Surprise, surprise

Boat in the sea web


I have missed the element of surprise. That feeling, intimately connected to the ideal of acting in accordance to a set of rules, which instigates the separation of rules of reality generating events in every day life from rule-of-thumb expectations.

But then again, should you lower your expectations, everything may come as a surprise.

Precisely, not having any expectations is a surprise in itself.

Preaching that you have no expectations, then, has to be some kind of mantra. Receiving a gift for any occasion would not be defined by its value. A box of chocolates would be equal to a caress, a gesture, a glance.

Significance would derive from the mere thought of the surprise.

And then you have surprises that come from the mundane. When you see that the trees on Stasinou and Salaminos Avenues are sprouting vividly after they were butchered a couple of months back, you’re surprised.

When you come across the new Strovolos Municipality cultural centre, you’re equally surprised.

You could also be surprised when you see a toddler walking up to his father in a park who is adamantly trying to capture a selfie of his son, only to deter any physical interaction between the two in order to capture ‘the photo’.

That’s also surprising.

Agreed. Surprises ring alarm bells, whether in the negative or positive. I assume that what you do about these surprises is indicative of how the course of your daily trot is defined. Perhaps the element of surprise I have missed is a more restricted one. One where expectations don’t matter because they are unprecedented.

Yes, an unprecedented surprise. That’s what I miss.


***Published in The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, June 14, under column entitled “Artichoke” @MelissaHekkers






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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London