Back to the pigeon… I don’t usually notice them – they just exist. They coexist in our ecosystem when we really don’t want them. But there’s no competition between us (apart from our mutual interest in eating bread) so we have to let them be. Sighhhh. So the other day, mum was testing me on some jazzy Spanish vocab that I wanted to learn before my Spanish exams today. We were just sitting on the bed casually. I was staring out the window. There’s a fat tree outside my window, and I just so happened to notice, in that particular moment, 2 pigeons on a branch, hidden by some other branches. One of them was pecking at the other’s face. It could have been eating out of its mouth, or fighting. It looked like they were fighting because it was pretty vicious, if you ask me. Mum said they were probably mating. I was like, “Yeah, as if. Look how violent they’re being.” And I was secretly thinking, “That’s not what I’d call flirting. Are you serious?” Not that I could do any better. But come on – if you want someone’s attention, don’t go round biting their face off! Mind you, that would get their attention… Anyway, all of a sudden, the nasty-ass pigeon who started the fighting jumped on top of the other one. Like, it properly jumped. Who knew pigeons could jump?! I certainly didn’t. That plump monster of a pigeon just JUMPED onto the other one. That was when I realised mum was right. I mean, she knows more about breeding than I do (due to personal experience, though hopefully not with birds…) but I just… I couldn’t even. Privacy. Seriously, birds. I can seee yoouuuu! That was the moment I got it. Woah. Pigeons are mating outside my window. *Shivers*. So now that I can hear a pigeon outside my window, all I can think about is that scenario. I could go on with graphic details, but for the birds’ sakes, I’ll pretend there were more branches blocking my view. Back to the exams (back to the place where we began, feeling as good as lovers can, you knoooowww – are those the right lyrics?) – I had one before today, where I left out an entire question due to a supermassive mind blank; that was psychology. And today, I had 3 hours of Spanish followed by another 1.5 hours of maths. Should maths, as in the subject, have capital letters? I mean, one capital. Haha, imagine seeing MATHS in caps-lock everywhere you go. How intimidating would that be? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question. Pretty darn intimidating. When did I start using the word darn? Just now, apparently. Also, I just typed “whence”, but then realised I didn’t know exactly how to use it in a sentence. I could question it now, but nobody is going to reply. And I don’t think I want to learn how to use it now. Too much time spent thinking about it. My Spanish exams were fine. Everyone was like, “OMG, we had sooo much extra tiiiime. They sooo should have made it shorterrrrr. I was done after, like, thiiiirtyy miiinuuutesszzzsz.” That’s my dumb American accent phoneticalisms, with extra dumbness and a hint of a lisp at the end. It makes sense if I say it out loud. I think. But, anyway, I thought the time for the exams was good. Sufficient, to be more precise. I didn’t have to rush through my 5 comprehensions. Plus, I got time to writegu9beopv `co-vuh0u\-dw0h OMG 7 seconds left!!!!!! Bye.

New Perspective

She perceives the world through the camera lenses that are her golden brown eyes, wishing she could capture these moments and treasure them eternally. Nature sweeps into focus and she grasps these fragile fragments of beauty that surround her.

When did the clouds become so radiant?

When did the leaves sway like shadow puppets on a windy day?

When did the blue of an iris melt her heart so slowly and painfully?

 

Windowpane

We were lined up orderly on the conveyor belt, praying for one another. I remember the streaky sparks that spattered as electricity surged through the saw’s silver blade, slicing through the suffering surfaces. I will never forget The Changing: the way my arms and legs were amputated and I was separated from Mum and Dad, never to see them again. Little did I realise that my life as a windowpane had only just begun.

You see, when I first met Frame, I detested him straight away. But before I had time to protest to the handyman, I was already fixed to him permanently, with only a thin layer of glue and silicone piped between us. Soon afterwards, I met Handle, who didn’t seem all too thrilled about being fixed to Frame either.

It was awkward at first, not knowing where to look. In one direction was Room, the forever warm and cosy place inhabited by humans. The Timberlake family were a peculiar species, but their familiar faces never failed to cheer me up.

Mrs Timberlake would always take time to bathe me, and I liked the consistency of her soapy sponge strokes that massaged my back. The Timberlake twins, Maggie and Mildred, were little bundles of joy who smudged their grimy hands all over my face, leaving sticky fingerprints everywhere! Luckily Mrs Timberlake soon set things right, as her regular inspections usually resulted in her polishing me to perfection.

Baby Timberlake was the worst by far. I simply couldn’t bear her screaming, her crying, her wingeing, moaning, burping, shrieking, or gurlgling. My poor ears will never be the same again! On the contrary, Grandpa Timberlake was a peaceful soul, constantly sleeping in Rocking Chair (who always complained about the weight). His chest rising and falling was, at times, therapeutic, but his snoring – his snoring! – always gave Handle and me something to talk about.

Most objects in Room were friendly. I could rely on Encyclopedia for insights into anything and everything. Then there was Radiator, who always started heated debates. But aside from them, I had my eye on Lamp. She was stunning. I was generally too shy to talk to her, but when I did, I could feel my cheeks turning red, and I had to look down at Window Sill to hide my embarrassment. I really fancied her, but eventually I figured that she was just another person who tried to ignore me and look right through me.

The only Object I couldn’t stand was Grandfather Clock. He was just plain irritating, with his ticking and tocking and ticking and tocking all day long. According to Radio, he hasn’t uttered anything but tick or tock for the last eighteen years! One day, I offered to give him elocution lessons, but as half expected, his response was tick tock, so I assumed he was a foreigner, who would make a troublesome and rather challenging pupil to assist.

At night, Mr Timberlake pulled down Blind so I couldn’t see into Room. I don’t think I missed much, because all the Objects had to keep particularly quiet when the Timberlakes were asleep. Blind made me so itchy, and I hated him at first, almost as much as Frame and Grandfather Clock.

On the other side of me, were Garden and The World Beyond. Garden was more beautiful than you could put into words, especially when all her flowers were in bloom.

I was desperate to learn about life in the neighbours’ houses that lay in The World Beyond. Windowpane of Number 12 couldn’t tell me about its room, even if she wanted to. I could see from Frame that she was always covered in condensation from shower steam, and didn’t enjoy living in the humidity.

I had loads more friends (and enemies) in Garden and The World Beyond. There was Rain, who tickled me all the time. We had a special kind of friendship…

Then there was Spider, who thought I had the perfect corners for making her webs on. I let her stay all through the first spring, but then a howling wind came and whisked her away. I was beginning to worry that I was renting out my corners too cheaply, so when Spider’s cousin came along, I raised the cost, and he simply scuttled along Drainpipe to find a better deal.

Magpie was pure evil. I had always been suspicious of her and her friends, right from the start. It was the way she stared at me with those beady black eyes that made me shiver, like the first time I encountered Snow. One time, Magpie flew past me, and left a white mess on my shoulder. I was more than horrified! Not exactly the kind of birthday present I was hoping for. Mrs Timberlake had to put Key in Handle (which he told me was a very painful experience) and pushed me outwards, so I was hanging over Garden. I waved to Grass below, excited my newfound freedom. Mrs Timberlake got out her soapy sponge, and scraped the muck right off my shoulder. I’d never been happier.

I have a lot of stories to tell about Room, Garden, and The World Beyond. When milder Timberlake and her gangster friends ‘accidently’ hurled poor old Tennis Ball at my tummy, I knew I would never see Bookshelf or Radio or Lamp or Radiator or Handle or Carpet or Garden ever, ever again. The pain came as a total shock. And perhaps, this was worse than my fate at the factory. My life was shattered into a million shards of glass. Part of me is still fixed to Frame, but I am sharp there, and nobody will want to talk to me now.

These broken pieces that belong to me no longer form the windowpane I was so proud to be. I am not a windowpane now, just a window in pain.

 

*PS – I have just been informed that this monologue, which I wrote about 2 years ago, has been selected to be published in the Red House Yearbook 2013 as a winner in the ‘short story’ 13+ category, which is quite an honour. Photo credit to Google Images, as usual.