Daily Prompt: If You Leave

13. März 2014 at 01:23 (Blog, Posts in English) (, , , , , )

“Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us CROSSROADS.”

Again, I couldn’t resist the daily prompt 😉 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/daily-prompt-if-you-leave/

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If you leave I won’t cry
I won’t waste a single day
But if you leave don’t look back
I’ll be running the other way…

Those are some of the lines of a song called “If You Leave”, originally performed by “The Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark”. These lines are the soundtrack to my running away. I’ve loved this song since I’ve first heard it. It was in a dark cellar, lit up with candles and some disco lights, filled with hot air, dancing and the smells of beer and cigarettes… It was a grand night for a young fellow like me, who had only been to a few parties which had always ended much too early and without the kiss of my current heartthrob. But this time, I would stay till the end, till Sammy’s mom would come downstairs in her pyjamas and would ask “who’d like some coffee?” like there was nothing wrong with partying the whole night long.

Sammy’s mom was one of the coolest moms in town, if not in the whole world. She was divorced, but still got along quite well with Sammy’s dad. She had those crazy curls that used to curl away from her skull in every possible direction. Sometimes she used to joke that in her last life she had been Medusa and her curls had been snakes. She really liked to joke around with us young people, she was never judgmental and never ever did she tell us to go to bed or to keep the music down. Sammy’s mom died two days ago – I considered going to the funeral. It’d be good to see Sammy again, after all those years. But home is an awful lot of kilometres away from where I am now. And let’s be honest: I guess nobody would like to see me again after all, it’s been too long.

Yeah, right, it wasn’t my fault what happened in the course of that evening. I was young, I was drunk and a little crazy. I guess Sammy’s mom understood me, because she got teenagers really well. She understood that I couldn’t watch while old Ryan here came awfully close to taking away my girl. I mean, she didn’t know that she was mine – but then she knew. Violence is a bad way to show your feelings. I know it now, but sadly I didn’t know it when I was sixteen and drunk. Let’s put it like this: Old Ryan may have lost a tooth and cracked a rib, but well, I guess that’s not as bad as crushing all the knuckles of your right hand, like I did. I couldn’t write for two months and there were exams coming up, so that wasn’t a piece of cake either. Well and for Jeannie… She never spoke to me again, she just shot me icy glances across the room.

But Sammy’s mom was cool. She took me aside and didn’t say one word of reproval. She was all like “love’s tough” and “don’t drink and strike”, but without the motherly tone. Coolest mom ever. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t as cool about it, but that’s another story.

However, the song was one of the few things I’d be glad to remember of that evening. And these four lines described exactly how I’d leave each and every of the girls that were to be mine in the course of the next years. I liked to be cool about break-ups. After getting involved too much the evening I hit Ryan, I toned my feelings down a notch. I didn’t get emotional anymore. In every relationship, after some months, I started to feel crushed. Not quickly and painfully crushed like my knuckles had been when they had met Ryan’s face and chest. No, it was the slowest process of crushing I had ever experienced. My soul was chucked into a vice that slowly, oh so slowly, got tighter and tighter. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breathe and worst of all – I couldn’t think clearly. The only thought that occupied my mind was “leave… leave before you lose your heart”. And so I did. But leaving felt no better than being left behind, I couldn’t cry and I kept running, running until I felt safe and lonely once more.

And then I met Sammy’s mom again. She didn’t look well – I hardly recognised the woman who was so in love with life despite all the bad things that had happened to her what with her husband cheating on her and Sammy not being the easiest of kids to raise. I kissed her on the cheek that felt like parchment and not like the rosy skin she had had before. Her eyes were tired and instead of her curly hair she wore a flowery headscarf. “The doctors here are the best”, she told me, “but it’s hopeless. I knew it from the start, but I promised my loved ones that I would keep trying, keep going on. It’s hard, the chemo’s sucking up all of my energy… But you can’t run away from the challenges life bears for you. Do you understand? Make mistakes, say stupid things and hurt people you love… But just don’t run away without apologising.” She made me put two fingers together and hold them up like I was Jesus Christ, blessing some bread and wine and say “I swear”.

I don’t know how she did it, but she always found the right thing to say at exactly the moment I needed to hear it. I wish I could have said something that changed her life as much as she changed mine – at last, my running song is just reserved for Sunday morning workout and not for leaving my girlfriends.

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Daily Prompt: The Heat is On

10. März 2014 at 20:07 (Blog, Posts in English) (, )

Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us PRESSURE.”

That’s the challenge of today’s “Daily Prompt”: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/daily-prompt-heat/. I’ve already written a story inspired by a Daily Prompt once (https://loveanddeathandeverythinginbetween.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/daily-prompt-now-you-see-me/) – so let’s try another one.

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The deadline has become a dead end for me. There is no way I can avoid failing – the clock ticks off the seconds as I am slowly despairing. The task I have been given is too hard for me. Living up to everybody’s expectations is not only painful, but it’s starting to take its toll. My hands are shaking, my mind is racing and my heart is thumping too fast. Panic wells up inside me, the panic I have tried to conceal for so long is starting to gush out of the constraints my mind has tried to build up around it. After all this time, it feels the same. It is a sensation of simultaneously falling and having already hit the ground. Fear and pain combined in a way that only exists in nightmares. You wake up screaming or crying, with your heart racing and so much fear inside you – but then you start to breathe again, to think again and to know that it has only been a bad dream.

But this is not a dream. It’s the sad reality that has hit the dreamer after years and years of too little consideration. I thought it would all work out in the end. But in half an hour’s time, the alarm will go off and I will get up and I will leave everything behind that I know and love. My beautiful wife, my beautiful baby, my beautiful home. I can only hope that someday, they will understand that I left to protect them. That my time is up – I’ve had my share of luck and now it’s time to go.

I made a deal with the devil, you know. And now he comes to deliver my one-way ticket to hell. I never wanted to borrow any money to build this life I have been living. But as the devilish bank accountant told me, I would have years and years to pay him back, I believed him. I believed that in ten years’ time everything would be better. That I would be able to stay for more than two months in the same job without being crushed by the responsibility and panicking. That I would be able to make my wife and daughter happy. That I would be able to lead the life I had always wanted to lead.

Today, the police will come and arrest me, because I never paid anything back. I didn’t pay the money back and most certainly did I not pay off the emotional debts I have piled up on the backs of my family. But if I go now, they will be happier than I can ever make them, if I go to jail. They won’t feel the obligation to come and visit me. They won’t have to see my face ever again. They will be able to hate me, because I was a coward who ran away.

They will lose everything, but they will not lose hope. My beautiful wife will find another man, who brushes away her tears. And my beautiful daughter will grow up to become an astute young woman who will never hook up with such an idiot as her father has been. I’m doing them a favour, it’s the first and last favour I have ever been granting them.

I kiss my sleeping beauties good-bye as I leave to pay my bills the only way I can.

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