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2016 summer statues contest | FIRST PLACE WINNER 

THE TALE OF MUN    
by Jesson Salinel   

Editor's comments:  Mr. Salinel's story is...Intriguing!  The 2016 summer contest, Summer Statues, was already a bit lofty as not all parts of the world support statues.  I hadn't really thought of that until I started getting contestant entries from as far away as Zimbabwe!  Our first place winner, in fact, is a resident of the Philippines!  Needless to say, regardless of access to statues, Jesson did a fine job of capturing that rare, still moment etched stone or edifice of people and happenings long silenced.  I also like how he subtly added a small element of sinister to something so unmoving.  Mr. Salinel is now also eligible to receive the 2016 Edward Bulwer-Lytton Award, which will be awarded to one Black Ink Contests literary artist that best exemplify originality, creative writing skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.  Congratulations again, Jesson!



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The Tale of Mun

 

I once had the face of ethereal bliss. Whenever that cute hollows appeared on my cheeks, their lips crept into smile, a smile into laugh as a caterpillar would into a beautiful butterfly. Maybe because I had everything.

I had the head-turning look – pink lips that I open only when speaking was necessary; obsidian eyes that never looked down to anybody. They said I could make everyone swoon if I would just wink. But I never used it for my advantage.

I had a friend so dear I knew I would call him best friend. He’s pretty much my other half, my backbone, his skeleton. I couldn’t do a thing without his consultancy and neither could he. Or perhaps we could, only that it wouldn’t have much the heart compared if we have each other’s side.

I had the most celebrated parents who have never been so unused to cameras, paparazzi, interviews. They considered sunglasses a necessity. Back then I had no idea what were they so famous for. People seemed so interested on my family.

And it seemed to me that life was a bed of roses. I walked around the red and white petals in my bare feet. So pure. So innocent. Like that beautiful butterfly dancing in the wind. But eventually the wind blew so harsh. It wasn’t safe. It was too much for its fragile wings.

The struggle overwhelmed the little me, making me tread backward. But alas! I cut myself. The bed had thorns underneath the sheet, the edges. The very bed was a bed of thorns in disguise.

 I wasn’t at all matured when all these things happened, when I learned of them. I never knew the word ‘incest’ was worth frowning until they pointed out my parents were brother and sister.

So this is why they’re famous for? I thought while then dreading to have asked both for confirmation. For the sake of my sanity. But I regretted asking since they left when I did. No idea where they went. At least they left me with the house. ‘House’ was the word I must grew accustomed to – not home. Home was gone. Forever.

Good thing I had a friend.

That friend, he let me cry on his shoulder a good deal of time. He rubbed my back. He loved me. He stayed beside me until I no longer weep, until I was put to sleep. He assured me that everything would be fine. But upon waking, he was gone. He slipped. Away. From me.

The other friends I had, the ones who “adored” me, had lately been so distant that I decided to reach them out. So I have some company aside from the wines on the rack. But when I did, they were less than adoring. Maybe because they could peer the loneliness in my smile which I thought would make them sad. But they were never sad. They made it appear like I was not appearing; that I wasn’t existing which was kinda sad because,

“I thought you love me, guys?” came my trembling and somehow desperate yearning.

“Yea we do. Before you go broke!” It broke my heart to hear that. “And honestly dear, you’re not at all lovable! Just look at your waist darling. It’s so wide you were as if a transgender! And your twisted, limped leg was a comedy you looked good in it.”

First, it was only smile then, like a wildfire, it has turned into laugh – the kind that could scar. The only thing I could do was to turn and walked away. Perhaps the wine could answer the pressing questions I had in mind: Why were they so fake? Why would they tell me they love when deep down they loath me? And why were they bringing me down knowing that I was still down, drowned?

Since then, I started to act estranged. I made myself so busy they barely saw me. I let no one entered my house – the house. No one even dared anyway. It’s dark, gloomy, unwelcoming. Just like what I’d become. Just like what they had made me.

Maybe they made bets that I would kill myself sooner or later. I killed no one except the time I spent doing what I love – archery.

No one knew about my errands until they saw me on a national television holding the biggest trophy for winning an archery competition. Among who joined, I was the only one sitting on a wheelchair. I had been since the deformity they were saying had gotten worse. I was that lame with no lame excuse. 

One reporter had asked,

“Are you happy?”

My guess, he asked that while finding any brightness on my face. Well, try harder because,

“I’ve never been!”

Perhaps they wanted me to smile – the least they could see from a champion in archery. Take away “r” on that word and you got “achery”. I was a champion in that, too.

I ached so much I forgot to smile. My lips, yea, they were still the same – pinkish. And it had never hurt anyone for the last couple of years. Unlike my eyes, my obsidian eyes which had been taking revenge in silence.

Not that I bragged but they’re beautiful - as beautiful as the people gathering around my house. I’ve thrown a big party. It was open to all. You see, my eyes were once full of life until the very reason why now they’re dead came into my view – my parents, my friends, my best friend.

I hate to think of it but among the people drinking wine, only them looked that broke.

Mother’s skin sagged but father’s sagged far even worse. My so-called friends didn’t look adorable with their ragged clothing who by the way must be expecting a pitiful look from my eyes. I wish I could. But I’ve grown insensitive, so unemotional even after seeing my best friend for the first time since that night.

“We’re sorry, honey!”, “We’re sorry, dear!”, “I’m sorry, Mun!” was all they could say. And that I guessed was for leaving me alone, unlove, undomesticated. And while I was hearing their living testimonies, I grew bored. I had this inkling of yawning before their very eyes but I grew disinterested.

I just wished they wrapped them up. I had other visitors to entertain, you know? But actually, what I wanted to wish was to somehow smile, break down, cry. Forgive. Forget. Accept. But the years of aloneness made my heart so hard nothing could melt it. The stillness in my face was comfortable; no one could change it.

So you see, I had once a face of ethereal bliss of which I had long gone miss. All the while I had been hiding at the back of this stoic statue of Tutankhamun. You can laugh, you can curse, you can say anything you want. But you will hear nothing from me. I will just stare at you so blankly.   

                                                                                                                                          THE END


ABOUT JESSON SALINEL

Jesson is from the Philippines and he loves to write stories that matters to him. He gains fulfillment through writing, be it in his native tongue or English. He's a lover of art, literature and music. Mariah's music, especially.

Visit Jesson's Wattpad Account: 
https://www.wattpad.com/user/elusive_conteuse

 


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