Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 105

It was her way of saying a final goodbye to the man who could no longer bear her independent attitude and her refusal to hide the fact that she was doing better than him. Amalia had been there for the beginning of each of his projects, yet she could never bring herself to see them through next to him, because the woman knew he was no longer able to succeed. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 105”

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Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 104

The spell had broken the moment the scent of his skin stopped having an intoxicating effect on her senses. They were not a perfect match anymore, either chemical or rational; and now material things started to matter, as she couldn’t stop thinking about his shoes, that embarrassing symbol of his constant failure. She wanted a man who could earn and keep her respect, one she would feel proud to have in her life, not the weak shadow of such an individual making her feel ashamed of him. She was neither ready, nor able to submit to Adam and give up all she thought she deserved, she was still too young, too stubborn and too strong for that; she was not yet able to give up any faint hope for the slight possibility of success, happiness, power or glamour in favour of certain dull shabbiness next to him
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Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 103

Robert’s words began to echo in her head – everything would be so much easier with a man next to you. But would it? Of course, so many of the current problems would find a solution, but how about the new ones? Why doesn’t anybody seem to consider the new problems such an attachment would generate? Living in a society that values the couple as foundation of a woman’s life imposes a variety of unpleasant side-effects even on the most determined independent women, one of them consisting in the occasional doubts and uncertainty regarding their lifestyle. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 103”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 102

It was a sign of weakness to complain about your problems, the fact that you weren’t doing well reflected poorly on you. That was the long, dreary shadow of failure and Amalia dreaded seeing Adam exactly because she feared he would see right through the paper-thin façade she had so cleverly crafted. But meeting him the previous day settled her competitive spirit – his façade was even more transparent than hers, disintegrating that hyperbolic mirage generated by imagination when you interrupt all connections with a person, when you refuse to inquire about them, but once in a while you still think of them as a landmark, a relevant moment of your existence. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 102”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 101

Amalia’s rage triggered tirade against Robert was a flood of mixed ideas and furious regrets about the one she had considered a friend, yet who showed no compassion when she needed it from him. He was taken aback both by his reaction to her initial sadness and by her violent response, although the moment the room became silent, he began to perceive the magnitude of what had just happened. For the first time ever, he raised his voice at her, a thing that was so common when dealing with his wife; never had he thought of reacting that way towards Amalia. And never before had she managed or even tried to reduce him to nothing in a matter of seconds. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 101”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 100

Victor was quiet that night; and when he was watching her reflection in the mirror while she was slowly removing her makeup and brushing her hair – the way he had done every evening after her arrival – he looked old. With the odd angle and the cruel light accentuating his dark circles, he appeared the image of a man in mourning. And after all, wasn’t he? Was he not facing the need of accepting that another piece of the mirage he had created in his mind had died that evening? Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 100”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 99

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 98

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 95

“What’s wrong?”

“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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 94

“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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 93

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 92

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 91

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 90

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 89

“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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 88

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 87

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 86

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”

Parallel Lives Sample Fragment 85

“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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 84

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”

Ghosts of Valentine’s Dates Past

1

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 82

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 80

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 77

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 76

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 75

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”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 74

“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”