Victor’s mother sighed, sipping her coffee.
“I think I would’ve been a lot like you, had I been born in different times. I envy the freedom you, young women, have these days. Back then, I was among the lucky few, I was allowed an education, my family was supportive of it, and I was also blessed with a kind, intelligent and hardworking husband. And now it’s too late to change; besides, I like the way it turned out for me. In a way some things were better, more straightforward then – women were women and men were men, they each had their roles and everybody knew where they stood. You have it so great and so rough these days… you basically need to be perfect from so many points of view, you need to cover so many areas in order to be accomplished women. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 99”
Meaningless, harmless flirting was a long forgotten pleasure for Amalia, she had become so used to being aggressive with the men she wanted; and the men she wanted were normally guys who went straight for what they desired. The game, the chase were greatly appreciated stages in her flirting scheme and even in relationships, but nobody pretended to be innocent, nor was there ever a word uttered without a double meaning. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 98”
Amalia was not a believer in love at first sight; however, lust at first sight was a completely different matter, she quickly remembered. And the young man sitting next to her friend’s old lover clearly shared her conviction from the very first moment they lay eyes on each other. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 97”
In her own way, Amalia was aware of the role she was playing, of how much she was altering his perceptions and convictions about life and women; such a project was a relaxing distraction not only from the serious routine of her existence, but also from the man she was trying to forget. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 96”
“The fact that you cannot get everything from one person alone. If and when you think you might, it’s no more than an ephemeral mirage that leaves you empty, disappointed and disoriented as soon as it disappears. And how exactly does one manage to constantly find something more intense than the previous experience? The next thrill always needs to be somewhat more intense, somehow different and better than the one before it, otherwise the frustration is what increases and not the relief, the forgetfulness… But you don’t need any of that, do you? You find solace in simple things and even if I normally despise that, I guess I’m a bit jealous too – everything is so much simpler, your sort of happiness is so much easier to reach, isn’t it?” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 95”
“Sad? How is it sad when that’s the only promise of improvement? It’s not sad to stand as proud and unflinching when you’re raw and exposed as you do when you’re on the peak of glamour, gathering shallow praises from those around, from all of those who can only perceive obvious or staged beauty. There, look at that tree, the little one between the two dark ones, it’s already on the right track, with its daring pink flower buds starting to bloom before the leaves have any chance to show up.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 94”
The cold wind freezing her face and messing up her hair kept her alert, it was a different sort of awakening. She could see and find joy in all the little things around her for a moment, without any sadness or regrets from her real life and her real self creeping into this still world of simplicity and happiness. The early spring day was sunny and calm, their boat, together with a few others scattered on the surface of the river were the only one disrupting the quiet afternoon, scaring away a few of the birds that remained there over the winter or had already managed to find their way back as soon as the snow disappeared.
“Look at it, it’s all so real, no need to cover up the branches in all sorts of bright shades and colourful noises, it’s all naked and true, not ashamed, not needing to hide its bareness.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 93”
Half an hour later, approaching their final destination, Amalia started to feel excited about the day’s outing. The early spring and the cold sun were irresistible, that time of year and that kind of weather always had a cheerful impact on her. That was when all the bad things seemed less threatening, all issues seemed to have a solution, and a positive outcome for all endeavours became a sure thing for a few moments.
Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 92”
They were both laughing, enjoying each other’s banter and the closeness into which they sank deeper and deeper, while Amalia was amusing herself, composing a sensual message for a woman with whom the man next to her occasionally had sex. Such behaviour was what described the two of them together. Having met while he was on a date, he had first asked her out while she was on a date. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 91”
It was the beginning of a pattern, dance steps the two of them would keep executing gracefully and carefully from then on, for as long as they would have any sort of connection. Their minds and souls, but most importantly, their personalities were similar in so many ways, that they instantly went from no connection whatsoever to a deep, cleansing type of confidence, endless nights spent together in her kitchen, sipping brandy or wine, him smoking relentlessly, her not minding the habit that she found so disgusting when embraced by other people. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 90”
“See… I told you this would be worth it… My sweet…”
Amalia covered his mouth with her lips again, smothering words she refused to hear, feelings that she had deemed as fake even before they had a chance to be uttered or perceived, an aberration of nature and logic in her mind. We’re all about sex, why do you need this make-believe? Why act as though you need to trick me into something I obviously want to do willingly? Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 89”
One dull November evening, Amalia kissed him. Without any warning, without having planned it, without even knowing for sure what she wanted, one evening she stopped thinking, she just reacted. He was bringing her home after a night out with friends, he had stopped in front of her building, but she didn’t get out of the car, waiting for him to finish his sentence. The moment his voice died out, Amalia turned her head towards him, she was thinking of telling him goodnight, but then she saw him, the way he was looking her right in the eyes, half smiling, polite, but clearly ardent, uninhibited, unafraid. That’s when she realised the only thing she could do was place her right hand on the back of his neck and just kiss him, while his arm was already pulling her close to him. She had no idea about it, but she was half smiling too; as she was getting out of the car, a glimpse of her face in the side mirror reflected an expression very similar to his. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 88”
November was different. November was difficult. November was lonely. And November was Adam. From the very beginning, the twice divorced, arrogant, intriguing and highly annoying man triggered a very instinctive defence mechanism, possibly without either one of them being aware of it. He was wrong for her, that was her initial instinct, one she didn’t doubt. Then, as she got to know him better, she realised they were actually wrong for each other;
Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 87”
A car drove past them, heading the other way, the driver’s side close enough to her so she could see the driver quite well. Just a man in the car, the driver by himself, and Amalia’s heart was racing, although she stopped breathing for a few seconds, almost unaware that she was looking back, her head turned for several moments, until the dark car disappeared in the pink morning light.
“Did you have a nice weekend? Relaxing? Fun?”
“I did, yes… all of the above. How about you?”
“Oh… so did I… Can’t complain, I kept busy.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 86”
“You get used to one woman, you get used to not even thinking or wanting others and all of the sudden you realize that was something you didn’t really choose to do, you just followed the steps you had been told time and time again that you need to take, because that’s what life is. You find a woman, a good woman, you love her if possible, she definitely loves you, you get married, have children, you provide for them while she takes care of them and there you have it: life.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives Sample Fragment 85”
The brisk air and the slight noise the motion of the waves propagated in the winter night impressed their awakening effect on the senses, making urges grow stronger, feelings and thoughts becoming almost palpable in the shallow obscurity of the seashore. Possibilities and desires are the only relevant matters at such a time, especially if one manages to overcome doubts and anxiety. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 84”
It’s not every day that a flower delivery guy almost throws a bouquet of roses at you, I thought to myself the day before yesterday. He had harassed me all day, calling like a maniac in order to find out when exactly I’d be home, so he could bring me the flowers – a Valentine’s Day bouquet which for some inexplicable reason was being delivered a couple of days early. As soon as I closed the door in the face of the man who was still expecting a tip in spite of his rudeness and almost offensive words, I got to enjoy the beautiful roses – in spite of the commercial fuck up, they were still the symbol of a loving gesture from a person so dear to me. I have long ago made my peace with the holiday dreaded by many, but I can’t deny that the incident brought back bittersweet memories of Valentine’s Days past.
I was thirteen or so when I survived the first “celebration” of the sort.
Continue reading “Ghosts of Valentine’s Dates Past”
Such different people, such different concepts, Amalia stopped to ponder. On the one hand, you have a woman who is loved for who she is by her somewhat limited husband, but nobody expects her to have a mind, a life or an identity of her own outside the family; and she herself has no desire for such things. On the other hand, you have the wife of an intelligent, successful, worldly man, who has all the freedom she desires as long as she maintains the appearance of the proper marriage, simply because her husband couldn’t care less about her, as she is merely a commodity. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 82”
Mounds of snow on either side of the road were threatening to roll over the car and suffocate them in their walking sleep. We’re awake, but we’re sleepwalking, otherwise I would feel so much more… But the man carefully manipulating the vehicle on the frozen snow appeared to experience an entire array of emotions, anything but lethargy. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 81”
There still were hidden corners to Robert’s personality, his ability to pleasantly surprise a woman not being one of those traits easily noticeable about him. However rarely it might happen, certain men can create a much more special context simply because of the fact they present a certain value as human beings; timing moments when small gestures can make a split second seem pleasantly endless being one or their rare gifts. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 80”
Paul avoided looking her in the eyes, just staring at the rug in the middle of the room. All he could see of her were the bare feet, the bright red nail polish on her toe nails contrasting with her skin, making him completely unable to focus on anything else. Those bare feet made it all so private, so intimate, he had intruded upon a part of her life that he had no idea about; and all he wanted was to see more of it, to intrude even more, to see her running around her apartment in her bare feet and her freshly washed hair dripping on her shoulders, not the way he normally saw her, on her high heels, with a proper hairdo. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 77”
When Paul arrived only a couple of minutes later, Amalia had to wonder whether he hadn’t been in front of her building all along, even when he called her. She barely had time to put on a pair of old jeans and a pink sweater, her face still flushed from the hot bath, her damp hair hanging on her shoulders, emanating the sweet smell of conditioner. Her opening the door like that, looking so natural and her image unencumbered by makeup and carefully chosen outfits had a strong impact on Paul’s imagination and audacity. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 76”
Theirs was the kind of security that can only be reached when two persons have no deep feelings for one another, yet they still choose to be together, to share a common part of their lives and not to ask for more than the other one is willing to offer unconditionally. Neither one of them wanted to say it out loud, but they were both aware that things would most likely continue in a similar manner, unless Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 75”
“Last time I saw her, we went to a concert. It was winter, freezing cold, and the concert was outside. Guess what band was playing! I envy you, you’re still at that age, when you can bear the cold of a winter day in the mountains just to be close to a particular person, because that’s all you need to make your blood boil.”
“I am? Was I ever at that kind of an age?”
He wasn’t listening to her. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 74”
“My daughter saw me crying. For the first time. I don’t know if she was scared or just disoriented.”
Robert turned up the volume. The sound of old rock music, songs of his youth, songs of her early childhood, covered everything else, the noise of the street, the noise of her thoughts, the noise of his sadness.
“He died, did you hear about it?” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 73”
She relished having sex with him, it was always an escape, a brief pause from the world. For the first time, she could have sex with a man just for the sake of the satisfaction it would offer both of them, without any emotional drama, without any feelings, frustration or guilt. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 72”
Stories about their past and present experiences with other people had become a very significant part of the relationship: he desperately needed to share them with a woman who would have a different view than that of admiration coming from his male friends. But he also found a perverted kind of delight in hearing about her own adventures, comparing himself with others on various levels, often not knowing whether he’d come out a winner or on a detrimental second place. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 68”
New sensations become obsolete, jaded experiences with a phenomenal speed when the people involved are endowed with intelligence, culture and freedom, and are deprived of most judgemental features inflicted by narrow-mindedness. Flames and thrills need to be constantly maintained and fed. But nature does provide the possibility of balance, Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 67”
She could see the fast burning flame about to disintegrate and take both of them down; and she wasn’t naive enough in order not to separate shallow infatuation and sexual ecstasy from real feelings. Robert was allowing himself to be carried away by this new, odd and exciting woman in his life, but Amalia knew better than to leave to chance even the most remote possibility for real feelings to spark. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 66”
The woman in the mirror wasn’t the one she remembered. No matter how hard she struggled, she would never see that reflection again. Time had a perverted way of leaving scars on her body in spite of all her best efforts. Turning slowly, analysing every particle projected in the horridly honest mirror, she felt her spirits lifted by the image of a still beautiful, mature woman. Her thighs were almost cellulite free… and her stomach, almost flat again… her behind was no longer as firm, but the right pair of jeans made it look just as luscious… her breasts had definitely seen better days, but she would do something about that as soon as possible. It was a game of make-believe these days, she thought to herself. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – …Or For Worse (Fragment)”