Week 52

The night quietened down for just a moment so that the group could to catch the count, before growing as one voice.
Streamers rained from above as party horns tooted, hugs were shared, and songs were sung.
They welcomed in the New Year and congratulated each other on surviving the last, promising to make this one better.
But promises made at midnight can be hard to keep in the morning light.

Week 51

Many think they never existed, some think they were hunted into extinction, but few know that they were forced into hiding.
Distinguishable by their smooth skin and shiny hair, they emit positivity and happiness like bubbles into the air. Bright eyes, big smiles, and an endless supply of support and friendship, they now live among us, bringing rainbows into grey lives.
Just as werewolves are now considered a myth, so are the unicorns. And while a werewolf still turns at the full moon, the unicorns are always their real selves on the inside, but will only ever show their true form amongst their own kind.
There are more in the world than you may realise. They are that comforting smile, that surprise helper, that person who is always there when you need them.
But ask them if they’re a unicorn? They will simply laugh, and make a joke. They cannot admit to what they are. Not yet at least. Not while the darkness still surrounds us.
For now, they are the light in the shadows, the beauty in an otherwise dreary day. And for now, that’s okay.

Week 50

The fire fairy danced across taste buds and tickled the air until the mouth gasped for more. She continued to twirl on her tiptoes even as fresh air flooded her space.
The addition of water only quickened her steps, and she sent flickers of flames down the back of the throat.
Just as she grew tired and prepared to take her leave, a new rush of heat enveloped her and renewed her energy. The fire fairy spread her wings, laughed out loud, and began to dance again.

Week 49

Looking at her reflection, all Samantha could see were her flaws.
Her attention was immediately drawn to the lines and shadows beneath her eyes, but they soon followed to the creases around her mouth and across her brow.
Any bump or discolouration stood out next. The shape of her jaw line, the lack of chin, the size of her ears… Samantha could glance at herself for just a moment and see all of these imperfections at once, or stare for an hour and drown in a sense of worthlessness.
But not today.
It took a few minutes, but Samantha began to tick off the things about herself that she actually kind of liked.
Her lips: she loved the shape and natural colour. She hardly ever wore lipstick, but when she did, it was always in bright and bold colours that drew the attention towards her pout.
Next were her eyebrows: shaped yesterday at the salon, they arched and curved in perfect symmetry. Gorgeous.
Trying to look past the darkness below, Samantha instead focused on her eyes: honey-brown with flecks of gold, they seemed to brighten with every compliment she paid herself.
Her cheekbones weren’t bad either, she decided. And with this she began to smile. With the lift of the corner of her lips came a radiance of confidence. Even as the lines around her mouth wrinkled, Samantha hardly registered them as a flaw.
Not today, anyway.
Today, she was choosing to be beautiful. Today Samantha was choosing to be happy.

Week 48

Glistening silver streaks weaved around and around like a sparkly snake climbing towards the heavens, while beads of blue and purple were hung loosely amongst the green spikes with clear baubles perched delicately on its tips.
Christmas had arrived at the Williams household, but not everyone was there to celebrate the festive season.
A small ceremony was taking place in the backyard where the children openly wept and the adults’ faces grew red trying to keep their tears hidden.
A small box was placed into the ground with a lone sunflower dropped on top. A short karakia was spoken, the first of the dirt shifted, and a final farewell said.
The twinkling of stars were hidden above the glow of fairy lights as the family eventually moved back inside.
A small dish on the kitchen floor sat empty, but no one made to remove it. Instead they tried to settle into their usual places around the dining table and on the couch. Few words were spoken, none of meaning. But arms of comfort were freely available and taken advantage of.
Finally the children were ushered to bed and the adults had a moment to themselves. Presents were brought out of hiding places, wrapped, and placed under the tree, but one was taken away.
A small and poorly wrapped parcel that jingled when it was moved was put high on a shelf, not to be forgotten, but for now unrequired.

Only Dicks Speed

So usually I write a story each week, but there has been something on my mind a lot lately that I felt I needed to put into words. It’s something I want us to talk about over the next few months, and it’s something I want you to share with as many people as possible.
Here we go.

We’re coming into one of the deadliest times on the roads. The Christmas / New Year break.
We all know not to speed, and once again the police tolerance will be just 4km over the limit. And yet we also know there’ll be people who think they’re above the law, and those people will probably take lives.

And it’s those people that make me really angry. Because there’s no need for it. There is never an excuse good enough to warrant speeding.

“Enjoy the journey.”
“Better to arrive late than not at all.”
“Take your time, and take lots of stops.”
We’ve all heard the messages from the NZTA, and now here’s one from me.

Speeding is a really dick-ish thing.
If you go ahead and kill yourself, fine. But first, think how it will affect your family and your friends, those who will mourn your loss and wonder what life may have been. Think of how it affects other drivers on the road, the people who swerve to avoid you, or rush out of their cars to help. Think of how it affects the first responders, who have already seen too many incidents in their lifetimes.

But here’s the thing, most speeders kill other people. And that’s when it gets really selfish.

Because what your actions say is that you think you’re the best driver in the world, and that you know better. You know better than the people that planned the roads, that set the speeds, and that enforce the law.

And, you’re saying that your life is better than everyone’s; that your life is worth more. Because why else would you risk the lives of other drivers, of passengers, of children that may also be sharing the same roads as you.

If you speed and you kill yourself, I believe that’s Darwinism at work. But if you speed and kill someone else, you’re proving to be moronic and selfish and a complete dick.

Only dicks speed.

Don’t be a dick. Please.

Week 46

They had joked about this. There were always little comments about it happening, but never to be taken seriously.
And yet here they were, side by side, the nerves prickling through to their fingertips.
A side glance to the left, a nod in return. Were they ready?
“Let’s do this,” she said. “Let’s adopt the tabby one”.

Week 45

Guy Fawkes was well and truly over, but that didn’t stop the neighbours carrying on their celebrations, more than a week later. Bangs and screaming explosions sounded from over the fence, sending the tough Rottweiler to cower beneath the bed with the cats.
Several requests from young families on the street had been made to cease fireworks after 11pm, but the alpha-males next door continued to light them into the wee hours of the morning.
Hearing the familiar whirr and flash of light as the clock ticked past 2am on a Monday morning was the final straw for William Burrows.
He apologised to the pets and retrieved his PT-80 from the safe.
The neighbours were relieved when it seemed the boys had run out of supplies a short time later, and most had finally fallen asleep when a car left the property with its lights off.
The next day, William was seen finishing his morning walk without his dog. He explained to Margaret, at the end of the street, that the poor thing was still hiding under the bed after the latest night of fireworks. She nodded sympathetically and told him that her cat still hadn’t returned home. He promised to look out for it.
A quiet night followed, and the street’s residents smiled when a moving van arrived at the boys’ house. The neighbours joked about throwing a street party to celebrate their leaving.
Several times over the next week friends and the occasional family member turned up only to peer through the windows and leave confused. Only one person knocked on William’s door. The father of one of the boys asked about the moving van and whether William could remember the company. He shrugged and said he didn’t recall, was thanked, then left alone.
It was nearly a month before the landlord, complaining about unpaid rent, discovered the empty house. New tenants were found quickly, and to the neighbourhood’s relief, they were a quiet couple, not fond of fireworks.

Week 44

When did things change?
It seems like just the other day we were all hanging out, dancing in town, and dealing with dramas that the opposite sex brings.
But now I can’t remember how long your hair is, or whether you have freckles on your face. We spent every day together for years, but now… how long has it been? Months?
No, years.
The changes had probably already begun then. I didn’t know you were in town, you didn’t know I was either. We managed to catch up and it was like old times, just with a few newer faces in the group. Plans for the future were being mapped, but nothing set. And I thought, wrongly assumed, that when it came for the next step, we’d be side by side. Or at least, aware of what the other was up to.
And so you go one way, and stay here. I still think of you as one of my best friends, but you’re not really. I certainly am not one of yours.
Is it the time? Or just the space that has shifted our friendship to the past?
If we ever end up in the same town again, maybe we’ll be friends again too. But for now, let’s just like each other’s photos on Facebook, just to show we’re still there.