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Monday, 19 December 2016

Ode to the Particles

19 december 2016

One thing I’ve always envied my mother for is her stong will and fearlessness of being herself. Knowing he background and the amount of pain and suffering, let alone the amount of humiliation she went through, she still manages to dust herself off and look at the chaos with a face that says: “Ha, did you even try?” This does not take away the enormous amount of sympathy she can have. When you speak profoundly and sincerely to her, she widens her eyes and her normally so loud and theatrical voice softens. She then smiles and gives hugs and does whatever she can to make you feel better. This has to do with her emotional and rational side coming together and passing judgement over the situation. With the amount of knowledge and her own broad experience she has, she calculates what to think of a certain situation. Adding rational knowledge to her, can cause her to change opinions, when you know how to phrase it in such a way that her soul is touched. She demands to be heard, when she knows she can bring something beautiful to the world. She demands to be respected. She does not tolerate nonsense one bit. Her voice amplifies the moment she hears you’re giving a incoherent nonsensical story. She praises people with virtue and looks down upon people who are lazy. Bravery, wit, intellect and beauty are what makes life worth living for her, even if there’s no inherent meaning to life. To be frank, I do sometimes lose my intellect in front of her. Husserl and Heidegger and all the other phenomenological philosophers say that it’s not only you who interprets reality: it is also reality forcing itself upon you. Reality pushing you into passing judgement over it: sensing the matter, smelling and hearing it. Such a phenomenon is my mother. It may be that in class or outside I can be the adult I think I am, that I can drink and smoke and kiss anybody without a second thought, but in her presence I suddenly find myself becoming humble again, tripping over my words, wanting to be understood and equally lovingly hearing her thoughts. The comparison might be considered to be a bit far fetched, but there is a religious element to it. Something sanctuary, where I want to respect her not only as the individual she is, but also the personification she is of bravery, overcoming, compassion and pride. Not afraid of being herself, forcing herself almost to be an individual, but never when it means hurting the people she loves. Loving her is always optional. You never have to, but because of that, you always want to. Existential books are her favorite, but the ones in which the protagonist isn’t afraid of confronting the world with their individualism. Sabina from Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being is a good example. Or easier, Nietzsche’s Übermensch. 
Kafka is weak in her eyes. Someone who became dissolved in his own misery and found a way to convey that in paper to the rest of the world. She admits to having selfish feelings, like jealousy, pride, anger. But she speaks up, she shows the complexity behind it. It’s not just jealousy, it’s always associated with a whole string of events, literature, desires, expectations, etc. She’s my mirror, although with a golden edge. More confident, more intelligent, more focused and determined, more joyful and humorous. An admirable lady. There is a need to write it down, to make it explicit. It used to be normal for people to go down in history, if they had not done anything significant, if they hadn’t had an impact on the world. Not taking the opportunity of being born in an age where my thoughts don’t have to be lost, it would be a mistake not writing this down as a memoire. To remember how twenty year old me experienced her mother. To know that small impacts are as important as the big ones. The shadows in our lives are the small particles with the hugest impacts. The tiny friction before the Big Bang, that can cause an explosion of causality. Here it is as an ode to those people, an ode to the particles, but specially my mother. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Softly, silently, quietly,  gently 
You let it in 
You let it in 
You let it in
Seven days, seven seas and seven sunsets 
Are enough to let in 
To let it fill, to let it kill
Silently, violently, patiently waiting
Letting it all come 
And let it all go, let it all grow, to see what it’ll bring 
Having obsessed over the sun
Having  confessed to your sins
Hush and beware, 
Hush and beware,
Hush and beware,
For it has begun 
Plant your seed, patiently wait, now contemplate 
The outcome of the passion,
Skies are falling, insects crawling, but you will let it in
Chilling wind, rocking chair, temper gone, 
But beware 
Darling daisies dead, the anger well fed, 
Yet all is just and seemingly fair 

Sunday, 13 November 2016


The water in the bathtub filling 
With icy chunks of the past 
And quite breezing and thrilling 
Here I lay open, empty in dust 
Dead, forgotten, not worth a shilling 
But finally alone at last 

Saturday, 12 November 2016


faint absurdity
catches me again
in empty pages
scarcely written down
so poorly expressed
the faint vanity
of what else?
everlasting rape

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Short Story Chapter 2 and 3


I had just woken up from a phone call in the middle of the night. I had no idea what time it was.
‘’Yeah, it’s me,’’ I heard Charli reply on the other side of the line.
‘’Jesus fucking Christ,’’ I rubbed my eyes, ‘’do you have any idea what time it is?’’
‘’No, do you?’’ she said in an amused tone.
‘’Come on,’’ I sighed. I clicked on a lamp and looked on the clock that read three ten, ‘’you’re a bastard.’’
‘’Yeah. Want to keep this bastard company?’’
I had hung up and rolled over. The phone rang again. I ignored it. I did so for the next three minutes, before I couldn’t bear the noise of it and picked up angrily.
‘’What?!’’ I screamed into the phone.
‘’Hey, it’s me,’’ she said in a relaxed voice.
‘’Yeah, what do you want?’’ I was laying in bed with my eyes closed.
‘’Keep me company, will you?’’
‘’Charli. Fuck off, will you?’’ I said in a pseudo-happy voice, mimicking hers.
I’m usually a nice person, but there are reasons for that. One being, me getting enough sleep. Especially when I know I have to work the next day.
‘’Oh, come on, K. You’re already awake. You’re not going back to sleep anyway,’’ she said.
That’s true. Once someone wakes me up, I have difficulties getting back to sleep. I rubbed my eyes in frustration, but eventually got up.
‘’With you in a minute,’’ I said shortly. I went off to make some coffee. Coffee was a real lifesaver for me. Whenever I lacked sleep, it would temporarily lift my mood. I didn’t feel like getting angry at Charli, I was sure there might have been a good reason for her calling me, so I tried to prepare myself for whatever she had to say. That being said, by having a clear mind that was ready to take her complex gibberish.
‘’I’m back,’’ I said, as I sat on my bed sipping on the hot coffee. The room was completely dark, except for one lamp. I could see a plate on the table with leftovers from last night. I stared at the table, while listening to Charli.
‘’Hey,’’ she answered.
‘’Hi. What is it? Why are you calling me?’’
‘’I can’t sleep.’’
‘’Yeah, neither can I. Thanks to you.’’
‘’But I can’t work either.’’
‘’What do you mean?’’
I heard an annoyed growl.
‘’It’s just… I’m so extremely upset and annoyed. I’m trying to write, but the words just won’t come out. Well, they are, but it’s all just a mess. It’s nonsensical and stupid. I hate the characters I’m writing. They’re so cliché and besides that, I have a feeling that every dialogue I’m giving them, is something I’ve subconsciously stolen from another writer. I don’t know, K. Even the writing itself feels like shit. I keep wanting to say a billion things at the same time, but my hands…They’re just so slow, for fucks sake. Because of that I eventually end up with a billion things I can’t say, because it’s all just a big mess in my head, that I can’t put into words.’’
I was silent as she was raging. I could hear her breathing heavily. Her voice became higher than usual and her breathing faster, whenever she was upset. Her eyes would also grow in size, or so it seemed to me, and every muscle on her face would turn upside down.
‘’You done yet?’’ I asked.
I chuckled.
‘’No, you know what it is?’’ she said, ‘’I’m just a failure of a writer. I get so annoyed at it. I don’t get any pleasure out of it. I have the feeling that I have these brilliant ideas, but I just can’t put them into words, because god made me into this impatient little shit that I am. You know what? I hate it, I don’t want to be a writer anymore. And you know what? It’s your loss, K.’’
I frowned. ‘’What? My loss?’’ I was very confused.
‘’Yeah, you. K, the human. Part of humanity. Your loss for never reading any of my ideas. They’ll be locked away in my head and I’ll take it with me into the grave. Okay?’’
‘’Good,’’ she said. Good, didn’t really mean good, I figured. I suppose logic transcends Charli. She sounded like one of those angry pups, who made cute barking noises at strangers. It’s cute in a way, but it also made me feel useless. I didn’t know what to say or how to solve her issues and quite frankly, I was also too tired to go too deep into it.
‘’Hey, lighten up,’’ I tried.
I took a few sips from my coffee.
‘’What are you drinking?’’ she asked.
‘’Nothing special. Just some coffee.’’
‘’Do you have to work tomorrow?’’
‘’Oh, sorry for waking you up then.’’
I rolled my eyes. ‘’That’s okay, you can call me anytime.’’
‘’Do you want to go back to sleep, maybe?’’
‘’I can’t. You know that.’’
‘’Yes, sorry.’’
I shrugged. ‘’That’s okay. I’ll survive tomorrow.’’
She was quiet.
‘’Anything in particular you want to talk about, dear?’’ I asked.
‘’No, I just wanted to hear your voice.’’
‘’Well, I’m here.’’
It was quiet again. I was just patiently waiting, since I sensed more was coming.
‘’You know, I really am happy you’re my friend,’’ she said.
‘’Yeah? Why so?’’
‘’You’re really patient. I can’t imagine anyone else being this patient with me.’’
‘’I know. You’re lucky to have me,’’ I said with a grin.
‘’You know damn well what I mean. Don’t think so proudly of yourself, you bastard.’’ I could hear she was chuckling. I felt warm again.
‘’You know what you need?’’ I asked.
‘’What’s that?’’
‘’Get your mind off work. It’s not going to happen and you know that, right?’’
She sighed. ‘’Yeah, but I just don’t get why.’’
‘’I do,’’
‘’You do?’’
‘’Then tell me, because I can’t seem to figure it out.’’
I took a few more sips from my coffee until the cup became empty.
‘’Charli dear, you’re forcing it,’’ I got up and started walking around the room to stretch my legs a bit. I stopped in front of my window and looked out of it. The city streets were empty, the streetlights were lit, but no person to be seen. I lived in the suburbs of the city, among mostly adults who had young children. I could see the playing field in the distance. During the day it was packed with children, but during night the streets seemed to go through a complete change. Changing a bright colorful crown for a black veil. The streets looked quite creepy at night. The playing field seemed abandoned, it was hard imagining children playing there. I turned away and went back to bed.
‘’You can’t force it.’’
‘’Force what?’’
‘’Force your love for something.’’
‘’But I love writing, I truly do.’’
‘’Well, that’s something I really wonder. I actually think you don’t.’’
‘’Then why would I do it?’’
‘’I wonder whether you want to write or whether you want to finish writing.’’
‘’Well…I don’t know. It’s complex,’’ she sounded tired. Not from a lack of sleep, but like she felt indifferent towards my words.
‘’No, love. You’re making it complex. It’s very easy. Do you like the act of writing?’’
‘’Well. Not particularly, no.’’
‘’Then what is it that you do like about it?’’
‘’Just conveying my thoughts, I suppose.’’
I scratched my head and stretched. I couldn’t suppress any groans coming out of my mouth.
‘’Yeah. Exactly. Then why not do that instead?’’
‘’I don’t know,’’ I could hear her voice getting high again. A clicking sound could heard. I assumed it was her lighter.
I also got triggered to also roll a cigarette. I’m not a smoker, honestly, but from time to time I do smoke to keep my mind alert. I especially did it a lot when I was in college and had difficulties staying up to study for my exams. It caused me to be alert and continue focusing on whatever I was doing on that moment.
‘’Give me a second,’’ I said, ‘’I’m also getting a cig.’’
I usually hid my tobacco away from plain sight, so I could avoid it becoming a habit. It was hidden between a few records under the table. I quickly rolled one. It was a trick I had learned as a college student from one of my friends. It caused me to become a semi-smoker later in life, but initially I just rolled them for other people, because I thought it was a cool trick. Meditative perhaps.
I walked around looking for a lighter, until I found a box of matches in the drawers.
‘’I’m back,’’ I said. I inhaled. An explosion of relief rushing towards me and I closed my eyes for a few seconds before exhaling.
‘’Talk to me,’’ I said.
‘’Talk to me. Convey whatever thoughts you have. Why have a medium that frustrates you, when you can just directly tell me? Besides, the world won’t hear about it anyway. It’s locked away in your head. So, do I have to privilege to hear your thoughts?’’
She hesitated for a few seconds. ‘’Well… It’s complex…’’
‘’Yeah, yeah. I know it’s complex. You’ve mentioned that multiple times. Just tell me how your day was. What did you do today?’’
‘’I can tell you tomorrow. At the moment I’m quite tired.’’
‘’Yeah?’’ my voice echoed my disappointment.
‘’I don’t really feel like talking at the moment.’’
‘’I’ll catch you another time.’’
‘’When is that?’’ I asked.
‘’I don’t know,’’ she took a deep breath, ‘’I just feel like my soul got crushed again, K. Do you get that? No, of course you don’t. You know why? Because for you everything is simple. Cause, effect, solution. Rinse and repeat. Do you know how annoying that is for me? It makes me feel like I’m some overdramatic puppet, who can’t control her emotions. But then again, maybe the problem isn’t me, maybe the problem is me dealing with soulless people like you.’’
‘’Oh, soulless?’’ I asked curiously.
‘’Yeah, soulless. You’re like a machine, just performing tasks, following a set of rules. Let me tell you something about reality. That’s not how it works. You might want it to work that way, because it’s convenient, but it’s not how reality works in the slightest. It’s just you and people like you, who want to see it that way to make their own comfortable lives even more effortless and comfortable. And you know what the effect of it is?’’
‘’No, but I assume you’re going to tell me regardless of my reply.’’ I said.
‘’It means that you’re just a bunch of braindead zombies. Just following your daily tasks and completing them. Make sure I connect you to a power outlet next time we meet, okay?’’
‘’Oh, besides that,’’ she snarled, ‘’there’s nothing wrong with me being this passionate about writing. Whether I’m good at it or not, I think it’s good that I at least experience emotions. Maybe it just shows that I’m devoted to it.’’
‘’Probably. Passion is good, I suppose.’’
‘’You know what else it shows?’’ she continued her tornado of words.
‘’It means that I actually care. I don’t want to settle for something I’m good at. I want to settle for something I can become good at. And you know what?’’
‘’No, as I’ve been saying for the last couple of minutes,’’ I said.
‘’It means I’m going to continue writing. I think it’s impossible I can be this passionate about something I have no talent in whatsoever. I know it’s somewhere inside of me, I just need to become more patient and read a bit more to formulate my thoughts correctly, right?’’ her mood had completely shifted in the last few sentences. I could imagine the wide eyed theatrical movements she was making with her arms, as she was telling me this. Her eyebrows raised high, while she had her fingers moving around, to put emphasis on every word she was conveying to me.
‘’Yes,’’ I said and I yawned, ‘’makes perfect sense to me.’’
‘’Good,’’ she said. This time good did really mean good from the sound of her bubbly voice, ‘’I’m going to continue writing, if you don’t mind?’’
I was staring at the ashtray next to the empty coffee mug.
‘’No, that’s okay.’’ I replied.
She said she would catch me the next day and shortly afterwards she hung up. I went back into bed and tried to close my eyes, which was difficult seeing how I got derailed from my normal sleeping pattern. I walked around for a bit and listened to some music. Eventually, the most obvious method worked and I counted the amount of times I inhaled. Soon enough, I was asleep.

We had decided to meet up the next day at a local café. I was done with work rather early. It was in the late afternoon, when I saw Charli sitting in the corner. Her hair was covering her eyes, she was staring at a notebook and writing in it. She was wearing an oversized red sweater, jeans and oversized boots. A black scarf was draped around her neck. She looked up, when I called her name. Her face lit up.
I kissed her on the cheeks and sat down myself next to her. The café was cozy, it was quite empty. A black cat walked by and I stroked its back. Soft jazz music could be heard, but I was more focused on the person in front of me.
She looked nice today, I was rather happy to see her. She was as well, as far as I could tell.
‘’You’re looking good today, aren’t you?’’ she said.
‘’Thank you. So are you, dear,’’ I replied and I put my hand on hers. She was looking at it, but didn’t move it. I tried moved my fingers over her hand, but she interrupted me by quickly withdrawing her hand and grabbing the menu card in front of us. She avoided my gaze and I played it off by asking her what she wanted to drink.
She ordered and Irish coffee and I got myself a cup of tea. We gave our orders and waited in silence for the waiter to bring it to us.
The waiter was a tall, skinny guy, with black hair covering half of his face. I could see some tattoos on his arms. He saw I was looking at him and responded me by giving me a flirtatious smile. I responded by smiling back at him. I turned around to look at Charli. She didn’t see any of it happening. I saw her mind was somewhere else.
She continued scribbling in her notebook, her handwriting is unappealing to look at. She didn’t take the time to write it properly, instead it was some alien alphabet that only she understood. I was waiting as well and to pass time I offered her a cigarette. She politely declined and got her own. She continued writing and I continued reading. We remained quiet like that for a while, it felt natural.
I felt her eyes looking at me after a while, I looked up and caught her eyes. I don’t know what it was, but I felt I should’ve said something about it. She was forcing out a smile, but refraining from saying anything. Like she had something on her mind, but was too embarrassed to tell me. I don’t know why, but I didn’t ask her what was wrong. Looking back on it, I regret it. She was probably waiting for some kind of signal from my side, but seeing how she didn’t respond earlier to me touching her, I didn’t want to get any closer. Maybe she had brought it upon herself. Still, I still wish I had asked her what was wrong.
Instead I looked up, awkwardly avoided her gaze, looked around the café and called the waiter again. He happily walked up to me and asked me what I wanted to order. I replied I wanted the same thing. He wrote it down on a piece of paper, I turned around expecting him to leave, but instead saw he quickly passed the note underneath the tray, before taking away my empty cup. I pretended I didn’t see it, I waited for him to leave and then slipped my hand underneath the tray to grab the piece of paper. Charli reacted to the noises I made, I asked her what she was writing to distract her.  
Her eyes drifted off to the guy with the black hair, who was coming back to me with a cup of tea.
‘’Here you go,’’ he said in a deep voice that didn’t match his slender appearance. I could see upon closer look that he had a piercing in one ear. His eyes were brown and bright. He had a warm smile, that only complemented his dark look in a contrasting fashion.
‘’Thank you,’’ I replied.
‘’Anything else I can get you?’’ he asked.
I shook my head. Charli was ignoring him and continued writing furiously in her notebook. I wanted the guy to leave, I wanted to know why she was acting like this, but instead I simply answered ‘’no, thank you’’.
He nodded friendly at me and walked off. I took my cup of tea and continued reading the newspaper, every now and then checking how Charli was doing. She was biting her nails and ticking her pen every now and then. Then she’d write again. Rinse and repeat. We sat like that for a while, I was trying to focus on my reading, but couldn’t keep myself from checking how she was doing every minute.
‘’He’s still looking at you,’’ she suddenly said, after we had been sitting like this for another fifteen minutes.  
‘’Hm?’’ I raised an eyebrow.
‘’The guy, who brought you tea,’’ she said. She sounded slightly annoyed, but also amused in a way, ‘’Who else? Don’t act you like you didn’t notice.’’
I chuckled, ‘’Sure I did. Can’t really care honestly.’’
‘’Not really, no.’’
I could see she wanted to say something. Her mouth opened, but then closed.
‘’What’s wrong?’’ I asked her.
Her smile turned into a smirk. ‘’Nothing. I was just wondering, whether you’re going to hook up with him.’’
‘’Maybe?’’ she repeated me. She sounded irritated, but was still eagerly smiling. I wasn’t sure whether it was, because she was genuinely happy or some kind of twitch. I now can guess it was the latter.
‘’Yeah. Why not? He doesn’t seem too ugly. Quite an easy catch,’’ I said in a careless manner.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. Her hands reached towards her cigarettes and she lit another one.
‘’Lust is so disgusting,’’ she said.  
‘’Yeah, quite.’’
‘’Then why follow it?’’ she asked me.
‘’I got no choice, I’m afraid,’’ I said. I could sense I sounded a bit indifferent. It wasn’t my intention though, I was just quite tired and didn’t feel like having this type of conversation. She could hear the slight indifference in my voice. Her face turned sour at my response, but refrained from asking further upon seeing my tired expression.
‘’We can discuss this another time, if you want,’’ she said as she exhaled smoke.
‘’Sure,’’ I said.
I asked her whether she wanted to leave. I was quite tired and wanted to go home. I stood up, but she didn’t move. Instead she made gestures towards the guy behind me.
‘’What about him?’’
I looked and saw the guy had noticed Charli was pointing at him. She waved with a big grin at him and he waved back. I rolled my eyes at her and asked her to pack her stuff already.
‘’It’s a shame to let go of such a catch, isn’t it?’’ she kept provoking me.
I was also slightly getting annoyed at this point and asked her to stop it and get going.
Her smile turned into a frown, but she got up and packed her stuff.
‘’You’re quite a bore,’’ she said, as she was putting her coat on.
I asked her to wait outside, as I still had to go to the bathroom. She looked at me intensely for a few seconds.
‘’What?’’ I asked.
‘’Bathroom?’’ she asked.
‘’Sure, but I’m heading home. I’m quite bored and you’re acting very tired. I think you’ll have more fun hanging out with someone else,’’ she said while looking at the empty table in front of her.
I shook my head and closed my eyes for a few seconds.
‘’Sure,’’ I said in a static voice, ‘’I’ll catch you later, I guess.’’
‘’Whatever,’’ she shrugged. I gave her a quick hug, but I could feel she was trying to get away from me as soon as possible. I looked at her face. She was looking at the ground and picking her nails. She put another cig in her mouth, without lighting it, gave me an almost invisible kiss on the cheek and took off, while still looking at the ground.
I stood there for a while, doubting whether I should go after her or just let her be, but I before I could move, she had already walked out of the café in a quick pace. I didn’t follow her for that reason. She really wanted to be away from me. That was fine by me, I just wondered what was wrong.
I packed my stuff and headed towards the toilet. The waiter was looking at me, but I ignored his gaze. The last thing I wanted to do, was being kind to some stranger I didn’t particularly care for.
I got inside and saw it empty. I didn’t feel like going to the toilet, I just needed some water. My head was hurting. From a lack of sleep, from an excess of Charli. I drank until I felt my body cooling down and my head feeling better.
I looked up at the dirty mirror. The reflection was staring back at me. A thirty something old woman with long black hair, that clumsily was tied together in a lose braid. I never wore make up, I disliked it. Two dark eyes were looking back at me. I was already quite pale, but I was looking extra pale today. The lack of meat on my body only enhanced the dead look I had today. Even the fact that I was wearing all black today seemed to worsen the whole way I looked. Both my oversized sweater and jeans were all black. I tried to straighten my back and brighten my face, but quickly gave up when I saw how fake it looked.
I looked tired, underfed, pale and irritated. Even I wanted to walk out on myself today. Definitely not the type of person you’d want to hang out with on your free day. I could understand Charli. Compared to her vibrant presence, I was a corpse. Character wise and appearance wise I lacked any form of substance to make me an interesting person. I took a few more sips from the water.
I felt quite lonely. I disliked my reflection, I disliked my mood. Charli was gone, she probably didn´t want to see me today anymore.
I remembered the face of the waiter, who was looking at me today. He seemed quite easy going, flirtatious even. I wonder if he minded keeping me company. From the looks of it, he probably wouldn’t. Was it worth giving it a shot? I didn’t want to bother Charli. She was acting odd today besides that. From the looks of it and the provocation, I’d say she was jealous. That seemed so far-fetched though, I had never seen her like anyone, love anyone or even have a slight crush on anyone. The thought of it seemed quite humorous to me. Too absurd, to even consider it at that moment. Besides that, I had a two sided perspective, when it came to her behavior. Her arrogance especially. I disliked it. It was annoying, I could see why people didn’t like her. She always had to be right. Sure, she was listening and picking out the informative pieces from the conversation for her own personal gain, but it was always just that. She seemed to lack a type of personal investment in the other. The other person always had a functional purpose to her; someone she could reflect her thoughts to, someone who would listen to her flood of words, someone she could use as a source of information. I knew I was part of that gang, some days in one way, the other days in another way. That was quite all right in my opinion, as long as she didn’t overdo it too much. With me she was quite subtle.
Still, a part of me enjoyed her arrogance. She was reserving herself for those, who were worth her time and effort. People she knew would benefit her. I was part of that. I was slightly better off though. She loved me as a friend. Whether that was for her own sake, because I gave her the conversations she wanted or whether it was because she really loved me for me, didn’t matter. There was love and that was sufficient knowledge. I was the only person she felt this close with. I knew that eventually, once her mood had lifted, she’d come back to me. An arrogant thought perhaps, but I knew she had no one else anyway. And somehow, I was glad she didn’t.
I felt bad over today, I wish I had treated her differently, but my former thoughts reassured me, that Charli would eventually come back to me.
I looked at the mirror one more time and then walked out of the bathroom. I walked past the waiter, who kept looking at me. I ignored him and put on my coat, heading towards the door. Behind me I could hear the clicking of shoes on the floor, trying to keep up with me.
‘’Hey,’’ I heard his deep voice calling for me.
I rolled my eyes and turned around. He was grinning at me, moving away a lock of his black hair that was dangling in front of his bright hazel eyes. He was quite young, somewhere between twenty or twenty-three. He looked handsome, but I disliked his teeth. They were slightly yellow and crooked. His eyes were always smiling at me, even when his face was relaxed.
‘’I’m sorry to bother you again,’’ he said.
‘’Excuse me?’’ I asked. My tone was soft, polite, but distant.
He seemed to hesitate. Giggles were escaping his broad smile, as he was biting his lower lip.
‘’The note? Have you…?’’ he didn’t finish his sentence, but instead gestured to my pockets.
I was confused for a second, but then got reminded of the note he had given me from earlier.
‘’Oh,’’ I said with a faint smile, ‘’I’m sorry, no.’’ I shook my head, as I was trying to avoid his eyes, that were undressing me, from what I could tell.
‘’That’s okay. If it’s an excuse to tell me off, I understand,’’ he said with a sheepish smile, ‘’I just wanted to make sure, you know?’’
He shrugged and then turned around, leaving me standing there.
He didn’t look like the nervous type. The tattoos, the obviously dyed hair, the deep and monotonous voice would tell otherwise, but I could sense that approaching an older woman was something he didn’t have much experience with. It was cute in a way, I could even say I admired his guts. Especially after I saw how moody I looked today. I hesitated for a second, but then stopped him. I was also curious about what he had to say to me, I could use some positive energy.
‘’Wait,’’ I said. This made him stop and turn around. His eyes were widened in surprise, ‘’let me take a look.’’
I went through my pockets and my bag, when I finally found the small piece of paper. He looked at me with an eager look, waiting for my reaction.
I opened it and read the small message:

You’re beautiful. Please tell me your name?

I looked up. He was gave me a faint smile, looking at the floor and pushing away pieces of hair that kept following in front of his slim face. I sniffed and chuckled. I didn’t believe that was his real name. It would be too fitting for his appearance. I assumed it was a name he had given himself as a teenager to match his dark image. It might impress his classmates, but I had seen enough of their kind. It was one step away from calling yourself Lord Of Darkness and only wearing t-shirts that had skulls on them.
‘’I’m K,’’ I answered and I shook his hand.
‘’K?’’ he asked, ‘’that’s all?’’
‘’That’s all you need to know,’’ I replied.
He blushed. Here come the wild one night stand imaginations, I thought to myself. Not that I minded, though. Spending my days with teenagers, it has happened quite a few times, that I caught my male students looking at me, when I was busy checking their work. Me looking back up was enough for them to have their eyes on their work again. Teenage hormones eventually fade away, dumb attempts to approach me will be burned into their memories forever.
‘’You’re made for a student teacher affair, you know?’’ Charli would say, ‘’don’t tell me you didn’t at least imagine it once.’’
‘’I didn’t imagine it even once,’’ I replied.
‘’Ha, do you believe that? You’re not blind. Being in a class of hormone driven students with a hot teacher, who is single, is enough for them to fantasize over doing you for the rest of the year,’’ she gave me a mischievous smile, but I rolled my eyes.
‘’I’m a dirty old woman,’’ I joked, ‘’rotten fruit compared to the crème de la crème. I can’t compete against sixteen year old girls. I’m getting grey hair, Charli.’’
‘’You might say rotten fruit. It’s how you look at it. I’d rather say a glass of fine, old wine. It’s an acquired taste, you shouldn’t deny your students anything delicate, dear teacher.’’
‘’Oh, stop it,’’ I pushed her away.
She shrugged and continued her book. I was waiting for her to say something, but she had dropped the conversation. That conversation always gave me shivers. The thought of it made me feel disgusted. I didn’t want to even think about it. It was wrong, period.
Damien reminded me of that conversation, he wasn’t a teenager of course and certainly not one of my students. Yet his mannerism caused the same sensation of an adult talking to her apprentice. His awkward waiting, the way he looked up to me, even though he was taller than I was, the way he constantly was smiling politely at me, trying to gain my approval over an assignment.

Is your conscience at rest if once put to the test?

I suddenly had to think of a song. That piece of lyrics always touched me. My conscience was always at rest. So far, at least.
‘’Because you’ve never battled anything that went against it,’’ Charli said, ‘’you don’t know who you are and what you want, because you never had to,’’ her voice echoed in my head, ‘’you’re just a follower of your own simple linear reality. Life lives you, you don’t live life. Eventually it doesn’t matter of course, but that’s it. It doesn’t matter. Make what does matter, matter, before the end is near.’’
I don’t know why, but seeing Damien at that moment caused me to realize the meaning behind that piece of lyrics. Crystal clear, my conscience was being tested, as I could see.
‘’What is your norm, given to yourself?’’ I could hear Charli asking, ‘’independently from the world. Who’s K and what does she want?’’
What did I want? What did I want when I had to choose between the unknown and the known? I couldn’t know what I wanted when one of the two is unfamiliar. I wasn’t doing anything wrong so far as I could see, he was an adult and me too. He approached me and I simply responded. Yet, the associations he gave me, made me feel uneasy. I was outside my comfort zone, but I could not say I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed the thrills, the heartbeats that became faster when I imagined him laying next to me. This slender, youthful, little boy, asking for my attention. What else to say, but desire driving me towards the unknown? I was curious, I was lonely, I felt wanted after being rejected. Most of all, I wanted to know what I wanted, when I didn’t know what the wanted objected consisted out of. I could resolve all of it, by asking a simple question.
‘’Are you free later?’’ I asked, I stroked away the piece of hair from hanging in front of his face.
He grinned and nodded.


‘’Yeah, it’s me again.’’
‘’Haha, yeah. I figured. Who else could call me at this time?’’
‘’Callgirls. I can be one if you like. I’m wearing red lingerie, my breasts are filled with desire for your saggy old men’s body. I become hot at the thought of your beer belly rubbing against my thighs. Oh, god please!,’’ I was laughing awkwardly hearing Charli moan like a drunk cow.
It was one am. Damien had left my place. He came over as soon as I asked him to, didn’t even hesitate to ask me for more than just my name and entered my place. We didn’t waste any time knowing each other. I knew from the look of his eyes, that he carried the same shallow thoughts I did and we headed towards my bedroom. It didn’t take more than ten minutes before we were done. It felt like a business meeting. I told him what to do and he nodded before doing so, he asked told me what to do and I followed his instructions. There was no intimacy involved, it was purely pressing the right buttons to make them disable the system. Nothing more or less from my side. He got dressed, I didn’t yet. He got up, gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me he was glad meeting me. I didn’t respond, but instead nodded. I remained in bed, waiting for him to leave, before I headed towards the shower and washed away every drip of our lust away.
He has a story to tell to his friends, I thought to myself, and I can function properly for the next few weeks. Seemed like a decent deal, in my opinion.
Disabling lust to function properly equaled to eating food to have energy. I needed it, I lacked any guilt in that way. Yet, there couldn’t have been a worse time for Charli to call me than today.
I didn’t feel like hearing her talk to me post-coitus. Damien had left a few hours ago, but I hadn’t bothered to clean my bedroom yet. I knew Charli couldn’t see me, but I felt quite naked. Or rather exposed, I’d say.
‘’I need your help,’’ she said.
‘’Oh? What is it?’’
‘’I wrote a poem. Do you want to hear it?’’
‘’I’d love to.’’
‘’It’s the one I wrote this afternoon, when we were sitting in the café together. Sorry, if I seemed a bit grumpy for that reason. I suppose I got carried away in my emotions while writing it. Either way, listen.’’
‘’I’m listening.’’
She scrapped her throat:

Have I lived too little?
Do I know too little?
Loved too little?
Too inexperienced perhaps?
Too inexperienced at least
Too emotional at most

To me life is always full of itself
It parades with pride
Too many emotions
Too many people
Too many impressions
Too many thoughts
Too many mood swings
Going from left to right
Not being able to catch my breath
Before I have to run again

To me life is also never enough
Never enough time
Never enough love
Never enough friends
Never enough philosophy
Never enough art
Going from left to right
Not being able to catch up
Because I am Achilles chasing a turtle

Silent solitude
Silent suffering
Silent suffocation
Silent salvation

She was quiet, waiting for my response. I had listened carefully to what she was saying. I felt uneasy over it.
‘’Well, that was a lovely poem,’’ I said.
‘’Yeah? You think? It’s not meant to be lovely.’’
‘’No, I know. That’s not what I meant by that word. It’s just…I mean, it’s just a good poem. That’s all.’’
‘’That’s all?’’ she asked. She sounded doubtful. Her eager tone dumbed down.
‘’Well, I don’t know. I like it. I don’t see much wrong with it,’’ I replied.
I wasn’t too good with poetry. She already knew that, but I never minded hearing her poems. Mainly, because it was interesting to hear what went through her mind. This poem though made me feel uneasy. I sounded bitter.
Never enough love. Solitude. Suffering.
These words. I didn’t know what to do with them.
‘’I think I understand what it means,’’ I started, trying to not lose her interest, ‘’but why did you write it?’’
She avoided my second question. ‘’Oh, do you? What does it mean?’’
‘’It’s about being bipolar, I suppose. It’s about uncertainty. Not knowing what the right direction is in life or what to use as a measure for the actions we choose. At least, if there’s any choice involved to begin with.’’
She was quiet for a bit.
‘’Yeah,’’ she sounded confused, ‘’that’s actually completely right.’’
I sniffed.
‘’How did you know?’’ she asked.
‘’I think I just felt it as well,’’ I replied.
We were both quiet for a few seconds. I could hear a clicking sound from a lighter, I presumed.
‘’You know, K?’’ she started.
‘’What, love?’’ I asked.
‘’I’m quite tired of thinking.’’
‘’Yeah, me too.’’
‘’ It's not fair that I am like this when I spent so much time becoming intellectual and was strict to myself in an attempt to escape this boredom. I expected liberation, instead I only feel bored with the daily things. Isn’t the point of thought to solve issues? To see truth? To become free of lies? Yet, I don’t feel that. I feel bored. Trapped in that sense by the mediocrity of the world.’’
‘’You’re intellectual and strict?’’ I said in a jokey way.
‘’Well, I’ve produced a lot of art. Read a lot. I’d say so.’’
‘’You’re taking yourself too seriously. Be a bit foolish. What does it matter?’’
I could hear her sigh.
‘’Nothing, I guess. It’s just a way to pass time, reading and stuff. While I’m waiting for the death train to come.’’
‘’Oh, well. What else to do, but to just play around and see what happens? Just live and see what happens.’’
I heard her sniff, as if I had said something silly. My heart sank and I wish I had something better as a response.
‘’Sure,’’ I could hear her say in an indifferent voice. I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t have to. She cut the conversation off and continued babbling about some songs she had been listening to, that she had just discovered. I said yes, I nodded automatically, even though she couldn’t see me, I acted polite and happy. My usual carefree, friendly self, that Charli was used to. However, I could not wait for her to stop talking to me, because I didn’t feel like myself that night. My chest felt heavy and my mind blank. I felt nothing, too much of nothing. Was it guilt? Was it disgust? I was uneasy, that certainly. But why? Was it because of what I did today? Why should I, though? I just did what my body wanted of me. Lust is meaningless. I don’t care for that guy, it was a cheap thrill that lasted for a few minutes. I was confused. Charli was frustrated as well. I could tell from her poem. I thought it was my arrogance, but I sensed that it was aimed at me. The way she was writing it, the angry, introverted manner in which she was ignoring me and the guy and her commentary on lust, made me feel uncomfortable. For the first time in a long while, I didn’t want to talk to her. Not because I didn’t love her, I was very certain of that, but because there was lack of certainty in what I was doing and why I was doing it.
It was late, but I didn’t feel like staying at home. I took a look at the clock and took the initiative to get dressed. A pair of old jogging pants and a sweater would do. It was dark outside and quiet. Exactly what I needed at this moment to put my mind off of everything. I wore my coat and then closed the door behind my heading towards a nearby park. I turned around before leaving and reopened the door to my apartment. I looked for my tobacco and a bottle of booze. It was some left over vodka, that was stuffed underneath my bed from I can’t remember when. This time I definitively closed the door and headed out, with the bottle under my arm. The park I was heading to wasn’t far away, a five minute walk at most. It was quiet, because the neighborhood I lived in was packed with families. Occasionally I would see a gang of teenagers hanging out, but it was rare. I assumed, because they would get shushed away by the parents, who didn’t like the sight of that kind of behavior in this child friendly environment. I would usually agree. The rebellious behavior I’d see my students depict after school, was something I normally couldn’t find myself in.
Things had always gone well for me. I didn’t need to act like that, there was no one and nothing to rebel against. Nor did I ever became so bored that I had to resort to an adrenaline rush to get myself going for the next day. I had a nice family and a nice job. It was tiring being a teacher, but I never lacked the initiative to get going on a daily basis. I enjoyed teaching. It was easy and required little effort. I taught math at a local secondary school. Math in itself was one of the easiest things there was, teaching it didn’t require much skill either. Most of the time I just gave the assignments to my students and they would sit and make them. I allowed them to softly talk to each other and ask me questions when they didn’t understand anything. It was a relaxing job, in which I didn’t have to do much. Most of the time I was either making the assignments myself as a puzzle or I was reading a book waiting for the next class to come in. The students, who were good at it saw the self-evident principles and could repeat them endlessly in the same structure demonstrated in the book. The students, who weren’t, had difficulties seeing the principles in the first place. It was a nuisance explaining it to them, but I’m quite patient, so I didn’t really mind. At some point, though I did give up. Not because I ran out of patience, but because I saw it was a death end. I would then wave it off as not important and let them bring me some coffee to pass the time.
The tiring part however was getting up in the morning and getting back. People might not suspect it from me, but I´m rather lazy. At least, that´s how people tend to describe me. I wouldn´t personally call it laziness, I just liked distributing my time to the things that mattered the most to me. When I first started teaching I experienced difficulties getting to school on time. Even though I am quite slow, I am a very proper person. I´d never leave the house without first having a proper breakfast, reading my paper and memorizing how I left my place. I´m a very organized person, I like to believe that correlates to me teaching math, although some might see it as a bit farfetched. Structures, principles, rhythms, all that good stuff makes me feel good. I would say that the world seems to be designed like a puzzle, in which we have to put the pieces in the designated places. That´s how I would also describe the way I live life. Morning are meant to be taken seriously. I can´t imagine myself going to school without performing my morning ritual. The ritual itself isn´t anything special. It´s the ordinary getting out of bed, showering, eating, paper reading every man my age does to prepare himself for a long day of work. Just putting the puzzle together, so I can leave worriless. Almost therapeutic, in a sense. It´s quite funny though, I might describe myself as organized, but I doubt that´s the word anyone would use to describe me. I can see why someone might call me chaotic, my house does appear to look like a mess with books scattered all over the place, unsolved formulas on pieces of paper laying on the floor and ashtrays that leave trails of dust behind. Yet, I would feel uneasy if anything of that was changed to appear conventionally tidy. It´s organized to me, I know where everything is. There´s an algorithm behind all of it, that only I can see. That´s an awesome feeling to have. That way, my home always feels like it belongs to me and me alone. The only thing that does really cause me unease is public transport.
Why public transport? It constantly forced me to be aware of my environment, making sure I didn’t miss my stop. This was especially annoying knowing I had to switch three times, before I finally reached my destination. This caused me to becoming quite tense throughout the journey. It did make coming home a lot more pleasant though, like a relief. That’s one of the best feelings in the world, honestly. Home is a feeling, I’ve learned, not a place. The rhythmic procedure continued when I came home. Dinner, wine, records, reading, Charli. I had a love for music. The lyrics didn’t speak to me, I just enjoyed the music. It triggered my sense of rhythm. Charli often played rock music. That was quite all right, as long as there was a nice hook to it. Rap music was probably the one I preferred the most, because of that. Metal I disliked the most. It was just a cluster of noise, that didn’t make much sense to me. I’ve once heard that metal was very closely related to classical music. If you replaced the guitar by an orchestra, you could suddenly see the similar structure between both genres. I find that hard to believe. Classical music rarely touched me, mainly because it all sounded the same to me. The opera pieces, the aria’s, the fugues and so on. However, if it did touch me, I could listen to it endlessly. Then again, that didn’t have anything to do with the genre. I just needed a good hook and I was good to go. Unfortunately for me, Charli always had to bring her own records with her. They mostly consisted out of agonized screaming of old rock stars, who sound like they have sore throats from all the smoking and yelling they do.
‘’There’s a hook in there,’’ she’d say, ‘’you just can’t hear it, because you have your own predetermined view on what rhythm should be.’’
She was right in a sense. It took me a while to discover the melody of the songs she played, but eventually I could catch myself humming it every now and then. Eventually it would lead to me being able to sing along to it, when I couldn’t hear the difference between the first and the last line in the beginning.
I still have to learn myself to appreciate the lyrics of the songs though. They rarely touch me. I couldn’t relate to their sentiments anyway. My parents often claimed I was born an adult, whatever that means. I guess it has to do with me never showing any teenage behavior. Always the same quiet, patient, rational K.
Both my parents were lovely people. The only thing I have in common with Charli is that we’re both only child. It’s different for me though. My parents were both easy going. My mother was a stay at home mom, who spent most of her time reading books on spirituality. She wasn’t the brightest woman. Her hair was too long for her age and her clothes too baggy. She often talked to me about the books she read, she would burn incense for me for good luck and read my astrology to look into my future. I have to be honest, I did think it was all a bit stupid. I rarely said anything about it, because she was sweet. I didn’t feel like forcing her to change her mind, like she never changed mine. We just happily lived together, listening to one another. I knew her lack of intelligence was something she was aware of. She never went into discussion when I first started asking her about her beliefs. She either avoided it and changed the topic or just shrugged and smiled at me. She did once tell me that he books she read were something that kept her busy, since it gave her some grip on life. Guidelines she could mindlessly follow to be a good person. A ‘because’ to the ‘why’ life asks of us, when we act a certain way. That was sufficient, I could relate to that and didn’t ask any further afterwards. Her smile was saddening, because it was like she was saying there was no other alternative to life anyway. I disagreed to that, but never said so explicitly. I seemed unsuitable to continue pushing her into a corner, so I then would change the topic to something we both enjoy talking about. I was a good listening though, I still am. I’m not sure whether she taught me that or whether it’s a character trait, but it is a trait I still appreciate a lot to this day. She always listened to me, when I talked about science and math, even though her eyes looked empty. I didn’t mind she didn’t fully understand it, it was sweet that she was trying. My mom was always trying to keep me content, so I could pursue those talents. I rarely had to help around the house, she did everything to make me feel comfortable and happy. I still think about her with a lot of warmth in my heart.
My father was a mathematician as well. I resemble him a lot, although he lacked patience. I have heard from my mom how he lost his patience over students who just wouldn’t get it. My father was quite severe with his students. It was still in an era, where teachers had authority and my father was sure as hell making good use of that. I’ve heard him talk about the humility his students had to suffer over his impatience. I’ve never seen it myself, but the stories were enough in themselves to make sure I was cautious. I always answered his questions as short as possible, I ate strictly at six o’ clock and my math homework was always ready for him to check the night before I had to hand it in. He only got angry at me once and that sure was the last time. It was when he had caught me sneaking away to some girl I had a crush on, but lucky for me my mother talked him out of it and today he just laughs it off as a silly incident of mine. He easily jokes with me, but I always still sense some authority whenever he’s talking. He has a loud and deep voice and always looks proper. As a kid I’ve wondered how such a man could ever be attracted to someone like my mother, but now that I have grown older, I’ve come to understand it better. Especially the last few years with Charli showed me that compatibility can exist in opposites.
Talking to her about my parents and things I didn’t understand in general, helped me a lot.
‘’Do you know what love is?’’ she once asked.
‘’Of course,’’ I replied, ‘’it’s a chemical reaction, in the brains that causes you to be attracted to someone with the purpose of reproduction.’’
She shook her head. ‘’That is what might be the scientific equivalent of the word ‘love’, but what is it really? You’re giving a broad statement, that’s true for everyone, but what does it mean for an individual? Do we think about creating offspring, when we look at the person we love?’’
‘’No,’’ I replied, ‘’it’s not something conscious. It’s the underlying motive, that we can’t control. But we can deduce all love to it.’’
‘’It’s the underlying motive yes, which may be true for everyone. Yet, that’s not interesting to me. I want to know what the effect of it is. Not the reason behind it, but how it happens. Which is why I’m asking you. What is love to you, K?’’
I shook my head, I didn’t know what to answer. I had never felt anything I could describe as love. Sure, I had girlfriends when I was younger, but they didn’t do much for me. Even after I had sex with them, they didn’t do much for me as a person. They were nice people, I quite enjoyed their company even, but I never felt the need to have them present. Over time, I lost notice of them and eventually the last time I’d hear from them was when they had broken up with me, because I had accidentally been ignoring them for the last month.
I remained quiet. She sniffed.
‘’I’m not surprised you can’t answer it. It’s an age old problem. No can seem to describe it. You want to know why? Because it doesn’t let itself be described,’’ she said.
‘’What do you mean?’’
‘’It’s not the presence of something we want, but lack of the absence. Do you know what I mean?’’
I shook my head. ‘’No, not quite. Lack of absence sounds to me to be equal to presence. It’s a double negative, that turns into a positive.’’
‘’Exactly. That’s the funny part. It seems to be equal to each other, but it’s not the same.’’
‘’How so?’’ I was frowning, ‘’how can something seem to be equal, but not be the same? Equality indicates similarity, in my opinion.’’
‘’Look, the most accurate description I’ve heard of love is something that shows the difference between those two seemingly similar notions,’’ she said blowing her hair out her eyes. I moved her bangs away and she smiled at me.
‘’Which is?’’ I poured her a drink as she was sitting in my chair. We were sitting in my room, the curtains were drawn and I remember Charli was wearing a black oversized sweater. Her hair was messy, but her skin was glowing. Her nails had some black nail polish that was chipping away. Her pants were clumsily laying on the floor. She was leaning against the table with a cig dangling from the corner of her mouth. I could see she was thinking, trying to find the right words to formulate her thoughts. I took a sip of my beer, while I patiently waited.
‘’There’s a dialogue of Plato, in which several people are talking about love,’’ she started, ‘’‘’What is love?’’ they wonder to themselves. You see, there were several replies. One of them said it’s looking for your other half. Someone else distinguished between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Another person defined it as a god that moves us towards virtues, and so on.  These were quite nice. One the replies is quite famously known and often used in literature. It’s the one in which this guy named Aristophanes talks about how people in primal times used to be exist in three sexes. All male, all female and androgynous, meaning half male and half female. They had two faces and bodies turned away from each other. For some reason they pissed of the gods, as that usually happens and humanity was split into two pieces, forever wandering around looking for their other half, which is why we feel complete when we find the so called ‘one’. Anyhow, quite a fun story if you ask me, but that’s all I’d call it. A funny satire. Can you imagine what those creatures might have looked like? Cartwheeling around to move, sounds hilarious if you ask me. That guy is a good joker, I’ll tell you that,’’ she was laughing and lit her cig.
‘’The most interesting definition however was the one that went against all of them, which was of Socrates of course. Love is a demon. It doesn’t possess brilliance or excellence. It’s the child of two gods. Contrivance, as the father and Poverty as the mother. Being born on Aphrodite’s birthday party  caused him to become a servant of her. A follower of what’s good and beautiful. Thus it’s a spirit that has traits of both of his parents. Moving away from a lack, towards obtaining the desired object. Both are equally necessary though. Lack is necessary to spark the movement, the wit is necessary to move towards the object. That movement is what we call desire, or love. Moving away from a lack towards the loved one, but never fully making it your own. Once it is your own, the desire is gone. The opposite is also true. Knowing you don’t have a chance, might cause you to give up all together. Thus again, the desire will burn out.’’
She was biting her lips in deep thought. I didn’t understand what she meant.
I saw the park in the distance, I walked over towards a swing and sat on it, slowly rocking myself back and forward. The streetlights were illuminating parts of the area. There was a bench in front of me and further ahead a small lake, if you even wanted to call it a lake. More a big puddle, perhaps.
The area in front of me was an open field, but behind me it was covered with trees. They casted a big shadow on me, that made it hard for people to see me. I drank a few sips from the bottle and felt how my throat burned. I rolled a cigarette and lit it. I drank and smoked like that on my own in the dark. With my eyes closed I enjoyed the silence and tried to erase every thought that came up to me. I could hear the rustling of an animal in the trees. There was a cool breeze blowing and causing wrinkles in the water. The streetlights were reflecting on the surface of the water. The water saturated the light and gave it texture. Water at night resembled black velvet, especially when the wind was teasing it to move so delicately. The surface looked soft, like a big blanket. I stared at it for a few minutes in thought. I thought over today. I sensed disorientation in myself due to the events of today. Nothing had been said that, nothing seemed wrong either at first glance, but nothing seemed right either. It was Charli of course, but not only her. It was me as well, I wasn’t myself today. I experienced distress and emotions I couldn’t fully place for the first time today. The events of today felt like a blur. I couldn’t tell what was exactly wrong and when that was the case, then how could I come to a solution? Maybe I should talk to Charli, but what was there to talk about?
‘’Hey Charli, you were acting jealous today.’’
That was the only conclusion I could draw from today, but that’s not fully true either. She was the one, who kept pushing me to talk to him even when I didn’t want to.
‘’Hey Charli, you were acting jealous today and you were testing me to see my reaction.’’
That seemed more plausible, but would she really admit to that? With her arrogance, she would either laugh it off or roll her eyes at me. There could be a small chance this might be the push she needed. An almost implausibly slight chance that I had to make a move to see what she’d say. Then what, K?
If she admits to it, then what? We either stay the way we are or we don’t stay the way we are. I enjoy the way we are, although the prospect of us getting closer seems like a undiscovered destination, that I’m not sure I want to explore. She moves me very much, but she’s my closest friend, that I still want to keep distance with. I can handle her, but just the slight prospect of us getting close is enough for me to fall in a downward spiral of feelings, that I’m not prepared to experience. She might not be either. I sighed and shook my head, almost as if I wanted to shake off my thoughts.
All right K, you’re currently thinking about unreal scenario’s that are most likely never going to happen and if they do, I might not want them to happen. To think in depth about it, is like building a house on clouds. There’s no realistic ground for me to continue these thoughts. Facts first.
The past is in the past and is something we can’t grasp. We can’t possess it, so we should let it go. Everything changes and moves. So I should let anything that happened in the past go. Damien is gone, he doesn’t exist at the moment. The sex we had is long gone. The guilt I felt is gone. Charli isn’t here, her anger belongs to the past. The shame I felt over hooking up with that guy is useless. Shame implies regret over something that happened in the past. I can’t change it anyway, so I might as well let go of it. Shame is a useless emotion. It worked destructive, not productive. It’s never my intention to be ashamed before I do anything in life, I just do it and then see what the outcome is. I don’t choose for myself or the surroundings the have it bad, but if that subsequently has to be the case, then it’s out of my control that I had caused it. The past is the past, there is no changing it, I can’t control it, nor change it.
You have power over your mind, not the outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.
I inhaled deeply one more time before throwing away the remaining of my cigarette. I looked at the empty bottle and noticed it was almost getting empty. It wasn’t that full to begin with anyway. I emptied the last bits and threw it into a bush. My head felt light, everything was all right. I covered my hair in the hoodie of my sweater and put my hands into my pockets. I threw away the tobacco as well, I didn’t want to turn it into a habit. My thoughts were enough to put me at ease. The last thing I wanted in life, was to be dependent on something or someone for that matter.
My thoughts about the past also applied to the future. If I did ever experience hardship, I would want myself to be able to carry it all on my own, without escaping to anything to temporarily make the problem disappear. The thought of my own rationality eased me.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
I slowly headed home, my shoulders hanging low, singing a tune to myself, making a game out of skipping the colored tiles on the road and jumping on the white ones instead. I looked into the houses I walked passed. Most of them had their curtains drawn unfortunately. I enjoyed seeing the houses of other people, I liked knowing what type of people lived in which type of houses. I could confidently say that my own apartment reflected myself quite well, but I was curious to see whether that also applied to other people. From my own experience I knew that my parents’ house very much reflected who they were. It had characteristics of the both of them. It was extremely tidy and clean. My mother spent all her day cleaning, ordering things into place, burning incense to make it smell nice. My dad lacked any type of initiative to help. He worked, so he didn’t need to. Biologically speaking, his testosterone levels were too high for any work like that. I don’t think that makes any sense, but it’s what he told me.
‘’Real men work. Work that involves real labor. Listen, K. You have your mother and she does all the work that fits her character best, which happens to be something she also enjoyed. I happen to not be that type of person, nor do I feel like I have to be. That’s all right, right? Do you want to know why? Because we just follow what we are good at,’’ he’d say while sitting in the garden smoking a pipe and blowing the vanilla smelling smoke into the other direction, away from my ten year old face. Even at that age I found that an idiotic statement. Now as an adult I can confirm, that being a math teacher can be hard, but definitely does not involve any type of labor. I could agree that it was tiring and that it’s hard to balance the both of them, that being a paid job and housework, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the type of person you are. I found the thought of it funny that some people were inherently made to do housework. Even though his thoughts weren’t very coherent, he didn’t say it to put me down. The very opposite actually. There was some truth in what he said though, my mother did in fact enjoy being the typical housewife and my dad did very much enjoy being stereotypical fifties dad, with the neat hair, proper shirt and clean shoes. Besides that, I just think he meant that everyone should do what they’re best at and not be afraid to express that to the outside world. For them it happened to be unfortunately that type of behavior that could be considered conservative from an outsiders point of view, but from my upbringing I knew that my father was anything, but that. He was severe, I was very careful with him, not to say anything disrespectful and to only talk when he asked me something. Yet, it was always the aim to make me a better person, to become someone I could be proud of, even if it meant sometimes going through things I didn’t enjoy at that very moment. Most people don’t bring their work home with them, but the authority he had was inherent to his character, not something he only did because he was a teacher. I chuckled, I wonder what he’d think if he saw me tonight.
‘’A good for nothing alcoholic, who’s wasting her time on someone who has no future,’’ he’d say. A quickly drawn conclusion, that had some truth to it. I shrugged the thought off. He wasn’t here, so it didn’t matter.
I stopped jumping over the tiles and instead slowed my pace. I could hear someone walking behind me. The steps sounded like they were being dragged by a fat person, who couldn’t carry their own body around properly.
My heart started racing and I could feel my muscles were tightening. I pretended I didn’t notice the person and refrained myself from turning around, so they couldn’t see my face. From the back someone could easily mistake me for a guy, the hoodie and sweatpants were big and gave me a broader appearance than I had in reality. My skinny figure hid any sign of femininity as well. I’m glad they couldn’t see my hair, that I had covered in my hoodie. If I played it off  casually, I could just walk get home unharmed. I made sure I didn’t suddenly quicken my pace to not draw any suspicion, instead I slowly tried to walk a bit faster. My apartment was near, I just had to walk another five minutes with this someone behind me without any idea what he looked like.
I tried to breath normally and not show any signs of fear, but I couldn’t stop myself from quickening my pace, until at some point it was turning into running. I could hear the footsteps of the person behind me coming closer. At this point I just gave up and just did my best to shake off whatever it was that was chasing me. My head felt light, I could barely catch my breath, the lighter that I was carrying in my pocket fell out of it. Even though I was extremely tired and dizzy to some extent, I somehow still manage to use the adrenaline rush to sprint the last minute away. I breath heavily and felt how my hoodie fell of, exposing my braid. I turned around to take a glance at whoever was behind me. Suddenly, I stopped running. There was nothing. I slowed my pace, looked around with bewildered eyes, but couldn’t hear anything, no footsteps, complete silence. I was panicking and look a last glance before running away, even though I was quite certain that there was no one there. I opened the door to my apartment, constantly looking my behind. My hands were shaking as I was trying to open the door. I accidentally let the key drop and muttered an angry ‘’fuck’’, before picking it up and heading inside. I locked both locks of my door, ran towards me living room, looked outside the window and saw there was nothing was there. Still paranoid over what had happened, I drew all the curtains and turned all the lights in my apartment on. Pacing back and forward I tried to figure out what was going on, whether I was imaging it or it was real. I went to my bedroom and sat on the bed for a few minutes, taking deep breaths, trying to calm my nerves. I went to the kitchen and drank some water, before I was finally calm enough to start thinking about what had happened. I was quite certain I had heard someone, but when I turned around to see what was there, there was nobody.
My mind was playing with me, I was quite sure of that. I didn’t know what else to make of it. I took a few deep breaths, before recomposing my
I felt there was something that was quite off in the atmosphere, maybe it was inside of me, maybe it was something external. The air felt heavier than usual, the same sensation I feel when there’s a storm coming up, as it’s waiting patiently for the sun to warm us with its last beams of light.
My soul was restless, like there was a major brick resting on top of my chest. I felt nauseous and stared in front of my not knowing what to do at this moment. I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t explain what was wrong. All appeared to be fine, but nothing really was. I stood up again, paced back and forward for a bit my head was empty, but my eyes were at the verge of crying. The pressure moved from my chest to my ears and then eventually to my head, causing a nauseating headache. My knees were getting weak and I felt I was about to collapse, so I made my way towards my bed, knowing that I would lose consciousness soon enough. I saw black, my body felt the surface of my bed before I completely went into a black void of unconsciousness.