We will never be ready for this.

“Oh Alice … we were not ready for this!”

My greatest frustration lately is the words, “Oh Alice … we were not ready for this!”

When asked where I come from, the response is almost always the same, “Wow! Lucky you! What a beautiful country! What lovely people!” or “Oh, that’s where Nelson Mandela won his struggle for freedom.” But the response I get all the time is, “What a pleasure to meet someone from a country that has overcome apartheid.

I am always stunned by the reality that nobody really knows much about South Africa. Actually, I am flabbergasted and slightly disgusted. I so desperately want to blurt out that we have yet to overcome apartheid – we haven’t, but for the players that have changed.

And then it happens; I want the world to know. I want this sweet grandpa standing in front of me to know. I want the lady who has just asked me to sign a book, to know all about the barbaric and sadistic killings of the minority in South Africa.

Quite often, I am nudged and signalled to pick my words carefully, and not say too much. It’s upsetting, they say. People can’t digest such cruelty, they say. People just aren’t ready, they say.

But, I can’t keep quiet and once they have formed a picture of the heartless and evil killings of white South Africans, they stare at me in disbelief and shockingly utter the words, “Oh Alice … we were not ready for this” before they hastily excuse themselves and head out in the opposite direction, afraid that they might “catch the killings” – as though it is contagious. As though it will now invade their lives.

“Wait. What? You were not ready for this?”

How do I tell them that we weren’t ready for this either? How do I explain that those tortured and murdered weren’t ready for their worst, but living nightmares? That father whose eyelids were removed, forcing him to watch his wife and daughter raped, wasn’t ready for this either. The mother, who listened to the screams of her daughter being brutally gang-raped and the choking sounds a little boy made while boiling water was poured down his throat, wasn’t ready for any of this.

How do I tell them that nobody is ever ready for any of this, yet, WE are forced to live this. How do I get them to understand that when four or eight attackers burst through the windows and doors of a home, there is no negotiating; there is no postponing or re-scheduling an attack on them. There is no option to walk away. There is never an opportunity to inform their attackers that they “are just not ready for this.

How do I tell them that the scenes they play out in their minds can barely compare to the reality these families were forced to endure, before they ultimately die at the hands of evil? How can they understand that not one name on those crosses in a field in South Africa was ever ready to come face to face with the devil?

That little boy drowning in boiling water wasn’t ready for this. The mother of a 9-year-old princess wasn’t ready to hear her daughter’s screams while she was being chased and hunted through the corridors of her own home by her very own bogeymen. When a 2-year-old little girl is picked up by her blood-soaked feet after witnessing the brutal slayings of her parents; when she is held up by her beautiful red locks, shot through her head and tossed into a box, she wasn’t ready for this either. When a young lady in the prime of her life pulls off to the side of the road on a busy highway to change a flat tyre, she certainly wasn’t ready for her attackers that came out of nowhere and snubbed out her life.

So, while the world sleeps without having to check their doors and windows over and over again each night; while the rest of the world tosses and turns about their plans for the next day; perhaps looking forward to a planned holiday, or reminding themselves to schedule a meeting later in the week; maybe quickly working on a budget for a new car while choosing a school for their youngest or considering a college for their eldest, someone in South Africa is facing their greatest fear and they are not ready for the evil the darkness brings into their home.

Somewhere in the darkest of the night, a little boy is listening to his mother begging for the lives of her children. A little girl is desperate for her daddy to save them. A mother is trying to put on a brave face while she knows she is moments away from taking her last breath. A father, desperate to fight off their attackers and save his family is confronted with a dark, demoralizing reality; he is failing his family. It isn’t a fair fight. It isn’t his fault. It will never be his fault but still, they weren’t ready for this.

Nobody will ever be ready for this.

So, instead of walking away from the stories you aren’t ready to hear, consider those that weren’t ready to live it.

Much love,

Alice VL

A Message From South Africa

I remember watching a broadcast from Steve Hofmeyr a year or so ago wherein he addresses the world and speaks of South Africa as being the rape capital of the world. I remember him saying something to the effect of, “What would you do when you wake up as the minority in your own country?

I shook my head and thought that THAT would never happen. It couldn’t. The world isn’t stupid. They would see it coming and have a plan in place to prevent an imminent disaster. Isn’t it?

But then, it hit me right between the eyes; we aren’t stupid either. South Africans aren’t ignorant or stupid. What we are is a nation with big hearts and plenty of love willing to make room for all. What we are, is a tribe who didn’t see this betrayal coming! The minority in South Africa could never have predicted the slow progression of genocide that was implemented right under our noses in the early 90’s.

We were so seduced by Nelson Mandela and his promises of freedom; equality and a rainbow nation that we failed to see the disaster that began threatening our very existence over a period of 25+ years. We were intrigued by the newly-released Nelson Mandela who swore that there would be no more fighting and no vengeance by whatever the sins of our forefathers were. There would be no more hatred.

Yet, here we are. 2019. We are facing extinction. Our tribe is dying. We are persecuted. Murdered. We are excluded from the job market, schools, universities, health care and sports only to name but a few. We are hated. Loathed. Targeted. Blamed. Branded thieves and second-class humans. We are being held responsible for things that are claimed to have happened, but have never been proved. We are resented for the implementation of apartheid by the British – yet, abolished by the Boer. We are threatened and we wait for these threats to be carried out. All this is allowed simply because we are white. WE ARE WHITE.

We wait. Our weapons meant to defend ourselves, have been taken away. We wait. Our homes are infiltrated by attackers seeking to eradicate our very existence. We wait. Our police or military can’t and won’t protect us. We wait. No other country offers ALL minority citizens of South Africa a safe place and one more last chance. We wait. Countries are not yet ready to acknowledge that we are facing genocide. Didn’t the entire world have a hand in this?

Our president is silent, yet – he excuses the hatred spewed by the majority against the minority. He lies about land grabs, expropriation and the murders of white South Africans to the rest of the world. Not once has he spoken out against all the anti-white laws crippling white South Africans. Not once has he condemned the cruel and barbaric aggression towards white South Africans. Not once has he admitted that he and his predecessors have failed not only the white South Africans; but ALL South Africans. Not once has he condemned the hatred and incitement of murder through so-called struggle songs. Not once has he posed as president of South Africa but rather, as president of the ANC and enforces the ANC law.

I watch as US President Donald Trump is slammed and blasted for desperately wanting to protect America’s borders and port of entries. I watch as he is humiliated around every turn and corner when he speaks so passionately about building the wall to prevent unfavourable immigrants from making their way into a beautiful and flourishing country. I am flabbergasted by those who fight him on border control. Why does this horrify me so? Because, if South Africa had stricter border security and control, we would never have found ourselves in the position we are in right now.

Descendants from North African migrants are now in power despite the fact that the settlers negotiated, traded and paid for the privilege of settling in South Africa. Two wars were fought for that privilege. Migrants from North Africa flocked in and have taken control of our country and right now, they dominate through corruption, murder and hatred.

These are the people that should have been kept out. These are the people that have stolen our taxes, our mines, our municipalities, our schools, our law enforcement, our military, our hospitals and all that was once supreme in this country. These are the people calling for our slaughter. These are the people killing the old, raping our babies, torturing our women and children while cutting away the eyelids of our men so that they can watch unbearable cruelty before ultimately, killing them. These are the people that have infested our beautiful South Africa while destroying our heritage, culture and all that once made South Africa great!

Yes. You too could wake up a minority in your country someday and you won’t even see it coming. Build those walls. Enforce border security and wear your coat of white proudly – it isn’t shameful. Not everyone you give a home to, has good intentions. May South Africa serve as a reminder to all those opposing a president frantic to protect his country and his people.

If you cannot learn from these very expensive mistakes, someday – your history won’t matter and will be stripped from your schools and libraries; where generations from now will never know the true events of your country. The wars you once fought for the freedom of your people will mean nothing – as though it never happened. You will be nothing. Your life won’t matter and that of your family’s, won’t count.

You will face daily protests, rapes, murders, torturing and beatings. You will no longer be able to provide for your family and you will find yourselves in patched-together squatter camps. Your education system will fail. Your health care will fail. Your freedom will be lost. Food will become unaffordable. You will be confined to the four walls of your home. You will be hijacked on your highways and roads. Your teachers will be assaulted by the youngest of students. The old and fragile will be mercilessly assaulted and your babies will be raped just because they are white.

And while all this is happening … the world won’t do much of anything.

With love,

Alice VL

The Photograph

She keeps a photograph of him hidden behind another, in an album she buries deep in the back of her closet. What was once just another ordinary photograph, has turned into a token of validation for her, as the years passed her by. It was a reminder of a man and a moment, she should have disregarded, and left tucked away in the past. A simple photograph that wonderfully freezes time for her, and distances the voices around her whenever she looks at it.

A photograph she tells no-one of, but holds to value above all the treasures in the world.She fits in right amongst us, and mostly, she goes unnoticed. There is nothing spectacular, unusual or bizarre about her. She goes about her day to day life as any mother and wife would, she invites her friends over for coffee, or she runs her errands just as any other person would. She kisses her man when he leaves for work each morning, and she waves the children goodbye, as they rush off to school. If you saw her, you would never know about the photograph that she keeps hidden and buried, in her closet.

You will never know that every once in a while, when she is alone with her thoughts, when nobody calls for her and nobody needs her, she closes her bedroom door, and carefully takes out the album, where that photograph of him is kept under a shroud of secrecy.

The corners of the photograph are beginning to fray, and the ageing ink is beginning to fade. There is evidence that the photograph was once torn in resentment or fury, or perhaps while overwhelmed by the shatters of a broken heart. If you turn it over, you will notice how it was then desperately glued and taped back together. You are sure that the wrinkles and folds on that photograph, was because it was once crumpled, and impulsively banished into a waste bin. If you look closely, you’ll see stains you’d swear, are from teardrops that once fell onto it.She slowly and carefully traces his face, as he looks back at her.

She gazes into the eyes, that looked back at her a thousand times before. In his eyes, she finds a million stories, and each time she joins him in that photograph, she sees something different. Sometimes, there are stories of pain, suffering and sadness. And at other times, there are stories of uncertainty, confusion, fear, frustration and desperation. But mostly, his eyes let her know of the love there was once for her, and only for her. When her eyes trail down to his mouth, she achingly touches them, and she smiles sadly, as though she can feel them at her fingertips. She can’t stop her bottom lip from quivering, when she remembers how his lips felt against hers, almost a lifetime ago.

She remembers the way they kissed her, and she can once more, hear their messages to her heart.Her eyes begin to scrutinize every inch of his face, and when they detect that all-too-familiar dimple around his mouth just below his cheek, she beams when she remembers how he once, laughed from the very hub of his stomach. She remembers how it would begin with a smile and a frown all at the same time. And … almost as though a countdown to an explosion begins, he would erupt into a laughter that could silence the entire world, as they search for the happiest and most beautiful sound in the biosphere. She pauses when her eyes rests on his hair. She gazes with sadness at his dark, not quite black hair that is wildly blowing in the wind, and she remembers how he used to run his fingers through them when they argued. She remembers how he used to sit while deep in thought with his elbows rested on his knees, and twirl a lock of his own hair with his index finger.

For a few moments, that photograph of him reminds her of love. An honest, crazy and mad kind of love she thought, she would know forever. That photograph is what tells her where and when she was introduced to a kind of love, she never thought she would find. It was a love that trapped her beneath his eyes, and kept her from seeing others around her. It is a photograph of a man she knows she willmiss, for the remainder of her life. A photograph of a place and a time where fairy-tales were real, and butterflies lived inside of her.When that photograph quietens her heartache yet again, she slides it back behind another one.

Her eyes begin to sparkle, and as a lost tear rolls down her cheek, she whispers how her heart misses his. She once again, hides the album in the darkest corner of her closet, before she returns to the chaos of the world around her. There where there are no traces of him or the moment they were oncespellbound in. A photograph she clings to, because it shows her the proof that he was once real, even though their moment was fleeting. It gives her the proof she needs, to know that he loved her madly, and that their love was once captured and would remain timeless, and ready for her to evoke, whenever she wanted to.



She Searches For His Soul In Someone Else’s Body

She walks the streets at night as though she’s a queen but all she rules is a dark and murky empire; stale tobacco smoke that fills the air, stains on the bar counter and stools reserved for the lonely. When she takes her seat on her throne, her wine glass becomes her magical wand. Each night she arrives just as the darkest of the night sets in; dressed in a silky dress, sparkling jewels and shoes that are slightly frayed.

All night long, men flock around her hoping to win her hand and her body as prize for the loneliest of hearts. But, as she swallows back on her wine before she points to the winner, they can’t know the many roads she has travelled on or the many paths she has wandered along to find his soul in someone else’s body. They can’t know that she was once just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary world.

As they gather around her, she gazes curiously into their eyes, eager to find him there. She searches for a sign, a smile, a frown; she desperately hunts for anything to tell her that she has finally found his soul in someone else’s body. In this world, his skin can no longer press against hers. He can no longer run his fingers lovingly over her hand. He can no longer touch her neck or place a hand on her back, overcome with a burning desire for her.

There is no beginning and no end for him anymore. With each touch her on her face, she could feel his warmth seep over into her. Without saying a word, he would comfort her. She belonged to him and he belonged to her. Each time he would step out from the shadows, he stole her breath and he embezzled the warmth of her skin. She could barely breathe in just enough air each time he placed his arms around her. And, as his hands would fold around her back, he would draw her in closer. 

So, she lets the strangers of the night touch her and hold her as she tries to find his soul in someone else’s body. As she frantically searches for a sign of unknowing confusion in their eyes, she tries to breathe him in and smell the familiarity of him. She feels their lips press against hers, and when her tears scold her for her carelessness, she realizes they aren’t the lips her heart is dying for.
From the shadowy darkness, she can almost hear his voice reprimanding her. She closes her eyes for a moment and evokes his once-familiar face illuminated by the flickering lights as her emotions turn from near-elation to utter horror. She steps back and with a faltering voice and unintelligible croak, she whispers that she just can’t find him.

Suspended by grief, she stares at the stranger’s face in front of her. He isn’t the one in the picture she keeps beside her bed; her heart doesn’t recognize him. The stranger stares back at her and frowns; mystified by the confusion she is trapped in. He is sure that the pain in her eyes must be the ruins of a lifetime of dread. He lowers his head, suddenly fraught to reach the scars of her heart and spend one night with her as he walks with her in her pain. Her suffering reminds him of a teddy bear formed from shards of glass. He looks up at her again, and realizes that the tighter she clings to it, the deeper it cuts her. Before he walks away from her, he hopes that someday she will swap her razor sharp teddy bear for a softer, warmer one that will keep her warm and cosy under the stars.

As she watches him leave, she is beleaguered by the reality that each moment spent with her love had turned into nothing more than painful memories; sharp and unforgiving as it cuts right through her soul each time she thinks of him. His leaving pierced her soul and stripped her of the ability to celebrate their memories; memories she had become deathly afraid of. A broken mess is all he had left her with and as a picture of his face flashes before her, she wants to scream out in unbearable pain.

Her life is no longer her favourite book; instead she’s sure that someone else’s story has spilled over into hers and she is left to simply play her part as though there is no greater meaning anymore.

When the night is over and the men have left her kingdom, she knows that she’s still searching for his soul in someone else’s body. She crawls into her big, empty bed, tired of trying to fill the void he had left her with. She pulls her knees to her chest and clings to the pillow beside her. She no longer wants to face another day without him. She no longer wants to live with herself or the extremes she goes to, to find his soul in someone else’s body. She no longer wants to be haunted by the memories of him swirling around inside her head.

To the world, she is average and purposeless. They see the Queen of the night as she wins the favour of the lonely. But all she is, is a splintered soul desperate to find the missing parts of her. All she needs is the warmth of his breath as he whispers in her ear. All she asks is for the eyes she’s looked into a hundred times before, to be returned to her.

He had figured out his heart long before long before she could ever set her own. Without him, her life had become nothing more than a blur. If only he could see how broken she was without him.

Her story had changed. Her normal had been altered and her extraordinary had left her crushed and alone in a world he no longer has a connection to. How does she go on without him, when her love for him penetrates through time and distance? Or, has it simply raised the vibration in her longing for him?
She awakes each morning, distraught and deeply wounded by the brutality of the universe. She feels betrayed when she considers their unfinished love, their fragmentary life and their incomplete story. His absence profoundly incapacitates her. Her dreams cling to her like shrapnel while she walks around feeling numb, empty and lost.

She has become the pain she feels. Each day, it reveals the pieces of her that are shattered as it slowly strips away all that she once was. She wakes up feeling robbed; as though something irreplaceably valuable had been stolen from her. She feels as though her body is being torn into pieces when the pain becomes dreadfully physical. With each step forward, she crashes into the soreness that has become the most heart-wrenching loss of her life.

He is gone. The better part of her had left. They couple they were was gone forever and it left her feeling dazed and insecure. She didn’t want to face the future without him. She was inadequate without him while overcome with loneliness.

Each night, she goes looking for a safe haven as she continues to mourn him. It is the driving force that keeps her locked away in her grief, and unable to breathe without a dagger piercing through her heart. She climbs the bus to her murky kingdom with exhilaration while the sense of danger engulfs her. Perhaps tonight she will find him again. Perhaps he will be there waiting for her as the sounds of the piano drowns out the noises of the lonely when she walks in.

She knows that the memories of her nights are formed each night and would come back to haunt her for years to come. She had seen things; she had done things that had revolted and shocked her; things that would follow her for the rest of her life and ultimately leave her with so much more pain. There would be no escape from the agony and she would accept the torment as punishment for all she had done in her quest to find him.

Perhaps tonight it will be his eyes she sees, his touch she feels and his warm breath on her. Perhaps, when the night is over, she could kick off her shoes and hang up her dress forever. Perhaps, after tonight, she will no longer search for his soul in someone else’s body. Perhaps tonight, her search will be over.

The Prayer In The Red Balloon

She held onto the string that carefully secured and tied the red balloon she had slipped a note into only moments before she had filled it with kisses of air and hugs of love. A gentle breeze had begun to blow when she looked up into the overcast, cloudy sky. She waited for the sun to set just a little more, and she waited for a gust of wind to sweep in just as the sun was about to say goodnight.

Her timing had to be flawless. Her prayer in the red balloon was important.As the wind began howling around her, she smiled up at the balloon before she released it into the almost dark skies. She prayed that it would reach Heaven safely as it begun its journey of a thousand tears. She watched it go higher and higher, until she could no longer see her red balloon, and the heart it was carrying. She closed her eyes, and asked God to keep a lookout for a delivery, for the man she was sending a prayer and a million hugs to. In her note, she asked God to tell him that she could never have known that their last night would be their last walk in the rain.

She said that if only she had known, she’d keep him out in the storm for a few hours more, while she held his hand tighter as though it was a life line to his heart. She said that if only she had known she would never hear his voice again, she’d listen more attentively to each word he had ever said to her. She told Him that lately, on the loneliest of nights, she hears him, and she keeps his voice and his words alive in her mind.She asked God to tell him that he was her greatest treasure and that she now sees how he so passionately loved her.

As a tear fell onto her prayer, she told God that she never thought he would leave. She never thought he would swap their world for Heaven, but that she was sure he’d always be there, with her, and until the end of time. She asked God to tell him how sorry she was that she had turned her head for just a moment, before he quietly and unexpectedly, slipped away into the next world. She said that if only she had known that it would be her last night by his side, she would plead and beg to stop the morning light and rather, linger in the darkness with him forever. She would give up on the sun, the birds and the beauty of her days, to live with him in one long night until she could leave with him.

She said that all she wanted was to see was his smile and pay closer attention to how he used to look into her eyes. She missed him in the mornings, and by the time the stars were out at night, the ache in her heart would debilitate and cripple her.Before signing off her prayer, she told Gold how she prays He will give her love the red balloon, but that He be careful when He opens it. She said she tried to fit in all the hugs and all the kisses she had missed in the days that followed his leaving, and those she would miss in the days that were to come. She said that she was not yet ready to say goodbye, and that there were still so many things she wished she had told him. She said that it was hard to hold back the tears, when she thought of the precious years she had spent in bliss with him.

The same tears that would silence her when she thought of the years to come that she would spend without him. She wrote that there was nothing in the world she wouldn’t give, just to see his face and hold his hand, even only one more time. She asked God if they could spend just one more day together, even though it was against the rules. She said that her life would just never be the same, and she needed just a little more time. She told God that she needed to catch her breath, and lift the weight from her heart, even for just a moment. She said that if He could just look into her heart, and see how broken it was, He might consider giving her five more minutes with him. She promised Him that she would tell nobody, and that no-one would see. Just this once. Just for her. Just to survive. Just to feel something other than excruciating soul and heartbreak.

She told Him that her soul was in so much pain, and that breathing hurt with each breath she took. She said that she was struggling to pick up the pieces, and she asked God to show her, and teach her how to live out the rest of her life, without him, because she didn’t want to.She wondered for a moment whether he was ready to leave, and whether he was ready to let her go. She wondered if he had perhaps, negotiated with God as she had. She wondered for just a moment, if the stars hadn’t perhaps, made a mistake. She wanted to ask God to check his paperwork, perhaps an Angel had gotten the address, and the name wrong. Perhaps it was as simple as their clock that was set wrong, and perhaps, their timing was just totally off. She wanted to know the name of the Angel that so carelessly and mercilessly destroyed her heart, and she wanted to ask God to check, because it just could not be.

It had to be a mistake. It had to be the wrong soul. It had to be the wrong time. Was the Angel perhaps there for the previous tenant? There was no prior warning, no indication and nothing to say that an Angel was on his way to their home. There was not enough time. She needed more time. She needed him to have more time. Her heart needed more of him. Her soul needed his. For more. For longer. She wanted to whisper in God’s ear that if it was a mistake, she would never tell anyone if He would just bring her love back to her. She wouldn’t tell a soul, and she would never say a word. As though it had never happened, she would simply live out the rest of her days quietly with him.Instead, she asked God again to carefully open the red balloon, and hand her shattered heart over to her love, because she knows His Angels follow His plans flawlessly.

For Her Broken Heart

She could hardly pin-point how they got to where they were. There were no angry words, and there were no moments of uncomfortable or awkward silences. There were no mysterious late nights, and there was no tell-tale lipstick on his collar or hidden love letters in his pockets. Yet, there they were, carrying boxes down the hall and out to his truck, while carefully loading them one by one. There was nothing much to say about anything. There was nothing at all to understand where it all went wrong and how it all began.

Like old friends, they said a final goodbye to each other, and as he drove away, she loitered for just a moment longer as she watched his tail lights disappear into the night.She reluctantly walked back inside, and rushed into their bedroom. She stared at the big, lonely bed and she gazed into his now empty closet. She took his pillow and held it against her. She stood still, as she smelled him into her soul, afraid that not too far from that very moment, she might forget the odor of his skin. She placed his pillow back on their bed, before she walked out and laid down on her couch instead. As she had done on so many nights before, she prayed for him and she prayed for her. She prayed for their “them.”

She was not quite sure how her life would go on without him, and she feared her meetings with her mornings. She couldn’t even be sure that she’d survive the stormy, untaught nights without him. She laid quietly as she listened to the cars that continued to mow down the streets. She hears the friendly, habitual chatter of her neighbors. In the distance, children are squealing and dogs are barking, just as they always do. “It was true,” she whispered through the tears that had begun to roll carelessly from her eyes, “The world did not stop for my broken heart.”She glanced over at the clock against the wall, and was disappointed that it had continued to tick.

She could not quite figure out how it had not lost even a second, and how perfectly set it had remained. If it had told her that it was ten minutes earlier, or five minutes later, she would know that the grand-master of time had felt it too, and that it had been affected by her broken heart just as much. She felt betrayed by her clock, and she felt annoyance for the world who was supposed to become immobile for just for a moment, and commiserate with her broken heart. She listened to a song that was softly playing on a radio in the background. She wondered how it couldn’t sense her immense soreness. She wanted to take it into her hands and hurl it against the wall, shattering it into a thousand pieces.

How dare it continue playing sweet love songs, and mislead one more heart as it makes empty promises of love. As she tried to put her scattered thoughts in place, she cried herself to sleep.She awoke before dawn with red and distended eyes. She was sure that she was hung-over from the effects of her broken heart. With all the strength she could gather, she turned off the radio and stumbled over to her coffee pot. She poured herself a quick cup, and as she stood staring blankly out in front of her, she realized once more, that a cup of coffee alone, was one of the many firsts she would have to face in her world, without him. She thought about how much smaller her laundry basket would be, and how dinner for one would be nothing more than a frozen meal, without him.

For, her broken heart had turned into just another number, in a world polluted with lost loves. For her broken heart, the world did not stop, and the universe refused to apologize. For her broken heart, people will not speak kinder words or tread gentler around her. For her broken heart, the trees will not keep their leaves in autumn, and the flowers will not continue to blossom in winter. For her broken heart, the earth would not move slightly off his axis, and the stars would not conjure up a new plan for her life, and bring her lost love back to her. Just for the survival of her broken heart, he won’t be coming home, and he won’t be putting all her crushed pieces back together.

The Dream-Maker

When she awoke that morning, she gazed at the disheartening reflection that was staring back at her in the mirror. A quick and hurried glimpse in the mirror was nothing new, she had done so on most mornings before. But, what was unlike any other morning, was that she had noticed how the circles around her eyes had become darker, and how the furrowed lines on her face had become clearer. It was almost as though the grey in her hair had streaked through undetected and appeared overnight, somewhere in between dusk and dawn. She noticed how the frown lines on her forehead were suddenly so deeply ingrained, and how the trenches around her mouth were unexpectedly, yet equally visible.

As she stood scrutinizing each line, each furrow and each grey hair, she realized that she was no longer sleeping securely in The Dream-Maker’s arms, and that she was no longer awake in someone else’s dream. He had changed her dreams, and he had taken her to places where her fears were waiting to meet her. Each night and without fail, his shadow of dreams would fall upon her as she lay asleep on her big, empty bed. As soon as she had closed her eyes, he would take her hand and cross the highways of fantasies and fancies with her, where he would carry her off to a magical world of wonder and enchantment.

He would fly her high above the clouds and through the starry skies, where they could almost touch the moon. He would steadily hold her hand as they stepped through the passages of time, and crossed all borders of universes and dimensions, just to take her to a magnificent, fairy tale-like world she could never dream up on her own. There, where no-one else was looking, and no-one else lived, she would find him, the one she had been dreaming of, for her entire life. His eyes would be filled with all the love he had for her, and his arms would safely fold around her. He would hold her snugly, almost as though he was reassuring her that he would never leave her. He would press her against him, as if he was promising her heart that his would dream of hers, each night of his life. They would sit side-by-side, and hand-in-hand. When the dream-angels would begin to play their harps, he would take her hand, and they would dance upon each star as she contentedly stroked his hair and inhaled the smell of his cologne, afraid that she might have forgotten it all by the time The Dream-Maker came around and picked her up to carry her back home again.

As she stood staring at the reflection of herself in the mirror, she could barely remember how long it had been since he had sent her that picture-perfect and flawless dream. A dream he had introduced her to, but one she was not yet quite ready to leave. As she staggers from her bed after a tormented night of nightmares morning after morning, she is again reminded of the harsh reality that she was never really equipped to leave her world of make-believe behind. The Dream-Maker had heartlessly changed her dream, and he had left her cruelly threatened by new scenes and new acts that she was never prepared for.As much as she clings to how things used to be, she is devastated by the fact that she was slowly disappearing from a life he had once carelessly created for her soul to love in. He had turned all that had once made it a welcomed escape for her nights, into a nightmare that he would carelessly drop her off in, whenever she closed her eyes.

She had begun losing the memory of him, and she no longer dreamed of being taken back into a world she so desperately wanted to belong in. She lays awake for as long as she can at night, too afraid to fall asleep. She has become deathly terrified of the sound her soul makes when it cries. The Dream-Maker had exposed her to a dream of untainted and devoted love. He never warned her that it would someday end, before he had transported her right into dreams of an immortal kind of love, where he taught her about an endless flame that burns between two souls only. He assured her of an eternity of bliss she could feel from the innermost core of her. He presented her with glimpses into a life she could slip out to whenever she closed her eyes. He took her into a dream with someone her soul had recognized and deeply needed, yet, he had ripped it away from her without a moment’s consideration.

He never once cautioned her that it could alter, and he never once told her how he could maliciously tip the scales in favor of a heartbreak.Yet, there she stood reflecting on a dream that had ended, while she struggled to embrace the nightmares that had taken its place. Her love was gone. He had disappeared from her nights, and he had vanished from her mornings. The Dream-Maker had rewritten it all, and in the process, he had broken her heart and he had stolen her flame from her. He had carelessly brought those lines to her face, and he had mercilessly plastered those circles around her eyes. She can no longer find him in the serenity of sleep, and she no longer hopes to find him when she awakes. He changed the design he had once allowed her to live in, and he had left her right in the center of the chaotic nightmares he had condemned her into. Almost as though he was punishing her; as though he was trying to play her heart and mind against one another.

Almost as though he had made an enormous mistake when he had chosen her destination all those nights ago. He would not admit to it, but she was sure that he was desperate to cover it all up. It was almost as if he was frantic to set things right, by sending her into nightmares that had begun to slaughter her heart and slay her soul.She no longer looks forward to closing her eyes at night. She no longer wants to take The Dream-Maker’s hand as he reaches for her night after night. He was never who he claimed to be, and her last stop before morning is no longer all he had once promised her it would be. He had lied to her and he had recklessly deceived her. She was no longer brave enough to follow him into her nightmares. She no longer wanted to fear closing her eyes, and she no longer wanted to fear opening them when the sun peers through and wakes her in her mornings.She scowled once more at her reflection in the mirror, before she softly whispered to The Dream-Maker,

If there could never be another dream for us, and if nightmares are all I am ever left with, then please do not let your shadow of dreams fall upon me as I lay asleep on my bed. Leave me to linger in my nothingness.

One Promise Too Late

She came home today. She couldn’t quite figure out how many sunrises she had missed, or how many sunsets there were since she had been gone. She came home today, just as she promised she would come back to when she was still a bright-eyed teenager with a million dreams, and a gazillion smiles in her heart. She came back to the village she left her soul in, just like she swore she would come back for someday. Just as soon as she had found her wonderful.

She came home today, to the village that had kept her heart safely tucked away in its palms since she left, almost a thousand moons ago. The village that had patiently watched her dream, and carefully guided her on all the roads she walked on, and led her to all the roads she would end up taking someday. The village that had finally raised her. She came home today to the houses she knew so well, the trees she had found shade in on so many scorching days, the school she had found family in, the people she adored and the children who had now all grown up.

She came home to a religion her village had passed on to her, from the very moment she was born. She was too young to understand, and not old enough to know that it would someday be the village, she would leave everything behind for … only, it would be one promise too late.She came home to the mountains that echoed the laughter that used to hang in the air as they climbed to the top, where they would sit together and watch the sun set over their village. It was almost as though a curtain to a stage was being drawn, and they … the audience.

She came home to the waves that continued to whisper their names as they crash heartlessly onto the shore, as though to remind her that her soul had remained behind, yet, it continued to linger somewhere in between the stars and the ocean. She came home to the streets that would still lead her to the place where her heart found a home all those moons ago. She came home to the trees that once blew endless messages of love into her ear, as she walked through the lanes. It was not that long ago that she left her village, and her love behind. It was not that long ago that she swore to him she would return, just as soon as she found her magnificent. She said that she would bring all her wonderful with her and she promised to share it with him someday. She vowed that she would never forget him, or the village that her roots were firmly planted in.

She asked him to wait for her, and she begged him to believe in her, and her promise.She thought that the city streets would be paved in gold and that the morning sun would be so bright. She thought that the city stars at night would perhaps, blind her. She thought that the nights would be shorter, and that her days would be warmer. She thought that she could get lost in the crowds of a thousand strangers on the city streets, as she quietly and inconspicuously, searches for her beautiful. She thought that she could become fabulous and be amazing before she goes home again, to the village that was keeping her roots watered. She thought that she could grow up and win her worth in the world, before she came home to her forever.But, how was she to know that her value was never found in her search for wonderful? How was she to know that her splendor would not mean much at all, and that her hunt would all be for nothing?

That it would end up being one promise too late? How was she to know that her glory was inside of her, all along? How could she ever have known that when she finally came home, she would come home to a hollowness she never thought she would feel in the village that once filled her with butterflies and bubbles? She came home today, just like she promised she would. She found her wonderful and she became extraordinary for him. She found all she had ever searched for, and all she thought she would ever need, but she came home … one promise too late. Coming home one promise too late, was never in her plans or her dreams. She never thought that he could leave. She never thought that her village would grow up and change just as they did. She never thought that the faces she once knew so well, would be gone from the only home they had ever known. She never thought that she would be welcomed by a whole lot of nothingness when she came home again.

She never thought that their village would become a total stranger to her, with strange new people and strange, new buildings. She never thought that the trees that were once a part of their religion, would be cold-heartedly cut down, and that their mountain would be covered by brand-new houses. She never thought that he would leave. She never thought she would be one promise too late.As she drove through the streets of the village that was still holding firmly onto her heart and her roots, she realized that she never needed to go in search of any kind of remarkable. She was already extraordinary for him. She never needed to hunt any kind of fabulous, he had already spotted that in her. Just like him, she came from the village with its own fairy-tales and enchantments, and that was all the wonderful they ever needed.She came home today, to discover that he had found his own kind of exquisite.

His very own fairy-tale, and his very precious wonderful. He had been talking to his Angel about new sunrises and brand-new sunsets. They had spoken about a place where he could see the sun come up again, and where the streets were paved in gold and lined with flowery blossoms. He had found his delight in the echoing of the moon, in the whispers of the stars, and in the drops of the rain. He had spoken to his Angel about finding a place where his soul could rest for a while, and where his heart could love forever. He asked about taking one final breath over here, and he whispered about taking another first one, over there. There, where his eyes can once again, see through the foggy mists that were blinding him over here. There, where his heart could be unbroken, and where he no longer had to wait for her to come home.

He asked his Angel to close his eyes, but not to let hers cry. He told His Angel that she always had to run, but that he just never really knew why? He said that sometimes, he could feel her fall entirely apart under their stormy skies, but that he just knew, she wouldn’t be home soon. He told his Angel that he could feel there had to be something more out there for him, and that he could sometimes, feel the thunder raging underneath his feet. He told his Angel that he was tired and could no longer fight. He said that he’d hate for her to see him so broken and defeated, and that they both knew it would be one battle he would lose. He asked his Angel, if it could perhaps be his turn to find his very own wonderful, away from their village and away from their world?His Angel said that it was alright, she would anyway be home, one promise too late.

The House Where Love Once Lived

She began to tremble slightly as she stood in the shade of an almost fifty-year-old oak tree and eyed the old white house on the hill. She felt a gentle breeze submerge her, before a mild shudder ran down her spine, almost as though it was welcoming her back, but at the same time, scolding her for being gone for far too long. She could have sworn that the old oak was much smaller when she used to stand at that very same spot and call out his name, not too long ago.

She could clearly remember how they carved their initials in that very same tree, and when she looked closely, she could see traces of what was once written and promised in the bark.Her eyes followed the trail that leads up the stairs, and onto the porch that wrapped itself around the entire house. He wouldn’t be home, but she had to return one last time. She had to come and ask for her soul back. She was ready to plead, beg and negotiate, so she opened the gate and walked up the path she had walked a million times before. She looked down and wondered if her footprints were perhaps burnt in somewhere underneath her, below a thousand others that walked the same pathway after her.

She wondered if the walls would remember her, and if the rose shrubs would perhaps recognize her after all these years? She beamed slightly when she saw the age-old garden swing, one she could barely remember not being there. Were they four, or were they five when they sat there together, for the very first time? Before she sat down, she gently pressed her hands down on the scuffed and worn swing. She couldn’t help but wonder if her hand prints were still hidden beneath his.The front door was closed, the windows were shut, and the curtains were all drawn. Almost as though it was defending and preserving the memories that were once there for the world to see. Almost as though it was shielding outsiders from the sacredness of a kind of love … that no longer lives there.

Her eyes caught the upstairs window to the bedroom right at the end of the hall. How often had she strolled down that passage and into that bedroom where he would be playing the guitar or waiting for her to do their homework. She wondered if those four walls ever whispered their stories to anyone else? Stories they were dreaming of when they were seven, eleven, fourteen or seventeen. How many secrets had they branded into the walls of that very same bedroom.

She looked over at the Fraser Fir she was sure seemed bigger when she was younger. Was that where her love for Christmas trees and their magic began? She frowned just a little when she remembered how his beloved dog was buried right below that beautiful tree, and how they both thought that he would live on in that very same tree, forever.She noticed the latch of a hallway window still broken. She grinned when she thought back to how it accidentally broke when he snuck out one night; he just had to see her before the morning light. He had to tell her to be still, and that everything will be alright. Before her nightmares closed in on her, he had to wrap his arms around her, and make her feel safe one more time.

They must have been nine or ten. She looked out over the town below the big, white house on the hill, and at once recognized the road they had walked each day, hand in hand. She wondered how often he sat there and watched her walk the same streets that lead to the house, where love once lived.She lowered her head, and replayed memories of what felt like a thousand years and a million heartbeats ago. She thought that if she could be there, where love once lived, she could conquer her brokenness and collect up all the ruins of her broken heart. She thought that if she could feel him once more, there where her love once lived, her crushed pieces would mend, and her heart would feel less numb.

She slowly made her way to the front door, and she wondered how many times she had knocked on that very same door? She was sure that if she listened closely, she might hear the sounds on the other side echo down the hallway, just as she had so many times before. She placed her ear against that heavy, wooden door when she was sure she could hear his laughter on the other side. She closed her eyes when she heard the ghosts of her past still run wild on the other side of those walls.

She could not ignore the sounds her haunting memories of unspoiled and untainted love made, or the promises of forever she could still hear from the house where love once lived.As she made her way down the path and back to the gate, she quickly swabbed at the tears that were threatening to gush from her eyes. It would be her last visit to the house where love once lived. It would be one final struggle to free her heart, still coldly imprisoned between those walls and under that roof. It would be her one last chance to walk away, without leaving her soul behind. There, where it continued to dwell in the house where love once lived.When she reached the gate, she turned around one last time.

She whispered a silent goodbye to what was left of the house where her soul would be trapped in forever. A house that no longer had any stories to tell, except for the collection of souls it refuses to set free. A home that has grown cold, abandoned and silenced. The memories of love, laughter and joy that once roamed freely in every room of this home, was now carved into the foundation and forsaken. Nobody wants the house where love once lived. Nobody wants to be reminded of the sorrow or the anguish that came in as an uninvited guest and left a path of destruction on its way out. As though it stands on sacred ground, the house is left untouched. Nobody dares to walk through that gate anymore.

Nobody wants to walk up the trail to the house where love once lived. Nobody wants to forget the anguish of the broken hearts that were left behind, and nobody can fix the fragmented wreck that was once a house where love lived.The skies turned dark, and the wind howled through the large oak tree as she waved the house goodbye, one last time.

“Keep my heart … my soul still lives there …



She Is A Lot Like You

He says that the average girl begins to dream of her wedding by the time she is five years old. When she starts planning it at the age of about seven, she first picks out the colors of her chosen flowers, and she finally agrees on the tiers of her wedding cake. By the time she reaches the age of thirteen, she already knows where her wedding will be, and she knows exactly what time her guests would be arriving. At the age of seventeen, she has already designed, and altered her beautiful white wedding gown a thousand times.

She has chosen her Maid of Honor, and she has carefully selected her bridesmaids.He says that when she reaches the age of about twenty-four, she starts looking around for the man who will take her breath away, and make her feel foolish all at the same time. The man who stands proudlynext to her, and whose arms fit perfectly around her. She searches for him in every man she meets, and she listens for silent messages from his heart to hers. She discards flaws that might make her turn away from him; after all, … he need not be faultless, just perfect for her.

She looks into the eyes of a man she hopes would someday share her bed, home and life as though he was made just for her. She gazes penetratingly into them, as she tries to find proof of the children they would have in the not too distant future. He says that he knows this; he sees it in her eyes and he feels it when she is close. He sense how she tries to find recognition in his odor when she breathes him in, deep into her soul.

He says that she will be hunting for a hand that will hold hers closely and possessively, and who will look at her like she is the only girl he has ever seen. She wants him to look at her each time, as though he is seeing her for the very first time. He says that she searches for his honesty in the love she hopeshe would have for her, and she tries to find a promise in his touch, one that swears to her that he would never leave her. He says that he’s not sure what he will be wearing to his wedding. It might be a tux, a suit or white rolled up cotton trousers. He has no idea if he will wear shoes, boots or if he will meet her at the altar, barefoot and with a tie-less, unbuttoned shirt.

He has no clue what his wedding would look like; he can’t even imagine who she is; the one that will attach his last name to hers. But, he can imagine how he would stand at the altar, all six feet of him, and wait for her to make her way down the aisle to him. To only him. He says that he already dreams of her broad, yet nervous smile, and he hopes that it would be so great, the world would be able to see it from Mars. He says that he can visualize her delicately walking up to him, as though she is stepping on stars, and that he probably would rush to meet her halfway, in case she changes her mind.

He says that he will say “I do” and take her for his wife, even before the Pastor finishes his sentence, and apologize for his enthusiasm later. He says that he has been waiting for his future wife to show up, for almost as long as she has been waiting for him. And … when the world asks him about her, he tells them that her eyes search for him from deep within her. That she loves to laugh, and that the world becomes silent when she does. He says that she perhaps, thinks a little too much about everything, but does not take anything too seriously.

He says that she has no idea how beautiful she is, or how her smile feels like home to him. He says that when she whispers his name, the entire planet comes to an abrupt stand-still, as he listens attentively to the only voice he ever wants to hear. He says that she would probably never really make sense to him or to the universe within her, but he is sure that he would love that the most about her.He says that whenever he is asked about his future wife, he always says that,

she is a lot like you.