What was she doing here in this hot weather? The day was hot and humid, yet going in and out of the subway would have been too expensive. Her chin hit the sidewalk. It happened almost without her realizing it. One minute she was up and the next down. Her whole body hurt but the chin got the worst of it. he hoped someone in the street full of people would offer to help her up. No one did. he struggled up again as best she could, picking up her purse. She shook her head and on she went. The day was too bright to think about heartlessness.
It is one. It is a nightmare, a real nightmare. I don’t like it. I never imagined it could happen. It has and I can’t get out of it. It is bad; it is surreal, something out of a bad dream or a joke gone wrong. It’s the face. The face I once had is not this one. My old face was lovely; I didn’t have to apologize to myself for having it. I was proud of how I looked, how I walked down the street. Now, today, the eyes have circles under them. My hair is straight and clean; sometimes I can’t comb it. My skin is not the skin I want. It has wrinkles. It doesn’t have animation. It’s just there—like me. I am just there.
The face leans against the glass window of a closed store. It is dark. Tears try their best to come out. The mouth opens in an attempt at a scream. No! Don’t look! I don’t want you to look. What have I become? I am a thing, less than a thing. I have just sat for hours on the sidewalk. People walked by. Almost none saw me. The air was like ice. The cheeks hurt. The legs were rigid. The legs were the legs of a robot.
The body was like a shut door. The body was starting to feel but it didn’t want to. It resisted life, it resisted passion. The body resisted you. The voice coming out of the mouth was small. The voice didn’t want to say it—not out loud, not for everyone to hear. Acknowledging you meant acknowledging love. That was forbidden; it just wasn’t done in our world. Hiding was allowed. Having a secret that no one must know about was allowed as well. The secret was not well-kept. The eyes could not hide what the soul felt.
Life without Dinner
Not today—definitely not today. Not last week, either. Not even a month ago. How many days, how many nights, without it? It once was called a square meal. A square meal seems like a dream, like it happened so long ago that it never happened at all. It’s bread and cheese. Bread and cheese with maybe a small yogurt. That is what passes for dinner these days.
It is a jail. It is a jail without bars. Bars colored grey, black or any other color. The woman wants out. She has made efforts to leave, to be done with it. She is still trapped. She hates the jail. She hates being there. A small opening could be an option in the near future. She doesn’t know how good that option might be. All she knows is that it is a possibility.
His fingers. He likes to snap them. It means he has power, that he is a macho guy. The fat man with the long pony tail stands in the kitchen. A cat walks by him. He doesn’t look at him. The fingers do their job. “Get out! Get out! Not in the kitchen! The cat escap
The name. It was his name. It was his name and his only. It belonged to no other man, living or dead. She had never been aware of it before she met him. Then she smiled in amazement and joy. It was an unusual name and it became like a drug. She would spell it over and over. She wanted to see it, to read it. There was nothing like it. It was like a foreign language that she had to learn.
The name. It was his name, his name only. It belonged to no other man living or dead. The young woman treasured it. She had never been aware of it before, not until after she met him. Then it was like a drug. She wrote it down on a piece of paper over and over again. She spelled it out. It was like learning a foreign language. She did not want to learn it, but her heart told her that she had to. There was no other way.
A long table, made of dark wood, possibly mahogany. Several people were seated around it. Everyone had cups of coffee in front of them, either cafe con leech or espresso. The women smiled and the men flirted with them. Someone came into the room. She was an elegantly dressed woman wearing a chic light brown business suit. On her head was a small black hat, the type that women used to choose when they are going to a cocktail party. Her left wrist was adorned with a shiny 18 carat gold and diamond/ruby bracelet. When they saw her, they all got up to greet her. She extended her hand to each and every one. The woman’s eyes shone. I am so glad to be here with you, she said. Being with my co-workers at this time of day is a treat. A man pulled out a chair for her. Here, Nadia. Please sit. She turned to look up at him. Thank you. You are so nice. Only for you, the man answered. I will remember these times long after they’re gone. She wiped a tear from her eyes. Enough. Let’s enjoy this. Waiter, more cafe con leche for all, please.
His voice was loud. His voice is always loud. The fat man shouted. The woman spoke softly at first. The fat man shouted again. The woman shouted back. Why? Why are you doing that? He asked her. Why do you give her food? I’ll give food to whoever I want to, the woman replied. The fat man’s voice sounded like an instrument in bad shape, one that hadn’t been fixed in a long time. One person nearby was listening to the fight. I want to. I want to go away. She didn’t mean any harm by giving me some spaghetti. She was being nice. Why can’t the fat man just shut up?