Sunday, November 30, 2014

TFSWF (The Freshly Squeezed Words Factory)

I’m at the end of the hallway waiting to cross 144th.
The guy looks at me. “How many points?”
“Umm.. 161,” I guess. 
“That's not bad. Are you prepping? Investing? What’s your KrophKheth? 17? 18?" And seeing me holding back - "20?!” And changing his voice - “Are you a Xarmia girl?” he says in a suddenly most familiar tone, popping yet another FreSq(W).
Me, guessing again - "Neither?!" Learning.
Him - ”You seem like a decent person. Don't you think it as your responsibility to own a Xerk account?” A Xerk? I can see his disgust as he jumps away.

Another one - “LeroL? ZeroZ? I like your stick-arm.”
My fault. That stick-arm should have been long gone. Should have never existed. “Thank you,” I guess..
“What for?”
Yet another biter. But I can't see him any longer.
“Wow! Your English is so good!” his friend says.
I look at him, neither of us waiting for an answer. The first guy is back, most probably a random guy, and next he leaves screaming an ode to yet another new idea "Dzong! Dzong-dzong!".
“Where were you born?” His thick accent simulates curiosity, of a helpful-in-a-condescending-way mixture.
I tell him.
“Oh,” he says. And proudly - “Isn’t that one of the new republics?” 
Yes, it was long time before I was born, but there’s no point going that route. He’ll know that too in an instant.
“So you’re here now. How do you like it?”
“It’s ok.”
“It’s ok, yeah -”
I can’t hold it anymore. I don't want to ruin the day. “Breathtaking at times,” I give a big smile, to a pretend feed.
“Oh,” he really likes these words. Circles of confusion, mother used to say, blurring out our reality. “So, how’s back there?” he keeps pressing, feign-grooming his fingers, while smiling and face-gesturing at several of his feeds. I'm still scared by these faces, their grimaces and smirks.
“I left when I was two.”
“Oh,” and this one makes it clear he’ll be gone in another second. Less.

I’m finally reaching the line. Q7, so it’s not too bad. They finished fixing E71 only a few days ago, so in 10-15 minutes I should reach Center 5. It is raining today, it says on the Daily Trivia feed. Don't ask me why, but somewhere in the Great Outside it's raining, with no sound.
The waiting ends, as the elevator's doors open. Bzzzz. Recharging. I get into the first one. There’s a cute guy, getting closer to exit. “Do you ever feel lucky?” He's talking as if to no one but his eyes are now checking me sideways.  Lucky? What does luck have to do with anything? You know what that is? All this hope thing? Being scared. That’s what it is. I do it in a scary voice. Gives me goose bumps. “Not really,” and I smile. He's gone too, pushed by the flow.

There’s a day ahead. No one sees no one. Or hears. Chatting. Racing on the information million lanes highway with second long victories. You didn’t hear that ?

"He'll be with you in a moment," the woman tells me in thick, just-had-my-fake-root-canal New West Coast accent.

I close my eyes. The memory of a summer morning spoils me. It’s a beautiful sunny room with open windows and two vases with fresh flowers. Tinny blue and sprinkles. Yellow too. And it smells like summer. The scent of stones impregnated with sun from another day I should have spent outside. Two years. A thousand points. You can do it. But it feels forever.

"Hello-wh!," the smile looks at me, cold, busy, somewhere else.
I don't mind. Can't fight the madness with logic. I'm an actress. None of it is real. It's my decision but the words are hers - When you realize that those things are not real, that life is a game, what’s left but to play the game?

"Ara, right?" Sure, I'll be Ara for you, and without waiting "Let's start!"

"So, intuitively we're looking into optioning the versatility of increasingly -"
I probably nod, I can see the perspective changing at a slight pace.
"Do you see the form entertaining -" That's me speaking. I trained myself well. It's a reflex now. And like any good machine I deliver precisely what's expected.
"We're happy to have you here."
I'm sold.

"And.. cut! Good. Lets give it another try." There's never too many.

"He'll be with you in a moment." And she delivers it precisely in the same way. We're all professionals. The best, smartest machines.

For an easy 20 points we'll help you dream. Since one day you'll have many hundreds, it's an easy choice. And the time is never wasted. Because you're special. People will see it one day. I'm obviously not good at coming with these scripts. That's why I'm making 40 for acting them and not 200 like Mr. S here.

Done. I drop in class - we're having a critical blocker. Have to come up with a team name. InconspicuousDonut, ImprobableCouch have been taken already. I throw in my "ghijklmn hints I just know LISIBILITY means nothing" and see them, their eyes averting me like a ghost. "This is serious," the tall girl says, forcing the instant leader in her to take charge against her abilities. No one thinks I'm funny. Not even me. And even for irony you need a context. So, as they teach us, I push myself into the position. I deliver the speech and kick the can. We'll make a decision tomorrow. Everyone's happy.

Friday, January 31, 2014

206, Summer. Some stories are told for later

I can still imagine, see - in my mind, the days when I was young, growing up in the old house with Dedha’ar and Oma. I remember them well, vividly, and sometimes wonder what happened to things long forgotten by everyone. The games we used to play in summer, from morning to dark, throwing the lipkai - the short, pointy stick, or hurling the stones in a circle, or against the log, games no one plays anymore. I remember the smell of the food Oma used to cook, the black tree’s white flower pies she made with dark honey, and the sweet cheese pies - they were so delicious and at times, for a moment, I can almost feel their taste on the tip of my tongue. Also the pumpkin pies - I did not like but kept eating them regardless, to the endless amusement of both Oma and Dedha’ar.
And the house - I lived in many places and houses but that one I deeply felt as it was part of me, of my being like no other object I encountered, and I will carry it with me always. If I close my eyes, I can still see it, up on the hill and the huge shed behind it, all painted in green, the trees blooming in the spring with the most beautiful colors, the soft white, the strong yellows, even stronger after the rain, and the faded pink all reaching to the eye as if to keep it all to themselves; but also the vine shade, the turtles passing our house going up to the stream, Dedha’ar catching the foxes stealing our food. I remember the long days of loud wind, brought by the never ending springs, arresting me inside with its terrifying howl, the thunders splitting the earth, my ears, my silly heart. The shadows coming to life after dark, taking the shapes of fear. And the stories I've heard that filled my heart with fear, joy, shock and trills, desires and dreams.
And I remember Oma and Dedha’ar, the way they loved me.
Where are those times now? What's left of them when the memories decay, other than the story I'm telling myself here, with the hope of finding, bringing back some of those moments, to help me find in my heart that obscure, elusive, unstable pleasure that lasts a heartbeat, at most?
I was born in the winter in a place north, far from home. I still have some faint memories of the harsh winds, the cold air, and the big mountains, the snowflakes suspended in the air for a moment, before the wind blew them away. But I don’t remember anyone. The first thing I remember well is the day I saw the fox with Dedha’ar. This happened seven moons after father brought me home. I was six years old at the time.
After that - things started to change, and I remember more and more from those days. It was early spring and this was the sowing season, so most of the men and women were busy preparing, away, down to the valley to their fields, for long days.
In our house Oma was preparing Dedha’ar’s and father’s food and clothes for their many spring trips. They were sometimes away two or three times in a moon and I always overwhelmed them with questions when they came back. When they were away Oma, and sometimes Guara – my great grandmother, who lived in the house next to us - told me stories about the great Gra’ard, Guara's father and other stories filled with people from the past.
Looking back, it's hard not to see how my imagination took its cues from them, and set my reality to their tune, fighting - not to survive but - to thrive, eager to find, to devour the exquisite prey it found hidden in the most unexpected places. And in time, when I grew up, my mind's fantasies and adventures, and a part of myself became just that: the consequence of almost random stories told by others, from which my own story then came to life.
But there were some things I did not understand then. Why?
I asked him once. And Dhedha'ar smiled: “Some stories are told for later.” And coming back to telling, there's a point where this story and reality diverge, before coming back to be one. And It will take us a few more stories to get there, but I believe we will.
One step at a time.

208, Spring. The sweet cheese pies

Some people say..” 
Ana always used to say that. “Some people say..” But today was not any day. No, Oma was not in the mood. “What do some people say?” she asked, playfully, but obviously ridiculing any possible answer. She knew that Ana, unlike others, did not usually use that to give her own thoughts more weight, but rather from being afraid to be wrong, to be judged. But still, for some reason she did not wanted to deal with that now.
These were the days when I still used to sit for long times watching Oma. I watched her hands, busy, working the dough, other times breaking nuts, cleaning the fresh killed fish, smelling the flowers she just cut from the garden, or making me a new sweater, almost always working, going outside, feeding the chicken, parading her dirty hands.. but also her short breaks, letting a happy breath out, stretching, checking on me with a quick glance, always followed by her smile, back to work.
I did not know that then but I loved her. She would sometimes sit and tell me stories, resting my head on her hip, her fingers remembering at times to slide through my hair, and sometimes in my mind I would tickle and laugh with a clear, loud laugh, and she would resist, but then, her heart would give through and her laugh was unsure, held back as if she did not want to somehow use her everyday laugh with me. And then she would giggle and I would make faces. Silly boy!
A lot of women came to visit Oma, almost every day and mostly the reason for these visits was Oma’s gift for preparing food that lots of people enjoyed. Now, I know well that food like many other things that bring pleasure to our senses cannot be judged on its inner value because there isn’t any and everyone simply has their likes and dislikes. That we share our preferences and as people we tend to like certain things, that is true. But we do that for the same reason for which we learn the same language, wear the same clothes, and use the same colors and designs when we paint our houses and pots. Dedha’ar once told us the story of a trip to a far distant land where people left the milk go bad and that was their most sought drink. They invited, even prompted their guests to drink it. Dedha’ar tried it once as per the customs he could not refuse it and felt sick from it and he swore not to set foot on that land again.
But still, Oma’s gift for food making, if we are to judge by how many people enjoyed it in Gnosior was out of the ordinary.