Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Melancholist I (2014)

I am soon going to stop functioning in this world. At least functioning in the way one is expected to function. I can feel the madness approaching, some days are so filled with it that I can hardly speak to anyone. I have become a construct of thoughts and ideas, fantasies and creations that are beyond any realm of reality. I fear because I do not know how I am to live life like this. Where will I get food, where will I find shelter? But I have tried and I have given up, to stop it from being the centre of my life. Sweet melancholia.
I have spent countless, sleepless nights because my brain would not be still. So what am I to do but to give up and accept it? As if I had been given a choice – you make me laugh. If in the past I had been given a choice I would have chosen a different path but now I have embraced it to be me, to be mine. 

What I am to do with it I dare not to ask. I shall spend entire days in bed because I do not see the point of stepping out of my house. Other days I shall spend reading novels and poetry. Other days I shall spend noting down every thought I have. Other days I shall write poems and short stories. Other days I shall discover the beauty of numbers. It is all I can do and it is all I am meant to be. 

Would you ask a sportsman to cook you a meal? Would you ask a dancer to teach history to the young? Then why do you ask me to do what I cannot? I know nothing of offices and business and trade. Give me a thought and I shall debate it, give me a word and I shall create from it, give me a sheet of paper and I shall write. Don’t ask me to let go of it in favour of something that would make my life not worth living. Have I not embraced this sadness for a reason? If it loses its meaning, why live at all?
No, no, I shall build upon what I have been given. In many directions I will aim and you will sit and wonder and shake your head. You won’t understand which is why you are there – and I am here, spending days in depression but loving it because it is all that I’ve got. And I will love the world and my life and my being, how it is all drawn by melancholy, and I shall spend my life thinking and slowly sinking, deep into sweet, sweet melancholy. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Final Nostalgia (2014)

She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. The window was wide open and a cool breeze played with the long, white curtains while the morning sun had turned the entire room golden, as if it had been dipped in honey.

She could hear him breath next to her. She timidly peered over to him. He looked peaceful, innocent. His skin glistened and his lips were perfectly drawn. His nose was straight, his eyebrows dark. She did not remember the colour of his eyes – brown, I think. His hair was tousled and perfectly framed his face. 

She slowly turned to her side and watched his chest rise, then sink with every breath. 

‘Who are you?’, she whispered. 

She slowly moved out of bed and slipped into a pair of white slippers that had been waiting for her small, soft feet. She glanced at herself in the large mirror across the room. She was wearing a white, transparent nightgown. Her long, brown hair covered her breasts. 

She felt a feeling of warmth run through her heart, followed by a smile, another look at him. 

She stepped out on the balcony and glanced across the many roofs of the city. She took a deep breath. The air was sweet, filled with the scent of flowers and the scent of lovers making love. 

Love, yes, this was love. 

She looked at him through the window. He smiled in his sleep. How beautiful he was. She almost began to sing, then to dance. Then she laughed, loudly and full-heartedly. 

She went back inside and walked around the bed. She looked at him from every side, each angle. She went closer and placed her finger on his forehead. Then she slowly moved it down his nose, over his lips, down his chin and neck, to his chest. With her petite hands she lifted the pastel-blue blanket and carefully pulled it from his body to expose his stomach, his hips, his legs, and his feet to the light of the sun. Then she continued to move her finger down his body until she reached the toes on his right foot. He moved slightly. She giggled and blushed.

He started to move more. He was going to wake up. She felt nervous, anxious, joyful and overwhelmed. 

‘I love you’, she whispered. 

She sat down on the window sill and observed his every move with a childlike curiosity and naive excitement. 

He sat up in bed and looked at her. He smiled; she turned red and sheepishly looked out of the window at the empty street. A man on a bicycle was passing by with flowers under his arm. 

He got up and walked over. She could feel his breath on her neck and shoulder. His hand slowly moved down her arm, then his hand embraced hers. They stood for a while and watched the street come to life. Then they looked at each other and smiled. Both of them shy, happy and cut off from the world, within these four walls that she had created. Beyond which there was nothing.

‘Only you and me’, he said.

They danced and with every step their hearts seemed to turn younger and their passion burn brighter. 

‘We have lost her.’

They danced. They danced forever and smiled at each other. Everything was bright and gold and everything was good.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Two People (2013)

Person I
I am not the kind of person to ask for something. If I want it, I will take it. That’s how I got where I am today. I am respected. Well respected. Women despise me, but men look up to me. They are like dogs to me. Dogs that run after any bone you throw them. I have worked hard to get here. When I started, all women tried to destroy me. All of them. But women don’t have a say when the men take decisions. And they take the decision that I whisper into their ears at night. Every night. Different decisions, different men. From soldiers to politicians – I go after the one that serves my interest best. Remember the speech the judge gave in court last week? I wrote it. 

Person II
They call me ‘boy-toy’. At 14 I ran away from home and ended up at a bar. A man walked up to me and offered me 50 Francs. I didn’t have anything, no money, no place to stay, so I went home with him. Once you cross that line, you will cross it again. I have done so many times now. To be honest, my fame has grown and I make quite a good living. Of course I look at other young people at my age, 18-year old young men who have their whole life ahead of them. They sit next to me in the bars, laughing and talking about girls. They make plans to travel and to become the most successful entrepreneurs of France. I have nothing to look forward to. My life ended the day I kneeled down and opened my mouth.  

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

About Me, or about Szentendre (2013)

"What was this? Why did he write it down? What does it mean when a man picks up a pen and writes something? When something simply comes to him and it appears there, complete, in his writing? (...) And if you write something down, is it then lost, does it have nothing to do with you anymore, is there only a memory, an ache, left behind (...)."
~ Sandor Marai, The Rebels
I had found the café in a hidden corner on a previous trip to the town. Its small menu had attracted me straightaway and the little terrace with its wooden furniture and flowerpots tricked the mind into thinking that this was Italy or Southern France. This town had been taken over by artists one day in the past. Their energy had collected between the walls, every pebble stone overflowing with inspiration. That’s why I had come here to write on this sunny morning. The city had nothing left to inspire me – just tourists who moved collectively in groups from one corner of a building to another. I avoided stepping on my balcony during the day just to see them look up, wondering who it was that was living in these beautiful buildings drawn by history.
No, was I to stay here, in this country, I’d move to this town. I would sit in this café every day. How perfect life would be.
A woman passes by with 25 yellow roses. She smiles, her face filled with a bright light. I didn’t count the roses but I assume they are 25. Frank Sinatra is playing in the background.
The entire menu is vegetarian. I am delighted. I choose a salad with locally produced goat cheese and plums. It is perfect but I add salt. A lot of salt. Something very German to do, to add salt to everything. A reminder of my roots from which all these branches have grown.
I feel my skin burning in the midday sun and put some sun screen. ‘Instant Protection’ it says on the bottle. I remember that when I was small it had to be applied at least 30 minutes before going into the sun for full protection. Now it is instant.
I order a cake – though I am allergic to gluten – and an espresso which comes in a beautiful, old, ceramic cup with a delicate handle and golden ornaments. Just looking at it fills me with joy and I carefully pick it up to take a sip. I want to take the café with me, the feeling I get when I sit here.
I don’t want to return to my apartment which I’ve decided to soon leave behind already. A new chapter of my life is about to begin and I need to shed. The apartment is the past already.
Time that I had recently been wasting away has meaning again in this new chapter. I give it meaning. What would time be without me anyway; if I am not there to witness it, to pass it, to embrace it, to waste it or indulge in it? For all I know time might stand still when I’m asleep.
A butterfly passes by, maybe the 9th I have seen today. I haven’t seen any in the city. Who would stay in the city if you can fly? I glimpse behind me to remind myself that I have wings. How quickly I forget at times, them being so delicate and invisible. For a few moments I lay down my pen to drift away in a flow of melancholy.
I see clouds moving in and wonder whether I’ll have to postpone my walk back to the city to another day. A long walk it will be – but what is walking other than meditation? Anything to lengthen the journey back to the city. Maybe I was going to walk in the rain, if it rains at all.
Maybe I should open a café like this one, simply for the selfish reason of sitting in it every day. What other reason would one have to open a café? I won’t open one though. It is not my path. I know this much. No need to know what you want to or will do if at least you are clear on what you don’t want to do.
More clouds. In between sun. Slow Jazz in the background. Maybe it’s Blues. Yes, Blues, not Jazz. Then an old Italian song.
As a writer you live in your head, 10 thoughts at a time. Every thought a story of its own. I have difficulty remembering things accurately; sometimes I mix up memories with surreal creations of my imagination. Right now I remember him dancing slowly with me to old, Italian love songs. I fall in love all over whether it is a memory or made-up by my mind. I got drunk here with a friend once, in this café. I miss her at times. Just like anything can be missed for the sake of deprivation of the now.
I can feel this country bidding farewell by showering me with all its beauty – a sweet pain that feeds the soul with light for any darkness to come.
The waitress goes around and waters the flowers, and pours some water on my feet to fight the heat. We all laugh. We – strangers who happen to be here at this very moment, united by laughter. Maybe it is coincidence. But I choose not to believe in coincidences. I am not sure what effect this belief has on my life, if any at all, compared to someone who denies the existence of destiny. Maybe deny is too strong a word, let’s say someone who questions destiny to the core of its existence. Far more poetic.
It is the first time I’m not wearing nail polish on my toenails – an unusual sight to me. I look at my feet and feel like I am taken back to when I was 16. Am I? No, I’m 24. It’s been eight years. Time passes quickly when you live, when you are awake. I had been tired of life once, maybe twice – not now.
I am not the patient kind but he is, so I have no choice but to divert my mind and seek pleasure in the process of waiting. I smile, back to the now, to the café, to the question whether I should attempt to walk back. I’m wearing flip-flops. I assume it would take me 2 hours. I might get a heat-stroke. If I do walk, I will have to buy water. It might start raining and I will have to stand underneath a roof for a while. Or there might be a thunderstorm and I will be hit by lightning. I will walk – at least for now, that I am still sitting.  
Maybe the people I had laughed with a few minutes ago will read this story and recognize themselves, just like the man at the other table who stirred his lemonade until all the ice had melted. That wouldn’t be coincidence, right? But maybe they won’t read it. That wouldn’t be coincidence either. Either way, destiny – wether they read it or not.
Before leaving the café I ask the people next to me how long it will take to walk to Budapest. 20km – don’t even try with those shoes. I won’t. Instead I stroll around the town, up and down small alleys – a beautiful stillness everywhere. Time might as well be standing still, I wouldn’t know. I pass by souvenir shops and fall in love with a handmade, crocheted parasol and a dark-blue dress with traditional Hungarian patterns – next time. Today I’ll just walk.
A museum. Another one. Maybe dozens of them. I visit a gallery and the young woman explains to me that there are 200 artists living in the town right now and every summer artists from India come to stay at an art colony close-by. ‘I live in India’. She doesn’t quite understand. It doesn’t matter. I had said it for my own sake, a thought spoken out loudly. There are no coincidences.
I make plans to rent a room here one summer to write. I will.
I walk on. Next time I should take a boat back. Not today. I walk by a museum and remember Indian music playing there many months ago when I passed by.
It is past 3pm now. Let’s just walk a little more.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Letter (2013)

Dear You,
I have never written a letter to you. This is the first time. All those mails and SMS, phone calls and chats. I like when we Skype. I love to see you and hear your voice when you are so far away. It is the closest to you I can get these days. I am writing you a letter because I want you to have something to hold on to when things are not going too well. Like now.
But this letter is not to complain or argue, to tell you that things should be different. I am writing this letter to tell you a story. I call this story ‘Love Drunk’. It is about a man who – while others finish one pint after the other – he gets drunk on love. For him, love is the only thing that makes his life worth living. It is the only thing that makes him want to get up in the morning. When people offer him a glass of beer, he politely declines it with a smile saying ‘No need my dear, I have love’.
Interestingly, no one has ever seen him with a woman. Everyone at the pub banters with him and many times he has heard people say ‘Oh come on Charlie, just admit that she doesn’t exist’. He responds with a smile and doesn’t say a word. He knows, that’s all that matters.
One day he didn’t show up at the pub. His friends got worried and decided to pass by his house to check on him. He was in his garden, weeding. ‘Charlie, why didn’t you show up at the pub today?’ ‘She is coming home tomorrow!’ His friends got excited. Who was she? What would she look like? And where had she been?
The next day they all showed up at Charlie’s, with flowers and chocolates. A small woman was sitting on a bench in front of the house, next to Charlie. Holding hands and saying nothing. Upon seeing his friends Charlie got up: ‘How nice of you to come here. Meet Natalia. We met two years ago on a holiday in Georgia. We saved up money for two years and now she is finally here.’
His friends got excited: ‘You should have told us, we would have put some money together’ – ‘We would have helped you’ – ‘Is that why you never had a drink with us?’
‘Don’t worry about it. We are love drunk. Time means nothing to us.’
I love you.