Flying

All sense, time zones lost

schedules insignificant

cruising in the sky

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It was war

“Do you have all the bullets? We can’t afford to lose again. We have to make this our best effort yet.”

Mark was pacing as he always did before the final face off.

And as always, Karl was there to assure him. “Don’t worry, I’ve got them all.”

“Good,” Mark replied, punching his right fist into his left palm, “those imbeciles won’t know what hit them!”

Mark had always been too competitive for his own good. But even his partner, Karl, knew this was a pivotal point in their lives. If they win, they’d become the senior school debating champions.

The unchanging

Pies and bars were his life. Percentages became everyday parlance. And his tallied spreadsheets set him a class apart. It was picture perfect. He was the ideal high school student: teaches doted on him, classmates frowned upon him, and parents spoilt him for love.

Who needed good friends when you could have great grades?

Pies and bars are his life. Percentages… his wife. With tallied statements stacked in the bank, the picture remains perfect. Raises and praises shower on him, as colleagues thank his genius and bosses appreciate his smartness.

Who needs good friends when you can have great toasts?

Memories

There was nothing else left to do. Marhsa had spent the weekend catching up on her reading, work emails, and calls. Those were easy. She had dawdled to avoid the dreaded task: cleaning up the attic.

It’d accumulated more dust and memories than she wanted to rekindle. As if looking into a different life, she rummaged around with growing queasiness. If only she could forget.

Coloured pencils and glitter paper greeted her. In faded yellow, pink, red, and green, as a long-gone rainbow, were her daughter’s handcrafts. Where the pot of gold should’ve been was the pall of the six-year-old.

The other side

If only her life was as great as Kate’s.

They’d been high school friends, and while Kate’s established father had landed her a job in a conglomerate, Pam’s carpenter father could do no such thing.

“Congratulations!” Pam cried as they met fifteen years later. She was a school teacher and Kate—well, she had a career colleagues, neighbours, and even friends were jealous of. A seven-figure salary, a comfortable house, another new car—it was everything Pam had dreamt of.

Kate said nothing. Under her father’s constant shadow, she couldn’t even treat her friend for dinner without her father’s approval.