Tag Archives: people

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

Yarlung

Noah J. kindly narrated this story:


There are things you don’t hear about Tibet until you arrive. Things like that for Buddhists the people eat a lot of meat and that when you look at the world of Tibet today then you will not recognize the idyllic land of the West’s delusion, but rather thriving Chinese cities and starving half-Chinese and half-Tibetan villages.

The other thing you don’t hear about are the Yarlung. Of course that’s only a nickname for them, among them many things that no one knows about them is how they call themselves.

Not just for generations, for whole dynasties they have been feared. For all of Tibetan history there are notes about their attacks – how they appear and disappear without a trace. How they never leave the smallest of objects, not even a hair, but that they always come to take the most precious thing.

Much makes sense now, now that I hear about them.

My brother.

His wife.

Their son. Continue reading

Blue Water

Warning: potential trigger



There were three of us. One was from Kinshasa, Congo, like me, but we just met in that city of sand. The other was from Sudan, but don’t ask me whether it was the North or the South, I doubt even he knew which part.

It took me twelve weeks to get enough money to pay for the car – sometimes begging, sometimes selling refilled water bottles to the few tourists. One of them even came back, shouting at me. I think he wanted me to give his money back. Maybe there was some sand in the water or something of that sort. He gave up after a while, when I shrugged and shook my head.

Twelve weeks and I had enough. I suddenly felt as if everything was possible. It took me nearly a year to get to Egypt. I had never even heard that name before I reached the border, all I had been told was to keep going North.

North is safety. North is wealth. You can live there, that’s what we were told. We saw those pictures, in the magazines and on big posters and drawings on the walls. People in pools. We knew they had water, but how did they get their water blue? I never understood. All I knew is that I wanted to go there; that I couldn’t watch anymore while my own mother kept ploughing the hard, red soil with a plough even more broken than her back. Continue reading

Please Get Me Out Of Here

I’ve been in here all night and I can still hear them outside, sometimes driving by with trucks and sometimes speaking or shouting commands in a rough language that I can’t even identify.

The same 7:45 pm intercity train I take every day to get home. We were just twenty minutes out of the city and it was getting dark outside. But everything was going fine, we were even on schedule.

There was no warning. Nothing. A bright flash and a bang so loud that my ears are still ringing even now – and suddenly I was flying through the train.

I can’t get those sounds out of my head. The bang, the squeaking and crunching of metal. And the screams. It all happened so fast that I don’t even know whether I screamed too. Continue reading

Tonight I Must Die

On Tuesday morning, around 10AM, I heard the first glimpse of eternity. It was my second holiday day. I was standing between cereals and pickle jars and somewhere above me a voice tried to convince me to buy slabs of steak that I had seen and that looked unhealthily red. When I saw those steaks a sick cramp formed in my stomach. Humanity has degenerated to the point that meat must be pumped with salt and chemicals to look red as we have grown so accustomed to colored food that we don’t even know anymore that flesh, after being drained of blood, is gray.

I picked a pack of sugared cereal off the shelf and it began. There was no warning. Just one voice stinging through the normal bustle of the shop. It sounded like a young screaming child that quickly ran towards me. I looked around to see the child until I heard it right in front of me but still could see nothing. Then, one after the other, more voices joined in, a choir of pained screams that grew in number and loudness by the second.

My forehead was slammed repeatedly against cold linoleum until one of the clerks did the last nice thing anybody will ever do for me. She pushed a pack of marshmallows between my head and the floor. I slammed my head into the pack rather than the floor. My hands were still pressed on my ears and I kept screaming for the voices to stop. Continue reading

The Donor

“Just so you know,” the doctor said. “It’s an imported one.”

Back then I just nodded and signed. I didn’t know what that meant.

Emma was in a comma. There is not much of a choice if your choice is “save her” or “don’t save her:”

They operated.

I sat in that all-white waiting room with the plastic flowers in the corner and stared at the wall. That’s when the thoughts came. The worries. Continue reading