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Microsoft Word now has a pleasantly dreamy blue background, slightly hazy and washy intended to give a relaxing backdrop to whatever mire I decide to commit to black and white.

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There is nothing as remarkably futile and yet strangely necessary as hope. Hope implies acknowledging a future turn of events and we have no guarantee whatsoever about what the future has in store for us. The past, that was once our future when the present was then and not now, has dealt us wickedly cruel blows as it has been kind to us. We pause to contemplate the past disregarding the fact that we yearned for it to be different, for better or worse. Hours of introspection are dedicated to this retrospective rumination and yet we drift ahead with resigned knowledge that we are unable to take a firm grasp on the outcome of tomorrow’s events. Those of the day after are even more hazy. Next week is a deep, gaping void. And yet we invoke hope with bizarre notions such as that of having nothing left in life but hope. I pity the fool.

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I reversed out of a parking spot and a kind lady stopped to let me manoeuvre easily. I nodded my thanks in her direction and proceeded to back out of my spot. A squeal of brakes. The car behind hers slammed into the back of her car. Few good deeds go unpunished.

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Love is blind. Love is the smile on a little girl’s face. Love is the answer to all our questions. Love is the question we cannot answer. Love is all that is left when all has been stripped away. Love is impossible to define. That which we can’t define doesn’t exist if we take a purely empirical standpoint. But how can one be so callous? Does she smell like a girl when she smiles? Do I leave a little bit of myself in the sauce I prepare to douse a steak with? Has she spotted me yet? Will it hurt? Have you ever felt like this before? Have I ever felt like this before? Do you wish you could take away the pain and make it your own? May I take your pain and own it like I’ve been born carrying it? Why can’t I do anything to help? Love is always a question. There is no single correct answer to it.

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Why do dogs hate it when we blow at their cute little muzzle and then stick their head out of the window as soon as the car starts moving?

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I would like to stop what I’m doing and give you a helping hand but I’m moving too fast. I could hurt you more than I could ever provide solace when travelling at this speed. To my left are the rolling, inviting planes of submission and to my right the barren, jagged landscape that jolts me into action and yet I can’t step out of line because time prods me in the back. Charity must be preceded by a conscious break in routine, the searingly painful detachment from all that inextricably links us with here and now and comfortable. Charity is a word that is rarely more than a sentence away from altruism. It is inevitably tied to the act of giving without hoping to receive, the most noble endeavour known to us. And yet we receive every time. We are rewarded with the knowledge that someone stands to gain from the results of our actions. That we are a little worse off in terms of time, effort or worldly belongings but that someone else is reaping the harvest of our selfless seed. We then return to where we started, basking in the warm glow that is our reward for an act of charity only to find that the earth has not changed to accommodate these actions. Cynics claim that acts of charity breed complacency within the wretched recipient of our act of kindness. Socialists propose that the needy are in that state because they haven’t worked hard enough. Tree-huggers complain about the carbon-dioxide load of those who speak all day but don’t do a stroke of work. And a multitude of other justifications to stray away from charity are postulated, simply because stepping off the track that we’re dashing along involves leaving a little bit of oneself behind. But is that not love?

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There was once an old lady who lived in a shoe with a hundred little kids. She had not enough money to feed them all, nor clothe them all, nor send them all to school. And she loved every one of them more than she loved herself and they somehow survived. The labour of her love was topped up when insufficient by charitable acts of those around her and her eldest son was now five-and-twenty years of age and a strapping lad indeed. Yet she still spanked them all and sent them off to bed, hoping that tonight’s unwarranted punishment will make them a little stronger tomorrow.

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