Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fran 4 (FICTION)

Francisca walked through the front door of the townhouse she shared with Brian and shut the door slowly behind her. She leaned against the door and slumped to the ground. Like a newborn baby, she didn't really notice the external world around her. All she could do was replay parts of what Dr. Richards had told her, filling in between the lines. "...it's a very rare disease, very few people have ever heard of it...", he started out with, turning his gaze away. What was the name of it again?, Francisca struggled. Not that it mattered anyways. "I'm afraid there's no cure, Francisca. No medicine..." It was at this point that Francisca's world began to spiral down. But what will happen? Will I die? "I don't know how much time you have exactly, but judging by the stage of the disease, I would say one-to-two years..." That was the last thing Francisca heard. Dr. Richards also mentioned something about a medicine in the clinical trial phase, but Francisca missed all of that. She left his office as soon as he finished talking in a daze. Somehow, she drove herself home, but she had no recollection of it. Instead, all Francisca could think about was her imminent death. Would there be anyone to hold her hand as she left this world? Would she even want that? Besides, what was the next stop after that? Was there one at all? Francisca couldn't remember the last time she thought about God. Perhaps now was a good time?

Brian came home three hours later. He entered through the garage door, as usual, trying to forget his stressful day. As every evening, the only thought that truly consumed him was seeing Francisca: touching her, kissing her, owning her. He threw his keys on the counter in the kitchen and unloaded his pockets. He opened a bottle of red wine and poured himself a glass. Taking a sip, the alcohol immediately took effect. He began to undo his tie with one hand as he headed in the directon of the living room. Francisca was probably watching TV, if not upstairs waiting for him, he thought. A smile played across his lips as he thought about the night ahead; tonight was a particularly stressful day.

The living room was dark and the TV turned off. Brian began making his way upstairs as he heard a noise. Is that an animal? It took a couple of minutes before Brian realized that the noise was coming from somewhere near the front door. All he could see was a large lump...laying? sitting? what was that exactly? He approached cautiously, setting his glass of wine on the bottom step. He started to think of possible weapons he could grab along the way - a heavy book, the porcelain vase - before he realized the undefined mass on the floor was Francisca. What was she doing?...crying? In the four months that they had been together, Brian had never seen Francisca cry. For the first time, he found himself repulsed by this beautiful woman. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Big Clock

She cries and it breaks my heart, but I can't help. There is nothing more I can do for her; I've done all I could. I'm exhausted, and so is she, but she can't sleep. She just cries. I sit in the other room, listening. I can't stand to watch her cry. I want to hold her, but she pushes me away. I don't know why she's upset, I don't know what I did wrong. She lays in bed, and she cries. I listen and I watch the big clock, wondering when it's going to end, trying to understand what this all means; why she cries, why I hurt, why we are here. If I had the power to be somewhere else right now, is that a path I would choose? I could never leave her. I choose the pain.

She continues to cry relentlessly. It's not me she's crying for, and my heart bleeds. I wish I could tell her that I have all the answers, but I don't. I wish I did. I'm confused, and I can't help her. She still cries, and I sit on the couch in the other room, listening to her, watching the big clock. 

Monday, April 20, 2009


Work, work, work. All I ever do is work. Morning, noon, and night, I always work. When I wake up in the morning I start to work. All I ever see and know is work. I'm so tired of working; I want to live. I want to see the beautiful and wonderful things, to travel the world. I want to ride an elephant in India and a camel in Egypt. I want to stand beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris and feel small, and climb the Empire State Building to stand above the world. I want to be serenaded on a gondola ride in Venice and hear sweet nothings whispered into my ear across a candle-lit dinner in Ibiza. I want to walk on the Chinese Wall and hear the mysteries of how the pyramids were built. I want to have a Latin lover, who will love me and then leave me. I want to cry for days about what could have been and think back on the wonderful, but brief, affair we had. 

I have never been in love. I want to fall madly in love. I want to wake up in the morning and sing songs. I want to bake brownies out of the blue. I want to think about him day and night, and write his name over and over on a piece of paper, with hearts all around. 

I want to eat an exquisite meal. I love to eat. I want to savor every bite of a beautifully-prepared dish, melting in my mouth. I want to be surrounded by chocolate-covered strawberries. 

I want to make love in the moonlight on the beach, as sand gets mixed into my hair. I want to get lost in the moment, and forget my name. I want him to remind me!

But all I ever do is work. What the hell am I working for?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fran 3

Four hours later, Francisca finally stepped into Dr. Richards' office. He was seeing his last patient. Francisca sat in a waiting chair and flipped through the pages of the latest Cosmopolitan. Some people are so pathetic, she thought to herself with a smirk, briefly scanning the headlines. 

Francisca wasn't the least bit worried about what the doctor would tell her. After all, she was only 28 years old and had a body to kill for; it had never let her down before, surly it wouldn't start now. Besides, Francisca had been hearing from the girls at work what wonderful technological breakthroughs the medical field has been enjoying lately. Anne, who recently got liposuction, was always telling Kate about that. If plastic surgery could work such wonders on Anne, Francisca was sure that doctors would be able to fix whatever was wrong with her. It would only be a matter of money.

Francisca had been working for Scotts & Scott for six years now, ever since she graduated from college. She started out as a secretary, but with time became the personal assistant to one of the Scotts herself, a position that carried far less prestige than Francisca admitted, both to herself and others. The pay was acceptable, but Francisca never neglected to find wealthy men to fill in the discrepancy between her lifestyle and her paycheck. She lied to herself that it wasn't the beautiful life she was after and that she could easily go without, but the fact is, Francisca treasured materialism above all else and felt that she was under-appreciated at work. She always thought that a big raise was bound to come her way, but in the meantime, felt no shame in using men for money. If they were stupid enough to give it away, who was she to turn it down? Brian fell into the trap just as easily as the previous men. As a successful lawyer, he didn't care what demands Francisca had, as long as he could have his trophy girl. And wear her on his arm he sure did. Francisca pretended not to notice, but they both knew the game they were playing.

The last patient finally left and Dr. Richards called Francisca into his office. She threw the Cosmo onto the chair she was sitting on, blatantly showing her impatience with having to wait so long. The nurse, however, only looked at her with a pitiful smile. Francisca was surprised to see Dr. Richards wear the same mask, as if they were all in on some big secret. She glanced at her watch nervously, uncomfortable with the situation. Francisca had no idea, though, how many more such looks she would still get. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You are not the poem

In her book, "Writing Down the Bones", Natalie Goldberg has a chapter dedicated to convincing a poet that he is not the poem itself, but rather only the emotions he was feeling at the moment he wrote the poem. I think Goldberg should be telling this to the readers, as they are the ones having problems differentiating between the writer and the writing. It is odd that with every second person out there being a writer, few of us personally know one. Perhaps therein lies the problem. Virtually every person I know reads books, but the vast majority of those people don't know any other writers besides me (and yes, I do dare to call myself a writer). As a result, and it's especially the people who know me well, they constantly assume that my writing tells some kind of a story about me. Each person looks for himself within my characters. This is not only untrue and frustrating, but it is inhibiting my writing. I am trying to come up with narrators that are as far from the real me as possible, so that the readers will actually look at what I'm trying to say, rather than attempt to learn something about me, or even worse, about themselves. Here is my final explanation and plea. 

The writing that you find on this blog has several purposes. One is to potentially develop a character or play with a character type. Another is to experiment with different writing styles and tools. A third purpose is to create different voices and to simply convey a mood. Sometimes you're not supposed to remember the details, but rather get a certain feeling from the piece overall. At no point, however, will you find a fiction piece that is trying to convey some hidden secret about me personally, or about you. In fact, what I'm trying to do is become someone else and try to feel what he/she is feeling.

Having said all that, of course no matter how hard I try, I cannot fully detach myself from me. So you will potentially find pieces of me, and perhaps you too, here and there. But please don't look for them, they are not there intentionally, and therefore serve no purpose in and of themselves. Just enjoy the work you find here (if enjoyable you find it). And if you want to learn more about me, just ask. But please let me be free in my writing. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Don't Know Me (FICTION)

It's strange that you can know a person so well for a given period of time, and then he becomes a complete stranger to you. That's what happened between me and her. I used to know her - man, I used to love her. No one knew her better than I, no one. I knew her smell, how she liked her coffee, when she was having a bad dream. I could tell from her eyes alone when she was mad at me. I could read her like an open book. Nothing remained a mystery. And she loved that I knew her in such an intimate way. I was the only one.

She came to me for answers, ones she couldn't herself provide. One time she looked me in the eyes and said, "Do you really think I can be happy?" I didn't tell her back then, but I vowed to myself that I would be the man to make her happy. I took on the mission to figure out what was missing in her life and to provide it for her.

After a few months, things somehow changed. It became apparent that I couldn't figure out what she needed, much less provide it for her. She left me, on good terms, and I got over it quicker than I thought I would. That was five years ago, and in the meantime, a number of girls have come and gone, but I've always thought about her. Like if she still has breakfast in bed every Sunday morning and shaves her legs only when she aims to impress. I'll admit, sometimes a jealous bitterness comes over me when I think about the man she is impressing now, but it doesn't take long to remember she is no longer mine.

Last week, I ran into her at the corner coffee shop. I didn't recognize her at first. She had a really short haircut. She looked amazing. I always told her to cut her hair short, but she claimed that a woman wasn't feminine enough without long hair. I guess someone finally convinced her otherwise.

She was excited to see me, I think. Perhaps a bit hesitant. She didn't know what to say. I offered to buy her an Iced Mocca, her favorite. She told me, with a bit of surprise in her voice, she doesn't drink coffee anymore. She ordered some fruity tea instead. Never had I seen her drink tea before.

We sat down in a booth, and I stared at this stranger before me. It was a surreal moment. She reminded me of my lost childhood, frozen in some distant memory. She was not a person I knew; in fact, she carried no resemblance to the woman who once possessed all of me. How could this be, I thought to myself. I had nothing to say to her. I longed to get back what we once had, for a moment to be with the old her again. The one who always wore nail polish and had blisters on her feet. She looked at me, with a strange unrecognition, and then we parted ways. You really don't know me, I thought. Not anymore.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


He sits on the couch, reading a book intently. This time, it must be some kind of a science fiction. I've never heard of the title, but the spaceship flying around Mars on the cover tells me all I need to know. I wish he knew. 

Yesterday we had a really nice evening. I mean, it wasn't particularly nice, but nothing bad happened either. We ordered a pizza, and sat on the floor eating it, with a bottle of wine. He never likes to eat at the kitchen table. He told me some story about a co-worker of his, and for a moment I felt like this was a normal relationship. That all changed in the morning.

He sits on the couch now, reading a book, ignoring me as he usually does. No matter the book, it's always more interesting than me. Than why doesn't he just leave me? I actually got up the nerve to ask him that a few days ago. His answer - because he loves me. He thinks he knows, but he has no idea what love is. 

Love, I told him, is something else. Love is a flower, a cup of coffee, a conversation. Love is fun and scary, bold and dark. Love is a kiss, a smile, a child. What does he know about love? He turned away, and continued reading his book. He didn't say another word to me for the rest of the day, but I could tell he wasn't thinking about what I had said either. He was just in his own world. He... 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tough Choice

I was recently faced with probably the toughest decision of my life: whether to trust a stranger (a "babysitter", she called herself) with my 9-month-old child. While in the end I did, that is not the focus of what I want to say. This seemingly normal and standard procedure led me to an extremely important realization about life: there comes a point when you must simply trust. This game will not work without it. And in the end, it came down to simply that: trust. 

It's funny what the mind will do to you to help convince you of the 'legality', if you will, of your choice. My husband, being the MAN that he is, spent half the day coming up with ways to physically prevent the babysitter from being able to harm our child or steal from our home. I, on the other hand, went over in my head time and again every piece of information she had ever given me in my one previous conversation with her. Piecing the information together, detective-style, I came to the conclusion that she couldn't possibly be a professional criminal and probably was who she claimed to be: a "babysitter". In the end, we both left the house with our most-priced possession vulnerably at home because we trusted this girl. 

In this process, a question arose in my mind: is it possible to live this life without really trusting anyone? My conclusion: probably yes. But here's another question: what kind of life would that be? And is that a life worth living? Of course, I don't even want to think of possible consequences (and my fingers won't bent to write them) if our judgement had been wrong, but can I really imagine a life without trust? At some point, you must rely on your gut-feeling and do what feels right, even if your mind can't explain it or defend it. It's risky, sometimes too-risky, but necessary to live. Or is it?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Little House (Experimental)

Across the street from me, there is a little house. And in that little house, lives a quiet little family. Not a big family, just a little one; mom, dad, and a little daughter. And the little daughter, she has many little toys. She plays quietly in the yard with her little toys and I watch her from my window. 

She has a collection of little dolls. And she arranges her little dolls everyday in the same order. Each day, she hands each one of them a little piece of paper with a little crayon and she instructs them to do something. She wags her little finger in a stern manner; she pretends to be their little mother. 

In the little yard where the little girl plays grow pretty little flowers. There are all kinds of flowers - roses, tulips, daffodils, and even little sunflowers. And the little girl, she loves the little flowers. She waters them from a little tin can and she talks to them in her quiet stern voice. And she brings each little doll to all the little flowers to smell them.

While the little girl plays in the yard with her little toys, the mother sits in a little chair, knitting little socks. She knits many little socks, and each one is of a different color. There is a red one, and a blue, a green, a yellow, black and even a purple one. Sometimes the mother lets the little girl play with the little socks, and the little girl puts the little colorful socks on her little dolls.

One time, as I was watching the little house next door out of my window, the father arrived home from work. He came over to the little girl and he lifted her in his arms. He gave the mother a little kiss on the cheek, and they went inside their little house. At that moment, more than anything, I wanted to live in a little house, with a little girl, who plays with little toys in her little yard, whose mother knits little socks. Isn't that what living is all about?