Meant to be

There it was—like a non-judgemental mother musing at her teenage daughter growing up too fast to comprehend, a ring sat in his empty tea cup. Unassuming, almost hidden in the shadow of the dark tea, it had nestled, snuggling in the assurance of warmth.

Daniel felt lost.

It was a nice—a simple frill-free band of silver with no ugly engraving or dents. It was the perfect multi-purpose ring, with just enough ambiguity to serve both as an accessory and a testament to a sacred commitment.

Who put it there though?

It seemed silly. To place a ring in a cup of tea. It was the kind of thing non-drinking, overly health conscious, hopeful hippies would do. He smiled. Whoever did this knew him well. Enough to know how much he dreaded jewellery and the spotlight that came with it. 

His curiosity was piqued. He hadn’t told many people about his parents pressuring him to find a partner. So whoever did this was close to him. 

Except he couldn’t quite tell who.

He looked around for a clue. 

Time stood still. Behind the till, Augusta, her face screwed in concentration, held a twenty dollar bill in her right hand and a pile of miscellaneous notes in the other. She was an economics student at the university working casual hours, trying to make some extra cash on the side. She hated math, Daniel recalled her bold declaration in one of their small talks. It couldn’t have been Augusta. She was too involved with her life, and he in math.

Barista Jason’s hand was frozen in midair too, hovering over the milk nozzle, ready to caress its smooth curves. Not him for sure. He was way out of league for Daniel—in every aspect, except perhaps money. 

Cafe chatter he’d gotten used to over the last five years had ceased in mid-conversations, vowels hanging, modifiers dangling, and fragments awaiting completion. Beyond the tainted glass, cars were a blur, as if caught red-handed by amateur photographers, whizzing passed red lights.

He looked back at the ring. And almost instantly, the world went back into motion. Annoying giggles started up from the table nearby and impatient honking from the street waltzed in through the door as someone walked in.

Sigh.

It felt wrong to take the ring without knowing who it came from.

What the hell. 

Pocketing the shiny silver, Daniel walked out the cafe, waving at Augusta and Jason on his way out. It was a good day.

The door clinked behind him.

Not two seconds after, a purple-haired man in the cafe wailed, “Oh, my goodness! They gave you the wrong cup!”

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Family portrait

If voices had colour,
mum’s would be yellow
for she was mellow
saying hello
at the doorway
chases ma blues away—
school wasn’t easy
being picked on as measly 
yet for me she was there
we had to go nowhere.

If voices had colour,
dad’s would be black
dark, deep, bleeding slack
with a sense of hollow
he’d always wallow
in games after work
and want braised pork
thus well-fed he was
cushioned by his arse
while mum, she’d pass.

Spare

Broken piano - by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

He knew they should’ve got rid of that spare bed.

Now it was his bed.


Inspiration from reading a lot of nano fiction. Here’re some great ones, if you’re interested.

Image credit: Ryan Holloway on Unsplash.com

Same path

I walked down the path
same as every day
trees waving arms
lake rippling
feet dragging
mind full.

Perhaps I shouldn’t’ve lost my temper
last night in bed—
reading was no crime
I should’ve obliged
turning over 
not turning off.

Perhaps I could make it up tonight
a nice dinner
spaghetti and meatballs
swimming in starchy sauce
I’d pick a lamp as well
to liven our abode.

Perhaps I should lighten up more
take it easy,
yell less; listen often
“how was your day?
pray tell, honey”
for I care what I hear.

Perhaps I too should get a book
keep occupied
and read together
as Ted and wife
world knowing poet
wannabe aide.

I walked down the path
just as every day
feet dragging
mind full—
eyes blind,
ears dumb.

Perhaps, tea

whee
eeeeee
eeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeee

the boiling teapot brought back memories
arm in hand they’d walked down the aisle
best man and bridesmaid of best friends
it had all started at the rehearsal dinner

when he arrived late and flustered
though she’d been on time, awaiting
her mascara was on before his coat
yet she’d had to wait up for him to suit up

couldn’t bear to see him in the face, anger
brimming on the surface, so threatening
she glanced aside to set her mind at ease
for tardiness was as good as neediness

a cup of tea she’d had as she waited

whee
eeeeee
eeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeee

the boiling teapot jerked her to reality
sitting at home, the mighty housewife
cleaning, washing, washing, and cleaning
everyday household chores multiplying

she’d woken up early that morning
way before he’d even stifled a yawn
yet she stayed in bed for him to rise
for her beloved had to dress, to work

man of the house he was breadwinner,
and she bread maker, just a part-timer
she had much time, she needn’t rush
wasn’t like she had a wedding to blush

perhaps first, she’d have a cup of tea