It’s not that I’m ugly. People don’t turn around and gag when they see me. The problem is that they don’t smile either. And if there’s one thing every woman learns far too young it’s that everything is about looks. Only it isn’t.
I tried clubbing, house parties, online dating – hell, even book clubs. We exchanged glances, introductions, nice words – but no matter what I tried, it never went further than that. Men always seemed to run away from me. I thought it was my looks – make up, push up, perfect pants and a shirt or dress with a cleavage so deep that I thought my nipples might jump out – and yet, nothing.
I was online, searching for operations to fix all the flaws in my face and body. There was an ad on top of one of these websites, blinking fast in red and orange with large black text:
I can’t understand it. I never will. Why? And why me?
And why my sister?
He shook my hand with a sweaty group of sausages. He smiled and said his name and even in that short moment of meeting him, with two steps of distance between our bodies and his thick and soft fingers in my hand, I noticed the smell.
From that day on it was always there. I walked past his nodding face behind the reception desk, unsure whether to breathe in deeply or to hold my breath. It was not something that made me jump out of my shoes, but it made my nose itch and my feet sweat. The smell was musky but light, intruding and penetrating but relaxing and, even as that is hard to admit, arousing. Continue reading →
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 →
The sweet smell of chocolate, one of the warm and soft cookies melting on my tongue. My grandmother smiled, then turned back towards the sink to clean the tray.
The orange sun rained warmth on us. With my fingers still sticky I sneaked up to her side, grabbed a cookie from the white plate and quickly ran back to my chair.
“Hey,” she said. Then she laughed.
I reclined on my chair with both hands on the cookie. The backrest knocked against the only wood-paneled kitchen wall. A dull, hollow sound. Then my chair slipped.
During those two weeks in the hospital the orange sun and sweet chocolate air filled my head. That might be why this moment still lives so vividly in my wind. Whenever I remember that moment I can place my hand back into the scene; the coldness of the wooden chair and the warmth of the sunrays on my skin. It is the last memory in which I can still see my grandmother with brown hair. The movie that lives in my head just lacks the end; the fall. The best of hundreds of memories in that kitchen. Continue reading →
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 →