Friday, February 22, 2013


Last Saturday Paula turned 39. She didn’t go dancing with her friends. She didn’t leave for a fancy holiday at the sea. She didn’t have birthday sex. She couldn’t. She couldn’t for the past 12 years, since her husband had died. That’s right. No, she wasn’t the faithful type or the one feeling sorry for herself, or for her dead husband. She couldn’t because of the fucking accident. Her husband died, she survived.

“You won’t be able to walk anymore”, doctors said.
“Can I still have sex at least?” Paula asked hopefully.

The doctor looked down in sorrow, saying nothing. Since then, Paula stayed home all day. She watched TV, though she hated it. All these romantic movies, all those sex scenes, all those pretty girls with their beautiful long legs, getting naked, slowly, and being fucked so wildely in front of the camera. No, Paula couldn’t stand movies. Documentaries were not any better: even animals could have what she couldn’t. They could run around, freely, in the jungle, being screwed. The worst that could happen to them was being killed and die. Dying wasn’t painful after all. Her husband had always been the lucky one. Even that day, when the accident happened.

At least Lianne was ugly. “Life is fair”, Paula thought when looking at the white haired woman taking care of her. Winters were the best period of the year. Rain, snow, greyness: what a gorgeous day they announced. Paula loved cold. In the cold, people get sick, they look miserable in their beds and the idea of sex gives them extra nausea. How wonderful! Summer time brings unhappiness and frustration instead. Paula could picture bare legs everywhere: running in the street, cycling, standing at the bus stop. Dreadful!  She would then lock herself up in the bedroom; shutters down, lamp on, ready to write. The accident  might have taken her life away, but not her dreams. She wrote pages and pages of unmade sex life; her imagination guided her pen so wildly, for hours and hours. The only breaks allowed were the TV-watching sessions.

“Lianne, where’s the remote control?”

Thursday, November 1, 2012


« What does your father do for a living ? » the teacher asked. The child didn’t answer. The teacher thought the child was dumb; in fact, she thought all children were dumb. You never knew what happened in their brain. Images, words, sounds following each other like a multicoloured thread, nonsense which made sense only to them. So the teacher said again, “what is his profession?” 
The child was thinking, perhaps not fast enough, scenes of her father crashing in her head, crushing her under their weight. She never thought about her Daddy’s Profession. Daddy left in the morning and he came back at night. She did that too, she noticed. She went to school in the morning and came back home in the afternoons. And Mom didn’t. 
They had talked about Daddy’s Profession. They had used words for it. Work, Job, Wage, Overtime and Pension. Tu as encore ramené du Travail à la maison. Complaints about dog’s hair on his suit. Leather shoes, leather briefcase, leather wallet. The child knew why Daddy was working, he worked for a Living. He worked to pay for the house, and for the food, and for the holidays sometimes. But what did he do? What could he do? Recent memories of the sunny weekend, only two days before. They went biking. Her bike had four wheels, Daddy’s had two. Daddy took a sick tree down. Daddy chopped wood, lots of wood, and piled logs for the winter. 
“So what does your father do?” the teacher asked. 
“He is a Lumberjack”, the child answered. But apparently being a Lumberjack wasn’t a good thing on those days, because her mother’s neck was burning with shame that evening. 
“A Lumberjack!” she scolded her. “Un bûcheron!” 
But when the child finally asked about her Daddy’s Profession, the answer made no sense. Avocats were round, green and edible, and Daddy didn’t even like them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012/10/10 Exercise: Horror

There they go again. Every day at precisely half past seven in the evening I hear the couple upstairs having sex. Brutally. Like the world was going to end the next day. I hate it. I hate them. But I can't restrain myself from listening, from imagining their sweating bodies tangled, her nipples being pinched, his back scratched by her fingernails.

Another day at the office came and went uneventfully. Nothing to remark. Conversations about the weather and another Excel spreadsheet filled.

The tram ride back home shows me the same faces, the same fatigue, the same lives going down the drain.

I have never seen the couple upstairs, so now I try to find them everywhere. This girl sitting in front of me could be her, but for some reason her face doesn't fit the moaning and the shouting I hear upstairs. That postman could be him, but he's not strong enough for that loud spanking.

It's half past seven and I hear their bed creaking. The beginning is always like that, quiet. The rough stuff comes later. Today, they have a whip.

I have been laid off at work. My last spreadsheet was a disaster. Maybe my mind was too full of handcuffs, cocks, nipples and hardcore penetrations.

The faces in the tram are different at this time of the day. But I guess that man in a suit is not him and that teenage girl with the headphones is not her.

It's half past seven and I don't hear anything.
Eight o'clock and nothing yet.
I look for porn on the Internet and then go to bed.

I have nothing to do.

It's half past seven and not a sound from upstairs.
I look for S&M porn on the Internet and go to bed.

I'm beginning to worry. Today is the third silent day. Maybe I should call the police, but how would I explain the situation? Maybe I should go check myself.
I look for extreme sex on the Internet and go to bed.
I can't sleep.
I can't sleep after masturbating.
I get up. I should see if everything is alright upstairs.

The corridor is dark but I don't dare to turn the light on. My mobile phone guides me. I put my ear against the door. Everything is quiet.
I decide to exit through the window onto the fire escape. Their apartment is dark. A window is a little bit open, so I pull it up and crawl inside.

I get up on my feet and walk towards what I assume is the bedroom, based on the distribution of my own apartment.
I hear noises. A soft moaning and heavy breathing.
The door is not locked, so I push it gently.

There is a couple having sex. She is riding him, so none of them can see me.

'What the hell are you doing?' I ask
She cries loudly, startled, and jumps to the side.
'What the fuck!' he shouts.
'Why are you having sex like regular people?' I shout in return. 'Where are the whips? The spanking? The hot wax on her nipples?'
'Are you crazy?' she asks, still shouting.
'What are you talking about?' he says, trying to understand.

I go to the kitchen and take the biggest knife.
When I get back to the bedroom, he is getting dressed and she's still hiding underneath the covers, tears in her eyes. He freezes.

'Undress' I say, voice as cold as ice. He does.
'You, on all fours' I order her. She does.
I tell him to spank her. 'Harder! What are you, a mouse? HARDER!'.
He does and she cries.
'Get inside her. Now.'
There are tears in his eyes too. I slap him so he doesn't cry any more.
'You, girl, stop the tears. You, in her ass.'
She says no with her head and turns to me. As he's about to speak, I punch his imploring face with my fist and he loses some teeth.

The door bangs open with a kick and two policemen materialize. I can see some neighbours behind them. Fucking neighbours.

'Freeze!' the policemen shout. How unoriginal.

So I slash the hand of one of them and the pistol drops and I laugh loudly. The other policeman has fear in his eyes, but he fires his gun anyway.
A sea of pain paralyzes my senses, but I still have the ability to put the knife in that bitch's side, just above the waist.

The last thing I hear is a cacophony of shouts, sobs and sheer terror.
I smile.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Leaving Brussels

The radio is passing that song
Ne me quitte pas” it implores.

Laying down on my terrace
I can observe the autumn leaves 
coming and going,
from the trees,
in the breeze.

The white pages of my diary are waiting for me
to be filled.
Lost for words, 
I am just dreaming all my memories.

Seven years have gone by
I can now feel the heat on my skin
burning me 
with an unusual ray of light.

A light made
of love
of family
of feeling home.

“C`était au temps où Bruxelles rêvait “
Jacques still sings
and I keep on dreaming.

Until suddenly,
the Belgian rain,
dripping in and out my eyes,
shuts the doors of my memory behind.

Je m’en vais, je quitte,
I leave. Au revoir.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

hidden secret of Brussels

Dear friend,
how are you? I’m good, I’m good. Don’t worry too much, I’m good. I eat every day, and yes, I can drink milk. I don’t feel as a stranger because I can take the bus or the metro or the train to go from one side to the other. I can even walk, and it feels amazing. Even in the greyness, even at night. I walk every night back home. Sometimes I walk to somebody else’ home. But don’t worry, here that is fine. The buildings are not so tall, so you can still enjoy the full moon view when it’s not cloudy. And when it’s cloudy, you can still see through, because once you live in the greyness, you learn how to do that. And you do that by closing your eyes. See? That’s the city where everything is possible. So, I’m good, I’m good. And how are you? I miss our pillow talks. I miss our laughs. I miss our silence. In the grey city everyone feels the need to talk. Let’s talk about politics, let’s talk about trips, let’s talk about the world, let’s talk about us. I never wanted to talk about us, my friend. You wanted to. There are so many streets around. There are so many people. There are so many walls. But walls are not enough to cover for the noisy talking around. That’s the real mistery to me. That’s the real mistery to everyone. This is the city of talks. I hear people and trees and objects talking all the time. Even mice. There are lot of mice under the ground, you know. They shout and shout. “It smells here”, they say. Let’s talk, let’s talk. You wanted to talk. Why do you do that, what do you think of this, when do you come back to me, where did you go to school. Let’s talk, let’s talk. I thought things don’t talk. I’m not a thing, you said, you’re not a thing, I said. I’m good, how are you my friend, I’m good. You know, I avoid bars. They never serve snacks along with beer. People get drunk, they start singing, they are drunk. Then they vomit and yet can’t keep silent. They shout like mice “it smells here, it smells, help!” They fall asleep, sometimes at home, sometimes in front of the bus stop, with their back leaning against the wall. They are waiting for a bus which is not coming. Not till 5 o’clock the next morning. They have nightmares and shout about the dragon wanting to beat them with a flower; but it’s an iron flower and so they are scared. They shout their fears loudly. I can hear them at night. Often. I can hear everything. The city speaks. Its people speak in too many languages. Its buildings shout when they crash down. The sky is the worst. It cries all the time. And even when it doesn’t, it looks at you with threatening crying eyes and it feels almost as if it’s trying to say something. And I hear that too. You know, dear friend, I came here to escape the noise of talking. It’s a grey city, I thought, it must be a quiet place. Well, it’s not. It also wants to talk, like you did, let’s talk let’s talk. Even the air talks and the wind blows loudly through the half open door. I’m good, my friend, I’m good. Let’s talk, you said. Since I have been living here in this city, I have learnt that there are many other ways of talking, rather than the actual talk. So, let’s try one. Let’s talk in silence. Let’s write letters. How are you my friend, I’m good. I’m good.
It’s great to be finally able to talk with you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

the silence in between

Julia arrived late in the morning. She slammed the door; then looked at me looking at her; then apologised. Julia was never late or at least never later than me. ‘I don’t like sleeping’, she always said. 

‘Something happened?’ I asked. 
‘Nothing happened.’ she replied. 

Julia sat at her desk and turned the pc on. She placed the take-away coffee just beside the pile of documents on the right side of the desk. She must have walked all the way from her house. The coffee had gotten cold. She took off her coat. Then her scarf. Eventually her bracelets and jewellery. I could not stand the noise of bracelets when typing on a keyboard. I am glad that she remembered it.

The phones kept quiet for a couple of hours. Silence was a loved presence in our office. Something we aimed for. Collegues used to say we hated each other because we only talked if necessary. We didn’t hate each other. It was just a matter of respect. Nobody should be let free to interpret the silence between two people. 

Suddenly Julia stood up and opened the window. ‘It’s hot in here, isn’t it?’
‘It isn’t’ I replied.

‘Oh. Should I close the window then?’
‘Yes, you should. Please. Thanks.’ 

Julia closed the window and went back to her desk. ‘Be polite and you’ll get what you want’, I told myself. Some people are afraid to express their needs. Some others do express them, but in an aggressive way. Like Julia. She closed the window, still she was hot so she became histerical. She started using documents and stickers and enveloppes to wave some air at herself. I ignored her. She opened the door, left the room for few minutes and came back. I looked at her. She closed the door behind. She picked up the phone, dialled a number, immediately hung up. She didn’t even waited for any reply. She looked nervous.

‘Are you nervous?’ I asked
‘No, I’m just hot, I guess that’s it’ she was annoyed.
‘Oh, I see’ I replied as if her statement did not concern me at all. Actually it didn’t. I wasn’t hot, she was.

Julia stood up again, opened the door, left the room for minutes, then came back. This happened five times in an hour. A bit too much. When she stood up the sixth time, I asked ‘Julia, what’s up? I can’t work if you keep on moving and acting histerical like this. Please!’

‘Nothing is up, I told you, I’m just hot. And by the way, I can’t work either today.’
‘Why were you late?’
‘Does it matter?’
‘Maybe not, but I am curious anyway’.

She started murmouring something, then suddenly stood up again and run out in the corridor. This time she forgot to close the door behind.

‘She must have eaten Chinese last night. That’s it.’ I thought.
Julia had a delicate stomach. I noticed it three weeks ago, at John’s farewell party. One of those nice shrimp-sauce sandwiches had been enough to send her straight to the loo. Weirdly enough, she seems to eat very healthy and still not being able to keep fit. Julia came back to the room and didn’t look alright.

‘Hard night?’ I asked.
‘Hard night indeed’ she replied and went back to her desk.

I thought she referred to the Chinese take-away. 

That night though, what Julia could not digest, was not some Chinese noodles or some cheap shrimp-sauce sandwich. No. Rumors reached me weeks afterwards. Julia wanted to keep her baby. Her boyfriend didn’t and had left. She had stayed awake all night, arrived late at work, felt sick and miserable all morning. Nobody should be let free to interpret the silence around. I did, and I was wrong.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TV's fault

I have no reason not to answer the door, so I answer the door.
‘Hello, is James in?’
‘No sorry, James is not in. In fact, he’ll never be in because no James lives here.’
It’s 11pm, it’s Wednesday, nothing good on TV. A young British guy giving cooking lessons. A somewhat famous writer of a supposed famous series is buying new shoes. I-dont-remember-his-name is solving some crime case. The doorbell rings again.
‘Hello, is Claudia in?’
‘No sorry, Claudia is not in. Who is Claudia, by the way?’
‘Hem, the blond girl dating Kristian?’
‘Interesting. I don’t know any Claudia dating Kristian. Actually, I don’t know any Kristian.’
I flip channel again, hoping in some cheap laughs before going to bed.The doorbell rings once again. I look at the clock. 11.45pm. Almost midnight.
‘Hello, is Jennifer in?’
I start losing my patience.
‘What is it tonight, Halloween? Why everybody keeps ringing the bell looking for someone who doesnt live here? By the way, no there’s no Jennifer and now fuck off.’
I close the door. What a weird way of ending a Wednesday night. As if having nothing good on TV wasn’t bad enough. Time to go to bed, I tell myself. The doorbell rings again. Silence. They’ll go away, I think and stay motionless by the stairs. Another ring. Silence. A ring, again. It’s my mobile, this time. It’s John.
‘John, thanks God is you, I was almost freaking out ...'
‘I know, darling, I know, all those people looking for strangers, they must have scared you ...’
‘Yes, they did ... But how ... how do you know?’
‘Darling, we need to talk’
‘What do you mean, John? What do we need to talk about? By the way, where are you?’
‘Im in front of your door darling ... open it.’
I hang up the phone and can see my hands trembling of fear. Something weird must be going on outside the main door and it seems I am the only one not aware of it. I walk slowly towards the door. Slowly; as if this time there may be a reason not to open it. But John is out there and I trust him. Usually, I do. 
I open the door.
‘Was it you ringing the door just few minutes ago?’
‘Yes, darling. Can I come in?’
‘Sure’, I answer, while investigating his face, his expression, his body language. He looks alright. Awake. Not drunk. 
He enters the living room and sits on the big sofa and pulls me down to sit beside him. He looks now a bit confused. He is probably looking for the right words in his head. I can’t resist. It’s passed midnight and I am actually quite asleep. I can’t help it and start asking questions.
‘So, honey, tell me, what’s happening? how did you know about the ringing bell and the people and all ...’
‘You dont remember?’
‘Remember?... what should I remember? I was watching TV, and, you know, it’s Wednesday, there’s nothing on TV ... ‘
‘There’s nothing good on, right?’
‘You’re right honey, there was nothing on TV ... That’s why you drove to my place and picked me up to go for a drink ... and ... ‘
‘Me, driving tonight? ... it’s crazy, I was watching TV .. have you been drinking?’
‘No, darling ... there was another car ... James, Claudia and Jennifer were in it ...’
‘James, Claudia and Jennifer? who are these people? you must be drunk ... I dont know who you are talking about’.
‘We are dead, darling. We are all dead.’
I put my nose forward, closer to his mouth to check if I could spot some alchool or funny smell. Nothing. I pull it back and start laughing. Hysterically. 
‘Sure, we are dead. We are sitting here on the sofa, the clock still marks the minutes, we are chatting and we are dead. Yes, darling. Of course.’
John cries a tear. He looks serious now. I don’t laugh anymore. I can’t laugh when he looks so serious.
The home phone rings. I can hear my mum stepping downstairs quickly. She answers the phone. Few minutes go by, till she hungs up and starts crying. I could see her, but she could not see me anymore. It was one of those Wednesday night when there’s nothing good on TV; when there's nothing good at all.