September 27th, 2008

Charah coffee

(Short story?/prose) Ripped

He made all her troubles go away. It was as simple as that. He was suddenly a magician, performing the ultimate prestige, erasing thoughts from her mind for a few hours at once, then astro-projecting her to an alternate plane as vast, and blank, as the universe. His back was lean, his shoulder blades sharp; she had to crane her neck to reach his lips. His arms stretched fully around her body and his embraces were almost crushing in their ferocity and intensity. She liked it this way. She liked his broad, rectangular shoulders that fit her needs to a T. Nothing less would suffice.

They didn't spend a lot of time talking. Conversation was beside the point, sometimes a waste of time. Once, he asked her how her day was, and when she replied with a curt "fine" and shoved him against the wall, he forgot his vow to take an active interest in her personal life. She, on the other hand, didn�t say much to him beyond "hello"; the sounds she made after that didn�t count as talking. It suited her fine; it was, in fact, precisely what she wanted. A few hours of oblivion with her eyes closed, her senses accelerated, her mind shut; like a dream, its deceptive pseudo-reality lulled her into a false sense of belief, as if any of it could be trusted. The dream ended when one of them opened their mouths to speak � she to say goodbye and see you next time, he to tell her exactly what he thought of the way she made him feel.

He complimented her, sometimes excessively, always in a low, hoarse whisper in her ear. You�re gorgeous, you�re sexy, you�re a fucking goddess; then, moments later, an almost sweet, contented sigh, and with a tone to his voice that could perhaps be described as tender, �I can�t wait to see you again.� She merely smiled, got dressed, and dispensed with the cuddling. She shrugged his arms off her and ignored the slight annoyance on his face and said, �See you next time.�

Always better to keep them wanting than to give away too much, too soon. What started out as a series of flirtatious text messages had, over an extended period, morphed into�this. A first kiss after a dinner date, a getaway between work in his car with the engine running, then dispensing with formalities and cutting straight to the chase. During their first time together she didn�t let him in and stopped at the moment when he was most vulnerable, most naked. He protested; she made up a bogus story about forgetting an appointment and left in a hurry, but without saying, "See you next time." The next time he was hungrier, his grip stronger; he didn't allow her to leave. She had him believe it was acquiescence on her part. In between the sheets, she could make him believe anything she wanted; in between the sheets, he came undone under her silent, invisible command. When it ended he rolled over and smiled, forgetting the favours he failed to get from her.

She intoxicated him. She was all he could think about. In his private moments without her he conjured her to his side, but it was never as good, as perfect, as the real thing. He craved her lips, the arch of her back, the grip of her thighs, her fingers fisted in his hair. When she came around she made his day perfect, and he closed his eyes and breathed tasted felt nothing but her, and the next thing he knew he was saying, "God, I love you."

Her entire body went rigid like a block of wood. Compliments were cheap, and this one took the cake. She detached herself from him and said, "You're fucking kidding me."

He tried to take it back. He said, clumsily, "I mean, I...don't. I..."

She wouldn't look at him, for he'd lost his magic and had plummeted head-first back to Earth with her strapped to his arms. He was now a mere mortal, like her: bland, ordinary, painfully sentimental. She had no room for his needless, extraneous emotional entanglements, not when she left it all at the door.

During the time between her getting dressed and marching out of the apartment, he first tried apologising. When she brushed off his �I�m so sorry�s with such nonchalance it was as if she was flicking dirt off her shoe, he tried explaining himself. I can�t help it, he said. You�re the most amazing woman I�ve ever met. Nevermind, it seemed, that all he knew of her was her name and the contours of her body; she was the most amazing woman he�d ever met anyway. If only it were that simple.

A minute before she slammed the door shut behind her, he began to get angry. No longer sorry, just furious from the harsh beating his ego had taken, he shouted at her retreating back as if his words were stones. You cold, heartless bitch! he said. Who�s gonna love you now?

She slammed the door shut behind her without looking back. She stepped into the lift and pressed for the ground floor. She stared straight ahead. When the lift doors opened, she walked past an elderly couple linked at the arm on their way home. They took a glance at her, then another one. Her eyes were red.

***

(Can't resist adding a note at the end; of course I just can't leave it the way it is. Bleah.)

I like this fine. It's decent. I'd probably buy it off the shelves if it came in a collection of short stories. It's kind of something that I'd read and not just because I wrote it.

But the problem is, I'm not sure I'd still say the same a year later. Even now, I'm mostly ambivalent towards it. Not excessively proud of it, or at all, and I don't hate it, but the fact that I wrote it really bugs me. Not because of the theme or the (hopefully implied...though yeah, it's fairly obvious) sex or whatever; it's the style. I need to stop writing these masturbatory, easy pieces that, quite honestly, function more as a consolation to myself that, yes, you can still write. Kind of.

The reason I even wrote this was because I wrote two other pieces before and they both turned out nothing like the way I wanted them to. The first one was an utter disappointment that I've already re-written once, and I'm thinking of re-writing it completely again. I can't get the writing to be the way I want it to be and I don't know if it's because I simply can't do it, period, or if I'm somehow emotionally disconnected from what I'm trying to say and therefore the words don't quite come out right. Either way, it sucks, and I hate it. But it's really important to me and it's crucial that I get it right, which is why I haven't looked at it in about a week. Logic, right? Yeah, I know.

The second one is just confused. Or at least, the first half is. I'm sure of what I'm trying to do in the second half, but the first is all over the place. And once again, too lazy to go figure it out; I'd just get frustrated anyway and piss myself off, so what the hell's the point?

Therefore, Ripped. It means little to me. I don't really care for it one way or the other which is why I actually used "track changes" to edit, and I only edited it once. I usually copy and paste whatever I've written onto a new document and call it Draft Two because "track changes" gets way too messy. I wrote this with an actual pen on paper, which is probably why it's so short (hand got tired after a while), and I wrote it after I looked at the second piece and decided it was unsalvageable. Which was why I had to write something I was familiar with, just to reassure myself that I can still write something complete that won't completely disappoint me.

See? Masturbatory. I want to move on from this banal style and do something else. But I can't seem to break out of my stupid box and I don't know why and it's the most frustrating thing ever. I don't care if I sound arrogant but I genuinely believe that I can write anything. Legal memos, newspaper reports (right now I'm 100% confident that I can produce a quality report on a Roger Federer tennis match that wouldn't be fangirl at all), academic papers, movie reviews, some personal, informal travel piece in a fashion magazine. If I were more intellectual, I could even write op-eds. And obviously, I write fiction.

But oh my effing god, I cannot write fiction that I'm satisfied with, let alone proud of. Everything I produce falls short of my own expectations, my own standards. Like I said before, I don't want to just write; I want to write something that I would read. And we all know what writers I read.

And honestly? No one give a shit about two people having a purely physical relationship. No one cares. It's been done before, and better, and it's unimportant and myopic and retarded. I feel like I have nothing to say most of the time, and when I do have something to say, I can't say it because I can't plot. And even when I have the plot, I can't write it adequately enough.

Maybe I should take writing classes. Knowing myself though, I'd probably quit after one session due to my perceived incompetence of the instructor and my classmates. I have a lot of issues with the kind of writing that wins literary awards in this country but let's not get into that; I'm actually quite sleepy. And I kind of want to read another Law, Governance and Development in Asia article before I sleep.

I suppose I'm ending this long rant here.
Charah coffee

Thailand Open 2008

No one told me that ESPN is broadcasting the Thailand Open! It was by pure chance that I googled Thailand Open out of the blue and went to check if the live match between Nole and Tomas Berdych (I hope I spelled that right) was showing on TV - and it was! Good thing I was in time to watch the last few games. And of course, Nole won. Duh.

Best-of-three matches are kinda boring though; I like my tennis matches long and drawn out and best-of-five. I'm beginning to like all the little things I didn't like about tennis when I first started watching. I remember bitching about the deuce/advantage thing, but now I think it's exciting and adds suspense to the game. And I only like a straight-sets victory if Roger is the one winning; otherwise, straight sets is boring.

Nole's playing the final tomorrow. No idea what time (the stupid website really sucks. The draws are in a separate pdf file. WTF?) but I'll be watching! Hopefully it gets to a third set, though it probably wouldn't. And since I have no idea who his opponent is, it must mean that my beloved #2 is going to win. ATP's head-to-head says that they met in Australia this year. Nole won the championship. This is the Thailand Open. He's going to win again.

Still, he seriously needs to make Adidas lose those hideous lime green shorts. I just don't get it. First, why is he wearing the same outfit he wore for the US Open? Second, how did the lime green even happen? Whoever thought it was a good idea ought to be shot. Granted, Nole doesn't look bad, but it looks almost ridiculous. I'm too distracted by the atrocity of the lime green to really focus on his playing.

Anyway, there's nothing to say about those last few games that I caught except that Novak Djokovic won, and that poor Tomas B got breadsticked. And for some reason, the stadium was half-empty. Seriously? If I were Thai, or if there were a Singapore Open, I'd be there, front row, watching. And getting Nole's autograph. Squee! His playing style kind of reminds of Roger's a bit, sans the elegance of course (no one I've watched so far can even hope to get even a little bit close to the elegance that Roger has), which is why I like him. It's also why I'll never like Rafa.

On another note, I swam without my goggles today 'cause I couldn't find them and it was awful. A complete waste of time. And yet, I still feel tired.

Charah coffee

Truth.

We wait to wake to get a ride in the rain, buy a ticket they can check, we can claim, so we don't spend what's our own. For a seat, a place to stop, a green light a red cross, they run around naked doing old things like the ones before. Wait for a break so you can take a little something that'll make your next break come along a little quicker than the one before. Wait for an answer, spy a sweet dancer as she walks from the door of the hall; wish you waited for your wedding vows.

So hurry up and wait, but what's worth waiting for?

We wait to get warm; the car starts from cold stall to make a first move. Magazines made the rules to make us lose. Wait for your dream man, the house you could both plan, the car in the sales ad; the wet dream with the man that you wished that you had.

So hurry up and wait, but what's worth waiting for?

A watched pot never boils, sugars seconds to dissolve; see your appetite lost. Foods relevance is lost inside. Wait to get there; when we get there, we wait around for anyone to tell us what we even got there for.

So hurry up and wait, but what's worth waiting for?

So join the queue, me and you; wait in line - it takes our time to be satisfied.

Route? Expectations? Competition? Happiness? Commitment? Infatuation? Virginity? Respect? Marriage? Adultery? Money? Carnal knowledge? Love?... Blah, blah, blah

- "Hurry Up and Wait", Stereophonics