My parents gave me the car on the 8th of March. My birthday. I remember running my hand around the car. When I finally grabbed the door handle I felt the silky touch of a spiderweb on my fingers. That day I just threw it out.
The red color was partially peeling off, there was a crack in the back window and dents on all four sides. But it drove and on the inside the car looked well maintained. My parents had even asked a mechanic to check it out – he changed the oil and then sent them on their way. On the way to me.
Of course there was an agenda that came with the car. It was a sign that I was old enough, that I had to take care of something and organize my own life. It was an aid – a chance to find work outside our suburb.
That night I took Catriona for a ride. That night, sitting in the car with burgers and softdrinks stored between our legs, we had our first kiss.
She had to be home by 11. I dropped her off and brought the car home. It was freezing when I finally slammed the door shut and hushed inside. Continue reading →
It’s now been two months since his father died. We had been to the funeral and I knew that losing his father must have been painful. Still he just held our son’s hand and sat there silently. No tears, no sadness on his face. Just a calm face with a hint of concern. A few times he looked down to Ian and nodded to himself.
We watched as they closed the casket and walked in the first row when they carried it out to the grave. They lowered it inside. There was another speech. I threw a flower and my husband and son threw soil.
On the way back he didn’t say a single word.
Josue had never been the type to show his emotions but he had been close to his father, closer than any other father-son pair I can think of. They had spent many weekends on camping trips and their “men tours.”
Of course it all makes sense now.
I wanted to give him the space he needed. For a week I waited for him to make a move, for him to let his grieve out. Then I asked how he felt.
He never screamed at me before, at least not like that. Not with so much anger. Continue reading →
Five weeks ago, sitting on the short bus that brings me home from the train station every night, I watched a woman die.
When I entered the bus she came running from inside the train station and the driver waited for her. There were a few people at the front of the bus but none in the back. I sat alone in the back seat and watched as the middle-aged woman dug through her purse. Every few moments she seemed to speak. I thought she was just talking to the driver.
Finally she pulled the electronic ticket out of her pocket, the beep announced that she had been charged, and she made her way towards the back of the bus.
While walking down the gangway she kept throwing glances at the other people sitting in the bus. And I realized that she hadn’t been talking to the driver – she kept murmuring to herself. The woman slumped into a window seat two rows in front of me. I was the only one behind her. Her murmurs grew louder. Continue reading →
The youth group reached Hailway Park Holiday Camp at about 4pm. 19 boys aged between 11 and 13 and two group leaders that had run the trips for the last three years. The group leaders, a protestant minister in his fifties and his 25 year old son, Chance, showed the boys how to pitch their tents. When most of the tents were standing in a semicircle Chance took two of the boys, Ian and Clancy, with him to collect wood for a campfire.
Chance, Ian and Clancy had trouble finding dry wood. By the time they returned the minister and the other boys had prepared most of the food. Chance and his father built and alighted the campfire. Like the previous years the evening was spent with food, songs and finally horror stories.
At 11pm, thirty minutes later than planned, the boys were told to go to bed. At midnight the minister went to sleep in his tent, Chance was supposed to watch the fire and make sure that none of the boys wandered into the woods. At 4am he should have woke his father to change shifts. Continue reading →
Every night the smoke comes back. I tried everything and still it somehow manages to squeeze under the door and into the room. It waves around the room as if driven by a strong wind. Then it collects right next to me. Always right next to me – always right above her.
For three weeks I’ve been watching her sleep. Her chest falls and the smoke inches away. Neshay’s chest expands the smoke inches closer to her face. And I lie there, next to her, and stare.
I don’t know when it started. I often wake up in the middle of a night with hunger pangs or tickling legs. Maybe that’s just the stress, maybe it’s the early signs of some sort of disease.
Three weeks ago was the first time I saw it but that doesn’t mean it started that night. The thought that the smoke could have been there for weeks or months, silently hovering right next to me and above her, drives cold sweat on my forehead. Since I know that the smoke is there I can’t really sleep at night. I fall asleep on the bus and in the office but at night my brain is frozen into a constant state of panic. Continue reading →
I saw the young woman at the bar. She wore a light blue dress and clutched her belly with one and the transparent glass with its brown content with her other hand. She raised the glass and gushed the liquid towards her throat. When the glass came down on the table her eyes were closed and the rest of her face a grimace.
“Ah,” she said.
I hadn’t visited desperation pub in a long time. Work had kept me busy and for one reason or the other I had begun to have friends. After my last experiences the idea of listening to more depressing or disturbing stories had lost a large part of its appeal.
I didn’t intend to go. It was just a long day at work and an empty night ahead of me. Without consciously deciding to do so I took a walk. Without conscious thought that walk ended in desperation pub.
Still, when pushed the heavy door and pulled the stale air with its smell of beer, sweat and wood polish into my throat I knew what to do. She stood at the bar and even before the glass touched her lips I knew that she had a story to tell. Continue reading →