Just A Story

Cancer… My best friend has cancer. She told me via a Christmas card, which she dutifully sends every year even though I don’t answer most of them. Seven years ago since I saw her. We just moved into our current abode and there was no furniture yet inside aside from a couple of kitchen chairs.

No, we didn’t have a fallout or something. I am just like that. I am not adept at keeping connections. I burn bridges with or without reasons. She was actually my boss who decided it is better to keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Something with the husband. There was nothing there but it’s the thoughts that count. From there a genuine friendship has blossomed and since then I could do no wrong in her eyes. She fired a few employees including her own sister because they could not get along with me. She has forgiven me for all the trespasses I did against her person without me asking for it. The foolishness of the youth… Water under the bridge now.

She was a chain smoker. Now she has lung cancer. I called her immediately the minute I received the card and told her I was coming the day after. I bought a big bouquet of flowers I know she likes and rung her doorbell. Because I got a heads up, seeing her with a nasal cannula didn’t shock me but the color of her skin did. I thought those snow dwellers from the north in GOT were just the products of makeup techniques from efficient production artists but she looks exactly like them_ gray with a bluish tint as if she has been buried under the snow and been dug up just recently. Shocking!

She doesn’t have cancer. I misread the card. She has COPD instead and needs to have a lung transplant very soon. (what’s the difference) but there is no donor. She’s not even on the list. And even then, her kidney is not functioning properly to have an operation. Her face is swollen from too much cortisol. She said she had an open heart surgery a while back and has to take legions of medicines. I gave her a summary of my own woes, she told me I look good despite… The husband said I barely changed.

They are not the kind of people who will lie or flatter you for whatever reasons. No, they belonged to the near-extinct group of honest people who will tell you how things exactly are without offending. That’s why probably we get along just fine. They told me they encountered my ex and his girlfriend in the supermarket. I said it’s the wife, not the girlfriend. They gave me a look that said: whatever. And then the husband said when it comes to a wife matter, my ex did a few steps back instead of forward and my best friend said the new wife is a far cry from me and very, very different when it comes to appearance. That was a shock. I find the woman ten times more beautiful than I am, taller too, whiter and with miles-long legs. My best friend said if I find long legs (she has) an asset then so be it but not in any way it would help the appearance of the new wife. Then she ran out of words to describe her and I supplied them by directly quoting the mother of D. when she described the same woman: grey mouse, she said. My best friend jumped on that and added a few more of her own.

They would go on and on if I didn’t change the subject. It happened that I don’t agree with them. D. said it is because I have very low self-esteem. That when it comes to comparing myself to others, I always sell myself short. Maybe, maybe not.

Anyway, it was getting dark and I could see that our visit tired my best friend so I grabbed my coat and said goodbye. I will not want to exhaust our welcome. They complimented our fine carriage and we drove off.

I’m not sure if I am going to see her alive again. I am afraid that the next time we meet, she will be inside a casket. Sad but it’s the truth.

Another era about to disappear.

Getting old sucks.

Who Says That Only Trolls Live Under A Bridge?

We did for a while when I was a kid. Sort of a halfway house when my father was between jobs. It wasn’t that bad really. I didn’t dislike it. Only when the naughty kids in the neighborhood dropped logs from the top of the bridge during high tide and our little place and meager belongings became wet that I sometimes wish we were somewhere else. For the rest, I never recall feeling ashamed of our situation. Maybe because I wasn’t aware that time yet how important social status is and how much it affects how others see and treat you. Wealth, in this society, means respect. In my experience, people treat you better when you are rich. But when I was growing up I didn’t feel I was different than the rest. I did quite enjoyed it actually. Especially the freedom that comes with being dirt poor. More adventures to experience, more spaces to explore, less rules to abide. What could be better than that?

We left the sanctuary of the bridge after one night while my mother was peeing in the corner of our one-room abode, a large hairy hand suddenly burst through the weaved coconut fronds wall and tried to choke her. She was screaming her heart out and we just stood there doing nothing. How stupid is that? The incident caught us by surprise I guess. I don’t know. We were just kids and probably scared shitless. Help was called shortly afterwards. They chased and looked for the owner of the mystery hairy hand but without success. There were extraordinarily large footprints but no evidence who might have caused them. We moved to a barrack inside the fishpond the same night, and that was the start of another adventure. But that is for another blog post.

Soon.

Till next time.

Friday The 13th

I grew up in a very religious country full of superstitious beliefs you would not believe all the things people conjure up if you hear them. You can hardly pass an anthill without someone telling you, you ought to ask permission or excuse yourself for trespassing on a sacred place of some powerful mythical beings. Failure to do so will result in unforeseen circumstances/consequences ranging from a simple fever to_ name it, the only limit is your imagination.

I could write a book about the stories I heard when I was growing up. My mother was an expert storyteller when it comes to these sorts of tales. She told us about flying babies, goblins, centaurs abducting children, beautiful people being kidnapped by enchanted entities making them appear dead and replacing their bodies with banana trunks. She related to us how could we become invisible by simply stealing the hat of the grim reaper and how to acquire a magic purse that contains a hundred peso bill that keeps coming back after you spend it. Imagine…

People there believe in pontianak – the spirits of women who died while pregnant/ the ghosts of stillborn children among so many supernatural creatures that eat human flesh and organs and could shift shape. They believe in witchcraft and black magic and they say it is better to stay at home on your birthday or wedding day because venturing outside is equals to courting disaster. If you hear a Gekko making sound by the door it means someone is coming. Likewise, if you drop cutlery. If you drop a spoon the visitor will be female and male if it is a fork. If you smell the acrid aroma of an extinguished candle it means death. And if you let children kiss a doll before they could talk, there is a chance that they will become mute.

For all those silly notions people believe with all their hearts, what amazes me the most is the one surrounding conception. They say when a woman is conceiving she better be careful what she says, what she eats, what she likes and so on because whatever her preferences in food, in people or words might be will affect the baby in her womb. For example: If she craves for chocolates while conceiving or takes a fancy to someone with a dark complexion, the baby will surely be dark as well when s/he is born. If a pregnant woman criticizes or laughs at people with deformity, her baby will be deformed too. If she eats soft crabs then the baby will not be able to walk and if it is lobsters or shrimps, there is a strong possibility that the color and shape of the crustacean will appear on the skin of her baby as a birthmark. Things like that. I remember being in a heated discussion while on holiday back there because I asked them if I crave for plums while conceiving would that automatically means my baby will be dark when she or he comes out? They know I am married to a Caucasian. Imagine that…

I can go on and on about those superstitions my countrymen still hang onto until this very day but I will stop here. I think you get an idea already of what I want to convey.

How about you?

Is your country has similar beliefs?

How you deal with them?

Do you believe in those notions?

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Tumbleweed

The legendary tumbleweed is really a nurse crop that protects the growth of prairie grasses under its shade, and then sacrifices itself and blows away.

Almost everyone I know has something of an ancestral house. Somewhere they can always go back to from wherever fate decided to move them across the globe. A place where they could reunite with their families and friends and talk about childhood memories. Somewhere they feel safe and truly belonged. Most people have hometowns, alma maters, reunions, people they grew up with and neighbors who know them from babyhood. I know people who married their childhood sweethearts, the next-door neighbor or a sibling of their best friend. Their children know each other and go out together forming the next generation of youngsters who will follow the footsteps of their parents. Most people have a family and a home where their roots are firmly planted in a solid foundation, where their history lies and written. I don’t have those.

I don’t even come back to the place where I was born since we left before I was even a year old. Alma mater, what is that? I changed school like I change underwear. Same with hometowns. If I would like to visit where I grew up I have to go to hundreds of different places and meet thousands of different people who may not remember me at all since we leave before everything gets too familiar. Roots? What’s that? I was a tumbleweed rolling where the wind blows, no destination, without purpose.

Family is something alien to me. Not only I don’t have a place to go back to, but I have also no one to come back to. Don’t ask. It’s just the way it is. Likewise, with friends, I don’t have them either. What I had were familiar strangers whom I shared a one time experience with before I move to another chapter of my existence. Go back (even for a visit) I can’t. Somehow I always managed to burn bridges one way or the other. If I don’t someone will do it for me. It’s just the way it is.

Family, friends, hometowns, alma mater, childhood sweethearts, ancestral house, roots, If you have them, I envy you.

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ThumbelOona

You’re growing so fast Sunshine

Your clothes are getting smaller

Your face changing

You are getting bigger

Not in a conventional sense

But you are growing alright

Growing into Oona size

Thumbelina size

Forever

Compact slight petite

Tiny slight pint-sized

All elfin features perfect

A miniature person

Small beautiful Unique

I love the way your toes curl when I kiss them. I love how you look at people with your scrutinizing gaze as if you are studying them weighing knowing understanding. I love the sound of your voice when you are trying to convey your feelings in your own way, without words. I love how you smile when you hear your favorite song and how you listen attentively when your mother read you stories. I love the way your big eyes light up when you are happy and the way your eyelashes touch your cheeks when you’re asleep.

I want you to be happy and healthy Sunshine. I want you to be safe. I hope they are taking care of you properly. You will always be in my heart. I will always be here when you need me. I love you my Oona. My ThumbelOona.

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The Mailman

Imagine death, as a corporate looking mailman.

with his black suit and red tie,
black pants, and black leather shoes.
a brown leathered sling bag all the way to his waist and a blue cap on top of his head as it overshadows parts of his face though you can still see his smile.
sure, it somewhat looks creepy, but he tries to be a cheerful person.
he leaves the house before sunrise and proceeds to work.
delivering presents in every houses, with a little note on top of every gift that says,
“you’ve made it today, here is a gift from me. sincerely, death”

inside the box, is your life, for you to use today. the dew of first breath in the morning, until you wake up.

death never fails to deliver his presents in every house,
because each house is different every day.

some look as bright as the sun,
some look as colorful as a rainbow,
others look as dark as his suit,
but most are pretty normal.
but nothing stays the same.

most days, no one is there to receive his gifts, but he never feels sad about it.
he just cheerfully knock on your door or ring the doorbell.
though, when no one answers, he carefully places the present in front of the doorstep and leaves,
for he has no time to wait — he needs to finish all his work before sunrise.

oftentimes, someone is already waiting by the doorstep to receive the parcel.
from then he tries to bargain, he is not a businessman nor business inclined, but he gives you the freedom to choose between the gift of life or the package of eternity.
if you choose life, then he will give it to you, whether you want it or needed it. a chance to see another day.
yet if you choose eternity, as he always had in reserve for you, when the right time comes, then, that is the time you need to leave your home and pass on,
but he will let you bring the boxes that you have,
the box which once contains life is now filled with memories, a gift for you to take with you.

funny, how death gives us more presents than Santa could ever give, no matter how naughty or nice you have been.
how he gives us more chances, more than God ever did.
and yet, he never asked anything in return.

death is your ordinary cheerful corporate looking mailman, that never fails to do his job. though he may be sometimes under-appreciated, he still finds his way to deliver his gifts each and every day.

Words by Clarke Stein

krylonproj1

Tales Of An Ordinary Woman

“I don’t have to dream about bright skies, sunshine, and rainbows… Maybe I’m into dark nights and shining stars. Maybe it isn’t about following what everyone else is doing, but trying to find my own way of doing things..” –Rahma Djebbari

I’m into dark, everybody (who reads my blog) knows that by now. But I still dream of bright skies, sunshine, and rainbows. I dream of bubbling brooks and green forest and waterfalls. I still like puppies, babies and old people. I don’t follow what everyone is doing but I’m interested in hearing other people’s stories, and if they ask it the right way, maybe I will tell mine.

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Did We Do The Right Thing?

Since we have yet another brand new luxury car (this time a Mercedes instead of BMW- speaking of BMW, there is only one thing I could say about this brand- never again) we decided to leave the gate open while we are away from home for a short period of time as opposed to always locking it which we had done in the past. This way we can drive straight to our driveway instead of always parking next door and leave the car there till we are about to sleep and only then D. will fetch his precious carriage and park it where it supposed to be. This time we agreed that in this current climate you cannot be too careful.

Why we can park next door indefinitely? Because the house next door is a show model, a model home of the company from whom we bought our current house so, it is always empty. Well… almost. Sometimes the cleaning people will be there, mostly on Fridays or the occasional window cleaners, the gardeners and of course, the once in a while buyers. So no one is paying attention anymore if there are marked and unmarked cars park on the driveway, and that’s why we decided to leave our gate open since we have the new car because like I said, in this current climate you never know…

Yesterday arriving home after gallivanting (in our situation gallivanting means running after practical chores like shopping for food) passing the house next door I briefly saw a glimpse of a small dark car blocking their driveway. Stepping out I asked D. How many vehicles were there this time, he said two. Which is odd because it was Sunday. Sunday here is the equivalent of siesta somewhere else, everything is closed, therefore you cannot conduct legitimate business anywhere aside, of course, from those fast-food chains which are always open and some occasional business establishments like sports stores and cafes. But then again, some people visiting immediate neighbors sometimes use the roomy parking to abandon their cars for a couple of hours so perhaps it wasn’t that odd after all I thought.

I hate dressing up, I’ve said already before. If I could I would go around naked eternally. So, what do I do the moment I come through the door, run upstairs and peel off every bit of garment I could discard and change into something more comfortable. In my case a pajama or a jogging pants or just a robe. 

As it happened, my room (mine because D. has his own) is directly opposite the house next door. If I look outside my window, I can see their driveway, front door, side garden, and their entire back garden. The whole house in fact. From the outside that is. You see, this modern building (which the company called Skin and if in the time we bought our place is for sale, I would have opted for) is so cleverly built that despite having floor to ceiling windows even with the lights on you can’t glimpse of anything that is private. A corner of a chair perhaps, a fraction of a table, a bed lamp but further than that, nada. The glass sections of the house are systematically placed to ensure maximum privacy, which I am mighty jealous of and dreading the time when it is going to be sold and live in by real people.

Directly outside the front door which is located on the right side of the house, therefore, facing my window is an elevated portion of the garden, a neat rectangular area roughly the size of three parking spaces dressed in state of the art artificial grass (like the rest of the garden and similar to ours) and housed two giant plane trees with spotlights under. There at the far end with her back to me facing the back garden was a woman sitting with a carton of milk next to her. And contrary to what D. said, there was only one car instead of two. A dark-gray old model of Kia cadenza. I know I cannot trust D.

My initial thought was she was waiting for the estate agent. Perhaps they made some special arrangement to meet late in the evening on a Sunday.

When I finished dressing down and had a bite and check on her again (I don’t know why I had checked on her again, call it instinct) I had to revise my initial thoughts. Maybe it was not the estate agent she was waiting for but someone more intimate to her, a lover perhaps?

I watched her stood up and walk up and down the length of the side garden. She was around my age and there the similarities stop. The woman was tall with dark wavy hair that reached her shoulders and very fair skin, almost bloodless. Her arms and legs are on the skinny side but the overall picture is not anorexic but rather wiry. She was wearing a simple black sheath and believe it or not a pair of bath slippers yet she managed to look regal, chic even. Her posture and demeanor don’t belong to the car, she was somewhat out of place. Strange.

The next time I looked in on her she was lying on her side underneath one of the plane trees on some kind of sheet, a pillow under her head. Not a cushion but a proper bed pillow. She was facing my window but her eyes were closed. I decided to grab my phone and alert D.

We debated for seemed hours to me over what to do with her, or rather with the fact of her being there. D. refused resolutely to go down to her and ask what was wrong or if she needed some help. He said maybe she was just a bait and the moment he put himself out there someone or more people will jump on him and rob him or worse even, use him to gain access in our house and all those nightmarish scenarios we are seeing lately on the news. I can’t say I blame him.

Personally, I found the woman and the situation not only strange but scary. She looked like someone who belonged to a horror movie, a vampire film for example. She is definitely a caucasian but not from around here. More like from Eastern Europe, Romania perhaps? She could also pass for Greek or Middle Eastern. Anyway, for some reasons she made the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I was very, very alert. Which rarely happens. I am expect the unexpected kind of person but I trust my instinct more than anything or anyone. When my gut feeling says flight instead of fight, I follow without question. 

When she started dragging an inflatable mattress under the tree and cover herself with a thermal blanket we realized she was planning to spend the night there. That was when we finally decided to call the proper authorities to deal with the matter.

We waited anxiously for the police to show up and breathed a sigh of relief when they did. We watched guiltily while they talk to the woman (which took ages) searched her car and finally drove away with her in tow.

There are a lot of things that bother me about the incident. One of those is when I was secretly taking pictures of her and her car (for evidence in case…) she suddenly opened her eyes and looked straight to my lens. What I saw there was a mixture of sadness, despair, silent plea, and resignation. Enough for me to run down to her and offer my help if not underneath those emotions I saw also a cold-blooded calculation, a daring appeal and a shadow of a chilling smile behind those hopeless eyes.

She scares me. I expect her to materialize in the middle of my living room to collect what it is she thinks I owe her. The rational part of my brain tells me that perhaps she had a heatstroke and was not able to drive so she decided to lie down. Outside on someone else’s driveway with a proper pillow, inflatable mattress and thermal blanket which she happened to have with her? How about the carton of milk and all the things she had with her the car was stuffed to the brim. Okay, then maybe she had a row with her partner and he had thrown her out. I’ve been there done that. Asocial introvert person that I am I managed to keep a couple of friends I could spend the night with when it is really necessary, and how about family and relatives? Doesn’t she have anyone she can call for help if that was the case? Maybe she was embarrassed to let those who are closest to her know that she was having marital troubles or whatever troubles she was having. What is more embarrassing than to sleep in other people’s garden my brain said to me.

I can go on and on theorizing about her real situation but I guess I will never know. I passed the opportunity to know and even then if I asked her, would she tell me the truth? 

I guess what bothers me the most is the guilt, did I do the right thing? Perhaps she was really in some kind of trouble and I added to it by calling the authorities. But it was for her own good my brain insists, for her safety, if she needed some help the proper channel could provide it for her that way. You did the right thing. But I still have my doubts. 

What do you think?

Did we do the right thing?

homeless

Do you believe me?

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

If you are a constant visitor to my site, you probably know by now that my favorite authors are King, Poe, and Lovecraft. I read Straub-master of literary horror they say- once in a while and you know what the funny thing is, I am not a fan of anything horror. I find horror movies funny and whenever I read the works of those writers I have mentioned above, I failed to see anything horror in their writings. There is nothing ghastly frightening morbid or shocking in there as far as I’m concerned.

If I’m not a fan of horror and don’t prefer macabre tales you might wonder why I read them. The explanation is simple enough: because they write so well. And they write easy to understand phrases devoid of flowery words, and when it comes to King, I admire the way he can make ordinary whatever into something extraordinary. And Lovecraft can convey feelings and emotions so strong you can almost taste it. So does Poe. And that’s why I love them and not because I am fond of gristly and gory. It just happened that they write horror stories.

Do you believe me?

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Understanding Madness

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” 
― Philip K. Dick

Very dangerous Idea. Imagine omitting the “sometimes” from the above sentence and what you got is a powerful conviction (or excuse) to do something outrageous.

Having said that, There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when the reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind. I guess that is what happened to my sister, she has gone insane to escape the sick reality of our lives.

Later on, she will choose to live on the streets than to face her responsibilities, leaving her six children behind. I’ve tried countless times to change her mind, fostering her kids, sending them to school, but although she will play with them and stay for a while, whenever I brought up the topic of her settling down with her children again, she will get hysterics and tell me she doesn’t want headaches anymore and she will disappear again, back to her old habits of moving from one place to another.

It hurts me to think of the horror she had been subjected to being the way she is and living the life she has chosen for herself. Sometimes, she will have deep cuts on her arms or bruises on her bodies. Other times, her hair had been chopped off badly and she was bleeding. Rumor has it she had been gang-raped in the cemetery… It breaks my heart but I am powerless to do anything. You cannot help somebody that doesn’t want to be helped.

I’ve nightmares about it and like her, I avoid thinking about her situation too much for the fear of joining her in her never-ending quest for peace of mind.

Yann Martel said: All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.

Maybe that is what my sister is doing, saving herself in the only way she knows how. It might seem insane to onlookers but to her it makes sense. I hope someday she will find what she is looking for. I hope she will find someone who understands her and will take care of her and show her how it is to be loved. She needs it. Love is something she never experienced in her life. Certainly not from my mother who hated her from the moment she was born. Hate she passed on to anyone and everything that has something to do with my sister including her children. I don’t understand it. I will never understand how someone let alone a mother could differentiate her love between her children? 

They say all parents do it, they love their children in different ways, seeing each child as an individual, each one with their own unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses and may find it easier to understand one child from another. That I could understand. But to hate and shun your own child calling her ugly among so many other derogatory terms is to me unacceptable. 

Maybe my mother had her own twisted reasons for doing it. She never told me when she was alive and now that she’s dead, I will never know why. Perhaps that is the madness of my mother, favoring one child among her children.

Maybe we are all mad here in Wonderland.

Emilie Autumn said:

Some are born mad, some achieve madness, and some have madness thrust upon ’em.

I believe the last one is my sister.

Her mind is too weak to cope with our dysfunctional family situations. But she’s not alone. None of us siblings survived the ordeal of growing up without scars, visible or invisible. The traumas manifested in all sorts of bizarre behaviors which in turn have lead into more compromising circumstances breeding the next generations of the likes of us.

God knows where it will lead.

According to the experts___

When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.

I will keep this in mind.

When things become unbearable.

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Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I discovered that what most people call creepy, scary, and spooky, I call comfy, cozy, and home.― Zak Bagans

They say we feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. With the people we know.

Studies have shown that we are all attracted to what is familiar to us and that repeated exposure to certain people will increase our attraction toward them. This is a subconscious process that we’re not even aware of or have any awareness of making such a choice. We are attracted to familiar people because we consider them to be safe and unlikely to cause harm. Even when someone’s behavior or personality is hurtful, on a subconscious level, some part of us finds comfort in the familiarity of that behavior. Good or bad, the environment in which we grew up is the only home we’ve ever known.

This is why it’s so difficult for people to leave hurtful relationships. It’s easy to criticize someone for staying in an abusive relationship and to blame the person for staying, accusing them of being weak or wanting to be treated badly. But no one wants to be treated badly. It is hard to leave because, besides the issues of having nowhere else to go, we are tethered to bad relationships as much as we are tethered to the past by our subconscious minds. [source: Psychology Today- The Familiarity Principle of Attraction]

I am a product of this principle though not by my own choice. I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and still suffering the consequences nonetheless.

Going back to where I came from, I always seek the familiar environment of my youth even though I’ve long escaped that situation and now belong to another group. That makes me susceptible to horror and ordeal of the past which my family and most people are trying to escape and will gladly trade for my privileged position. Difficult and incomprehensible as it is, that environment could evoke feelings from me when nothing could and will forever be miss and long for against my better judgment.

krylonproj1

THE WEATHER OF LOVE

Love
Has a way of wilting
Or blossoming
At the strangest,
Most unpredictable hour.
This is how love is,
An uncontrollable beast
In the form of a flower.
The sun does not always shine on it.
Nor does the rain always pour on it
Nor should it always get beaten by a storm.
Love does not always emit the sweetest scents,
And sometimes it can sting with its thorns.
Water it.
Give it plenty of sunlight.
Nurture it,
And the flower of love will
Outlive you.
Neglect it or keep dissecting it,
And its petals will quickly curl up and die.
This is how love is,
Perfection is a delusional vision.
So love the person who loves you
Unconditionally,
And abandon the one
Who only loves you
Under favorable
Conditions.

― Suzy Kassem

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