I'm taking a shower, she says when we get back from the New Year's party, kicks off her shoes and disappears into the bathroom. I take off my shoes and pour us a whiskey. I poke in the fireplace to wake up the lazy fire, and throw in another log, whi...
I'm taking a shower, she says when we get back from the New Year's party, kicks off her shoes and disappears into the bathroom. I take off my shoes and pour us a whiskey. I poke in the fireplace to wake up the lazy fire, and throw in another log, which is immediately hugged by a thankful flame.
Lock the door!!! she shouts from the bathroom.
I put our drinks on the shelf above the fireplace and lock the door. I can hear the water running down in the bathroom. I take my glass and look through the window. Instead of snow, fucking rain is falling down and freezing instantly on the asphalt, windows, branches on the trees, everywhere. We were driving home on eggshells and I had to stop every now and then to scrape ice from the windshield. Ice was not the only reason for my bad mood, though—and the party was a disaster.
I toss some papers on my desk and between two sips of whiskey I quickly read a couple of lines of the story that just doesn't want to come out—I tormented myself to squeeze them out a month ago, but that's as far as it could get. Sentences do not seem connected, and the plot has voids that need to be filled, as I love to put it.
I return to the window and watch how the shell of ice grows on the driveway. I sure hope, the new year is going to start way better than the old one has ended.
Next, she says, when she comes out in her underwear and throws herself down onto the carpet at the fire place. I hand her her drink and occupy the bathroom. Hot water is the best thing that happened to me today (this year), so I let it flow over me at least ten minutes, then I rub mysef with a towel and accompany her at the fireplace, where I toss in another log. I take my drink and sit on the carpet with my back to the fire. I concentrate on our shadows, dancing restlessly on the opposite wall.
How come, you haven't wished me a happy New Year full of love? she asks after a moment of silence.
What do you mean?
Who's … “D”?
I feel a sudden rush of blood to my head. She obviously spied on my mobile when I was in the shower and went through my sent and received messages and last calls. I get up and refill my glass.
You've spied on my mobile … I say with a forced calm voice and sip my drink.
I have, she answers. You've been a pain in the ass for last couple of months, I felt something was wrong … And I was right!
So, what's supposed to be—as you put it—wrong? I try to win some time.
I wasn't sure at first, but I felt you had a problem.
Now, she really has an answer to all—a problem. Every time something comes between us, I HAVE A PROBLEM!
Yes, you have! You've been avoiding me for a month, sitting around, staring through the window and not saying a single word to me …
Which is, of course, giving you the right to browse through my things, I suppose.
You know what? When two people are together, if we live together, I think I got the right, yes! I demand that you explain who “D” is!
No one, I say and start staring through the window.
* * *
It was Tuesday afternoon. I finished my lecture half an hour earlier and squeezed through the group of students standing in the hall, searching for their names on the list under “PASSED”.
She stood at the door of my office and introduced herself.
Oh, it's you, I recognized her (because she fell in my eye once in the lecture room) and offered her a chair in the corner. I dug out her exam from the pile, feeling sincerely sorry she hadn't passed. I was sure, however, that she wasn't far from passing it the next time, as she shows understanding of the subject, but she'll have to work a bit harder. So I gave her a list of books she had to study and told her she was going to pass the next time—which, after what was about to happen, she did …
I checked the watch.
Oh, I'm sorry I kept you so long … she said.
Oh, no-no … No problem, I was just wondering if we had some time for … a drink—if you'd like.
Of course, she nodded and smiled.
We went to a bar near the faculty, where I sometimes enjoy a nice beer between two lectures—I once even performed an oral exam there with a couple of students.
After a couple of pleasant hours and drinks we stopped being a professor and a student. After a long (and fun, if truth be told) conversation about different topics I saw it was late and that I should leave. I offered her a ride to the campus.
Want to come up? I have Coffee and Cigarettes … she asked with a voice, that wouldn't stand no for an answer—If she asked if I would jump through the window …
I don't drink coffee, I said. And I don't smoke either …
I meant Jarmusch … she said and disappeared into the block.
I turned the keys and the old Volvo went quiet. I followed her. Did I care about the fact I was twice as old as she was? I didn't give a fuck!
* * *
Well, NO ONE sent you a cheesy litle message, she persists.
So? I say. And I sent one back, that's all. Plus I remember wishing you a happy New Year, too!
You wished me a “happy and healthy New Year”, she says imitating a drunk version of me.
What's wrong with that? I wished all of them a happy and healthy New Year—-quit fucking me with shades of semantics …
Well, wish me health when I'm eighty!
Why are you pestering me for a fucking greeting?
'Cause you never send anything like that to me!
BUT YOU SAID IT WAS CHEESY, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!
I need another whiskey.
And where are you two seeing each other? Her voice is now calmed down.
Who says we are seeing each other? I say. We just had one drink … One drink!
* * *
She asked if I was going in the direction of her hometown. Yes, I was. Half the way.
Great, she smiled. I'll hitchhike the other half.
I got enthusiastic about her almost childlike perception of life—she seemed to have taken ten years off my back. She didn't have to think about anything. If she wanted something, she simply took it.
Were you ever … a sex object?
A key in my wife's Twingo froze—my ancient Volvo was being taken car of.
No, I shot.
Or was I …?
I turned the key and switched the radio on. We didn't speak, I just looked at her every now and the, and saw her mouthing along the song that was on air at that moment.
I'll turn here and you can hitchhike at the gas station.
Or we can have a drink first, I point toward the bar.
Mhm, she nodded.
I gulped my beer slowly, as she was explaining over her coffee what she had already studied for her second try for our exam. I almost felt we had an exam … Although I was literally diving into her eyes (and tits, I admit) and only saw her lips moving just as half an hour ago in the car with the songs on the radio.
I was awakened by a splash of cream she catapulted with a spoon right into my face.
She sat on my lap and started licking it.
Mmmmmmh … Shall we have another one or go to my place? I still have a bottle of wine in the fridge and my wife is away …?
* * *
I haven't got a clue what you are trying to prove, but you're not sitting on two chairs! she continues. Just because we can't have kids does not mean you can treat me like a piece of shit!!!
She starts to get on my nerves.
What's wrong with you? Today's just not the best day of my life, I tell her as gently as I can, for I really wouldn't like this year to continue the way it started.
I rise and head over to my desk. I feel it in my gut, that today I might happen to scrap a line or two and “feel the voids”, if only she would quit fucking me like that. I sit down and try to read this useless written shit, and she continues: You think if you ignore the problem it will disappear or what?!
Listen—get off my back with your fucking problem! There is no problem, okay? The problem is in your head, okay? I don't have a problem—YOU have a problem! Now, please let me finish, what I have started, because I've been struggling with this shit for a month …
O, mister writer, you think you're special?! There are many more desirable men than you, and they don't even think of doing what you're doing!
I watch her, trying to say something, but it's just a waste of words. I take the last sip and need a refill …
You'll call her right now and tell her to stop calling and texting you!
* * *
It had been a week since the last time she was at my lectures—she didn't even come to check if she had passed … She didn't socialize with anyone, so there was no point asking the students.
I jumped into the Twingo—the Volvo still wasn't fixed so I slid with this little eggshell to the campus.
I pondered the rationality of my action, then I said Fuck it!, ran up the stairway and knocked on her door.
I heard a whisper inside. I knocked again with my fist. She opened just enough for her head.
Congrats! You passed!
Okay, she nodded with a smile on her face.
Well, is that it?
She looked at me with question eyes—I leaned closer to her lips, but they converted into a sour smile. She shook her head: Noooooo … I'm in love …
In what …???
I was stunned and felt the heat. She shook her shoulders and closed the door. I wanted to knock again, but my fist froze …
I went back to the car, when my mobile buzzed in my pocket—her message: I wish you a happy New year full of love … :D.
I was way too shocked to think up anything original, so I copy/pasted her text, added WTF?!! and sent it back to her, with no signature.
* * *
I got a fucking New Year greeting and I sent it back! I'm not calling anyone, and who ever wants can write to me and I can write to anyone, now stop jerking me off with your paranoia and go the fuck to sleep, I've work to do!!!
So, now I'm paranoid, right? You bastard! You filthy pig! Drop dead!!!
Everything goes black, the glass crashes on the wall and bits of it mixed with drops of whiskey fall on her—if she doesn't go to sleep right now, I'm going to hurt her.
Finally she stands up. She dresses and spits unconnected sentences, I don't even try do decipher. I lean on the desk with my back to her and start looking through the window.
She steps into her shoes and slams the door. She walks fast down the driveway, where she slips and slides slowly—as the kid on a slide—on her ass toward her Twingo. She gets up, brushes herself off, sits behind the wheel and drives away.
I keep staring, until her rear lights disappear in the dark, then I land in front of the laptop. I delete everything I have written. My fingers hang above the keyboard for a few moments, then they start: “I'm taking a shower, she says when we get back from the New Year's party, kicks off her shoes and disappears into the bathroom …”