Two (Lone) Wolves

An imaginary dialogue submitted for the prompt: Solitude

“Why do you think people don’t like to be alone?”

“Because they fear it.”

“Why do they fear it, then?”

“Well, some of the reasons I heard is just because they can’t bear going on life on their own, they don’t want to die alone, and so on. Basically it’s like fear of the unknown, and society telling them for years that having a company is, in any condition, better than being alone.”

“Do you think so?”

“Nope. I like being alone. Occasional company is nice, but I don’t mind solitude as a default. In fact, I stand on the other side of that opinion. I rather be by meself than spending time with someone I don’t like.”

“What about spending time with someone you like?”

“That’d be wonderful, I reckon. But there really is no guarantee if that person would stay the same over time. I mean, I would change, too. Sometimes for the better, at other times not so much. On another situation, I might think I change for the better while the other person doesn’t share the opinion. The same goes for what I perceive from that person.”

“So, you just can’t risk it?”

“Well, I’m definitely risking it with building friendship, aren’t I? Some grows stronger together, some grows apart. I know I’d get upset, but eventually I still learn from it, and I am fine with that. Other kinds of relationship are just far too risky.”

“You mean, something like a relationship or marriage?”

“Those depend on how they manage or define it, really. But of course to start it, either one needs to initiate the contact, dunnit? I just don’t think it as necessary, at least as of now.”

“Huh. So, do you not have any desire to start a family? You seem quite keen on kids.”

“For one, I don’t think a family should always mean parenting children. I have my biological family, and though I love them, I still struggle with some of the weird shit going on. Some of my friends and myself are quite closely knit, almost like a loving family, and I suppose that’s enough. Number two, I do like little kids, but that doesn’t mean I want to have my own kids. Pregnancy is nasty business, all the more is parenting. I think it’s better for me to take my time to consider if I ever want to have one of my own or adopt one. I can’t be permanently responsible of another human being yet.”

“True. There really is no point in rushing with that. Why would you be so eager to have the 50-50 chance to fuck up somebody’s life?”

“Yep. Not to mention I don’t really have any idea what is so good about the world that I want to share it with anyone by welcoming them to the world from me own body.”

“Come to think of it, it is rather selfish, innit? Giving birth?”

“As much as it is the decision not to… which partly why I didn’t see any reason to why I, or any other people, should be responsible to have babies and repopulate earth. Also, that is why it’s fine if some people want to do so. My point is that we are equally selfish in our motives, and there is no point arguing about it.”

“Right. Umm, we’re so gonna get roasted by having such perspective, aren’t we?”

“Since we’re speaking for ourselves, it should be fine. If we were to bring this up to Mum and Dad, on the other hand… well, let’s just take it slow. I ain’t getting thrown to a miserable pledge in front of the Almighty God just because they think I shouldn’t be dying alone…”

“… which everyone does in the end. And death doesn’t seem to be that scary anyways, as long as the passage to that is not painful.”

“Then let’s drink to that, shall we? To painless death!”

“Cheers.”

Unjinxing

A work of fiction submitted for the prompt: Suitcase

Three pair of undergarments, a wife beater, two pieces of T-shirts, my favourite checked shirt, a pair of shorts, an emergency pair of pants, tiny toiletries, a pair of sandals, an e-reader and its charger, phone and its charger, money to spend and a little extra, necessary papers… I suppose that’s all. Having gotten dressed and some breakfast, I fit them all in my suitcase and set on to the wild.

Then I ran back to the house to grab an umbrella, this time, to actually make my way to the outside world. My mother has a ridiculously good hunch when it comes to the weather. Sometimes I wish she has the same talent for actual clairvoyance instead. A little tip or guidance would never hurt. But I guess it also depends on the delivery and the news itself.

But at least she does not complain for the fact that my profession requires me to be away from her in indefinite distance or time, visiting her in the most random of circumstances.

It is quite hard to find a specific word to describe what I do for a living, but I can tell you that’s about it. It’s only a job that pays quite decently and allows me to read in my spare time, despite still being away from my only living relative and friend. And that is enough to make me feel somewhat content.

The way I work is rather simple. I would receive an email from my superior of the things I need to do in a certain place, the people I should meet to relay her messages, report back to her the results, wait for her confirmation of what to do next (which sometimes takes quite a while), do another set of errands after she replied up to the point where she said the job is done. Then I have days, sometimes weeks or months, off up until I receive another notice.

Name any occupation, and this is probably your job description as an employee working under any division, innit? Difference is, I get sent out and have never been asked to come to the headquarters or any building that signifies a company. Furthermore, most of the time, I need to go to places I have never been to, which is scarier than it is exciting.

Some tasks could be very mundane while some would need me to do a little of background research, which my superior would gladly supply information with. I should say, those four years of university fussing over specializing on a concentration was as much of an utter waste as that orientation phase about “teaching” (not gaining) respect and solidarity (Seriously, I have only kept in touch with the few who think that is total bullshit. Oh, the irony). At least it introduces me to the almighty power of the Internet. I am also forever thankful to that librarian who pointed out the job vacancy to me approaching graduation.

Despite the unfavorable instances like language barrier, eccentric counterparts and getting lost now and then, also the numerous awkward occasions when people question the credibility of the vocation, one of the perks of the job is what I like to call a balanced dynamic of the unknown and the familiar. It allows me an invariable chance to be a total stranger in one place for a period of time, which in turn, oddly let me appreciate the times I spent at home. On the other hand, whenever I get a little skittish over the lack of variety in my habitual suburban life, I am assured an opportunity of exploring the uncharted.

The best part of the work is that I get to do things by myself. But this time, that bit is going to be taken away from me. My boss told me I am going to have a partner this time, and quite frankly, to me it is more terrifying than getting lost in another city or country.

Still, I packed my suitcase for the umpteenth time, not even emitting any signs of fretfulness or inquiry in my reply, which is weird, considering I am not in any way forced into agreeing to do so, nor have I been asked if I am able and willing to work in teams. Wait, that is kind of unusual as well.

But my reluctance of declining working with another person or even only to ask why I got a partner this time called my own attention that I stopped in my tracks to realize I arrived on the train station that will take me to the airport. I decided to quickly mail my superior only to get a short reply of: “She’ll fill you in with the reason why if you’re still in this project. Let me know if you can’t make it.”

I have a number of reasons why I finally hopped on the train.

One, I suppose it’s rude to cancel on the last minute and I don’t know if that will lose me a job. Two, I was already on my way, so might as well. Three, I have my suitcase packed despite the initial reluctance. It’s either I have built an automatic mechanism of responding to the job, turning my personal preference switch off; or I unconsciously have acknowledged that it’s time to leave the familiar and abruptly permit the untrodden–having to work with a partner included.

Looking out from my window seat, it seems that my mother’s immaculate weather forecast is finally tarnished. The sun is as bright as it could be, and I can’t help but wish it is a good omen for this new exposure I signed up for, somewhat willingly.

Well, the day hasn’t ended. My mother can still keep her record flawless as much as the partnership could be doomed from the start.

Still, I board the plane. With less expectation; only my suitcase intact.