A couple of nights ago, a 48 year old female character came to me on my night walk and demanded i write her story. I have two manuscripts I’m working on, both are about half-way (30,000 and 35,000 words), but when something completely new pops up in my mind, i cannot ignore it. So I’ve been writing since last night, and actually it’s turning out to be quite funny, and I’m having fun with it. Some experimental writing. For now, i have no idea where it’s going, but it seems like this character is a social outcast and dealing with the small details and the shit life throws at her. I’ll be periodically posting chapters on my website and sending them also to you via this mailing list as i progress with the work. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, comments, and any insights you might have.
Here is the first installment. I hope you enjoy reading it.
7 July 2018
I open my eyes. The room is flooded with white light. Must be late morning. I want to sleep more, but my bladder is on the verge of exploding. I walk to the bathroom barefooted and sit on the toilet. It seems as if I’m peeing a river. I don’t wash my hands after I flush my urine to converge with the rest of the neighbours’ shit and piss. Back in the bedroom, I take off my nightgown and stand naked on the shining, stainless-steel, brand-new digital scale I got myself last week. I couldn’t pass up on the sale. This morning, the shining stainless-steel, brand-new digital scale shows 104.7 kilograms. That’s 300 grams less than yesterday morning. My mood immediately shifts to elation and any doubts about my newly acquired, shining stainless-steel digital scale evaporates.
I open my closet. Suddenly, too many choices. So many beautiful dresses, all bought on a shopping spree in Hadar, mostly from big Russian or Moroccan older women. I didn’t try any of them on in the tiny stores. The ladies promised they’d fit. And they do. After all, they’re all a size tent. Made for big, sturdy women. I bought them all in floral patterns. Suhad would die all over again if she knew this has become my new wardrobe.
Oh Suhad, if only you knew. My mood shifts in a split second and I’m bowling my eyes out in the bed, naked, clutching a dress with pink, yellow, and blue flowers. My existence is such a waste of earth’s oxygen. It should have been me. I could have easily died instead of you; no great loss to humanity. But you! Whatever research you were involved in at the Maritime Center, on the brink of a new discovery about . . . well, about something . . . that has got to do with the sea, or some sea creatures. Whatever. Anyway, why did that fucker cancer have to choose you?
Ok, get yourself together now. I pull the flowery dress over my head, brush my tangled hair, and walk to the kitchen to get my dose of caffeine. I make the first of many mugs of instant coffee to get my bowels moving. It usually takes two big mugs. As I sip it, my eyes catch the ‘I love you’ magnet on the fridge. I grab it and toss it in the trash bin. I’ve been clearing the apartment of stuff that either reminds me of or that I got from him. He’s been gone eleven days now. And it’s not getting easier. In fact, it’s getting worse. Not the missing part, no. It’s anger at my own stupidity, my own blindness, that’s eating at me. ‘I can’t do this anymore. You’re big as a cow. How can you look in the mirror and not be disgusted at what you see?’ There went a two-year relationship down the drain.
I wasn’t always this big. Only two years ago, I was thin and fit. At the gym, the receptionist would always tell me that if she hadn’t seen my I.D card, she’d never believe I was 46. Yes, it was hard work maintaining that body, especially after I hit 40, but I loved the adrenaline and the dopamine after every workout. That’s where I met the little prick. I can’t even get myself to think his name. Divorced with grown up kids, a successful lawyer. Three years younger than me, but who cares, he was so good in bed, and a great partner for workouts and my night runs. We didn’t move in together, but sort of fell into a routine. I’d spend three days at his place, then go back to my apartment. A few days later, he’d come over and spend a few nights. We didn’t plan it; it just happened, and it suited us both well. I loved the flexibility of the relationship, not having to wash his dirty underwear and smelly socks, and whenever I felt being together was suffocating me, I always had my space and my alone time. He was fine with the arrangement also. We never talked about a future together by silent agreement. Somewhere under the surface I just knew the relationship wouldn’t last forever, but I never imagined he’d become such a pig and leave me just because I got fat. Now that I think of it, I think during our last couple of months he was acting weird, mostly avoiding looking at me, always finding excuses for not having sex: too tired, muscles aching after a workout, stress at work.
Anyway, enough wasting my brain cells on him. I promised myself. I don’t need this shit too. Alright, I feel something moving down there. Coffee is doing what it was meant to do. I go sit on the toilet and wait. This time, I do wash my hands, and I remember to brush my teeth.
Then I drag my 104.7 kilograms of a body to the living room slash office and park my ass at the desk. I have to finish this transcript by tomorrow. Three hours of a boring meeting of stockholders and CEOs of some big company. I like my work. Well, most of the time. But not this transcript. I listened to some of it yesterday, just to get the hang of it so I know what I’m dealing with. An all men meeting, undistinguishable voices, talking together, yelling at one another. The tape itself is low quality, with lots of background noise. As always, I wait for the last minute to work. Positive stress, I call it. But it’s going to take all my mental strength to focus in this heat today. The air-conditioning isn’t working, and the mini-fan on the table is . . . well, it should be called a mini, tiny, mini-fan.
- Call the air-condition man.
I write on a sticky note and tear it from its sister sticky notes. I look around me, but there’s nowhere to stick it to, so I just stick it on the desk. But wait! I can’t call the air-condition man, since I don’t have one. What was the problem with the one who fixed the air-condition several years ago? Was it him that gave me the creepy looks, or was that the guy who fixed the water boiler? I can’t remember, but who gives a fuck. I now have a bigger problem: actually finding an air-condition man.
I think this is actually a universal problem for all women who live on their own – the single, the divorcees, the separated, the widowed. The problem presents itself simply as follows: we do not trust any electrician, car mechanic, refrigerator man, air-conditioning man, plumber, or any other kind of handyman. Why? That’s really self-evident: they see we live on our own and immediately smell money. They overcharge us for the fact that we live alone, without a man. How dare we? That’s the unspoken tax for every woman who ever dared to rent slash buy an apartment on her own. Some women do the age-old trick and add a man’s name to their mailbox, door, and stick an extra toothbrush in the bathroom. Not me. I think it’s a cheap trick, and men are not that stupid anyway. They can smell their kind. Always. Anywhere.
Some women make sure to have male friends with various skills and jobs: it’s always handy to have an electrician or a plumber for a friend. Does that count as friends with benefits? Other women are in a constant hunt for the kind, trustworthy electrician, plumber, air-condition man, etc. You get the point. As for me, I’m still trying to figure out all this living-on-my-own-adulting shit.
Ok, enough distractions for now. Off to work. I open the transcription document and the transcript software, but immediately I remember that I haven’t checked any of my social media today yet.
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