Sunday, May 17, 2009

If you happen to speak French...

Here is the link to few stories I am writing in French - hopefully a book. It's the story of three friends going through a quarter of life crisis. Claire is struggling to come to terms with her dissertation; her boyfriend Alban has underestimated the impact of Claire moving in with him; and her best friend, Lucie, is finding out that her dream job is not what she wants to do with her life. Hopefully it ends well; all I can tell is, no one dies.
Though I could kill them all in a car crash in order to save me from the trouble of finding a proper ending...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brussels arrival

A little square, with me in the middle. None of the surrounding buildings seemed to fit together. The orange house, with its optimistic façade, cheered at me with open windows and flowers in the window-sills. Then the grey flat, sadly glancing at his neighbour. All he had to offer were the satellites of its inhabitants. But at least he was useful, people had their home in him. When I looked behind me I could see a structure of what once must have been an office, but had clearly been abandoned years ago. I could see the building’s frustration about this. Its shadow was so strong that I suddenly felt chilly.

I stood up and ran into a tall building with dark red curtains. The windows were so dusty that I would no longer be able to feel the intimidating tension of the little square. A café, it seemed. A narrow entrance hall where I could hear noises from the room next-door.

A person – was it human? – welcomed me. Where I came from, he asked. Good question, did it matter?
- Of course it matters! he roared, in Portuguese, it is the only identity you have in this city!

It was like I had to pass an exam and had just lost my crib note. Where did I come from? My lips tried hard to spell it out but my brains opposed. The person, who rather looked like a horse, stared at me so violently that I had to come up with something.

Belgian, I whispered.
- BELGIAN?! the horse neighed. WRONG! – in Hungarian this time.
How can that be wrong? I am in Brussels, which is the capital of…
- No-one is Belgian here, and you certainly aren’t!! - Was it Polish that he spoke now?
…well, then, Danish? I brought up.
The angry horse gave me a suspicious look, but said ‘fine’. I followed him into the noisy bar area.

Walking behind him I could see that his bottom – or was it his back? – was striped like a zebra. He directed me through a chaos of loudly talking entities to an empty chair, placed around a big round table. The smoke was so think that I could only define my neighbours’ silhouettes. The clouds hang just around the entities’ heads so I could only see their hands on the table, holding all kinds of glasses with strangely coloured beers. I followed their arms up to their shoulders and necks, but could I not see their heads. No matter how hard I tried to concentrate, it was not possible to define the language that was spoken.

I will bring you a Duvel, the horsezebra said, and disappeared.

Before I could think of something to say to join the conversation a sheep’s nose bumped into my ear.
- New here?
Si, I said, as I thought it was speaking Spanish.
- Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
Just when I tried to find an answer the sheep turned back from me to take sip from its beer.