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Short Story Sunday: Letters to No One

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The old black teapot was fuming, signaling it’s had enough of that heat and wants to get off the stove right now. Mr. Blinchley on the other hand was in no rush, he lived alone and rarely had company so he enjoyed any sound that broke off the monotone silence, even if it came from a teapot. Plus he felt cold, despite the fireplace going, and a cup of hot tea would help with that more than a barely warm one. It was April, the week of Easter, but it appeared that the weather missed the memo. The temperature was dropping with each passing day instead of rising as it should, so Mr. Blinchley penned it a winter in disguise in his letters.

Maybe it wasn’t just the weather though, Arthur Blinchley was about to enter his ninetieth year of life and age certainly makes some adjustments to the weather forecast. It makes the winds feel heavier, the rain louder, and the sun weaker. Mostly it makes the cold feel colder, and puts a man a season or so behind in attire. For everything beyond that, he decided it’s all a matter of personal choice. We ourselves choose when we give up, when not to get out of bed, and when we stop doing the things we love. The answer Mr. Blinchley was aiming to leave as an example for everyone else was never. That’s why on his work desk where his favorite chair was situated, lied a pile of letters.

Letters were like a piece of magic for him. And since magic strayed from the ordinary and mundane, he never sent any letters around Christmas anymore. He preferred waiting till the Easter holidays. The few months between the two holidays gave him just about the right time he needed to read several times the letters he received, and then to come up with just the right responses they deserved. The longer he was with them the more special they felt. He had set on a mission to live his days alone, and for better or worse he found he excelled at the task. Yet every now and then he felt the loneliness creep in behind his mind and give him distant memories, enchant his dreams with company, force him to wake up with a craving for friendship. The letters helped him with that. They reassured him he still has all that even though nowadays he rarely sees anyone but the milkman, the newspaper boy, and the employees in the shop across the street.

With the cup of tea in his hands to warm the old bones, Mr. Blinchley sat down at his desk, admiring the handwriting he’s mastered over the years. If those letters did not include personal details and told the dreary tale of his life, they might have been considered a piece of art. At least he wanted to think so. Just as he often thought of the excitement these letters might give to his carefully selected recipients. Yet he knew the truth, especially with this new age and technology, is that most of them were likely uncomfortable or ashamed to be receiving and sending written letters.

Arthur Blinchley also pondered why the letters have not been sent yet. You see, they were already written, signed, placed in lovely light yellow envelopes, unpleasantly licked and carefully closed. Now they were simply sitting as a pile, gathering dust and reminding him that one of these cold days he need to put on an extra sweater and head down to drop them off in the closest main box. But for a reason he could not quite perceive, he did everything but that. He even managed to do some household chores he was so diligently putting off as if he had hoped one day when he wakes up they’d all be done in some mysterious way. And while Arthur still found the thought of magic endearing, he didn’t quite fancy mysteries, he just really wished the housekeeping would get done on its own for once.

Not today, he told himself. In his ninety years of life, that was one of the easiest phrases he could tell himself. It appeared simple and short, clean and sweet, even though deep inside it was the root of all things evil and lazy. Might be that’s the plans of villains never go as planned, they always tell themselves not today whenever it comes to executing them. Heroes don’t do that, heroes act. But Arthur had no trouble chewing on that thought, he hadn’t been a hero his whole life so why would he seek that now? Plus heroes were never old either, if they could not save the world at the age of ninety, how could anyone expect Mr. Blinchley to do the things he did in his prime?

Between spinning thoughts during his time at the desk and watching an episode of whatever that was on the TV that he couldn’t recognize, Arthur forgot to have a look at the clock. “Funny thing, time. We stop doing things on its account, but it never stops for us”, Mr. Blinchley thought to himself as he moved to get to his bed. He had what might have been one of the best nights of sleep, even though he might have said that the night before, and the night before that. It was a common occurrence for him to enjoy his sleep.

Yet, as he moved across his apartment, Arthur fell a heavy weight fall on top of him. He extended his arms and leaned toward his favorite chair for support, but failed and made things worse. By pushing the chair down he hurt his left arm when he fell with it on top of the chair. The whole event rumbled the place and the pile of letters fell on top of him. Lying there on the ground, next to his favorite chair and among some of his prized possessions, the letters he wrote to his friends, Mr. Blinchley pondered once again why he didn’t send the letter sooner. Was he too old for such a task? Or did the procrastination delay the thoughts that yet another year of his life had passed? Was it fear kept him back?

In his final moments, Arthur felt maybe it is better that the letters didn’t reach anyone. Maybe it will be a better form of goodbye than any note or words he may have sent them. Sure, his handwriting looked beautiful even though his hand shook when he wrote, but maybe the letters he wrote weren’t worthy of being his last words to his friends. Funny, he thought to himself, we rarely look at it what way and hardly ever accept it, but time does stop on our account.

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The Noble Order of Time

                  Art by VirginIron on DeviantArt


At a round table sit three highly skilled knights,

Their weapons, although different, are often intertwined.

The first knight carries a heavy broad axe,

With a slow swing but extraordinarily strong.

The second knight carries a longsword,

He has a lighter swing but his reach is quite long.

The third knight carries a fencing sword,

Which has a pointy sharp end that can do no wrong.

Sometimes their hits are as high as they can go,

Other times they deal the lowest possible blow.

When the weapons clash with each other,

You can see parries, or blocks if you’d rather.

Yet no matter the striking they do among themselves,

The mighty knights are just people’s hard-working elves.

Night and day we make them fight as slaves,

As they count the time to our inescapable graves.

It’s not all that dark, black and sad, though,

Their battle brings as much lightness as there is in snow.

For when their battle keeps going on all the time,

We try to do some goodness for all the past crime.

Yet in a peculiar way the biggest crime in all of this,

Is by watching their battle, everything else we miss.

The Clock Ticks Life Away

anniversary-1xTwo weeks ago, on the 1st of June, WordPress was kind enough to remind me that it has been two years since I registered with this account. Granted, I didn’t start blogging right away, mostly because back then I was unsure of the direction I want to steer my blog toward. Not that I am putting all my attention to a single element nowadays, but hopefully my writing is focused on fewer interests. And I most definitely did not keep up with my writing throughout those two years, there were frequent monthly breaks and one dark period of a long, six-month absence. But as much as our past is nowhere near perfect, sometimes we need to revisit it in order to move to the future, take a step back so we can jump forward.

I noticed one of my first ever posts getting attention lately, an old Harry Potter fan-fiction piece that was probably shared somewhere, and for a moment there I considered deleting it or fully rewriting it. It’s ridiculously short, poorly written, and overall it seems like I had put no thought to it when I wrote it. To sum it up, it’s an embarrassment. On the other hand, it shows just how much things have changed over a time span of two years — it made me feel better about some recent written works (which I have not shared here, not yet at least). There is just as good as there is bad in every experience that we go through, regardless of how we feel about certain things from the past they all contribute to who we are. At the end of the day we’re just a collection of short stories, books whose pages are filled with the tales of our lives. For a few of us, those stories may live on forever, should someone somewhere decide they’re of great importance. For the rest of us, those stories will eventually be forgotten. They’ll still be there, no one can take away your past, for better or for worse, but they won’t be the topic of discussion among our successors.

One could say that ultimately it’s all down to perception and attitude, since they would define whether whoever takes a peek in our life sees the good or the bad in our past. Would someone who reads that specific fan-fiction piece think of how bad a writer I have been, or think or how much my writing has improved since then? I do not believe leaving a note of any kind would lead the reader toward the good side of it, you can give directions to anyone but they can choose to ignore them, they might believe you’re trying to trick them and will go elsewhere instead, or they might go in the opposite direction just to spite you. You can try though, and you can hope. You can always try and hope for the better even if everything seems to be going bad. It might not be much, but often it’s the best you can do.

If I could, I’d list the changes that have taken place during this two-year period, but I honestly would not even know where to start from and it would be too big of a list. Lots of memories, lots of wasted time, lots of shared moments, lots of loneliness, lots of happiness, lots of sadness, lots of rewarding times, lots of painful moments — lots of this, yet lots of that. When you’re going on with your everyday business it seems like time is literally crawling, I’ve caught myself hoping time could move faster whenever I’m busy with work. Yet when I look back I wish time didn’t fly so fast, I wish there was a way we could turn time back. The idea is not to relive everything, but to go through those years with my current state of mind, so unfortunately unless someone has a time machine they’re not sharing with the rest of us, the truth is it isn’t going to happen.

What we can do instead, is take a glance at the stories from our past sometimes and remember who we were and how we got here. Remember what we’ve been through, remember the good and the bad times, and find a way to avoid making the same mistakes. Find a way to improve our lives because we owe ourselves that much. We owe it to who we were to put the effort of making our stories in the future greater than the ones our past tells. One way or the other, the clock is ticking. But time doesn’t matter, we are not slaves of some grand clockwork design. It’s all about the stories and making the new ones better than the old ones.

Happy belated two-year anniversary to the Phantom Child, I guess. Hopefully some better writing pieces of mine in the future will overshadow the bad ones from my past. I’ve found a plethora of fantastic blogs to follow here, I only wish I could read every single post you folks have shared and find a way for my blog’s content to match the greatness of yours. I’ve made quite a few friends through this blog, and a golden rule says never disappoint your friends. Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!