Welcome to my stories and scribblings.
The signals aren’t always clear. I prefer calling it signals, because I don’t believe in Omens or signs or any of that spiritual uplifting read my energy and safe the planet kind of vagueness. But there are signals. Definitely and clearly. Many signals.
Not that I send them out. I’m just the receiver. The person at the other end who sits there listening with a half broken radio. Victor, Charlie Charlie, do you read me? Loud and clear. But it’s a one way signal. I know they can hear me. In my storm, with my half broken life sending an SOS, on repeat.
All I get is the beating, the heavy storm damage, the howling wind that rips through my life leaving it a waste and a mess. Now I can pick up the mess, but I cannot chase the storm that never lies down.
And so I am here. On my floor. Designated area. Hoping for protection. Hoping for help. Or just hoping, that somehow I can make the storm lie down, even if it’s just for a while, so I can discern the signals. And know what to do.
The windows are barely see-through anymore. In my kitchen the dishes have piled up nose-high, while my wardrobe seems to have moved to the floor; leaving nothing but white spots to walk on. Like step stones in a river of clothes.
‘What are you doing?’ A voice behind me says.
I’m trying to find a way out,’ I explain standing in the middle of the minefield called living room.
‘Have you ever considered cleaning up?’
‘I have given it a thought, but I decided it wasn’t for me.’
‘Because it’s useless. You do it and then you have to do it all over again, and again and so on. It’s like a vicious circle or like the grasshopper that won’t stop chirping!’
‘People have done it for over the last millenia.’
‘That is a good point. But that still doesn’t make it more bearable.’
‘Than pay somebody to do the cleaning for you.’
‘I can’t even afford breakfast,’ I say while I’m trying to move upstream.
‘I might not get the psychology of this, but I do know one thing. You look stupid.’
‘Be that as it may, this is my mess.’ I’m pointing down, but I might as well have pointed sideways or just circled around like a windmill.
The voice laughs. ‘And your mess is better than their mess?’
‘My mess is my mess, and their mess is, well beside universal, also devastating. Like fire, leaving nothing but ashes.’
Levine looks at me. His eyes almost water. ‘This is no way of getting control over your life.’
I raise my eyebrows. ‘I’ve given that up a long time ago. Now at least let me have my mess.’
‘No, you’re staying with me for a while.’ He crosses his arms in front of him.
‘Does that mean I have to do dishes?’ I say with a pouty lip as I try to step forward, but I triple and fall flat on my face in the only blank spot that was left and is now turning red.
‘Get up. We are leaving your dirty ghosts.’
I jump up, but stagger, triple again because my foot gets stuck in a panty with strawberries on it; and again I am flat on my face. ‘No way, they will let me go.’ I get up and wobble.
‘I don’t care.’ He sweeps me off the floor and tosses my over his shoulder. I feel his muscles and firm grip. He makes a step. ‘Hey is that my ass?’ I say dangling like a ragdoll. He misses. He totters. He bends.
‘Run!’ I scream. ‘Run and fly! Or they will get us.’
The summer breeze whirled through my hair. And I stood there overlooking the ocean as it danced to its own rhythm unmoved by any factor but it’s own desires. I stood there witnessing. With the wind in my hair and no soles on my feet. Could I be him?
Could I move into the waters, into its very core and just soak it all up until my pores are filled and my veins hold it’s beat.
I witness the steady waters of the ocean. My eyes fill up. My tears are salty. We are one. Surrounded by the light summer breeze.
As I pour my coffee into the cup with flowers and butterflies on it and the smell of satisfaction enters my nose, I think of what music I will put on when I’m in the car. In my head I browse my Spotify playlist of favorites, old time classics and newby’s that are on constant repeat. I get eargasms when I think about it. I take a sip from my flower cup and go uh-huh.
In my mind my fingers touch the screen, swipe over perfect words like ‘Say you won’t let go’ and ‘Slow hands’, sometimes they stop, tap and then swipe again. But then suddenly I’m missing half an arm. How can I browse with half an arm? Where did the other half go?
Shake it off, I say to myself as I try to delete the thought. Delicious coffee, brand new day. But my hand trembles as I bring my coffee cup to my mouth, it’s like a slow motion picture and all I want to do now is fast forward this moment. I suddenly feel so tired, it looks like the whole world is distorted.
When later in I trod the busy streets of the morning, new coffee in hand, I realize I’m so tired I want to cry. Fall down on my knees, in the middle of the street and cry an endless stream of tears that mean absolutely nothing. I’m so dead beat I can’t walk anymore, I can’t even think anymore. My brain and body are simultaneously giving up functioning and all there is left for me is to produce streams of water as if they could rise high enough they could drown me.
My eyes are looking down, I feel so drained I can’t get them to rise. But then I nearly bump into someone. And that someone is missing half his arm.
I have been here before. At this premonition playground. But I don’t get to choose where I want to swing. They do. The premonition playground decides which way they will push me. Like they’re the fat guy at the other end of the swing set and I’m going to get launched exactly where they want me.
Whether loosing my arm or loosing my dignity.
I didn’t know. Nobody knew. Me. Levine, Macy or anybody we knew. It was as if a fog had lifted, clouding us all; like infants looking for an answer.
Nor did I see it. With my eyes wide open I didn’t see the signs. The fatigue on my own face, doors suddenly closing behind me, and those neighbors. Even the biggest goofball would have seen it in their outfits, their matter of speech and frankly everything else. It was as obvious as rain on a dark and cloudy day.
And that’s when the days began for me. The days that changed it all.
Macy and I walk the nine streets of Amsterdam, small shops and curiosities, fuming coffee at fuming cafés, and bicycles that seem to grow out of the streets and canals filled with boats. A mini-break I can’t afford. But neither can I afford my life, so I decided it didn’t matter anyway.
There is nothing better than sitting at a cafe (in this case called Pluk) and watch people go by. Apparently, they call it watching monkeys here. We’re all for it.
‘Dentist monkey, for sure. Look at his teeth, they are too white,’ says Macy fully confident.
‘No,’ I say, ‘I’m voting for broker monkey. He looks too sharp to be a dentist if you ask me. And he’s too fast as well. Definitely broker monkey.’
‘Library monkey across the street. Look at his clothes.’
‘No, I’m sorry to say he’s sales monkey I just heard him say he reached his target and will receive his bonus.’
‘How are your ears so sharp? Sales monkey with an edge of a library monkey, and probably not a very good sales monkey if you have to call your friends you made your targets. Look at her.’ She takes a sip from her pink wine in the excitement. Pink wine is what you drink here when the sun is out and you sit outdoors and it looks exactly what it sounds like: pink. It takes a little lighter than wine, somewhere between wine and lemonade, which makes it very easy to drink; like lemonade.
‘Stylist monkey going straight for Laura Dolls.’
‘The shop we’ve just been, where they sell the incredible vintage dresses. Seriously?’ The woman disappears around the corner. ‘I’m following her.’ Macy jumps up and starts shadowing our stylist monkey. I stay put to guard our pink wine. Five minutes later she is back and crashes into her chair fetching her wine on the way down. ‘Stylist monkey, I even checked.’ ‘Okay, next one’s yours.’
A group of young men walk by. Two regular and one very handsome. Macy leans her head towards me: ‘my pleasure.’ She takes another look. Smiles. Tilts her head once more. ‘Graphic design monkey.’ ‘I’m with you on this one, but has a girlfriend, and not a fling but in a long relationship, likes to skateboard and mountain bike occasionally and has a thing with the artist Escher.’
Macy bends over and stares at the guy we just monkey-labelled. He turns his head. She produces a vague smile and falls back in her seat. ‘Oops!’ She takes a pink sip.
‘Okay, Jackson lookalike by the corner. Stay at home dad monkey,’ I say with a surprise in my own voice.
‘Stay at home dad monkey. Huh. Probably with wife with top job monkey.’ From around the corner a woman enters with a baby buggy and a phone in her hand. She immediately hands the baby to daddy and has practically no eye for them thanks to her busy phone life.
‘Wow, how about the guy with golden earing. What does he do?’ Macy looks at me with eager anticipation. But I’m done with monkey search and just want to soak in the sun and get on one of those hyper super duper bikes that look like they come right off the beach. ‘Golden earring monkey.’
Golden earring monkey smiles at us when he passes and I get an unsteady feeling. I suddenly see a weapon in my mind and I stiffen and hold my breath. Release, I say to myself. Macy leans in: ‘it was just a golden earring, not an almighty stripe.’ ‘Apparently Almighty Stripes come in various forms. Shake it off.’ Macy hands me the pink wine and throw it back in one gulp. Golden earring monkey raises his glass to us. I get another sharp streak in my head. ‘Can we leave? I’ve seen enough Dutch aapjes. Let’s get on a bike and feel the wind that will make our cheeks glow and our hair dance.’
‘Can’t we just cycle?’
‘Fine. Let’s cycle.’
‘And get a bottle of pink wine on the way.’
‘Let’s cycle and get a bottle of pink wine on the way.’
‘And maybe a Dutch monkey as a souvenir.’
‘Can I have a world traveller monkey?’
‘Good. Pink wine, bicycle, world traveller monkey.’
There is no sound. Only my breath fills the room. As if it’s the solo possessor of the air surrounding me. And still I’m looking for life. Life beside my own, but not like my own. The one thing that is between heaven and earth breathing the air we can’t breathe and moving on our gasps as if they’re wings. Their wings.
I have my blankets high up as if it would help. Blocking my emissions. Taking their wings. While my eyes are piercing the darkness terrified of what they might encounter in the realm of shadowy energy.
They are here. Giving me abilities, I don’t believe in.
‘Okay, that guy, over there. What is he thinking?’ Levine points at a man crossing the street across from us.
‘I think he’s thinking: wait, wait, no wait a little more, yes, now is a good time to cross the street. Or maybe he’s thinking why he still feels guilty every time he did not look to the right a second time, just like his mother taught him.’
‘No jokes, because to me it looked like he was having some pretty spicy thoughts.’
‘That is something only men can hear without words.’
‘We are an extraordinary species in that way. We are designed to secure the survival of the human order.’ He collects his golden hair with one hand.
‘And having spicy thoughts is the way to do that?’ I toss my hair back.
‘Well, we like to think that in the end it helps. Plus, it keeps life simple.’
‘You are an extraordinary simple species with only one thought that has to guarantee our continued existence.’
‘I can’t handle that many words with my one thought spectrum.’ He drops his hair. ‘Now guess her thoughts.’ He’s pointing at a blond-haired lady who looks a lot like the poodle she’s walking.
‘I told your one thought brain I don’t read minds, I’m not a Gypsy.’
‘But it’s so much fun when you do.’
‘But I don’t.’
‘When you do.’
‘What I don’t.
‘But you could.’
‘But I won’t.’
‘Because you can.’
‘Because I can’t.’
‘Then how come you do?’
‘It’s not me. I don’t. I can’t. And I won’t. I’m not psychic.’
‘But you can hear people from miles away.’
‘And that’s normal?’
‘It’s temporary. Maybe I’m stressed.’
Levine tosses his hair over his shoulder. I wiggle mine into a knot.
‘You can judge people in an instant and are always right because you are stressed?’
‘It is a much more productive way of securing survival if you ask me.’
‘Secure survival on that lady with the hundred shopping bags.’ He spans his hair between his fingers to imitate the amount of bags. I do the same and have my hands bump into his to demonstrate how clumsy you are with that kind of display of your riches. We drop our hands. ‘Do it.’
‘You don’t need me.’
‘She’s cranky she couldn’t get that one item she was looking for so she bought the entire contents of the shop.’
‘Securing survival of the money machine we live in called economy. We should thank her.’
‘Send it to her.’
‘That doesn’t work.’
‘Then how does it work?’
‘You have to really, really want it.’
‘Okay, then get somebody to call you. Get Macy to call you!’ He sits on the edge of his chair.
‘Then what? You are just going to bring out the super powers to safe humanity or what?’
‘Women don’t have spicy thoughts like you do.’
‘Shoot. Put your wings on woman.’ He sits back in his chair, swooping his hair back.
‘I would rather stop breathing.’