TranslatingRitaSophie

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THE BUTTERFLY 2

I lit a timid candle

Just to see your eyes.

I knew they shone stronger than my thoughts,

my dreams,

my everyday resurrection.

 

I smoked a cherry cigarette

just to remember your sweet lips

on my butterfly shoulder,

on my always questioning eyes,

on my ever doubting mouth.

 

I sipped the last drop of solitude

It tasted bitter and addictive

Like a butterfly that lost its left wing

Just to hope the right one will hold you… soon.

THE BUTTERFLY

My guts are full of butterflies.

Dormant, waiting,

Knowing You will come.

My butterflies,

lost in the confusion

of old infatuations…

Afraid to ever spread their wings

Relinquished their crown

Fallen into oblivion…

One of them, though,

one flicker of hope

emerged on my right shoulder

from there it seems to be calling

silently

imperceptibly

the call only You can hear.

HEART AND WINGS

 

“… after years of sitting he decided to walk again

and look for his wings

That is when he started to fly

wingless with heart.” (Bahareh Amidi)

 

And my White Angel from far away had said to me

‘Home is where your heart is’

She had said.

And I checked behind the sternum

And It wasn’t there!

And I don’t know where

I left it

on a corner of a bedside table

near a bed we made love in

once

I really don’t know where my heart is

I am confident it knows the way

back home to me

Like a bored tomcat

Following a crescent.

Message in a bottle

Thank you!

Thank you for having been there for me that day!

Thank you!

That was all. I looked. I turned the page. I searched for more pages. I even looked for more bottles.

I looked at my sand castles hoping to find an answer there. Stupid, right? I hadn’t built sand castles in ages. But John’s kid had insisted and eventually it had been fun til the waves brought the bottle right to my feet. As if I was the consignee. As if the sender had known it would reach me. Exactly today, on this God foresaken beach.

What if it was me who wrote this? That day, when you came and saved my soul from restless roaming. When you looked into my eyes and told me that everything would be ok. And everything eventually was, because you saved me. And I could never thank you.

Because of that, I wrote this message, put it in a bottle, threw it into the ocean, hoping to reach you some day. Hoping it will cross all the oceans of time and oblivion.

And because it came back to me, does this mean it never reached you? That would be sad, indeed…

Or it is maybe for the best. I should really call you some day and tell you. Loud and clear.

Thank you!

I MISS YOU

I miss you.

I miss the mole on your right thigh

I called Perfection

for it spoke to me in that indelible language of ‘I know you’!

I miss you.

I miss the continent of your left knee

which sang to me

the mermaid song of ‘I will never forget you’!

‘I miss you’,

wispers ceaselessly my right ventricle

like a constant whistle

redefining  your silhouette on my sheets…

WWWBT 15 – MONOIDEISM or let’s talk about…

Cockroaches. The ugly, disgusting, brown ones, which are wandering my kitchen and my subconsciousness. . The ones not even my bloody Tomcat kills. And he literally kills any small moving creatures around. Well, hunts, plays with…

Any respectable neighbourhood in Dubai has its roaches. Bigger ones in Meadows, or Springs, or JLT. Reasonable ones in Teacom. And smelling-impaired ones in International City – because of the sewage treatment plant, of course. I bet 100 Dhs they’re smelling-impaired. No sane creature would willingly choose to live there. Les connaîsseurs savent!

Today, my Tecom roaches expressed their appreciation for my cooking skills by getting out alive and walking from the microwave, on the plate I was heating my famous chicken stew. And I was sooooo hungry! I finished by having several gin tonics. There must be some calories in the gin tonic, right? Eventually, the scientists must know that: roaches are immune to my hatred and the waves in the microwave. Someone let them know, I’m enjoying my gin. And Bob Dylan!

One man! Who’s not THE MAN. It’s just one man you get to let under your skin, though he might not have wanted to get there in the first place. And there’s nothing else you can think about. Ok, you’re right, there are millions of things to think about, and you have a job and you should really let the guys at work be sure you’re thinking exclusively to the business problems. (I think I’m hungry!) Focus, Clara! One man! His blue eyes, and his arms, and his back and all the silence between the words. What words? There were no words! He said something about a croissant. I didn’t say anything. And days go by, and problems in the office aren’t getting any less, and roaches are tasting your dinner – in the microwave, has anybody informed those scientists?!!, and this is the craziest music compilation I’ve ever listened : B. B. King, Snoop Doggy Dog, Boyzone, Bob Dylan and now Edith Piaf. Oh, what do you know, I stopped for a second to think about The Man. Does this mean monoideism is curable? I’m kidding. Let’s talk about…

Weekends… Hm, I’ve already talked about them! (check the other chapters!)

Belgian Beer Café, in Grand Millenium, Tecom. Wonderful pub! Spent many nice afternoons there, with Lara. And Tecom is full of hotels, consequently pubs. We like to go to Belgian Beer Café. I like to go there. Because of my monoideism. That’s what we’re talking about, remember? Having gone to one pub, and continuing to go there because it’s cosy, because you know how the tables are arranged, and the plasma TVs, and the beer, and the rib eye, and the conversations are witty…

Lara: ‘So? How was he?’

What can you tell about a man you know almost nothing about? And everything in the same time? There are at least three shades of grey in his blue eyes. That would be the most important thing. Then he is a man of very, very few words. Mostly onomatopoeia. Bear sounds when squat holding. Lion sounds when… Do lions like croissants? I bet they do! If roaches like my chicken stew…

Monoideism – a state of prolonged absorption in a single idea:

Murakami.

Above and Beyond.

X Japan.

Running.

Circuit Factory.

Alice in Wonderland.

Turtles.

Butterflies.

And life!

WWWBT 14 or the never ending story

Of course I didn’t go to Su’s party. I cannot even remember why. I might have been busy that evening. Watching CSI. Listening to Barbra Streisand. Trying to write something. Knitting… So many interesting things a woman with her bloody TomCat can do! I mean, why would she go out, meet some nice people (all people are nice after some gin tonic!) and maybe, just maybe, end up making out with the sexiest man of the last decade? Really, why?
Lara was the one pointing it out.
‘You didn’t go?’
Silence. She seems so serious, I’m afraid she’ll start yelling at me. And I use to break into a million of small pieces whenever I’m yelled at. And it’s soooo complicated to put them all back!
‘You didn’t go? Why? You were waiting for Ulysses? Godot? End of the world? What exactly stopped you from going?’
And if I had an answer to this question, would it change anything? I’m not telling her that, she’s got a nasty look in her eyes. Like she’s just discovered one of my spiders in her tea. Or worse, her beer.
‘Are you planning to join some convent or something?’
I’m looking at her exactly as the model who was posing for some angel to Michelangelo must have looked at the painter.
‘Honestly now, what’s your problem? You don’t like the CF guy anymore? Still mourning Luca? Are you menstruating?’
‘Please, TomCat can hear you!’
We start laughing.
I brewed some coffee, lit some cherry cigarettes and we decided to talk about anything else but the CF guy, her problems in the office, global warming or why Cinderella should have worn some Nike sneakers instead of that crystal pointed shoes… Those Grimm guys were some misogynistic little….
‘Oh, come on, you haven’t worn any crazy shoes when you were young?’
Lara doesn’t have that serious look anymore, she is relaxed and very intellectual on a nice, peaceful Thursday evening.
‘Oh, yes,’ I reminisce… ‘There was a black suede pair, high-heels, really high, thick sole, with laces. Really sexy…’
‘And I bet there was no misogynistic little…. to force you to wear them… Though they would kill your feet, and you would walk funny…’
‘What do you know?’, I ask rhetorically, with a little smile in the corner of my eyes.
I remember about my strutting on the boulevard, with my little grey dress, showing off my knees…
‘Hey, come back!’
Lara pulls me out of my reverie, and I’m back in my living room talking about anything but the Japanese killing dolphins, bad people killing rhinos, Ebola and that nice movie with Dustin Hoffman…
‘Clara!’
Lara’s voice is serious, and I know I will have to speak about my not going to Su’s party.
I must look pretty desperate, because Lara gets up, hugs me and says…
‘I really need to go.’
As simple as that.
I’m alone with my thoughts, my hedonistic TomCat and I think I’m going to bed, I need to wake up early tomorrow.

(…)

CF session is as hard as usual, but somehow I’m enjoying it at maximum. I have days when I can barely run the mile, and then I simply drag myself from one station to another. But today is different. Today I’m super planking as if there’s no tomorrow, and I jump like the craziest little goat in Africa, and… I’m feeling watched. Have you ever had this feeling you’re being watched? You cannot literally dot the I, but there’s a sort of burden which makes all your crazy butterflies in the stomach go mad in the same time, and that’s not good.
The class is over, I drive back home, take all the sweat stuff off me, and yes, taking off sweaty sport bras is the worst, you need to contort and use inappropriate language and finally it’s off. And the shower is a bliss and someone’s at the door. I turn off the water and keep quiet, hoping the unexpected guest – most probably the security guy or CD sellers or who cares, would go away thinking I’m not at home. The bell rings again, impatiently. What if there’s a fire? I can’t hear any fire alarm though. I decide to answer, eventually. I put the bath gown on my wet skin, I’m all naked of thoughts, of desires, it’s just early morning, and I feel alive. Sounds contradictory, but it isn’t!
He stands in front of my door, with a newspaper under his right arm, his tired smile, and his incredibly grey blue eyes.
‘Hi!’
I open the door wide, and he enters my apartment.
I close the door behind him and I grip my gown close to my wet skin. I decide to play the nonchalant card and I ask him if he wants a coffee.
He must have been for a run, he’s all sweaty and extraordinary cool. Mr. CF guy is in my living room, reading his newspaper while he waits for the coffee.
‘Some croissants would have been amazing.’
His voice is incredibly calm. He looks at me with that look I felt all morning in CF.Was he there? How did he know where I lived? What is he doing here? Does he want to know why I didn’t go to Su’s party? Does he simply want to have a coffee with me? While I’m dressed in a questionable bath gown? Is he tired as well of not knowing what my skin tastes like? Or how many moles are there on my left elbow?
I’ve been fantasizing about this man for almost a year. Maybe more. Time is of no relevance here. You can get infatuated with a pair of blue eyes and tens of years can pass by, and you’re in the same place, with your high heels, black suede shoes, strutting on the boulevard of your reminiscences…
The coffee is ready and we are both drinking it in silence.
Then I know I cannot wait anymore.
I stand up, walk in front of him and I split my gown open. He puts down the cup of coffee and he helps me get rid of the gown. His palms are rough, my skin burns and I close my eyes while he gets me in his arms and carries me to the bedroom.

WWWBT 13 or Blue butterflies at CF!

I am drinking my morning coffee in a nice, porcelain mug I paid 17 pounds for at Harrods. It’s full of cows. The mug. Bred cows – Jersey and Beltet Galloway are on the inside, and I have another 6 other breeds on the outside. Together with some flowers, a cream skimmer, a three legged stool, a milk pail, and a milk churn. Quite a mug I have here. Someone who is into cows and dairy stuff might think.
Oh, and I’m smoking again. Well…. Does puffing a cherry small cigar once in a while count as smoking? Probably yes, and I don’t want to live in denial anymore. So, here it is, I’m smoking again, I’ve restarted my trainings with Circuit Factory and we agreed, Darren and I, not to mention the Camus night ever again. Because, apparently, nothing happened. We just had some nice dinner, he fixed my router password, I drove him crazy reading him Camus in French, and that was it!
We’re going to the beach tomorrow, like good, old friends who are sharing everything, except for a bed. And after beach, Circuit Factory. It’s going to be a very inspirational start of a weekend!

I get in Springs at 9:30; I know around 10 there will be no more parking places. I spend a few minutes in the car, listening to some music, twitter-ing, and intentionally not thinking of the next hour. And I’m so concentrated on the screen of my iPhone I literally jump in my seat when someone taps on the window of my Jeep. I turn my head to the left and I swear, the time freezes. It’s like in those effects on TV, when everything and everyone remains stuck in their position, either in the air, or with their hands raised up, or with a frozen tear on their cheek…. It’s only me, the viewer, the one able to move, to touch, to smell, to pretend is breathing. The CF guy stays in front of the passenger seat door, with a tired smile on his face. I open the door, get down and simply hug him. It’s a friendly hug, an expert in hugging would say. Nothing concupiscent, nothing to betray my elevated heart rate and an abnormal desire to lift his shirt and… No, it was only a friendly hug, we catch up, I haven’t seen in more than ten months, how’ve you been, nice tan, oh, you put on some weight, *uck off, no, I keep this to myself, I’m a lady, and swearing in public in Dubai can be quite tricky.
We work together in the same station, it’s good to feel him on my left. Tina, one of the trainers, I bet she had a bad night and decided to kill us today. I don’t stop, though, it’s good to train with him again, here comes another burbee, and another, blow that damn whistle, woman!!!!
After the final whistle, I collapse on a black mat, trying to catch my breath, my neurons, my words… He’s talking to me…
‘What are you doing tonight?’
Well, I’m thinking, tonight I will undress you, count all your moles, divide the skin on your back into independent territories, with no capitals, no kings and no constitutions, free of any possible oppression, where only blue butterflies are entitled to have an opinion.
‘Su is having a party. Come, it’s gonna be fun!’
I don’t do parties, I want to tell him. I am the queen of solitude, controversial music and liquors with no points of view whatsoever.
‘Sure, I’ll be there!’

50 GREAT SHORT STORIES

Or climbing the Everest of reading

You like reading, right? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. So, we’ve established that! And, during your amazing journeys as readers, you have come across all kinds of books. The ones you can’t just put down. All Murakami novels for me. I’m a little bit masochistic, I have to admit, I ordered my copy of COLOURLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGREMAGE via Amazon, and I will receive it sometime in September. While Kinokuniya is filled with hundreds of copies. That I touched, and soothed with the top of my fingers, oh, guilty pleasures… But I’ll wait for my copy, like waiting for a much missed lover, making the final encounter even more exciting and… I bet some of you know what I’m talking about.

Then there are the books you have to read. Sometimes, in one’s lifetime. Like Joyce’s ULYSSES for me. Which I think I started at least four or five times. But I promise you, I’m going to read it! Sometimes. In this lifetime.

Then there are those books that, no matter what, you simply have to part from after only a few pages. You have to. You know you can use the time you would have wasted with them on other books. Like on one of those you can’t simply put down.

And then there are books like this 50 GREAT SHORT STORIES. On which I wrote, when I bought it, ‘still entertaining the idea of a short story collection of my own’. I like to write on books. When I bought them, where I bought them, what I’m expecting from them. This one I got from a book shop in the Frankfurt airport, on the 5th of July, 2013. I can’t remember, though, what I was doing there. But that’s fine, because this aspect is totally irrelevant to my story.

It’s a big book, almost 600 pages. I’m not such a big fan of big books. Reading them, trying to finish them, I mean, sometimes feels like a long run. Or climbing the Everest. To the base camp. It’s on my bucket list. Like ULYSSES. Shall I detail more? I love it, and I’ll finish it, but it’s tiresome. Somehow.

It’s a beautiful collection! Maupassant, Huxley, Joyce, Hemingway… Huxley’s GIOCONDA SMILE was like a truffle. Do you like truffles? I love them! The story goes smoothly, like a walk in a warm, summer rain. Delicious, never-ending pleasure, undecided skies. Is it how the reading feels, or how I feel Mr. Hutton? Huxley is a master in just dropping a hint of colour, and still managing a perfect profile for his characters, it’s like he’s not the painter, still you can see the portrait in front of your eyes, with every little annoying, still perfect and unforgettable detail… He’s the perfect lover, the sophisticated flirter, the bored husband – personally, I never understood why he married Doris, but, alas, why questioning Huxley? I remember I loved POINT COUNTER POINT so much!

I found another analogy! I love analogies, in case you haven’t concluded it yourselves. And it’s not another analogy, is the first one I thought of while reading the collection. A long corridor. With a lot of doors, both on the right, and on the left. Those of you who saw ROSE RED can picture it better. I’m walking this corridor I cannot see the end of, and this is a little bit scary, so you can maybe understand better my discomfort while reading this book, and I open the door on the right. It’s THE GARDEN PARTY (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/GardPart.shtml). So beautiful, I stay there, with the door ajar, and I can smell the flowers, and the cookies, and it’s a nice feeling. Except for the death of the poor young man, whose eyes were blind under the closed eyelids.

The next door on the left leads me to Pushkin’s Russia. His short story THE SHOT (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXNlxmA6P5o) is so colourful, it reminds me of a nice book that delighted my childhood, written by another Russian, not as famous as Pushkin, Pyotr Yershov. The volume with THE LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE (http://lib.ru/LITRA/ERSHOW/horse.txt_with-big-pictures.html) was full of wonderful drawings, and here I am, digressing… Have you ever imagined, while reading a book, or a short story of a famous writer, have you pictured him at his desk, writing those adventures, bringing those characters to life? Have you? Can you picture Pushkin at his desk, painting those Slavic letters, almost alive under the flickering of the candle light? There’s a blizzard outside, lot of snow and… (this might be the result of too much sun in the Desert…)

I still have 24 stories to read. And I have to admit I opened doors and I closed them shortly after. Maybe I didn’t like the smell, or the light (meaning there were too many words, a weird order, a sensible arrangement of the phrase that I didn’t enjoy. I cannot say for sure.) I preferred to close the door, and opened another one. So, I can’t say for sure that I’ll enjoy all the 24 ones that I still have to open.

Still. The short stories in this volume are real works of art. They are so vivid, and so wonderful, and so full of spectacular adventures that you would really don’t want them to end. So, maybe that endless corridor is not scary and worrying after all. It is more like Forest Gump’s box of chocolate. You will never know what you’re going to get.

 

WWWBT 12 Camus, Mozart and Popcorn

Cyclothymia – mood disorder characterized by alternating episodes of depression and elation in a form less severe than that of bipolar disorder.(Merriam-Webster)

 

Who eats popcorn at the opera? Really now! It’s Mozart, for crying out loud! But you know me, I’m that dog that barks but doesn’t bite, I didn’t say anything. And, luckily for my poor nerves, whoever was so unbelievably ignorant to crunch popcorn during COSI FAN TUTTE, stopped pretty soon after the show had started. No, it wasn’t my power of concentration, as I kidded myself for a second, I’m far from this performance, still cannot believe I had sex with Darren on Friday evening. And, obviously, I can’t stop thinking about it! Not to mention that all started so innocently!

Thursday was an awful day in the office. Long and boring conference calls, the perspective of the weekend just around the corner… Not easy, trust me!

His call was unexpected and welcome, I hadn’t seen him in a long time. He knew Luca was gone, still he had never come to see how I was. Generally speaking. He suggested breakfast the next morning, at Paul’s. He offered to come and pick me up. I said yes.

I wasn’t necessarily elated, but for sure I wasn’t depressed anymore. Or, at least, I managed to smile and have a peaceful conversation about job, cars, world cup, more work – Darren likes to talk about work, and I like to listen to him talking about work.

He looks a little tired, and it’s not that I’ve almost forgotten how the wrinkle on the corner of his left eye looked like. It’s still there, still the same length. Have I missed him? Where is this coming from?

We part after a few hours. He drops me home, I touch his hand resting on the gear stick, in the car, nothing unusual, I had done it before, it’s just a thing I do with him sometimes, touching him, nothing concupiscent.

‘Oh, you know, I need to change the password to my router.’

‘Oh, no, not again!’

‘Please, please, please…’

He agrees to pass by in the evening.

And, if I remember correctly, last time I was so anxious, excited and nervous was in the second grade, when I was in love with Luke Skywalker and I was getting ready to go and see EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

 

(…)

 

‘Listen to this!’

We sit on the high chairs, to the bar in the kitchen, drinking some wine and talking about Camus. There was a passage I wanted to read to him from LA CHUTE.

Le véritable amour est exceptionnel, deux ou trois fois par siècle à peu près. Le reste du temps, il y a la vanité ou l’ennui.’

He keeps sipping his wine and I’m trying to catch his eyes. No response. He didn’t get it, as simple as that. And it makes a lot of sense. If he had spoken to me in Japanese, which would be a familiar language for him, though I know it isn’t, but me and Japanese language these days, you know, we have something, so, if he had, he probably wouldn’t care too much if I got it or not. For him, Japanese would be a cognoscible and familiar language, and for me not. So I would have continued to sip my wine and have a blank look on my face. Like when you’re trying to think of nothing. Some says it’s a bless. Thinking of nothing. Others… Oh, let me translate him Camus’s idea on love.

‘Vanity? Boredom? Two or three times per century? I don’t know.’

For sure it’s hard to believe. Was I in love with Luca? Or the CF guy? Right, I wonder how the CF guy is! I haven’t heard anything about him in a long time.
I don’t get to say anything anymore, Darren is in front of me, puts his hands on my face and kisses me. Out of the blue. It must be boredom!

The next day, long time after he’s gone, my hands still smell of him. I bury my face in my hands and I inhale his smell until I feel it reaches my stomach. No wing flickering. What happened to my butterflies? Depression must have killed them. Is there a way to resuscitate them? Some CPR for the butterflies in the stomach? Anyone? No? Hm…

Did we really? Darren and I? Really? And his chest is pressing mine and he breathes quickly and he smells of Boss Night. My hands smell of Boss Night.

The phone rings. It’s Lara. She wants to go out for a beer. Sure. I need to get rid of the smell of Boss Night from my hands. Replace it with butter popcorn smell maybe. I chuckle and go for a shower. Best decision today!

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