The inspiration for this short story came while walking on a grey and gloomy November day during the streets of Vienna…Enjoy ;)!
A bleak streak of silver rushed through the clouds like a rare spec of light in a barren sky.
I lifted up my face and fell in line to the rhythm of the rain drops, taking one step after the other.
My high heels clicked on the concrete floor.
I could hear the rain fall onto the windshield of my Chevy.
I turned around to make sure that I had locked my car.
I took a deep breath and moved further forward.
And that was when it happened as I lifted my head up towards the gloomy sky, watching the big white pool of… somethingness descend from the heavens.
I turned and looked over my left shoulder. A white spot had now begin to cover the left shoulder of my black blazer. My eyes widened.
Quickly, I gazed away and continued to stare into the rain.
I was late already.
And I did not even know what this next hour exactly had in store for me. I just knew I could not be late.
Why did this son-of-a-bitch bird just have to take a crap on me now? Right above me? Right now?!
It was one of those days. Those stereotypical days that started out like this or that and were oh-so-hard to turn around.
Of course, I knew very well that it all just had to do with me. I could have turned it around.
I could have taken on a different route.
I didn’t understand for the life of me why I had just taken on this one.
“Maybe I am a masochist?”
Maybe it was fate?
Why I was lead onto this one faitful road, I would always fail to understand.
That one road that appeared to be just so much rockier and uglier then all the other ones I had ever tried to walk on.
And how I failed, walking it with my head held high.
How utterly I failed.
Though I couldn’t fail anymore. I already did. And my fate had been decided on that one rainy afternoon.
Once I’d thought that walking was similar to breathing.
Easy and automatic.
But I’d never wanted to accept that while I was walking along my path, so many other things could happen to me… like a bird shitting on my shoulder when I was already late for something.
Something so important… I just couldn’t be late to.
I’m almost there!
Barely registering the shapes the clouds in the sky were taking on.
One by one they were forming into an ant and a bird and oh! “There was an elephant as well,” I thought.
I should go back to my car to open up the new box of leather seat cleaners that I’d bought a couple of months ago or at least dug around in my old bag for tissues.
But who am I kidding?
I much rather watched the clouds with the rain sprinkling on my face that gave me some sort of resembling feeling of being alive, then cleaning off dirty bird poop from my shoulder.
A thought shot through my mind. I dropped my shoulder bag and let it fall to the ground.
The black of the bag mixed kinda nicely with the grey of the street.
I unbuttoned my blazer.
One button after the next, until I had managed to free all three buttons.
One arm out of the blazer, then the other and the blazer glided to the floor. I didn’t care that it got wet. It had been too tight anyways. I hadn’t wanted to wear such a tight one but I didn’t have another one for the hearing.
When wearing the blazer, you were able to determine the exact curviness of my breasts and that was not always a good thing.
I sighed and bent down to pick up my purse. The leather felt wet now and somehow not as comforting as when I let my fingers glide over a smooth dry handle.
But nevertheless, it felt good to hold on to something. It always did.
Maybe that was one of the reasons why women wore handbags and guys put their wallets in their pockets?
To not feel so alone.
To know that they had some worth, depending on the dollar amount in their bank account.
Suddenly I could feel my nipples rising underneath the grey schoolgirl sweater and the blouse I was wearing underneath it. I started frowning. That could only mean one of two things.
I decisively walked back towards my car to grab my brand-new khaki anorak from the backseat. The cognac colored synthetic leather seats of the car were ripped at parts.
Molly had done that when she had been a puppy.
Suddenly I hoped she was alright, there where I left her. She knew the drill and I could always count on her.
“Well, most of the time,” I thought when I looked at the disheveled fake leather.
I had liked this car once.
Lots of memories. Quite pleasant ones.
But now I didn’t like it anymore.
Like so many other things.
Life’s irony. Sometimes you didn’t know why you stopped doing things or seeing people or other stuff, because you just remembered the good things and forgot the bad ones.
The good times. The good memories.
Not that bad stuff. At least not the really bad stuff.
I guess people’s brains just erased things that were unimportant, that they could live without ever remembering again. Like part of some survival instinct.
I always remembered the bad things. The things that I could have changed.
And then it hit me. And it hurt.
I lifted my chin after selecting the green ball of fabric out of the mess of all the things that were randomly thrown together in the back of my car. I put it on the way I always put on a jacket. Organized.
One arm after the other went were it belonged and after I was done, I pulled the jacket together and dared to take a look at my watch.
My heart didn’t even stop, even when I realized that I was already two minutes too late to the place where I had to be. I would have felt anxious a few years ago but not anymore.
I just didn’t care as much anymore even though it was the kind of thing you just couldn’t be late to.
I shrugged and walked towards the spot I had dropped my blazer at. I looked down and pondered about it for just a minute before I decided to move on.
It hadn’t been good enough anymore and in some way I should thank the bird.
I walked across the parking lot roof until I couldn’t go any further. I stopped right in front of the grey concrete wall. It only went up to my knees which seemed odd to me.
I bent a little further forward and looked down at the hustle and bustle of the street that seemed so far away. It was somehow quiet up here. You couldn’t smell the odor of the running engines or hear the honking of some driver who couldn’t control his emotions and got pissed off.
I put my hand over the place where my heart was and counted the beats.
I felt it beating. Sometimes I forgot to feel it. Forgot, that I was the one who was still alive.
I took it for granted, that my heart beat and I was still able to inhale oxygen every single day in order to keep going.
Was that what gratitude felt like?
I doubted it because I didn’t feel grateful. Just astonished. When my ravished and torn body was the one that should be underneath the ground.
I pondered for a quick second if I should step up onto the wall that was about ten inches wide. I bent down even more to feel it. The cold concrete felt so seductively smooth underneath the palms of my hands and I started petting it the way I would pet my sister’s cocker spaniel.
Tentatively I lifted up my left leg…
– TO BE CONTINUED –
How do you think the story will go on?
What will happen next?
The Second Part is following shortly, so stay tuned ;)!
P.s.: In the meantime, you might also enjoy: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/11/20/1000-times-goodbye-the-sacrifices-of-an-expat/