Our Afternoon

The hanger rotates, its steel hook glistening in the sweat of the afternoon. The sunshine makes a sound on the plastic, a sound we cannot hear.

The hanger rotates, its steel hook glistening in the sweat of the afternoon. The sunshine makes a sound on the plastic, a sound we cannot hear. Mom is arguing with C about his gear; about his girlfriend — both of them are fencers — forgetting to bring his wire to their morning bouts. She’s crying now, asking after C and his equipment, chiding him because ‘no-one in their right mind would return something as expensive back to him’; he screams that their love is more expensive and ducks into the shower.

I hang up the white clothes. They’re thick and padded around areas that touch delicate parts of the body; collapsible parts that can be teased to destruction by the tip of a blade. The plastic edge of his breastplate digs into the flesh on my arm. C yells at me to be careful, two minutes after a red mark appears on my body. I turn to leave the laundry room, and his fencing jacket slides off the largest hanger. I roll my eyes to no-one but the stagnant air, padding me into the world, keeping me snug in the crook of a Saturday afternoon.

Mom hustles C out of the shower and shrieks at him again. The two of them go at it, shouting louder than the bright red of his fencing bag, the neon yellow of my highlighter. She says that he doesn’t understand anything, he says that he’s aced comprehension — he can clearly, evidently, ‘comprehend’ things. Mom claims back ground by saying that he lied about his English grade last year; he says people can improve. People can change within two months. Yeah, mom agrees, scream slicing through the thick three-pm. They can change for the worse. Why don’t you allow us to go to your competitions?

It’s my turn to throw my body into the shower. I slide the door shut and turn on the faucet. Water pours down on me and I smile beneath the downpour. Everything becomes filled with the sound of water hitting the walls. And this is when I start to think selfishly, I treasure water. Not because other people in this dusty world don’t get clean water, but because water, water is all the same. It’s a homogeneous liquid, and you can’t tell the difference between water from your shower tap and the tears leaking from your eyes.

I hear mom scream again, through the cascading water. My elbow knocks into the ‘off’ lever; it stops gushing. She’s telling me not to waste so much water. I give myself a final rinse, and step out.

Water washes things off. It washes the stink of an afternoon right off of me, and I start to towel off. I need to hang C’s jacket back up.

The laundry room is alight with evening sun, the golden turning into rust. I tuck the sleeves of his jacket more securely over another hanger. A movement catches my eye, and I trail my gaze over everything in the room before settling on the rack of hangers once again. It’s not the jacket, but a hanger. The air is irksome, thick with a feeling I can’t put my finger on.

One of the hangers rotates in the air, trying to find a way out.


cross-posted on Medium. Fiction.

There is this Golden Sunshine

THERE IS THIS GOLDEN SUNSHINE

There is this golden sunshine. The light that slowly filters in and pours into your room and fills it with a magical, fairy-like light, that makes you cringe in bed and toss-and-turn under a navy duvet  until your limbs find it within themselves to wake up and face the cold claws of the world once again. There is this golden sunshine that flickers in and out of door-frames like a persistent flame; ready to be extinguished by a whiff of water, a curl of lukewarm substance, a quaff of slick drops of saliva. It highlights the contours of one’s face and shines deeply, penetratingly, into one’s soul. It is this golden sunshine that highlights the gentle slops and lumps that you find in your flesh; it is this golden sunshine that sheds the spotlight on the ridges and grafts of uncertainty that lay engraved in white bone; it is this golden sunshine that plucks the living daylights out of you, slowly feeding off a bit of your soul, every day. There is this golden sunshine that shines upon the apples of your cheeks which have faced too much salinity in one lifetime, thanks to your softening resolve and limpid eyes that turn lachrymose in the quivering, golden sunshine. There is this golden sunshine that may sometimes shine so bright that it forces you to stay awake, opening your eyes the wilting wonder of the entire world and the beings that inhabit it; the golden sunshine draws your gaze to things that you would normally not seen, for you were kept in the dark. There is this golden sunshine that directs you to the slicked-back secrets that were once shrouded in mystery and many ‘i-can’t-tell’s; this golden sunshine strips one naked, down to the unevenly tanned complexion of one’s soul.

 

Many people don’t want to get burnt by sunshine, so they apply sunblock on their bodies—slathering an onslaught of chemicals on their skin—in futile attempts to save complexions creamy as pearls.

Pearls always looked better strung up on a pretty lady’s neck.

Many people don’t want their eyes to be fried by the Sun’s rays, oh gosh, all that ultra-violet; so they take a step back from their source of light and close their eyes for a little while. Surrounded by a cocoon of darkness, enshrouded in black, enveloped by the cooling sensation of utter nothingness

–how can people survive in this deep, dark abyss for so long?

<….for long….for long…

>> so long….so long.


© athenatjx

a/n: this is prosery.

Involving a bit of Reflection

I would like to reflect on a specific, particular incident that honestly perturbed me, and convinced me that I should stop communicating with a person. This is a big deal for me, as I am someone who really revels in human connection and enjoys the positive interactions that groups of people can carry out during discussion, especially if it’s for projects.

I usually am someone who gets along well with people. If you need testimonials, you can ask my friends. Sometimes it’s on purpose (my friendliness), but most of the times—it’s not. I’m just overly-friendly, some people don’t like it—I do try to turn it down a notch after I’ve seen the Stop Signs—but it’s the truth, I’m a person who people like to talk to due to my warm tone.

So it not only shocks me, but also disturbs me, when I realize that I don’t actually like interacting with someone. Friends, acquaintances-turned-friends, colleagues-turned-friends, professional partners-become-friends—friends are a group of people who I hold dear to my heart. I cherish them very well and respect all they do.

However, I do not wish to communicate with someone any longer. The reason is simple—

–Actually it’s not, and I really do want to blab longer, but I am trying to phrase my words carefully and as an article, a controlled piece—I cannot stress ENOUGH the importance of not letting your ranty-emotions get in the way of the lessons you could have learnt instead of angrily sobbing or angrily word-vomiting about a particular incident—so I won’t be ranting but I’ll be reflecting on the reason why I simply do not want to communicate with a person I’m working with, any longer.

Let’s call this person B.

I worked with person B for a project a while ago. I invested substantial time and my utmost effort into the project, and I’m proud of that. Sure. I was happy with my performance, and how I continued to work hard to complete the jobs that I had been delegated on my end.

What irked me was B’s lack of involvement.

One of my pet peeves is when people do not wish to involve themselves, as much as possible, into their projects. I view the level of involvement of an individual, whether you’re a team-member-follower or team-member-leader, as extremely important; I’d definitely wish to see my team0member actively giving feedback, passing discourse on the topic we’re supposed to be discussing, etc, etc.

B had the role of team-member-leader. Yet, B wasn’t online most of the time, and hence couldn’t give proper, timely feedback when certain ideas were introduced. There wasn’t ample information given on B’s end to the rest of the group who was tasked to complete the project. Furthermore, B  had apparently left some team-members’ uninformed about the change in task and change in expectations.

I was very disappointed. I had not expected this, and it wasn’t a pleasant surprise.

Life can’t be all about bad things—and my reflection is part of that. So I shan’t dwell on the shortcomings that occurred but head on to the bit where I learnt something.

Here goes—I learnt something.

I definitely learnt that: to fulfil the role of the leader isn’t just informing your team what they are supposed to do, and getting them to complete their job by the deadline/within the time-period. No, instead I feel that to fulfil the role of a leader, we should be prepared to go the extra mile and involve ourselves as much as our team-members do. During the time of leading a project, it’s essential that we tell ourselves to be there for our team-mates, ensuring that they are readily supplied with enough information, ensuring that those who aren’t responding do feel encouraged to contribute as the project progresses.

I think that to be a leader, it takes a lot of your heart. You need to have a sharp mind, yes, to clearly prioritise your team’s tasks. But leading also takes heart. You need to realize the importance of creating a good team dynamic, and put in some effort to maintain or create a high dynamic and energy.

Every project brings forth a good learning lesson.

However, the previous paragraph wasn’t just the only lesson I learnt. It goes deeper than that.

I’ve known B for a long time. I know B enough and have worked with B for a number of projects that I do realize that the work ethic of B is one that doesn’t match with mine. This is regardless of whether B is the leader or playing another role in the project—I just don’t feel the same passionate vibe that I’d like to feel exuding from B. There’s the same, uneasy feeling of detachment that B emanates throughout the working process, and this was upsetting for me as the  projects we have worked on together are things that we were very passionate about.

I think B has, to an extent, destroyed a bit of the love I have built up for the subject-matter (of the projects) that we used to be so actively enjoying. Now, I do feel bitter, a teensy bit resentful…and relieved.

I’m relieved that I’ve confronted this irking feeling of irritation, and let that emotion drain out of me…



I don’t usually do these sorts of personal reflections online, but I think that this whole ‘writing-it-out’ is a welcome respite.