What the old man heard

“How’s the cocoa?” the old man asked before taking a sip of his drink. He sat on the carpet close beside the fireplace.

“It’s delicious.” the little girl grinned. Her initial reserve slowly disintegrated as she got more comfortable around the old man.

“So,” began the old man, “do you wanna tell me what you saw?”

“Wouldn’t you rather know where I am from?” the little girl offered.

“Oh, yeah that too. I thought you’re gonna tell me all that along with whatever you saw.” the old man’s eyes sparkled with suppressed anticipation.

“Okay. I will.” the little girl gulped down the last bit of her drink and put the mug down on the small table that stood beside the armchair.

“I live with my aunty in a village close by. I go school there too. And I come to the forest a lot to play with my friends.”

“I figured you must’ve came from the village.” the old man interjected.

“Aunty always warned me not to go too deep inside the forest.” guilt washed over her small face.”My aunty has to work late sometimes. Janesha sneaks out of her home and we run to the forest to play with the fireflies.” she continued, trying not to think about how much trouble she was going to be in. “There’s a magical lake too, if you go a little further. We throw rocks at it and it glows!”

“My aunty’s going to be late tonight and I finished my homework and chores early. There was still light outside, so we thought we could go inside the forest a little more than we usually do. We were hoping to find some cute bunnies. Oh, or deers with horns like glow sticks.”

“Don’t they tell you kids tales about the dangers of venturing out too much?” the old man shook his head with disapproval. “Back in my days, they told us there were wolves who smelled brats as soon as the sun began to set. They would devour our bones if we went anywhere close to the forest after dark.”

“No, Ms Diya taught us we don’t have wolves in our forest.” the little girl stated as a matter of factly. Her face suddenly became alive with excitement as she recalled something, “but they tell us stories about an invisible line that only appears…”

“…once during a full moon every decade when the flowers with obsidian petals appear.” the old man finished. “They still tell you that, huh.”

“You know that story!” the little girl exclaimed, “I always wonder what happened to the boy.”

“Well, I never heard of no boy in the story.” the old man said, straightening his legs on the carpet.

“But that’s the best part!” she didn’t hide the disappointment in her voice. “You know, the boy who saw the flowers and followed their trail into the forest.”

Everything about the old man hardened for a moment. His grey eyes became cold and distant. He got up and walked towards the window, lifting the curtain to look at the moon. His features softened and his eyes regained their sad undertones.

“Do tell me more about this boy.” the old man urged, letting go of the curtain. The sudden change in his behaviour confused the little girl but her eagerness to tell the story made her pay no attention to it.

“They say the boy woke up in the middle of the night to relieve himself. But when he got out of bed he saw the window was open and the moonlight was especially bright. Slowly, he peered out the window to see a trail of flowers with petals the colour of obsidian growing all the way from his window and disappearing into the forest. He went to wake his mother up and when they returned, there was nothing outside other than darkness.” she paused, her eyes wide as if she was hearing the story for the first time.

“His mother told him he must’ve dreamt it and closed the window shut. When morning came, his mother realised the house was too quiet. She went to check if the boy was still sleeping. When she went into his room, she found an empty bed with no sign of her boy. The morning sun poured in through the open windows. At first, she thought he went outside to play but then she spotted a single petal lying at the edge of the bed and she knew. She knew that her little boy was gone.”

A Continuation of Dance of the cosmic whales.

Dance of the cosmic whales

“What did you see?” the old man enquired. His voice deep and solemn, “speak up, girl.”

“I saw a, a whale. A whale made of stars, swimming in…nothing.” mumbled the little girl. She didn’t look into the eyes of her interrogator. Her eyes were fixed on the twilight.

“Child, I’ve lived in these mountains for years. So many lonely years, to…to see this. My sanity girl, give me back my sanity!” the old man howled with bitter laughter which frightened the little girl. Her shoulder shook as she began to cry silently.

“No, no. I am so sorry!” the old man cleared his throat and kneeled down in front of the little girl. He patted the little girl’s head with an oversized palm. “There, there. Don’t you cry, sweetheart. I wouldn’t hurt ya. I can act a little crazy sometimes, sorry.”

The little girl looked down at her feet and rocked on her heels, sniffling every now and again.

“I promise, I won’t do it again. Forgive me?” he apologised in a gentle and sincere manner.

She finally raised her eyes to look at the old man and smiled. The moonlight glistened on the traces of snot and tears left behind. The old man gave her an old handkerchief to clean her face with.

“Wanna come inside and have a cup of hot cocoa?” he asked, gesturing towards the small wooden cabin he called home. “It’s freezing out here.”

“Sure.” she whispered, blowing her nose on the handkerchief. Her voice was still shaky from crying.

“That’ll be lovely.” she added, louder this time.

They headed towards the door of the cabin which stood only a few steps away from them. The old man held the door open for the little girl to pass through. He might’ve minimised his contact with civilisation as much as possible but he never forgot his manners. She thanked him while he closed the door and hanged his jacket and scarf. Then he gave the little girl a blanket to wrap around herself and told her to make herself at home. She took a sit on a small armchair in front of the fireplace while he made the hot chocolates.

My writing goal at this stage is simply to write anything so that it becomes a part of my everyday routine.

A Quick Guide Of Things You Need When Moving Out For The First Year of University.

Obviously, everything I am going to mention here isn’t going to be applicable for everyone. There’s a good possibility that I might forget some things. Add and subtract from the list as you desire.

Bedroom and study:

  • Duvet
  • Duvet cover
  • Bedsheets – multiple, particularly if you get heavy periods. Sometimes you won’t have time to wash sheets.
  • Pillows
  • Flipflops/sandals – your floor is going to get disgusting.
  • Table lamp – one of my coursemates’ room had seriously poor lighting. Needless to say, having a lamp helped.
  • Laptop – invest in a good one. You’re going to need access to a computer every step of the way.
  • Extension cable.
  • Folders – trust me, it will help you organise your things so much better. As for general stationeries, it depends on you as an individual.
  • A sturdy, medium sized lightweight luggage – investing in a good one is worth the price.

Kitchen: this is more useful for someone moving into a studio.

  • Toaster/toastie maker (unless provided by the accommodation) – for the love of anything at all, if you are like me and know cooking is something that will take time for you to learn, get a toaster/toastie maker. Chances are you’re not going to have time to make fancy meals and opting for homemade sandwiches will help you save money.
  • knife
  • Chopping board
  • Small, medium and large plates – one of my friends (her parents) bought an expensive dinner set to university and broke almost all of them. Students just don’t throw dinner parties, it’s just not gonna happen. I, for one, don’t have a supply of easy money and have to save as much as possible. If you want to save money, just bring some cheap plates that you are going to throw away eventually.
  • 2 x bowls
  • Mixing bowl
  • Glasses and mugs – bring a few, 4 should suffice. Once again, no one’s throwing dinner parties in university. Shot and wine glasses on the other hand are a different story. I don’t drink, not a good idea for me to advice one on that.
  • Cutlery – a set containing 4 pieces of each type will do fine.
  • A few containers to store food in. If you are particularly broke, head over to poundland and get a set of 8 microwavable plastic containers. They are surprisingly handy.
  • Tea towels – wash and reuse to save money on kitchen towels. I just recently realised how much I spent on these. You do need kitchen towels but it’ll help reduce a lot of waste to have something reusable as well.
  • Frying pan
  • Sauce pans – small and large.
  • Wooden/plastic utensils – for cooking.
  • Tin can opener
  • Baking tray – may not be necessary, my oven came with one.
  • Colander – pasta is going to save your life. It’s also useful for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Dish rack – organising made easier.
  • Kitchen scale – a small kitchen scale is incredibly useful, especially if you are awful at measuring things like me. Helps make my food a little more edible. Bonus, helps to keep track of portion size and calorie intake.


  • Toilet brush with holder
  • Small bin – you can thank me later.
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Soap dish
  • Plasters, paracetamol etc.
  • At least 4 hand towels, 4 face towels and 2 bath towels.
  • Lots of underwear.
  • Shower necessities e.g. back brush, sponge etc.

Good hygiene is everything.

Now that the essentials are done, here are some other stuff:

  • Fairy lights – are you even a student if you don’t have a set of fairy lights in your room? They can also create a nice relaxing atmosphere.
  • Good pyjamas, dressing gowns and hoodies – if you are a headscarf wearer, hoodies will save your life.
  • Diffusers – because some accommodations have very sensitive fire alarms.
  • Fancy dresses – you don’t have to bring everything at one go. Usually, in October there’s a lot of themed parties. I don’t attend these as they’re not my thing but this girl once needed emergency minnie mouse ears for a house party. Besides, there are end of year balls, summer balls etc.
  • Jars – for storing biscuits and other food products.
  • Smart clothes – just one white shirt/blouse, one black trouser, one brogue/any smart shoes and one blazer will go a long way.
  • Extra blankets and throws – some accommodations have very poor heating.
  • Mesh curtains for ground to third floor – if you need the privacy, that is.
  • Microfibre cloths – for quickly cleaning your devices.

On the day you move in, you’ll have to go grocery shopping. So, here’s a basic (vegetarian) grocery list. Once again, it all depends on your lifestyle.

When moving, remember that for things like clothing you don’t have to bring it all at one go. Unless you live extremely far away, you’ll go home again and can bring back the things you left behind. Besides, you’re still living amongst civilisation and there are going to be shops there for you to buy things when you need.