Writers Quote: Joyce Kilmer

Writers Quote: Joyce Kilmer

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They say that life is a highway,
And it’s milestones are the years;
And now and then there’s a toll gate,
Where you buy your way with tears;
It’s a rough road and a steep road,
And it stretches broad and far;
But at last it leads to a golden town,
Where golden houses are.
-Joyce Kilmer (roofs)

Ah, this little verse of Joyce Kilmer embodies a lot of my favorite things. It talks about Life, the potholes we find in between, appreciation of tears, and at long last “a happy ending”, not to forget also, it is my favorite genre, “Poetry”.

For this week’s Writers quote, I chose this poem because of all of the above reasons and also it contains a reminder that we all need to hear every once in a while- It’s not the end until you’ve made it. Until you see those golden houses signifying the end of the road, all other things are just “toll gates” which need to be crossed. Though it might not be easy, crossing and arriving at that golden town would be so worth it.

How many times have we been midway through writing a book/story and then thought “what in world am I writing”. Worst case scenario, it’s probably the story plot that’s got some loop holes and not exactly the writing skills. Saying, “I’m done with writing, I can’t write” is very easy, but going with the harder, “nah, the next story I write will definitely kick some ass”, might actually be the best decision ever.

I know it’s easier said than done, but the truth is, the more the potholes, the more bumps on the road; the brighter, shinier and more beautiful the golden houses at the end will be.

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How Puberty did me wrong

How Puberty did me wrong

I don’t think 400 words is going to be enough for me to talk about this but still, here goes. Today for free write, I decided to tackle PUBERTY! A stage I’m pretty sure everyone reading this has gone through. Well, I ain’t got any love for puberty. It did me bad, real bad. I remember seeing many girls blossom into barbies when they hit puberty. I didn’t think I was going to turn into one of them, no, but I also didn’t think puberty would hate me so much and do me so wrongly.

First from a mere 33kg at the beginning of middle school, by the time I graduated I was over 55kg (thanks Puberty). And then came the Pimples. Well, they weren’t really pimples more like rashes. They were all over my face and neck. My lord, I looked like a hornet of baby bees. I remember someone (a friend) when he saw my face, suggested that maybe I should begin to cover up with a veil (we call it Niqab). It’s the veil that some Muslims cover their faces with; he suggested it cause my face looked that bad.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, ‘Hormonal Imbalance’. Ever been on your period for more than two weeks? It is the most uncomfortable thing ever! At first, I didn’t think something was wrong. But then 3 days, 5days, 7days passed and the period didn’t stop. I could use up a whole packet of Pad in just one day. The flow was so much that the blood clotted.

In the 2nd week of my period, I remember standing with my classmates (who were boys) talking and then, I felt a dribble down my leg. I look down, It was Blood! I ran to the toilet like it was nobody’s business. And it was barely an hour since I changed. For someone who on a regular period had little flow, it was a huge change.

Later on that same day, I was sitting in the class with my girl friend and a bunch of boys playing whot. I had a feeling something was wrong so I whispered to Musa (the girl) that I’d stand up and she should check me. When she did, I wasn’t just stained, the whole of the Neon Yellow chair I was sitting on was now Red. Oh Lord! I was mortified.

I just sat down there, scared, angry, frustrated, you name it! And it felt like the boys were never going to leave. One minor embarrassing detail I intentionally forgot to add is, I could see one or two flies circling around me (that was real embarrassing).

I would explain how I finally left the class, cleaned up the chair and walked all the way to the main gate of the school in my now ‘red skirt’, but maybe in another post. I’d say this- When I got to the school gate, the first thing we did (I and Musa) was call my mum to pick us up, and the hospital was the next stop.

Day 17: Worries of a Single Lady

Day 17: Worries of a Single Lady

My third year being single. Slowly, it’s beginning to hit me. I thought I had found the one when I met him, I was wrong- again! And now, I honestly don’t think the one exists for me. It’s not that I have been heart broken too many a times- trust me I’ve been too careful for that. But maybe that’s the problem, I was too careful. Anyway, I haven’t even remotely met anyone close to that. And I want to be happy, feel happy when I see people in love. Even if they are wrong for each other or what they are doing is wrong. But it’s getting hard, because it reminds me yet again that I’m alone.

But, well… How does it happen? How do you meet the one? This is something I ponder about. Really, how does it happen? I try to not think about it, but the thought keeps coming at me. And also,

I used to think I was just perfect. And then I thought maybe a few kilos lost wouldn’t hurt. And then it became more than a few kilos. And now, I’m wondering, maybe a few kilos gained back wouldn’t hurt. Life is complicated and the sorry and sad part is, we make it the way it is. Life’s what you make it- and if it’s complicated, I take full responsibility. It is my job to make life work. To make it work for me. To twist and turn things around until I am happy. To push forth, to stand strong, to make sure I leave no stone unturned and this heart of mine is happy. It is my job to make me happy. A job I believe I am failing to do.

Maybe it’s about time, heck, it is about time! I owe it to myself to choose to be happy. And, right now, this moment, I choose. I choose to be happy. It’s my choice to make and I have made it. Nobody said it would be easy anyway, I just have to make it work for me. And well, with happiness everything comes easy.

I choose to get off this tab In a few minutes, soak in the sweet after smell of rain that is blowing through this car window. Relax and absorb the atmosphere for a little while. Go home, pray and be happy. Yeah, I choose to be happy! I’ve made my choice and I will stand by it and see it through.

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Anna: The Little girl’s Finale

Anna: The Little girl’s Finale

“Is the ambulance here yet? I don’t think she’ll make it”,

“Not yet, but almost.” The other patrolman replied

It was a starless night, and the moon was merely a crescent; making it hard for the two patrolmen. They had found the remains of a car, unrecognizably wrecked at the foot of an Oak tree when they had come through the route on their night road watch. But it was the sight of a little girl lying unconscious at the back of the car that got their blood boiling. As for the woman at the driver’s seat, seeing the large amount of blood she lost, they were doubtful she’d make it.

The ambulance came through and the victims were taken to the emergency unit. Anna, the little girl sustained minor injuries from the crash; she regained consciousness in a few hours of their hospital stay. Leila, her captor, on the other hand suffered a severe trauma in the head and had fallen into coma.

“I want to see my mommy!”

“I want my daddy!” Anna screamed.

One of the patrolmen came in to meet Anna; Trying to explain in the best possible way he could to a six year old that her mother was in coma.

“She’s not my mother. I want my mommy and daddy!” Now the policeman was stunned. He was almost sure Anna was still in shock. But she kept on and on about Leila not being her mother.

The other policemen who was older and had kids of his own took charge.
“So, your name is Anna”… she nodded.

“And you say your mommy is not your real mother”… She nodded again, wiping her tear streaked cheek.

Anna explained to him that she hadn’t seen her parents in two years. She’d been living with Leila all those time and it had not been good. She showed him the bruises on her wrist to support her story. The patrolman was inclined to disbelieve her but there was something in the little girl’s pleading eyes.

                                          *FAST FORWARD*

The man couldn’t believe his ears- His little girl was alive. As he made his way through the hospital halls, he was happy but at the same time terrified. What if she doesn’t recognize me? Beads of sweat had begun to form on his forehead.

“Daddy?”… “Daddy!”

Tears streamed down his cheeks, he made no attempt to stop them. In his arms was his lost girl, as real as the sun, after two long years.

“Daddy I missed you. And I prayed everyday like you taught me to.”

He held her oh so tightly, making a solemn promise to himself never to let her go, ever! A few minutes passed by and Anna and her father still hadn’t bulged from their spot- They truly had missed one another. Eventually, he sat Anna back on the hospital bed, walked out of the room with her eyes still on him and came back hand in hand with a woman.

“Mommy!” Anna rejoiced. Before she could jump down from the hospital bed, her ‘real mommy’ caught her and hugged her. Anna’s mother knew it wasn’t over. Her baby was going to need therapy and a whole lot of love. But looking at Anna’s gleaming face, she knew in that little girl was a fighter and together as a family, they’ll make it.

“Now this is my real mommy” Anna said “Not that other woman”, she was directing the statement at the patrolman that didn’t believe her. He smiled, and they all laughed. Everything was going to be all right.

After Anna had told the patrolman her story, he had called someone at the district to crosscheck her story with previous records. It came out true. The men who had gone to take away the wrecked car had found some personal items belonging to Leila. After few phone calls, Leila’s real mother was finally contacted and eventually the whole story unraveled. Leila was suffering from schizo-affective disorder and Bipolar 2.

As Anna and her parents walked down the green hospital halls with the older patrol man at their side, they caught glance of an Old woman whom the other patrolman was talking to. Her cheeks were wet from tears; you could hear her little sniffles from across the hall. What caught Anna’s parent eyes was what she was holding. In the old woman’s hand was a red sweater. The same red sweater they had seen at the park; that was when they realized it was the same old woman.

The patrolman standing beside who saw where their glance was directed at explained to them. The old woman had come to confirm that Leila, Anna’s captor was her daughter. Leila had told the old woman that she adopted Anna and was going to bring her for a visit when the accident happened.

After seeing how slim and pale his little girl looked, Anna’s father had no sympathy for Leila. In fact, he couldn’t wait for the trial to begin. But the sight of the old woman with the sweater in her hand broke him a little. They had found their daughter but the old woman was losing hers; the sad cycle of life.

In case you missed the first two parts, here they are: Part 1 and Part 2

Day 14: To the one that got away.

Day 14: To the one that got away.

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     I thought you were the best thing that ever happened to me for a while. You didn’t get me roses everyday or candlelight dinner every other night, but you gave me what I needed the most- love, understanding and just the pleasure of having someone around who cared and accepted me perfectly with all my flaws both physical and otherwise.

It’s been 3 years now. I know you’re in Ireland and have started college at who knows what school, yeah, that’s about all I know. It’s hard let me tell you this; I don’t know if I love you or I’m just upset that you could get over me so quick. In all honesty, when you said you loved me, I was mad. All I needed then was a friend- I was a mess, my life was a wreck and my family made everything worse. And there you were complicating things, professing your love for me when all I needed was an uncomplicated hug.

         But, i’ve got to hand it to you, never have I met anyone who loved me like you did, even if it was just for a brief period of time. And I doubt if I ever will.

You have changed, I realized that the last time we spoke. I guess I shouldn’t have expected you to still be the same high school darling you were. Or maybe, you were just pretending to be a jerk, well it worked.
We were just a couple of high schoolers with complicated lives, I see how ‘we’ wouldn’t have worked anyway. I don’t beat myself up with the ‘what-ifs’ and I’m sure you don’t too. Everything was against us at that time.

Samuel O.B, I think this is how our story was meant to end. You’ll probably never get this but I just want you to know that, you meant a lot to me and I hope and pray that the guy I knew In high school is in there somewhere cause any girl would be lucky to have that guy. Have a successful life and this is it. Hopefully, this would be the end of the dreams I have of you.

                              Bye… Forever

Day 13: Anna, The Little Girl

Day 13: Anna, The Little Girl

“And they think I’m crazy, but I’m not”, Leila thought aloud.

“Do you think mama’s crazy?” she turned to the little girl curled up on the bed. “huh”

The little girl shook her head, she was still playing unhindered, with her doll.

“That’s my baby”, Leila lovingly patted the little girl’s hair.

“Today, we’re going to see grandma, and I hear she’s making you a lovely sweater”. Anna, the little girl, looked up. She loved sweaters especially red ones.

“Is it red?” She asked, her eyes lightening up.

“Yes baby, it is. Now go get ready before we meet grandma”.

Leila was a bit apprehensive. After two years, she was finally going to visit her mother. But that wasn’t what bothered her. It was the thought of someone recognizing Anna as the girl that got missing two years back. She tried to shove the thought at the back of her mind.
“its been two years, the story must have died down by now”, she reassured herself. “Anyway, Anna’s changed, I doubt if even her parents would recognize her now”.

That was true, Anna had changed. She had grown a little taller and slimmer in those two years. Her hair was now a shade of burgundy red, which was a far cry from its original crimson brown- Thanks to hair dye. She laughed at that the thought of Anna’s parent, remembering the first time she saw them. It was still all too clear. Leila had saved Anna from what she believed to be a disastrous life. A life filled with money, little love and fights.

That afternoon 2 years ago, when Leila first caught a glimpse of Anna on her way back from the hospital, something clicked in her, she felt a connection with Anna. And then, seeing the couple argue and bicker with the situation taking a turn for the worse and little Anna trudging slowly behind, Leila felt she had to save her. And save her she did.

Leila opened her drug cabinet, and then, she decided against it.
“If I was crazy, as they say, will I be able to take care of a girl for two years”. She put back the pills into the cabinet.

“I’m going drug free to mama today.”

ANNA:
Anna knew Leila wasn’t her mother. But she also learnt a long time ago what happens when you go against leila’s statement. She was now 6 and hadn’t seen her parents for two years. She didn’t think she ever will. The first few months were the worst. She kicked and cried and threw tantrums asking for her parents. As it turned out, Leila hated tantrums and she made sure Anna knew that with some few harsh words and smacks.

After a while, Four year old Anna adjusted into the role of Leila’s daughter. She even started calling her Ma- that pleased Leila. Her little girl instinct realized that when Leila was happy, then she was safe. And that was it, Anna became the daughter Leila had always wanted.

Anna, are you ready?”, Leila called out. Anna was ever so ready. She was tired of always being indoors.

“Yes ma”, Anna replied.

As they got into the car, Leila could feel her heart racing. Her head felt a bit woozy and her pulse was rapid.

“I should have taken the pills”, Leila murmured. And with that thought, she pressed the ignition and took off.

Want to know how it ends, and What happens to Anna? Then Part 3 is on its way. if you haven’t read the first part, its: here

The House That Made Me

The House That Made Me

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I was only 12, what did I know then. All giggles and excited as we moved into our new home. It was a duplex and only a few blocks away from our former house. But- This house was bigger, way bigger. We had 4 bedrooms, each with a bathroom. An extra guest bathroom for visitors was situated at the ground floor; A massive kitchen which brought pleasure to my mum and two extra rooms in the ‘boys quarters’ which is an extension of the house at the backyard.

It was all very fine, fun and homey until we had to share the house. My dad was getting a second wife and we had to pack our things and move to the ground floor. It wasn’t funny. I loved my room which was beside my mum’s. It was bigger, and it was upstairs where all the other rooms were. I couldn’t understand it.

And then, slowly and gradually our home became a mere house. Built of four walls and filled with drama- my raging teenage hormones didn’t help. Family dinner at the dining table stopped; watching TV with my dad stopped- my step mum isn’t exactly pleasant company. Most nights were spent in my mum’s room, that became our solitude- my siblings and I.

Next came the lies; I had to make up stories to explain why there were two women living in our house. Polygamy isn’t really common where I live. I went with, ‘the woman’ was my mother’s sister, which they believed. To date, some of my high school friends still don’t know she was my step mum.

Those four walls hold stories, memories that some might find unbelievable; but they were real and they happened. That house broke me, but it also made me. It was there I learned to appreciate , love and cherish my mother.

And that’s one thing i learned in the house: houses may change, rooms may change, but my mother’s love and support, it will always remain.

Day 9: Unknowingly Intertwined

Day 9: Unknowingly Intertwined

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

The Man couldn’t believe his eyes. In the hands of an old woman was a red sweater that looked exactly like his little girl’s own. In the split of a second, his eyes randomly searched around. His heart was racing, he was wishing, hoping, maybe his little girl was somewhere around. Tears welled up in his eyes as it dawned on him; his little girl had been gone for two years now. And today was her birthday, is her birthday, he corrected himself. Red is her favorite color. And for a second there, he smiled at the memory of his little girl; donning her favorite red wool sweater, asking him
“Daddy, how do I look?”
How he wished he had paid more attention to her. He took another glance at the old woman knitting, he couldn’t hold it together anymore. The floodgate was open.

The Woman‘s grip tightened, he didn’t notice. The sight of an old woman with a red sweater in her hands brought back all those memories. She felt a lump in her throat but held herself together. She had to, for him. She had gifted his daughter a similar red sweater which she was wearing, the day she got missing. Everything changed that day. It’s been two years, she knew his wounds were still fresh. But she loved his little girl like her own.
And today of all days, she felt anger towards the old woman. In a second of ill-thinking, she cast a furious glare at the woman silently knitting. What am I doing? She snapped herself out of it and redirected her emotions. He needs me, that’s all that matters. She made out for his hands and held onto them, tightly.

The old woman didn’t realize the couple nearing towards her. She was happily drifting away as she completed the final touches of the wool sweater. I hope it looks perfect. She raised her head to see if there was anyone around she could ask; she noticed the couple. Before she could mumble out her request, a sniffling sound came to her ears. It was from the man, she decided to hold her tongue. A cold glare caught her stare. She lowered her head and went about her knitting. There was something familiar in the man, a resemblance. To whom? I’m getting old, she thought to herself, oh well. Her daughter was bringing the little girl around today, the one she said she’d adopted. Finally after two years, but at least she’d get to see her now. I hope she likes the sweater, i made it exactly like the one in her picture. And with that, the old woman went on inspecting the sweater, forgetting all about the man and woman that passed by her.

Day 8: On my way home…

Day 8: On my way home…

     ‘That stone better not hit me’, I mumbled, staggering through the narrow road which served as a shortcut from the school to my apartment. Children in their grey and white uniform were bustling all around, screaming, jumping and playing with stones. They didn’t mind the heat of the 41 degrees radiating on their skin or the coarse clay path hindering clear cut movement- I did.

       Shuffling past the energy-filled kids, jealousy crept up in me seeing the parents in cars lined up on one side of the path; what I’d give to be in one of those.

          I glanced up at the sky, nope, no sign of a storm today. Patches of wet mud were visible, I evaded them. A little further, and the trees obscured the penetrating rays of the sun.

     The voices of the children were faint, which was a relief. The residential homes situated on this part bestowed it a villagy look. The bungalows were arranged linearly in varying colors of cream, green and yellow on either side. The bumps increased; I relocated to the sideline of the houses. The floors were wet.
The blaring of horns and screeches of cars filled the atmosphere- I wasn’t bothered. Standing across from me was the three story apartment I called ‘home’. Joy was only for a moment; the flight of stairs was awaiting my arrival.

Day 7: At The coffee shop

Day 7: At The coffee shop

Today’s prompt: Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

“But he’s too clingy”, Mona complained

“Yeah, and it took you a year and an engagement ring to figure that out, congrats!”

“Ally, don’t mock me. I’m being serious here.”

“Alright, I’m sorry”, said Allison.

The strong smell of Turkish coffee filled the air as a waiter set their order on the table. Mona’s worried expression instantly changed as she lifted the coffee pot and poured it into what she thought was too small a cup. To Ally, the smell of coffee was torture, but seeing her friend’s smiling face as she lifted the cup to her lips, with the steam evaporating into space, she couldn’t help but be pleased, for a moment.

“Okay, so let me get this”, Ally began “you like him, he gave you a ring which you accepted, and now you want to return the ring cause you don’t like him anymore?”

“Who said anything about returning the ring?” questioned Mona, placing the cup briefly on the table.

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