aimless story (part one)

November 28th, 2007 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

I wish i could write a book. Ive wanted to for as long as i can remember. Earlier this year i took a course at school in creative writing.. I started out full of optimism and thought to myself (and actually told some people out loud) “now, at long last, im going to write that short novel i’ve wanted to write since i was 13 !”… of course i didn’t.. I did however write a series of texts involving a young woman, that may or may not be autobiographical, and if they are, which i won’t admit to either way, there’s a liberal dose of fiction thrown in… or not..

Anyway, since im not feeling any real motivation to pick up the thread where these texts left off and either weave them together into some sortof shortstory book , or one story with several sub-plots, i’m going to share them here, because i do feel like sharing this, since i took the time to write it. Well, im going to start with one part, that i went thru the trouble of translating already, and maybe i’ll throw a couple more up here later on.

I realize this is quite a challenge, as the average peruser of the internet probably isn’t too big on focusing on large quantities of writing in one sitting, it just goes against the short-attention-span nature of the internet, but to hell with that. (even i don’t like reading on the internet, despite reading as many books as i can get my hands on) But then, if you bother looking at my blog in the first place, you’re probably interested in what i do, so you may actually appreciate this. Here goes, part one:

I feel bad. I open my eyes. There’s a woman standing next to my bed. She’s standing there staring at me, and i can feel her hatred for me. I feel like she’s trying to kill me with her gaze. She doesn’t say anything. Her presence is suffocating, oppressive, a negative engergy comes from her in waves and washes over me like polluted, noxious water. I’m afraid. Im more afraid than words can describe. I try to convince myself that she’s not there. But she is. Underneat the fear i can feel anger as well. She has no right to be there. I want her to leave. I can’t bear to lie there defenseless under that merciless hateful gaze. I can’t move. My body is paralyzed.
I tell her to go away. It scares me even more to do so but i do it anyway. It seems that im screaming but no sound comes from me. I try again. Try to force out those two words.
“go away” i whisper, screaming at the top of my lungs. “Go away, go away, go away! GO AWAY!” The only sound coming from my vocal chords is a pathetic sortof squeak, and with each repetition my fear grows, becomes palpable. By speaking to her i’ve now acknowledged her presence.

“I had the same dream last night. About the woman standing over my bed.”
“Did you tell her to leave this time? “ Vala asks, pausing with the big knife poised over some tomatoes, and gives me a sideways glance.
“yeah.. i did actually”
“Good for you. She probably won’t come back then. You have to show them their place or they won’t leave you alone”, she says, and continues chopping the tomatoes for the salad bar.
Vala is “psychic.”, for want of a better word… she sees ghosts and peoples auras – i felt somewhat naked and exposed when she told me one day that she could tell how i was feeling from studying my aura – and i suspect she may be a witch. She’s a good person to work with.
“She wasn’t there anyway. It was a dream. Mostly im just hoping there won’t be any women showing up today for lunch”. I go back into the kitchen to check on things in the big fridge where we keep the vegetables. If the lady in charge of running this lame cafeteria remembers to order them, that is.
I wonder to myself if i should be ambitious today or use some of the soup powder we have stocked for lazy days. (and for days when im not there to make real soup)
Let’s see.. No carrots left. No tomatoes except for the ones Vala is in the process of mutilating.. Im stuck with half a crate of rather old potatoes and a few sad looking leeks. Powdered soup it is then. I’ll use the leeks to spruce it up a bit. Maybe fry them in real butter to pretend that im actually cooking real food. Add a splash of white whine for good measure.
I make an extra batch of crepe batter, and boil and extra pot of rice, just in case. Large groups of annoying people always show up if i cut corners and prepare badly for lunch. If i make more than enough of everything i usually only have to deal with a small trickle of people. This is one of those inexplicable laws of nature that i’ve accepted as a given and learned to use to my advantage a long time ago.

Four kindly old gents show up and order the soup. I’ve begun to suspect that after a certain age peoples taste buds stop working altogether, and they probably couldnt tell the difference between sawdust and coleslaw. Nonetheless I offer them a dollop of whipped cream on their soup , which they accept with smiles all around.
I don’t mind the old guys that come here to eat. They rarely complain, and there’s none of that intolerable clicking which accompanies the high heels of the regular female clientelle as they make their way along the stone hallway of the art museum on their way to the cafeteria. Neither do they sound like a convention of crazy birds once they’re gathered in groups of three or more and get a lively conversation going, punctuated with screeches of laughter reminiscent of nails on a blackboard. I can’t stand women. I’m never going to be a woman.

Vala and I sit at our regular table, drink coffee and chat about nothing in particular while we wait for lunch to be over. One lady shows up and orders a stuffed crepe. Complains that the filling is only lukewarm. Under such circumstances my name is “Miss” and im suppose to excuse the complainee. Fat chance.
“Dumb cow” I mutter under my breath as I take her plate to reheat the food. I cheer myself up with thoughts of how the pancake and cheese and ham and rice and sauce will mostly end up on her wide, lumpy thighs. I feel mildly disgusted as i hand her the steaming, half eaten food.
Vala offers to wash up when most of the guests have finished eating.
I go over to the old guys table to clean up their bowls.
“That was some fine soup dear” they say.
I don’t feel very deserving of the compliment.

Vala has left for the day. I sit and gaze out the large glass windows which form three walls of the cafeteria. A cup of cold coffee sits in front of me, forgotten. An unattractive scum of milk floats on top. All days here are the same. Im bored. Get out my sketch book and a pencil and make some mostly meaningless doodles in it. Don’t feel like drawing. I refuse to allow myself to think about whats really bothering me. Why i’m feeling like such a bitch today. My mind starts to wander in that direction nonetheless, so i stand up abruptly and decide to make more coffee. Just in case. To make sure nobody shows up for coffee later on. The coffee container is already in place under the coffeemaker. Good. Hmm… apparently i already refilled the coffee filter. Don’t remember doing so. I turn the machine on and go out back to the kitchen to make some frosting for a merengue cake that will most likely spend two days untouched in the cake display and then end up in the trash. Im feeling restless and depressed.
I get some eggs from the fridge, powdered sugar and dark chocolate from the pantry. Absentmindedly i pop a few squares of chocolate into my mouth. Ive gained weight since i got this job. This realization depresses me more. My jeans annoy me. They press uncomfortably into the soft flesh of my hip , which makes me feel fat.
I locate a fork in one of the messy drawers and start mixing together the egg yolks and sugar. This kitchen needs an electric beater. I mention this fact on a regular basis to my superior, in a halfhearted way though, as i realize nothing will be done in the matter while i’m working here. I don’t plan on staying long enough for such big changes to take place in the running of things. I melt the chocolate and pour it into the egg and sugar mixture. This results in a thick gluey substance that’s hard to work with. My wrist aches. I get the whipped cream that was leftover from when i assembled the cake that morning, and add it to the brown goo in the bowl, which little by little becomes manageable and turns into a custard- like frosting. I hate making this stuff. But I seem to be the only one that manages to not screw it up, so i’ve resigned myself to it. I fetch the cake from the fridge and smear the frosting over it.
Against my better judgement I dip my finger in and bring out a generous glop of frosting, half of which i manage to drop onto myself en route to my mouth.
“argh” i say out loud, and realize i didn’t bring an extra shirt. I don’t have a sweater or jacket either. It was unseasonably warm this morning.
A string of profanities ensues as i go into the bathroom to wipe myself off . Theres a big brown spot in my light blue shirt, directly over my left nipple.
“awesome” i think to myself. I gather all my hair over one shoulder, arranging it to cover the spot. Which it does. Just barely. It’ll have to do for now. Dumb looking hairdo tho.. eighties-glamour-soap-opera sortof thing.. only thing missing is the perm and the shoulder pads.  It clashes with my mood completely.

I suddenly remember that i was making coffee. I can smell it all the way in here. Thats odd.. I go back out of the kitchen and see a brown puddle making its way slowly across the floor, under the coffeemaker.
“what the FUCK?” i think, becoming increasingly annoyed with myself. I grab a dishtowel and toss it into the puddle. I realize that the container already standing under the coffeemaker had already been full, and that i must have been halfway done preparing the next pot of coffee earlier and forgotten to finish…
Sigh.
I pull out a large wad of paper towels and proceed to clean up the mess i’ve made. While i’m bent over with my back to the counter i suddenly feel a pair of eyes on my back. I hear a polite cough and look back over my shoulder. I’m all too conscious of the way my shirt has ridden up , exposing my lower back. I yank it back down quickly. There’s a tall thin man, mid-thirties, standing at the counter, a small awkward smile on his face. I curse to myself and hate him instantly for showing up like this in the middle of this graceless situation.

“sorry.. i’ll be with you in a minute” I’m unable to conceal how annoyed i am.
I get up and toss the soggy towels into the trash, and toss my hair back with a quick flick of the head. I’ve completely forgotten about the spot .
The man asks if i’m still serving lunch. His gaze is pointed more at my chest than my face. I find it rather rude of him.
Its tempting to just say “no, im sorry, there’s no food here, its all finished.”
I remember there’s some soup left and tell him about it.
He’s still looking down in the direction of my boobs. God, how annoying.
“what kind of soup is it?” he asks.
“Leek soup. With cream and white whine.” I say the last as an afterthougt in an attempt to make it sound more appetizing than it is. I don’t feel like preparing anything more strenuous for this annoying man.
“That sounds fine. I’ll have that. And some coffee.”
“There’s soup included with the coffee”, i say.
He gives me a strange look.
“I mean there’s coffee included with the soup.”
My face is getting hot.
Once again i notice his gaze is pulled downwards and suddenly i remember the damn spot.
“will there be anything else?”
I feel like a complete idiot. The man pays for his food and i attempt, thru sheer force of will, to make myself invisible.

God, i hate this job.

Read 16 comments

16 comments for this post

“it just goes against the short-attention-span nature of the internet…”

to be honest, it took me a few minutes to read this episode or chapter or let´s just say – part one, and it´s not so bad to spend some time with it.
So after reading it I´m curious where this story leads to… (will it get´s more mysterious and strange, focusing the dream at the first passage )

Pleasantly anticipating part to! ;)

I don’t know about mysterious, but it definitely fits that category of “a day in the life of this woman” stories. the detail of her thoughts and mundane chores comes through quite well which adds to the last sentence as needed.

i was very much under the influence of Margaret Atwood when writing this (tho she of course is a genius, and i’m not) , very fond of her skill at writing rivetting stories about really believable characters, and manages to make the smallest most mundane details interesting.

What a sorry place this world would be if there were no courses for creative writing. :) I started writing my blog as a journal for our English course called – surprisingly enough – Creative Writing. The best course I’ve ever attended. But I digress…

What was interesting in your story was how the main character hated women and becoming one herself.. After reading just a few of the things that annoyed her I began to understand the “downsides” a bit better. Men looking at their bozoms and constantly thinking about weight gain and stuff like that… I mean, not all girls do that but certainly many of those that I know. Earlier I had never been able to sort of get into their position, but the story definately helped a bit. Being a boy – well, and old boy anyway – myself, those are not among the things we have to suffer from.

What would you think, could you some day write a similar story about a boy?

Anyway, thanks for the story and your inspiring photos!

PS: Naturally, we had to write something during the course, too. Here’s my story… A long one, at that. As you said, I also think it’s a tad too long for people zooming around the internet to read.

It was silly to make a fantasy-based novel because there are little time to explain anything.. But I think that it was exactly the reason why I chose to try. Anyway, here it is for those of you with ample time:
http://jannemankila.googlepages.com/deliverance-finaledition

gyanendranath ( bablooshukla ), timon th meercat , cat tom sylvester . wrote on December 4th, 2007

This story , though aimless , u say , is the result of ur feelings in the mind , day to day job and at th end of th day reflecting in ur dreams , too . Ur expression and content related to th ogling eyes of this man and how u feel about this , is very natural and makes interesting reading . This form of writing in a blog gives a great outlet , as everytime u r unable to change ur circumstances . U r my friend , cat tom sylvester .

I enjoyed it very much. Mundane subject but you write well enough to draw the reader in very quickly. I too wanted to read more right away.

The bit at the end made me think of a certain photo by a young icelandic photographer I admire. I’m sure you can guess which one :)

Rebekka!
this is awsome piece of writing.
I enjoyed reading it.
Simple and short story, perfect for lazy evening read.
Made me feel better.
Also, I like your narrative tone. I could easily visualize it.

glad to hear that Marta..
i’ll upload some more of this soon, since several people at least enjoyed it:)

you’re so modest… aimless? it’s as if i’ve let you take me by the hand and you’ve led me about through this story. wonderful! giddy up with posting the second part already! =o)

Loved the story!! Very interesting!

[...] aimless story part one [...]

Rebekka, excellent writing, very engaging.

I, for better or worse, read it AFTER part two. Didn’t have any special concerns about that; you’re practically two personae in the two pieces! (Which is good, very good, when thinking about you as a writer!)

I cannot resist wondering if your two references to “white whine” were subtle puns or, rather, charming Malapropisms. That you did it twice makes it deliberate, I suspect. But that just me, the “wino” (as we say in the U.S.), speaking!

Anyhow, I did do the recommendation of part two in my blog. Come give it a read!

Hugs, Justine

curiosity about your ‘problem’ with theft brought me here. i thoroughly and deeply enjoyed your fotos to a point of fidgety inspiration! it is night, here on the gulf coast in the aftermath of katrina, boring landscapes full of washed away dreams and realities. thank you for making the decision to do fotowork!!!

listening to “there’s a sea in your body”

Sigurd The Absurd wrote on February 16th, 2008

[argh!] Okay, I’ll play nice. Do I ‘like’ your narrative? No. Does it draw me in? Well… perhaps after a fashion; not unlike voyeuristically over-hearing a thick accented bimbo – some Montessori wannabe – graphically describing the circumsised penis of the precocious four year old, whose care she’s charged with in exchange for a year on Park Avenue, to her equally witless friend, now adding ketchup to her lunch entre of “potatis soppa”. I’m nearly as amazed by her condiment usage as is her colleague wondering “Why then does the mother wear that cross?” Reply: “Maybe she just likes it.” I like Greek diners! And I especially like the staff at this one. They’re the only reason I even trouble myself to stifle an overwhelming urge to let loose a scream the like of which Big Mango hasn’t heard since Tower Two came down. If only your character behind the counter had given us a reason why empathy, if any, should be warranted, much less evolve into something more then a fleeting sympathy, I might find myself caring enough to want more from her. Instead I’m left relieved that she didn’t scald herself – or a patron, for that matter – with soup, coffee or her inflammable spleen. She gives us nothing and leaves me wanting even less then that. This is just another stop along other peoples way, and she knows it. (But what do I know?) The consensus would seem to be in demand of more on her. And it’s good that you continue to write despite some bad “press”. Exercise is it’s own equation; things will add up – favorably.

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