Tag Archives: floor

Storm

That’s how my memory starts.

Me, shivering and sitting on my hands, clenching my butt cheecks together, and staring past my grandma, who smiles at me, towards the window. There is a storm outside and I’m watching the dark clouds and the lightning and the rain hammering against the window and I would rather be outside.

Grandma smiles. She says „It’s okay, we can call the police soon.“ When she finishes speaking her lips are just flat, dry, gray pancakes pressed on one another and I look away from her, back down to the wet, black, moving mass on the ground.

A heap of dirty laundry, but moving every few seconds.

I was 3 when dad went to the shelter with me. Some of it I remember, some of it he told me afterwards. Dad tried to get me to pick a cat, but I walked right by the cats towards the dogs. Some were pushing against the metal bars, others just sat in the corners of their kennels and then there was that dog, some pitbull breed, and I put my hand through the metal bars and before dad could pull me away the dog had his head pressed against my hand and I must have giggled like rarely before or after.

So we got Vitaliy. Continue reading

The Museum

Right out of school I wasn’t really ready for life yet. I needed to get out; get away – see the world, and if the money wasn’t enough for the world, then at least my own country.

I stumbled into him on the way South. A kind lady threw me out on a country road – and he was already there, lying in the dry grass with a cheap grin on his face.

“Been here for an hour,” he said. “Hard spot to catch a ride.”

We talked. Shared a cig he had stolen from his last ride. When there was still no car in sight – at least none that would stop – we walked side by side, our loose shoes sliding over the dirt in unison.

The heat was bad, but worse was the lack of prospects. No cars in sight and only an occasional house interspersed between the large fields. Max saw it first. The blue sky was still above our heads, but a front of gray was approaching from the horizon.

“Better find some roof,” he said.

We had passed the last house nearly twenty minutes ago. The next one, a large building with white walls, was not that far ahead. We pressed on, with larger steps, while the front of gray already swallowed the color of the land.

A large sign, nailed against the fence. The first word must have fallen off, but most letters of the second one remained:

“Muse m” Continue reading

Nola

Stijn scrambled out of his room into the living room and then behind the couch that I was sitting on. I noticed he had something in his hand when he came in, but he’s five now and I thought that it wouldn’t be anything dangerous. I heard him playing and laughing behind me while some soap opera played on.

“Don’t move,” he said.

That made me curious. I just wanted to see what he was playing with.

I leaned over the back of the sofa and he was sitting there with something white in his hand. It took me a moment to understand what was in front of him on the carpet; that there were the bones of a complete human leg and that he was just putting the last toe in place. Continue reading

Office 7/366

I sit in a building that has numbers for each floor and my name, in small black letters, right next to the door. I walk between people; call their numbers; smile and laugh. The laughs don’t linger. Those rare visitors, their smiles don’t stay; their smiles, when they leave the room, fade away. Between people; friends with all. And yet, at heart, connected with none.

The Dark and the Light

My father said he chose Suraiya for me because she was blind. He said she would understand my fears and worries. Maybe that’s why I, too, understand her so well.

She was twelve years older than me and even as I was her master she always called me her little brother.

In just fifteen years my father had transformed his father’s fruit shop into a wholesale franchise that served most of south India. My grandfather chose a good bride for him. They held a festival when she got pregnant. I was meant to be the completion of their happiness. Two days they were the happiest pepole on the planet. It took them two days to notice my flaw and two years to travel the world’s hospitals to find there was no cure.

I was two when they hired Suraiya. I was six when Suraiya told me that her parents repaired and sold second hand sandals and that they could not afford a dowry big enough to find her a husband.

I was eight when she shook me awake in the dead of the night.

“We have to run,” she said. “Quick. Quick!” Continue reading

Swim Club

The first time I arrived at the club I could think of nothing but my brother.

Bare walls covered with dirty blue tiles, foldable wooden chairs, a net on top of what used to be a pool. Five men inside.

Not a place you find in the newspapers; a place to which your friend brings you along. A place where you know that whoever is running the show must have a lot of friends and certainly the right friends – because if they don’t the place would long be shut down.

When you have crossed the parking lot the first thing the two large men ask for is your name. They don’t ask for you ID, but they ask for your name and if your name is not on the list then you won’t get in. The list says whether you’ve been there before; the list says whether someone trusted you enough to bring you along the first time. The list also has the name of the friend that brought you along and if you mess up then that friend will have a problem. Continue reading