Gobstopper (Fiction)

Short Stories, Writing

by Monica Ng

As I lie in bed and listen to the angry howling voice of the wind and think about yesterday’s news forecast about the winter storm and dramatic change in our weather conditions, I wonder if we will ever have a chance to hold each other again before the world ends. I mean, before the whole planet crumbles beneath into the depths of the ocean or collapses into the nucleus of the Earth. I never forgot about the burning ball-shaped nucleus I learned about in high school geology class. The image of the structure of our planet from my textbook is etched into my brain forever – the crust, mantle and the outer and inner core, which in coloured pictures reminds me of a Gobstopper. If you don’t know what a Gobstopper is, it’s a candy generically known as a jaw breaker. It’s super-hard (as the name suggests) and as you suck it, each layer of colour disappears and reveals a new colour. When you get to the last colour – that’s the end. At that time, the hard candy is nothing but a soft matter that you can crunch with your teeth. And with that final crunching motion, the powder will dissolve and disappear into your mouth. And just like that, it’s gone forever.

Thinking of the Earth being stripped down to the “last colour” like the Gobstopper, is an obsession for me when I picture everything that humans dig out from the earth including precious metals, gems and foundations for endless new buildings and structures. As humans we exploit what’s not ours and rape the earth of things that don’t belong to us. We are greedy and ignore the consequences of our actions – global warming…climate change…world hunger caused by the imbalance of political systems…

The more we dig, the closer we are to collapsing our planet. At that time we will all slide into the fiery core like a thousand puzzle pieces being poured back into into the box after we are done building it. But unlike the puzzle pieces, we will fall into the abyss. From above in the galaxy, we would see planet Earth one second and then poof, it would turn to dust. It’s like how things above disappear into the sinkholes that occur when the earth beneath shifts or weakens – or simply when what humans have built can no longer support the weight that it was designed to hold. I think about plate tectonics – plates that weren’t attached to begin, crashing together at an incredible force – creating new continental divides, mountains that weren’t there before and new political disputes to settle the matter of newly acquired land. I picture the divide between us. Will we meet again in our lifetime? Can I hold you again and lovingly stroke your five o’clock shadow before the world we know is over? Everything in life seems trivial and becomes insignificant when I think about this. A magnetic pull so strong exists between us but we allow the small things to keep us apart. At the end of the day, does it TRULY matter that I typed the word “into” twice in a row in my rantings above? You probably didn’t notice because we are programmed to read like robots, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t notice. It’s something that spell check won’t catch. Maybe grammar check would catch it, but honestly who cares?! But if you happened to notice my intentional typo, thought it was accidental and wanted to tell me – I love you for that because you know that I am a perfectionist and would want to correct my typo before I share my work with the world.

Cherishing and holding onto what and who matters most to us while we are alive, is what really matters.

The untold stories series: River Rose

Short Stories, Writing

River Rose (Fiction) by Monica Ng

Razor Blades by Nathaniel Sutton plays at full blast while tears roll steadily down my face. I’m not surprised to see black streaks all over my face in the reflection of the mirror. If Maybelline’s promise of long-lasting waterproof mascara could be broken, then promises of growing old together could definitely be shattered.

It was a Valentine’s Day I will never forget. The day started out harmless.  I went for a walk along the river. I was minding my own business. Watched the river flowing. Nodded my head at a couple of seniors walking by me briskly. It’s when I approached the bridge that I saw an ambiguous outline of two people facing each other, huddled close. I didn’t think much of the love birds because Gary and I used to be like that. When I got to the center of the bridge and looked down by the riverbank, I saw the woman holding a single rose in her hand. They didn’t see me. From there I could hear their conversation. She told him that she would walk away if he didn’t leave the other woman. I can’t do this anymore. Two years is too long, she said. His response was hesitant. He said that he wanted to be with her and he was trying to leave his woman but it wasn’t that easy. Not satisfied with his reply, she pushed away from him and threw the rose into the river. Goodbye, she said. Wiping away her tears, she walked away. The guy just stood there. What an asshole, I thought to myself. What kind of guy does that? Doesn’t he have any guts? After a few minutes he removed his hood and glanced over in my direction. I found myself looking directly into the eyes of my Gary.


This is part of my series “The Untold Stories” inspired by pictures that I take along my life journey. More to come.

The untold stories series: The Lost Sole

Short Stories, Writing
Story inspired by the lone shoe on the shores of Lake Ontario

The Lost Sole (Fiction) by Monica Ng

I woke up early this morning. My sleep was fitful last night. Maybe I was overheated sleeping next to my growing pile of clothes. Maybe it was the bad dream I was having. I don’t remember much from my dream other than I was running away from someone.

I haven’t shared a bed with someone in a long time. I miss waking up and being in awe looking at her angelic face while she slept. Even her breathing was as gentle as her very being. She was a kind soul who touched everything with love. And she was mine.

Rolling out of bed, the clock tells me it’s 7 a.m. Every day seems to blend into one when there’s no sense of purpose. What am I supposed to accomplish today? My family and friends have told me for years that I need to move on. Accept that she’s gone. But I can’t let go. I wronged her too many times and she left me. I realized too late that I was taking her for granted.

Grabbing my backpack, I head out for a walk by the lake. I have to clear my cluttered mind. Watching the waves crash in rhythmic motion, I appreciate that no wave is ever the same. I dig for my morning breakfast bar which has now fallen to the bottom of my pack. Noticing one of my old red runners popping out, I remove it and place it on the sand. Her voice sounds in my head, Why can’t you just be more organized and get your life in order? I’ve had enough. We had many arguments over the years about my mess. I glance over at my single sneaker lying helpless on the beach and feel a pang of guilt because I have no idea where the other one is. She is right. She was always right. I have to get organized. I decide to go home and finally get my life in order.

Starting with my closet, I dig everything out and see a mountain-like spread on my bedroom floor. And in the pile, I spot my other red shoe. I smile. Quickly I go grab my backpack to reunite my shoes – feeling happy that for once I did something right, only to notice that it’s not there.



Walking along the shores of Lake Ontario, I often find items that shouldn’t be there – such as shoes, scrap metal and tires. When I was in British Columbia I saw a lone shoe on the sidewalk, which most likely belonged to a homeless person, but I will never know the story behind it. When I saw a red sneaker this morning, I wondered the same thing and it inspired me to work on a series of writing to tell the untold stories.