Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I promise to write shorter next time

He walked at a brisk pace in the evening glow, head down, keen to shut out the news. It was everywhere: newspaper headlines, social media, text messages, the vicious gossip of strangers as he stood in the crowded bus. Did you hear about it? Vanished, just like that! Pity, I've always been a huge fan. Maybe she committed suicide. Depression, who knows. Does she do drugs? 

And these people call themselves her fan, ever ready to spew toxic allegations instead of panicked concern at their idol's disappearance. She talked about it before, with him, when he raised his fears about her potential fame. She laughed at the prospect of what she dubbed "celebrity immorality" and dismissed it. 'Besides, I don't think I'll ever be that famous.' 'I think you would.' 'Even if I did,' she said, touching his cheek gently, 'I won't let it change anything.' He closed his eyes. They don't know her, he thought to himself.

Maybe she ran off to meet her rich businessman lover. She has a rich businessman lover? Well, don't they all? 

But does he know her any better? He looked ahead, stoic; his mind was a storm. He knew he was no longer welcome in her life - that much she made clear by her distance all this while. Cut him off so abruptly and changed her number, just like in the song he was currently practising. He so badly wished that she asked him to wait - of course he would - or said hi once in a while, or at least a proper goodbye. But no, the last thing he heard from her was but a hurried text: Can't talk now. See you when I see you. XO 

Probably a hint that she wanted him out of her life.

It's just a ploy to attract attention and boost sales. How else would she hit the headlines? See, it's working. 

"Shut up!" he yelled at no one in particular as the bus approached the stop, and stepped off before they could start gossiping about him too. Move on, start over, stop caring: that was all he had to do.

It was at that moment that his phone rang. An unknown number.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Final Act?

It has definitely been awhile since I written any sort of fiction, it does not help when most of my curriculum revolves around shorthands as well as jargons. Do keep this up, makes life interesting.

There she was, on centre stage; no less than 40 thousand fans showed up across the globe for her final act of the tour. 

“Encore! Encore!” chanted the crowd as she finished her last song for the night. Her performance has been flawless; she should be happy but as she sang the last word, tears started rolling down her cheeks. Ignoring the roar of the crowed who demanded for more, she mumbled “I’m Sorry” and left to the backstage where she locked herself in her private dressing room.
An hour passed, the manager knocked on the door, no reply. He knocked again, no reply. This was unlike her. Sensing something went wrong; the manager opened the door only to find a note on the dressing table.

There were no addressee, the manager put on his reading glasses and the note read:
                “I’m sorry, I have to go
                                             -XO ”

He looked around the room, no signs of her, no signs of her luggage, and no other trails besides the note. 

She has vanished.

Secret (part 2)

In his heart, he dreams of settling down with her.
He dreams of a big house, by the seaside, where they could enjoy the refreshing smell, and the prisitine white beaches.
Then having a little girl, or a boy perhaps, with eyes as captivating as hers.
He dreams of growing old with her, where they could spoil their children, grandchildren and (hopefully) great-grandchildren.

He dreams of looking back and finding her presence.
He dreams of her looking back with tired, but familiar eyes.
He dreams of her hands clasped together in a semblance of prayer.
He dreams of stepping forward and bringing her into an embrace.
He dreams of placing his hands on the small of her back.
He dreams of her leaning into his strong, indomitable frame.
He dreams of her tip-toeing.
He dreams of the touch of her lips touching the heat of his neck.
He dreams of her breathing in the air of a new beginning.
He dreams of her whispers small quiet words there in the open.
He dreams of hearing her and smiling.

If only things could be this easy.

This was something he feared for years and continues to fear to this day.
Her success and subsequent fame on the world's stage came with a price.
A heavy price they have already paid, a price they still have to pay, such that they could not be together just yet.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

... and again...

Somebody has to speak up for that poor boy!

It turned out to be way harder than he thought. The old man at the corner shop was right to warn him: Fingers will hurt for a bit, though - but he was so wrong about the "a bit" part. He willed his fingertips to touch the steel strings right where blisters had formed, but as if through conditioning, they took a mind of their own - stiff, reluctant, afraid.

He threw himself and the guitar on the bed, pressed the remote. A voice all too familiar rang from the TV. He knew exactly who it was, and thought to himself: stop listening, turn it off, go away. But he couldn't help it - he sat up, and indeed, there she was.

A superstar.

Her extravagant dress, her heavy makeup, her energetic dancing resembled none of her old self, the one he knew and performed with on the streets for years. She was the lead, the girl whose beautiful smile and beautiful voice attracted crowds; he accompanied on his versatile keyboard, singing the occasional background harmony if the song required it. They wore jeans and T-shirts. They went to underground stations and park fountains. They performed together, ate together, watched movies together, spent their days together. The world was their stage. Or so he thought then.

No, she belonged to the real stage. On TV her audience cheered, screamed, chanted her name. Her background as a street busker was well known. She was discovered by a big shot who'd stopped to listen to her singing, leaving her a big tip, a name card, and a handshake that changed everything. She left, disappeared. She worked hard and got what she deserved: a contract, stage, an audience. Cinderella, they called her.

But how would they ever know her the way he did? How can they claim to love her when all they knew was her singing? They only knew the popular singer, not the girl who reads Jane Austen and loves chocolate ice-cream. They only saw her limbs move in a dance, not how she tucks her hair behind her ear. They only loved her voice. Not her silence - the perfect silence in which she would sit next to him, and rest her head on his shoulder.

She was with him once, but that's not where she meant to be. On TV, that's where she belonged. He turned it off, pressed hard into the guitar strings, doing the same chord progression over and over again, until his eyes stung as much as his fingertips did.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

...and me...

Joining in the fun. I'll pick up where Haku left. Do pardon the fact that my English vocabulary has been reduced to useless Law jargons since 2010. To reduce your agony of reading my not-so-good-anymore writings, I'll chuck in drawings (which I hope can, ermm, save me some face).



In her heart, she dreamt of settling down with him. 
Then having a little girl, or a boy perhaps, with eyes as bright as his. 

What joy would that be even if it meant leaving her singing days behind.
If only things could be this easy.

There was something she feared for years. 
The world of fame, lights and devoted fans came with a price.
A price so dear she could not run away with him and live happily ever after just yet...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

...and continues with me...

After being coerced convinced by Aya *grins* to write something in an attempt to keep this blog alive, I was actually thinking of cheating a bit by simply reposting the link to one of my previous posts for this blog that I had written before. After all, it does fit the theme with which Wen Zhen and I agreed on.

However, given that it is cheating, I thought that I would start with some simple posts while I build up my creative powers. I am actually aiming for something major to be posted on April Fools' Day, so look out for that.

Right now, though, I give you, fellow readers (and ex-classmates) something that is on the opposite end of the spectrum of what Aya has written.


When she was on stage, she was a superstar.

She would excite the hearts of the audience with her sweet vocal chords and exuberant, expert dancing. She could, and would get them screaming, jumping and chanting her name, making them forget about themselves as she becomes the centre of their universe in that rushing moment.

Her fans could be found from Tokyo to Texas; breaking all cultural and language barriers as her songs reached out to all; if they could not understand what she was singing, they could at least understand her grace and melody when she was performing.

To them, she was Cinderella. She had worked her way up from nothing, putting in an almost fanatical dedication to improving her craft to get to where she was now. To them, she was a singing superstar, whose songs defined her very existence. To them, she was their idol.

But with him, she was just...herself. With him, she could be herself. She did not need to sing or dance for him to prove it. She did not need to put on the mask, the persona that she used on-stage around him. He would just smile at her; that sweet, sweet grin that he reserved only for her, the one that she absolutely adored. Their palms would kiss as their fingers entwined together, as they watched cheesy remakes of horror movies, or humourous reinterpretations of animes, or even re-runs of advertisements with "Winter is coming." as the punch line.

To everyone else, she was who she was because of her songs.

To him, her songs were because of her.

That made a lot of difference.

She was a superstar on stage, entertaining the millions.

With him, she was so much more than that.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The marathon begins

In a new attempt to keep the blog alive, Kesvick and I have agreed to run a story marathon: we will take turns to continue writing a story, each of us writing from the perspective of a different character.

What's best about this plan? Anyone can join in any time, simply by adding a new character and expanding the story from his/her point of view. You can make any links with existing characters (e.g. "I am your father!"), however short or unpredictable. The more the merrier, people.

And so... it begins. Kesvick, your turn!



"Is there nothing cheaper?"
I looked at the price tag on the old Yamaha keyboard, wishing that the old man would say it was a mistake and shift the decimal point. He didn't.
"I'm afraid this one's the only second-hand that's decent. Any cheaper," The shopkeeper pointed at a pink plastic keyboard fit for a toddler and chuckled heartily. "You'd be looking at a toy!"

I can't afford anything but toys at the moment, I thought, trying to picture myself busking at the corner of a busy street on a Sunday morning with this 1.5 octave mini keyboard. Oh, how did I end up even considering this.

It shouldn't be like this. It should never have been like this. I didn't plan to busk alone - never confident enough to feel comfortable under the scrutinizing eyes of strangers - and for years I didn't have to. But people change, circumstances change, and I guess plans must change accordingly.

After moving into this town I'd spent days convincing myself that I should continue busking, that I can just take the keyboard out on the streets and sing on my own, that if I earn some additional income I'll be able to afford guilty pleasures like that extra coffee or occasional cocktail. The first evening didn't turn out great - as a newcomer I hadn't discovered the best spots to perform, and reputation had to be built from scratch. I'd stopped, demotivated, after only an hour. Having just packed up to leave, a group of youths hit my head with a beer bottle and ran off with the keyboard; in a heartbeat they took away my income, my inspiration, and my past. All of which, as I'm now learning the hard way, cannot be replaced.

"I can't help you, son. You should know that keyboards all cost this much."
"I know, I used to have one."
"Used to? What happened to it?"
"I got robbed."
"Sorry to hear that," he said, with a kind, pitying glance I was quick to avoid. "No wonder you looked so down."
"Y'know what, forget it. What's the cheapest instrument you have?"
The old man lifted an eyebrow. "A recorder?"
I couldn't help laughing. "You must be kidding."
"No kidding, it's even cheaper than a triangle."
"No one plays the recorder after they're 10."
I sighed. "Is there something I can play while singing?"
"Ah, you didn't say you could sing," he turned and picked up one of the guitars lined up against the wall. "This one's been used for a long time, but I'll change the strings and tune it for you, and you'll be fine."
A guitar? "But I don't play-"
"It's still music, not rocket science. You play the keyboard, don't you? You'll find it easy." He placed the guitar in my hands. "Fingers will hurt for a bit, though."
 The price was one-fifth of the cheapest keyboard. It was either this, or no music in the near future.
"I'll take it."
The shopkeeper smiled. "That's the spirit, boy. Now you can start over, yes?"

Start over, familiar words returning to haunt me. Sure, I'll start over. What's gone is gone. I'll just have to learn this thing, and take up some part-time work somewhere before I'm good enough to perform in public and expect to be paid for it. No big deal. A new environment, a new instrument, a new job, a new life.

"Yeah. I'll start over."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013