The Blotted Truth

A short story by Leena Auckel

She glanced at the paintings hanging on the wall. Some abstracts and some landscapes. It was a pleasant sight! When Henry wasn’t busy analysing enzymes and DNA in his lab, he used to paint in his studio. In the corner, she saw a sturdy shelf containing thick books. She trailed her fingers along the titles on the book spine. Secrets of the Chemists, DNA Demystified, and after more interesting titles. She reached his easel. On the canvas was a majestic swan gliding in a blue lake, that part was freshly painted with different shades of blue, which rendered it very vivid, she could almost catch the faintest ripple on the lake. She liked how the sky pigment sculpted the contours of the conifers around the lake.

It was amazing how he could handle electron microscopes and his paintbrush with the same finesse. She came near his table, a white mug contained water he had rinsed his paintbrushes in and the pots of cobalt blue and navy blue pots of paint he used to paint the lake lay next to it.

Cassandra had a passion for painting too but the sands of time wanted otherwise. Each time she started to draw something she was discouraged by her partner’s harsh comments.

Somehow seeing colours always brought back her childhood memories for those were the only colourful phase of her life. Unlike the last 2 years which were only a bleak black and white. She had been under constant psychological and moral abuse by her partner Jake, which had eroded her cheery personality and rendered her stoic. She was being dragged in the swirling vortex of manipulation without even realising it.

Henry had been abroad for some years. It was only two months ago that he came to Hamilton. At first, Cassandra plainly refused for the meet-up, like she had been doing for many other reunions and outings lately because Jake did not see it with a good eye.

In the beginning, she used to feel bad about not being able to meet her friends and relatives, but with time she changed. She started spinning a cocoon of low-esteem around her, and she showed no interest in sharing laughter with happy people.

Cassandra gave in only when her other two friends told her they would pick her up from work and meet over lunch. She would have been swallowed in a depressive tornado by now, if it was not for Henry, who saw how drastically she had changed from the happy-go-lucky girl he had known as a classmate to a forlorn girl with wrinkles of worry.

She went so far back in time that she inadvertently knocked over the cup of water which tipped over the pots of the navy blue and royal blue paint. A navy blue river started to form its way on the table sinuously until it reached Cassandra’s finger, which was lingering on the table. The cold water stimulated the thermoreceptors on her fingertips and flipped Cassandra back to reality. She stared at the mess in horror. She quickly picked up the cup and grabbed hold of some tissue paper and stopped the water from flowing from the edge of the table. Just in time before it reached the floor!

There was still some paint residue on the table. She reached for the tissue roll to wipe the rest of the paint only to find that it was over. She heard the garage door opening. Henry was back! Oh my god, what do I do now?! I created such a mess. It’s always me. Wherever I go things go wrong!

Her heart was pounding as she looked frantically around the room for something to clean the mess. Luckily, she found a bunch of filter papers lying on the bookshelf. She grabbed one of them and lunged towards the table. The knob of the door clicked and Henry’s shadow flooded the doorway.

“Am-am so sorry Henry, I didn’t mean to. I mean it’s my mistake, ev, everything just toppled over. I am cleaning it!” she muttered.

Henry just stood there staring at her. This made her even more uncomfortable. She wondered how will he react, will he brood? Will he scold? Or worst, will he beat me? This was how Jake used to react during disputes, with time she had been conditioned into walking on eggshells.

“Am almost done,” she said heading towards the table her cheeks turning crimson. By now the filter paper had absorbed most of the residual paint. She reached for it and started to crumple it.

“Wait!”

She froze. She closed her eyes. It’s coming. She closed her eyes harder, conditioning herself to bear the pain.

She waited. Nothing.

“Cassandra …Cassandra!” he said in a soft voice.

Henry held her shoulders and turned her around and looked into her eyes.
“It’s fine!” he said. “it’s just some paint,why are you getting so worked up?”

He picked up the filter paper and admired it,  the blue colours which had seeped in had taken different hues of blue.

“This is beautiful,” he whispered.

He bent down took his paintbrush and dipped in the the navy blue pot of paint and brushed a few strokes on the blotting paper. Cassandra peered to see what he was doing but she could only make out a blue blob of paint at the rim of the paper. He dipped the brush in black paint now and painted few more strokes and placed it back.

Now she could make it out. He had drawn a woman figure on the filter paper.

“For you this might be a wasted filter paper meant to be discarded. But the artist in me sees a sky on that paper. And that’s you with all the sky stretched in front of you showing you that possibilities are infinite.
Even if you soaked up all the mess that doesn’t make you less valuable, Cassandra. What you have endured does not put you to a disadvantage instead it has built you and armoured you with shields that will help you face harder days with ease.”

He stared at Cassandra’s awe-filled eyes and continued. “Don’t make yourself a victim of what you have undergone, you are more than just a sufferer. You are a Warrior! This sky is just waiting for You to open your wings and fly. Yes, Cassandra fly! Fly and conquer new horizons!”

<strong>Leena Auckel</strong>
Leena Auckel

I am from Mauritius, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.  Presently, I’m working as a lecturer in a Medical University.  I started writing as a hobby back in college and gradually, written words became my lifebuoy.  With life becoming more of a whirlpool, writing keeps me afloat and helps me reach out to people.

During my journey from medical student to tutor, I have come across many students with difficulty to cope at both academic and psychological levels hence my purpose to write motivational quotes.  My other hobbies include cooking, drawing and painting. My current project is to bring together my paintbrush and pen to promote mental and physical health.

Find me on my Facebook Page: Sun-Kissed Ink

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Endless by Walter Banks

Your love is the Ocean of Stars that
surround night's sky.
My heart, oh how
you affect my heart;
the deeps of you
are endless.

Your soft lips, your sweet tender kiss
takes me far away to a land
where love stays.

You're my sunshine ruling over my days.
You're my moonlight; you give me never-ending
peaceful nights.

Your love oh my darling your love is
the Ocean of Stars that surround night's
sky; I want to be forever lost in you.
<strong>Walter Banks</strong>
Walter Banks

Walter Banks is a 26-year-old young man from Dallas, GA with a strong passion for writing. He writes poems and short stories for fun and hopes to one day make a living off of it.

When he’s not writing, Mr. Banks likes to listen to music especially metal and rap music ranging from artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Metallica and Slayer. He’s also an athlete and is into sports such as weightlifting, track and field, and basketball.

You can find him on Facebook and Instagram where he share’s most of his work. 
Facebook: Inside The Soul
Instagram: @soulinsidethe

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The #1 Writing Tool

Motherhood by Jennifer Owiesny

I breathed you into existence
sewn with a soul of your own.
Molded from moonlight and stardust
magic forged into your bones.

Passion and fire make up your heart
adventure weaved into your form.
I kissed you with every dream that I have.
Now it is you I call home.
<strong>Jennifer Owiesny </strong>
Jennifer Owiesny

Jennifer “Jen” Gebert-Owiesny has been writing for recreation since she was in her early teens and has recently began exploring the use of free verse poetry.

As the mother of 3 adult children, with a newly empty nest, she has dedicated her free time to enjoying her two cats, two dogs, her writing, and the world of modern poetry and prose. 

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Motivation by Toni Snideman

My body lies broken on the road
A path stretches before me
The unyielding sun permeates my skin
I feel my blood boil
My limbs swell
I want to move
But my body won’t let me
In my mind’s eye
I see the finish line
Growing farther away every day
The only time my muscles move
Is to spasm
And I feel hopeless
I close my eyes and hear your voice:

Dear discouraged, take a breath
Remember this is not a race
Your only competition is yourself
This is not the end of you
Start small
Even a fragment is progress
But KEEP MOVING
Don’t give up
STAY
Time is not the grim reaper
Time is opportunity

I open my eyes
I steel my shaking nerves
I inhale all of your hope in me
And exhale all of my self doubt

It’s time to get moving
<strong>Toni Snideman</strong>
Toni Snideman

My name is Toni Marie Snideman. I am 31 years old from Anderson, Indiana. Some of My hobbies include writing, watching tv/movies, and going to concerts. I am a huge Harry Potter fan (shoutout to my fellow Gryffindors!). I used to write short stories. Lately, I’ve been focused on poetry, but my dream is to write and publish a novel.

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Poetry by Rosei Simpson

The Other Side of the Mirror Never Smiles

By Rosei Simpson

I told you to smile when I saw you cry, and you did, 
not because you liked me,
nor because you listened to me,
but because you knew I understood what it feels like to be half dead.

Life in reality without life itself is the same as being alive
but not knowing who you are.

I love the smell of the ocean but I hate the beach.

The sand on my feet reminds me
I’m alive and I can’t hide.

I told you to smile.

People say eyes tell a thousand stories but yours just hold lies.

When I see you I’m reminded of the overwhelming feeling of drowning.

Maybe that’s why I hate the beach,
or maybe it just reminds me of when I finally learned to swim
and no longer felt the sensation of my own emotions,
the drowning feeling I felt when they took their spot at the head of the table
and led the night with fake smiles and laughter,
the pain in my heart holds disaster but I’ve learned to live with it.

I’ve learned to love it.

The Sand on my feet reminds me that this is the reality
and for now I have to live with it.

So I told you to smile.

I leave you trapped in the mirror so I can try to live freely, but whenever I see you,
I see me.
<strong>Rosei Simpson</strong>
Rosei Simpson

She goes by her my middle name, Rose, but prefers to be called Rosei. Born in Guatemala City, she was adopted and brought to the island of St. Croix USVI. She was raised on St. Croix and visits Guatemala every summer. Rosei’s other hobbies include playing tennis and volleyball, and reading. At school, she played on the JV tennis and volleyball teams. Her day job is actually a night job where she works as a busser at a restaurant called The Bombay Club.
Rosei’s writing focus is poetry, although, she does write short stories and journalism-style pieces too. Rosei intends to go into creative writing as her major in college. She doesn’t currently have a book published but she has works published on Wattpad, Prose, and a zine (mini magazine filled with her poetry and various artists art). Rosei’s school has a Literary art journal which has published some of her work.
You can follow Rosei on Instagram: @spokenspeakss

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Daisy

Daisy, Poetry by Gabriel Sanchez-Jorgensen

The absurdity of your petal
Was a curse on grey November.
As the toothed grin of summer
Who drove her spear into fall-red leaves,
I admire your courage
To stand just so,
Before the snow.
<strong>Gabriel Sanchez-Jorgensen</strong>
Gabriel Sanchez-Jorgensen

I moved to California from Costa Rica in 2013. Currently, I study history at UCLA. After I graduate, I’m going to move back to Costa Rica to develop my writing. I enjoy sitting on my patio while reading Jorge Luis Borges and Charles Simic all day long. Follow Gabriel’s poetry on Instagram: @monday_ghost.

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Poetry by Magdalena Garcia

Words Hurt

Poetry by Magdalena Garcia

You shattered my world with your words, and continued to live your life with no care in the world.
Mentally you destroyed me, but I'll never give you the satisfaction of knowing.
I shared my pain with people that actually care.
People that I know love me, and would be there.
People that would help me with my healing process.
I will heal from this like I healed from the rest of the things you did.
Know this...
I'll forgive you in due time, but I'll never forget.

I Gave You

Poetry by Magdalena Garcia

I gave you my shoulders to cry on
My arms to hold, and comfort you 
My lips to kiss
My ears to listen

My hands to wipe your tears 
My body heat to keep you warm
If I could have given you my heart as to replace   
yours I would have given it to you.
Seeing you in that much pain made me go insane.
I knew I couldn't take it away,
but knew I was going to be 
with you every step of the way.
Magdalena Garcia
Magdalena Garcia

Magdalena is an Author. She has written a poetry book: The Madness Inside My Head that’s available on Amazon. She loves to write, and does it every day. 

Magdalena is a domestic violence survivor that suffers from mental illness due to her past trauma. Despite her diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety that often comes with panic attacks Magdalena graduated from Empire State College, and obtained a Bachelor’s degree.  She’s also a mom of three courageous children, and calls East Harlem, Manhattan home. Magdalena writes from her heart, and based on her life experiences. Writing is therapy, for her! 

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    A Moral Dilemma

    By Anjali Sethi

     A lone walk on the majestic shore of mysteries,
    I spot more muck, less peace,
    Washed ashore, it catches my eye, 
    Mussels atop a plastic bottle living rather peacefully,
    So I crouch down, examine the feat,
    A miracle at first, I gazed wondrously,
    But as these little creatures peeked out in thirst for water,
    My awe turned to shock, and then shades of disgust and contempt,
    I saw the waves come in search of their family,
    Reaching out, but not enough to take them home just yet,

    The conundrum was simple,
    Shall I take out the trash or save the creatures living on the trash? 
    The vicious circle of our littering was far too evident now, 
    As I helplessly watched it return into the ever accepting mass of the majestic water body,
    I felt myself guilty of ever having to bring myself to this dilemma,
    For ever having to pen this for your eyes to read and your mind to register,
    The careless conscious crimes we commit,
    That have brought us to this,
    A moral dilemma.
    <strong>Anjali Sethi</strong>
    Anjali Sethi

    I am a 17-year-old writer based in India. I started writing poetry really early on and started posting on Instagram fairly recently. After a scarring year in depression, poetry became my coping mechanism. I also enjoy cooking, baking and singing my lungs out every now and then, and don’t shy away from the occasional painting. 
    You can follow me on Instagram: @donutxcupcake to see more of my poetry. 

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    Beloved’s Robe by Christina Dixie

    A Love Letter to Self by Christina Dixie

    These dreams
    slept
    in temples-
    west and east corners.
    So my fingers,
    dipped in oils,
    woke them
    and wrote 
    a love letter.
    They twisted
    gray and black
    frizzy feathers
    over and under,
    over and under
    and rattled the roofs
    of each temple,
    until
    these dreams
    slept
    no more.
    <strong>Christina Dixie</strong>
    Christina Dixie

    Christina Dixie was born in Killeen, Texas. Currently, she resides in Orlando, Florida. Christina received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English: Creative Writing Track with a Minor in Humanities from University of Central Florida in the year 2007.  

    Christina enjoys music, art, nature and reading. However, her first love is writing. She writes poetry, fiction, and non fiction pieces that engage readers with metaphoric imagery that is expressive from an Afro-Southern/African American point of view and life’s experiences. Her childhood and adulthood’s experiences from Americus, Georgia; Orlando, Florida, and other places are often found in her writings. Some of her works are presented on her blog: http://tinaloves2write.blogspot.com and on Instagram @tdloveswriting. Recently, her poem, Raven’s Grief was featured on That Girl Can Write blog and website. 

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    Poetry by Pritha Jain

    Love by Pritha Jain

    But if love was actually
    In the air
    Then why did
    All the butterflies
    In my stomach
    Die of suffocation!?

    I Don’t Belong to You by Pritha Jain

    They ask me to cover 
    This pretty skin of mine
    They ask me to hide one of the many things
    That are supposed to be my pride.
    They look at me 
    With evil lurking behind their eyes
    And I try unsuccessfully to shun them
    While they've already undressed me in their minds.
    I've learnt to fear an empty bus
    And that old deserted street
    Oh! Tell me what to do now, in this conundrum
    How desperately I want to be free.
    I've learnt not to talk back 
    Not when I want to spend my entire life in misery.
    I feel weightless now
    Under their heavy bodies
    I feel stupid now
    For letting them gang up against me.
    I lay empty now
    As the wind tries to blow some life into me
    I let my tears soak my face
    But I know better than to
    Become an unsolved case.
    I don't want to end up
    With a thousand candles lit in front of me
    With a thousand walking for me
    With a story that'll haunt me forever.
    "Get over it" they say
    No, let me rephrase
    "Be alive"
    How can I ever rebuild
    This broken soul of mine?
    "I'll live", I assure
    My mother who's been weeping for weeks
    My father who's never left me
    But most importantly
    That small part of me that's still left to die.
    I fight back vigorously
    I don't want to disappoint anyone anymore.
    They've made me wear
    Trousers instead of those cute little shorts
    Pants instead of those lacy skirts of mine
    An invisible coat of shame
    Because
    Everyone around me thinks
    I'm the one to be blamed.
    They've given me scars that'll outlast my age
    Am I just supposed to bottle up my rage?
    <strong>Pritha Jain</strong>
    Pritha Jain

    Hello!
    My name is Pritha Jain, and I’m a 14 year old writer/poet from New Delhi, India. I love writing as well as reading and I aspire to become a renowned author. To promote my poems, I started a poetry blog-https://prithajain.wordpress.com/
    I consider writing as the best way to express myself and not only do I take it seriously, I enjoy every bit of it. One of my poems has been published in the “100 Best Poems” Anthology by Swipe Pages and some more are about to be published.
    Instagram handle is @_penningitalldown_

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