Brevity and the beast

It was too late by the time they diagnosed me. I never saw it coming; I did not even notice the symptoms.

I guess I first began losing my words a couple of years ago. The big ones were the first to go. Sometimes they disappeared from the tip of my tongue, never to return again. It seemed to be happening to everyone around me, but of course no one realized it. That is, until a famous writer was trolled for using the brief but eloquent word ‘BRB’ in the middle of a live chat. Investigations were carried out, revealing that this was indeed a serious problem that was spreading through the masses like a raging wildfire.

Word Loss Disorder. That was the official name given to this widespread phenomenon. It is now simply called the WLD, since patients at a more advanced stage of the disorder were unable to remember all three words in a continuous string.

The doctors told me I am currently at stage two, and fast progressing to stage three. I hear that people at stage four only communicate through emoticons, gifs, memes and the occasional ‘LOL’. They also post pictures that speak a thousand words each.

Rumoured to have begun with a virus inserted into a popular social media network, WLD sparked off a series of controversies and protest marches. While the writer / journalist / lawyer type people were severely agitated and demanded a cure, teenagers began marching in streets with slogans that declared ‘Brevity is the new slang’ or ‘We don’t need big words, we ain’t a bunch of nerds.’ Apparently, the power to rhyme was untouched by the disorder.

Eventually, WLD claimed almost everyone as its wordless victims. The internet is now bursting with a new language that contains abbreviations which are easier to retain than the shades and nuances of the beastly English language. I still have occasional urges to write a full-length article instead of a tweet, or an entire paragraph instead of a quote for Instagram. But they told me this was only natural, and even established writers all over the globe have already started to adapt to short forms.

I am now trying to memorize the new slang before I lose all my words, lest I end up flailing my arms and making mute sounds while trying to communicate with another human. I can almost picture my English professor weeping in his grave at the victory of… ah, I had the word right here – it begins with a ‘col’, and I’m pretty sure there’s a ‘q’ in there – colloquialism, yes that’s it – at the victory of colloquialism.

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A tree, a book and a look

Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She tucked the book she was reading under her arm, and folded her hands over it, leaning casually back against the trunk of the tree she had just descended from.

The boy had knocked on the door of the house once or twice, and assuming no one to be home, had just turned to leave when she suddenly materialized in front of him, armed with a book and a disgruntled look.

Continue reading “A tree, a book and a look”

Crush-ed

Denise opened her eyes, collected her thoughts for a moment, and then flung up from her bed, suddenly remembering what day it was. She hit her leg against the leg of the nightstand with a loud thump, and ignoring the all-too familiar pain, too excited to wince, she proceeded to get ready for work.

She had been waiting almost all of her 24 years to fall in love. Waiting for someone she would fall for who would then pull her right back to her feet. All her crushes had lasted only like a week till she lost interest and gave up. And then she met Neil. Handsome, charming, and sharp to think on his feet. She had seen his quick wit smartly lashing out at the client during a presentation, and she had almost drooled all over her notes. It had now been a month of shameless staring at him from behind her folder, and it was time to make a move.

She believed people only get one chance to make a good first impression, and she desperately wanted that to be a long-lasting one in his mind. She was a harsh self-critic, and she had planned down to the last detail what she would say, what kind of jokes she would tell so he’d find her funny and sexy at the same time. Tonight after work, a bunch of them had decided to go clubbing, and she politely invited him to come along. She checked herself in the full length mirror before work, and smiling, clicked a full length picture to send to her girlfriends, with the caption, “Decided to go with the black dress. Can’t go wrong with this one, right?”

She never saw him all day at work, and had begun to think he wasn’t going to turn up. She joined her colleagues and was seated comfortably at the bar with a beer in her hand, when he showed up at her side. She looked at him and smiled, and he settled into an explanation of where he was all day, which went on to his pitch to a new client. She found herself focusing on his features thinking, “He does talk a lot. I wonder if he is a romantic sensitive guy, or the type who never talks about feelings and stuff.”

At this point he seemed to look inquiringly at her so Denise gathered herself and gave an appropriate response, such as, “That’s so true.”

He looked confused and asked her again, “I’m sorry, I was asking if you wanted a drink?”

Denise blushed and answered, “Oh, I meant, yes please, thank you.” Then turned furiously red in the face and sternly told herself, “That’s strike one, not paying attention! What’s he going to think of me? And he did not even tell me how beautiful I’m looking. Strike two is it?”

He returned with her drinks and, and as rehearsed she turned the conversation to a hilarious excessive-drinking bachelorette party incident that had ended with her jumping up and running out of the club screaming as soon as the stripper started dancing. She was herself in peals of laughter with little snorts, regaling him with her ‘wild’ tale, but he barely twitched a muscle, and looked a little shocked.

Finally he smiled, and she relaxed.

“You don’t go out much, do you?” he asked, amused.

“Strike three”, her despondent brain told her as she said, “Well, I’ve been out with a lot of guys. Theoretically.”

“Theoretically? What does that even mean?”

“I’m very good at reading people and analyzing them, you see. So even though technically I’ve never been out with a guy, I can predict exactly the kind of  relationship I could have had with him!”

At this point he was staring at her like she was mad or something. Wanting to explain, she tried a different track.

“But I also read you, and I can already tell, that you and I will be very happy together. It is already the beginning of a very happy future!” She told him, smiling lovingly at him.

He stared at her, aghast, saying, “I just came here for a drink, not a date. You might have let your intent known.” Shaking his head at her, got up and left.

Dejected, she thought about her ruined evening and her date plan theory. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned. 

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This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less

(1) with some kind of reference to the media prompt, a short film by Tanmay Shah, entitled Intent, AND

(2) use the last sentence of:  “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”

This is my very first time participating in this speakeasy prompt, though I’ve read entries from the many talented writers here. Now that even Trifecta‘s closing, if I don’t start now, I may never get inspiration enough, so here I am! Decided to do a light romance-y thing for my first entry here!

A feeling of love… again

It was not the universe in play, straying signs in her path regarding true love and soul mates. It was the flippant nature residing in her that made these decisions, Marisa was convinced of it. The spontaneous, impulsive side that everyone saw, and which she could not bear to change. She could count the boulevards that had led her to nowhere. The one that had gotten away, the one who had married her best friend, the one who let her go believing she loved someone else. The one who paid her no heed, the one who taught her lust without love, and the one who had given her his heart when she was too young to care.

She saw her friends who walked carefully through life, taking each decision after a great deal of thought, conservative to the core. They imagined themselves to have wrapped a security blanket all around their happiness, shielding it from irrationality, from life’s less pleasant surprises. As if being careful and calculated was going to save them from any kind of trouble that could befall them.

She scorned these cautious people. She took pride in her spontaneity, in her approach to life. She had always been the one to fall swiftly, fastest to succumb to gravity’s call. And also quick to lose interest or to perceive things going wrong, she thought bitterly. She was the fearless one, who could dare go up to a guy and ask him out not knowing if he was even interested in her. She was the one who took risks, the one who had never cared about putting up social appearances, and the one who was not afraid to be different.

Marisa did not belong to the kind of people who think that the universe came into being for the sake of love, and that love was the only feeling worth living or dying for. She was far too young to think or preach that way. Nor was she one of the girls who wait around for love to strike; but maybe that was because it always did strike sooner than she expected. Her intuitions about people and their feelings were almost always right, and they had helped her well in life. She however lacked somewhat in judge of character and compatibility, and this was where her impulse would override any rare, wayward, lingering doubts of rationality and give in to the attraction that they both felt or perceived.

She wanted to stop the pain that possessed her every time she believed her heart to be broken. She hated the fact that she was sensitive to things like fragile hearts and treasured memories. More than anything else, she very much hated herself soon after a heartbreak, for allowing her errant thoughts to lean in the direction of someone new. But she couldn’t help herself. Her spirits had always been maintained at an unusually higher level than most people, and they helped her burns to heal faster.

Was she only to understand love stumbling eternally and through healing the wounds and broken bones? When would the time come, when she would finally stop blaming the non-existent omens and signs telling her once again, ‘he is the one’?