In Spite Of Dreams

“I can’t believe it! How can she just… ask me that – after all these years?!”

Jon’s expression is a study in puzzlement:

“Why can’t she ask you what?”

I shrug angrily:  “You know…!”

Some things don’t bear repeating, especially not to my husband.

“I ‘know’….?”

Jon raises both eyebrows in that charmingly innocently inquisitive way that completely diverts attention from the fact that my hubby supports himself – and me – by arresting people who crawl over fences and try not to get shot.

Maybe it’s a good ability for police-work as well as marriages.

“Just forget it, hon.”

“Right… “

He hoists himself up from the old armchair – with such a mock-effort that he almost knocks over the stale red wine on the small table. He hasn’t really touched it.

I thought we were going to have a romantic evening. Of sorts. Continue reading

The Finland Station

Girl:

The sweat is everywhere.

It’s in my hair, on my brow, cheeks, throat.

It’s under my arms.

It’s in creases and folds of where my jogging trousers touch my legs.

It’s between my breasts.

Crotch …

I ignore it.

I push – lift – push – lift – push … and keep going until it feels like my arms are going to break.

I try not to look at everyone in the room.

It’s not as if I just committed a sin or something, though.

It’s a gym. We’re all used to each other’s war cries. And the smell of sweat. The smell that doesn’t get better when it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit of scorching merciless Arizona-sun outside.

In here it would be a boiler, if the fans weren’t running wild. Great big rotor blades making the whole ceiling turn, like they want to heave this suburban concrete-carcass turned fitness center into the heavens.

Fat chance.

I look at the others, without looking. I don’t want to be seen. Just alone.

Glistening sweat, war-cries, bulging muscles, bulging fat, big asses, skinny asses … it’s all there. It doesn’t look back and I am glad.

I want to be alone.

But I have to move when a lady sometime past her 50th b-day over and asks politely if she can use the machine.

“Uh, yes, ma’m. Sorry for sitting here, counting the stars.”

“That’s okay, dear. Was it a tiring workout?”

“It was hard enough. I put on a bit of extra weight – on the machine, I mean.”

We both smile politely.

“That’s good, dear. That’s good,” she says, slams her skinny ass in the seat and puts on some extra weight, about 10 pounds more than me. And begins lifting. I try not to look.

Damn. I’m only 26 but I already feel 26 years older than that lady. It’s not as if I don’t run around. It’s not as if I don’t move. You should try waiting tables all day in a Flagstaff road-side diner.

But it’s not as if I’m getting any skinnier. Still a few lumps too much around the belly and hips. Others might call me a hysteric. ‘Typical women’, you might cry. But I’m not. I’m not one of your ‘typical women’.

I really don’t care about the pounds. It’s as if I’m trying to wash something off. That’s why I keep at it, after a long day at the diner, when I really should just worship telly.

Those two Latinos are watching me. While they pump all the iron in the gym. Thinking about pumping the little blonde? Probably. I’m still good-looking enough for a mag or two. Others would say slim. Only I can see the extra lumps. So, yeah, they think it for a second:

‘Is she in on something – with us?’

If only they knew. If only they found some of the shit on the internet from my past life. I don’t think they’d be so eager not to conceal their staring. Continue reading

Snowblind

The snow feels like crushed diamonds beneath my feet, as I slowly walk towards the house. The winter day would be beautiful, if it wasn’t for the fact that I am going to die in this house.

The others are going to try to explain it all away. Worse, they are going to say they “know” how I feel. Why do people always get so awkward when somebody else’s mum or dad dies? It’d be much worse if their own father or mother had died, wouldn’t it? At least most people have normal fathers—who somebody actually misses when they have died. Continue reading

Boats Against The Current


Mrs Gatz

The beat hammers everything … including, it would seem, writhing bodies on the dance floor.

But somehow they always bounce back, just when it looks like someone has had way too many drinks and is about to get hammered completely off balance.

For tonight’s PARTY, Adeline has stapled all the furniture, sprayed graffiti on the walls and plundered both the wine cellars in the house. Presto: One football-field-sized-designer-dining-hall transformed into suburban techno garage.

Her parents are going to kill her.

That is, when they get home from the Caribbean or … wherever.

I have to admit that after the first hour or so I got the weird feeling that Adeline’s parents never really lived in this huge lakeside mansion – which, by the way, I never really had any idea was only 10 miles up the shore. It’s still so far away from dirty old Cleveland, though, that it feels like another world in which just Adeline reigns supreme, like some Pippi Longstocking Queen of Goth. She certainly behaves that way tonight.

Most of the teachers went ballistic when she handed out invitations to everyone on our high. ‘What about the annual year-end party on campus?’ they whined. Duh. What about biology lessons vs. an actual roll in the hay? I don’t think the teachers have anything to worry about, though. Most of the guys and girls who came here tonight will probably show up to the traditional event next week, as always. But this all-round warm-up was too tempting to turn down for half the school.

Except if you happen to be me, of course.

In that case, it’s not surprising that someone had to spend two days convincing you to attend; someone like Richard.

(The same Richard, by the way, who should have been here to meet me three hours ago.) Continue reading