Fading

It was still cold.

Grey clouds hanging over a mouldy lawn and bare trees. Those big trees. They were tall, she found herself thinking while looking up to one of them. Her nose started watering. She could feel her two hands icing up, a bottled water and a can of coke from the vending machines. She would have waited inside. It was still cold.

Her friend had a dark skin, one of those soft skin that would have always smelled good. But how could she know? She knew he was good with the camera though. She liked the work of him she saw on the internet. Yet, he shot with a vintage camera, with film: she was impatient to touch her image on the flappy polished paper.

She placed the two beverages on the table. The toilette was cold, too. She dared to get close to the mirror. She did not do so that often; let’s say almost never. But that day she felt pretty; beautiful. The make up she had put on was not much, but expensive. Her eyelashes were so long.

It was not the first time she posed for that guy. He must have found some details in her that she could not appreciate, she thought when being asked for some photos for the third time. So now, on that day, she thought she was beautiful. And also that new yellow jumper looked good on her, even if yellow did not usually suit her complexion. Her legs did not look too skinny. That was a good day, despite the cold weather.

But they would have had to stay outside for some good 30 minutes: he usually wanted to finish two rolls of film. She would have had to cover her hands then: they got funny red spots when too cold.

The soap from the dispenser did not smell anything pleasant. The paper must have been recycled; she appreciated the idea of it but it scratched her nostrils when cleaning them. On her way out, a blonde young girl entered the bathroom, almost hitting her; they smiled at each other sympathetically. But when back in the hall and sat down next to the table, noticed the amount of sugars in the can she just opened, removed some fluffs from her coat, then she wished that hour she had to wait would have passed quickly, before noticing, becoming aware, of anything else that could have faded.

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Back in time

I went to the beach today. It was mild. I thought about taking off my jacket, but then I didn’t. It would have been too cold otherwise. Off season, the sky was dull enough to make the beach look appropriately empty. Some occasional, timid sunshine to make my face squint. I set my headphones to some music that sounds inappropriate anywhere else. I walked slowly. I had to, I’ve just undergone an operation. Some odd footprints on the foreshore. Could it be my native inhabitant of the desert island? My Monday? That’s the day today. But they are feet with a stick. Possibly wood. Possibly an old man. Funny how quickly this image took shape in my mind. An abandoned boat laying enthroned on the sand. Must have been at least 40 years old. I wish I could go back in time today. Or forward. As to tell my future children to not trust anyone. To not follow any advice. Not even, not especially, mine.

 

https://youtu.be/ZFPVF9J9Wmo

Promises

“I promise, I’ll be good”
I wrote it with colorful crayons, the more colorful the more reliable, on a letter to be sent without stamp.
“I’ll be good, I swear”
And it was a box wrapped by polypropylene silhouettes of Santa telling me I had been so.
Even if I stole the bracelet of Barbara that afternoon…? I found myself wondering.
Yes. It was so easy.

Now there is no mail to deliver. Nobody would bother reading it.
“I swear I won’t do it again”
But it is in my mind only. A mantra repeated countless times.
5 am, I find a piece of paper and a pen almost used up.
“It won’t happen again” I carve it in between the lines.
If I write it down, it feels like I am not talking to myself only.

The tuna loaf

It was the only time we ate mayonnaise. That jar in the remotest corner of the fridge flanked by salty capers, the creamy texture yellowed and hardened around the brim. Finally, it seemed to exhale when my mother took it out.
My nose right up over the table, peering over the wood surface, because there was no odor anticipating it, only the bzzz of the kitchen robot that had called me from my bedroom. Because its smell was so muffled, like it was the beige of its color, like it was the white cloth, boiled, which covered it, hiding it until a vapor cloud, like a breath of relief, came out from the corners that the fingers of my mother gently unfolded.
“Are you making the tuna loaf?” I then asked her almost in one breath.
And she nodded without too much enthusiasm, her dry hair fixed on the scalp, her eyes didn’t meet me, I was not sure if they even looked at the metal blades blending the mixture.
And I started running through the corridors, brimful of joy, because in the end, what more exciting can a seven-year-old girl expect from a Sunday afternoon?
We sat around the table at nine, nine and a half, always too late, we had already allowed those stupid evening entertainment programs to flood us with commonplaces.
“Don’t you eat?” To my mother, the red fire of the cigarette drag was the only signal proving me she was in the balcony wrapped in darkness.
“Mom eats after” she murmured.
My rounded knife plucked the mayonnaise’s thick surface to pick up a generous portion, flickering during the delicate journey to my plate, then I dropped it with a plop on the tuna loaf slice, without worrying about spreading it. The fork sectioned the thick surface of the slice into bows-shaped pieces, forking them as to not dropping the pale yellow dressing for any reason. Then I made each one plane into my mouth, the tuna loaf was still warm and it blended together with the greasy mayonnaise, almost no chewing was needed, they descended perfectly jointed to the bottom of my throat. Pure ten minutes of ecstasy, the speed at which I ended up my plate.
Then one day my mother lent the kitchen robot to my grandmother. She never brought it back.
“I’m sorry, but that blade did not turn very well already when you gave it to me…”
And there were the bills and the car’s battery that were more expensive and the tuna loaf was never made again.
“Cause mum need the big machine to prepare it”
I asked her so many times, I did not want to give up. But no, without the kitchen robot was really impossible.
And the mayonnaise expired, and we threw it away. Mom and dad divorced. And I took my degree and left home and country.
In Belgium they put mayonnaise everywhere.

We eat with auntie and Marty tomorrow when you arrive
Last seen at 17:45.
At 18:39:
Can you prepare the tuna loaf?
Seen without reply.

Rome is warm, tremendously hot, I am steamed in the long jeans and gray sweatshirt, this morning in Brussels there were seventeen degrees. But my mother is beautiful, her shiny hair picked up with an elegant slide, her eyes skirted by a graceful green emerald.
I place my luggage in the boot.
“What are your programs for the afternoon?” She asks.
“Studying, actually. Yours?”
“I have to cook for tonight”
“What do you make in the end?”
“The tuna loaf, as you asked me”
And at dinner, my mother turns to me, shaking slightly the piece of loaf, “That’s really tasty. I do not have the kitchen robot but I used the mixer instead, and it came good the same, didn’t it? ”
But I can just nod only, my mouth is too busy in chewing the loaf and the mayonnaise that finally had met again.

Number 18

She just had a shower after a long walk. Scrubbing off the nuisances of the day, flushing them with Tea Tree body wash. She opened that door, to look for a bottle of grapefruit juice. There was none. But there was a mirror. A long mirror. Warm light disclosed the sharp right half of her face. She paused, stared. She sat on the floor, reaching her reflection with the tip of the index. She entertained herself in conversations that would never have took place.
Dating herself; a discovery; a necessary soliloquy.

Number 17

She was tossing in her suitcase, a scraggy linen sack, as she could feel the inside stitching from the exterior, the outside, where a left side pocket was, she knew its existence barely, as the encounter of an object in it caught her by surprise. A cold, metallic, polished surface, from what her touch could tell her.
No recent memory on it; but then, her mind unreservedly galloped to a guess, unusual, though not for her, in that moment, of a weapon, a gun, it could have been.
She hesitated, not pulling her hand back, fascinated by the danger, hence keeping on brushing that surface, as a circus tamer would do with a wild beast, when the two walk face to face in circle, studying each other. Domestication, even if her eyes were instead lost on a trivial corner of the floor, as a form to maintain that arm quite, or, to make it approve her using it. What for, someone might have asked her, her mind was already elaborating an answer considering the empty room around her, free from dangers as it was the, even if busier, street outside. Then, the epiphany on where to find the potential victim crept up her spine, of her body, which had never felt so alive.
As a dream she had to wake up from, she inhaled air, started breathing regularly again, now she remembered placing a big lock for a previous trip in that pocket, about three months before, thus she closed the zip quickly, nervously, troubled.

Number 16 – Why do girls take so long in the bathroom

Cracking white neon bulbs.
Mirrors, others – they have tissues and mascaras in their bags. Mirrors, self – unwanted staring eyes no mascara on them. Pale ceramic – colors of a day of January. Bustle outside the female logo on the door – roaring city, an apiary.
My turn, dull hive breathe in, suck it in. Fingers looking for zips, bottoms, locks. Fingers caressing textures. Fingers encircling the brims of sexy, silly underwear.
Better caressing textures, denim, leather real leather, my skin. Better touching it only, imagining it. At its sight, it starts. Worrying on the curves of my backside. On the angles of my knees. On the propensity of my belly to create ring-shaped reminders of the chocolate I  didn’t deprive myself enough, on the amount of hair on my epidermis, my skin, a layer that can’t be taken off as those cheap trousers, I wish it could, retract, disappear, when facing the cold air, ceramic, my sight –  oh, it was easier with the latest piece of fashion on.
Breathe in, suck it in – long time before the urine meets the toilet. Too absorbed in thoughts, that self confident guy was disgusted by my flabby forearm no doubts, that blonde girl was noticing with satisfaction my curvy hips for sure. Bustle outside – there they are, talking about me. Shut my eyes, at least one of my senses can shut the world out. Breathe in, suck it in.
Under this cracking mirrors dull ceramic, my body, naked, the worries over it, amplify, double, sextuplicate, there’s not enough space in this room, now I need to rush, get out from here.
Sorry,
I didn’t realize I was taking this long.