Short Story: Love on Escrow

As Matthew walks through the automated doors, a musical voice says, “Welcome, Matthew. We understand your appointment involves the storage of love. Please be seated in the red area.”

Unsure how to react, a smile and a slight nod are all he can muster.

The room has three areas. Green is for intelligence accumulation, blue is for family memory storage, and red is for the storage of love. Each coloured area has a certain number of seats with touchscreens and headsets, depending on what services the client requires.

Matthew takes in the room, notices the green and blue areas are quiet today and makes his way to the red section. A cyborg arranges unusual metal shapes in a line, looks up, scans him, and says, “Hello, Matthew. Please go to seat number 4.”

Uneasy, Matthew looks slightly to the right side and asks, “What do I do?”

Without moving, the cyborg says, “Sit down, put the headset on, select the number of years of love you wish to hold on escrow, and the headset will do all the work for you. You may feel a little lightheaded afterwards; however, most symptoms pass in a few hours.”

Unease intensifies, and an odd gut feeling threatens to take him from this place. However, there is no time to waste.

Disorientated, he finds himself sitting down. Those who wear headsets do not move. It is as if they are between life and death. The uneasy feeling has gone, and there is no longer a gut reaction. Doubt creeps in, then fades.

The neon red screen presents Matthew with several options. He can hold between one and fifteen years of love. He chooses ten years, places the headset on, and presses start.

Thoughts from when he was much younger come to him. He is no longer afraid, for he feels love. Then his first love and their first kiss play behind his eyes like a movie. The memories of love keep moving through his mind. Suddenly the memories stop moving, the word ‘finished’ appears in red on the screen, and he removes the headset.

Matthew has not felt this hollow in some time. It is as though he is missing a part, yet nothing replaced what is missing. Perhaps it is just as his boss explained when he said Matthew should do this to further his career. After all, love has no place in finance.

Very Short Story: Home Office

A cool breeze moves through me, touches my skin, and moves me to feel the chill of the air.

I must stop for a few moments; work has become omnipresent, and nature calls me to feel.

Scents linger from outside and inside; I sniff the air in wonder and admiration for prosperity.

A dog keeps barking down the hill; I hear the illegal rooster telling everyone how annoying the chickens can be.

Sacrament

This piece is about my late Father, a paranoid schizophrenic, and me, the one who could not break free from his words and the feelings of guilt I felt for him until I was 20.

A visible symbol of the reality of God,
the sacrament awaits a blessing from the priest.

Veiled and obedient, you take the Eucharist without question;
the closest you will get to god as an imperfect woman.

You sit down veiled, hidden, obedient, and controlled;
you must kneel beside father, as he whispers, ‘You are possessed’.

The veil hides the shame of what you know; that you do not believe the words your father speaks, and you do not believe the man at the altar.

The burden of knowledge and your quiet nature hides the truth inside;
Does your father know that you do not believe in his paranoia and lies?

You walk home beside your father as you have done for so long.
Caged by your father; no friends, no one to call, no home, no family.

The walls close in as he offers you a glass of milk, then speaks to you for six hours about your possession, secret government plots, and your mother.

You know no way to break free from this cage; there isn’t much left, and all you have is rage.

A burning fire to succeed, to be free of him, and to be free of his words and his schizophrenia.

Luck finds you in the form of education.

You break free from his cage, only to discover it was never the man at
the altar that you hated; it was the man who stood by your side: your father.

Very Short Story: Charlatan

A charlatan on some disused corner said, “You are what you love. Remember those words, for they will set you apart from the rest.”

Walking down an empty street thinking about the charlatan’s words, they rattle and bounce around the expanse of her skull: threatening.

A thought takes shape; She says to herself, “If you are what you love, then my organs are books, my brain is an archive of knowledge, the blood that runs through my veins is ink, and my soul is my many words.

Haunted Heartbreak

Together for decades: as young lovers, they were inseparable.

Now he is dead; she wanders alone through the timezones.

Never staying in one place for too long, never making connections; She could have had it all, some say, yet without him, it wouldn’t be the same.

She keeps walking through so many countries, walking to remember and to forget.

The death of her love, the haunted heartbreak lingers until it will no longer remain.

Lost on the journey, she stands still under the stars; the recognition of the love she lost startled her, as she finds herself looking at what was in the Bamiyan Valley.

Looking and imagining the Buddhas standing within this beautiful Valley she would have loved to have visited before their destruction by hate and intolerance, she moves on to walk in a direction that suits her soul.

The Tea House

The words of Rumi take shape and play a scene with sounds as I sit thinking of the desert, exotic lands, and being another person in another land with another life.

In a far off land different from my own, I am alone, and I walk within your nation, yet I walk apart. The half-hidden faces and the glances show me that I do not belong here.

I have never worn so much cloth around my head, had so much material cover my body, and I have never felt unseen; yet the heat and the clothing cool my skin, and I feel free of fear.

Arabic on the wind and the vision of a mosque so beautiful you know the artists and architects loved their god, yet I’m a hypocrite for I do not believe in anything anymore.

Safely wrapped, a kind man ushered me towards the tea house to have something to drink. The smell of mint, rose water, and orange blossoms put my mind in a philosophical mood.

Surrounded by noise, I feel calm as I cannot understand a word, yet I know I don’t belong here; I am not part of this country. I am a hypocrite hiding behind a cloth I don’t believe I should wear.

Yet, I cannot bring myself to admit that the pull of this place feels like a longing that I have felt since I tried to play that broken instrument that looked like a Qanum many, many years ago.

I sit in the tea house surrounded, yet alone with my thoughts. Then I hear the bombing begin. It is a shock: a booming calamity and a whooshing sound mixed with many other sounds. It is a shock to my ears and my heart, for we do not know of this life in Australia.

Blood mixed with dust, concrete and debris strewn across the streets, bodies broken and mangled, and there, so close to me, the kindly man who ushered me in: bloody and dead. In those cloudy eyes, I once saw courage.

I walk from the tea house to stand and look towards the sky. You have gone from me through some cruel twist of fate, yet I know we will find each other again one day.

I feel like an important person in that instant. It is as if my feelings are the only feelings I can feel exist. Individualism has taught me to think my feelings might change the rivers of time.

The next bomb destroys my daydream, the images and the sounds of Rumi end, and I am sitting at my desk reading about your country: saddened by so many dead.