No appetite.

You should eat something. You really should. You must. Why don’t you eat some little? You could try this. What about that? Try some soup. It’s piping hot. Some other goop? A stew? Hotpot used to make me feel better. Feeling cold? Put on a sweater. Eat this now!

Don’t drink that! Cold water? You just be crazy. Don’t lay down. You’ll get too lazy. Go rest. Try a nap. Wake up. Too much sleep! Trying to get up? You’re not feeling it, yet? You need hot water. Take a sip. Take a gulp. Swig it down. Drink it all.

We’ll fix you up. You’re not dead yet. Look. We believe you’ll be right soon enough. We’re asking you to believe. We can do it. We’ll get you shipshape. We’ve got this! We’re already making strides. What do we want to do?

Obituary.

If you checked out now, how would you be remembered? Fondly by some? Infamous by others? Perhaps. Not. At. All. Maybe you’ll be forgotten, like a lost teddy bear on a train bound for nowhere in particular.

What’s your legacy? Did you do something good? Did you make someone better? Maybe you broke a heart, or a string of hearts. Maybe you’re but a regret to most and a faded memory to another. Perhaps. Nobody. Will. Recall. You.

What did you do right? How did it go? What did you leave behind? A divorce? A fatherless child? A mother grieving over an unborn dream? It could be that words won’t be spoken about you. Perhaps. Silence. Is. Best.

Who’ll be there? At your funeral. Will there be shadows cast from people? Or the shapes of memories dancing in fading lights spun by the branches of trees dancing in the wind? Perhaps. No one. Will. Know. When. You. Go.

Will you get a choice when to go? Unlikely. Most never know. Some expect. Some arrive at an unfortunate moment. Some prepare well ahead but it arrives far too soon. Some get through extra days and leave as heroes. Some die another day. Some have no time to die. Perhaps. You’ll. Never. Know. Until. It’s. Over.

Sunset.

The evening sun has arrived. It’s not a sunset if beauty. We won’t make it until dawn. This sun sets on you and I. Take the blame on oneself. Gloaming deepens. Put aside the dream of tomorrow. Today has just died. We could stand, aside, in a corner. Not now. Never again. Our motion becomes static. The pace fell away. White clouds rush. The sky’s twilight hides the moon. The sun shines not on it. Nor on you and I. The fireworks we had do not light the sky. All light refuses to break this darkness. Dawn may arrive. I choose to wake alone. Goodbye scenery of yesterday. I wake to a new dawn chorus, alone.

Plagiarism.

It’s easy! It’s easy! It’s easy! 1, 2, 3… Copy and paste. Trace. Select.Copy. Insert. Saving time too. Why spend too much time thinking? Find it, reuse it. Reduce. Reuse. Recycled.

What’s the answer that you’re looking for? Look over their shoulder. What did they write? Take it! You know you want to. Less time on work, more time to play. Right? Copy it. Just look how east it can all be!

Feeling integrity needs to be kicked away? Don’t worry. Who can spot you? They’re not paying attention. Go on. Join the dark side. Photograph it. Use their details. Submit it faster, they they’ll be the copy, right? Register the trademark, add the copyright logo, spin their materials. It’s all the same to you me. Same ending, right?

FEEL FREE TO COPY IT.

Disclaimer: Written during academic integrity week. Not to be taken seriously. This does not represent the author’s true views on the title subject. Feel free to copy this disclaimer though.

The departed.

The bereaved have a particular look about them. They look flushed of colour. All their facial expressions drain away. One day they’re happy go lucky and full of vim; the next they’re a mix of grey pastels on tainted dull canvas. Their ears droop in tune with their frown. They look tired and out of focus. Loss is evident across their face. Their words are spoken slower and they take longer to stand up. They don’t bounce around looking for coffee and they certainly don’t race home on their bicycles.

I never know how to act around them. Do I stay the same? No. Not at all. Things are no longer the same. Loss is not a gain. I show my empathy but it never feels enough. I don’t want to say too much, but I do want and try to show I care. It’s not easy. Nothing ever is. Their loss is a challenge. My challenge is simply to be there for them, in the littlest of tiny small kind of ways.

How do you cope with loss? How do you act when someone departs? How many tears are too few? Or, too many? Is silence the treatment? Does that kind of loss ever truly fade away? How long does it take to recover? How many words need speaking? How does memory remain? How can I not forget you?

The dead don’t care. Maybe they did, before they left. Maybe their spirits go to heaven, Elysium or into the clouds. I can’t say. I’m no expert on the afterlife. Maybe they do care now. Or do they live on in us? Perhaps they flutter between the molecules and matters that make life? Could they be the vacuum of space? Or compost bringing life from waste?

I don’t want to feel what they feel. I don’t want to act differently or awkwardly. I don’t want to ask too many questions. I don’t want to forget the dead.

May you all rest in peace.

I love you.

I don’t say the word love lightly. I find it hard to say at all. To family, friends, those I spend my time with and even pets: sorry, it’s hard to say it. Not now, anyway.

You may feel it from me. You may get glances of it. You may touch upon moments where I should say it. You can probably sense I want to show or say it. It probably is bubbling so deeply and ready to escape that I’m trembly. Won’t say it.

Maybe I’m confused. Maybe I didn’t hear it from my parents, siblings or uncles or aunts or Gran or Nana or the postman. Maybe I used it too lightly as a teenager or with that lady who made me a man or the friends who left my sides or the stories I read made me feel different instead. I just can’t find the words.

How can I not love you? How can you not love me? How can love not be for you and me? How can I not love myself? Is it all unrequited? Could I utter it? Could I think it? It’s a gamble, right? Instead I stay silent.

My heart may beat faster. My breathing may be deeper. My eyes may be showing excitement. My cheeks may be brightening. Other things may be happening, some bold, some exciting. But, I doubt I’ll speak it. Not here. Not now.

The next day may be different. There may be more momentum. There may be more desire. Need is here. Speed and precise private precious moments may have dawned. Surely now? Unlikely. Sorry.

Blink of an eye.

She came into his life, quite unexpected.

She called. He listened. They talked. They laughed. It gave him warmth deep inside. She spoke openly. He told his story. They giggled. He answered questions. Once. Twice. Three times. The minutes stacked up. Time froze.

He chased. She was busy. He waited. She did not come. He wanted her. She was not available. He imagined. She slipped by. He thought of her. She had no voice. He dreamed. She remained silent. Once. Twice. Three times. It was as if it was a blink of an eye. Time came to a complete stop.

And just like that, she was gone.

Phone home.

Don’t look down at it. Too late. Don’t flip the camera to reserve. Oh, you’ve done it. Does everything need photographing? The way you’ve angled the camera to catch the fire extinguisher and your slightly edited face is exquisite. Just the nine photos. Each one like a time lapse with barely perceived difference. How thin exactly is your face? It looked a bit different an hour ago, a week back, some months ago.

How many moments did you fill? Is that video the same as someone else’s video? Pucker those lips up. Take a selfie. Snap! Snap! Snap! Take the photo from over there. No hazard there. Precarious overhanging places are fine too. Passing traffic? No need to look. Step out backwards. Drivers can swerve. Beeps are loud but you don’t hear it. Focus on your phone.

Cycling the wrong way up a busy road, in the nearest lane to the pavement kerb, and head down on our phone? Don’t worry. You could see beyond the cyclist going the right way. You could. Stay against the flow of the traffic though. Let the right do the right thing. Heck, even parallel ride with a friend. Both be on phones. You’re got it.

What conversation is needed? Look at your phone. Disengage from those with you in the group. By all means, one of you ramp up the volume. I wasn’t listening to my friend anyway. Perhaps some sounds of games will dazzle my mind. Go on. Some shooting sounds? Ideal. Money and other jingles. All at once? Perfection.

Is your child walking into a dangerous situation? Our won’t see. Your head is facing down. That black mirror is playing a video of a kangaroo hugging a panda, or mushroom in a bunch of flowers, or was it a video ending in canned laughter? The point is, your toddler has walked away. Too late? Hurry! Careful now!

And now I’m typing on a phone. Aware of the problem. Known to the addiction. Embraced. Doomed. Digital.