Soul

What makes me, me?

Do you see me, as what your eyes perceive of what I am?
Do you hear me, as what your ears whisper to you what I am?
Do you feel me, as what your heart tells you what I am?

Do you?

I am flesh and bones, like you.
I am blood and water, like you.
I am alpha and omega, like you.
I am human, like you.

Do you know?

That I am a mesh of ideas formed from the travels I had in my time.
And in time to come.
That I am a body of gathered knowledge from the books i read,
And the books I will read.
That I am living the lessons from the people who hurt and loved me,
And who built and destroyed me.

That I am Anuar Tahir.

Do you know now?

That I am a just a physical embodiment of what makes me, me.

Soul

Omnipotent

Here, a single point of time,
Here, a moment in history,
Here, nestled a seed you sow

Here, among the stars,
Here, where I have seen my scars,
Here, the space between you and me

There, beyond the high walls,
There, across the vast channel,
There, where the grass here has seen its days

There, lie a boulevard of hopes and dreams.
There, sit an avenue of quotes and supremes.
There, settled a street of notes and screams.

I am here.
I am there.
I am everywhere.
I am transient.
I am forever.

Tell me, what were you looking for?

Omnipotent

I, Conquistador

I am a risk taker. I do not seek any form of assurance.
I am a calculated risk, the stakes high, exponentially rise as I roll the die.
I invite dangers lest I would be fearless in facing demons, my own durance vile.
I feel real pain no lesser than any ordinary man with no insurance.

I do not plead for comfort to end this misery. I do not.
I will not ask for aid to tide this fate. I will not.
I am tired of being at ease, a temporal, virtual moment of ease. I am tired.
I feel a strain, a strain along the walls of my heart.

I plead for the lessons to come thereafter.
I will ask for the tools to sharpen my intellect, to hone my instincts.
I will not grow tired of the battle. Of this everlasting battle.
I beg not for the stilling of my pain, but for my heart to conquer it.

For I am a conquistador. I will conquer my heart.

I, Conquistador

Cocoon

I wandered the earth, pillaged old and broken dreams of the lost and the damned.
I stole hopes and dreams of many, stripped and bore their souls to kingdom come.
War ensued; not of borders, not of ideologies, not of poverty and wealth, not of religion.
War; a conflict close and real. Prolonged and surreal. I am my own war.

I was knee-deep in dangerous waters. Those who delved deep, drowned.
Those who delved deeper, lost. I barely made it out alive.
I stood alone, braved the demons who haunt me late at night.
I was all alone. I saw the darkest shadow I cast on others, on myself. I was afraid.

In that dead moment, i looked at the mirror and saw myself, the harshest truth, of how regressive i’ve become.
It is from that moment, from that point on, i saw the need to torch myself.
To be free from the shackles of my own demons, the vines that root deeply, that entangle my heart.
It is from that moment, i fight.

In the end, I found something. The ashes of my old self.

Cocoon

Matahari

I chased the sun before she left the sky.
She was there up high in the air; suspended in amazing grace.
She smiled down from the heavens, radiating life to us, to me.
She’s a powerhouse, embraced in her own celestial sphere, all she needed was faith.

The emptiness of space, written on her face.
Distant stars burn bright late at night, all for me, just a transition, just a phase.
What i’d hope to get a glimpse of her brilliance, bask under her warmth, once more.
I’d stare into the blank canvas of the night sky, wait for the stars to burn to their core.

Impossible. This is why i wait for tomorrow.

Matahari

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Table for two as usual sire? prompted the waiter dressed with a classic single-breasted, two-button suit in navy blue as he held a thick receipt booklet.
Oh yes. Looking sharp as always Wally, that’d be splendid. Over by that corner with the glass overlooking Westminster Street please? Ryan replied.

Back at you. This way please, there’s rather been an interesting development, where’s miss… Wally added as he ushered me to the table.

I’d rather you not bring it up, bring me this instead; a platter of scrambled peppered eggs and a cup of cappuccino. A piping hot liquid mess. The way she loves it. Ryan interrupted.

Westminster Street. A premier business district in the heart of London, tall skyscrapers made second home to worn-out husbands who work tirelessly round the clock to meet the growing demands of the modern woman; only to be married to them. Amidst the countless traffic junctions and busy roads herein lies Tiffany’s, a quaint, old cosy coffee boutique. Stuck in time, the boutique stood erect for decades untouched by the plight of modernity, it refused to accept change and progress. Old red bricks against the clean slate of dull greys and Mondays. Vintage as its finest.

The first morning light came in from the glass panel where Ryan had himself seated and famished, lost in a deep thought. The light bounced back from his wrinkled temples, exposed his weary outlook on life. He looked for something tangible and symbolic to hold on to.

He picked up the fork on his table.

Now what can i do with this fork besides the conventional put-in-your-mouth and chew whatever’s that sticks on it? Imagine the implications if I were to inflict harm on myself. That would be absurd aye? How am i ever going to forgive myself? How is she going to forgive me? For the immense hurt I’ve inflicted on her myself. Nothing can ever compare to that. Nothing. He invested a considerable amount of interest in the metal fork; obsessed even, twirled it around like a kid in a candy store as he waited for his breakfast.

I don’t know why. Ryan placed the fork aside and wondered how he used to smile, how he looked across the table with the bundle of joy that was Leona, staring back at his eager dreamy eyes, gleaming with nothing but happiness. I just don’t know why. The seat was across him was nothing but an empty seat to him now. Ryan felt a gaping hole in his heart. Nothing.

Leona used to fill that gaping hole. She was the average, run-off-the-mill plain jane. A girl next door. Short brunette with a smile wide enough to take Ryan’s worries away. They used to be an odd couple, driven by the fact that Ryan had a line of beauties who could pass off as his partner. Leona was not befitting for him. As the saying goes, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Ryan had no eyes for others. None other than Leona. Many had eyes for Ryan and he ignored all of them. Ryan and Leona were not even an official couple.

They were just friends.

I caved in emotionally. I pushed for more. I demanded something i craved and longed for. Love, what do i even know about it? Thinking it was harmless but on its own, it has that destructive power to ruin even simplest of things; trust and friendship. What couldn’t be more beautiful that the joy of friendship? What have i done? What have I destroyed? Deep down, all i ever want was to have someone to talk to, to share the simplest of joy, the plight, sadness that life has to offer. I made this mistake without weighing in on her feelings, what she would feel from my demanding nature. I failed. I will outgrow it eventually, even now this breakfast I’ve ordered was your favourite.  I wonder how she will recover from this. If be, I hope she does. With time i hope. Apologizing doesn’t even mean a thing now. I will rebuild myself one day. She rebuilt me, I destroyed myself. I’ve destroyed everything.

Scrambled peppered eggs and a piping hot Cappuccino. According to your specifications sire. I’d best on my way while you enjoy your breakfast. Wally said as he placed breakfast on Ryan’s table.

That’ll do. Thank you Wally. Ryan replied.

Breakfast is served. It isn’t for me. I served myself a platter of regret and disappointment.
This is how I will remember you.
 Of scrambled peppered eggs and Cappuccinos. Ryan thought.

Ryan looked out of the glass panel, among the sea of men and women draped in trenchcoats across the street he saw Leona.

As happy as she could be.

Rethink

Now this is one of my few rare moments where i get to sit down in front of the laptop with a nice cup of ceylon tea, vintage 80’s playlist set on Spotify and the ever cluttered WordPress’ dashboard staring back at me. Here it is, placing my fingers on my bacteria-infested worn-out yellowish keyboard waiting for my every keystroke; translating my thoughts and feelings into words specially for curious readers like you.

You have been forewarned, I’d like to make this post a very personal one so my full-blown emotional retardedness will come into light.

A couple of “i will tell this to my kids what happened during my NS life” events happened just within a span of two weeks. I would have to say it was the magnum opus of “holy shit this didn’t just happen but it did oh yeah just fuck it”. Unfortunately i am not allowed to disclose anything here. Classified stuff , too bad we’re all bounded to an oath. I’m still reeling from all the excitement. Now is there a second time to it? How about a third? Three time’s a charm they say. Anyway, just 1 and a half more months to go. I need a job pronto.

That isn’t exactly the point i’m bringing across here. Not about my magnum opus.

This isn’t a self-pity post. It’s about the hot issues i need to straighten out on my own. Over the years, i’ve done my best  to be self-aware, to try to be empathetic and tweak my EP(emotional prediction) to curb any damage done unto my friends and relationships. I admit i’ve made mistakes. Many bridges were burnt down, with no way to mend the friendship that held us together. I admit i burnt some of them. Call me heartless.  Rethinking friendships…sometimes is healthy.

The foundation of friendship/relationship shattered within a day. If it happens, it happens. There is definitely a reason why it happened. I may or may not know the reason. But there is, there always is. I accept things as it is. I happened to come across a quote somewhere in camp a few days ago; “Cities take years to build, it takes a blink of an eye to take it down. Build it anyway”. It goes something like that or somewhere along the line.

This made me think. Why build friendships and relationships knowing the possibility that it will burn one day, why build it? Was it worth it to give it a shot? Was it to give our hearts a temporary shelter amidst the dust that hasn’t been settled for our past mistakes? Or were we learning to love again?

Think.

As i silence this heart, i look back at the good it gave, the good it received. Turn them into memories because that makes it so worth it. Once in awhile  someone comes into your life to save us. To steer us back, mend us. Breathe life into us once more. Thank them for that. Thank them for everything.

Totem

A watch is a watch; a matter

It has a certain weight; a quantitative scale. 

This watch was a gift from my friends.
Granted, it’s a blend of sophistication and class. That isn’t the main point.
I love how comfortable it is, ensnaring; a tight good grip; resting comfortably on my wrist.
I’ve grown fond of it, it grew on me.

The weight of the watch has become all too familiar.
I know how it weighs, how it feels like.
It knows the the beat of my pulse.
This weight reminds me; it reminds me.

Ideas too profound, too complicated to describe
Simple weight; simple feel
Semper fi

This watch is my totem.

You and me, the leaves of autumn

a sea of change
like leaves falling in the autumn
comes a standstill all too strange
how did we even reach rock bottom?

stop and take a good look
how time stole what we built?
every beginning has its end
we were told we weren’t meant

get a good grip on reality
the leaves have turned grey
even it has reached its own finality
never again to see another day

we hope on an empty promise
a promise to cast away our fear
now look again, my dear
how can we even be this hopeful?

time had taken its toll on us
look, we have to clean this mess
you and me, the leaves of autumn
will we find a way to heal one another?

I am who i am. We are who we are.

I am Anuar Tahir.

As a Muslim who grew up in a Chinese-oriented environment, i had no problems socializing and sharing the things I love with my non-Muslim peers.  In fact, being in that environment helped me understand their beliefs and culture better. I treat my friends equally. Growing up in a meritocratic country taught me that there is no right for me to distinguish a person or a culture based on the colour of their skin. No one has the right to own anyone. Everyone is given a fair playing field and what comes out of it is your own hard work.  This also applies to Muslims for the chance reach out a helping hand to build Singapore’s future. If we are pre-judged for not being able to integrate well with non-Muslims, how are we then supposed to build a cohesive society?

I lived my life as a Muslim in Singapore and i go through the same struggles and pains in life like everyone else. I went through kindergarten where i was the only Malay/Muslim student. There wasn’t any Malay language offered so i took the opportunity to study mandarin. Throughout the two years, I enjoyed the company of my peers. I was in an environment where my peers spoke Mandarin. I had to integrate well with my peers, but that doesn’t mean that i need to forsake my religion. I had to make compromises to understand my peers better; i even remembered bringing packed lunches and i didn’t seclude myself from any of my non-Muslim friends. I cannot forget the smile on my friends faces when i shared my packed lunches with them. My religion taught me to give; no matter what race or religion they come from.

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. My non-Muslim peers have come to respect my religion as I have come to respect theirs. What made this possible was the fact that we are willing to understand one another. I am thankful for that because Singapore encourages us to live together as one. I am reminded through the recital of the pledge.

We, the citizens of Singapore,

pledge ourselves as one united people,

regardless of race, language or religion.

Primary and secondary school-goers recite the pledge everyday. Profession isn’t enough. We have to practice what we preach. I was a giver in secondary school. As an ex-NPCC cadet, i molded my squad mates; no matter what race or religion they are into responsible citizens. I was also active in voluteerism; i had several projects under my supervision whose aims are to help the society. One of my fondest memory was being a part of a project to raise funds for Metta Home; a home for the mentally challenged.  Big or small, i hope my contributions have an impact to the people i have worked with. I will never stop contributing because it is part of my life. A life shaped by my morals, family, friends and Islam.

We follow a code of life where it guides us to be a good person as a whole. We live our lives normally like any other person. I sit at the same table where my non-Muslims enjoy their food, I am willing to talk openly about my religion and discuss about its prohibitions. Take for example, I am prohibited from drinking beer or any intoxicating drink. The underlying reason is obvious. We want to be focused at all times and given any moment if we let our guard down, danger might be lurking around in one corner. Prevention is better than cure.

There is no denying that we want the best for our future; ensuring a safe haven and a land of opportunity for our children. To achieve the best, we have to make compromises but not till the point where we lose what is dear to us. To forsake my religion is to forsake my life. Islam is not just a religion, it is also a lifestyle which encompasses what is right and good for us; which includes on how to lay the foundations for an enriching society.

Islam has contributed much to the society ever since the dawn of the new world. We owe much of the technical advancements and magnificent feats to thinkers such as Ibn Sina who wrote The Canon of Medicine where one of his works introduced the idea of quarantine to limit the spread of infectious diseases. You might have studied algebra in secondary school. Do you know who discovered it? Al khwarizme.

All of these discoveries have paved the way for new innovations in the world. Drug and medicine testing owed much the Canon of Medicine. Understanding complex Mathematics equations such as quantum physics wouldn’t be simple without the help of algebra. These individuals gave much to the world.

Communication is key to understanding. It has been a part of me. Being ignorant will not bring us anywhere and many prejudices will form. Seek what you don’t understand. It is important that we seek a common ground. We have to set our differences aside and look at our similarities. Speak out but practice caution if have any doubts. We are all equal and we can live harmoniously with one another. We can live as one; building our future together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%E1%B8%A5ammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB – Al Khawizme

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avicenna – Ibn Sina

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age – Islamic Golden Age

Crossing on A Thin Line

Crossing On A Thin Line

by Anuar Tahir

Chapter 5: Of Chances and Coincidences

Beads of sweat trickled down Arnold’s forehead. He gripped both of the armrest; squeezing the life out of it. He shifted his legs and stood up; he looked straight into his lecturer’s tired and bloodshot eyes.

Poor Mr Jenkins, I understand why he was late for class” Arnold thought to himself as he approached the wooden desk where Mr Jenkins sat.

Mr Jenkins averted his eyes away from Arnold’s gaze. He looked down on the pile of unmarked mid-term test papers and massaged his wrinkled temples.

I know this is sudden for you. Please take up this opportunity, there won’t be another chance for you or any other student for that matter” Mr Jenkins asserted.

Arnold placed both his hands on the desk; looking down on his lecturer. There were a few strands of white hair; he had been teaching in Dunston High for nearly two decades.

But Mr Jenkins, no matter what you do there is no other way you can change the way who I am!” Arnold raised his voice.

Mr Jenkins stopped massaging his temple. He stood up and looked into Arnold’s eyes again. He reached out his frail arms and placed them on Arnold’s shoulder to soothe his uncontrollable angst. Arnold jerked; he tried his best to calm down.

Arnold turned around; looking at the grand collection of books that surrounded him. He took small, courageous steps towards an old dusted leather book hidden amongst the vast array of books. He took the book out from the shelf.

Read it, it’s fine” Mr Jenkins said,

Arnold flipped open the dusty cover and came across a bookmarked page. He stood rigidly as he saw a note.

“You – Monday, November 29 1971

Dear Clare. 4 years and 361 days. Never has there been a day I stopped thinking about you.

I made the wrong decision and it was my fault to have left you hanging in the balance. I left you in pursuit of my dreams. Hope you are doing fine with your life. I am sorry I couldn’t meet you on Oct 15 back then. Hopefully, we will meet one another in 5 days after for so long.

Your Special Friend,

Jenkins

Mr Jenkins got up from his seat and stood beside Arnold; who was still staring at the note.

Look Arnold. In life, we have to make life-changing decisions. Whatever decision you make should be a culmination of the learning lessons of your past mistakes. There is no definite route for anyone. God knows. Choose wisely when he lay down that path to you” Mr Jenkins lectured.

Arnold placed the book back onto the shelf and returned to his seat. Mr Jenkins turned; his eyes gleaming with excitement and fear.

I have made my decision. I want to take up internship.” Arnold said in gusto

Good! your first day of work is tomorrow” Mr Jenkins said

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Arnold scavenged his old pine wardrobe; desperately trying to find the best office wear. He chugged away all his old clothes in a tiny corner of his wardrobe. He took out a plain white long-sleeved shirt and long slim fit jeans.

“Arnold! Shouldn’t you be in school now?” Zoey shouted from across the kitchen.

“Nope! I’ll be working as a responsible young adult. I’m on internship now!” Arnold shouted from his room

Zoey smirked. Arnold’s bravado speech didn’t convince his mother of his faux confidence.

His mother was serving up a platter of her famous old English flapjacks; crispy golden brown crust that goes well with any maple syrup.

He styled his long and messy hair with a few dabs of Vo5 wax and gave his best smile on the mirror placed in between two of his favourite posters; Muse and The Killers.

This will make a good impression on them, I hope.” Arnold reassured himself.

He looked on the face of his batman watch; it was 7.15. He quickly gathered his portfolio and accolades he received throughout the years in Dunston High and chugged it inside his black Bershka sling bag.

You don’t have to worry about any interviews or formal induction, they are ready to take you in” Arnold remembered what Mr Jenkins told him before he left the office yesterday.

Better to be safe than sorry eh? A couple of certificates aren’t that heavy after all” Arnold thought.

He grabbed a few quick bites of his mum’s flapjacks and drank a whole cup of hot chocolate milk his mother prepared for him.

Arnold took his house keys left house for his first day at work.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Arnold stood outside of “Searchbook” The grandeur of the tall 58-storey office building erected before him; shiny new panels of tinted black windows and fresh beige white coat of paint awed Arnold. He took a moment’s breath to face an exciting new future ahead of him.

He took a good look at himself, tilted up and down from head to toe; checking for every noticeable crease and stubborn stains visible to the naked eye. He loosened the suffocating grip of his Bershka sling bag.

He took light quick steps and entered the building.

Here goes nothing…” Arnold thought to himself.

A cold blast of air gave him the shivers. Everyone was wearing solemn business outfits. Arnold looked towards the centre of the lobby. An elaborate fountain spouted tall jets of water, reaching as high as 5th floor. The first 5 floors were designed like a rotunda. The general public had access to only the 5 floors.

“Searchbook” is a global phenomenon; it was the corporation that made the most popular social networking platform; bridging people from all walks of life.

Arnold saw Asian tourists taking photos by the railings overlooking the fountain.

Enough with all the sightseeing, let’s get started.” Arnold thought.

Arnold scanned around to get his way around the lobby. A lady receptionist motioned; she smiled and nodded to acknowledge Arnold’s first day at work.

Hi, my name is Eve. You must be Arnold from Dunston High, may I have a look at your identification card?” Eve asked.

Please proceed to level 11, creative engagement department. It is right beside the human resources department. Take this badge along with you at all times. Use it to access your level by tapping the card on the lift. Meet Mr Jenkins and Mr Anuar once you’ve reached.” Eve explained.

Arnold walked towards the lift lobby; a large sprawling hall of elevators with madmen rushing in and out of the lifts.

He entered an empty lift, took out the card and pressed on the button up to level 11. A classical Beethoven music played in the background and he hummed along to it.

The lift doors opened. A familiar face popped up in front of him.

Eynn?” Arnold questioned.

©Anuar Tahir. The story is the work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.

Download the PDF version hereNote: Right-click and “Save-target As” or “Save Link”


Crossing on a Thin Line

Crossing On A Thin Line

by Anuar Tahir

Chapter 4: Ordo ab chao(Out of chaos, order)

Lovebirds smooched and hug one another to warm themselves. The rain hadn’t stop Paper planes flew across Arnold’s face. He did not flinch in any way. He looked straight towards the lecture stage; patiently waiting for Mr Jenkins to arrive to steal the show. The constant chatter in the lecture theatre began to piss Arnold off.

“Fuck these animals, don’t they know how to shut the fuck up?” Arnold looked around to see the scurrying crowd around him.

The throng of latecomers made their way inside the huge well-lit lecture theatre. Soon, the blue coloured seats were filled with a sea of inconsiderate jocks who wore their proud red base with white lightning streaks school uniforms. Arnold inserted his earphone in his ears; which were lobed. He ignored the bustling world around him as he took out his wet collection of notes. He placed it neatly on his the elongated table.

A dark figure emerged from the entrance and it was the all-familiar white beard that caught everyone’s attention in the theatre. Arnold kept looking straight towards the lecture theatre.

Looks like someone came later than me” Arnold thought.

Mr Jenkins had his arms in akimbo. He then took out his laptop and started his slow and boring presentation. Everyone took out their notes and started to scribble illegibly. If it’s one thing that Dunston High is known for; it’s how fast the students need to cope in catching up with what their lecturer is talking about.

Arnold didn’t take out his pencil like all the other students.

“Programmed like a robot, is this what the school taught us to be? To listen to orders and act like a dog?” Arnold was in deep thought.

Arnold still had his earpiece on. He wasn’t listening to any of the important keywords Mr Jenkins spouted. He was listening to “The Modern Age” by the strokes. Arnold looked around the lecture theatre; looking at the grand architecture and design of the theatre. It was inspired by the classical and renaissance art. Elaborate frescos of men and woman clad in white robes holding hands with one another, walking towards the great beyond.

Arnold!” a commanding voice boomed throughout the silent theatre.

Everyone had their eyes on Arnold. He was still in his reverie; thinking about the insignificant idea of love and soul mates. He looked at Gina; his classmate who had black short-shoulder length hair. She sat right of his seat. She pointed to Arnold’s left, where Mr Jenkins stood.

Mr Jenkins pulled out the single cord from his earpiece. This time, Arnold flinched.

What the f..?” Arnold stopped short of his words.

Mr Jenkin’s famous akimbo scared the living daylights out of Arnold.

Follow me to my office, we need to talk” Mr Jenkins spoke in a deep serious tone.

Arnold hesitated. He took a big step forward as Mr Jenkins walked towards the exit door of the theatre. Mr Jenkins opened the door and both of them walked out of the theatre; leaving the rest of the students in a daze.

Mr Jenkins and Arnold entered the office. Pillars and mountains of books on philosophy, social sciences and anthropology caught Arnold’s attention. He darted his eyes from one corner of the room to the other end. He had not been into the room before. No one was permitted to enter his room unless he has his reasons.

Arnold knew too well what his lecturer is about to do; his famous boring lecture.

Arnold, take a seat. I know you have been lectured countless of times, you are the hardest student to handle by far. You have excellent grades and you can continue your studies to Oxford or even to Harvard with a flick of a finger…” He paused.

Mr Jenkins took a sip of water from his water bottle.

You are an amazing student in that aspect but you have to learn things no other student is able to experience in this school. I see you have the potential to be someone good or even bad in the future. You need to explore what kind of world is it out there. The world isn’t just about books, movies and documentaries. It is meant to be explored. You need to experience life, not learn about it.”

You are a complete mess; you don’t have any guidance and you think on your own. Ordo ab chao. Out of chaos, I will make order out of you. This brings me exciting news, I received news that you have been approved to be attached to “SearchBook” as an intern. There, you will know how to be a responsible adult. I have faith in you that you will do well in it. Your grades are sufficient to get you into a good university. Do not worry about that.

I want you to be more than who you can be; not just as an excellent student, but a good person as well” Mr Jenkins finally stopped.

What?” Arnold froze in his seat.

Download the PDF version hereNote: Right-click and “Save-target As” or “Save Link”

©Anuar Tahir. The story is the work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.

Crossing On A Thin Line

Crossing On A Thin Line

by Anuar Tahir

Chapter 3: The Meeting of a Thousand Suns

Arnold stood precariously at the sheltered bus stop. He tapped his fingers on his batman watch as he stared towards the empty distance. The watch showed 7.45am. He looked out to Lemmings road and wished that the straight bus to his school will arrive soon. The blue file filled with his notes was bulging like slab of stones.

“Damn, this file is heavy. Why did i..”? Arnold cursed himself

He saw scores of married couples strolling happily to the nearby convenience store; 7-11.

“Why do people have to marry?” Arnold thought to himself.

Arnold averted his eyes away from the happy couple and stared at the dreaded alley way beside 7-11. He took a heavy breath in and hoped that he would just meet that mysterious petite girl once again.

“Where the fuck is the bus?” Arnold muttered to himself.

He twirled his beard desperately trying to think of a way to get to school as fast as he could. There were no taxis in sight; Lemmings road was a remote road. He thought of walking to school. Although he knew the fastest route to get to school, he had never walked to school before. Arnold made his decision and crossed the road.

Eynn walked slowly, taking a breather while the fresh breeze blew her silky smooth black-brownish hair all over her face. The billowing winds blew her bright yellow office dress. A dark veil of angry clouds encircled the shying sun.

It was about to rain.

Eynn unzipped her black Chanel bag and took out her bright pink polka-dotted umbrella. She was physically alone in the park with no one to accompany her. It started to drizzle. The first raindrops trickled down her smooth complexion. She let a few of the raindrops to drop on her hair before she opened her umbrella.

“Let’s walk ever slowly now. I’ve got 30 more minutes before work starts anyway” Eynn thought to herself.

Arnold rushed towards a nearby shelter to take out his umbrella. He was drenched in cold rainwater. He wiped the few beads of raindrops off his face. He contemplated on which route to take; he knew that the shortest route will be full of puddles and that would mess up his Suede shoes. He had no choice but to take the longer path to school.

Arnold picked up his pace to reach his destination. He had gotten out of Lemmings road and he was fast approaching Terry Lane.

“Old Terry Park” the sign read.

Arnold walked swiftly into the park. The leaves on the sturdy oak trees were swaying back and forth violently to the strong winds. In the distance, Arnold could see a petite lady picking up her pace as the leaves began to fall. Droplets of rainwater pelted like razor-pointed katanas landed hard on Arnold’s umbrella. He too picked up the pace to have a look at the lady.

“Why is that girl all alone here, I wonder who she is?” Arnold thought to himself.

A strong gust of wind blew Arnold off balance and he lost grip of his file. The notes weren’t attached to his file. It broke open and the notes on his file flew with the wind. Arnold fumbled; he threw his umbrella away and waved his arms aggressively in the air to retrieve his notes back. The notes flew past a row of daisies and into river Terry. He looked on as his notes drifted slowly away from him.

“Heck it, I’m never gonna get them back!” Arnold shouted in anguish.

Arnold turned his attention to the winding road in front of him. He dragged his feet and picked up his umbrella off the ground. Rainwater was dripping freely off his drenched shirt. He opened his umbrella and walked slowly to school. He looked around and saw no one in the park except for himself.

“She’s gone” Arnold muttered to himself.

Arnold walked out of the park. His school was in sight.

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©Anuar Tahir. The story is the work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.

Crossing On A Thin Line

Crossing On A Thin Line

by Anuar Tahir

Chapter 2: The Calm Before the Storm

An invigorating aroma from a piping hot cup of steamed milk permeated Arnold’s lifeless and cold bachelor’s room. There were towering stacks of books; namely theoretical books such as “Take Command” by Kelly Perdew. His old brown journal and exercise books were strewn across the four corners of his messy room.

His mother; Zoey had reminded him umpteen times to get his act together by cleaning his room like a real man should. She stared at Arnold who had his laptop switched on the whole night. He had slept in front of his laptop as the words “Genesis” caught Zoey’s attention. She sighed heavily and left the room with the hot drink in his room.

“Always with his science and logic….he should wake up anytime now” Zoey thought to herself as she closed to door.

Dawn was approaching. It was still dark.

“Look I have to go now. Thank you Arnold” Eynn walked away from the alley in a hurry

“Wait! Can we meet aga..” Arnold let out a soft whisper as he felt something pull him away.

By now the torrential rain has stopped. The tattered-clothed beggars in the district hurriedly picked spots in the old Terry Park to receive sympathy from onlookers. The distinctive brown wooden benches, the old pine trees and the dazzling array of colorful daisies made it one of the best tourist hot spot in South Westminster.

Eynn sat down on a worn-out bench in her bright yellow office wear. She loved that spot; it was situated between two old pine trees and the daises were in full bloom most of the time. It was where her boyfriend proposed to her 4 years ago. Eynn was reading a book as she was patiently waiting for her boyfriend to meet and send her to work.

“Where is he now?” She looked at her watch and her phone vibrated in her black Chanel bag.

“Sorry darling, I cannot make it today. I have to attend a very important meeting in the morning. You go ahead first ok?” she scrolled the message down on her piano black iPhone4.

“Sure. I’ll go first then” She gave a fast reply to her boyfriend.

Eynn let out a disappointed sigh and placed her book inside her bag. It was not the first time her boyfriend did this to her.

“Might as well walk slowly then. I’m still early for work.” Eynn walked off slowly to admire the scenery. She plucked one pink daisy to cheer herself up.

The sun was up. It was morning.

Arnold was still asleep in his disorganized and messy room. His mum had left for work and the steamed milk was still hot.

“Can we meet again!?” Arnold stretched out his hand trying to reach Eynn. He felt something pulled him back from the reverie. He was dreaming.

“Oh crap!” Arnold shouted in angst.

The steamed milk had spilled all over his theoretical notes on “The Machiavellian Moment” The notes were important to him. He had been using the notes as references to write his thesis. Arnold had his eyes locked on his batman watch; it read 7.45am. He gathered all his notes and shut down his computer as fast as he could.

“I’m late! I’m sure this will be the last straw for me” Thoughts swirled in Arnold’s mind as he tried to dry his notes.

Arnold quickly grabbed his mum’s hairdryer to dry the notes clean. He placed the hairdryer adjacently to his notes; to dry it without his supervision. He took his towel and zoomed straight to the toilet. He had no time left to waste.

Arnold had forgotten to switch on his water heater. The cold water trickled down his small-framed body and he shivered violently. He can never take cold baths in the morning or else he’ll get a mild hyperthermia. He washed himself up and didn’t have the luxury to spend any more time longer in the bathroom. He took no longer than a minute to brush his teeth. It was a record for him. No less than ten minutes and he was done.

Arnold went back to his room to check on his notes.

“Great! At least I can continue using them. I’m sure go get an extra long lecture on being late by Mr Jenkins” Arnold saw an angry bearded man with his arms in akimbo looking down at him in his imagination.

Mr Jenkins was a respected lecturer in Dunston High. Arnold had no choice but to face the music sooner or later. He took his black sling bag and stuffed his laptop, notes and a Davidoff perfume in it. He took a good look of himself on the full-body mirror. He was ready for another day at school.

“First, it was that incident in the alley. Then there was the weird dream. Now I’m going to be grilled dead” Arnold thought of a million ways on how his lecturer will do to him later in school.

He drank whatever that’s left of the steamed milk, took the house keys along and left the house for school.

“Wish me luck!” Arnold wished himself to face a great day ahead of him.

©Anuar Tahir. The story is the work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.

Download the PDF version here. Remember to click “save as” or “save link as”

Crossing On A Thin Line

Crossing On A Thin Line

by Anuar Tahir

Chapter 1: Maelstrom

The south Westminster district was filled with a familiar cry of anguish. Beggars filled the streets. A scruffy-looking old man in his sixties with a tattered red and black blanket warmed his frail body. Beside him, a young girl in a grey worn-out sweater cuddled beside the old man. She wailed at the top of her small lungs as she shivered under the coldness of the night. The night was relentless. It was raining heavily.

Amongst the deafening thunders and cold shivers, a young man pondered about the meaning of life. Sitting on a desk chair with his ivory laptop on his desk, Arnold typed out a 2000-word long thesis. He had been writing it down for the past 3 days and the rain wasn’t helping him. He twirled his pen around and dropped it on the dark parquet flooring. As he tried to pick it up, he saw a crushed note below his desk.

He unfolded the note and read…

“From Jane.  I have fallen in love with you. Please give me a chance to be with you. I’d give you my life, my body, everything you wish dear”.

Arnold cringed and crushed the paper back to its original form. He hadn’t had the time to entertain measly distractions of life such as love.  He has vagaries of his own perception on subjects that touch matters of the heart.

The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love” Arnold thought to himself as he typed his thesis on “Genesis” furiously.

Arnold was given the task to write a thesis that encompassed what it was like being human. He was on a stumbling block; he cannot find a suitable argument to support an idea on love.

“It’s a logical fallacy” Arnold thought.

He tried to get the idea of out of his head and just focus on finishing his work. He had to hand in his thesis to his lecturer by school’s end this year.

“Remember, remember the 5th of November” he looked at his calendar intently.

He switched his gaze to his black batman watch; a treasured birthday gift that was given by his dad 10 years ago. “11.11pm” it showed.

“I am a man of reason; of logic and rationality. In order to succeed in life, I would need those principles. I don’t have to think of feeble things such as love, hope and fate. It is all bullshit” Arnold re-affirmed his views on life as he thought of his idol; Bruce Wayne/Batman. He was the fictional man who helped shaped Arnold be what he is now. __________________________________________________________________________________

Across Arnold’s block, a petite girl with a black-brownish hair walked out of a convenience stall. The rain continued to pour heavily. She took out her pink polka-dotted umbrella to shield herself from the rain. As she walked on the concrete pavement, she saw a young girl with and old man cuddling one another. Her heart sank. She approached the couple and handed two bars of chocolate Éclair to the young girl and the old man.

Unbeknownst to the petite girl, a hooded man with a knife in his hands crept up slowly to her. The young girl screamed loudly to warn the danger that loomed.

Arnold heard the scream and looked out of his window. He scanned around to pin-point the exact source of the scream. A few years in military school taught Arnold some basic survival instincts and he has developed a good sensory of perception of his surroundings. He saved his work and closed the lid on his laptop. He left his apartment and donned on his poncho.

The petite girl knew something terrible was about to happen. She turned behind and saw the man who could take her life away.

Arnold was drenched in cold rain as he ran blindly by instinct towards the source of the scream. As he approached a dark alley, he heard a muffled sound. He tried his best to remain silent. The old man and the young girl saw Arnold. The hooded man had his hand clasped on the petite girl’s mouth.

“Do not make any sound and I will spare you your life, just give me whatever you have in your bag” the hooded man spoke softly in the petite girl’s ears and licked it.

The petite girl flinched and tried to remove whatever she can find in her bag.  As she was rummaging her bag, a photo of her boyfriend dropped on the floor. All she could do now was to think of her boyfriend.

Arnold hid behind a big green trash box and devised a plan to save the girl. “I can use the stealth approach and take him out slowly but that would require co-operation of the young girl and the old man” Arnold thought to himself.

Arnold placed his fingers on his lips and winked to the couple. The couple nodded ever so slightly in unison to assure that they understood Arnold’s gesture.  Arnold had his hands ready for a counter-attack. All Arnold wanted to do now is to execute his plan. Any deviation and it’ll spell trouble. He knew all too well to stick to plans.

“Let’s do this” Arnold re-assured himself

Arnold position himself to execute a sweeping kick on the hooded man’s scrawny legs. He had his hands ready to grab the knife away from the assailant.

The petite girl tensed. She couldn’t take it anymore.

Arnold did a sweeping kick across the assailant’s legs and grabbed the weapon as fast as he could.

“You son of a bitch! What the hell are you doing?”The assailant shouted.

“Doing the right thing” Arnold whispered.

The assailant fell to his knees and Arnold planted a devastating blow on his face. It knocked the living daylights out of the assailant. The assailant had his back faced outwards and his legs were spread apart. Arnold called the police. He did not want the assailant to suffer the coldness of the night alone. He knew how it feels to be alone.

Arnold scanned around and saw the mess around them. Both of them collected the petite girl’s items and looked into each other’s eyes.

“Here you go” Arnold picked up the items and quickly returned them to the petite girl before it got wet any further.

He passed the items to the petite girl and looked into each other’s eyes.

“I bet this is your most treasured possession” Arnold passed the picture of a handsome man to her.

“Yes it is, thank you” the petite girl replied.

“I’m Arnold, May i know what your name is?” Arnold asked

“Eynn” Eynn smiled.

The old man and the young girl had their mouths agape to see how calm the two strangers were after what had happened. They expressed their gratitude to Arnold by thanking him. Arnold offered the couple to stay in his apartment for the night but they refused. Arnold couldn’t bear to watch both of them shiver and tremble in the darkness. He removed his poncho and gave it to the young girl.

Arnold turned around and looked at Eynn. Her demure look gave Arnold an impression that she was traumatized by the nightmare. She was beautiful as the moon. Arnold couldn’t help but look at her sparkling almond-shaped eyes.

“Well then, it’s getting late. I think we should get going now.” Arnold said.

“Yes we should” Eynn said.

“Till we meet again?” Eynn and Arnold spoke those exact words at the same time.

“Yea…wait” Eynn picked up her ringing phone.

“Look, i have to go now. Thank you Arnold” Eynn walked away from the alley in a hurry.

Arnold had the urge to know more about her somehow. The thesis was still in Arnold’s mind. Both of them made their way back. The rain subsided. The old man and the young girl slept peacefully under the shine of the moon.

“What a night…” Arnold thought to himself

The maelstrom was over.

©Anuar Tahir. The story is a work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.

Download the PDF version here. Note: Right-click and “Save-target As” or “Save Link”