I have looked death in the eyes few times. For others but also for myself. I have been often told that there’s no God and no afterlife, but folllowing my encounters with death I guess I am too convinced of the contrary to listen to those sceptic voices. I do respect what other people think, but respecting others will never reduce my beliefs to nothing, on the contrary.
Most of the people have an absolutely disgusted look on their face when they hear about death. Some venerate it. Some fear it to the extent that they don’t even want to think about it. We’re all aware it exists. Most of us cannot understand it. But the same death that means decay, foulness, nothingness and still, is part of us just as much as it has been part of our ancestors too.
People turn their face away from death because they are scared or because they have been taught that it can bring disease or that it is unclean. Or because they prefer to concentrate on the life, rather than see the whole process, black and white, doing and undoing, life, death and new life again. For the immediate you and me, what matters is today, what we do, what we have, what we eat, where we go. But we live in a society that is equally one of death as much of one of life, isn’t it? Or maybe even more one of death than one of life? We eat meat, we cut flowers, people hunt, people get cremated and buried or offer their bodies to science. People sell weapons and wars are being fought. Some people thrive while others starve to death.
There is not only the beauty and goodness daily put on display for sales targets, but also the reverse side of it all. There are not only new born babies and blooming flowers, but also dead people laid to rest and entire systems that revolve around death itself. From the undertakers that earn a fortune while dealing with grieving families to the little beetles that eat decaying flesh, all have a little part in it.
Some of the birds that have nested last year have died, and a suite of insects and plants contribute now to taking apart and redistributing every material atom of them. Every little creature and plant that dies gets quickly surrounded by a cortege of creatures, just like a circus that comes to town and gets very busy before the show. Behind the scenes of it all nothing gets saved or lost, but everything is transformed in new matter for life, and so new life can find the raw minerals needed for it to emerge again.
Many years ago, as I was dealing with the water that was trying to find its way into my lungs, I had forgotten who I was or what I wanted from life. What I had eaten that morning or what I had in my bank account had no meaning at all. It was all worthless and the only thing I could gasp for was a breath of air. I was, I guess, not different than a wounded bird that beats its wings one more time before it takes a last breath. A little part of me knew that it could have been the final moment that day. And yes, it was scary. Scary because I had no idea what was about to happen. Horribly scary because I had no control over my own life. There and then I was not ready to give up. Between few heartbeats and a hope for air it occurred to me that I had not appreciated life truly until then. And God how I wanted to live!
In a mysterious way, a hand has been stretched my way. Not only a friendly material hand, but also a divine one. Then, when I finished coughing, with a horrible salty aftertaste and a stomach full of seawater, feeling sick and wet, I thought that it was not the time to go just yet, not until I would have learned the lesson of what life was all about. I think I was determined to take life more seriously.
I think I understand life and death more now, but like any person that has been sightless for many years, I am now awfully blinded by the intense light of the truth. That moment of salvation, the spark of life in my veins and the thought that accompanied them cannot be the result of an evolutionist theory, they are rather a mystery that my human mind is not ready to embrace just yet.
Other creatures are unaware of the realities of our human life. Birds and animals and plants cannot understand our complicated life and needs, our food, our languages, our customs. They do not consider themselves the greatest in the universe like we do. They have no idea what mathematics or science are, yet they are very much alive and lead a simple happy life. There are a limited number of neurons in our skulls, how could they possibly perceive the infinity of the universe? It is impossible. I am convinced that us humans cannot understand the whole complexity of life, all the dimensions that surround us, all the beauties of the universe and even less the mystery and greatness of the Creator of it all.
900 words, Adela Galasiu, 2016
Photography: Adela Galasiu, May 2016
The Isle of Wight has many amazing attractions, from places in nature, to ruins and monuments. From red squirrels to dinosaurs. Countless tourists find beaten or undiscovered tracks and travel the Island enjoying the beautiful views. Yet the Island’s history will always be related to the lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who have created in Osborne House a family retreat and a home filled with many happy family moments.
Queen Victoria bought Osborne House in 1845. She had spent two holidays on the Isle of Wight as a young girl, in Norris Castle, the estate next door to Osborne. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert liked the house and the views of the Solent. But when it became obvious that it was too small for their needs, they have decided to build a new residence in the style of the Italian Renaissance complete with two belvedere towers between 1845 and 1851. Prince Albert designed the house himself together with builder Thomas Cubitt, whose company also built the main façade of Buckingham Palace.
Because of the layout of the estate, gardens and woodlands, Prince Albert made use of his knowledge of forestry and landscaping. Below the gardens there was also a private beach where the Queen had her own private bathing machine.
The grounds include a ‘Swiss Cottage’, which was dismantled and brought piece by piece from Switzerland to Osborne where it was reassembled for the royal children, who were encouraged to garden. Each royal child was given a rectangular plot in which to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers, in order to then sell their produce to their father. Prince Albert used this as a way to teach his children the basics of economics. The children also learned to cook in the Swiss Cottage, which was equipped with a fully functioning kitchen. Both parents saw this kind of education as a way of keeping their children’s feet firmly on the ground in spite of their royal status.
The royal family stayed at Osborne for lengthy periods each year: in the spring for Victoria’s birthday, in summer for Albert’s birthday, and in winter for Christmas.
The domestic idyll at Osborne was not to continue. In December 1861, Prince Albert died at Windsor Castle. During her widowhood, Osborne House continued as one of Queen Victoria’s favourite homes, until her death there in 1901.
The house is now a very attractive English Heritage location, being at the same time museum and hosting various events throughout the year. It comprises also a lovely café and a souvenir shop with many attractive items.
For those of you who did not have yet the chance to visit the Isle of Wight, I warmly invite you to spend few sunny days and discover it for yourself. And if you come here take some time to discover this wonderful house as well. In order to raise your interest I take you on a quick tour. Please enjoy the art objects, the beautiful un-palace-like rooms and the great atmosphere.
500 words, Adela Galasiu, March 2016
Photos: Osborne House, by Adela Galasiu, February 2016, Isle of Wight, UK
Motto: In the beginning, the thinker, the feelings and the thought were one. It was bliss.
After a very long conscience sleep, he woke up wondering how he was spending his days. He was mostly trying to predict positive outcomes for his actions, but sadly that was not happening often anymore. As he opened his tired eyes, a heavy headache was hanging in his brain, writhing like an agonising phantom. His mind, populated by thoughts of the way he was spending his time, wondered if actually this was the way he was living his life. Was he living or wasting his life?
Aged 47, he was no longer a young idealistic lad, he had spent almost all his life indoctrinated that only producing and scoring matters. This has dried out his soul, that child soul he used to have that was able to taste, to smell, to feel joy and to abandon himself to the moment of happiness. All that mattered now was who you become, what you have, how much you can produce or how much you know. In the depths of his soul, he could not let go of the memory of being free, feeling, living, enjoying the experience called life. Yet, most of the time, there was no time to enjoy, feel and be happy, there was only time to rush, strive to be better and work. It all felt like chasing up a forever retreating ghost.
He could not help but think that there was a sort of innocence that was taken from him. An awareness and a consciousness that only illuminated people could reach at this time, and there were fewer and fewer of them. Generations of them have died trying to defeat powers beyond their strength.
The reality was cruel. Getting ready for work he feared that again he will have to face the cold domination of the metal race. Hardly any human had a chance to manage all the tasks laid ahead. Hardly any human could take decisions as fast as required or work without a break for 20 hours a day as requested. Exhausted, one by one humans were falling asleep standing and falling apart, while being replaced with clones, with no hearts but with powerful circuits. Soon even the few pushing the buttons in the control room were to be replaced, and a whole race was about to become obsolete. All people had become inhabitants of the same machine, batted constantly around by the same wheels that turn around faster and more painful than ever. The world had become abstract and cold, and the very brain that had created this reality was about to become obsolete in a universe of constant movement and flux.
Just like his ancestors, he had always fought for some reassurance and certainty in life, but generation after generation had failed to find the holy grail of peace. They have all died trying, tortured in a world that had become more and more aggressive, that had forced them to perform and produce more and more. A world that has robbed them of all innocence and all joy. A world in which one could not be present in reality anymore, because of the anxiety, inner torture and stress generated by the survival game. A game that looked very much like the experiments with rats racing desperately through mazes 500 years ago, hoping to find an escape. Yet he realised that he was only alive in this present moment, and by not being able to feel it and experience it he was robbed of all his existence.
That day he was unable to concentrate and work like he used to. The machine has quickly observed the abnormality and has taken him out of the assembly room. In a matter of minutes another, fast and cold, has taken his place. Nobody cared, there was no second chance, all that mattered were the numbers changing fast on the screen of a supervisor.
Broken and defeated he returned to the place he called home. Not a house, but rather a little capsule in a huge hive called now the city. Leaving behind the clay and divinity that created him, the memories of may successive lifetimes flew in front of his eyes for a second. With all the sensitivity encapsulated in his soul, lethargically and agonising , he was slowly dying. A new race , cold an ruthless, was taking his place. Future was there. Metal and circuits have crashed Adam.
Memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu, January 2016
Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually is?
After thinking a lot about it, I have summarised it in 10 ideas. The perfect Copywriter can be described as:
1. The marketing guru, the only one that can make your marketing so efficient that you would not believe it.
2. The word magician that can make words jump through fire.
3. The business message conveyor, whispering in your ear the most efficient message for your customers.
4. The person pulling a no name business out of obscurity even without winning a medal.
5. The expert that can outsell the best salesperson without even talking to a customer, how about this magic?
6. The person who is both good with people and computers, who can all do amazing things in the presence of a copywriter.
7. The one who can reach you wherever you are. On the street, under the shower or in front of your computer.
8. The voice stuck in your head. Yes, the one that created your favourite add.
9. The writer that can write anything. About anything. Advertisement, brochures, content for the web or radio… and the list is neverending.
10. And of course, this person deserves a raise and a prize because they are just awesome! Not that it ever happens. 🙂
© Copyright 2000 -2015. Adela Galasiu
All Rights Reserved.
The “Three Little Pigs” is a fairy tale that has become very popular in our culture. It was originally written in England, the earliest credited story version being written by James Orchard Halliwell in 1849. The story appeared in a book titled “Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.” It is not known if Halliwell, who later used the name Halliwell-Phillipps, created the story himself or has simply passed it down from his previous generations.
Halliwell was credited by Joseph Jacobs when he adapted the story for a book titled “English Fairy Tales.” Jacobs made changes to appeal to a younger audience. In the original story, the “Big Bad Wolf” was boiled in a pot and eaten by the three pigs. Rather than end the fairy tale in such a horrible manner, Jacobs adapted the tale, so that the “Big Bad Wolf” came down the chimney and burned his tail. In the Disney interpretation, the wolf lands in a pot of boiling turpentine, but runs away in pain through the chimney.
The basic story of “The Three Little Pigs” is a tale of three little pigs who each builds a home. The first one takes little time in building the home out of straw and spends the rest of his time playing and relaxing. The second little pig builds a home out of sticks, which takes a bit longer, but he too values relaxation time. The third little pig chooses to build a home out of bricks, which requires a great deal of time and effort. He values more taking the time to build a home properly over relaxation and recreation. When the big bad wolf comes to the homes, only the third pig’s house stands up to the pressure applied by the wolf.
The moral lesson learned from “The Three Little Pigs” is that hard work and dedication pay off. This idea that taking the time to perform a task the right way has been widely adopted by many teachers and parents of children for generations. It has became extremely popular in the United States with Walt Disney’s adaption of the tale.
Here you can find Disney’s adaptation:
In 1933, Walt Disney released an eight-minute animated film of the “Three Little Pigs.” According to the Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts, this short film has inspired many Americans through the Great Depression. Just as the three little pigs were able to overcome adversity through hard work, many Americans believed that their hard work would eventually lead them out of the Great Depression.
But starting from the Disney version of the story, the cinematography has continued to adapt, and it is really interesting to see how the story has been changed in time, in different moments in time and according to different trends, into:
a musical version
a reality version
an unhappy ending version
or an Italian Mafia style version.
The story has , like all fairy tales, a seed of truth hidden deep inside. And it can also mean something completely different to different people. The moral of the story nevertheless inspired generations to work hard for success, with the hope that one day the hard work will lead to success and happiness.
Yet, no matter how you look at the story and whichever your favourite version may be, enjoy it. 🙂
Memyselfandela, July 2015
In a far away land there is a city with hundreds of wise houses. Each house has a roof, a soul and an attic with two windows. Eyes scrutinize the birds that get back to their nests late at night, the grannies that bake homemade bread, the blatant children playing outside, the flowers raising their heads in the sun, the cats that purr in hidden corners, the dogs hiding their precious bones, the women that dream of the return of their husbands and the husbands dreaming of other women.
Every day opens a new color, a new hope, ends a life and begins others. Every evening sends to sleep all the rippled memories of the day, all the children and cats and birds and wives and husbands. Some of the grannies will sleep longer, other babies will get born out of the dreams of past nights. Some of the flowers will grow seeds, others will bloom, the stars will seem to rotate on the sky awaiting the rays of the same sun that has opened the eyes of all the children and women and cats and husbands and grannies and birds.
When morning comes the smell of coffee invades the streets. It fills up the sky and the staircases of all houses. As eyes open life vibrates, noises clash in the air, birds sing again, cats lick meticulously their paws and wash their furs with slow movements on the edge of wide open windows, dogs inspect every corner of their territory, children moan instead of waking up, wives pack lunch for their husbands, husbands go to work hoping that the day will be better that the other days. And even though life seems the same, it is always different.
In the city where houses have eyes life can still flow in unexpected patterns. Houses have eyes in Sibiu, Romania.
Intr-o tara indepartata exista un oras cu sute de case intelepte. Fiecare casa are un acoperis, un suflet si un pod cu doua ferestre. Ochi privesc cu mare atentie pasarile care se intorc la cuiburile lor noaptea, bunicile care coc paine de casa, copiii galagiosi care se joaca pe afara, florile care isi ridica frumosul cap in soare, pisicile care torc in colturi ascunse, cainii care isi ascund mult iubitele oase, femeile care viseaza cu ochii deschisi la intoarcerea barbatilor lor si barbatii care viseaza la cu totul alte femei.
Fiecare zi deschide o noua culoare, o noua speranta, sfarseste o noua viata si incepe altele. Fiecare seara trimite la culcare toate amintirile ondulate ale zilei, toti copiii si toate pisicile si toate pasarile si toate nevestele si toti barbatii. Unele bunici vor dormi mai mult, alti copii se vor naste din visele noptilor care au trecut. Unele flori vor face seminte, altele vor inflori, stelele vor parea ca se rotesc pe cer asteptand razele aceluiasi soare care a deschis ochii tuturor copiiilor si femeilor si pisicilor si barbatilor si bunicilor si pasarilor.
Cand vine dimineata aroma de cafea napadeste toate strazile. Umple cerul si casele scarilor. In timp ce ochii se deschid, viata vibreaza, zgomote se ciocnesc in aer, pasari canta din nou, pisici isi ling meticulos labele si isi spala blana cu miscari foarte tacticoase pe marginea ferestrelor larg deschise, caini inspecteaza fiecare colt al teritoriului lor, copii gem in loc sa se trezeasca, neveste impacheteaza pranzul pentru barbatii lor, barbati merg la lucru sperand ca ziua va fi mai buna decat alte zile. Si desi viata pare la fel, este mai totdeauna diferita.
In orasul in care casele au ochi viata poate inca sa se scurga in tipare cu totul neasteptate.
Casele au ochi in Sibiu, Romania.
300 words / 300 de cuvinte,
Story and Translation / Poveste si Traducere : memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu October 2013 / July 2015
This is a simple story that happened in the moonlight. A story streaming from my own life. A story about a small moment that will remain for life in my memory.
Maybe many of you have a favourite band. And I bet many of you have hoped or dreamed To get the unique moment to meet the vocalist they like so much , or shake hands with the guitarist they consider to be the best in the world- maybe it is not so for others, but it is so for them.
My very favourite Romanian rock band is Luna Amara, a Romanian alternative rock/grunge band. The name means “Bitter Moon” in Romanian, and has been borrowed from the Roman Polanski movie of the same name, inspired by Pascal Bruckner’s novel with the same name.The band was formed by Nick Făgădar (vocals, guitar) and Gheorghe Farcaş (bass guitar) in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, in September 1999, in Romania. I had the chance to listen to them first time live in Sibiu, and I have discovered them much more after I left Romania in 2011.
Luna Amara has played on stage over 200 times in the past years, throughout Romania. As a live act, this Romanian five-piece outfit has a style that combines heavy metal with alternative rock. Luna Amara is also the first Romanian band to introduce the trumpet sound into an Alternative Rock style, a struck of genius in my humble opinion.
All the artists in the band try to dedicate their lives to promote and support a modern European society in Romania. Beyond the poetry in the love songs , their lyrics have often a political message, Luna Amară being also involved in ecological projects such as “Save Vama Veche” (protecting the endangered seahorses), “Save Roşia Montană” (protecting the wildlife and natural surroundings of a mountain area from cyanide poisoning caused by companies that extract gold) and other social awareness projects.
“Luna Amară” is one of Romania’s most successful rock bands and was the top selling artist in a national chain of music stores (Hollywood Music & Film) from July until September 2004. Their songs “Folclor” (“Folklore”), “Gri Dorian” (“Dorian Grey”), “Roşu aprins” (“Scarlet”) and “Ego nr. 4” reached number one in airplay charts at local radio stations around the country.
Throughout the years they have released several albums: “Asfalt” (Asphalt), “Loc lipsă” (Missing Place), “Don’t Let Your Dreams Fall Asleep”(where mainly the acoustic side of the band is underlined), “Pietre in Alb” (Stones in White), “Live la Conti” (Live at Conti). The band performed tours all over Romania in clubs and open air locations as well as shows in the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey and played live at the Sziget Festival in Budapest.
They may be neither angels, nor heroes, but they are some extremely talented people. It is more than their personal love and feelings decanted in their music, it is also their passion and talent for music. I used to detach myself from stress listening to Deftones, Metallica and Incubus, but they are nowhere near Luna Amara. At least to me, because I am Romanian and Bitter Moon sing the longing and the pain in my native language. But it is not only this. I have discovered such beautiful blue sad profound lyrics attached to their music. They contribute with amazing poetry, not only with extremely versatile sound. Their songs are colourful, they bleed and ache, they are just beautifully alive.
Two years ago when I was back in Romania for few days I have tried desperately to buy their “Stones in White” album, yet no music shop or online store had it available, it was sold out. After a long online research I managed to find a link and I was promised to get the album the next night, when I was going back to Cluj in the evening for my next morning flight back to the UK.
The evening came, I took a taxi and we drove in the evening to the address where the recording studio was. It was a very simple encounter, but it has struck me very profoundly: Nick Fagadar, the founder of Luna Amara, met me almost in the middle of the night because he cared that somebody really wanted to have their album. He handed it to me with a kind smile , he shook my hand like a friend , with no pretentious gestures, and wished me to enjoy the music. I have been truly honoured not only to get the long desired album, but mostly by getting to meet in person the legend behind it.
There was something beautiful that I cannot describe radiating through him as we left him behind. I could not help but smile. The moon was shining, yet this time not bitter, but full of hope and mysterious meanings.
800 words, Memyselfandela , 2015
Memory. One of the strongest muscles in our being. It can contract and ruin your life crushing you underneath or it can gently lift your soul in the light, no matter what life throws at you.
When I was a child my grandmother used to have in a corner of her garden a columbine that used to grow again and again every year. I remember how fascinated I used to be as a little girl by the filigree shape and the delicate yet robust structure of this flower. I could study it day after day when it bloomed or when it’s petals were falling. I used to be very caring with the flowers. And when I say flowers, I mean beings, living creatures that I respected deep in my child’s heart. It never ceased to amaze me and make me happy whenever I saw it, because only there, in that corner of the garden, hidden in shadow under a lilac tree one could have found my columbine. There were no others, it was unique and the neighbours had none. It’s incredible how simple things that adults don’t even notice can be such an awesome thing for a child.
Many years I grew up with the beautiful columbines, studying them as they opened their purple-blue flowers. Columbines meant holiday, freedom and childhood. Not in so many words, but with a warm cosy feeling deep within. Words meant nothing then, only the heart was full of feelings and of a light that an adult is losing somewhere on the way.
This year I was contemplating my bare garden, frozen and with no trace of life. Then suddenly an incredible invisible force, a singular touch of grace has awaken the life in the sleeping buds and wrinkled flowers that rose their heads and stretched their beings in the warm sunshine. Then mesmerised I have discovered hundreds of columbines.
Is it God’s message that life is beautiful and full of diversity on a multitude of layers at the same time? Or is it just a cosmic coincidence? No matter what it is, it has brought back to me that warm cosy feeling in the midst of a busy life full of stress. The morning when I saw the columbines bloom I felt how one must feel when they win the lottery. To others this means nothing. To me it means the return to innocence.
400 words, memyselfandela, June 1st 2015
Photo: Adela Galasiu, May 2015
When you don’t condemn, criticize, nor judge, when you grow in more awareness of your thoughts, an intense watching of your inner world of thinking, you gradually find the thoughts will gradually lose its randomness. You will be able to see your thoughts. You will be able to see them separately appearing on your mental screen. You will be able to find the gap between two thoughts. As you are able to find the gap between two thoughts, that gap is the silence. That Silence that is there between two thoughts is the deepest Silence of this whole Universe.
Cand nici nu condamni, nici nu critici sau judeci, cand cresti intr-o mai puternica recunoastere a gandurilor tale cu o intensa observatie a lumii reflectiei tale interioare, descoperi treptat ca gandurile isi pierd spiritul aleator. Vei putea sa iti vizualizezi gandurile. Le vei putea vedea separat aparand pe ecranul tau mental. Vei reusi sa gasesti spatiul liber dintre doua ganduri. Pe masura ce recunosti spatiul dintre ganduri, acel spatiu e liniste. Acea Liniste care se afla intre ganduri e cea mai adanca Tacere din intreg universul.
100 words, memyselfandela, 2012
It was a cold winter afternoon when the news of losing her husband had struck her worst than the lightning. Shocking. Scary. Heartbreaking. Cruel. This news never comes easy, but there was a sense of cruelty in the easiness with which the words have been spoken by her brother in law who did not even realize that it was not his father John that had been found dead, but his brother John, who happened to have the same name but who has been living at a completely different address. It was ironic that he did not understand the obvious when he received that fatidic phone call, but when she heard about it, she was the only one who did understand. In that moment of truth, in the presence of her daughter, her whole universe has crumbled in a moment. Her child has stood still by the sound of her excruciating loud scream, a voice of despair never heard before. A scream announcing a lot of suffering.
Then came a long time of waiting for the confirmation of her loss, most probably the longest night in her life. They had gone to bring back home his dead body and she was helpless, she had to wait with her child for the moment when she would see him dead with her own eyes. Her heart was broken in two. Her mind was telling her that he was gone, yet her soul refused to accept it and hung on any glimpse of hope. She tried to phone and find out more, she tried to get help from people around, yet nobody seemed to care and all others seemed to stay out of this tragedy that was left only on her shoulders. When there’s pain, nobody seems to want to know it, all seem to turn their back and refuse to be close to it. A solitude understood only by the hurt ones.
With her family hundreds of miles away, she had spent a whole terror night hiding in a corner of the flat, finding comfort only in embracing her daughter while whispering through the tears “it cannot be him, no, he is not dead…Yes, it is him, it can only be him living at our address… no, it cannot be him…” An agony that would have gone unknown to anyone but God. Sounds of bullets fired outside the building, in the near proximity and in a distance, have tormented the whole night. A night of such an acute solitude and emptiness that she nearly lost her mind.
Making it through the madness of what is now known as the Romanian Revolution in 1989, her brothers and sisters have defied any fear and have taken all the same train, coming to bring the deserved consolation for the soul that did not have the strength to express the loss and pain anymore. Their embrace was similar to the wing of an angel covering a broken soul.
His soul was still floating among us while we were crying by his side while we were saying goodbye. In a little village church lit up by many candles, on Christmas day, in that small room full of a whole community of relatives and neighbours, he must have seen his wife kissing his forehead for the last time and his daughter being taken away while reaching her hand for the last time towards him as they were nailing the top of his coffin. He must have known he was loved and missed. He must know he is loved till the end of time.
It is all very vivid in my memory. People say time makes memories fade, yet this memory stays the same, it opens in my mind with the same brightness of a light that suddenly illuminates a very dark room. It was and still is painful. Yet it is also the loving memory of my beloved father. It is also the love for my dear precious mother, a woman who has been through so much in life. I was the witness, I was the child, and somewhere in my heart , at this time of the year, I still am. Back there, 25 years ago.
She had not written for many days, weeks, months, it felt rather like eons. Struck by a fierce silence, she didn’t find the words any more. Painful silence, coming from deeper than the words can say. From deep within where thoughts do not have time or do not dare to descend in normal days that gallop worst than wild horses. Life seems to have stopped and unfolded in front of her eyes with a sort of cruelty that she did not know how to swallow. Cruelty or acute sarcasm. As if life itself would have smiled at her with half a face and smashed her badly with a slap coming from the opposite side.
Yes, life is sarcastic and unfair. Who told you that there are happy ending stories? There may be many fairy tales, but not many real happy endings. She did her best to make things happen but at some point she understood that she has no power over life itself, that life is a far bigger force than she can even understand with her mind and that all she can do is to accept with humiliation that in some ways she has lost the battles long before they have even begun.
Shredded often between her beautiful imagination and the cruel reality, she had learned that the most powerful thing one can do in this life is to survive. And the most crazy to dream. She has never dared to lay on paper all her thoughts, out of fear that if she would have done so, maybe the whole reality would have cracked over her. Yet in moments when nobody noticed her, she has dared to close her eyes and without a word to imagine a parallel world where everything was different than in this one.
There was in the end no lesson she could have cascaded on others. No great wisdom and no big prise. She had only learned that she knew nothing and as such, she stopped talking about life. She stopped complaining and equally she stopped rejoicing. She had reached a state of acceptance that was similar to the shell of a tortoise, trying to keep the very core of her far away, deeply hidden from any pain.
In an untold resilience her spirit has lost many other souls, even the ones she has loved the most. Their voice has faded just as sudden as it has made itself heard. Their presence has stopped shining a warmth of goodness and joy in her existence. Yet she was adamant she did not lose them completely and she will once again have the blessing of meeting them all. In her fantasy at least.
On the corner of a little table hidden in a tea room where nobody stopped today because of the horrible weather, she broke her silence, but allowed the secrets to remain in the deep hidden corners of her soul, brewing there, unknown to others, yet ready to emerge one day, truly full of magic.
500 words, memyselfandela, November 2014
Anger? Hate? What would be the perfect word to carve into my arm? What do I allocate this tender, fleshy space between my elbow and my wrist to? Ah, no, don’t tell me. I should tattoo that I have been looking for you a lifetime and that I will never give up on the hope to finally find you. I have looked for you a lifetime? No, this is no place for lamentations… Love? Peace and Light? No, I should tattoo that I love you, that I love your feet and your heart. Your big feet. And that I live for those moments when all I want to hear is my little breath next to the amazing sound of your thumping heartbeat.
Memories of a madman float in the void space around, yet the heart knows no fear. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is now. I am tired to wait for an indefinite time when maybe something will happen. No, I feel and I love and I care and I suffer and I breathe and I hope and I dream. I can touch tomorrow with the tips of my fingers and embrace it as it comes, in the making. I am no longer waiting for a life, here I am, I AM the LIFE!
I had to sigh a million times till I could finally start to breathe… Breathe with my heart and soul, with my being, not only with my feeble lungs… LIVE , not only biologically pathetically exist… Embrace my fiery real feelings, not only humbly get crushed underneath their intensity… And what I found out in the end is that in a lifetime we may break and fall a million times,again and again, but baby, one day, after all this crush and falling, we can finally rise and fly.
Yesterday lovely Nicola Humphries, BBC producer and wonderful woman with a big heart, has given me the opportunity to tell a story.
It has all started with my beloved Rhapsody in Blue and Gershwin, but for me this represents the tip of my soul iceberg. I have dived very deep in my past to the times when I was a happy child. I have spoken about life in the Communism, oppression, the tragic death of my father which has coincided with the beginning of the Romanian Revolution on the 22 of December 1989. I have tried to describe life as it was, but time was short and words don’t come always easy. I have had moments when my mind has frozen and when I could not find my words as in the back of my eyes I have kept my tears, because I cannot get back in some moments in time without feeling again all that intense pain.
I am in love with music because it has always been for me a gate to freedom and a window of hope in the darkest moments. I have remembered the most intense moments that I have lived and witnessed, the blood on the streets of Sibiu, the fear when people were shot, the agony of not knowing what was happening with my father when he did not come back home, the death striking my family when we have least expected, the love and the absolute loss.
I may be different than other people given the intensity of situations that I have lived, things that could have made other people get insane. I have been through things that normally do not happen to other people. Those have been moments that have not destroyed me, but made me stronger. This is one of the reasons why I write and I have started my blog. I believe that despite all pain, beyond all loss, life is both a path and a fight. We can all create a better path and win our battle. I truly believe that none of us should give up, that we should all have peace of mind and hope in our heart for the day to come. I believe it because I have been myself on the edge of despair and I have looked into the abyss of depression many times in my life.
As I came out of the BBC I have entered the Church of All Souls. I believe nothing is accidental. I have been not given the chance to speak about me alone, but the chance to recall and mention my mother, my father, my love, my loss, my hope. Maybe it was a way of setting myself free and closing a deep pain of the past, a bleeding succession of losses that I have lived with for a long time.
500 words, memyselfandela, February 2014
Photos: Adela Galasiu, February 2014
Many thanks to wonderful Nicola Humphries and BBC 4, Soul Music.
Today I offer you a rhapsody from my heart. An effusively rapturous and extravagant discourse. My expression of enthusiasm and praise for a musical piece that I absolutely madly deeply adore.
Whoever has read my blog in the past knows that I am passionate about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I have written about it in the past and I listen to it every once in a while when I am happy or when I recharge my inner batteries. Yesterday, as I read one very surprising comment on my blog, I have realised that I have never taken the time to put together all the reasons why I love this musical piece so very much.
The comment came from a BBC Radio 4 producer who is researching for a programme about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I was first of all completely surprised that my post about Gershwin even showed up in an online search. But it was even more exciting for me when I had the joy to discuss on the phone with the producer and I was asked what feelings this particular piece of music awakens in my memory and heart.
If I want to explain what I feel about it I need to rewind my whole life. My memories of it start in childhood when I heard this piece on the radio and have simply fallen in love with it. Coming from a family that loved music, I have listened to both classics and modern music as I grew up. I have fed my spirit with opera played on old magnetic cassettes, with Chopin and Beethoven, with Ravel and Vivaldi, just like I have fed my soul later on in my life with the music of the 80’s and the rock music. When I was a child music was a great joy for us, as in the communism we did not have access to all the variety of entertainment that one can experience now. It was only natural that I fell in love with this piece that infuses Jazz, Impressionism and classical elements molten in a 20th Century romantic theme offered with brittle and quirky interruptions.
This appreciation for the Rhapsody in Blue has continued throughout all my life. Every time when I was defeated and low I have sat and listened to it. Unlike other people with linear lives I have been through many changes, I have witnessed a lot of pain, loss, death, suffering, but also love, joy, sacrifice and hope. Wherever things were worst in my family I was present. Throughout this all, whenever I have listened to this piece of music I have added another pearl of feeling to what has become now a very long string. To me it is now not only music, but a masterpiece and pure beauty. And because it has been with me through it all, happy moments, sad moments and great changes, it has become a part of me and a symbol of life itself.
When I say life I don’t mean only good things. Life has many layers, ups and downs, just like the human mind and heart. There are many shades and colours, numerous moments of darkness and light that create the clear image of our multidimensional reality, a rich kaleidoscope of feelings, moments, images and sounds that create a whole.
Many people don’t know that this piece of music was a commission and that it has been written in a train. This may sound uninteresting for some, what is a train you may say. Well, for me a train means volumes. My father has passed away in a train. I have loved travelling by train all my life. Even now the train is my favourite transportation to wherever I go. It brings memories, it revives moments in my past, it is also (for those who believe that dreams have a meaning) a symbol of change, passage and novelty in one’s life. Gershwin says himself: “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise… “. He is right, it often happens to me too to hear the tune in the noise…
Rhapsody in Blue was a challenge because it was created in a very short period of time, against the clock, by a young and ambitious Gershwin that didn’t want someone else to steal his idea. This speaks volumes for me again. Under a similar pressure I have left Romania and started a new life in a moment when I felt I must do and I can do more with my life. I was young, ambitious and a bit unaware of what life may bring. But I didn’t care, I had only one thing in my mind- I wanted to make it. I think it is out of such moments of determination that meaningful things get born.
Did you know that the original title was “American Rhapsody”? In the end the title of this piece was inspired by two famous paintings of James Whistler of which one, “Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea”, has been rejected and misunderstood in the beginning because it was too modern for the moment when it was offered to the public. There are people who, despite of being rejected for their ideas or passion, carry on and believe in their dream until one day that dream proves to be an extraordinary thing. They may not see all the staircase, but they go up step by step, they simply have faith. It is not easy to believe in your own value when maybe nobody else does, yet being consistent in your efforts brings great results in the end.
Gershwin was not conservatory trained, an awareness of which he carried with him to his grave, and something his arch critics would never allow future students of the piano to forget. Yet, no conservatory teaches talent, so nothing can stand in front of Gershwin’s unique style and genius. Pianists have consistently interpreted Gershwin somewhere between the classicism of Chopin and the 20th Century romanticism of Rachmaninoff, but when it comes to Gershwin’s strict rhythms, what is not heard is more important than what is, for it is the magic of the split-second spacing between the notes that brings Gershwin’s Rhapsody to life in a melodic thread woven itself into a masterpiece.
The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premiered in front of a packed house that included Rachmaninov, Kreisler, McCormack, Godowsky, Sousa, Heifetz and Stokowski. Even the ones that later did not like it when it was first presented to the public and said it would have been “structurally flawed” have categorised it as a “sentimental” piece. It is as melancholic as my Romanian soul and it is full of feeling and light. It is sad at some points. It is happy, rhythmic and improvised too. Through all these characteristics it is ALIVE. If you would listen to only a part of it, if you would take a bit out of it, if you would listen to it all it would be just as alive, and that is amazing. It is a series of stories put all together, a series of songs that match perfectly in a single, uninterrupted composition of continuous and extravagant enthusiasm.
I have listened to it through various moments in my life and I have understood it in different ways. It speaks to me of happy childhood years. The first clarinet trill reminds me of a new beginning, of a new day, of sunrise. I am an animation movie lover, so when I have seen it translated into image by Disney’s Fantasia 2000 I have added even more meaning to it, as I thought that the animation is a perfect illustration for the hope trapped inside this fabulous piece of music. And I will always remember how I danced on this piece with the man I love. In a moment in time, in a quiet evening, in a quiet flat, in a quiet neighbourhood in London he has taken my hand in his hand and we have danced on this wonderful rhapsody. Our souls were dancing too, we were happy, the heart was full, the world was in the right place and we were in the right feeling.
I love Rhapsody in Blue for many reasons, for the sweet sentimental parts, for the crescendos, for the vivid pace, for the epic dimension of it, for the jazz veins and the classical bursts. My interpretation of it is perfectly subjective, I see it through the lenses of my own soul, maybe different than other people. But for me it represents life itself seen through the eyes of an optimist. Unflawed and tightly woven, with its early 20th Century innocence and brilliant musical statements taken in and out of the performers and listeners souls, Rhapsody in Blue is for me a personal stairway to paradise.
Photos: “Blue”, Adela Galasiu 2013
1500 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
More about Gershwin : Gershwin plays Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – posted in April 2012
BBC Radio 4 – Soul Music – The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/soulmusic
The sun paints a last trace of life before dying in agony. With it’s last drops of shadow it lingers under my tired eyes.
I carry within the memory of what love used to be. I can still hear our fading steps on the same old roads, on the same grey pavement. I can still feel your arm tight around my waist and your laughter.
Near me other couples chat like we used to, holding hands, blessed to not know how futile and doomed this moment of happiness is, sentenced to only live for a glimpse in time.
I was a fool to believe that you can make a choice. No. I chose you. The one you really are, not the one that hides his face. The one in which I believe, not the one that never believes in himself.
Darkness rises all around. In thoughts, in the shivering cold, in the unspoken emptiness. My once loving heart bleeds at the thought that you’re gone, yet nobody can take me the smile that you used to have in your eyes.
Maybe in your dimension you dance now with other masked faces and other smiles give you a passing smile. Yet deep inside you will never find your path on your own, there’s no path without love.
Rain strikes my cheek like your fingers once used to, falling cold, quenching the marks left by your ardent kisses. My lips whisper the shadows of the same name that never ceased to linger in my mind since I last saw you.
Countless prayers go your way, but you don’t even know it. If I would have stepped off the edge of my life I would still have never found you, for you are far, much further than my thought can reach to kiss you good night.
Memories of a madman fill up the sky as I lay myself to sleep. But even in my dream there will only be this burning love that has never ended.
333 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
I live waiting on the platform for my destined train. Sometimes I overslept in the waiting room and missed it, but most of the times I was here on the platform when it arrived. I have travelled for a while, I have learned new things but when I got off the train I have realized it has brought me back to this station with a name that I am still trying to decipher.
It’s just a normal train station like all others. With a huge clock, with huge windows, with many people carrying around small and big luggages and baggages stuffed with their own existence. Many run after trains they almost miss, others wait a bit restless for their journey, but the most rare kind of passengers are the ones that radiate happiness when they see their train arriving. Not many smile as they step in their train.
Above my head, on a wall, is scribbled Paler’s Decalogue, for some a blasphemy, for some food for thought:
“1.Wait, no matter how long.
2. Wait, no matter for what.
3. Don’t remember quite anything instead. The only good memories are the ones that allow you to live in the present.
4. Do not count the days.
5. Do not forget that any waiting time is temporary, even if it lasts for a lifetime.
6. Repeat yourself that there is no such thing as a desert. There is only our incapacity to fill the void in which we are living.
7. Do not put in the same pot both the prayer and God. Prayer is sometimes a form of hope of the one that does not dare to hope on his own.
8. If this thought helps, do not seek to admit that you hope because you don’t have something better to do or even in order to prevent the outcomes of doing nothing.
9. Bless the opportunity of completely belonging to yourself. Solitude is a whore that doesn’t blame you for being selfish.
10. Remember that Paradise was , most certainly, in a grotto.”
No days or nights are the same. They are all different and this is a blessing in itself.
Sometimes moths circle around the glowing beauty of a single light in the night, in a dance that fascinates me so much that I forget how much I still have to wait to see my train coming. Their mesmerizing dance takes me out of my world for a while.
Sometimes the dirty light reveals the faces of all the unknown people still waiting by my side, some worried, some cheerful, same frowning, some left with only few more drops of life.
Life goes on on the platform. The days grow, the nights slowly fade, the time sometimes pauses. The most beautiful light of all is the sunrise invading like molten gold the quiet platform, flowing between trains and passengers, flooding the huge waiting room in which some just enter and some still wait for an eternity to finally get born.
The New Year has come, on silent toes or with a great noise, the New Year is here. For the happy ones that will party all night surrounded by the loved ones. For the forgotten ones that nobody calls. For the angry dominant man that beats his wife just to make her more obedient. For the lonely granny that feeds her cats and all the stray cats every day. For the tired doctor who deals with more and more drunk people and accidents tonight. For the tired mother who has finally managed to make her baby sleep. For the happy lovers that make a special night out of this change of the year. For the young bullied girl who wishes that this year her colleagues will stop biting her. For the ones that got dumped on Christmas or New Year. For the ones that know that this year their cancer will bring them on the other side. For the babies that have just got born tonight. For the monks that spend all night in prayer for the entire world. For the poor who today may have found a bit of extra food from a rich people’s party. For the abandoned ones that nobody accepts in their home. For the soldiers who may receive today a card from their family. For the ones that can still love with all their heart and for the ones that can only love themselves. For the ones that always smile and the ones that cannot stop crying.
God watches us all at this very moment and sighs as the New year comes. For some full of pain, for some full of dreams, the same sun is rising upon us all. And from the ashes of yesterday new hope gets born.
Happy New Year 2014 World!
Photo: Andre Schlauch
300 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
Blue jeans, white shirt… When he walked into the room with his loud friends her eyes turned his way. Sitting at the table next to them she could not help but hear the loud conversation they had about beer and kung-fu movies. She smiled. His eyes met her somewhere in the middle of the distance and stopped when seeing the strange passion in her eyes. That was where it all started.
Her cigarette continued to burn, just like her eyes used to burn once at the sight of him as he walked into the room that night. Smoke danced around in a quiet rhythm but as music joined the dance filling up the air the thick smoke lifted like a white ghost levitating above them in the night.
“You never close your eyes any more when I kiss your lips.
And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips.
You’re trying hard not to show it baby
But baby, baby I know it…
You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling,
Whoa, that lovin’ feeling,
You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling,
Now it’s gone…gone…gone…”
He was distant yet she didn’t care any more, she had nothing left to lose. She boldly stepped towards him and quietly took his hand for a dance. Why they’ve never danced before she could not tell, maybe because he thought she wasn’t good enough for him. She didn’t know how, but even so she danced. She missed too much that spark she saw once in his eyes. It was gone, she felt it, yet she could not let go, not that night, not that moment. She danced entranced, her arms holding him, an avalanche of feelings invading her heart while looking at him. Her lips could not speak , his heart had long left her, he was gone, gone, gone…
300 words, memyselfandela, December 2013
Every day countless amateur writers do their best to express their reality, fantasies, beauty, pain, joy, love, hope and dreams, using words in various ways, some with more skill than others, but nevertheless WE ALL WRITE. Does it matter how much time it takes to put down our thoughts? Does it matter how many words we use? In the end all that matters is the feeling left after reading our story… And the story of a life is like a staircase, a spiral made out of small pieces layed every day, just like a talented painter taking thousands of hours for the hundreds of colours and textures that conceive a work of art…
Strangers will come inside our space, read, watch, think and judge us, calling us talented, cheap, silly, special or unique. The way they interact with us is a reflection of their past life, experience, level of culture…
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Tic- tac. The clock marks the passing of another second. Tic- tac. People rush to work early in the morning. Tic- tac. The fight against the clock starts for many people. Some rushing to arrive to a certain place, but some striving to make the best out of their little space. Tic- tac. The Shard watches silent over the crowds that flood the city.
Not far away, on the narrow streets you can hear the Borough Market slowly waking up. Countless merchants begin to unpack their fresh goods. The chutney jar is neighbor to the boar sausage, the Levant lamb finds peacefully place next to the sea bass, while the simmering pot spreads around an incredible taste of cooked food. It smells like sweets, then as you go further like fish, like bread, like soup and fruits and jams. One can find a bazaar of everything and anything, from Turkish delight to Christmas chocolate, from cheese to olive oil, from veggies to fruits.
As the light pierces the darkness a tiny pub welcomes the first clients, and while they indulge in their hot coffee fruit juices await for their customers few steps further. Young students bake bread, young chefs cook the lunch, young drivers deliver food, young ladies sell candies, old ladies sell jam, old gentlemen sell game. Countless merchandises await to be taken in or carefully arranged on the stands.
It is impossible to step in this place and not feel the atmosphere. The selling atmosphere, the Christmas atmosphere but also the history. Crossing through the market I could not help but think how many generations have lived, sold, got born, died close to this market. It’s a place in the heart of London that has seen many people come and go, each one of them with another story.
Fur trees and decoration await for the holy night when everybody will be home enjoying Christmas. Fragile orchids and wrapped roses await in the cold of the morning for the warm hand that could carry them home.
I have always had a weakness for the open market, and I had to stop here today just to remember why. It’s because beyond all wrappings and fuss here one can see, smell and taste life itself. Thank you Borough Market for this new slice of life you have offered me today. There could never be a right price tag attached to it.
Photos: memyselfandela, December 2013
If I would have to tell you who I am now, I don’t from know where I would start. I was probably swinging too much between the light and the darkness, the good and the bad in me.
Long time ago I loved you. It was the time when all was beautiful and open and real and honest in every way.
Then things changed. A time came when I saw how you were looking at other women, how you were playing me, how you were inventing excuses just to gain time. But I still loved you. I was giving you my time and energy while you were leaning back. I was imagining our life together paddling on my own.
I did love you but then I hated you. Every time when you let me down. Every time when I felt forgotten and unloved. Every time when you rejected me or didn’t see me , every time when I suffered because others around had the happiness you have never bothered to make happen for us, you and me. I will always remember how I hungered for your embrace, but it never came. For a phone call from you, but the phone never rang. How you took me for granted, how I became a mess.
I did love you and then I hated you. And then it didn’t matter anymore. And that day all was over.
If I would have to tell you who I am now, I don’t know from where I would start.
I am no longer light, I am no longer darkness. I am the quiet above. I don’t need you anymore, I’m fine without you. I was a mess, I confess. And now I am only the dream of a love that should finally be meant to simply be.
300 words, memyselfandela, November 2013
He was sitting on by the water in Mexico when it hit him how much he hated himself. Which kind of sucked. Because he should have been happy. He should have been ecstatic. After years of struggle and poverty and horrible physical pain (getting almost killed by a semi truck sucks too…) he finally had it. He finally had everything he ever thought he wanted. He was 30 years old, in good shape, good friends, professional success, fun toys, plenty of free time . . . Even better he was one of only three guys on a yoga retreat and was spending his days stretching and snorkeling and chugging margaritas with a bevy of beautiful, intelligent, passionate (and flexible) women.
He should have been happy. He should have been doing a victory lap around the mess that was his twenties and screaming to the moon about how he finally made it past childhood trauma and adulthood disappointment to become a “success.”
But he just couldn’t do it.
Nope. Instead of being happy, he was damn miserable. Angry. Emotionally nauseous and, worse yet, viciously angry at himself for not waking up to how good he had it.
One night he found himself sitting on the shore alone watching the waves come in. Everyone else had gone on to a bar to order large amounts of drinks in broken Spanish, but the bile in his throat and the voice in the back of his head wanted him to be alone. Alone and vulnerable.
It was pitch black but for the shine of the moon off the water and all he could feel was the pathetic bottle in his hand, the drink in his gut and the tension in his jaw threatening to break his teeth.
He wasn’t man enough to admit it, but he had tears in his eyes.
“Why?” he thought to himself in a silent whisper. “What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I just enjoy this?”
It was a rhetorical question, so he was pretty shocked when he got an answer. It came in a voice as dark as tar and as toxic as venom.
“Because you don’t deserve it,” the voice in the back of his head grumbled. “Because you’re evil and dangerous and anyone foolish enough to love you deserves to be harmed.”
He closed his eyes and could finally see it: what he really thought of himself. Not a man or even a boy, but a creature with claws and teeth and a cruel, cruel grin. A creature who’s only glee came from clawing at his heart and pulling him down and reminding him to never, ever feel even one moment of happiness.
He flew home a few days later feeling like he’d gotten into a duel with Godzilla and damn it, bloody Godzilla won. The entire time on the plane home his brain stormed and he counted down the hours until he could go see his therapist.
“How are you?,” she asked as he walked in, her eyes half squinting as she searched his face.
For an hour he let the words flow out like a dying breathe, rambling at Speedy-Gonzalez-pace, desperate to get every hatred and criticism and imagined crime out of his heart and into the world. Finally, after minutes that felt like days he looked his therapist in the eyes and said:
“I’m so sick and tired of hating myself , beating myself up , punishing everyone around me … I’m wondering what would happen if I just decided to stop and actually LIKE myself for a little while instead.”
The therapist looked at him with kind eyes and a half smile and said “Well, that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?”
And so he did.
Right then and there he decided to try liking himself – maybe even loving himself – for a while.
And at first the creature in his head and his heart raged like a angry lion and dragged its claws against the inside of his skull.
But instead of arguing he did something kind of weird.
He pointed and laughed. He dressed it up in silly shoes and ugly makeup and mocked it . And suddenly a weird thing happened: he felt this glowing freedom rising in his chest and this crazy, irrational smile pulling hard at the corners of his mouth.
Suddenly he felt . . . happy. Ecstatic.
For the next two weeks he walked around on a love-high. His friends asked him what the heck had happened. His enemies got confused when he was actually nice to them. And that beast in the back of his brain shrunk and shriveled and cried.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly as easy as that, for every time he would fail or feel ashamed about something or feel like some woman was getting close he would feel that creature rise up. He would feel that bile on his tongue.
But now . . . years later . . . here he is with nothing to hide.
And years and years of anger and pain turned into . . . something simpler. Nicer. More wonderful. He’s not into the “woo woo” stuff a lot of his friends are, but he is into this one simple fact:
“Happiness is a choice. Liking yourself / loving yourself is something YOU choose to do, no one can make you miserable or happy but YOU.”
900 words, memyselfandela, November 2013
He had no mercy at all for other sea creatures, not even for his own family, he was only interested in power and himself. Never in his life he gave a second thought about killing another or about showing some feelings and this was the only life he has ever known. All known about him was the countless number of his murders and all were afraid of the day when he was to become a king.
After many years of waiting in line for the throne his dream has finally come true when his father was killed. And so he became king and nobody dared to get close to him, everybody obeyed him in fear.
One night, while chasing a female he liked in the blue shining waters lit by the full moon, the king saw from a distance a skinny creature. It was a human being swimming. It was an old man diving there in the hope to find the shipwreck of a boat that sank long time ago, hiding in the watery tomb the bones of his beloved father.
As the old man was frenetically searching on the bottom of the sea using his special torch, he was concentrating only on the pieces scattered on the bottom of the sea. He was much too absorbed by the search to still be able to observe the huge shadow approaching him.
Nobody could have seen but the old man had the eyes full of tears as he finally found what seemed to be the remains of the long lost boat. And he was crying as he missed his father and he wanted to say goodbye, because only a child knows the longing and emptiness caused by the disappearance of a beloved parent.
Angry that the human dared to pass his way and venture in his kingdom, especially in that special night when he was mating, the manta ray got close to the old man. He was so very close that he could feel the energy of the old man’s beating heart. Understanding that this was the core that was keeping the frail human alive, the manta ray stung him straight in the heart with his 10 inches long barb in a split of a second filled with rage. The sharp dagger has found its path in the heart of the man that didn’t see what hit him from behind.
The seconds that followed were filled with silence. The manta was angry that his world has been disturbed by a filthy human. The old man turned and finally understood what had happened. Knowing that these were his final moments he wished the manta ray to live also without what he loved the most. As the waters turned red around the dying man, he fell on the bottom of the sea, his last glimpse at the found boat, his heart filled with sadness for not being able to embrace his father one last time. His eyes slowly closed on this life as a cloud gloomily covered the full moon.
The very next day, as the king swam serene, a huge fishing net caught him and there was no more escape. He fought his way out but the net was too strong for him to be able to break it. Sharing the same fear like many other sea creatures, the manta ray found himself laying powerless on the dirty deck of an old fishing ship surrounded by a loud crowd of men, all laughing and making bets on what will be sold for a better price. Other mantas were captive too, and of all the king tried the most to kill again, but the hand of a human with a knife as sharp of a sword has cut his barb and left him hopeless.
Many stories ran through his mind. Old stories of humans being afraid of the sea monsters, of their quiet approach, of their majestic presence. Old stories heard from his father and from the father of his father. Old stories telling how stupid humans were, how weak and vulnerable in the depths of the endless sea. Laying on the sand in the dying light of the day, the manta ray king faced the same death like others, butchered into pieces and sold to a leather handler who made the best out of his skin.
Every little piece was wisely prepared just to be sold on the market for luxury materials.
And so the king’s skin was cut into 10 pieces, as many as the years when the old man has been searching for the boat of his father. One piece was sold to a tattoo artist, who used it to cover his tools with a special skin. Other two pieces were sold to a designer who created a belt and a purse for the same cinema star, a gorgeous blonde famous not only for her movies, but also for her love affair with a president.
Two pieces were sold to an Arabian shah who asked his people to make a sheath and cover the handle of his favorite dagger. Three pieces have become three famous wallets given as a present to the three finalists of a Formula 1 contest after sharing with the public a champagne bath. And the last two pieces, the very best, were sold to an exclusive shoe designer who cut them into shape and transformed them into a unique pair of custom made shoes for a modern king, ruling over an empire where the sun never sets. And so, the manta ray king got what he wished for, he was closer to power than ever before. So insanely close, but as it has been wished by the sad dying man, never having the chance to ever embrace it himself again.
Carnations. Red bloody curly petals all over the cold hard floor. Pain filling up her aching soul, an acute sense of bloody uselessness, her life breaking to hopeless pieces, dead flowers covering the ground, remembering her of a love that used to mean everything but that has become nothing. She felt no longer his presence, no longer his loving words, no longer his loving touch, she felt abandoned like a piece of unwanted trash, rejected like a broken mechanism that could no longer tick with sounds of life once known. All left was only the disfigured shadow of the man she loves.
Pain. A way out she prayed to see again. No idea how tomorrow would look like. Not the vaguest strength to carry on with this tragedy. Him, laying sleeping drunk on the floor, holding still in his fists the rest of the carnations brought to tell her what he didn’t know how to verbalize anymore, him all surrounded by the rest of the bleeding shreds scattered allover by her in an attack of passionate rage ignited by seeing him coming again in a state that never stopped to humiliate her in front of family, neighbors, strangers.
She, in a corner, crying, endlessly cursing her own life and wishing she would have never been born or no longer been alive. He, in another corner, sleeping, seeing in his dream her beautiful face, radiant with the love she used to give him, as he caressed gently her cheek, feeling so bloody guilty but so in love with her while kissing her forehead, this awesome woman that could no longer see how much he bloody loves her, how much he is depressed because of not knowing how to turn back the time and start it all over again. With her. From scratch.