A Writer at Heart
But most of all.. most of all, I like to write fiction. And if I will not write my stories, they will burn me from inside.
Eva’s anxiety was getting worse by the day. This morning she awoke at 5:03am and, unfortunately, her source of anxiety was staring her right in the face. An electric shock wave ran down her body. She shook and turned away from Teddy. Nine hundred and thirty four!
Eva got out of bed and went for a cold shower; she looked at her frowning self in the mirror and realized that cold showers are not going to cut it anymore. She couldn’t help it. During the commute to work, she thought that she should visit her therapist again; she needed someone to talk to about what was bothering her.
At the office, she couldn’t focus on her work and couldn’t wait for the day to end. When it was time for lunch, she was grateful for a break. Walking down to the cafeteria, she saw Zoe coming out as well. Oh no, not Zoe again! Eva thought.
But it was too late. Zoe spotted her and waved. And, no surprise here, she looked as upset as she usually does. Eva stopped to wait for her and they walked the rest of the way together.
“How are you, Zo?” asked Eva out of duty.
“Ev, he did it again,” she answered, with a tear coming down her lovely marble cheek. “Miky went on a business trip last week and the counter was at four hundred and forty six. He came back last night and it’s at four fucking fifty-three!! What the hell!? I couldn’t believe my eyeees...,” cried Zoe.
“Zoe, you know you have to divorce him, right?” asked Eva coldly. “This is not the first time and he couldn’t care less, he goes at it like it will never end!”
“I know, I know...but ... Ev, I love him!” she sobbed.
“I understand, hun, but did you ask yourself where is this going? If he keeps on wasting his numbers at this rate, you will have no man after a few years. And you don’t even have a baby yet. AND don’t even get me started on the cheating scambag that he is!” proclaimed Eva.
The lunch with Zoe was no break; the very thing that Eva was trying so hard to avoid thinking about came right up and spiraled her anxiety. By the end of the day, her head felt like it was about to explode. Her temples pulsed with hot blood. And her mood was at the lowest of lows.
Eva couldn’t postpone it any longer; she had to see Jane. Luckily, Jane was free this evening and squeezed her for an 8pm appointment. So she had about an hour to kill after work. Thus, she decided to go to Beck’s Coffee Café on the corner of 52nd street. It’s just 5 minutes’ walk from there to Jane’s office.
Eva sat at her usual table outside; it gave her a wide view of the street and the rest of the tables at the café. It calmed her to watch people rush by and other guests of the café busying themselves with whatever it is they were busy with. A handsome guy walked in, glanced around and, when he saw Eva, he walked to a table right next to her and sat with his back to her. His tattoo-like counter on the back of his neck proudly displayed two hundred and fifty two. He was obviously trying to make an impression. Oh yes, he is attractive enough, thought Eva, and two hundred and fifty two is a good number. He is not a complete novice; so he shouldn’t be a total failure in bed. And yet he still had plenty to give, seven hundred and forty nine times to be exact. If you take the commonly accepted average of one time a week as a basis, that leaves you with about fifteen years of happy life. But not for Eva!
Teddy was Eva’s second husband, and her first one, Willy, lasted only four and half years. She loved Willy. He was gorgeous and attentive, and he made her happy. And she just couldn’t have enough of him. He tried to make himself last longer, but he couldn’t bear to refuse Eva any chance of happiness he could spare. When his number was up, Eva tried to make the marriage work for another six months.
But, sadly, it wasn’t the same anymore, and Willy was no longer a man she needed by her side. When she told him that she wanted a divorce, he knew there was nothing he could do to change her mind. He packed his things and left the next day. He was still very young, too.
And now Teddy...
The handsome guy at the next table turned around and asked for a lighter. Eva pulled out her gold-plated Channel lighter. He got up and came to her to light a cigarette. Then he smiled and asked if she was alone. She gave him another assessing look, smiled, and said that she was about to leave.
When he asked if he could meet her later, she replied “Call me in a year, honey. If your number is still the same, that is.” She smiled before leaving him at the corner of 52nd.
Jane’s office was as comforting as always and Eva was glad to be back here. Jane’s welcoming warm face usually had an astoundingly calming effect on her nerves.
“Hello, Eva. How are you doing today?” started Jane.
“Hi, Jane. Well, obviously, not as good as I would like to be. This morning, I woke up two hours before the alarm and Teddy had to be sleeping with his back to me...” Eva paused and then she almost screamed, “Jane, his number is at nine hundred and thirty four!’
“Eva...” started Jane.
“Jane, I love him,” interrupted Eva passionately. “I want to spend the rest of my life with him and he is going to be done in less than 6 months!”
“Eva, I understand. Please try to keep calm,” tried Jane again.
“How? How can I be calm? I am thirty-six and Teddy is my second husband. I still don’t have a baby and, before the end of the year, I will need to start looking for a new husband! And the thing is, I love him, I really do. I don’t want to lose him. This is so unfair, why do guys have a counter? And how can anyone be satisfied with only one thousand and one times during a lifetime? This was meant to last for a minimum of twenty years?”
“Well, Stevie and I have been married for six years. He is only two hundred and ninety nine...”
“Oh, fuck off, Jane! You are supposed to make me feel better!”
“Eva, please keep calm...” Jane said.
“You know what? This therapy is shit. I am done, thank you very much!” she shouted as she stormed out of Jane’s office.
No, I don’t fucking need therapy, that patronizing bitch! Is she really fucking him just once a week? And that is assuming he was a virgin when they married! Thought Eva, while rushing through the cities’ twilight streets. No way! How can anyone be happy with that? No, I don’t need therapy, I need a fucking drink! Let me call Sarah.
Eva took out her mobile phone and dialed Sarah.
“Hey girl!” said Eva.
“Oh, hey, babe! It’s been ages! What are you up to?” Sarah replied. “I need a drink. Badly!” reported Eva.
“That’s what I like to hear. Come over to Mag’s. They have a new DJ and she is very in right now.”
“I’ll be there in twenty,” said Eva as she hung up.
Eva walked into Mag’s and didn’t recognize it; it was full of people, mostly girls as usual. But a few very good-looking guys, too. Guys always look good before they turn one thousand and one; you could always see those who were still valid. The rest of them become invisible, like blobs of genderless grey mass. Sarah was standing at the bar; where there were two very attractive guys fighting for her attention. Even though she let herself go a little and gained some extra weight after breaking up with Tommy. Eva remembered that day, when Sarah called crying, Tommy’s counter skipped one during his office working hours and as hard as he tried to confuse her, she knew that he had done it with someone else. She couldn’t forgive him; it was over at that same moment when she saw the back of his neck. Not like that stupid spineless Zoe from work! thought Eva.
The girls embraced when they saw each other and chatted away. Eva told Sarah about what worried her and it felt much better than therapy with Jane this time. Sarah understood her like no else did.
“And what about you, sweetie? How have you been?” asked Eva.
“Not bad, I acquired a new taste for breaking in virgins. It’s safe and exciting. Gives them something to remember for the rest of their miserable lives,” laughed Sarah.
“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t like them virgin,” replied Eva thoughtfully, sipping on her second Cosmopolitan.
“Hey, babe, do you wanna go to my place tonight?” interrupted a hunky young man.
Sarah turned around to look at him. “Hm, not bad. What’s your number baby?” she asked.
“One thousand! You will be my last.” he grinned.
“Fuck off! You probably got AIDs, and you are not even in your thirties!” she hissed in his face and pushed him away.
After four Cosmos, Eva was eager to go back home to Teddy. She had been holding herself for over a week overthinking the consequences, but not tonight. Tonight she might even turn him to nine hundred and thirty-seven...
I am still trying to comprehend what happened, but let me try to put it into words. This is not your regular horror fantasy story; this one is real. I know you won’t believe me, but listen: this shit, this is a true story.
Few nights ago, I was driving home from a party in the city. I had had a few drinks. Yes, I was driving anyway; that’s what we do here. So, I was driving back home through the desert where one part of the road goes through an uninhabited area. There are no streetlights whatsoever. It was almost pitch-black darkness out there, except for the starlight; the moon and stars were very visible, free of the city’s light pollution. Driving, all you see is the narrow curvy road with your car headlights for what seems like an eternity.
Now, remember all those horror movies you’ve seen in your life and use your imagination. It’s creepy as fuck out there at night, all alone, in the middle of the desert.
I glanced at the clock; it was 3:03am. It only took a second to draw attention from the road to the clock and back to the road. And when I looked back, I saw a figure ahead, a person standing in the middle of the road. I slowed down, but the person didn’t move. ‘It’ (at this point I couldn’t see if it was a man or woman) was standing in my way. I was able to see that ‘it’ was dressed in a long white shirt, which isn’t uncommon where I live - local men here wear a long white dress called kandoora, a traditional daily wear. I wondered why ‘he’ was standing in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere.
I was trying to keep as calm as possible, but that wasn’t going so well. I drove even slower and contemplated turning back or maybe speeding ahead to pass ‘it’ quickly. But then maybe ‘it’ needed help. Perhaps something was wrong. But, would it be wise for me to stop - being a girl, alone in the middle of a desert at night with a stranger - even if it’s a stranger in need?
As I was thinking this, I was getting closer and was now able to make out that it was in fact a woman. She wore a long white nighty, with her black hair down, falling around and partially covering her face. She was barefoot, and it’s really cold nowadays; even in a desert, winter is cold (and it was winter now).
She remained in the middle of the road, looking at me with her head tilted down. I got as close to her as I would dare; I left about 10 meters between her and my car. My heart was racing and pumping blood as if I was about to die. She stepped towards my car and I felt my heart sink into my stomach. Every hair on my body stood on end. This was a proper horror movie scene happening to me in real life and, having watched a lot of it in movies, I was still not prepared for it and didn’t know what one is supposed to do in a situation like that. I just knew that I was enveloped in terror and I could feel it in my blood, and all over my body. Even in my hair. And I could taste it in my mouth.
I was paralyzed with fear; I felt my tongue stick to my teeth, my mouth was so dry. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I wanted to drive away, but I couldn’t. I wanted to jump out of the car and run, although that was probably the worst thing I could have done at the time.
She then started to walk toward me and my heart raced even faster and now sunk to my feet. My hands started to shake and I felt a silent tear fall down my cheek. She was getting closer. Closer still. And when she reached my car, she climbed over the hood and, with an unnatural jump, she zoomed-like at me screaming. Her face was distorted with evil, her eyes were red and skin as white as snow. She had sharp black teeth in her mouth and her scream wasn’t human. For some reason, I screamed with her, I screamed from the top of my lungs, tears bursting out of my eyes. Taken with fear and terror, I felt like I was dying at that moment. I thought my heart had exploded. I shut my eyes and continued to scream and cry.
Suddenly, I realized she had stopped screaming.
I kept my eyes closed, as I was too scared to open them. I cried, realizing that the encounter I was having was not a natural one; that was not a human woman staring and screaming in my face. I acknowledged that, if I tried to drive away, surely it would get me anyway. Fighting it would be pointless as well. Even keeping the car doors closed didn’t make sense, because whatever it was, it would definitely find its way in. I knew that if this thing is here to kill me, it would. I can’t outrun it. I thought about my life: I am still young, only 33, yet I’ve had a tough life. I’ve lost a lot and was still trying to recover. There was a lot to look forward to, but my life isn’t the easiest at this point. And who knows how long it would still take until I can consider myself happy.
The fact was, I decided, maybe dying was not at all the worst option I had. It is much harder to live, trying to find what I was looking for, trying to make sense of things and trying to make ends meet. So I gathered all my strength and reason, and opened my eyes.
When I opened my eyes looking straight ahead, she wasn’t there. But, gradually, with my peripheral vision I sensed she was standing right next to me at the driver’s window. I slowly turned to face her; I can’t describe the kind of fear I experienced and how I felt at that moment. But I kept telling myself “So what? So you die tonight. We’re all going to die anyway.”
With a trembling voice, I asked her, “Who are you?” and she burst out with a devilish laugh showing her black teeth to me. I saw that her tongue was also black and it looked disgusting. My revulsion must have shown on my face, because she stopped laughing and raised her eyebrow at me. I felt a little braver and asked her, ”What do you want?”
She hissed with her evil gravely voice, ”You already know” and grinned at me. I opened my window and the cold night’s air hit me in the face. She leaned toward me and started to hiss and growl.
I looked into her red eyes and said, ”Ok, you can take me. Being alive is scarier anyway.”
Suddenly, her face became normal and human, and with a friendly voice she said, ”Hold on. Now, this is interesting.” I was startled by this abrupt change, but I felt my senses coming back to me and my terror subsided. She now smiled at me kindly and asked, ”Do you want to go back to my place, so we can talk a little?”
“Sure,” I said unsurely, ”shall we go in my car?”
“No,” she answered, ”park it here on the side of the road. It’s a long way. It will be faster if we just fly there.”
Fly there!? I was surprised to find myself feeling excited. I parked the car on the side of the road, further away from its edge and got out. She came to my side and wrapped her hand around my waist. I didn’t understand how, but we were now flying over the world, somewhere really far above it. We flew really fast, as everything flashed before my eyes. Yet, I did not feel the speed of flight, there was no wind; I could only see it below on a fast-forward. It seemed like we were just gravitating somewhere in the atmosphere, while the world moved below.
I don’t know how long we flew. When we finally landed, we were in the middle of a desert - much like the one we came from. It was cold and dark here too, no sight of life anywhere. A little ruin of a house stood in front of us without any glass in the windows and a doorway without a door. In front of the house was a place for a bonfire and a couple of big stones to sit on nearby. She pointed at one of the stones, gesturing to me to take a seat and got herself busy making the fire.
“Would you like something to drink or eat?” she asked when the fire was lit.
”Hot tea with milk and sugar would be nice,” I said.
She went inside the house and a moment later emerged with two big cups, one of which she handed to me. I tasted the tea and it was just as I imagined it. With warm tea in my hands and the heat coming off the fire, I felt unusually calm and really cozy sitting here with someone who was possibly a demon. I looked up at the sky. Remarkably, the whole universe was visible from here, the Milky Way and all the constellations, even all the planets. The moon seemed much bigger than usual, too.
”So, you said that living was scarier than being killed by me?” the woman asked looking at me and smiling.
”Well, yeah. Life is tough. I have a lot on my plate and I feel so tired too often,” I said with sigh.
”Ha, you don’t say. What about me? How old are you? 33?" she paused thoughtfully and then added "The age of the Christ…”
“How old are you?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“I am forever…” She paused for a while, as we both stared into the fire. Then she continued, ”So, what is wrong with your life? It’s not that bad. I’ve seen worse, but no one ever was less scared to be killed by me.”
“I think I was always ready to die. I never feared death. Not really. Even considering that I am a sceptic and don’t actually believe in life after death, heaven and hell, nor god or evil… Speaking of which, how the hell am I supposed to make sense of you? Was the world really created by god, then? Tell me the truth about life.” I demanded.
“There are many truths. Everything that you ever heard about life and death, all of it is true. In fact all the stories, theories, sciences and everything is true,” she said.
“How can all of it be true? Many of those things contradict each other. Either one or the other has to be true,” I said puzzled.
“That’s very closed-minded of you to think that way. Just because two things contradict each other doesn’t mean that only one is true. Everything that is ever said starts to exist and so it becomes true. Even the lies we tell become true. If humans understood this simple rule, life wouldn’t have to be so hard. For example, when you share a life with someone and it becomes hard to draw a line between your life and your partner’s life, both of you have different truths and both truths exist in parallel.”
I absorbed every word she said in awe. How very simple this revelation was.
“The only reason I appeared on your way tonight is because you thought I would,” she continued. ”By thinking it, you made this a reality. And the fact that we are sitting here and talking now is because you decided to befriend me. You thought of something and made it true. This goes for everyone and everything said in the world. Everything exists in parallel not in contrast or contradiction. Nobody has to prove anything to anyone, really.”
So, we sat by the fire, drinking tea (mine was tea at least). It seemed that nothing else needed to be said. It was all clear to me now. My thirst for life and its meaning was satisfied. It was a while until she looked at me and said, ”So are you scared to die now?” then she laughed out loud and said, “Just kidding! Let me take you back to your car. Go get some sleep and believe whatever you want to believe. Life is not as bad you think.”
The flight back to the car was just as mesmerizing as the flight we took to her place. I looked at the world flashing before my eyes with a smile, I breathed deeply and felt really really alive for what might have been the first time in my life.
We landed next to my car and she put me down gently, looked into my eyes, and winked at me. Before walking and disappearing into the desert, she said, ”Be happy, don’t be stupid.”
I got into my car still looking at her walking into the distance. Then, just before she disappeared from my view, I peeped at the clock. It read 3:03am.
I started the engine and drove home with a new sense of purpose.