And I smile, because if the most correct thing in the world looks wrong the only thing you can do is to smile.
Bessie runs further, straight ahead into the fields, as if she is hunting something.
I shout her name, but, really, I don’t care.
Bessie is somewhere in the wet mud, but I can only look up, at the wrong Orion.
Orion has seven stars. Three in a line diagonally from the horizon and a very vivid square of four stars is arranged around those three, locking those three into an imaginary square.
But Bessie runs somewhere in the mud and all I can look at is the wrong Orion, the Orion with four stars in the center. And the fourth star, every time I raise my head against the cold, looks wrong. Continue reading →
We were watching TV. I remember it was a Christmas special, two Indiana Jones movies and then something only for the adults. Lisa didn’t like Indy and the Nazis and when the screen turned black she laughed, at first.
Dad looked for a torch to go downstairs into the pitch-black basement. Mom found candles somewhere and put them up on the dinner table, but every time she turned around they went out again. Lisa and I just huddled on the couch and watched the snow outside.
Dad found the torch. He went downstairs, guided by that strangely round light of the torch. A flickering light.
“This thing is broken,” he said, while taking careful steps with every flicker.
Leaving Grace and the kids was the best decision he had ever made. Sometimes, when he woke up to a dark sky, he still felt her voice in his ear with complaints about the butter being too hard and the stray glass that had remained on the couch table overnight.
Those nights he laughed, rolled on his side and fell asleep with a smile on his lips. She was somewhere in the city with her litter and her own mother probably passed out on the couch again. Continue reading →
A young lady pulled him aside. “What?” he asked. With swift fingers the blonde wiped a cotton cloth along his forehead. “It will smear the makeup,” she said. He glanced at his watch. “There are more important things now,” he said. The lady pulled his shirt straight, then he managed to escape her grip. He stepped into the small room, took a quick glance at the flag and sat down in front of it. He nodded. The man behind the camera held up three fingers. Then two. Then one. A red light. “My fellow citizens,” he said. “Today is a day this nation – even this world – will never forget.” He swallowed. The sweat was running down his forehead. “From this minute on our nation is at war.”
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.
The scent woke me up. Gentle, warm, soft, arousing. Almond. Almond and something else, a fruit or a flower.
A glimmer of light came from under the door.
I was nervous, then confused. Somebody was in my apartment, but why that smell? Why such an erotic scent?
Quietly I pulled the jeans over my stiff legs. The scent was slowly fading away. I picked the broom from behind my wardrobe and tiptoed to the door. The door handle moved without a noise. The door opened, I stepped outside. The corridor was dark, only a glimmer of light came from the kitchen.
I slowly moved there and froze.
A woman. A thick but translucent white. Her eyes on the empty space in front of me. Screaming without a sound. A black hole opened in her stomach. Her face slowly deformed. She fell. The moment her body touched the ground she was gone. Continue reading →