To Leave an Imprint in Written Word and to Light a Candle in the Dark

Words, they say are the best defence. Or perhaps, the best offence. It need not be said the impact of words in society be it printed, published, written or blatantly uttered to the comprehension of others. There are writers who do not conform to the more commercial of society, this is for you. For those who enjoy the written word and would love to share, this is for you. For the fictional writer and those who seek a place to improve, this is for you. For Malaysia and the world, and humanity. This is for you. Share...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Story: Evening Walk by Alin

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Story: Evening Walk by Alin

Name: Alin
Pen name: Catanna
Title of Story: Evening Walk
Genre: Fiction, General
Summary: Something i wrote in the past. It's a little depressing though, i have to admit. Read it with your own interpretation in mind. Otherwise it won't have any meaning ^_^

Story: Evening Walk

I rose from my cross-legged position on the tiled floor. It used to be done in wood. Yet, of course, civilization, modernization or whatever we choose as the excuse for our competitive nature will probably stick its oar again. We might find ourselves with the marble floor, or if our budget allows, our floors might be fully carpeted in the near future. Then again, the carpet will only raise the already sweltering temperature.

I looked out the window as I folded my ‘telekung’ and ‘sejadah’, tucking them away. The world rolled before me. Not that I can see much of it anyway. With every tree that I see, I viewed hundreds more; dead. Their dry branches were reaching out to the sun.

Nonetheless, it would be a beautiful day for a walk, I sighed. I stepped out the front door and surveyed the world before me. Heat prickled my skin yet, it does not strike as harshly as the midday sun. Yet, what does it matter the time? The day is still hot. The evening air was fresh, or at least, as fresh as one might find in the city.

The sun was sinking far into the west. The view obscured by a wall of concrete though the delicate rays of the sun can be seen over the massive slabs of stone. As I said before, few trees were within sight. I could hear my neighbour screaming at her son. Her words splashed with a large dosage of mandarin. I think he wanted to play with his friends. Radio blasted down the street with some deejay gossiping about another star’s argument with her rival. Catfight. How fascinating. Another debated the alarmingly increasing numbers of homosexual partners flooding the streets. The tinkering sound coming from a construction site echoed on my left. There was no doubt what they were building; another highway to overlap with the already congested road running along civilian houses.

Sighing once again, I began the process of locking my door then proceeded to my gate. Even before the walk, sweat already pooled down my front.

Turning around a corner, I deftly avoided a speeding shuttlecock. The said object landed by my feet. Five boys came rambling down the street as I stooped to pick it up, dropping their own version of a five-man game of badminton.

“Kak!” they called. “Are you alright?” came yells of concern in Malay, the same emotion, written all over their faces. Their voice overlapping one another’s until it seemed like a group of goats bleating in hunger. I laughed in spite of myself.

“I’m alright, not that a single shuttlecock like this can hurt me anyway. You would do to be careful okay? It is not safe to play vigorously on the road. Especially not now, in the evening,” I replied in Malay patting one of the boys on the head. They were used to my antics.

“Yeah, yeah we know that. We are extremely careful in the morning, in the evening, even at night,” said one of the boys.

“Too bad it’s not the same during exams,” remarked another sarcastically. They burst out in laughter only to be interrupted by a call from one of the boy’s mother. The mentioned boy immediately detached himself from the group and ran towards his mother where a conversation in Tamil took place. I would know. I could hear their conversation as the mother was slightly hearing-impaired.

“Well, you can continue on with your game now,” I said, assuring them that I was alright.

“Okay, bye Kak! Have fun on your walk,” they said cheerfully over their shoulders as they walked back to the game site. I watched their retreating backs. Such harmless children.

This world, viewed through the eyes of a child. There are no enemies, only people who had lost their paths. There are no threats, only shadows. Does it hurt to view this world through the eyes of a child? We bravely plunge ourselves into the world of adulthood, leaving pieces and traces of our selves, basking in the glory of entering the ‘grown-up world’. And we take a step forward, and another.

Looking behind me, I see pieces of clothing littering that path; they are pieces of our pretence, the tuffs of hair we had lost; strands of faith, broken branches and dying greens; promises, honour, torn apart. Our hearts are hardened by the journey while our hands are guilty for countless sins. Was it worth it, to walk this far?

I am guilty, as much as you are. Yet, I watch my sins trailing past me, regret and remorse filling my heart to the brim only to be tipped over and washed into the drain.

Shaking my head trying to clear my thoughts, I moved forward. The scenery hardly changed. Save there was an odd house coloured bright pink in the corner. An excellent landmark it will make, much to the embarrassment of their neighbours. Yet, it was a bold colour, a statement in stone claiming their uniqueness. I am happy for them. Finally, after climbing a steep yet small hill I arrived at the park.

Pieces of broken beer bottles bordered a bench. Candy wrappers and discarded pages from newspapers flew with the breeze. What seemed like modern sculpture made of round plastic bags were piled on top of one another sat atop, under and around the rubbish bin. Yet, I could not bring myself to reach out and pick up the sharp pieces of glass glinting dangerously under the dying sun.

I sat on a bench, my heels crushing the pieces of glass. They are nothing, merely pieces of yesterday. At the corner of my eye, I could see the all-familiar no parking zone. As usual, one is always tempted to break the law. A bright yellow Kancil sat right next to the no parking sign. I noticed a policeman passing by. Quite odd to find one of them in this area, really. He caught sight of the vehicle and moved in to execute his job. Another man was making his way towards the car. He was a lean animal. His eyes were boring straight at the policeman daring, provoking. The policeman looked up, summons in hand. His hands shook a little at the aggravating glare. But it was a distinct shiver. One that I doubt Mr. Macho Guy could see. The car sped away after awhile. It was a wise move. Better your pride than your life.

Where does that leave us? I thought closing my eyes. Today’s headlines flooded my thoughts.

I do not dream of a world tomorrow. I dream of the world yesterday. I saw its foundation. I watched it crumble, torn apart by our very own hands. Yet, despite all that professed rural areas that desperately needed to be improved, it was a beautiful green world. I am merely thankful that our essence had not changed. Not that much at least. We are still human. Still capable of emotion. Still a candidate for hope.

From here, the five boys seemed like black dots. Another joined them. It was my neighbour. Thoughts still obscured and innocent, by ten they should be nice and ripe for the picking, their shade a dark grey. Much like the towering slabs of stone. Like the tar covering the earth. Like the emotion of the contaminated sky. By twelve, they would be burnt. The origins of the black soot covering them being the environment.

It amazes me how shallow we have become. How a squabble over a morsel of bread leads to the death of a friend. How hatred and pain, both human emotions sleep on the floor yet greed warms the bed for accommodation. How comfortable our grip on the hilt of a knife is compared to our honour.

Aah, I thought to myself. The Azan is rising, signalling the end of yet another day. I was comforted by the brief reminder of faith. It exists. Rising from the bench I took a step away, my feet grinding the bits of glass. Still, I dared not pick up the pieces.


1 comment:

  1. Ooh I like this! Very nicely done :) I don't think its depressing.. just thoughtful.