Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

This is a biographical short story told through Vanessa’s eyes that won first place at her English class short story homework assignment.

Being the last of ten children is unusual in our times; needless to say I am a rarity, a little bit like the white tiger. The perk of being the last born is that I get to be the baby forever. I get cuddled all around from all my older brothers and sisters, some are cuddlier than others, which means actually that in general I don’t get bullied.Except by the youngest brother (who is 4 years older) and is sibling number 8 and who thinks that because he is the youngest boy he can have his own way.But that is my prerogative as youngest daughter in the family; which of course I don’t take advantage of because I know better than that.

The worst thing of being the youngest is that all my brothers and sisters tend to give me advice. I don’t appreciate it at all, I believe I should have the freedom to make my own mistakes and possibly learn from them.

One little episode my older sisters hold against me, and they insist on reminding me of, is that I used to be a rascally baby. I fell down the stairs once and mom got very upset at them, and they got very upset at me, as if it was my fault that I rolled down the stairs instead of sitting quietly in front of the TV while they watched their favorite show.

My oldest sister was 16 when I was born and the second oldest sister was 12 and of course with ten children my mom needed help with the cleaning and washing and cooking and both my sisters had to help. They often remind me how during their teen years, the best years of their lives, they were changing diapers, preparing bottles, babysitting and taking care of me. Their worst memory is when they had to put me down to sleep at night. The sister right before me, sister number 9 was an angel when she was a baby, she would go to sleep in five minutes and when she was awake one would hardly notice her presence. My older sister would make lunch and sit her, as soon as she learned how to sit, on the counter and she would played delightfully for hours with a spoon and be rewarded with cane sugar cubes.

I was a totally different story, I just wouldn’t go to sleep when it was time to go to bed. In the evenings it was the only time my sisters could watch TV officially (during the day they weren’t allowed to but they would watch it secretly, especially when mom and dad were both out, which was an event that occurred rarely). If I didn’t go to sleep right away it meant they would lose they TV time. And almost out of spite, I would never fall asleep right away. They used to sing to me, not that I remember, but they tell about it, all their favorite songs: Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Titanic…it was 1998 and Leonardo DiCaprio was big news back then.

Then when it came time to wean me I slept a few nights with my sisters, they took turns. And how they hated it. I woke up often and wanted my bottle which meant they would find themselves in the middle of the night with soaked sheets. Did I mention how much they hated it? Poor girls, that time period has become one of the most traumatic memory from their teen hood.

I thought I would never get to experience having a little brother or sister to take care of, since my mom didn’t have any more children after me. My brothers married and I have 7 nephews and nieces, but they don’t live with us. Recently my sister who at the time of my birth was 12, and is now 30 came back to stay with us with her little boy, and I find myself as a teen sharing a room with a baby.

Last week his mom went to London for a few days and she left our nephew with us. My mom put him to sleep but he slept with me during the night. When my older sister who lives with her boyfriend right next door heard that Tony slept with me, she told my mom “Good, that way she gets a taste of what it was like for us when we had to sleep with her as baby.” Well, at least now they can’t say I don’t know what it feels like to take care of a baby and they can keep their ironic little comments to themselves. True, they took care of me, and I’ll probably take care of their children so I think we are even.


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A Walk In the Forest

This is a personality test I’ve heard years ago but had forgotten all about till yesterday when I went to the woods with my boyfriend to cut some trees.

Here is how it goes:

1) Imagine you are walking in the forest. Describe what you see.

2) There are some animals that inhabit the forest. Describe the animals.

3) You keep walking and stumble upon something on the ground. You pick it up and discover it is a key. Describe the key.

4) As you go on, you come to a body of water. What do you do?

5) Going ahead you come to a clearing but to reach it you must cross an obstacle. What kind of obstacle is it?

6) What’s on the other side?

Okay, so each object represents something:

1) The Forest is your environment, your surroundings, how you see your life.

2) The animals represent the people that surround you.

3) The key is you; how you see yourself.

4) The body of water is your love life

5) The obstacle is how you see death

6) What you find on the other side is your idea of Heaven

It’s a cute test to ask friends and family. My boyfriend answered like this:

1) Big forest, not so organized, lots of trees.

2) There are birds, some friendly little animals and wild boar (a few)

3) A normal key, heart-shaped

4) He would drink the water

5) A river separates the forest from the clearing

6) His love(me)is waiting on the other side 🙂

If you take this test and want to share your answers, I would love to hear them! 😀

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“I have to tell you something…” read the sms

She took a deep breath and prepared herself for the next sms that should follow. The one telling her that the differences between them were too big to overcome. That he hated the idea of hurting her and hoped they would still be friends.

She walked a little faster to keep up with her heartbeat, holding her phone on her clenched fist and chanting to herself
“I’m not gonna cry! I’m not gonna cry! I’m not gonna cry!”

She had already shed too many tears for other guys who had come and gone leaving devastation behind.

“I’m not gonna cry!”

Guys who pledged undying love and offered her the moon and stars only to walk away leaving her with empty hands

“I’m not gonna cry!”

She was going to face it differently this time. She was going to shrug her shoulders and keep her head high. She was going to be strong.

“I’m not gonna cry!”

Her phone beeped, she braced herself to read the sms

“I love you! I love you! I love you!”

Her hands started shaking, she had to sit down to keep from falling and holding the phone still in a clenched fist she brought her hands to her eyes and cried.

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love story

He left home when he was 16 and traveled everywhere, anywhere, smoking weed, reading Marx and swimming in his clothes in the Pacific.

She was a hard-working girl, with her weekly visits to the hair-dresser and her love for soft music.

They met, when she was 18 and he was 20. She tought he was a funny guy, he was always making her laugh. He thought she was the prettiest girl in the whole world.

She got pregnant. He told her that he didn’t want to marry (marriage was so institutional), she cried a little.

They ended up getting married (so much for anarchy), and soon they had more children than they knew what to do with them.

They had their share of difficult times—he was impulsive and stubborn; she was emotional and would overly worry about everything.

But then they had their good times, so many of them!

By now they’ve been married for over 30 years, and have an army of children and grandchildren.

She is as hard-working as ever, he still likes to read.

Sometimes when everyone is home and there are too many mouths to feed, she will serve everyone and if there’s not enough to go around, she will go without. Mothers do that—she is a mother! But he won’t let her, he will give her his portion. She will argue that she doesn’t need it. He will put it in her plate. She will pass it back. This will go on for a bit, until they decide to split it in two and share.

They say they love each other like if it was the first day.
—no need to say it, it’s so easy to see!

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A Pilgrim’s tale

(This was written last year in May, as an entry to my diary. I wrote it all in one shot, one Sunday morning. It has a bit of a parable feeling to it; although it was originally written to narrate a personal experience.)

The sun was rising from behind the hills in a whirl of pink and lightblue hues. The morning star was high in the sky bidding goodbye to the day. The air was crisp and the mist was vanishing as the sunlight charged into the mountain road.
It was going to be a beautiful day—all the creatures heralded it! My step was brisk and joyful as I started my walk up the mountain, with my bag on my back and a staff on my hand. There was a song in my heart and a smile on my face—the night had been long but it was daytime now and I was happy.
After having walked for a few hours, I stopped by the side of a sparkling brook and sat to rest. There were voices coming from the road behind me, the same road I had taken, and as they came closer, I could see that they were two young pilgrims—I smiled at them and they smiled back at me. When they reached my sitting place, they stopped and we exchanged greetings.
“We are pilgrims—but have no final destination, we are looking for something, but don’t know yet what it is” one of them, said. He looked like he was younger than his companion
“I am going to the City of Light. I know where it is, and how to get there, but it’s far.”I told them as I pointed to the mountain peaks beyond the forest.
“We’ve heard about the City of Light, but isn’t it a fairy tale; just a myth? Has anyone ever reached the City and has come back to tell of it?” the younger pilgrim asked me
“Of course it exists. There are countless stories of people who made it there; and there is a map. I have a map with me.” The two pilgrims were very interested in the map and asked if they could see it. I gladly showed it to them. The older pilgrim, the one with searching gray eyes, was amazed at the treasure I held in my hand. The younger one, gave an skeptical glance to the map and said
“That hardly looks like a map to me.”
“That’s because you need to know how to read it.” I laughed, and put my map carefully back in its case.
“Could we come with you? I would like to see this City. I’ve heard so much about it, but never believed it was real. But if you say you know the way, then I would like to come along.” The gray- eyed pilgrim said in earnest. I was taken aback a little by his effusiveness, but I said yes and laughed again, and my laughter matched the gurgling sound of the brook and the rustle of the leaves above our heads. The boy, the one with gray eyes, looked into my eyes as if he was trying to read into my soul. His stare, his gaze took my breath away, and I quikly turned my eyes away from his and proceeded to gather my belongins and get ready to start on the path again.

We walked together, the three of us. They asked questions, I answered, and then it was my turn to ask questions. We walked a long way and then I told them
“I am not the only one on the way to the City of Light; there are many others like me. You should meet them—perhaps they could answer your questions.”

Along the mountain road there are many resting places, refuges and lodges for the pilgrims and travelers to spend the night if they wished to do so. I took out the map and it showed that a little further ahead there was a lodge and we decided to stop there and rest.
There were some people there, friends of mine and I introduced the young pilgrims to everyone. I told them that the boys were traveling up the mountain and that when they heard that I had a map of how to get to the City of Light, they asked if they could come along.
The boys talked to everyone that evening and discovered that each one of us had a copy of the map. We told them that they could get a copy too, if they wanted to, which of course would help them get to the City by the easier road, without encountering as many perils as if they tried to get to it by themselves. But the boys weren’t sure they wanted to actually get to the City and they didn’t want the map. They said they would think about it and consider it.
The sun started to set and the night was falling over the mountain, so we made a fire and huddled around it. I was sitting in a corner while everyone talked and laughed and played music. The gray-eyed boy came to sit by me
“I noticed you carry a ring around your neck. What is it? Does it have a special meaning?” he whispered and I looked down and touched the engravings on the ring.
“I got it from a boy, in one town I traveled through once.” I said without looking up
“Do you love the boy who gave you the ring?” I frowned a little, then looked up at his amazing eyes and nodded. I told him about George.

George wasn’t a pilgrim like us. He wasn’t on his way anywhere. He lived in a beautiful little town, known for the apples trees. I had ventured into the town one day with some friends and met George by the market place.There was a party that night in town, to celebrate the harvest and I went because I wanted to dance. George was drinking with some friends and his eyes caught my attention. They were kind, expressive, and full of starlight. He watched me intently as I danced in the moonlight. When the night was spent and one by one the villagers went to their homes, George came to me and took me by the hand and without saying a word led me thru the town streets and around the garden patches and leaving the lights and music behind he took me far into the apple orchards and loved me till the break of dawn. He and I hadly spoke to each other, I never told him about my journey to the City of Light—we knew we had only that one night and we chose to forget everything but eachother, and the moon and the scent of dew on the apple trees.
As morning came and I had to continue on my journey, I took off my bracelet and tied it around his wrist. He looked at me with misty eyes and took off a ring from his finger, and placed it on mine. And then kissed me ardently and lifting me up by the hand led me back thru the streets, back to the town square and turned around and went home. He looked back once and looked into my eyes, then at his wrist, and mouthed the words goodbye and left. I carried the ring with me ever since.

I finished telling the story of the ring and my eyes were full of tears. The gray-eyed pilgrim looked into them and I forced a smile. He pulled back a strand of hair that had fallen over my eyes as I was telling him the story and as I looked up at him I read something in his eyes. Something that I wasn’t prepared for—his eyes were very much like George’s, the same expression, the same light. I gave him my hand and he locked his fingers with mine and I smiled.

The next days on our journey together, the young pilgrim was restless and dissatisfied with the way we were going. He thought his friend and I would make too many stops, look at the map too much, talked too much about the City of Light. He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue with us. He felt we weren’t making any progress—and what if there was not a City of Light anyways and we were just wasting our time.
My pilgrim stood by me and tried to convinced the young one to keep going, to at least try and see—but all our efforts were futile. The young boy he said he wanted to have a life of adventure and traveling to the City of Light wasn’t for him.
My pilgrim was torn between staying with me and going after his friend. This wasn’t just any old friend he happened to be traveling with. This was his companion since childhood—they had been inseperable since their journey first began.
He would run after him and promise to catch up later. He told me to wait for him, and said that he would be back. He just had to go talk to the young one—he couldn’t very well leave him alone in the mountains. I understood his concern. I told my boy that I would wait for him—of course he had to be with his friend. I wanted him to go to his friend. But before he left I gave him a map
“Just in case, you know, if we get separated at least you’ll find your way to the City of Light and we’ll meet there” I told him. He thought it was silly, he wasn’t leaving me, he wanted to come with me to the City, he already promised. But he took it with him to please me.

I waited for him, which meant that sometimes I spent the night alone in the forest instead of making it to the shelter. Once they both came together and I was happy to have them back. But the young one again took off shortly after and my boy with him. After that, my boy came back twice by himself, and he was quiet and weary. It seemed that running back and forth between his young friend and I was too much for him. He couldn’t keep up. And it seemed the way to the City of Light wasn’t what I told him it would be. Instead the other road seemed brighter and his friend had chosen that one, which made him wonder if he had made a mistake after all.

One very cold night, my boy said he had to go find his friend. What if there was a storm? And what if his friend needed him? I looked into his eyes trying to read into them, but I couldn’t. His eyes had the same color, the same intensity as always but the light was gone. He said he loved me. He said he would come back to me, that we would make this journey to the City of Light together, he kissed me and just so I wouldn’t forget it, he said again that he loved me. And then he left.
The night was dark and the clouds covered the sky, so the stars couldn’t be seen. The forest was black and forebearing around me. The wind was cold and I didn’t have a way to make a fire. I took out my map and tried to read it but there was no light and I didn’t know where I was. I waited for a long time, I sat under a tree and wrapped my arms around my legs to keep me from shivering and I cried. I was lost, I was alone, and I was cold.
As I put my head down to weep, I noticed the ring—the ring that I was given to because I was loved. Quickly I dug into my bag and looked for something, anything that would create some sort of light so I could read the map and find shelter from the storm. Lightning started flashing around me and the rumble of thunder echoed in the distance that was now approaching fast. I didn’t find anything to make a fire with, but the lighting helped me see the map a little better. There was a refuge up ahead, and I would have to make my way thru the darkness. It would be dangerous—I could trip and hurt myself, and could end up getting completely lost in the forest and die of cold. But I had to try to get to it. I had to make my way there at all costs. I couldn’t sit in the storm and die. At least I had to try.
Wrapping my blanket around me and clinging to my ring with one hand and to the staff with the other, I forged ahead as the rain started pouring on me. It was impossible to see the way, the wind and the rain beated agains me making each step forward difficult. I was tired and hungry and weary and couldn’t keep going. But I kept going, with what little strength there was in me.
The rain turned into snow and the snow into a blizzard. I spotted some rocks on the left and thought that if nothing else I could try to find shelter under the stones and protect myself from the biting cold. I fell a few times and hurt myself. But I pushed ahead, making my way through the last stretch, and pulled myself up to a hollow space between the rocks. There exhausted I curled up in a ball and cried myself to sleep, as the blizzard raged outside.

I slept for hours, but I wasn’t cold anymore, and the rock under me wasn’t sharp and hard. Instead it felt soft under me. The warmth and the gentle chirping of the birds made me open my eyes and sit up.
This wasn’t the place I had crawled to in the night. I looked around me—I was lying on a soft bench in the middle of an exquisite garden, with a fountain in the middle, and flower-beds all around. I looked down to my hands and though they were scraped, they blood had stopped. My clothes were not the ragged pilgrim cloak I had been wearing but a flowing red dress. My hair was combed into braids and my feet were bare.

This wasn’t a familiar place but I felt at peace. I got up and as my feet touched the soft grass, it seemed the garden came to life. The trees bent their branches, all the flowers bobbed their heads in unison and the fountain spurted a gush of clear, fresh water. I wasn’t alone, because I could hear voices and singing. I looked up towards a fence and I saw a dashing figure. He was tall and had a pleasant smile.
“Where am I? Is this the City of Light?” I asked confused
“No—this is the Garden. It’s a refuge, like the others, but not many know of this place. It’s not listed on the map” he smiled at me
“But how did I make it here? I don’t remember anything…there was a storm and I found a crack in the rocks…”
“Yes—that was the gateway to the Garden. You were found there by the guard and brought here for rest.”
“What about the others? Did they make it? What about my boy? The pilgrim with the nice eyes, did he survive the storm?”
“He has a map, doesn’t he?” he asked even though he knew the answer, “He’ll make it to the City of Light, don’t worry”
“Do I have to leave soon? I am very tired” I said
“No—you can stay as long as you want. This can be your garden and you can be the flower girl”
I put my hand to my heart and my fingers touched the ring I carried around my neck. I looked up to the dashing figure before me and he nodded slightly. I laughed, the same way I laughed the day I met the pilgrims by the side of the road. I was loved, I would always be loved. The sun was shining over the hills—it was going to be a beautiful day and I was happy.

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I wrote this short story a few months ago for my sister Sue in Romania, who was looking for a story about making the world a better place, for their weekly youth meeting.

There used to be years ago, a small town by the mountains. The town itself was a few blocks this way, and up the mountain for a bit, and ended all of a sudden. The town held no attraction at all, if it hadn’t been for the mountains itself that welcomed hikers all year-round. There was a time when there had been no signs indicating the way up to the lodge and many hikers got lost in the woods, and suffered all sorts of accidents. A young goat-herder single-handedly brought about a wonderful change.

The goat-herder was not rich, hadn’t finished any school and was nothing but a mountain boy. But if there was one thing he knew was how to make his way up the mountain. He knew where to cross the streams, which turn to take, and could make his way home even in the darkest nights.
But like many young people, our little friend dreamed of adventures. He wanted to make a difference in the world; he wanted to become someone who others would look up to and be proud. But here he was, living with his aunt and uncle, and tending goats, day in and day out, and feeling quite depressed at his condition in life.
One stormy evening he came home after a long day in the pastures, and found his uncle getting ready to go out.
“Go fetch me the ropes from the barn, boy. Someone got lost in the mountains, they are sending a search-party—there’s not a moment to lose!” his uncle said sounding alarmed
“Can I come with you?” the goat-herder asked stopping at the door for a second
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, go!” he waved off and the boy went on his way. His uncle knew that his young nephew would be the most qualified person in the search-party to find his way around the mountain.
As it was expected it was our young friend who found the lost hiker. And when he came back, tired, soaked thru and cold, his aunt send him to bed with a kiss, he was I must admit, very pleased with himself.
The days passed by, and although his act had been heroic, the couldn’t help thinking that it was rather unnecessary for people to get lost so often in the mountains—how could anyone get lost in the mountains, it seemed a silly thought. He talked about it with his aunt
“I don’t understand it at all—everyone knows which places to avoid, how to follow the trail thru the woods, and how to make it to the lodge at least by five different paths.”
“You know that, my dear, but the regular traveler has no idea; there are no signs on the mountain path”
That comment inspired an idea in our goat-herder’s mind, and he set out to do it at once. He started by writing on wooden boards different names and signs, which he then took up the mountain with him on his way to the pasture, and set it out in places where travelers could easily see and follow.
It seemed like a crazy idea, but he was enthusiastic about it and soon there were signs indicating all sorts of paths between town and the lodge. And pretty soon searching-parties were a thing of the past, for nobody ever got lost again on that side of the mountain.

It goes to show that anyone can make a difference after all, by improving the path for others to follow…

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Fairies Day

The night has fallen upon the world
And the garden is covered in snow
Thru’ the moonlight and peeping stars
The sound of fluttered steps fly by
Of little fairies carrying their lamps
As they make their way to the ball
Surely you must know why
It is quite impossible to forget
They rush to their last dance of the year
For Winter is upon them and they must hide
Is rather silly to think they sleep
Although sometimes, I admit, they must.
But being busy little things as they
Each carry their sowing box with them
To prepare for the awakening of Spring
When they shall parade in their new dress

If you were to see a cherry tree
That inspite of the cold is blossomed
And soon after ran into a ring of mist
That surrounds the conifers
That’s where the fairies meet tonight
You may try to wait for the sun to set
As the cloak of darkness is their friend
It hides them from prying eyes
For fairies are shy and hate being touched
But if you promise to be silent
They might let you watch
And you’ll see such a pretty sight
The rustle of wings
The waltzes of tiptoes
Fairy dust that falls to the ground
And again flies up as they dance

At last when the dawn breaks
They hold hands and bid goodbye
And silently they depart
As silently as they’ve arrived
Even if you were to be there
By morning it would all seem a dream
And yet you must know
Who the fairies dance for
And just to be perfectly clear
I’ll tell you again in your ear
Whom we honor this way,
Leelu–and today is her day!

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