Saturday, August 22, 2009
"Take me! Take me now!"
"Ok..." He tries to hide the tremble in his voice. "Um...where? I mean, do you mean....you know?..."
She giggles. "You're so funny." And then, in his ear, a whisper, "Now's your chance".
She's drunk, and he knows it. But still, he's never gotten such an offer before. She's pretty. He doesn't know where to go. He reaches for her hand, pulls away, and reaches for it again, this time with more resolution. "Follow me".
She walks behind him, smiling. He leads her out of the building. The cold air feels nice as they step out into the night. He looks back at her, afraid she's changed her mind. She wears a blank stare, not letting go of his hand. He knows this is a bad idea. He still has no clue where to go. "This way," he says with conviction.
They walk in silence for five minutes. He hears a noise from behind. He turns. She has the same look on her face, but tears are running down her cheeks. He turns back. They continue walking. She doesn't say a word. Another three minutes pass, before she finally pulls her hand away. "I can't walk anymore. Can't you take me someplace closer?" He wills himself to think.
He makes a sharp turn into the park. He's never been here before, he doesn't know his way around. They walk. She speaks again. "Don't you want me?" He feels pressure. How will he expose of her?
"The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins
My grade: A-
As the name suggests, this book is about war; mostly, it is about the war in Iraq, and a little bit on the Afghanistan war as well. This is not a novel. Filkins is a reporter, who reported from Iraq for The New York Times. This book is compiled of short bits and stories of what Filkins encountered while abroad.
It is definitely difficult to keep all the facts in mind as reading this book. It goes back and forth constantly, and the overall structure of it - small disconnected stories - is not necessarily conducive to one grand idea. It does, nonetheless, paint an excellent picture of what was happening in Iraq when war arrived, the chaos that reigned, and the effects it had on people, politics and the general life. This book is at times terribly graphic and always difficult to read, due to the nature of the subject.
If you have read "The Kite Runner", don't be put off by the first chapter of this book, even when the stories are exactly the same. I'm not sure what the relationship of the two authors is, but the resemblance ends after the first chapter, when Filkins leaves Afghanistan and goes to Iraq. I recommend this book to everyone, but be prepared - this is definitely not a fast read.
Monday, August 17, 2009
To everyone's surprise, and perhaps even dismay, Francisca stayed the two weeks at her parents' home, waiting for them to return from their vacation. In the beginning, she was angry. How could her mother just pick up and go when Francisca was, well...dying? But after a few days, the anger faded and a kind of calm began to envelope her. Being at home helped. Despite everything, this house held many fond childhood memories for her and she couldn't help but smile as she sat in the old rocking chair, recollecting the days of yore. Francisca even began to think that maybe things wouldn't be so bad after all. Well, in a kind of way, at least. She was sure that she was going to die, but maybe she could do it here, with Linda watching over her, holding her hand. Just maybe.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when Linda and Donald finally came home. Francisca was laying on the couch, half reading a book, half napping. There was a snapping of the door, followed by a large thud. Francisca thought maybe she was dreaming, but then she heard the unmistakable voice of her mother, both commanding and inquisitive. Donald was the first to enter the living room.
"Frannie! What a wonderful surprise! Come here, sweetheart; give Daddy a kiss." Pain seemed to cross his face for a minute, as he watched Francisca slowly rise from the couch and cross the room, but it was only a fleeting thought. After murmuring something about his trip, followed by a series of excuses, he smiled at Francisca and left the room, the smile fading from his face. He must know something, Francisca thought to herself.
Seconds later, Linda entered the room and immediately took over. "Well, it's really nice to see you, dear. I hear you've been taking advantage of our home in our absence. I really hope you haven't ruined anything. Oh, don't lean on that armrest so, dear, it really is so fragile. MARIE! When was the last time you said you dusted?"
Despite the pain and the humiliation, Francisca knew she had to get through this somehow, she had to get through to her mother. "How was Paris, Mom?"
"Oh, charming; simply charming, as always. Paris is so lovely at this time of year, if it wasn't for the flocks of tourists. But one does need to get away now and again, oui?"
"Mom, there is something important I need to speak to you about. This is the reason..."
"Oh, really, Fran, you really know how to find the right timing every time. I'm jetlagged and the house is falling apart. Must this conversation really take place now? Why don't we talk about whatever this has to do with in the morning? You've been lounging around her for 2 weeks; I suppose one more night won't make much of a difference." She began to walk out of the room, already examining the hallways and the dozen problems that existed there, when Francisca shouted:
"I'm dying, Mother. I'm dying! I might not be here tomorrow!"
There was a long pause and stillness. "You've already told me, Fran. So who is it this time? Mark? Paul? Alfred?"
"No, Mom, it's a disease, it's not a man. I'm sick, Mom, and I'm dying. I'm in pain every single time that I breath, and I don't have very much time left. I have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. I'm dying, and I'm scared, and I'm alone! Please, Mom...help me..."
Linda stands in the doorway for a couple of minutes, without even turning to face her daughter, pretending not to hear the streams of tears running down her face, the sorrow and despair in her voice. She slowly gathers the resolve, and marches upstairs to the bathroom, not looking back for even a glimpse. As she closes the door, she feels herself melting into a knot of nothing on the floor, and she begins to sob uncontrollably. "My baby..." she whispers to herself, "my poor little baby...Why?"
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Write some poetry, you say.
I really wish it worked that way.
If there was only one heartbeat there
Between my desires and the reality lair,
I would be a millionaire.
I would have closets of clothes, and a house on the moon,
Eat chocolate in bed with a big golden spoon,
Walk around with a stick up my ass, and a feathered hat,
Make sure my servants wiped their feet on the mat.
I would cover the walls in thick purple ink,
And simply replace, rather than wash, that dirty sink.
I would ride in my luxury car around town.
And from up high, look at all the people down.
I would be branded as the very best
When being compared to all the rest.
All would look upon me with awe and respect.
It would become simply a matter of fact.
I would be a well-renowned writer,
Rather than some kind of a losing fighter.
The word "publishing" will no longer have power,
And life will be nothing more than a sweet-scented flower.
But this is far from reality, dear.
And I am not a writer, I fear.
To write a poem is not simple, not simple at all,
And I don't think I'm up to the challenge this Fall.
Look for another, perhaps a stronger nut,
Who will not allow himself to be cut.
I will go on then, I guess, if I must;
I'll admit, it is there, this lust.
Nevermind the cost.
Call me an impostor; I suppose you will.
I will continue, though, to get my thrill.
And die a painful death by the light of the moon.
It comes slow; I know not how soon.