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Archive for the category “WHAT’S A WOMAN WITHOUT A BLOODY TOMCAT”

WWWBT 16 – H and the auto-irony

I have always liked to watch the sky. I remember tuning in with nameless constellations at night, when sleep was still far away and I was eight. Or nine. And I was a little closer to the sky.

I grew up in a small mountain town in the center of the country. I was crossing the street to buy bread and on the left, there they were! Compared to Everest, they are small dwarfs, but to a little girl crossing the street to buy bread they were the highest and the most beautiful mountains in the world. With their snow covered picks and their hiding behind thick clouds during unfortunate – weather-wise – days, they were exhaling a certain witticism that I was trying all my life to acquire… To no avail!

These days, chilly winter days in the Desert, the sky seemed closer than ever! Or someone really went up there, dusted a little all the warmth of the summer, and all of a sudden, as if indeed the sky was closer – but not because we were higher, I mean on a mountain or anything, but the sky had literally been dragged or pushed down closer to the ocean (that’s a nice image, don’t you think?), I could count almost ten stars if I squinted and tried really hard!

I was sitting on the balcony last night with H, and tried to put all this into words. I think I must have said something similar, though for sure I was not that fluent. If I don’t open my mouth, words are more colourful and phrases slither mischievously like a Basilisc on red wine. Unfortunately, until we evolve accordingly so we can communicate telepathically, I have to open my mouth and utter these words, which break loudly as the Magic Mirror would, if Ugly Betty had taken a glimpse in it. (see, I had to open my mouth to have another sip of red wine…. the last phrase makes no sense… but I like it!).

I haven’t written in a long time and obviously, you don’t know who H is.

Once upon a time, almost ten months ago, I met H. Lara had invited him at the last Christmas party. Tall, brunet, dreamy – both from a psychological (meaning a little introvert) and esthetical point of view, H had become a good friend. A very good friend. Obviously, at one point I got so infatuated with him that it hurt! Not because he had shown any interest in me. On the contrary! Mostly, because I was feeling very comfortable with him. Because I could be me, no dissimulations. No cheap games, no eyelashes battering, no lip gloss and not too many euphemisms. But then, after he had explained me, wordlessly, and very emotionlessly, that he had no romantic interest in me whatsoever, I concluded I needed him. As a friend I can always count on. Not for spooning me at night in bed, but for almost anything else. I had a faint recurrence when he started growing a beard, but one thing my father taught me (actually, the only one), is that you cannot force someone to love you. So, we continued meeting, watching movies together, had lunches or dinners, drinking wine or beer, talking about faith and agnosticism, erotic art and achromatopsia, depression and money, Star Wars and Swedish cinema, and many other things that either I don’t remember or they’re not worth being listed here.

That particular winter evening, besides counting invisible stars, and empty bottles of red wine, I would have liked to convince H I was Claudia Schiffer and invite him in my bedroom. For younger readers, Claudia Schiffer is/was a blonde German model; and no, I wouldn’t necessarily want to look like her, but at least have her body fat. Certain movements among the silky sheets require a specific body fat… otherwise the sheets may mimic indelible tsunamis… And the only indelible images I would like H to keep are those of my perfectly coordinating movements in the kitchen – throwing pancakes in the air, magically catching them on a plate, seasoning them with three kinds of jam and… You didn’t expect this, right? The truth is that I’m neither Claudia Schiffer, nor Martha Stewart. I’m just a slightly depressed introvert with a slightly increased BMI, not too much self-esteem and all this is the real reason I’ve been sleeping alone for the past many years. Agreeing that sleeping with the Tomcat doesn’t count.

How to end an auto-ironic text – irony supposedly being the intelligent prelude of eroticism? Maybe it’s better to stick to star gazing, platonic friendship with very interesting men who are not interested in me, day dreaming about Victoria’s Secret catwalk parading bodies and struggling to finish a book about cyber paraphilia (Mary Aiken – The Cyber Effect).

 

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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!’

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!

WWWBT 11 – Wake up, Clara!

Depression is the flaw of love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and the depression is the mechanism of that despair. When it comes, it degrades one’s self and ultimately eclipses the capacity to give or receive affection. It is the aloneness within us made manifest, and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with oneself. Love, though is not prophylactic against depression, is what cushions the mind and protects it from itself. (Andrew Solomon)

 

Some time ago, I bought a white board and two markers. To write myself encouraging phrases from Steve Jobs and the others, and… You see where I’m going? No? Too bad, because I don’t feel like giving too many explanations today. Still, you know what’s on my board these days? A question mark! Like this: ? What am I asking? Whom am I asking? Why am I asking? It there anything to be asked at all? Does anybody have the answer? And no, it cannot be 42!

(…)

Today I died a little. It’s nothing new for me, it just happened too sudden, I had no warnings and for a moment, the thought of dying for more than a little was present again. Wearing a red dress and smelling of Channel’s Allure, it strutted around, intimidating any other thought that had not succumbed to its suffocating scent.

I had an incredibly stressful day in the office, one of those days when you want to go to your manager and ask for a raise for having to deal with idiots. Some people are either playing stupid, or they are plain stupid, I don’t know what’s worse.

And I’m not sure it was the frustration of their stupidity, or my lack of compassion and understanding, but I felt I needed to leave the office. Come home, go up to the gym and die on the treadmill. You see, there are also good ways to die. Metaphorically speaking, don’t start being melodramatic here!

(…)

Every time I enter my apartment, I expect to see him in his armchair. With his glass of scotch, reading or listening to Placebo. I haven’t listened to Placebo since he left. Today, I’m running up that hill… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KEEXyRL0qE). And I don’t know if it was the music, the music, his not being here, the music, but I started feeling it growing. Like a cocoon, like a cell multiplying, like a living organism growing inside of me, taking over… The breathing stopped. Time stopped. I wasn’t peacefully alone with myself anymore.

It’s so easy to give up sometimes.

Luca, where are you?

The voices… All talking in the same time. Can’t stop them. Make them stop!

(…)

They stopped. Somehow. Maybe it was the sleep that stopped them. Whatever it was, thank you! It’s quiet again.

And then I see the board. It says, Wake up, Clara! Nobody can save you!

And in the low, right corner, with very small letters, it says But you.

WWBT10 – why amoebae don’t go to CF and what Mercedes and cheese have in common

My living room is warmed up by a beautiful carpet – it’s white, with a huge red flower spreading its petals towards all four corners. It’s warm and alive, because if you’re patient, sometimes, you can feel the red flower sighing.
I rolled the carpet and put it in a corner, it needs to be cleaned, and now my living room seems distant, cold, the French window gets reflected in the shiny tiles of the floor, and it’s as if I can open that reflected French window and walk down in an alternative reality, where there has never been Luca and his leaving me.
Yesterday I managed to go back to CF. After almost more than three months. Of course today I can barely flex my legs or sit down. And it was scary. My going back. I can see myself paralyzed in a corner, waiting for the class to start, barely breathing, prepared for that moment when my heart, tired of all the madness, would give up and stop. And yes, I was there, and I met old friends, and we hugged, and I was happy to see them, but I’m not sure I’ll be going back, though. I mean not as much as I used to go, regularly. I feel tired, as if my body is taking some kind of revenge, making me lie motionless in my/his leather armchair for hours. As if I’m trying to melt in the black leather, disintegrate into millions of cells, looking for his epithelial that must have remained prisoners there, and absorb them, like an amoeba… This amoeba can’t find that passion that used to wake me up at 5 a.m. Not anymore. It’s a void which has become my routine, a lack of vitality which seems to govern my every day counting of hours.
‘Ok, this amoeba will get dressed in a minute and go out! Now!’
Rona looks over my shoulders and sniffs.
‘Let’s go for that breakfast! It’s getting late!’
She’s on a crusade to get me out of my low moods, and most of the time I would crawl in a corner, in a fetus position, and close my eyes and phase her out until she would give up and leave me alone.
But this weekend I don’t want to be an amoeba anymore.
We drive downtown and have a French breakfast on a terrace of a nice restaurant, by the lake. There’s so much light I could use two pairs of sunglasses.
We chitchat for a while, but then she gets a phone call and I get to look at the other people on the terrace. It’s a healthy habit, if you ask me. The young blond woman carefully picking up crumbs from the white table cloth, the annoying curly toddler who keeps kicking the table with his feet till the water in the glass spills and spatters on his father’s nice, Saturday suit. The French guy, luminous and full of life, reading Camus and keeping his latte cup in his left hand, with his little finger pointing up, like a precious primadonna. I had heard him ordering his ‘omelette’, that’s how I knew he was French.
This is a very nice place, and it feels literally far away from the city, though it’s not, as if the towers, and the traffic, and the noise, and the dust had vanished, and there’s nothing else but the bright lake, the blue sky, the French guy and his ‘omelette’, my cheese and Rona’s telephone conversation.
‘So, how’s your cheese?’
It seems she has ended her phone call. Her words reach me in slow motion, as if travelling through a high density liquid, like honey. Would they taste sweet to my ears if so? Is cheese a sweet word? I wonder what my left ear thinks. The right one is a little impaired, so it cannot be a reliable witness.
I don’t utter anything; I just cut another small piece with my fork, and put it in my mouth. It tastes a little sour, but it has an interesting consistency, almost aristocratic. Now, that’s an interesting thought.
‘Do you remember how I always say that Mercedes have that aristocratic…. attitude?’
Of course I can understand her bewilderment; she looks at me as if I’m eating a Mercedes.
‘That’s how this cheese tastes like. I mean, I don’t know how an aristocratic taste should taste like, it’s just a feeling.’
She finally swallows her bite, thank God she hasn’t choked, I saw the Heimlich maneuver only in the movies. On the other hand, it would have been a very pertinent reason to address a few words to the French guy, wouldn’t it? Asking for help… Shall I bewilder her one more time? I’m like the thunder here, cannot be as spontaneous and witty two times in a row.

WWWBT 9 – learning to breathe again or let’s talk about healthy infatuations

Tchaikovsky – piano concerto no.1. The Tomcat is as puzzled as anyone who would be so unfortunate to enter my place at this time at night.

Tomcat climbs the armchair, finds a comfy place in my lap, leans his head to my right arm and put his left paw on my left hand, all restless from typing at the computer. He doesn’t seem to mind the restlessness. Just wants to be sure he’s the master, he controls the hand!

iConcerts now. Jimmy Hendrix, 1970, at Isle of Wight Festival, last live performance. Never been a proper fan, but he’s one of the best guitarists, so I enjoy his part after Tchaikovsky like a spread of peanut butter on a hamburger. No, I’m not being fair, it’s an interesting combination, more like the one Yoshiki used in X Japan’s concerts. Yes, I’m the Woman with a bloody Tomcat, and, at 4o, I’ve developed the craziest infatuation for this guy, as if I were 14! Everything is revolving around Yoshiki (spelled Yosh’ki, it’s important!) these days, his band, X Japan, and Hide, his dead guitarist. You don’t know who X Japan is? Google it, people, I don’t have time for this, I have to finish my laundry.

It’s been I don’t know how many months, or weeks, or even seconds since he left. Who cares anymore? I’ve learnt to breathe again so… We’re fine. Me, and the Tomcat, and… Me, I’m fine. As Lara would say ‘you and your other personalities will have to move your butts out of that bed and go to work! They’ll fire you! All of you!’ As if I didn’t know it!

Ok, I’ll admit it, I died a little. I know, it sounds like a drama queen, but I am a drama queen. And you know it, so let’s move on!

When my first boyfriend left me, one million years ago, I used to think he had died. I could cope better with his being dead, than his being with another woman. I bet lots of women and girls do the same. No? Oh… I was under the impression I wasn’t the only one with exaggerate emotional problems.

– You’re not, but you know something? ….

And she doesn’t finish her phrase, she’s just handing me a beer and sits on the floor in front of my writing table.

Lara looks tired, I know she has some problems in the office and she’s kind enough not to talk about them tonight. It’s my first night breathing, so we need to celebrate.

– Have you heard from him?

I look at her with the same stare I’d look at an erupting volcano, and its lava coming straight to me. Yeap, it’s coming, I’m not gonna make it, I had a nice life, save the cat!

– Come on, you need to talk about him!

The beer is cold and I can talk about him.

– No.

There! I’ve talked about him!

– How was the trip to Frankfurt?

The beer is cold…

– Cold!

I was in Frankfurt last week. Usually, I pick a seat at the aisle, but somehow, this time I ended up at the window. And I usually fly at night. This time it was a day flight. And I swear I could see whales in the cloud sea below. That cloud sea I always feel like jumping into, or swimming, or floating on small cloud pillows like the Princess in Jack and the Beanstalk. Cloud waves shining like gold, then turning into red flames burning along the tales of the whales. The gigantic tales splash the cloud waves which explode into millions of rays of red light, which then burst like soap bubbles and end up in a still, glassy surface and I can almost spot a curious eye, and I remember THE LIFE OF PI, or CAST AWAY, and I feel this inexplicable urge, since I’m claustrophobic and the slight idea of diving can suffocate me, this urge of looking into a whale eye. A wise, and curious whale…

– You know what I don’t understand?

Her voice is weak, as if traveling through fog, from very far away… I stop writing and I look at her, she’s not the volcano anymore, thank God the cat is safe, I survived as well, and I can act normal, interacting visually, though the words got stuck behind the iris, but she understands my silence and continues:

– You didn’t even love him! So why the drama?

I didn’t see this coming. I don’t have time to duck so I receive the strike in my open chest. My heart skips a bit, as the song would say, I blink, I wake up…

– But of course, what’s love got to do with this?

I resume my typing, the cat sleeps in the rocking chair and tomorrow is another day. Maybe I should go back to CF. I wonder how the CF guy is. Now, that was a healthy infatuation! And I could use some healthy stuff back in my life.

WWWBT 8 – Where Luca disappears into thin air and the WWBT goes to the beach

He’s sitting in the car. He has lifted the back door of his big Chevrolet – gosh, that car is huge! – and he just sits there, in the open boot, his legs crossed under him, with his cool sunglasses, and his cool hat, and his blonde, thick hair gathered in a pony tail, and his yellow sleeveless shirt, and I remember him flying on that board, pulled by his kite, and he’s so sexy I could cry with the same tears one should share over a breathtaking sunset. Or sunrise.

I stop on the concrete pavement to get the sand off my feet and I could feel (oh, whom am I kidding, I’m imagining things) his gaze on my back, on the big hole in the red dress which reveals my back, full of freckles and missing a good, wet kiss…  It’s a nice beach dress, crazy red and soft fabric. I then do what I know best: walk to my car, open the door, hop in and drive away. Third time is a winner, I’m thinking, though I know for sure I’ll only look at him from behind my sunglasses and then dream of him while I’m doing the dishes.

I could tell you about Joburg, if there were anything to say about it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it felt … interesting to be in Africa, and I wish I could have felt it like Meryl Streep in OUT OF AFRICA. If only there was a nice Robert Redford-look-like guy in Hilton. Kidding.

The driver who waited for me at the airport was supposed to have a red tie, and we were told to be careful, and I know I have faith in humanity and so far, so good; the guy who approached me knew my name and everything, but his tie was black, with red hearts.

Apart from the Lion Park, the rest of the African adventure can be summarized very easily:

– hotel

– gym

– office

– food court

– wine

I know that maybe you would have anticipated something like…

He looked at me while sipping from his glass of white wine. He’s in his early 50s, slim, probably tall, business suit, visiting South Africa, busy with his daily meetings, hoping to wind out in the evening. I’m on my way to the gym and somehow I know I’ll be seeing him there later on.

And bla-bla-bla, sorry to disappoint you, there was no guy, just a lot of meetings and running, nice food and, ok, the Lion Park. Driving through sleeping lions, petting some cubs, so indifferent and mighty important in their little universe that, for a moment, I wanted to be one of them, laughing at the meerkats, and I swear they laughed back, something like, ha, ha, who’s funnier?… The light green fields, the sky, far up and everywhere above us, a few puffy clouds and a serene peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. Coming from the ground I was walking on, infiltrating through my soles, up my feet, giggling with my knees, breezing out around the pelvic region, scared to get to my heart, eventually surrendering, embracing the myocardium strongly, like a long waited hug, like two lovers who haven’t seen each other in a long time and… I knew, back there and then, that something had happened to Luca. I couldn’t do anything, of course, there were still more than 24 hours before I was to go home and I promised myself I’d  try not to think of anything related to him.

Ok, I called him! He did not pick up.

I texted him, then in the evening, when I was back in the hotel room, I emailed him. No reply.

Last night in Joburg. I went down to the hotel bar, it was better to stay away from the computer. Or telephone.

My colleague, Dean, is also here. I don’t fancy him too much on a regular basis, but tonight is better than nothing.

‘Hey!’

Dean looks at me, smiles, points me to the chair next to him. I sit down and order a beer. I’m so puzzled by Luca’s silence that… Oh, I don’t want to be melodramatic here! It’s my last evening in Joburg, eventually the hotel could be anywhere in the world, so, let me have that beer, think I’m in London and tomorrow I’m invited to have dinner with the Queen!

 

(…)

 

Back in Dubai I realize Luca has moved out. He’s not in the apartment, his things are gone, the socks and the tooth brush, and whatever else he had here, no good bye note, nothing. I don’t know how I feel about it. I flip a coin and decide to go to the beach. Where the flying surfer makes me forget for a moment that I should be sad and suffer. I’m not sad. I don’t have time for suffering. So what if he left? He didn’t even have the courtesy to say good bye, or ‘see you on the other side’, or whatever. So what?

Ok, we met afterwards in the gym, once, and he couldn’t even look into my eyes. He said he had some things to figure out and he needed to concentrate on the things that are important to him. It was not the first time I wasn’t on someone’s priority list, so I just smiled and walked away.

And I kept coming back to the beach, the young surfer was a nice picture I used to imprint on my retina and then play it behind my close eyelids.

WWWBT 7 – Where WWBT has to go to Joburg and Luca is grumpy because of this

7

(where Luca ‘played’ again with my text)

When it comes to my writing, my phrases are short and – it seems to me at least – sometimes lacking colour; at least on the blog, that is. But when I’m chatting online with a guy I like… You should see our conversations – now they ARE colourful – in EVERY sense of the word! Like a game that I win by a walkover! Sophie 44, cute guy 2. Translation: for every word he types, I type at least 22. Incredible! A small victory perhaps, but to me so much more. Literary snobbery? Maybe; but I’m good with it. At least for now.

But if I am so articulate in that context, then what’s so complicated about arranging my thoughts coherently in the blog? They run all the time, like trains (on time!) but without brakes, morphing into neat little phrases, like boxcars shunted into a railway siding, ready for their next literary journey.

I have just found out that I have to go to Johannesburg on business. Now I’m trying to find the right words with which to give Luca the big news.

He’s almost catatonic in the black armchair. I stand in front of him. He’s so incredibly attractive, I could cry. He hasn’t trimmed his beard for days. His face reminds me of a dense forest, pierced only by twin shafts of light from an unseen sun, the light behind his bright blue eyes. What is it with me and blue-eyed men? The Freudian experts would say it’s because of my father. I would happily shoot them all; even though I’m a pacifist! My opinion? I think it’s all wrapped up in my memories of Tony; my first boyfriend. He was the smartest bastard I’ve ever known, and before he’d started drinking, and not giving a damn about himself, he was also the most beautiful man in the world! But back to Luca…

I wish I could do something to get him out of this depression. The only time he gets up from that damn armchair is when Lara comes by and he wants to impress her with his cooking.

‘I have to go to Johannesburg’. A bolt from the blue; no mercy.

‘What do you mean; you have to go to Johannesburg?’

All of a sudden, he seems alive. If he had shaved, I might have seen him blushing. I can almost sense his heartbeat increasing as he’s drunk what seems like a dozen Red Bulls. And, for the first time in a long time, he looks me in the eyes with an expression I can only read as genuine interest. I hold my breath in that second; any real interest from him would only trigger an existential panic – that fear of fear itself, lying dormant somewhere inside me, but always lurking, ready to erupt and ruin the moment, motivated by nothing more profound than its own intrinsic spitefulness, conspiring to rob me of the experience of genuine happiness. God how I hate it! How I hate myself, because it’s a part of me. My dark Siamese twin.  Love and hate. Inextricably entwined forever.

Perhaps his reaction is simply the anticipation of a week of solitude; though honestly our living together doesn’t seem to yield too much in the way of benefit for either of us. Most of the time he remains mute and I deliberately ignore him, our communication taking on the qualities of something seen through fogged lenses – partial, incomplete, hinting at a whole greater than the visible: you don’t talk to me, I don’t talk to you, you don’t look at me, I try not to look at you, you cook only stuff you know I cannot eat, I go out and eat with Darren. And so on, and so forth.

I had to tell him about my business trip, though, and I have to admit, it was a little bit of a blow below the belt. He had told me once that he couldn’t sleep alone in the house, and I had promised him I would never leave him alone. A pretty childish deal on reflection, looking back on it now I wonder why I wasn’t stronger then, why did I feel the need to placate him by making an agreement that I would inevitably break in the future?

Nevertheless, he knows my job requires a lot of travelling, and, given his typical indifference, I would have assumed my leaving would have left him unmoved. So why does he seem so irrationally nervous?

He stands up, goes to the kitchen and pours himself a glass of Johnny Walker.

‘You want some?’ he asks curtly.

‘Yes’.

We drink in silence.

‘When are you leaving?’

‘On the 12th.’

‘So… the day after tomorrow.’

‘Yes.’

‘Hmm…’

He finishes his drink and pours himself another. I refuse his offer of a second. I need to stay sober. Weirdly it feels like we’re negotiating a life and death issue, and I am unsure why. Such a drama over a business trip to South Africa! Is it real or imagined? Perhaps it’s only what the black crow of doubt that has darkened my days lately wants me to believe.

‘For how long?’ He asks, sounding only vaguely interested.

‘One week.’

Suddenly, I don’t feel like continuing the conversation, why do I owe him any sort of explanation?  He just needs to deal with it…or get the hell out!

I browse the news feeds on Facebook, and turn on the chat, hoping the CF guy is online. He isn’t. I log out, call Darren and invite him for some Thai food at Ibn Battuta.

As I leave for the mall Luca is back in the armchair, sipping his third JW and breathing heavily. I don’t need this. This man is NOT important to me!

(…)

The food court is not very busy and we find an empty table with light blue chairs. Darren is relaxed as always, and we each order our favourite dishes: mine is the green curry chicken, his is the red. We talk about our jobs, which we love to do, but I must appear distracted.

‘What’s wrong? You had a fight with Luca?’ Darren asks.

‘I told him about my trip to South Africa.’

‘Oh!’

‘He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself!’

‘Oh!…’

I find his repeated ‘ohs’ annoyingly tedious. I change tack and ask him more about his project. He launches into a detailed description encompassing the construction site, electrical amplifiers, cables, project leaders who don’t make it to the morning meetings on time, crazy drivers who would make 175 km in just over an hour – a whole different level of tedious –  but it does the trick; helping me unwind, forget and, hopefully, setting me up for a good night’s sleep.

My catch-ups with Darren are always fun, we hold each other in mutual, although unspoken, high regard. Thankfully his fiancée is comfortable with the time we spend together.  Darren and I have common interests and often talk about running or trance music. I have been trying to persuade him to come with me to London, for the ABGT 050, knowing in advance that he won’t.

My phone rings. It’s Luca. I mute it; don’t really want to talk with him right now. But Darren’s expression, something like: ‘come on, cut the crap, just talk to the man’, makes me relent.

‘What?’

‘Come home!’

Luca’s voice is calm, devoid of emotion.

I finish my food, excuse myself and go home. Why? An hour before I wouldn’t have given a shit if I never saw Luca again. He could have turned up dead in a gutter and I wouldn’t have cared. What is this power he has over me? Why am I so weak around him? Damn him!

Darren hates me for leaving early, of course. He likes to linger after the meal, have an ice-cream, talk about that lady in HR who drives him crazy! But I know he’ll get over it. He always does…and so do I.

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