Monthly Archives: September 2011

She watched herself in the mirror. Traced the lines that were beginning to appear around her once so voluptous mouth. Marionette lines – like a sad clown that made a last desperate attempt to look happy. She smiled at the thought. When was the last time she had been happy? A year ago? More? Memory Lane was rather narrow, and intimate knowledge if its every nook and cranny had long been forgotten. On purpose. It was survival instinct. Remembering the moments that somehow could be deemed in a light of bliss. She picked up a photo that graced the piano and held it out next to her face. It was taken four years ago but seemed more like a lifetime. Even the face was different. Looking back was a girl, not a woman. It was taken in Antibes, after a lunch which had been interrupted by an improvised shopping spree in a local bookstore. She had bought a novel by Paulo Coelho and finished it in two days.

Like most pictures taken in the advent of a budding relationship it held the promise of love. She’d been once told that Love is a state of psychosis. It is also why we let our guard down, see what we want to see and reject the rest. Rather beautiful notion, she thought. Or perhaps innocent, naive maybe, but beautiful nevertheless.

She smiled to her reflection. It smiled back. She looked better like that. It was perhaps why she was so liked at work. Where she put on a mask of happiness which at once obliterated her dull circumstances if not her appearance. She was the jovial type. The one that made the jokes and made people feel good. Until she stepped out of the office and for five minutes longer until she got onto bus 53. No one else from her team took the same bus, and thus she was free to let down her guard and become one with misery once more.

It was to be so until exactly 21 hours later when fate intervened.

The evening was turning late and the water cold. Or so it felt as she huddled into a corner, tracing the cracked tiles that had graced the bathroom for more than a century. Her husband was gone. She was sure he was, because the apartment took on a lighter appearance despite the shadows that now fell upon the rooms and their confinement. She walked with light steps over to the piano that stood in a forgotten corner in the bedroom. It was now merely used as an improvised shelf for half empty perfume bottles and photographs in silver frames – black and white, grainy they told of a different time. A time she longed for. Before the likes of Facebook and Internet had corrupted what was left between her and her spouse. She longed for when it was considered romantic to take your girlfriend out to the cinema, or surprise her with an impromptu picnic. When life was holy and only shared between two bodies, their minds both master and guard of the weak flesh.

She opened the fall board and struch a few chords, as she remembered the opening of Katiusza – her grandmother’s beloved jewel from a country she had left many years ago.

Yes the flesh is weak she thought. There had been the occasional woman, colleagues she suspected. She didn’t dread them so much as the humiliation of the whispers of deceit. Or the drunken nights spent in the arms of bar girls and other females of questionable character. But it was all part of a game, an image she knew must be cultivated to achieve something…if only she knew what that something was…

She had bought into it – yes she had. Swallowed her pride whilst waiting for her husbands return. Some days the return didn’t come until the crack of dawn when she pretended to be asleep – turning the pillow to disguise the tears that had penetrated the cotton fibers and now laid hidden deep within. But he never noticed. Perhaps that was a blessing after all. Because as the rays finally penetrated the fine, almost threadbare, muslin curtains, sleep came closer and closer until he mind drifted off to oblivion. The only thing she could hear were her grandmother’s voice singing gently Katiusza in Russian.

Words carry far. But perhaps not far enough. When they get stuck in a broken record, slightly altered by an accidental bump into the record player.
‘Sorry’, she excused herself. He didn’t seem to take notice. He had already forgotten her last transgression. A look of acknowledgment would even have been too much to ask for. So silent reigned.
The woman shifted her heavy hips between a dining table and an armchair that stood too close together to please the eye. She walked the 19 steps to the first floor and turned on the shower. Only the hot water could carry off the tears which now were making their escape, swirling and twirling before succumbing to the drain. That’s when she decided to seek comfort elsewhere. She had been made fool enough to prolong the suffering in the eyes of others…

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It’s 9.40 and I’m at the gym when I’m overcome with an overwhelming sadness. The kind that goes straight to your heart, whilst blocking any airways. I choke. Literally. But I keep going on the crosstrainer. Every circle another second bygone. It doesn’t go away, doesn’t even fade, but slowly reason conquers that of heart. Someone walks up to me, telling me I should extend my arms more. I hardly hear him and mumble something equally inaudiable as a thank you for the tip.

I’m out 5 minutes later. There is a slight drissle and I pretend it’s holy water washing my thoughts away. Then I think of you. I love you.