I’m on atop of the world looking… 🙂
During one of my adventurous walks I came across this dilapidated shack at the edge of the forest in the middle of a swamp far from any sign of life. It stood a little bit crooked and had broken windows. I always have been attracted to these kind of places. I know it might sound strange but I feel they breathe life, they house untold stories and keep secrets waiting to be discovered… Their pull is so strong it is impossible to ignore so I went in.
Inside I saw sign of occupation. There was some old furniture. A broken table, an old gutted sofa and a chair with a missing leg stood in the middle of the room. I found couple of blankets on the floor, dirty but usable. A pile of garbage stood in one corner, mostly food containers, wrappers, empty bottles of water and some broken glasses. There was a plastic bag full of folded papers tied up together. To me, they looked like letters. I was right away intrigued.
If I have more time I will stay a bit longer and scrutinize the contents of the bag, probably read the letters. But as it was, I was running late (like always) and I wanted to reach my car before the sun go down on me. So, against my will I moved on. But I promised to myself I’ll be back when the weather is more cooperative, probably in the spring…
“Ah, life’s little surprises! They can make any day unforgettable… or make it your last.” ~ T.A. Barron
After 13 years of marriage, lots of coincidences and a jumble of confusing often horrifying circumstances; I woke up one day a changed woman.
The waking up happened on my 30th birthday, around 1:00 in the morning in a club I went with my so called friends to celebrate another year added to my life. On paper I was old enough but in reality I looked barely eighteen. Photographs can testify to that claim because they seldom lie, unless of course one edited them. When I’ve met D. He thought I was 24. In fact I was 37 years old. Imagine that. I remember being banned from a disco when I was twenty five because the guard thought my identity card was falsified. Story of my life.
I was bending forward, head between my knees shaking my hair loose to add volume to the sweaty strands that were beginning to fasten themselves on the back of my LBD; and when I looked up, he was there staring at me.
Tall, blond, blue eyes and clearly younger than me; but I bet he didn’t know it. He sent his companion to extend an invitation for me and my friends to sit at their table, I declined. My friends wanted to throttle me for that. Spoil sport was added to the list of adjectives they loved to call me behind my back, I didn’t care. I still don’t. I talk to strangers but I don’t go as far as drinking alcohol with them, not even if they’re paying.
A bottle of champagne in an ice bucket appeared on our table shortly after that, with a note asking if he and his friends could join us instead. Well, I could hardly waive them off again without ruining the night of my birthday so, I said yes.
He was 27 years old. A Porsche driving only son of one of the biggest factory owners in the country; I was right away suspicious.
And that was the very reason why aside from a couple of dinner, a drive in his red status symbol car, lots of telephone calls and turned down invitations to private sauna and a night in his flat; nothing happened between us. I was not only wide awake, I was sober too.
I will not believe for one moment that he meant it serious with me.
Maybe serious enough to spend serious money on me in exchange for few occasional serious tumble in the hay, but serious enough to marry me, I don’t think so.
So I let him go.
But he had given me a gift I will cherish for the rest of my life: a consciousness, awareness that there is more to life than what I was having with my thoroughly abusive lying cheating drunkard of a husband. He made me realize that I was still desirable, still in the market, still worth chasing for. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
But it doesn’t mean he cured my inferiority complex which originated from my childhood and honed to perfection by my philandering ex. It cost me (maybe) a bright future with a UN ambassador who kudos for him did all the necessary hard work of digging, scratching and dusting so he could get to my core just to be turned down at the last minute because I didn’t believe I was good enough to be his lifetime companion.
The only move I made that I regret so far.
But it did make me brave enough to go out there and sample all the goodies that I was allowed to eat without the unnecessary and unwanted complications.
Yes I had my share of affairs. Not all of them platonic, that much I could admit. The bits and pieces of the stories, I sometimes share with you, but always the edited version. The incriminating details cleverly omitted not only for my own sake but for the readers and my children as well.
I know people could read between the lines, sometimes too much; but as long as it is not coming from my own mouth, that will remain, suspicions, accusations, and whatever one wants to call it. For the meantime, I will continue to write bits and pieces from my memories and will share them with you whenever I feel courageous enough to let some of the skeletons out the closet and let them dance naked…
At exactly 3:00 o’clock in the morning tomorrow (it means no sleeping tonight) I will be leaving for my annual holiday and will be gone for three weeks. There is a lot of things to take care of before I can make my departure to avoid nasty surprises while I’m gone and when I come back. The water and gas have to be turned off, garbage to disposed, house plants to water (I always upended a big bottle of water with a little hole drilled on top in each pot to ensure they will have something to drink when they’re thirsty) clothes to wash and iron (which makes me think of the amount of dirty clothes I’ll bring back from the trip and yes I don’t use laundry service in hotels) Tidy what have to be tidied in the garden (some plants cannot wait for three weeks for treatment like early flowering shrubs and trees that have to be pruned right after flowering. Keep my hostas and tinder leafy plants away from slugs and snails which seem to be multiplying by the thousands overnight especially now that we are having bad weather. Rain pours like waterfalls from heaven and flooding our garden in seconds (you saw the news) Some plants have to be tied and supported. You know the drill.
I cannot post articles during that time because I vowed a long time ago never to use internet on holidays but I lined up and scheduled some interesting reads for my followers. Okay, I’m all pack ready to go. Money… ticket… passport… And oh, my medicine… have to hide valuables before closing the door. The alarm, the car, all the windows and doors locked. The police have been notified of my absence… Curtains closed, lights out… Did I forget something?
See you in three weeks and keep writing…
When it rains it gives me the feeling of wanting to climb up the roof and make love on the corrugated roof plates.
Seriously, I adore rain; and tend to take long walk when it’s pouring cats and dogs. I love the feeling of water caressing my face. (They say that it is also a natural moisturizer) and the way the drops look on the foliage is simply amazing! There is some magical something about it. Did you ever notice how the plants look like just after the rain? They seem happy and vibrant and refreshed. Much like us I guess after we took a shower, or a bath, or a swim. Or something else… I call it being watered.
The colours are more vivid too! As if everything comes suddenly alive! One can almost hear them singing! And the smell! I’m dying to find a perfume that can come close to that intoxicating fragrance of positive energy, hope and happiness! I am still searching…
Aside from rain, I adore stormy weather. Now… that is totally different thing.
Stormy weather is pure excitement! The air is laden, breathing…. Pregnant with anticipation and electrical currents! Charged with heavy, strong emotion that has to come out! You feel that there is something extra-ordinary coming! I compare it with that crucial, special yet selfish moment before orgasm… you have to chase the feeling, capture it, isolate and…Release!
That moment is yours and yours alone! For that split second, you’re oblivious of your surroundings; you don’t care about anyone or anything. That is your moment; and you got to have it no matter what.
That is the same with rain and stormy weather. (Forces of nature in general) One can hope and pray, but they will have their say. When their moments arrive, they will seize it no matter what. And that is what I call freedom.
Walking in the rain and chasing stormy weather is being part of that feeling of abandonment. It may not be totally mine, but to share their eternal glory is for me good enough…
Yes, my consuming desire is to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, barroom regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all this is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always supposedly in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night…
It seems to me the fence separating us from who we are and who we can be is not a straight line, not erect, but something wavering and distant, a reflection of who we are and what we fear.
We were born to be free, to expand our horizons by going where we have never gone before, and not to hang out in the relative comfort and safety of the nest, the known. There is a place within us that is courageous beyond our human understanding; it yearns to explore beyond the boundaries of our daily life…
Quotes: Chloe Thurlow & Dennis Merritt Jones
A thought-provoking prompt – Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?
Thought provoking indeed.
But for some reason I cannot think of anything or anyone that got away. Except for this but I don’t know if I can count it as such. Places… Hmmm… there is no place I will change my life for in order to be there but there are quite few that can change my life if I managed to move there because the climate is highly beneficial to my condition like for example Spain, Portugal, New Zealand – my dream destination by the way- or my birth country Philippines. But for the moment retiring is out of the question, in other word_ out of reach.
How about experience…
Well, there used to be that bungee jumping was on the top of my bucket list but I didn’t get around to realizing that wish and now I’m afraid it is another thing that is out of the question because of my RA and cervical hernia. I still dreaming about doing it though but I know that the chance of it happening lies in Utopia/Avalon/Shangri-La. No harm in dreaming though…
At 18:15 that particular day I stepped out of the car and went inside. The weed was nowhere to be seen (so far so good) normally whenever I arrived home I will find her sitting at the foot of the stairs in the hallway, waiting. Okay, I could understand that she was lonely (so did I) that she was alone when I was working, that we lived a practically isolated life, but that’s me and she knew it. I thrive in solitude (she was very sociable and always looking for contact; in the supermarket, in the sauna, in the street, everywhere!) For god’s sake, I want to be on my own after a day’s work; to unwind, to rest, to think, to be myself. If I find her there waiting for me, I feel guilty. I feel responsible. I feel trapped!
I went directly upstairs and that was a mistake. I saw my computer and before I knew it I was answering comments on my blog. When I looked up… it was 20:00! And I was planning to take a long walk! What now?
After weighing, deliberating and looking at the position of the sun from my bedroom window I decided to give it a shot anyway. I said to myself while studying the map:
“Well… it’s eleven kilometres to where I have to start, I can be there in… fifteen minutes? And if it’s really starting to get dark, I can cut the walk along the river by about two miles; that will give me another ten-twenty minutes allowance, and if I have to, I can always follow the highway for the remaining stretch of the walk.”
I grabbed my rucksack stuffed the pancakes leftover from this morning in, added a small bottle of water and off I went.
Some people listen to music while walking/jogging, I don’t. I need all my senses especially if I’m alone. I have to be alert. I don’t need any distraction. Instead, I kept an eye on the sun. I saw it was sinking very rapidly on the horizon. I know that the weather around late August-early September is treacherous. One time the sun is high in the sky but before you know it, it’s gone. Goes dark faster as well almost in a blink of an eye.
I looked at the map and realized that most of the paths I had to tread had no lights, no houses nearby and woods either on one or on both sides. Fuck! I did it again! How many times I promised myself never to hike in the night. But every time I made it home in one piece, I know I will do it again. Too exhilarating, too exciting, and too tempting just to let it go. I know someday I will pay for my recklessness. As for now… making it home (alive) is my main and only concern.
It went so fast! From seeing one hundred meters before me to I could not even make out my shoelaces! Damn it! Couldn’t use my flashlight even if I wanted to, afraid I might attract attention to myself so, I used my cell phone to illuminate the sign I was following instead. A quick glance at my watch told me that it was 22:15. I was really pushing my luck here. Time to hurry. If only it wasn’t so dark!
The moon was no help either. So pale, so egg-shaped, and so shy hiding behind nimbus clouds. I kept telling myself: as long as it’s not going to rain… I will be more or less okay.
I saw (with so much effort) on the map that I had to pass a castle if at least I’m going in the right direction. But where is the castle in all this darkness?
Scrutinizing the landscape, I can barely make out a silhouette of a turret somewhere. Okay, walk in that direction.
After a time I found myself on a very small muddy path between a river (to my right) and a wasteland? (maybe it only looked that way because of the dark) there was some kind of fencing on the left which I was afraid to touch (for guidance) thinking it was loaded with electric current. Suddenly there was a movement not far away! Very heavy! Very fast! I draw my diving knife from its sheath and waited. Nothing! I walked backwards facing the direction of the sound, relying on my reflex and instinct. Still nothing. I saw that the castle was very near if I could make a dash for it… then what? I did anyway.
Approaching the castle via an avenue of giant corns, I saw that there were lights scattered here and there around the perimeter of the area; for the rest__ darkness. I was reminded of Disneyland. A spooky Disneyland. All of a sudden I became aware of the fact that I was walking straight to the gate of the castle. My mind said: What if that gate suddenly opens up the moment you’re there? What about children of the corn? Remember that? I told my brain to shut up. The place was magnificent even in the darkness. And the more you walk the winding path, the more it came to focus. I walked slowly backwards. As if in slow motion, the castle unfolded its magnificent beauty; tall, dark, and solitaire, waiting for passersby to discover its secrets, beckoning me to come in.
I noticed that there were no trees or plants near the building, nothing to obscure the view, just the fortress itself sitting on an island of soft rolling baby hills covered in green luscious grasses. Amazingly breathtaking. Simply magical.
After the castle, I was plunged into total darkness once more. From a very far distance, I could make out the lighted tower of the church where I had parked my car. Okay, but how to get there? There was not a single path in sight leading to that direction? Then, I realized I had to go through the woods first, then I will probably emerge in the village where the church was. Probably…
I said to myself: “Okay, how about cutting through this surrounding wasteland to reach the big road. Good idea. But the highway is dangerous. There are people there with cars. One could drag your petite old beauty into the vehicle and the rest it’s up to you to imagine. Besides, how could you know that the big road will lead to the church where your safety is? Okay, the woods it is.”
Walking alone in the dark with your knife drawn, scared that someone maybe is there waiting for you ( how could he knows you would pass by at that precise moment?) and in the back of your twisted mind wishing, hoping that it will be true, so you can practice what you learn, wanting to know how it is to have the taste of your first killing if necessary, how it feels to sink the sharp blade into the flesh wounding intently… the feeling is almost orgasmic.
At 23: 47 hours I reached my car without any accident. Pity! Driving home, I was thinking; in all that I experienced a moment ago, still, I could not resist taking pictures of the moon. Now let’s wait and see if it works because my flash was broken.
My own castle here I come!
The van I like. And why not, it was not only a Mercedes; it was new too. The colour was moss green which is okay. Lots of room for tired legs to stretch, video on board, the air conditioning was working fine, the sound system perfect, but the driver was not.
I thought he was around mid-twenties (which if he was I could give him some room and stretch my patience) but no, he is two years older than me, good-looking in a roguish kind of way and very cocky. We started off on a wrong foot right from the beginning; he called me by my first name the very first time we’ve met. I don’t like it.
I am not a hoity- toity madam, never been, never will be. But if a driver picks up a guest he never meet before from an exclusive resort, I don’t expect him to call her by her first name.
A Ma’am, Miss, whatever; is the least I expect. But not this guy, he called me by my first name, just like that. I disliked him instantly.
Okay he owned the van (I learned later that he acquired it by working few years abroad and it costs him his (they say) very beautiful-wife. Granted he was the best driver around, it took him only two hours and a half to reach the airport, which in any normal circumstances takes at least six hours to drive; but that didn’t give him an excuse to be so personal towards his customers. I wondered if he was like that with everyone. According to the owner of the resort (she was the one who recommended him to me) he was not.
There were so many things I didn’t like about him. His attitude towards me was too intimate and too familiar to be comforting. On our first journey together, he bought me pills for travel sickness just like that. He insisted I rode with him on the front saying it was better that way. He brought me to his favourite restaurant when I complained hunger and ordered me his favourite dish to try (because it was their specialty he said) without consulting me first. He fussed over me and so critical about everything I said at the same time. He annoyed me endlessly.
When I did not need him, I avoided him like a pest. But nothing could keep him away. He offered to take me to a flower festival in some city free of charge since he got customers going there anyway so I can come along if I want he said. I declined.
He knocked on my door if he didn’t see me around the resort. He sent text messages wishing me goodnight or good morning, or asking me to watch him play basketball. I remember the night I was walking on the bridge and he jumped on me, face covered saying: “Give me all your money!” He found it amusing while I was boiling mad inside trying not to let him know that he got into my nerves. I had the feeling that was what he was up to.
“You’re too uptight. You have to loosen up a bit.” He said.
“Why? So, you can get me in bed?”
“It’s a good idea, but are you not a little bit paranoid?” He teased.
“There is a thing called friendship, in case you did not hear about it yet.” He added.
“I heard about it alright, but with you it’s impossible to happen.”
“Why are you so scared?” He asked.
Scared? Me? I never see it that way. Am I?
He drove me to our class reunion and insisted he stayed, free of charge because according to him I needed a bodyguard. He flirted with one of my classmate the whole night and asked me if it was okay with me. What a nerve! They thought he was cute and he knew it. The guy was so sleek.
On the way back I asked him why he cannot be more like the resort’s caretaker, professional and minding his own business. He was scandalized:
“Who? That loser,”
They hated each other (but that’s for another post) I told him that loser didn’t mind me no matter what I do or wear, he didn’t even glance. I said:
“Bullshit! Looking like you do, I bet he looks but pretends not to. He’s a fake!”
So, I asked him directly:
“What do you want from me, money?” He didn’t even flinch.
“I can earn it.” He said solemnly.
Fair enough. After all, between the two of us, he was the one who got a brand-new mercs. Then he looks straight into my eyes and said:
“You have to give yourself more credit.”
The day before I left he asked me to stay. I said for what? He said let’s see and find out later. I said not for a moment longer.
The night of my departure he stayed till around midnight singing “Casablanca” and another song that was called: “One last song.” He dedicated them all to me. I looked up the lyrics afterwards. Interesting choices that could mean something or nothing. I chose not to dwell on it. I don’t want complication. Life is hard enough.
We agreed he will show up at 2:00 a.m. sharp because I have to be at the airport at 6:00. By 3:00 he was not there yet. Phoned off the hook, his mobile turned off, and no one at his house; we had no idea where he was. I was so agitated I could strangle him there and then. My classmates urged me to calm down for there was no use fighting with someone who was going to drive they said.
I vowed never to do business with him in the future.
He showed up quarter passed three and acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary and told me to relax. I said if I am not at the airport at six, I will not only sue him to high heaven but will personally kill him with my bare hands. He just looked at me with a mixture of understanding and tenderness. I choked
We arrived at my destination just over 5:30. He brought my luggage to the gate and refused the money for the trip. He said consider it as a gift. Not everything is for sale he said. Certainly not his heart, only his service, he added.
I forget to mention he almost become an engineer. Dropped out the last remaining year and went abroad. Bought a bakery when he came back, met his wife and gone away again. I remember meeting his 20 something year old son on the night of the basketball match. I asked him: “Where is your father?” the boy looked at me in disbelief. Then he disappeared and after a moment, his father was there. The boy left us alone. The father acted as if he just won a lottery. What a complex guy he was I thought.
I still remember what he said to me the day I left:” It’s up to you.” I don’t understand.
I still got his number. He doesn’t have mine…
feature image: fickr/mikebaird
In my youth I ran many miles,
My feet carried me over multitudes of hills and mountains,
Always savoring that last long mile;
The pride of achieving what every runner dreams
The accolades, the cheers that are craved so dearly.
Still today I run.
though my feet stand still
I travel through valleys
over rough terrain, through hail and sleet alike,
Though I run toward a finish I can not see,
toward cheers I can no longer hear.
Where once I ran on familiar ground,
Over the same paths many times over,
Today I run through deserts I have never seen before,
On roads I am likely to never cross again…
Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.
I am at my best working under pressure. It is like I am most calm when I’m angry. The angrier I get, the lower the timbre of my voice becomes. Funny, but sedentary or peaceful kind of existence is not for me. I find it boring. Predictable. I have difficulties dealing with smooth waters. In the beginning, I thought this is what I wanted after years of sailing on turbulent seas but lately this one dimensional life with no excitements and actions begins to bother me. Only common sense stopping me to pack my bags (or take nothing) and be out there in unknown territories.
No, I am in my element working under pressure. Years of practice, background and upbringing prepared me for it. That is one area I know best and feel familiar with. Pressure is my home. What it is that they say? A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor? Agree?
…fascinate me. They have over active vivid imagination. Look at the Brontë sisters… they could even write about things they never personally experience. But what I’m really curious about are those writers who work for television series, per episode. For example: Mr. Nygma of Gotham. He was just an ordinary dude in the beginning. Okay, granted, perhaps a bit odd but nevertheless one dimension-ally boring and harmless enough.
Then from one day to another they decided to make him more interesting by upgrading the ordinary dude into a full-blown schizophrenic psychopath (or it is sociopath… or maybe both) with multiple personalities, just like that. He is changed beyond belief and oh, so sudden. No prelude. What those writers say to each other during lunch/coffee break : ” Let’s fuck-up Mr. Nygma for fun. What do you think, guys?” Or it was their boss who gave the order (of course it’s the bosses who give orders) but not the ideas, or otherwise they will be writers themselves.
No wonder Lost (the series) gotten lost in transition. It started as promising as a new born love affair. But somehow/somewhere along the way, it lost its potentials. At the end, it was just one hell of a confusion. It goes like that I think if too many people with too many (great/sick) ideas who all trying their best (they think) to wow the audience lost touch of reality and just let go. They literally lost the way. Too much of anything is never good.
I know some actors write scenarios of the series they are involved with. Matthew Gray Gubler of Criminal Minds does it occasionally (but then again, he is really multi-talented and real life genius he even directed 8 episodes of the show so far. Do check him out) Randall Einhorn and Paul Feig are another examples. So, what that says about them? It takes one to know one? To conjured up pretty sick scenarios take up a lot of imagination. And if one can imagine such things…
That’s why I believe that in any other circumstances, writers are a dangerous bunch. Imagine actions supporting the theories. My, we will have a situation in our hands. But so far…