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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

the dots of happiness

Shit. I got homework to do. “Write about happiness”. 

I open the window. The sun is giving me its last warm rays. ‘Summer is getting closer’, I think. Here's the World’s Happiness story.


When Happiness was born it was a sunny day in the city called World. I am pretty sure about that. It came out in a half-moon shape completed by two dots. Nobody could say in which order they came out.

Dot, half moon, dot.

Half moon, dot, dot.

Dot, dot, half moon.

Trying to identify the shape of Happiness was a real question mark in the World. Finally, some endorphins took over and declared that Happiness was born as a double dot plus half moon shape. They called it “smile”. At the beginning the whole World did not love Happiness so much so it was wasted away randomly, in any possible manner. In no time, the whole World was full of Happiness. Kisses were full of Happiness. Houses were full of Happiness. People were full of Happiness. Until the point that it started getting lighter and lighter. Weaker and weaker. The more Happiness was spread around, the less it was perceived. Suddenly the World was not able to feel it anymore. To be fed by it. To be overwhelmed by it. And, surprisingly, just as when Happiness had become less present, the World started to love it. To miss it. To need it.

Doctors in the World started prescribing drugs in the hope of gaining some rare spells of Happiness. Meantime, endorphins were starving at the World’s corners and asked for help. Serotonins came to help releasing the pain. It was a temporary relief though, and soon it came to an end. Happiness had become so thin, almost invisible that none in the World could reach it anymore. Day by day, the light faded away. And took the half-moon shape with it. 

The smile was over. The double dots found themselves alone in the dark World. Without their half-moon they were nothing. They were lighter, but meaningless. They were scared. They learnt that when there's too much of Happiness around it becomes a habit. It becomes granted. Till the point the World thinks that it doesn't have to feed it any longer, as if Happiness could feed itself on its own.

The lonely dots built up a fake half-moon shape and went on hanging around in the darkness of the World wearing a fake smile. At last, the World became full of fake smiles, all cheerfully waving at each other.


Happiness. How naive.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

E-mails and happiness

Mrs. Nörönenbörger walked home with a satisfied feeling. She had forwarded 124 emails in one single day - she could almost not believe it. Seventy-two emails had been briefings and requests for modifications to the contractors, all of them including wishes of the hierarchy. Twenty-one emails she had sent to her superiors. Not too many, because they should only read the most positive and the very important.

And yes, there was this one email with animated pictures of fluffy little animals in funny situations that she had forwarded to her husband. She had opened this email when her head of unit had just walked into her office, entering from the back. She felt her chubby cheeks turning red when she thought about it. She even noticed she had stopped walking when this memory crossed her mind, and quickly continued walking, as if this would provoke happy thoughts.
She thought of the seventy-two emails with instructions she had sent out, seventy-two! This did indeed caused a little glow of happiness inside her chest. She imagined all these companies filling out order within her given deadlines. Now she was definitely happy.

But as she came closer to the school of her son, this enthusiasm started to fade again. She wanted to tell her little Günter what his mommy had accomplished today, but somehow felt that he would prefer playing with his Wii. Maybe he would learn to appreciate these kinds of things when he would grow up.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Thank you Mr. Harris!

You don't know us, but we very much enjoyed spending our honeymoon here. In contrast to what our friend told us, from the pictures in your house we can tell you're a very kind person. So we feel we should inform you about our appreciation of your unconscious hospitality.

We have taken some of the champagne - tasted great - and have replaced it with some fine sparkling Elzas wine. We hope that's fine. Other than that we ordered our own food that we very much enjoyed eating on the patio. Oh, except the one fish that we caught in the pond - delicious!

You may wonder which dear friend was so kind to provide us access to your beautiful home, but we're not sure he would appreciate this. He told us the location would be a good deal, though, and he didn't lie a single word! We did not believe him when he told us the beach would be at 60 feet distance, but it seems some bastards are really lucky!

Anyway, we should probably leave before you come back and we're not too sure when that is. Should you ever wonder who we are, you won't be able to find us. We live far away and don't have internet. Neither did we leave any traces (except for the wine which we bought at 7/11, in case you're interested).

We hope you live a blessed life and that you may continue to welcome people in your home and share your with - with or without your knowledge!

Sincere greetings from a a poor but recently happily married couple.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I sit down at the bar. I sit down, I order a drink, I order a drink, I drink it, I order another one. I sit here, I look at the bottles, I look at Johnny, I drink. People are coming and going, only Johnny is staying with me. He pours me a drink, he doesn’t say it was enough, he pours it, I drink.

There are other regulars too, sitting at the bar, we don’t talk much, we drink. Johnny drinks too, he doesn’t talk much, he pours and he drinks. When someone is filled, soaked, ready to leave, he leaves. I am never ready, I am never filled.

We don’t get sick, we don’t get bored. We are professionals, the tightest circle of guests around Johnny, we are not guests, we are family. We are an orchestra and our conductor is Johnny . He conducts and we drink.

We are family. We are loyal to Johnny and Johnny is loyal to us. He would always serve us first, before serving the irregulars.

Today I arrive early, there are only two other regulars and one irregular at the bar, Mickey, Elise, and a blind man with a black dog. I sit down next to Elise, she greets me I greet her. Johnny comes and says:

- Hello Marianne, he says, hello hello.

- Hello Johnny, I say, good to see you Johnny.

- Good to see you too, Marianne, he says, good to see you too.

- Good to see you too, Johnny.

The blind man puts a coin on the table, and clears his throat. Johnny pours two glasses of wine, he puts one in front of me first and, only then, he puts the other in front of the blind man.

- Marianne, Johnny says, could you keep an eye on things for a bit? I gotta go to the loo.

- Sure Johnny, I say, and I’m keeping an eye on things. I’m keeping an eye on Mickey, an eye on Elise, an eye on the blind man, and on the black dog. And an eye on the door, where anyone could come in anytime and make trouble. An eye on Mickey, and Elise, and the blind man, the dog, the door. No one moves, I’m keeping an eye on them, Johnny can trust me, there won’t be trouble, I will keep an eye on them, so there won’t be trouble. He can trust me, Johnny.

‘We are the same,’ Mickey says, and laughs loudly, spitting on the bar, ‘Aren’t we the same, Elise?’

‘We surely are,’ Elise laughs with Mickey.

‘We are the same, aren’t we, Marianne?’ – Mickey goes on.

I nod, and I laugh with Mickey, keeping an eye on him. I nod and laugh and I don’t argue so there won’t be trouble while Johnny is on the toilet, but that’s not true that we are the same, we are not the same. Johnny asked me to keep an eye on things, we are not the same.

‘We are the same,’ Mickey continues, ‘We came here first, cause we felt miserable, and now we are miserable.’

He laughs and Elise laughs with him and I’m keeping an eye on them.

But that’s not true, I don’t come here because I feel miserable, I come here for Johnny.