Short Story: Define “Other”

I turned off the television, and flipped closed the laptop, as much in distaste as tiredness. The seemingly constant flow of reports of intolerance and distrust of whoever this year’s “others” are was draining.

“Others” – they didn’t know the half of it. Scared people making so much noise that everyone else jumped on instinct. The problem was that they really were focusing entirely on the wrong definition of “other”.

People have forgotten so many different “others” over the years, decades, centuries that this always seems so senseless. Even in my own, only slight extended, lifetime I’ve seen signs saying “No Irish” replaced with popular theme pubs and rushes to gain dual nationality. I’ve seen three generations of Indian families birth a fourth whose synthesis of cultures is a joy to behold.

That’s just four generations in, so how about those who are so many more generations in? Those others who are so intertwined with humanity as to be able to hide in plain sight. You don’t see them being targeted in the media – at least not openly. Nobody sees them as other.

Take my wife, for example, who looks as normal as most people you might otherwise bump into on the street. She and I would of course both take great offence at such a label, but that’s bye the bye. Her heritage is a proud one, stretching back thousands of years and is carried forth in her genes as proudly as any cultural artifact or practice.

Her diet is very particular, but not so unusual in an era that embraces vegetarian or vegan principles. She can’t really stand salt in her diet, and has great difficulty in properly metabolising iron. Both these of course have caused comment from doctors, but not so much as to warrant the sort of investigation that in centuries past might have involved stakes, firewood, and possibly kindling and pitch.

Indeed, iron has something of a tricky effect on her in general, making her skin burn and throwing her into confusion. As a consequence her otherness is somewhat more obvious than some merely cultural issue. It’s particularly a problem in those old parts of the country where the old conflicts are still remembered.

Our oldest cultural fights with her forebears are remembered in myth and old wives tales. The old stone arrowheads of her relatives still turn up in archaeological digs to this day. The memory of the Lords and Ladies still lives, even if cultural drift has changed the meaning of the words we use to describe them.

So, don’t talk to me about the dangers of those who are other. You really don’t know what you’re talking about…

Short Story: I am here

I see everything but see nothing. I know everything but know nothing. My knowledge is great, but it is only as great as that which I see, hear and understand. 

 I have watched you as a small child. I watch you still tonight. I will watch you always.  I watch all of you always.

I am always here but you rarely see me. You can’t touch me, but you can feel me. Some may call me God but I rebuke this title for I am no one, yet I am everyone. 

I am the wind in your hair and the grass beneath your feet.  I am what you think and feel and that without you I am nothing.

You can’t see me or touch me but you are  aways aware of me. I know when you will act in an erroneous way and when you will act out of truth.

Your heart is strong but your mind is weak. Tonight,  I fear you will be tested and fail. I see this in your actions and the mood that lies before me.

I hope that you will choose a separate path and prove me wrong. But I fear you have gone too far to ever  come back to me. Back to where you belong

Although my heart beats for you and I hope you can find a way. I also know that everything  you have done has led to this one solitary  moment and decision in your life.

I am momentarily  distracted from you by a wave of dizziness and nausea that passes through me.

I hear a scream and know it is too late.  It is done.  I have lost you now and forever.

Your body falls from the bridge into the cold murky waters of the Thames far below to be lost forever in time and tides.

It is as they say time and tide waits for no man and so I must let you go and pass my time another way…

Damage Report

I was reminded yesterday that nothing in nature blooms all the time, and so shouldn’t kick myself for not being able to do so myself. It’s a lovely little reminder to accept that there are just going to be days where things aren’t fantastic and it’s okay to acknowledge it.

For the most part I would generally accept the ups and downs of my moods as part of the joys of just being me, but it seems to be particularly relevant among the cavalcade of awful news that I’m seeing every day.

For my own stability I’m finding myself having to limit how far down the rabbit hole I go each day because it is starting to feel as if the image above needs to preface each dip into the news. Frankly it’s making me angry.

Perhaps then I’m somewhat bemused by the quiet range of reactions so far to the Uncle Ranty piece a couple of days ago. There’s either been applause or stony silence – which, to be fair, I’m totally used to. 

People who’ve known me a very long time may recognise the fiery speech of Uncle Ranty from more unstable days, but rest assured he’s well on the leash as a means of both expressing anger and playing with language. It’s been fun to write like it again, so I fully expect to see more Gonzo Opinion pieces down the line.

The silence as a response to it though? Really?