The Last Time We Were Kids

Do I have the luxury to write this morning, before the tides of busyness, drag me into their whooshing arms, toss me from side to side, then spit me out on shore at the end of the day, where I will lay, tattered and covered with salt, sand and seaweeds.

Coffee to get roasted. Then packaged. Then placed into attractive transparent cages. Pretty bows on top. I don’t mind that part!

Then immediately getting pulled, by the subtle currents of domesticity! Where I’ll be putting my ‘I love baking Christmas cookies aaaaall day…alone’ apron on! While dreaming of someone who’d bake them with me and throw a fist of giggling floury dust in my direction! Then realizing how ‘disturbing’ that image was! How foreign it will feel!

I am used to doing things alone by now. Who am I trying to fool?! I know quite well, how I quickly turn into a territorial mammal, as soon as I enter my familiar kitchen enclosure. Where I may growl if you dare get into my way or Heaven forbids, touch any of my toys while I’m busy playing with them!

Nah…I’m not that scary. It just made for an amusing image.

I’ll just gently usher you out, hand you a glass of wine, and ask you to just…sit and talk to me while I work. I may even smile at you here and there.

So…let’s bake some warm aromatic ginger snaps. No stealing…unless, you need to practice some of your forgotten playful devilment and mischievous iniquity! In which case, I will laugh and encourage you to, then ask you ‘when was the last time, you allowed yourself to be a kid again?!’. You’ll take a sip of your wine, smile and respond ‘doesn’t matter’…and I will then double the recipe.

image: unsplash

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Steve

Steve had one tooth left! The rest of his frontal teeth?! All gone.

His scattered, fine and frazzled, longish hair, escaping from underneath his bull cap, is trying to prove this statement ‘I’m still here. Still standing.’

His face is a rugged landscape, to so many hills and valleys, running in every direction! I bet Steve is probably no older than 45! But he looks 60.

I crossed the parking lot towards the building that hosts Food & Social Programs. I go there once or twice a month. I usually bring 2 large buckets full of coffee! I wish I can say that I give it away. But I actually provide it at the price the centre can afford! This way I stay fair to my business practices, as well as my giving nature. And so far, it’s been working out fine.

So there I was, crossing the parking lot after parking my car. Steve, was sitting in the opposite end! I saw him, he saw me! We both waved. Steve said something that I didn’t understand! I just assumed he was saying ‘how’s it going?!’ So I foolishly shrugged and nodded! How patronizing of me?! You will see why I say that.

I continued my confident strides towards the solid black door in the back of the building! Carrying two 50 lb of coffee at the end of each arm, feeling strong, fit and triumphant! A remnant of my smile at Steve a second ago, is still dancing on my confident face! As if a reminder to some invisible audience ‘hey..hey..look! I’m a good person! I’m a very good person! Friendly and smiley and I roast good coffee and I just drove an hour to get here and I’m wearing ugly boots and I don’t care and I don’t need to take two separate trips to bring the coffee from the car…and……why do I keep pressing the buzzer button but no one is coming to the door to open it?!’

So again, here I was, naïvely standing there, all confident in my arms and muscles, with two heavy buckets of coffee, proudly wearing my unassuming ‘hey we are not here to impress you or to look sexy’ warm and comfy boots!

Steve I bet, was by then looking at me all the way from where he was comfortably seated, like I was the strangest woman he’s ever seen! He probably shook his head and felt speechless as I kept standing there, buzzing that poor little white round button, which by now was narrowing its eyes at me, ready to jump out of the grey wall, and punch me in the face with its little buttony fist!

Now, finally, I’m beginning to realize, may be I’m a little too early and no one was coming to open the door for me.

Steve started walking towards me. By now, my arms are getting tired no matter the level of denial, that I was still attempting to continue indulging in.

My biceps declared a rebellion! I had no choice but to set the coffee buckets on the ground. Hiding my utter disappointment, I turned around and started walking towards Steve myself.

‘They’re not open yet! I’ve been trying to tell you! But you kept smiling and nodding!’

‘Yah I know! I couldn’t hear! I thought you were saying how’re you doing?!’

‘No. I was trying to tell you they weren’t open yet’

‘…’ followed by another cheapish smile.

Steve and I chatted about his latest landlord lady, his latest fight with his druggy neighbors! How he took matters in his own hands and ‘sucker punched’ them all!

Steve was at times, incredibly animated and funny, all while trying to look serious and scary! He did not mind me laughing as I couldn’t help it. But that’s usually my reaction to such stories, due to my twisted sense of humour!

Steve’s story, is now reaching a non laughing point. He mentioned he got arrested.

‘Steve, just, next time, if that happens, just..don’t sucker punch anyone!’

‘WHY!? THE COPS LOVED IT! They ALL KNOW ME! ARE YOU KIDDING?! I stayed there for “twenty minutes” at the police station! TWENTY MINUETS! that’s it! Then they asked me if I needed a ride and drove me back!’

‘…ok’!!

I had to believe him

I asked Steve if he’d mind watching over the coffee until the centre opens, as I had to head back! He said ‘absolutely!’

I gave him a hug! And as I was walking away, I heard him holler ‘when are you volunteering inside again?! Was it Wednesday that you usually come?!’

I smiled and responded ‘too busy these days Steve! See you in the New Year!’

Understanding Myself

When I started this writing journey, I quickly realized, this is the last place I’d want to:

– Pretend, so I can be liked and accepted.

– Follow any rules. Unless, I believe in their necessity and logic.

This has proved to be actually harder than I thought!

Peeling off the ‘likable’ happy lustrous scales, I usually cover myself with from head to toe, has been challenging!

Allowing others to watch me ‘where I have no control’ over them visiting me, leaving me, coming back to peer at me some more, hating me, liking me, understanding me because their day is going well, misunderstanding me because their day is going not so well, identifying with me because life is synchronizing its thrown out punches at us at the same time just to f*** with us, finding me completely unidentifiable with at other times due to our differences in lifestyle, way of thinking, experiences and a myriad of other reasons! Has been…definitely a bit onerous, when I’d allow myself to stop and think of, after I’d finish a ‘dark’ post!

This is a self-discovery journey, as well as, a self-improvement one, all mixed with my love for fiction at the same time! I never know what I am going to be writing about! It just happens. With one exception, the short story sequel. Which has been the hardest!

This place, here, is where I am most honest.

This place, is one of my favourite playgrounds. I can play and run and be free.

Sketch is one of my fave that I’ve created! I’ve been really missing sketching! Yet for some reason, my fingers have bee terrified of creating lately. No idea why! But I sure hope they regain their confidence to sketch again.

See Me

Thank you in advance for reading this sequel! I hope you enjoyed it, as much as I enjoyed writing it!

***

The wine was beginning to infuse its liberating swirling spells, into her veins…

Slowly, the two miscible reds started mixing. Every time she took another sip, further red clouds were introduced into her bloodstream. And the two mixed reds, are now circulating. Traveling further and further….whooshing inside her body.

Finally, those red spells in her blood vessels, did their magic! She could feel them hugging her heart, telling it ‘you don’t need to work as hard now! You can relax for a little while.’

The wine spells, spread and crossed every barrier, all the way to her brain. She felt her inhibitions shrinking into tiny little soldiers, incapable of fighting to keep her a prisoner inside her head! They could no longer constrain the shackles from bursting open.

She finally, started telling her story.

I listened! Her voice, sometimes, would get lowered down, then goes back up a little, then back down. She is obviously experiencing torment and pain, over the magnitude of her crime.

At one point of her story, I felt the details were disturbing. When she described her cold insistence, on getting her way. Is she an extortionist?! Is that really who this woman really is in essence?! And why on earth would she do something like that?! She does not even like the man!!!

On the other hand, it was clear, that he, liked her. In fact, he may have even loved her! May still does! But she obviously didn’t, and couldn’t love him back! She was incapable of feeling. How could she have, considering the level of her complexity! Considering how highly she values her freedom! A man, would take all that away! And she will be forced, to abandon that wild, calm, euphoric, serene, free and creative…being, inside her soul.

So she did what she knew best. She focused on his flaws. The truth is, he had plenty! Just as she did! And she ripped them to shreds, in her mind

She withdrew any kind of passion, or romance! And it was easy. She felt none.

All he managed to do! Was irritate her. His giddiness when he would spot her, bothered her! It showed lack of self control.

His clumsiness, enraged her inside! She tried hard to find it endearing like those romantics do, and failed every single time!

Her attraction to strength?! Was fierce! Self confidence?! She had no compromise for! And she was intuitive enough, to detect the slightest faking! The thinnest line of mimicry. And he faked a lot of both, strength, as well as confidence! To impress her!

She only feasted on his brain every now and then. His brain, at times, was shiny and beautiful! That was the part that allured her in the beginning! Until, she decided it was time to lose interest in that too.

Their other differences were staggering! It pained her to watch them get bigger and wider! The little ponds, were now raging oceans, separating her from him! He started to fade away…and day after day, she would drift some more herself.

There is no one to say she was right at how she handled it all! She recognizes her own flawed character. She knows who she is! She is a stubborn, cold, uncompromising woman! She could have one hand, petting a kitten, and the other! Slaying a poor soul that dared get too close, after watching her pet her kitten so tenderly.

She knows her random yearnings for love, but above all, her thirst, her passion…for strength, power…. and boldness. As well as, her attraction to beautiful shiny brains! Romance is secondary. The brain, on the other hand, is far more interesting. It’s where ideas live, among soooo many other exciting wonderful things.

So this poor woman sitting in front of me, did somethings she had never done before! She wanted the truth that she could not get for a long time! She needed to expose all the lies, casually thrown on the table in front of her, every time she saw him!

She asked for something she should’ve been given easily and freely. Something she was made to believe, was hers all along. It was denied!

So she insisted! It was withheld again! But not honestly! Not candidly! Rather covertly and patronizingly instead!

And that’s when, she very calmly, threatened something she had no intention of carrying through! Exposing secrets! Only her knew! Secrets she was entrusted with.

In her mind, she had done a terrible act.

In mine however?! An entirely different story forming now. One, I was happy to discover!

I could now, see this woman… And she is no villain. That’s for sure. She may have thought she was, but I will explain to her how wrong she was believing it!

What she does not know, is how he felt about it all in the end! When he looked at her and said ‘you are…an amazing woman!’. He was not angry. His stress was all gone!! Instead, he was still full of love! Even more love, when he finally realized, she would never actually hurt him! She just wanted him to act genuine and honest! That’s all she was interested in!

I tried my best, to get her to see things perspectively. I tried explaining to her, her flaws _although definitely there_ they are no ‘crimes’. They are… flaws.

She responded calmly, after she laughed first! It was not a boisterous laugh! Rather cathartic and sad! She said to me ‘You have missed one flaw! I lost my ability to believe anything he says. Even the truth!’

And I could see now!…it’s true! All she wanted, was honesty! Honesty about his real abilities. Honesty about all his lies. He failed enough times, for her to believe anything anymore! or…see any good truth!

He was a coward. And that?! She could finally see! And now?! She could leave him in peace! For good this time!

He knows he is naked now. He realizes she sees right through him! And he wants her more than ever! Because, she surprised him with her sudden kindness and grace! When he expected her to mock and ridicule!

She showed generosity towards him instead! Extended her hand, and helped him get up! And the only reason she did that?! Was…she pitied how he failed to hide his stress! So she did all she could, to get him to relax! In a quiet non rushing way! She let him be…she let herself be!

The night before, and the one before it too! She watched him try incredibly hard, to dodge and weave his way through! And she did not waver. He even pleaded. He changed his tone. Then he would go back, and fight some more. It confirmed he was weak all along. He was posturing all this time.

Today?! He can finally believe, her request is as simple as she promised it would be! All she wanted, was a visit! He invited her so many times before, and she had refused his invitation as she was never interested! Until a few days ago!

She finally figured, his instability stretches deep within his soul! He puts on a mask, of strength and confidence. To the outer world, he presents himself as trustworthy! His record of power, honour and respect, is long and glowing. Maybe, his fault was meeting her and never being able to forget her! He became her victim. She warned him she had no love to give so many times. Why did he stay?! She showed him her dark side! She faked nothing! She did not pretend love nor warmth. No sweet words were handed to him on a silver platter! Just freezing temperature all around, where his soul withered and suffered! Why did he not run?!

His answer when she used to ask him why he’d still linger around?! ‘I love you! I’ve accepted that! Nothing you do could change that’! The problem was, she believed none of it. Just how she is.

Today?! She allowed him to cook for her. Something he’s always wanted. She watched his joy in the kitchen! She had her gin and tonic in front of her, sitting at the kitchen island quietly across from him, watching him prepare their meal!

He was very excited! She was…very quiet!

They sat at the dinner table! His wine collection is excellent! His scotch cabinet is thrilling to inspect!

He poured them a beautiful white wine to go with the meal! She thoroughly enjoyed it!

She finished her plate before he was even half through his! She was simply…hungry! And refused to act proper by following proper dinner manners, and matching his food consumption speed! She laughed at the idea crossing her head! He commented ‘this is the first time, you’ve ever finished your food before me!’! She responded ‘this is the first time, you’ve ever cooked for me! ;)’. He laughed and nodded in agreement!

He said he did not need help cleaning up after! Asked her to just enjoy her drink instead! She smiled and secretly welcomed it! Then watched how he methodically and obsessively, cleaned and put everything away!

Then, she felt tired, as she has not been sleeping lately, due to her deep disappointment in herself! She’s been spending night after night, questioning herself! What she did to this man! How much she desires to forget the last act! The extortion one. To get him to do something incredibly simple! Show her who he really was. No more lies. No more pretending to impress her! Just, the truth! And she finally got what she wanted.

She asked to lie down. He brought her a warm blanket! Wrapped it around her. Sat beside her. Kissed her forehead at one point! She fell asleep unaware of when he had left the room!

He came back twenty minutes later! She screamed as she was suddenly awaken by a little noise he had made! He apologized for startling her! She was in a deep sleep!

On this man’s leather couch. There she laid, warped up in his blanket! Feeling completely peaceful! But why? She’s not supposed to feel peaceful! Yet she did!

She then, gave him back the blanket, and declared she needed to go!

She stood up, he wanted a hug. She couldn’t provide it. Smirked at him. Her eyes are empty! His are full of so many things! She’s just not the least interested in knowing what they were!

She put her coat on, opened the door, thanked him for his hospitality, and drove away! Then headed to see me! While fighting her disappointment in herself, over the extortion part! She hated herself.

I smiled and told her ‘oh honey! You did well! You did really…really well! I see that! I see you!’ And hugged her tenderly while she sobbed!


-image: Personal sketch

See Me, Hear Me IV

She did not answer.

Instead, her gaze is suddenly lowered! Avoiding mine. Although, I could neither detect remorse, nor a sense of guilt! Just her chin is proudly up, her back is straight, her legs are crossed and her eyes..are staring down at her hand resting on her knee! A somber quiet look is on her face now!

She asked for a drink. I got up, brought a bottle of no other than…’19 Crimes’, paying no attention to the irony of the label!

I opened the cupboard, brought 2 large wine glasses. I knew her taste. I knew she’s particular about her wine glasses! She hates the smaller ones with the bluish tinge! She loves the perfectly clear ones.

As soon as she noticed the bottle in my hand, she turned red. As if I had just brought her, a mirror instead, and she just suddenly faced her dark and dreadful reflection! She looked intensely disappointed and sad! The same look that had been on her face all along this evening, is back again now! What did I do wrong?! She did ask for a drink! Was it the wrong drink?! Did she want..water instead?! I doubt it. I’ll just pour her a glass and hope for the best!

I am deeply concerned! She is still looking…detached! But at least, she’s sitting down, and no more circling around!

I poured a small amount of wine in her glass! Her eyes are still fixated on the label…’19 Crimes’!

As I was about to hand her the wine glass, she looked up at me in a quick commanding gaze, gesturing her index finger elegantly yet confidently towards the bottle! I think she wants me to hand it to her!

I hesitated for a second, but I knew how much she despised hesitation! So I had no choice but to give it to her! And without any questioning! How could I question?! She’s been absolutely terrifying me for the past forty five minutes or so!

She stood up, walked towards the window. Her right hand fiercely gripping the poor vulnerable helpless neck of the wine bottle! Her black wolf ring looked darker, larger! In contrast, her left hand fingers, gently wrapped around her quarter full glass!

My eyes traveled back and forth between her two hands! Before she turned around!

Her back is now facing me!

I couldn’t help, but think, of the striking contradiction between the gestures in her hands! This woman! Has always been this way! Her contradictions… seem endless!

I heard more wine getting poured! She stood there for a minute or two! Took a sip. She then, turned around again, walked back towards me, gave me back the bottle, her glass is half full! Her gaze is lowered down again, still avoiding mine.

I am a little relieved! At least she didn’t fill it…as then?! Then I would have probably refused to listen to anything she had to say! I’d may have even left! Just got up, grabbed my coat, and left! But she only filled it half way! So I guess, I will stay.

Hear Me. See Me III

She did not want to sit down. It was obvious!

She kept walking around the room. Stopping at times. As if, in disbelief! as if in shock!

But why?!

She’d sometimes, hold her head between her hands! Then would press her temples with her fingers, while murmuring ‘this can’t be me! I’m not like this!’

I let her walk! There’s a chair in the corner! Yes, that’s where I’ll go! I decide to sit down, as I continue to watch her struggle with her thoughts! It’s obvious something had happened!

But what was it?!

She’s completely unaware of my presence! She is in her own world! And it’s very dark there! There’s no doubt about that from the look on her face!

She sometimes, would turn around, and walk the opposite way! As if, she just remembered a sudden onerous part in the story! A part, she’s finding incredibly hard to confront, or accept! Or, maybe, she simply feared dizziness, as she kept following her imaginary circle on the ground?! Or…was she was performing a ritual?!

I don’t know what to think anymore…!

What was troubling her to that extent?! Was she following an imaginary circle?! And did I just hear..an organ playing?! Or am I now hallucinating, after watching her and watching her, perform her strange spheroid ritual, of denial and ambiguity?!

Now, I am I hearing 4 piano keys in the background! Playing a repeated soothing waterfall rhythm?! …I actually don’t mind! I am suddenly filled with a sense of jagged harmony!

I feel much relief! As I realize, there was actually beautiful, acoustic music playing somewhere in the background!

All I know is, it’s incredibly soothing and consolatory! And I need it!

It’s now all becoming hypnotic! Her walking and walking in a rhythmic uniformity…around the room! The tentative piano keys, now also circling around and around, with her!

Every time she stops, the piano reaches a high point! Then as I pay more attention, she turns around, walks the opposite way, and that’s when the piano, would reach its tipping point! And I hear…and feel…waves of sound..mystical drums..all over the room..all over her..all over..me.

The rest of the time, it is the..quietest rhythm, I have ever heard!

And now…and for the first time…she notices me! I’ve been here all along! Yet, she did not look at me once! Why now?!

The music!

The music, meshed the gap between us. The gap between our worlds. She is able to see me now. I am ready to hear her.

She finally sits down!

She looks much calmer!

Yet, I see tremendous pain, indescribable torment…and loss! In her eyes…

I whisper: oh no! What did you do?!


Music inspiration: Sigur Rós – Njosnavelin

Image by Elijah M. Henderson/ usplash

Empty Room

Not sure what is going on inside of her lately, she sat there late in the evening, staring at the darkness outside..stretching from the outsider edge of her windows, deeper and deeper into the dim forest, full of all the running, the chasing…And the helpless squeals..of annihilation.

The tantalizing darkness! It starts as a mixture of illuminating light, unthreatening reflections and shadows, at the feet of clear sheets of glass! Ready to run and run…

Like a marathoner, at the start line it waits! A false promise of truce, temporary stillness and peace! But if you allow your eye to follow the trail of those running shadows, you will soon be taken deeper and deeper..into complete obscurity, where you suddenly feel, the heavy mysterious suffocating power, of the forest’s black veil!

She has been warned of the danger lurking outside those windows! ‘The Big Cats come out to play in the dark every night” she was told!

So she sat there…looking deep into the darkness. She then brought her sketch paper and paint brushes, ready to paint a picture of a wolf or a wild cat! Took another sip of the red desensitizing liquid in her glass, then got up, decided she needed some suitable tunes first!

She has been resisting listening to ‘Plans’ lately! The one album she never ever tires of listening to! And doubts that she ever will! Except lately, it’s been bringing back the old memories, way more intensely! Much more vividly! Memories that go back, six or seven years ago! Old unhealed wounds! Reminders of the time, when she first actually realized, her heart was capable of..feeling, of beating differently! That it wasn’t an empty room! The only time she realized, her heart wasn’t flatlined as it had always been!

Then it all suddenly burned off…SHE burned it all down! Killed it all! Yet shed not a single tear! And it all went back, to stillness! It was all utter foolishness and desperate attempts to escape her jarring sad reality. It was never real! It was never for her! It fooled her logic! Snuck insidiously into her soul! Ripped her pride to shreds! And left her to face her skepticism, for the rest of her life! Unwilling to trust her heart ever again.

Then she painted a wobbling… goose. And called it a duck

Burn it down, till the embers smoke on the ground 
And start new when your heart is an empty room 
With walls of the deepest blue 

Home’s face: how it ages when you’re away 
Spring blooms and you find the love that’s true 
But you don’t know what now to do 
Cause the chase is all you know
And he stopped running months ago 
And all you see is where else you could be 
When you’re at home 
Out on the street are so many possibilities 
To not be alone
The flames and smoke climbed out of every window 
And disappeared with everything that you held dear 
And you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn’t need 
Cause you knew you were finally free 
Cause all you see is where else you could be 
When you’re at home out on the street 
Are so many possibilities to not be alone