the rocking chair

He sat naked in a rocking chair in an almost dark room. The door was closed. Three windows were open. The wind blew crisp air into the room and made the thin white curtains flow into the empty space. Outside, the moon played hide and seek with the clouds in the sky. Their play made shadows dance on the bare walls.

The chair creaked on the hardwood floors with every forward motion. Some panels were loose from years of use. It was as if they had a memory of every footstep that had ever touched them. The man kept moving. The same movements, over and over again. The repetition was somewhat meditative. Soothing. And he needed that for himself. Calmness. Stillness. He wanted to close his eyes and escape the earth and all its noise for a while, but he couldn’t. He was scared. Scared that the demons lurking in the shadows were finally there to steal his soul. No, sleep or rest of any kind was not an option. No matter how tired he was or how much his eyes hurt from squinting in the dark, he needed to keep them open and stay alert. Awake. Everwake.

The man’s mind was at once empty and overflowing. His body was in flames from the heat surrounding his heart one moment, and it was freezing cold the next from the gushes of air, raising goosebumps on his exposed skin. Everything was the opposite of how it was supposed to be. But he kept rocking back and forth on his wooden rocking chair.

In the dark, the red cushions weren’t visible. But he knew that they were there, supporting his weight. There was a tear on the back and a couple of stains under his bottom; he knew every blemish by heart. Like the scars or tattoos on his skin, every stain and every tear, every hole had a story. And he remembered them all. Memories. Remembering meant either torment or bliss. Tonight every flash of the past equalled agony.

The moon kept travelling across the sky, closely followed by a thin layer of clouds. An owl was awake in the tree under his window; it called for someone in the dark night.

He needed a drink, and he craved a cigarette, but he couldn’t leave his chair. He was trapped in his own darkness, not only the darkness of the room but the darkness of his mind too.

The partying shadows on the walls and on the ceiling kept mocking him and his life in captivity. If he were strong enough, he would have tried to fight every single demon. But he was weak and afraid of the dark. He was lonely. Alone.

Another flash of the past made him remember the woman he had loved. He had only loved once. Genuine and honest and raw. He had been able to feel love, to give, and to receive it too. Those times were long gone. There was nothing loveable about him anymore, and if someone tried to be affectionate toward him, he had the unique gift to ruin it every time. No one was allowed to see past the image he had decided to show of himself. No one was allowed to see his vulnerabilities and his weaknesses. No, showing those only ever resulted in pain.

As the middle-aged man kept rocking back and forth on his chair, the voices in his head grew louder and more insistent with each creak of the wooden frame. From soothing to aggravating in a matter of moments. He hit the side of his head with his flat hand. Left hand. Left temple. “Stupid,” he muttered. The ghosts had not left, but no one answered him. Behind him, the curtains made a swishing sound. He stopped moving. He was convinced they were here to take him away, to make him vanish into thin air. He held his breath. He reasoned that maybe they couldn’t see him if he stayed still.

The owl was calling him from the shelter of her tree. And from the walls, shadows tried to catch him. He was paralysed with fear. There was no escape. The sheer terror of all his sins was staring into his pale red-rimmed eyes and tried to pull him under. If he had been able to do it, he would have closed his eyes. But he couldn’t. His body did not belong to him anymore; it did not obey his silent pleading orders anymore. The man tried to scream for help, for someone to save him and wake him up from this nightmare, but no sound got out of his mouth. There was no sound but the wind and the owl. The man was lost in this weird dream, knowing full well that he was not asleep. He was trapped in a cage of fear.

He gasped. For a moment, everything became clear. For a moment, he understood that it was all in his head and that his mind was playing tricks on him. Nothing was real.

His face turned into a painful grimace, and then he chuckled. His shoulders moved along with the sound. And he started laughing until he was scratching at the door of insanity. He was rocking in his chair again. Back and forth. Over and over again.

The moon was slowly fading, making room for the sun. The shadows on the walls began to become invisible, and the owl stopped calling for her lover. The wind had let up, too, leaving the curtains to rest after an eventful night.

He tried to exhale deeply, but because he was still laughing, he only made a wheezing sound. The ghost of the night was still lingering in the sweat covering his naked body. The man was drenched in fear. But he kept moving. Back and forth. Back and forth. In his mind, a film was replaying the worst moments of his life. He was convinced that he deserved the punishment the darkness brought upon him every night anew. There was nothing left fighting for. No redemption in sight.

The man finally closed his eyes. A grin was spread on his face. Maybe the next time, he would start to fight the madness residing in his head. Yes. Next time. Or maybe… not.

(1048 words, written during the early hours of August 25th 2021)

a year has passed

One year had passed, and Susana was still feeding off the experience she had shared with Maria and Mark. For a short time, she had been invited into their couple. Everything clicked. It was like once in a lifetime kind of magic. Maria and Mark shared every intimacy, every fantasy, and every wish with Susana, and after some few weeks of dreaming and fantasising, it all culminated in a threesome. The act as such was not what had stayed in Susana’s mind all this time; it was little things. Smells, sounds, words that were said, and one moment in particular.

She was too loud, she knew she was, but she couldn’t keep it in. He was above her, and she tried to hide herself and be quiet. She covered her face with her arm and bit it hard, but he did not allow her to hide. He took her arm away with a little bit of force. Their eyes met, and few things happened at once: she felt exposed, seen, and vulnerable. But there was something else in his eyes, something she couldn’t forget even after twelve months.

A long time had passed since that moment; Susana was not even sure if Mark remembered it the same way (or even at all) and if it held the same magnitude for him. Probably not. There had not been much contact between the three after that very intimate weekend. Susana, however, couldn’t deny that it had changed her. It had changed the way she looked at herself and the way she looked at other people. She noticed that she was less open to strangers but more honest with herself. And whenever she thought of Maria and Mark, she was filled with a sense of gratitude and awe for them.

“We are going to keep her,” Mark had said with a chuckle while Maria made Susana the centre of the universe. 

It hadn’t worked out that way in the end, and yet, in a way, a little part of Susana was still, and would always be, theirs.

###

Sudden fiction/344words/20minutes

familiar nightmare

That dream. Again. She had not had that dream in a long while, and it never failed to leave her unsettled, bothering on anxious. She was breathing heavily, fighting back the tears that were moist on he cheeks. Her eyes were still closed, trying to grab the remnants of the nightmare she had endured and turning them into something else. Something good. But to no avail. The harder she tried, the more her conscious mind took over, until finally, she was awake. Her eyes fluttered open, and she stared into the dark. The sweat was cooling on her skin. She shivered; as much from the vivid memories as from the cold.

She was at work, laughing with her colleagues, when her phone rang. She saw the number and smiled. Usually, she did not pick up when he called, and she was on a shift, but she was in such a good mood, she wanted to hear his voice and tell him that she would get in touch later. He would certainly understand; they hadn’t talked in two weeks, a couple of hours surely were bearable. But it was not his voice that greeted her; it was another man.

“is this Shelly speaking?” The man asked. His voice was slightly familiar, but she couldn’t place it. “Yes,” she replied “who’s this?” She was confused why a stranger was calling from her boyfr…- she didn’t even know how to label him, they weren’t a couple after all.

“it’s Vic, Dave’s brother.” Ah! That was why the voice sounded familiar. Curious, she left the small office to have a moment of quiet and to understand the man on the other line properly. “I’m afraid I have bad news,” he continued. “Dave passed away. He… He killed himself last night.” His voice broke, and her heart was racing too fast. It felt as if someone had put cotton in her head and it blocked a myriad of oncoming questions that washed over her like a tsunami. “What? How? Why? That cannot be.” She refused to believe the words he said. “He left letters for you, an entire box full. He also left a will in which you are mentioned, but we need to have it checked with our lawyers.” Vic sounded so pulled together as he continued to talk without listening to her. It was almost as if he was going through the motions of informing people about his brother’s passing on auto-pilot. “Could you send your address as a text message? I will make sure that you receive everything Dave wanted you to have.”
Shelly felt the colour draining from her face, and the force holding her upright was fading too. “Yeah, no. Will do. I am sorry for your loss”, she said and quickly disconnected the call. A wail left her mouth as she fell to the ground. Uncontrollable sobs shook her entire body, and she heard noises she couldn’t be sure came from her. But they had to; no one was around. She got up from the floor; she was trembling and gasping for air. It was too hot, and too cold. It was too much of everything. She needed to get outside. And she did. Her crying didn’t stop. How could he be gone? How could Dave be gone?

But there were no answers to that question because every time that dream tormented her, this was the moment she woke up. Every time. In reality, she had not talked to Dave in months, and she was pretty sure that no letters or other belongings were waiting for her, and she was most certainly not mentioned in his will either. Shelly pushed the bunched up sheets off her body and decided to distract herself by starting her day. But the bitter aftertaste of that all too familiar dream tinted her mood. She was not ready to let Dave go. And she couldn’t wash the suspicion that something terrible was about to happen to him off in the shower either.

✨✨✨✨

668 words, 20 minutes

Re-birth

And when she woke up from the deep slumber she had vanished to, her soul was shaking, and her body was trembling. Something was different. She was different. One look, one touch had unraveled her stoic self, and now she was a stranger. She did not recognize her reflection in the mirror. She did not understand her thoughts. Her voice was new to her ears. An unusual desire to be alive and present struck her like lightning in the sand. And her iridescent self shone brighter for everyone to see. One touch, one kiss, had turned the key and opened her cage. She was not hidden anymore. The veil that had protected her from curious eyes had been lifted. She took a deep breath and smiled. It had taken a while, but today she was grateful for yesterday’s memories.

❤️💜🤍🖤🤎💙💚💛🧡

(Somewhere in the Netherlands, October 2020)

Everytime it rains.

The thunderstorm made me think of you. I stepped out of my overheated living room and onto the warm patio. I saw the lightning in the distance. It took a moment before I heard the thunder. And I smiled. The first drops of rain hit my head, and I looked up at the sky. I spread my arms out to the sides. I felt every raindrop kiss me. And I smiled. I raised my hands, palms up, and let the rain soak me. If someone watched me, they might have mistaken me for a crazy woman. And maybe they are right. But I was also glowing from within. Burning with a fierce passion for life. And a yearning for the man I carry in my heart.

Showered with sadness

One moment, I was happily dancing in the rain,

The next I was crying, cowering in my shower’s corner.

The manic moments got fewer while the depressive episodes grew longer every time. Rationally, I knew that it was all in my head. I knew that I was allowed to live and to love and to accept affection too. But during the depressive moments, I couldn’t remember those things; I couldn’t hear them. The voices in my head telling me that I am a waste of space or that I don’t matter, they were louder than any reason or sense. And they hurt. So much. Every time a little more. I tried to silence them with music. I tried to mum them with positive thoughts. I even tried to cut them out of my skin and singing them to sleep with alcohol and pills. Nothing worked.

And now I sat here in the shower hiding in the corner, naked and shivering. 

These fragile and frail moments were my secret. But I am not sure how well I hid it.

I read in a book that we need to talk and speak up to remind our minds that we are real and alive. I was thinking about that under the cold shower spray. Sobbing, I bit the skin on my arm. The gesture was not to hurt me, but to feel and root my overwhelmed self. I do that too during sex, but that’s more to avoid making too much noise. That’s a different subject. 

I watched the water run down my legs in rivulets, little rivers of sorrow. It was a mix of the shower spray, my tears, and, let’s face it, snot was in the mix too. But I was too far gone to care.  I tried remembering what had triggered this explosion of emotions, but I couldn’t remember. And it agitated me even more. I forgot so much. Was I too focussed on myself, or not enough? I was just trying to stay alive! The lack of understanding, of meaning, of connection, mixed with insomnia, abject loneliness, and solitude – it was killing me. Or maybe, maybe I was killing myself. Self-loathing, self-destructive, absent from my self.

The water kept caressing the goosebumps all over my body. I hugged myself tighter and bit my skin harder. I looked up to the ceiling. And when I looked down at my knees again, I felt empty. As if this was not me anymore. As if someone had found a switch to turn my emotions off. My sobbing stopped. I got up and turned to water off. Empty. Just going through the motions. As if it was not me. The lights were still on, but no one was at home anymore. I was a robot. A puppet on my mind’s strings. I grew calm but exhausted. Tired. So so tired.

I grabbed my towel and dried off without much care. Heading to my bedroom, I sat down on the mattress, naked as I was; grabbed my pillow – the one I cuddle at night, and rolled myself into a position that made me as small as possible. Fetal position.

I remember thinking that I was not thinking anymore. And then I drifted off.

In the middle of the night, I woke up because I was trembling and felt cold. I covered myself with the sheets and fell into a dreamless slumber. The next time I woke up, it saw the morning light illuminating my bedroom. I felt rested but hungover from the heavy emotions I had felt the night before. I had the image in my head of what a pitiful sight I had been in the shower. Everything else was still a bit foggy.

But as I said, these moments of vulnerability and of my fragile mind being on full display are my secrets. Just mine. No one will ever know the truth.

There was something on my arm; a bruise was forming, the skin was changing colours, reminding me of what I had done.

In sane moments, I wonder why I can’t be normal. Wouldn’t it be easier to be detached from myself more often? Who knows? Who cares? In the end, it doesn’t matter. 

We live. We die. And everything we feel in between is not real for anyone but us.

(718 words/20minutes)

Sunday Song

Agent Fresco – Pyre

The studio version can be found on the absolute masterpiece called “Destrier” (2015).

The Icelandic band is one of many gems from the small Scandinavian island. Their singer, Arnor Dan, has easily one of the most versatile voices and vocal ranges in his genre. Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) called Agent Fresco’s drummer, Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson, the best out there. Every member of this band is exceptional. And their music is very awesome.

Highly recommended. And look at this beautiful orange vinyl.

Agent Fresco – Destrier (2015)

Perfect Light (760)

I yawn and stretch my back before I put my head back on your shoulder. There is something about that perfect light on an autumn morning. My fingers draw lazy patterns on your chest, tickling you here and there. You pull me closer until we kiss. We don’t have any obligations. Lockdown is still going strong, and we are living in our fantasy bubble – you and me. Your hand feels warm on my skin.

You pull away with a grin, and I watch you as you walk to the bathroom. I like how comfortable you are in your skin. When we met, you weren’t comfortable at all. You were shy about the extra kilos you are carrying. I never cared about that. You don’t bother closing the door and what used to be disgusting in other partnerships seems normal with you. It’s not as if I am watching you. At least not while you are in the bathroom. But I am not appalled either. Everything flows naturally between us. Nothing to hide. You wash your hands and come back to the bedroom/living room/kitchen – it’s all in one. You are oblivious to my thoughts. I can’t stop grinning, and I hope that you come back to bed. But you are not. Instead, you sit at the piano. Naked as you are.

You put your hair in a tie and bow your head. A lock falls out, and you push it back behind your ear. I know that it won’t stay there. You know it too. I keep observing you. Your fingers glide over the keys without pushing down. There is no sound. You close your eyes, and I know you are zoning out. You are drifting off into your creative space. It is as if you know exactly how the song you are not playing will sound. And, I guess you really know. There is music in your veins.

I sit up on the bed, covering myself with the sheet. It’s something I have seen in many movies before. From the nightstand, I grab my journal and pen. They are always close by in the hopes of some creative input. I haven’t written much since I first got off the plane and into your life. There is no urgency to write anything of substance, and yet, I want to immortalise this moment somehow. I notice that I left a scratchmark on your shoulder. The skin is red, not bloody, just red. And maybe it stands out because you are very pale.

You turn around and look at me. I want to take a photo of you. You are smirking; through the stubble covering your cheeks and chin, I can see your dimple. There is only one. You haven’t shaved since I came for a visit. I like this look on you. Completely relaxed.

This was unplanned. I was supposed to stay for one night and two days. It has turned into four weeks due to a surprise hard lockdown and all flights out being cancelled. Four weeks of you and me in a tiny apartment. I am happy that I am here. And you seem happy too.

You cock your head to the side, and more of your hair leaves the ponytail. I look you straight in the eyes. Something has happened between us. Something neither of us expected.

I push my journal and pen away again. I will not write. Most of my prose sprung from sadness and melancholia. I’m not feeling any of those right now. I push the sheet away and move past you to the kitchenette. You slap my butt, and I squeal. I fill a glass with water, take a sip and go back to you, offering you my glass. You take it and put it on a stack of papers. Then you pull me against you. Your head against my chest, my chin on your head. I sigh. This feels like home. A perfect moment that can never be erased. I want to laugh it off, but I feel strong in your arms. I feel connected to your soul; I snort at that thought. You raise your head to look at me, and I shake my head. We stay like this, in silence. And the sun keeps bathing us in a warm and perfect light.

I used to be a forgotten moment, a never-taken breath. I used to be an afterthought. But now, I am a memory that can never be erased. A dream behind your open eyes. A skipped heartbeat at night.

Advertising Space

The following is a post I just shared on IG 💜❤💜❤💜

It’s Friday (I think). Let me tickle your memory for a moment. I am an author who published 5 books since 2018. And they are all ready to be devoured by your hungry minds. There are two options to get your hands on a copy of these masterpieces. Either on Amazon as paperback and ebook or from my blog (link in bio). If you buy your paperback from the blog, you can pay via PayPal, and your copy will be signed with a handwritten note from yours truly.
Every word in these books was written by me. And every cover picture was taken by me too. It’s a complete solo project, created with lots of passion and love. Never perfect, but always real. A lot like me.

Out of the Dark and Into the Light: a poetry collection. It’s a mostly fictitious journey through the year 2020.

A Life in Frames: short stories and flash fiction. In this book, I am trying to showcase my writing style.

Heart of Stone: a romantic novel

Drowning in a Sea of voices: a poetry collection

Unquiet Minds: a poetry collection. This was the first time I ever wrote my real name under my writing and I was a nervous wreck when I published it.

nightmare

That dream again. I am at work sitting on the floor with the babies, playing. My phone rings. I often don’t take your calls; you know that. But this time, I am in a good mood. I just want to tell you to call later. I take the call while I walk outside of our little space. But it is not your voice that’s asking for me. It is your brother. I am confused at first, trying to understand how and why he is calling when you always said that I am your best-kept secret. “He passed away,” your brother says, and I nod as if he was seeing me. “We will issue a statement today, but I thought you should know. He talked about you. He loved you.” I nod again, say thank you, and drop my phone. It just slides out of my hand. I drop to my knees too. There is no sound. No strength, just tears and an unbearable pain that breaks my heart. My colleagues are concerned; they don’t know my emotional side, not like this. And I can’t speak. I just whisper your name. I wake up with a racing heart. There is no missed call. There is no statement on Facebook or any other social media. I take a deep breath and realise that I miss you. A lot. I am not ready to lose you.