Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

The Journey

This is not actually a post. This is a short story written by me. Okay be prepared to see the whole story peppered with gramatical errors and stuff alike, but anyway this is the first time I wrote something fictional that is meant for others to read. Normally I keep all my silly little short stories (when I am overwhelmed with creativity then I’ll pen my ideas down) under lock and key, but this time I decided to publish it. You’ve been warned: it’s not really short nor really long, so you might want to get some coffee before reading :) have fun!

Some trivia for those who crave for behind-the-scene stuff. This story is actually a collection of ideas that I’ve jotted down whenever my creativity went pretty wild, and it is based on my personal experience. Of course this story isn’t true at all – it is just an adaptation of my feelings and what I see around me.

Edit: The story is now tucked under the Read More tag so as to prevent my blog for being too long!

- The Journey Begins -

I braved countless sleepless night until mortal fatique overwhelmed me. I bawled my eyes out for days – they’re red and puffy, but so dry that not a single drop of tears lingered behind. I drifted off into a place I was unfamiliar with.

I saw light. I was in a tunnel… everything beside me is rapidly whizzing past me. Memories and pictures; familiar faces and uplifting smiles; cheerful giggles and big rolling eyes. Where am I?

The RoseWait a minute. Isn’t that the scent of a rose? A flower well known of its tantalising beauty as well as its spiky thorns and suffocating arrogance. The rose radiated in a hue of seductive pink. Suddenly she spoke. “Call me Belinda,” she said, with a puff of pride. “People worship me because of my beauty.” I hello-ed back and she looked at me with her demeaning, pointed leaves. “That’s all? That’s how you greet me?”

The water lilyA water lily waved at me. “Hey, I’ve got to go. Bye Belinda.” The rose peered at me from the corner of the eye, acting as if I was not even talking to her seconds before. “Hi there, you look… great.” I spoke after much hesitation, fearing the same cold reply from the water lily. “Oh dear thank you. It’s so nice of you. Here, take a seat,” a soothing motherly voice rang through my ears. With her gentle leaves the water lily pointed to a toadstool. “We do not have guests dropping by that often. Make yourself at home,” she added. “Thank you… thanks,” I ran out of words to express my gratitude.

The fern“Stop looking at the floor – there isn’t much for you to see,” a deep voice from nowhere stunned me. “You human beings rarely drop by here anymore, and we’re glad to have you around.” I searched me immediate vicinity, trying to locate the source of the voice. “I’m over here, son. Just beside you.” Oh, it’s a fern. Small and fragile, yet its tardiness has allowed it to grow anywhere it wishes, even if there is just a streak of sunlight filtering through the dense forest canopy. “Hi there,” I greeted. “Nice meeting you,” my voice trailed off, and my eyes start to take notice of the place around me. “Welcome to the Forest,” water lily said.

Welcome to the Forest

The view was simply breathtaking. Water trickled down moss-covered rocks, creating a pleasant melody of flowing streams and trickling droplets. Droplets of water, remnants of the morning dew, hung precariously onto giant, waxy leaves. Bursts of playful orange, passion red and soothing violet decorated the lush green landscape. Trees towered high into the sky, blanketing the forest floor under a huge canopy where only a few streaks of sun’s rays manage to sneak pass.

I took a deep breath. The crisp, fresh air filled my lungs. I breathed out. I felt so different – the air cleansed my spirit and enriched my soul, a puff of moist air from my mouth brought along with it all my sadness and worries.

“Oh dear, look at the amount of sadness and worries he has inside!” exclaimed the water lily. “What a murky puff of air. Dear, be glad that you came here – this forest has a special healing power, for anything.” My eyes brightened. “For everything?” I asked. “Yes, everything.”

My eyes traced a path. “Follow where your heart wants to bring you to. No matter what is the outcome, you’ll be genuinely appreciative and joyful,” the water lily gave me a final advice before I set my foot on the path. “Do not rush to where you want to go – do learn how to appreciate the scenery around you as you make you way through this forest,” the fern adviced. “It worth more than the outcome itself.” “Thank you,” I blurted out. I’m not sure whether it was out of heartfelt gratitude or because of the moral obligation to thank them for their precious advice. Whatever it is, I’m moving on. “Goodbye. And thank you!” I waved at them. I noticed Belinda took a peek from the corner of her eye again, yet again displaying her blatant arrogance. “Bye!” I shouted, “Thanks!”

Just follow your heart

As I made my way through the forested path, I heard giggles. Light, faint giggles so transient that I thought I was hallucinating. A shadow emerged from the woods, our eyes met. In front of me stood a 4 year old kid, holding a self-made bouquet of hand-picked flowers. I see a few roses, a couple of sweet-smelling lavenders in his hands. I opened my mouth and tried to ask him something, and I realised that no matter how hard I tried, I can’t speak. The spechless little boy tilted his head and stared at me with his big, rolling eyes. “What are you looking for?” his eyes seem to ask. A sudden realisation struck me. He’s my childhood self.

I could remember the days I would venture into the fields near my house, plucking flowers on the way there to give them to mom. Unlike other kids, I refused to play around the sandpit or the playhouse. I prefer nature, allowing it to embody me as I made myself lie among the grasses and lavenders. The warm summer wind played with my fringers playfully, tossing them in the air.

Soon before I realise, the little boy bid me goodbye and wandered off on his own. I was worried – what if couldn’t find the way home? What if he got lost, since he had no friends with him when he ventured out? Was my childhood that lonely?

Further down the road, a bridge spanned the little stream I sat beside previously. I heard water splashing. I saw the same little boy again – my childhood self, playing in the stream, bathing in nature’s goodness. I walked towards his direction, but he didn’t seem to notice me. Maybe he was to engrossed in his own little universe, I thought. I softly placed my hand in the stream – the cooling sensation immediately inundated my senses. As I recover from the refreshing touch of the stream, the little boy was gone again.

Along the stream

I continued my journey. I heard cries, and short pauses for sobbing. I pried through the dense forested wood and arrived at a sandpit, in the middle of nowhere. How odd, I told myself. I saw a couple of other kids – ah, their faces are so familiar but I failed to remember who they really were. They might be my neighbours, my kindergarten playmates – blithefully unaware of my presence. The little kid sat at the quiet corner of the sandpit, sitting with his knees propped up and head sank between them. He was crying. The other kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, as I saw sunshine smiles on their faces – but again I couldn’t hear them. The younger me stood up abrutly, still crying, with his eyes puffy from all the tears and rubbing. I tried to console him, to encourage him to mix around with his friends. My hand reach out to him, trying to pat him softly on his shoulder. Then I realise my hand passed through his body as if he was made up of thin air. I wasn’t present, physically.

The spider lilyI heard something. “This was your younger self, in case you didn’t realise.” Oh, it was a spider lily. “When you were young, you refused to interact with others, and preferred to live in your own isolated universe.” No man is an island, this phrase just crossed my mind. “Precisely, glad that you realised this.” I was momentarily stunned – how can she read my mind? “And this habit persisted till now – that’s why you’re lonely, and that’s why you ended up here, my dear,” the spider lily said with a sympathetic tone.

Was I? Was I lonely? But I have friends now, I retorted in silence. “Yes, you do, but they’re never true friends of yours – they are merely because they have the moral obligation to be around.” Oh yes, I treat them well. So that exchanges friendship for me. Is there anything wrong with that? “No. You’re right. That buys you friends, but not friendship.

What? Friends but not friendship? Are these two things antagonistic of each other? I thought if one existed, the other will. “No, you’re wrong. Friendship can be forged, but cannot be bought.” I was even more confused. I didn’t buy them! I shouted inside me. “Dear, friendship can only be forged when you open your heart and soul – and it is not just giving your friends what they need. It’s about mutual understanding and interaction – friendship is never a one-way road.”

“Oh, I see. Thank you,” I mumbled. I felt weird – if the spider lily had some telepathic power, why should I say thank you? I could just think of it, and she’ll know that I’m grateful. “That’s the weakness of yours,” she continued “You keep saying thank you this and thank you that not because you’re genuinely grateful sometimes – you said them because you felt you need to.”

“Don’t make it a habit. Thank you itself is not enough to repay one’s kindness. You have to materalise them, such as offering help to those who oncde bailed you out of your problems.” Oh, so that’s it. I tried to be humble and approachable by keep saying thank you, but I never realised the act of actually thanking someone for his good deeds. “I’m glad that you’ve finally have an epiphany.” Epiphany? what epiphany? “For knwoing the art of thanking someone.”

The spider lily passed me one of its anthers. It was glowing in an angelic hue. Why give me this? “It’ll guide you on your way out. Don’t worry.” Suddenly things started to whirl and blur. My eyelids started to feel heavy. Where am I going now? Another journey of understanding my painful past? No. I don’t want to. Please let me stay. You said you rarely have guests nowsadays, so why not just let me stay?

As my vision darkened, I managed to only hear a voice of an unknown source. “The purpose you’re here is not to relieve you of your sadness and worries – that’s not the main reason why you’re here. You are here because you need to solve the very root of the problem that lies so deep inside you that you fail to rectify it even when you’re a grownup. I’m glad that you’ve realised what is important. Take care.”

The next thing I knew, I was walking in a pitch dark tunnel with a small opening at the end. I tightened my grip on the glowing anther. “Please guide me,” I whispered to it.

A flash of light. I forcefully pried open my eyes, trying to comprehend the situation amid the chaos. A sudden dizziness overwhelmed me, and after it was over, I found myself lying on my bed. My pillow was wet, from all the tears.

I cried in my dreams? Did I?

Was that a genuine spiritual experience or just a hallucination created by my depressed soul?

Before I manage to convince myself that it was just a dream, I saw the anther on my hand. It was the spiler lily’s anther. Ah, the journey. It was real.

I smiled. I realised that life is not all about giving – it’s about interacting, about communication, about sharing. It’s a learning process, it’s a journey. It’s not the destination – it’s just a path, out of the million others, we chose to take.

I tried to recall what happened. Oh, there is Belinda the rose, and she seems to be the only one who introduced herself with her own name. Does that mean anything? Perhaps she needs to be constantly in the limelight of attention, so she gave herself a name – she wants to stand out from all the other common roses – she wants to be worshipped as a vision. That’s arrogance.

The others who gave me those treasured advices, they never told me their name. Do they want to be the silent heroes behind my success? They don’t chase after money or fame – they just want to help.

It’s the journey.

- The Journey Ends -

Hope you enjoyed reading :razz: please tell me what you think… I’ll appreciate your comments!

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