Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fran 1 (FICTION)

What he doesn't know won't hurt him, Francisca thought as she closed the door to her car. She walked across the filled parking lot, the sun burning her back. Yes, today will definitely be a good day. She was feeling good about herself. And what better way to reward yourself than with a day at the mall. She definitely deserved such a treat. She had been working so hard lately, hardly taking any time out for herself.

She walked into the mall, and immediately felt the relief of the air conditioner. Hmmm, she laughed to herself, what would all of those environmentally-friendly Europeans think? Waste of electricity? Well, I don't give a damn, she argued to no one, with a smile. It feels nice in this 95 degrees, and I'm going to enjoy every ungreen moment of it.

She walked past a few shops, smiling to herself maliciously. I'm going to look sexy in anything I try on, she thought, arrogantly. Francisca was 5'3, 115 pounds, petite but with curves, thanks to the grapefruit diet. She had a full head of thick brown curls, which ended somewhere below her shoulder blades. Her deep green eyes always shined with energy and were the envy of men and women alike; women because they wanted them, men because they wanted her. She knew the power she had, and she reveled in very moment of it.

Oh, what the hell!, Francisca thought, today I will splurge completely. She could already taste the cheeseburger, as she headed towards the food court. What's a few extra calories anyway? And besides, it had been weeks since she last had anything fried; surly her figure could handle this one blow.

Today was a day for spoiling yourself. Nothing could ruin her day. In an elated tone, she answered her phone. Funny, she didn't even remember that her doctor had her number..... (to be continued)

Friday, February 27, 2009

In my head (FICTION)

I really can't seem to think clearly lately, thought Delilah to herself. She made herself a cup of fresh coffee, sat down in her favorite chair and gazed out the window, hardly noticing the dark clouds just hanging overhead. From this perspective, everything looked gray and sullen. What to do now, she thought. Whom to talk to? She longed to have a friend to discuss these kinds of things with, but how to broach such a subject? She was deeply ashamed of her thoughts alone, nevermind the actions that would inevitably follow. Would she find the strength to voice such atrocities aloud? And if so, who would be willing to listen?

Strength was what she needed most at the moment, regardless of which path she took. If she did the decent thing, it would mean a permanent change in her life. Would she be able to come to terms with her new role? On the other hand, if she followed her heart, she would hurt, no destroy, the man she loved above all else. 

Delilah and Henry had such a wonderful relationship. Everyone agreed. It was like a match made in heaven, they simply completed each other. Lately, though, Delilah sensed a kind of distance from him, a lack of understanding. Perhaps it was her doing? Perhaps it's not him being distant, but me pushing him away, she thought. She took a long sip of the black coffee. The bitterness and the warmth of the drink seemed to awaken a new resolve in her.

She must do it, there is no other way out. But Henry will never know the truth of it. He would never forgive her for such a thing. Delilah wasn't sure she could forgive herself. Henry would still be devastated, but at least he won't be angry. He won't start asking questions that she cannot answer, questions she has been asking herself. Yes, she thought, finishing off the cup, this is the only way it can be. 

She got up from her chair and walked over to the massive bookshelf leaning against the wall. On the bottom shelf, was an updated Yellow Pages. She pulled the heavy book out, her hands shaking. Her decision had been made. Why, she wondered, don't I feel any relief?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

20 Things I am Afraid of

1. Something terrible will happen to my daughter
2. My husband will die before me
3. I will die before my husband
4. Spiders
5. Failure
6. Devoting myself to something that won't take me anywhere
7. Excruciating physical pain (such as torture)
8. Flying
9. Deep blue sea
10. Crazy people
11. Drunk people
12. Chocolate
13. Myself
14. Pitch black darkness
15. All even mildly-scary movies
16. Bigotry/hatred
17. Guns
18. The future
19. Big dogs
20. Money

What are some things that you're afraid of?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You, looking at me (FICTION)

I look at you, looking at me
What do you think my eyes see
As you sit across the table, sipping tea?

"This cheese will soon expire,"
Your mother says. Why is this so dire?
Your eyes are aglow with desire.

You love me, this much I know.
"I think tomorrow it will snow."
Why is she always stealing the show?

Go attend to her, I see that you must.
We'll find a way to rekindle our lust.
"I love your watch. How much does it cost?"

Follow your heart (for a contest) (FICTION)

“Follow your heart,” she says. Right! Just follow my heart! She doesn’t understand anything about this life; she just walks around, dispelling advice. If she could only see for one minute, feel what I’m going through, she wouldn’t say the things she says.

She thinks she’s perfect in every way, from her head to her toes. But she doesn’t see the real her. She doesn’t know how incredibly unpredictable she is, changing her mind, and her mood, every second. She doesn’t know how selfish she can be, always putting herself first. She doesn’t understand how many people she hurts along the way, and what’s worse, she doesn’t care. She’s so far from perfect, it’s ridiculous.

I am a happily married man, with three kids and a loving wife. My wife – she’s perfect in every way. She is tall and slim, but shapely. She has long blond hair and big green eyes. They are the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. She is always so patient in caring for me, and she’s so wonderful with the kids. I am amazed and inspired by her.

We lead a wonderful life – my wife, the kids and i. I’m the CFO of a small company, where I make enough to provide a comfortable living for all of us. My wife is an event organizer, making quite a living herself. We work hard during the week, but the weekends are reserved for the kids – our three little angels. Every Saturday morning, we play tennis together, then we go out for lunch. Saturday evenings are “movie night”. We make popcorn, sometimes order pizza, and watch a movie, together. Sundays the kids pick an activity for all of us to do. We love spending time together.

“Follow your heart”, she says, but how can I? How can I follow my heart when my brain is telling me to do something else? How can I do something so illogical? How can it be that I have the perfect one, but I love the other?

But I do love her, with all of her flaws and shortcomings, every inch of her being. I love her with a kind of love that I have never felt before. She is difficult to please, she changes the rules as she goes along, she only drinks expensive wine. She complicates my life in such an exciting way, I can’t imagine living without her.

She makes life seem so easy, but it’s not. “Just follow your heart,” she says.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My apartment has a secret

It's strange that just like people, apartments seem to have personalities and secrets of their own. You cannot really know all there is to an apartment until you've actually lived there. For example, few people probably know that if you listen really close, my toilet makes the noise of a ticking bomb. Or, the only time that I actually hear my neighbors is when they open their curtains in the morning (but not when they close them). And, my favorite, one of the floorboards in my bedroom creaks and my husband and I have already learned to take a big step in one specific location so as not to wake the baby.

These, and many more, are secrets my apartment has shared with me. Some of the things only I know, and no one else. These things bind me to it, and it makes me sad to know that one day I will move away and someone else will live here, and learn these secrets. I don't want a stranger to get intimately acquainted with my apartment. Yet, I am excited for the opportunity to discover new secrets of a new place. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Window (FICTION)

I was staring at the window as he told me the news. I think my eyes were focused on something – they must have been – but now I cannot remember exactly. It was raining outside and I could hear each heavy drop as it banged against the window. A fury began to grow inside me and I couldn’t stand to look at him; not even in his direction. He tore my world apart, but seemed to have no knowledge of it. He spoke calmly, as if referring to the weather or a new pair of jeans. Immediately, I felt the gap widen even further between us. Who was this stranger?

I wondered how it all happened so quickly. Just minutes before, my life had seemed so normal. It wasn’t a fantastic life, just a mediocre one. But it was one I could face. And now my world would never be the same again. His words had stung me like a cold bitter day and my skin began to grow goose bumps. The window, as if affected by my thoughts, began to fog up and I could no longer see the bakery on the corner.

The first time I met him, I wasn’t terribly impressed. He smiled shyly when he introduced himself and he seemed very nervous. There was an awkward pause, and then he made a joke. I found him silly and perhaps a bit pathetic. He bought me a cappuccino and we sat close together on a couch. We hardly made eye contact. We talked about our favorite books and wine. I prefer white – and he, red.

I’m not sure why I gave him my number. Perhaps it was his striped sweater. It was incredibly soft and warm, and it made me think of home. A home as it should be, that is, and not the one I had. Or maybe it was his eyes. They seemed to always be searching for something. I thought it would be interesting to see them when he found what he was looking for. He didn’t call me for three weeks. I hardly thought about him in that time. But I agreed to meet him for dinner the next day.

Our relationship evolved as relationships always do. There was nothing particularly interesting or different about it. We began dating, seeing each other once or twice a week. Gradually, it turned into almost every night, until he moved in with me. I wasn’t necessarily excited about it, as women often are. It just seemed a practical step, as we were spending so much time together. He turned into a habit for me, like smoking or brushing your teeth. It’s not always pleasant, but you get so used to doing it, that after a while you can’t go without. I grew attached despite myself.

The window was completely opaque now and the world outside was as impossible to predict as my future. He continued to talk, sporadically, but I was no longer listening. I just concentrated on the thick white glass standing still before me. I wondered how much strength would be required to break that glass. Would it not be easier to just break myself?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Tribute

She is the definition of beauty. She has big blue eyes, that are alive with curiosity. They light up when I enter the room; there is nothing I treasure more. She has chestnut hair, that flows in waves. She has a little button nose and a perfect little mouth - she is absolutely gorgeous.

She loves me, but she loves him, too. It sometimes makes me jealous. Yet I know nothing or no one can stand in the way of my relationship with her. She is seven months old and she is my daughter. I love her more than life. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On being average

I have recently come, more or  less, to terms with one of the several conditions that make me me: fear of mediocracy. Yes, I admit it, I'm scared of being average. I believe it has a bit to do with my naturally competitive nature, and a lot to do with the way I was raised. My parents never accepted mediocracy (or downright failure, for that matter). My brother and I were always expected to be the cream of the crop, in any and all subjects (surprising, then, why neither of us is the cream of the crop in any subject (no offense, bro)). We were technically meant to be the most beautiful, smartest, highest-paid, most-loved, super successful, out-of-this-world type of individuals; instead we turned out to be - dare I say it - two pretty average, but very good-looking, people. So the question is, did my parents make a mistake in placing all of this pressure on us to succeed?

Yes and no. On the one hand, this type of upbringing instilled a fighter in me in everything I do. It causes me to strive to be at the top and motivates me in everything. At the same time, however, it also inevitably sets me up for disappointment. No one person can be great at everything; in fact, now as an adult, I don't think that should be anyone's goal. Rather, I think every person should strive to be excellent (or an expert, if one will) at one subject, and mediocre with the rest. This is what I will try to instill in my daughter and set the bar high for the subject of her choosing. In the meantime, I'll just try to make the best out of my mediocre self.

Monday, February 9, 2009

People are strange

Why is it that people are inherently designed in such a way that they derive a certain pleasure when another human being is suffering? Yes, I know for the most part, we feel bad and we try to be sympathetic when something negative is happening to someone else. But there is that little bit within one that is somehow happy. Is it perhaps because we are naturally competing against one another (if one is to subscribe to Darwinism) and feel that we have automatically won if someone else has lost? 

In a study I watched recently on the National Geographic, it was highlighted that small children will actually help out even a stranger in need, if they are capable of helping. This is to say that people are not, after all, inherently selfish and tend to be a species that actually cares about one another. Why, then, this pleasure in someone else's failure? It must be the result of present-day society, and all of the current trends (and let's blame MTV while we're at it). 

Why do we always want to catch a glimpse of a car accident, or watch the report (and continuous coverage) of morbid news? Why this obsession? If it's simply for compassion's sake, does one not have enough troubles in his own life to feel sorry for himself? Why follow so vigilantly the tragedies of others? And why is it constantly thrust in our faces? Perhaps people should start killing off (or at least stigmatizing) this kind of attitude, rather than feeding it. As of today, there's no sense in watching the evening news. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Homeless (FICTION)

Oh help me, dear stranger, I hold out my hand
Why do you stare with such fierce restrain?
You not only question the strangeness you find
But you judge me with vile liberty

You've already determined the person I am 
Although we haven't exchanged any words
You think you do justice by me with your coins
It is not your money that I seek

I'm lost, I'm confused, I don't understand this life
Can you help me find my home?
I don't really remember, but I've been told
That I had one when I was born

You seem to know the truth of this life
At least, that is how you behave
How did you come to know all this?
Why do you turn away?

I search, and I search, but I cannot find me
In this desolate place we call earth
An apartment I have, but you don't understand 
I cannot remember my dreams

As you walked by, there was something in your eyes
It's all too familiar to me
You are also lonely, your soul hurts
You try to hide it, but I can see

Let's walk together down the road
I'll give you a hand, if I may
Why do you look on with such disgust?
Don't go, I beg you, stay!

You haven't heard a word I have said
You have already turned down the street
Be careful on your merry way
Take care of those stumbling feet

Back to my luxury, alone, I shall go
Because I have no other choice
I have been stripped of my ego, my pride
I have even lost my voice

You have judged the book by the cover and with that
You have ruined me
I am not the person that I am
I am what you want me to be 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Germany not a police state

Fortunately or not, Germany, and more specifically Berlin, is definitely not a police state. My take on why that is? In an effort to atone for, and perhaps even somewhat eradicate, their atrocious history, Germans are doing what they can to remove all resemblance to their not-so-distant past. This is done on both superficial levels, such as prohibiting the use of the swastika in any way, as well as an institutionalized mentality and 'propaganda', if you will. While I generally agree with this type of an approach, considering Germany's actions during WWII, I nonetheless see certain setbacks (naturally). 

When I first moved from Los Angeles to Berlin, I immediately noticed a lack of police around the city (relatively speaking) and that sort of made me nervous. Having lived here for more than three years now, I have seen incident after incident that made me wonder what the police were doing at the moment. For example, when the biggest train station in Europe had its grand opening a couple of years ago (in Berlin), over one million people actually attended the event. How many policemen? About 1,000. If I did my math correctly (and I did), that is approximately one policeman for every 1,000 people. This is the reason, perhaps, why a 17-year-old KID was able to stab 10 people before police were able to stop him. At that moment I was thankful that this was not America; otherwise, the knife would have been a gun, with potentially many more casualties, but that's a whole different blog entry. 

Why were there not more police present? Where are the police every morning when the drug dealers gather at the subway station nearest to my house to make their deals? Where were the police when a gang of teenagers started smoking pot in the middle of a crowded subway? Where are the police, period? ... I know the answer to that. Whenever there is a demonstration, by law, the police must be present and it appears, in great numbers (I've witnessed demonstrations where there were more people in uniform than demonstrators themselves). Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many of the freedoms that I have here, which I did not have in the U.S., but they seem to come at a rather high price. As in many aspects of life, perhaps balance is the key here. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Writing piece (FICTION)

Tiredness seeped through my body like never before. Not an ounce of strength was left within me, not even enough to think. Should I go to him? I can't. What would I say? How would I act? How could I look him in the face? He, the epitome of goodness and perfection, and I before him, confused and destroyed. 

He calls my name. I turn my head away. He will not know my secrets. They will go down with me in my grave, whenever that will be. He will continue to love me; I need that from him. 

I'm very tired. 

Reconciling myself to me

As I write my first ever entry on my new blog, I'm having a tough time reconciling myself to me. It's difficult for me to think back on the person I once was. Dramatic changes have altered my life in an unrecognizable matter, and I now feel that I am an entirely other person than I previously was. Am I me now? Was I me before? If I was me before, and I am me still, who am I? I suppose this is the age-old question that philosophers, and senseless people like me, have debated over since time untold. 

So what comes be or not to be? No, I won't go in that direction. I must be. I guess I will just have to continue to evolve into the future version of me. Time and unforeseeable events will wreak havoc and add their own splashes of color, but I will try to control what I can. I want to reconcile myself to me in the end.