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The Hate In Art

Recently, I read an article about a young adult novel under fire by the YA twitter community. Influencers claimed the pre-released book was racist. They questioned the publisher for publishing it. Members of the campaign advised their followers to stay clear of it. And whatever good reviews it previously received… well, those were buried under a 1-star average rating on Goodreads. But, while I scrolled through the article – it was really long, so I skimped through – I found myself frowning. I frowned not because the book was supposedly racist – I frowned because I felt for the author. And after I wondered how she faced the criticism without breaking down, I feared… for myself. Reminded that this world is unafraid to voice its opinions – most of the time in a brutal manner – I was anxious.

Yes, we know not everyone will love our work. There’ll be haters. Many will bash the good out of our art. Some will even take it personally and attack us as creators. It’s a scary world we live in. And as much as we wish for harmony, kindness, and our faith in humanity to be restored, the reality stirs warranted anxiety. It’s something we, unfortunately, cannot avoid. So, I guess now’s the perfect time to say, we can change the world, right? Alas, I can’t say that. Because, we can’t. At least, we can’t change how people chose to respond. We can’t convince others to go easy on us. We can ask, but it doesn’t promise a kinder response. However, there is hope. Because amidst the hate, there is love.

Out of curiosity, I headed to the questionable book’s Goodreads page. There, I found an average 3-star rating. Outside of Goodreads, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it had an above 4-star rating. It’s safe to say, the heat it took prior to its launch didn’t burn it to the ground. Now, I’ve not read the book itself nor do I intend to -I’ve long past my teenage years obsessed with supernatural YA novels – but I’m glad. I’m glad for the author. Though the review section alternates between good and bad ratings, the book has its defenders. There are those who saw what some found negative to be positive. There are those who chose to give the author the benefit of the doubt. While I don’t dismiss the bad reviews, because some of them are objective, not all hope is lost for the future of this book.

Using this book as a case study, I realised how fleeting events are. No matter the intensity of a campaign, for or against something, it will come to an end. It has to come to an end. Though some crusades last decades, there’s always a finish line. Just like a ripple, its waves eventually abate. We cannot predict how long it takes, or when the remaining residue evaporates, but we can find rest in knowing it’ll end. And such is the case with hate.

I believe hate has no lasting throne. Despite its countless attempts to crown itself, through events, people, and circumstances, it’ll ultimately be dethroned. So the next time we find hate in a battle to take us down, let’s look at the end. Let’s find love in those who’d stand by us. And let’s not forget, that in time, it’ll be over. Hate may have the power to set us off track – detouring our dreams and destroying our passion – but hate can only do so within its short term. If we stand firm during it’s brief tenure, it’ll lose its power… and we’ll win the war.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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Love | Hearts | Roses

loveheartsroses

It was on a sunny day in the year 1995. I stood by a tree in the park, with a box brimmed with origami hearts – it was what she wanted, or so she told me.

“Hey!” I called, waving her over in the middle of her game of hide-and-seek.

“What?” she asked.

Her hazel eyes reflected my grin, as I handed her the gift. That day, she wore a yellow floral dress with puffed sleeves. Alike a princess, she caught my breath in her innocence and grace.

“What’s this?” she asked. “And who are you?”

“It’s what you wanted,” I said.

“My mummy says I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“And your mummy is right.”

She frowned, as bewilderment glazed her small face. I had the urge to reach down – to brush her hair – but I pocketed my hands instead.

“Anyway, that’s for you. Happy Valentine’s Day, Emily,” I said.

“Eww!” she exclaimed. “You’re not my boyfriend.”

I chuckled. And just when she proceeded to unwrap her gift, I left.

1995 was the last year I saw her. It was also the last time I did something for her. But it wasn’t the only time. At least, in this respect, I was in control.

It was on a rainy day in the year 2007. I stood outside the diner, with an umbrella and a bouquet of velvet roses. It wasn’t something she wanted, but perhaps something she needed.

She once recounted a tale of being stood up by her date. The boy blamed the weather for his no show, and she laughed at the absurd excuse. But as I caught the glistening tear, trailing down her cheek that evening, I needed to rewrite history.

Entering the quiet eatery, I confidently strolled to her booth. In the warmth of the building, she wore a polka-dotted, monochrome mini dress. When I halted before her, she gazed at me expectantly. Then realising I wasn’t her high school crush, she turned away. Her disregard of my presence broke my heart. But I wasn’t there for me – I was there for her.

“I have something for you,” I said.

“I don’t know you,” she replied, eyes fixated at the barren street outside.

“Someone asked me to deliver these to you,” I added.

Shoving the bouquet in front of her face, I left her with no choice but to accept it. And when she did, she promptly asked, “Who?” Her dejected mien now replaced with curiosity and anticipation.

“Not whoever it is you’re waiting for, that’s for sure,” I replied. I had to tell her – he wasn’t worth her time.

“Then who?”

“Your secret admirer.”

“I have a secret admirer?”

I nodded. I contemplated on asking if I could join her, but the eyes behind the counter narrowed on me like a hawk. So after acknowledging the presence of the stranger, I turned to her and wished, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Emily.”

“Who’s my secret admirer?” she repeated. “Tell me.”

I shrugged in reply. Then before I raised further suspicion, I stalked into the wet outdoors – leaving her wondering from behind the glass window.

2007 was a memorable year. I lingered for months to see the result of my intervention. It didn’t alter the course of history, but it did repaint a memory in good light. That was my intention all along… after I failed her.

It was on a cloudy day in the year 2017. I stood by the sidewalk, moments before her death. She wore a red, fitted dress – one I told her not to, but she insisted anyway.

“I’m ready,” she said.

“No. Let me try again,” I replied.

“You said it yourself. Nothing you do can save me.”

“Please let me try.”

“How many times have you said that – how many times will you watch me die?”

She wasn’t afraid of death. The fear in her eyes, and the dryness in her voice, were for me. She fought back the tears, threatening to break her in the face of death, for me. And at that moment – the moment I’ve experienced countless times – I knew it was the last. Her words were different. Her countenance was foreign. In this timeline, she embraced her fate.

“Emily,” I pleaded.

“I don’t want you to live your life on repeat. Please let me go this time.”

“I can’t do that. I cannot let you go.”

“You can. And you will.”

“No, I need to go back. There’s a loophole somewhere. I know there is.”

She sighed. Then reaching for my hands, she said, “If you must go back, then go back. But when you do go back, don’t return to this moment.”

“What?”

“Let this be our first and final goodbye.”

“I…”

A wrenching pain wrapped inside my chest. Its asphyxiating nature dragged my soul into a darkness I never knew existed. My throat tightened in response. My head scrambled for words I couldn’t say. And my eyes blurred in her final moment alive.

“I love you,” she said, with a thin smile.

“I… Em…”

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

That was, indeed, our first and final goodbye. Of all the endings to her life, I’d found the one with the most peaceful facet. And so I heeded her words – I went back.

It was on an ordinary day. I stood before the place I called home. As I reached for the door, ready to accept the life within, the door opened from inside.

“You’re back!” she squealed. “Happy Emily Day!”

With a smile, I picked her up for a tight hug. That day, she wore a navy blue jumpsuit.

“Happy Emily Day, Emily. Did you miss me?” I asked.

“Every second of every day.”

“I missed you too, Emily.”

Every second of every day.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Love, hearts, and roses were words given by breezyonthebeach. In fact, they were given as a Valentine’s Day prompt last year. I thought, since it’s Valentine’s Day next week, I might as well run with them.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. If you’re not up for a fictional tale, then recount your Valentine’s Day with these 3 words. It shouldn’t be difficult… unless you’re as single as I am.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Original Works

 

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Window | Pillow | Chocolate

windowpillowchocolate

It has been three years. Three years since we boarded the plane together. Three years since we fought over the window seat. Three years since we flipped a coin, just to see who should ask the air steward for an extra pillow. Three years since he proposed with a box of chocolate. And three years since we said goodbye.

As I curled up in the stiff economy class seat, I wondered what life would’ve been if he didn’t walk away. Would we be living in the cozy apartment we imagined? Would we have named our first child after his favourite actress? Would we be flying to Peru, right at this moment, for our great Machu Picchu adventure? Would we still be in love? If we didn’t say those words, would we still be together?

I can still recall the night of our tiff. It was a pleasant night. The day was filled with gentle showers, setting dusk in a cool breeze, fresh with the scent of rain in the air. It was the perfect night to cuddle with a hot cup of cocoa, as we shared the stories from our uneventful day. But that didn’t happen. We would still be together, if it actually did.

“So you’re coming to my mum’s birthday party, right?” I asked.

“Sorry love, I can’t make it this weekend. I’ve got work.”

“It’s the weekend. Why are you always working on the weekend?”

“Trust me, I don’t want to. It’s the boss. You know how he’s like.”

“You should quit.”

He turned to me, eyes wide with surprise. Then he chuckled.

“I’m serious,” I added.

“I can’t just quit. The wedding needs money.”

“You’re not the only one working.”

“But I want to be. I want to give you the best wedding ever.”

Resting his hands on my shoulders, he gave a gentle squeeze as he flashed his famous childish grin. I smiled. How could I not?

“Fine. But you still have to attend my mum’s party. She’s turning sixty,” I said.

“Only sixty. She’s still young.”

“You know how some of the older people are. Sixty is a big deal. And if I go without you, she’ll ask an unbearable amount of questions.”

“I can’t go. I really can’t.”

“Just tell your boss-”

“I can’t,” he interrupted.

Why did he interrupt? If he hadn’t done so, I might have given in. I might have let him skip the party. I might have held my tongue.

“Why are you so straight with your decisions?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why can’t you try to work things around? Saying you can’t when you’ve not tried-”

“How do you know I’ve not tried?”

“I know because I know you. And I know, for sure, you didn’t ask your boss if you could have the weekend off.”

“Are we seriously arguing about this right now? I’m tired. Let’s talk about it tomorrow, alright?”

“It’s always tomorrow with you.”

“Yes, because I don’t want to say something I’d regret. So let’s talk tomorrow.”

He gave me a quick peck on the forehead before stalking toward the door. Here’s my regret. I didn’t let him go. I made him stay at a time he needed to leave the most. I went after him, reached for his wrist, and pulled him back.

“No, let’s talk about this now. We will forget about this tomorrow-”

“And maybe that’s a good idea.”

“How is that a good idea? We’re getting married. This is something we need to discuss. How do you expect me to live with a man who will be absent every weekend?”

“It’s only this weekend. Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”

“It’s always ‘only this weekend’ with you. Fine. Go then. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

Like a child, I folded my arms and glared. And for that brief moment, I had hope. I was expectant. I thought he would stay and ask for forgiveness. That he would choose to work things out, instead of leaving. But I guess, he really was tired. And without another word, he walked out the front door never to return.

I have cried enough over what happened three years ago – stifling tears in the shower and hyperventilating by the sidewalks. But nothing I did brought him back. What could tears do to bring the dead to life? Was there a potion for resurrection? Would true love’s kiss work? When I became too tired to feel anymore, I forced myself to move on. I forced myself to disassociate the past from my present. Though unfortunately, the memories live on. I can recount every part of it as if it were a movie I’d watch one too many times. But even if I don’t tear up, it leaves a bitter aftertaste of regret.

As the air steward walked past with a pillow in hand, as the child clumsily unwrapped his chocolate bar, as I gazed at the cumuliform clouds, I wondered once more what life would have been. And then I concluded before the seatbelt sign blinked red: life would’ve been great. We would’ve been happy. We would’ve created wonderful memories. But life, unfortunately, goes on. And if I were to ever find love again, so should I.

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Window, pillow, and chocolate were words given by kara562. Firstly, let me apologise for writing this rather depressing piece. You see, I’ve been watching too many sad dramas recently that they’ve had an affect on me. So, when I saw those three words, the two things that came to mind were aeroplane and regret. I don’t why. Hence, this story. I do hope it was an engaging tale though.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It’s fun. You don’t have to try so hard. And oh, it makes a great writing practice.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Crumpet | Tuba | Aspirin

crumpettubaaspirin

At the age of five, I was obsessed with crumpets. It’s spongy texture, covered with bubble holes, and slathered with butter and syrup, filled my little heart with delight. Whenever I get a waft of it in the air, I’d squeal like my sister at the pony fair. It’s insane, thinking about it now. Every day during my obsession, I begged my mother to make me crumpets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was a craving I couldn’t ignore. Thankfully, my mother gave in… but only on Sundays.

While the rest of the family had proper meals, she made me crumpets all day long. Sundays became Crumpet Days, and she kept at it until my obsession ended a year later. I’m not too sure how healthy it was for a child to be consuming 52 Sundays worth of crumpets, but because I did, crumpets became my childhood icon. It wasn’t Tic Tacs, sugar sprinkled buttered toast, Voodoo Jelly, or hot cocoa on a rainy day… it was crumpets.

And crumpets wasn’t the end.

At the age of fifteen, I joined the school band. My sister warned me that being in the school band would be tough. She forgot to mention why. You see, when I was growing up, school bands weren’t a thing. Back then, school bands didn’t make it on YouTube or went viral for their choreographed marching. Nobody cared for the school band – nobody but me.

The first thing I did, at the start of the school year, was beg my parents to buy me a tuba. Of all the instruments I could’ve wanted, I chose the tuba. I know, a strange choice. When I got to school, the music teacher was thrilled to have me. It seems I was the only tuba player around. Just like my father said, “Tubas aren’t popular. How about a trumpet instead?” Well, it was a good thing my mother convinced him otherwise. What would the school band do with five trumpets and two drums?

My tuba days lasted until I graduated secondary school. During the first year, my parents attended Sports Day just to watch me march the field and huff into the heavy brass. My sister was forced to come along for moral support, but all she did was pout. That was the first and last time my whole family came out to cheer me on. In the following years, it was only my mother who showed up. She was proud and she wanted to scream my name, no matter how embarrassing it got. My father, on the other hand, gave up in convincing me to join the sports team. I’m guessing he and my sister slept in on two years of my embarrassing life.

The people in black chuckled. I chuckled along. With a thin smile, I continued on.

When I began my university years, my parents were the proudest they could be. I was thrilled too, to have beaten my sister with more A’s, and to be able to finally live my own life. I was a free bird. Kind of. During my final year, things got a little tough. I wasn’t in a healthy relationship, my lecturers were giving me a hard time, and I couldn’t stay focus long enough to prepare for my finals. Because of the stress, I developed a migraine. It was the throbbing kind that lingered throughout the day. It wasn’t splitting my skull or pushing my eyes out of their sockets, but it was there, annoyingly thumping the back of my head. I tried all kinds of painkillers to fix myself. But when they all failed, I ranted about it to my sister. A week after that, I received some aspirin in the mail.

I learned one thing that day: you shouldn’t tell your sister everything. With the aspirin came a note from my mother asking me to give that particular brand a shot. She said it always worked for her. As though her words were some kind of incantation, I popped two tablets and the migraine left… for good. It was then I realised something.

I heard a sniffle. I hadn’t even read the heart-wrenching part, and there was already a sniffle. It only made it harder for me to go on. Inevitably, my throat tightened and my chest began to ache. When I turned to look at my father, he gave a firm nod for me to go on. So I did.

I realised the power of a mother.

There was nothing special about the crumpets I craved as a child. There were no drugs in them. The only secret ingredient was my mother’s love. And to be honest, I wasn’t a good tuba player. But my mother never stopped encouraging me no matter how terrible I was. As for the aspirins she sent, they weren’t any more powerful than the ones I bought myself. Subconsciously, my body trusted her words and healed itself.

A mother is special because there’s power in everything she does. And that power, which she uses to guide, nurture, and protect, comes from an unfathomable love. I cannot comprehend this love – maybe my sister can – but I surely cannot. All I can do is remember.

Turning to the open casket behind me, I took a deep breath and gazed upon the woman who gave her all. I was blessed to have her in my life. She was always there, waiting to come to my aid. Now, I’ll just have to live on my own. If this is what a free bird feels like, I should’ve never grown up.

“I love you, mum,” I said. “I’ve never said it before, I know, and I’m sorry. But if it counts for something, I’ve always remembered. And I’ll continue to remember your undying love for the rest of my life.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Crumpet, tuba, and aspirin were words given by LionAroundWriting. On a regular day, these words would’ve been a challenge to make up a story. Thankfully, it was just Mother’s Day. So in the spirit of honouring mothers everywhere, and also remembering my own mother’s unfathomable love, I’ve decided to write this piece. Hopefully, you liked it.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It could be about anything or it could be themed for Mother’s Day too. It’s completely up to you. Just write however these words inspire and be sure to link your work in the comment section below.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all! And happy writing to you too.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Eulogy

eulogy

Paige Livre was the worst person I know. I knew her well enough and I can boldly say this. Paige was a selfish girl. She always thought about herself and contemplated on whether someone was worth her time. She was envious, always trying to compete with her friends and making a huge effort to outdo them. She was very vain, always standing in front of the mirror and spending hours just to be sure she looked better than anyone else. And she was prideful, always judging people and seeing them as inferior.

Paige was also hateful. You wouldn’t believe the ridiculous things she had announced hate upon. She hated the sun, because it was too bright and it made her sweat. She hated the sea, because its breeze would mess up her hairdo she spent hours on. She hated people, the ones that she could not see eye to eye with and the ones she just hated out of pride. She hated lifts that moved too slowly, she hated carton fruit juices that lied about containing real fruit juice, and she hated waiting for anyone and anything.

Seeing Paige everyday, I sometimes wondered if she had trouble dealing with all of those flaws. But I soon realized that all those flaws made her unique. Paige was a hateful person and the worst human being I’ve ever known, but she was also the best one I’ve ever met.

Paige Livre was the best person I know. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of ways to make someone’s day… even a stranger’s. She was positive, always encouraging those who had a hard time and constantly looking at the bright side of life. She was helpful, always putting aside her selfishness for those she cared about and going out of her way to put a smile on their faces. And she was careful with her words. She knew that words had the power to destroy and she tried her best to not say anything hurtful.

Paige was also loving. She loved the rain, because it gave her a chance to unwind with a hot cup of chocolate and a book. She loved the birds, because she always heard a song in their cheerful chirps. She loved the stars, because it gave her hope that tomorrow would be better. And most importantly, she loved people.

She loved her parents more than anyone else. She loved her father for begging the doctor to let her visit Disney Land. She loved him for pushing her wheelchair at the park and standing in line so that she could see her favourite Disney characters. She loved him for reading her stories on the nights when she was too weak to read to herself. She loved him for simply being there.

Paige loved her mother too. She loved her for trying to give her a normal life when things started to get rough. She loved her for driving her to the mall and to parties so that she would not feel left out. She loved her for preparing her favourite meals everyday, helping her get dressed, putting up with her random moments of tears and screams, and for hugging her when it hurt. She loved her for simply being there.

There was also a bunch of people she loved, and they were her friends. She loved them for visiting her and bringing her cards and balloons. She loved them for writing her encouraging notes with hope of her recovery. She loved them for sleeping over at the hospital to keep her company. And she loved them for hiding their tears from her. It was hard knowing her days were numbered, but her friends spared her the agony of seeing them in grief. She loved them for simply being there.

Being someone who knew she was dying was not easy on Paige. She had dreams she wanted to achieve, places she wanted to see, food she wanted to taste, and words she wanted to hear. But when she thought about all that she was missing out, she couldn’t help but think about all that she had gained. It was in that hard time that Paige learned to love herself.

She loved all her unique traits; the good and the bad. She loved how her teeth were not even and how her hair was always messy. She loved not being able to wear the colour yellow because it did not match her skin colour. She loved her healthy self when she could run, dance, and laugh, and she loved her sick self when she found it hard to speak, eat, and move.

Paige Livre died with love. The kind of death the world envies. That is all that matters, don’t you agree? I love you, Paige Livre. Thank you for the few good years.

That was it. I could not write anymore. There was a pain in my chest and my fingers were too weak to scribble another word. I wished I could reread what I just wrote, but my head was spinning and the words were starting to appear blurry.

As the monitor beside me beeped slowly, almost fusing into a single dead note, I began to wonder if that night was my last. Two days ago, my family and friends came to see me. They said I could let go and rest, but I couldn’t even utter a final goodbye when they walked out the door. I knew I had to leave them with something, so I gathered all the strength I had left and wrote my own eulogy. It’s not normal to write your own eulogy, but let me be the first.

Well, I guess I can close my eyes now. I hope that last page of my book would bring more smiles than tears. Goodnight Paige, goodbye world.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

As depressing as this story was, I want to leave you with a question; do you love yourself?

We are not perfect and there will be parts of ourselves that we dislike, but those imperfections make us unique. Understanding that we are special and loving ourselves for it, is what we should all do. It is definitely not easy as we are our own haters, but loving ourselves will make a huge difference in the way we view life. I hope you love yourself, but if you can’t, I hope you find a way 🙂

As always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoyed it. 

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Original Works

 

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A Pen Pal’s Christmas Wish

A penpals christmas wish

I have a pen pal. I know it sounds ridiculous in an era where Internet exists, but I have been writing letters to this ‘pal’ for as long as I can remember. Even though emails are faster, we agreed that the ugly scribbles gave our letters a special touch. So, we stuck to it as the black ink told stories of day-to-day life and the deepest secrets of our hearts. We were basically ordinary pen pals except… he wasn’t ordinary.

This year’s ‘pen pal-ing’ started off with me writing to him about my fear of failing my driving exam. A week after I poured the horror on a piece of paper, a package came in the mail with a book titled, ‘Driving For Dummies’. Together with it was a note telling me not to worry and encouraging me to believe in myself. Surprisingly, that little note did its job.

A few months after I passed my driving exam, I started working. That was when I stumbled upon a rather annoying colleague who made my life a nightmare. It was only normal to vent my frustration in my next letter, so I did, with my alphabets morphing into ghastly creatures that were feeding off my frustration. I have no idea how he managed to read them, but a week after I dropped my letter in the mailbox, a reply arrived with a gift voucher for an expensive restaurant. And to make my life easier, there was also a ripped classified page from a newspaper with jobs highlighted in green.

With time and his help, that issue soon passed and the year began to smoothen out. Unfortunately, before the last crease could be straightened, I bumped into another problem… literally. It was my first car accident and the world managed to push me into a corner. There, I wrote a letter of my confusion and anger and shortly after, I received a reply with a few hundred dollars. He offered to pay for the damage knowing I needed the help, and he warned me not to return him the money.

Of course, I thanked him profusely in my next letter for his help. I always thanked him whenever he did something for me, but I soon realized it wasn’t enough.

When Christmas began to roll around the corner, I asked him if he had a wish for Christmas. I told him I would give him anything, as long as it made him happy. The reply I got from him was both expected and unexpected.

Dear Ally,

You know I do not want a gift from you. I’m not the type of person who yearns for presents. But knowing you well enough, you would probably beg me for a request. So, I did some thinking and I found what I would like for Christmas. Since you promised to fulfil it, here it is: I want another year of being your pen pal. Don’t let me down!

Now, what do you want for Christmas?

Love, Dad.

The first time I read that letter, it made no sense. Obviously, I was still going to write to him next year. I may be away from home, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I truly belonged. It was a rather dull request, but after a few rereads, his words began to hold a new meaning.

All my dad wanted was another year of exchanging letters, where he could pick me up when I fall, send me gifts to put a smile on my face, and be my friend in a world where I’m on my own. He finds joy in being my light, refuge and strength, and all he wanted was to continue being just that. It was a wish so selfless that I struggled to see its true nature in a world that was completely the opposite. When my heart finally realized the love he has invested in me throughout the year, a tear fell from my eye.

Compared to him, I spent lesser time on my letters and filled them with complaints, worries, and requests. I wrote to him regularly but the dedication I had was nothing compared to his. When I understood his heart, I felt like I did not deserve it.

That night, I wrote a reply saying I would do as he requested. I told him it would be my honour to continue writing to him and that I appreciated everything he has done for me. As for my Christmas wish, I told him I wanted what he wanted, and that was another year where I can try to out love him even though I know I can’t.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I know today is supposed to be fan fiction day, but since Christmas was just yesterday I decided that a Christmas story would be more appropriate. To some, this is merely a simple story revolving around the theme of love, being Christmas IS about love… but to me it is more than that.

You may not be in the Christmas mood this year and this story might not be as exciting as the previous one, but I do hope you take something from it, whether it be a little tingling sensation or a small message. That is all I can hope for 🙂

Anyway, Merry (belated) Christmas and may 2014 be a great year for all of you!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Original Works

 

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How Much More?

How Much More?

Sometimes, I wonder how much more of this I can take. How much more physical pain and mental abuse? How much more tears? How much more fears and uncertainties? How much… more?

When my wife was pregnant, I thought I was going to be the best father to my perfect child. I will bear with his late night cries and smelly diapers,  I would teach him to kick a ball and to swim when he got old enough,  and I would share experiences of girls, college, and marriage as he grows up. I had all of these planned out and I was looking forward to it. But then something happened… and everything changed.

The day my son came into the world was the same day my wife left the world. The feeling of shock, horror and grief are still so fresh within me. The first time I held my boy in my arms, I asked myself if I really wanted him. He was not as innocent as everyone claimed him to be. After all, his mother died bringing him into the world. It took me a while before I saw my wife’s death as a sacrifice that should not end up for nothing. And when I accepted him as my son, I did all I could as a father.

I would wake up in the middle of the night to dry his tears, and then return to an empty bed with no one to dry mine. I would feed him and put him to sleep, and then eat my dinner alone with an empty chair in front of me. I still grief for my wife now, but back then, it was worse. I didn’t know how I was going to raise this child on my own, and yet I knew I had no other choice. There were nights where I would dream of giving him up, but the memory of my excitement when I fixed his crib and painted his room walls made me change my mind.

After months of struggling as a single parent, I soon began to learn the ropes of parenting. I began to truly feel for this boy, and the love I could not give my wife, I gave him. He became the most important person to me, and the thought of losing him terrified me. I was also finally able to feel a pinch of happiness again, but it did not last long.

When my boy was one year old, something out of my nightmares happened. My boy fell ill, seriously ill, that he needed to be admitted to a hospital with tubes attached to his body. At the sight of him in such a state, there was a wrenching pain in my chest; one that sent my mind spiraling down an endless tunnel of thoughts. When the doctor tried to explain my boy’s condition, his words were inaudible but his face said enough.

The day I brought my boy home was the day I became a father to a different child. This child was not going to kick a ball or swim, he was not going to school or college, and no one would want to marry him. Even his smile was not the same.

As I stood over his crib where he looked up at me gleefully, I realized life was not going to get easier. I had to feed him, cloth him, and bathe him for the rest of his life… literally. But strangely, I slowly grew numb to that confliction in my heart.

I found myself wanting to do everything for him. Yes, he would not be able to kick a ball as he would be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but I would still teach him to kick and swim. I would teach him all I know, and try to get him into schools. I will show him what love is, love that he will never need to receive from anyone else.

If he wants to be an athlete, I’ll train him. If he wants to be a speaker, I’ll speak for him. If he wants to see the world, I’ll show him.

No, life was not getting easier. My boy will never be a normal child, and the perfection I hoped for is scarred. But I was not going to deprive the happiness he deserves. Yes, I admit questioning my actions and wondering if I could take one more day as such.

“How much more?” I constantly asked myself.

But, “So much more,” would always be my reply.

I don’t know if my boy will ever understand me or my intentions. I don’t know if he would love me in return, or if he appreciates my hard work. All I know is my feelings towards him are real, and there are no limitations to it.

As I watched him sleep, still young and fragile, I whispered, “Tommy, daddy loves you. And daddy would do anything for you.”

Till the day I draw my last breath, everything I do would be for him; the boy I truly, truly love.

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True love is not mere words or fairy tale endings. True love is sacrifice, suffering and hardship. True love has no limitations or conditions. It’s more than sweet moments and laughter, its the bitter experiences and tears too. True love is a strong emotion, so strong its like a hurricane sweeping you off your feet and a tidal wave crashing down on you.

And true love… should move you to tears just by thinking about it.

Today, the word ‘love’ has been so diluted that it’s used too casually. The reason why we are never able to fully grasps and understand the real idea of love is because we have never truly experienced it. I hope that one day, everyone would be able to experience true love for themselves; true love that dives into the soul, and breathes new life into it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my short story. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Original Works

 

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