Category Archives: General thoughts

Literary Speed Dating

Did you know such thing even existed? No, it’s not authors dating authors, although maybe that’s not a bad idea either. It’s an event organised by an author society, where about a dozen publishers get to hear 3-minute pitches from writers that want to traditionally publish their books. I’ve known about the one organised by Australian Society of Authors for years now, but it has always sold out in a matter of days if not hours. This year, however, I get to go!

How did I do it? As usual, with dogged persistence. When I missed out last year, I went ahead and put a recurring reminder into my calendar to check the website for the next year’s announcement. Because I was told it would happen “early next year,” the reminder started on 1 January and repeated every day until now. I kept checking the website and was starting to lose hope when voila! There was the announcement and the web form. I tried to submit it a couple of times, but it didn’t work. When I called them, the staff member was in shock because she did not know it was already published on the web, it was supposed to get her approval or something. She took my credit card details (the event costs $50 AUD) and after much begging from me, sent me an email confirming that yes, I’m in.

So yay! On 24 June I get to finally meet those elusive publishers who so far managed to hide behind their assistants and template rejection letters. I have four months to finish my new book and to plan my assault. Me thinks I will be pitching not only the story, but myself too – the doggedly persistent author of not one, but three books. Gimme a contract for three novels over two years! I will deliver!

I will be posting about my experience, of course, and whether the event was worth the $50 (plus the membership with Writers Victoria). If you live in Australia, you may want to put a reminder in your calendar for next January or get onto the waiting list. If you live elsewhere, contact your local author society to see if they are doing something similar, or suggest that they do.

I know it’s a long time away, but the deadline got me even more energized to continue writing, and that alone is worth the fifty bucks. So far I’d managed between 800 and 1,100 words per day over the first three days, and that’s after long, hard days at work. let’s just see what happens over the weekend.

Hope you are well and that the Muse has visited you too, if not in the shower, then maybe in your dreams, or in the long boring meeting. Whenever it is, invite her in.

20 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

I have a dream. Again…

Look who’s back! “Who dis?” I hear you say, and yes, you have every right to forget me – I’ve been gone for three months. In cybertime, that’s like a generation. I’m sure new Twitter stars have managed to rise and implode since then, but I wouldn’t have known. I was too busy getting married and starting my new job.

Speaking of getting married – look at this happy couple!

registry-steps   walking-in-cbd   nighttime-in-cbd-2

You almost can’t tell that it was 39 degrees Celsius, which is just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit…crazy, but that’s the January in Melbourne for ya! I know that some of you can’t feel your toes right now, but trust me – you wouldn’t want to feel like you are cooking alive, either.

And yes, I’ve been at my new awesome job for almost three months, and yes, it’s incredibly demanding, but enough excuses already. I want to tell you about a wonderful thing that happened yesterday.

I came home late, as usual. Good thing that Josh cooks, because if not, I’d be surviving on tuna cans and stale bread. Early to rise and late home from work makes Ana one tired woman. So tired that a mere thought of sitting down to finish that third book or even write a new blog post creates involuntary spasms in my legs, which usually results in a couch faceplant, supplemented with trash TV. Every now and then I would also feel intense regret that the writing dream is over, and then pass out to start the early-to-rise cycle all over again. Sounds familiar? Yeah, it sucks.

I’ve tried beating myself up, writing daily plans, and setting up a reward system, but nothing was working. That is, until yesterday. I was in the shower, trying to wash off the daily stress, when I sort of spaced out. I was fantasizing about how my life could be different, when a story idea came to me, as vivid and real as one of those hallucinations I had when I was high on opiates in the hospital bed. When I came to, the bathroom was full of steam and my mind was full of plot twists, characters, and whole scenes.

My sister-in-law came over to have dinner and watch “Married at First Sight,” so I had to play hostess for a couple of hours, but all I could think of was the new story. I could not wait for the stupid show to be over, so that I could write down the idea, I was that afraid to lose it. I jumped onto the computer as soon as I could and did not get off the chair until Josh started yelling from the other bedroom that we had to get some sleep. I could not stop thinking about it this morning. I told my sister. She liked it. In fact, her exact words were: “Yep, here we go again!”

Yes, indeed. Here we go. A completely different new novel, a psychological thriller with little comedy, if any. A male protagonist. More character development, although I’m in love with the plot too. And I have a feeling I will be able to spill it onto the page in a couple of months – last night I could barely keep up with typing out the ideas as they were flooding in.

I don’t know what you’ve been up to in the last three months, and sorry again for disappearing, but if you’ve been self-beating and self-hating over a writer’s block, perhaps it’s time to try spacing out in a hot shower. Let me know how you go.

58 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

I quit my job today

That’s right, I’ve sent in my resignation letter. The reason is not to become a full-time writer, but it’s almost as good – I finally got a chance to take a major step up in my career. I will be moving to a different organization to lead a team of twenty people – a whole new level of responsibility, new challenges, and hopefully a whole new chapter of my career.

This couldn’t have come at a better time. Just to think, five weeks ago I was crying myself to sleep, getting ready to have two surgeries just to rule out cancer. It was about that time that in an attempt to distract myself, I’d checked Seek to see if any exciting new jobs were advertised. There was one. A perfect job, in fact. Damn bad timing, wasn’t it? I looked at it again the next day. Two or three times. Damn.

I didn’t have the time or mental power to apply, as those kinds of jobs usually require a multi-page statement addressing key selection criteria. This one was through an executive search agency, so they only asked for a resume and a cover letter. I finally sent in the application, just to stop myself from looking at the job advertisement and obsessively Google-stalking the organization.

Imagine my shock when I got the phone call from the agency on the day between the two surgeries. I was high as a kite on opiates and did my best to sound sober as the agent explained that they would like me to come in for the interview the following week. I explained that I was about to have major surgery and asked for a Skype meeting instead. To my surprise, they agreed. Somehow, I managed the next week in the hospital, came home just in time and spoke with the agent for half an hour over Skype. I could not even sit upright, instead wedged in the corner of the couch, with pillows under knees and elbows, afraid to move. I honestly did not think I had a chance – I had a hard time concentrating even to read a book. I even put my new reading glasses on in an attempt to look more distinguished. Pathetic, I know. The agent was lovely and I enjoyed the chat and the corresponding shot of adrenaline. She hung up, I took off my glasses and went back to watching the endless renovation shows.

Imagine my shock when I got the next phone call – this time I was asked to come into the city for an interview with the panel, including my future boss and a couple of other high-flyers. “Sure,” I said. “I can make it happen.” I had no idea how I would make it happen, as I could not yet walk straight and none of my clothes fit because my abdomen was still swollen. I finally figured out a presentable outfit made of a stretchy dress and a wrap jacket. I took a bunch of pills and forced myself to stand up straight. Straight enough at least. You really can’t tell if you strike a pose:

interview

I took a taxi to the city and felt every freaking speedbump and pavement crack with my whole body. It took me ten minutes to compose myself in the lobby and then wobble up the hallway, trying to look cool and nonplussed as I was shown to a chair. I smiled and tried to hide how much effort it was to get into that chair. Funny enough, once I started talking, I felt no pain whatsoever, adrenaline working just as good as tramadol did. I remembered the pain only when I went to stand up at the end of the interview. I barely made it out of the office before I popped a tramadol stashed away in my purse.

Life didn’t stop surprising me there. There was another interview, then the ugly task of asking my manager for a reference, then an even uglier task of quitting the job I’ve loved for four years. It’s all done now, and I can finally relax. I don’t know if it’s the normal healing process or a wave of happiness, but I have had almost no pain today, and a whole week of sick leave left to go.

It has not sunk in yet, that this crazy stunt has paid off. Maybe a little crazy is just what I needed. One thing is for sure, I’m about to have a time of my life with the rescheduled honeymoon in Bali, followed by the new job. There will also be a wedding, although that has not been rescheduled yet. It will be one hell of a firework ending to the crazy year.

A crazy stunt. Maybe that’s what I need to take the writing career off the ground, too. I’ll keep you posted.

127 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

You’ve got to trust your instincts. And get three quotes.

It was exactly two months and one week ago when I climbed back into bed to ask Josh if he was ready for his life to change. Because at a ripe age of 43 and-a-half, I was pregnant. And that’s without any doctors involved. It was a miracle, and we were both elated; I’d say it was easily the happiest day in my life so far. With the wedding just a few months away, my biggest worry was that I now needed a new dress, one more suitable for a blushing knocked-up bride.

Today I’m in a hospital bed, typing this through a tramadol haze. I have a C-section scar, but no baby – the only thing that had come out was a 9cm (3.5 inches) uterine fibroid that had caused a miscarriage and more grief than I have ever experienced in my life so far. It was like boarding a flight, all giddy and happy, on your way to a new adventure, only to find yourself in a tailspin, with each new test or doctor delivering worse and worse news. I’d like to tell you that I was strong and brave through this ordeal, but it’s not true. When I was referred to an oncologist surgeon, because there was no way to confirm that the bastard is not malignant without cutting it out, I cried all day. When I got myself together enough to get a second opinion only to find out that I will need two surgeries because the bastard created a massive blood supply for itself, I pretty much lost it. There was an episode at home, when I screamed “I can’t do this!” and “Fuck you!” at the walls until I could barely breathe.

My family tried to help. I spoke with a psychologist. I took Valium. I went to work and tried to distract myself with strategic plans, or whatever. Still, I could not get a grip. Part of the reason was that I could not stop beating myself up for not doing something about it earlier. Cause, you see, I knew about the bastard for at least three years, and so did my doctors. It showed up on an ultrasound back then, but it was 4.5cm (2″) and I was told not to worry about it, because they are common, and they could shrink on their own. I did worry about it, because my mother and grandmother had enormous ones that almost killed them, but sighed with relief and put it out of my mind.

It turns out I had a lot of options back then, like laparoscopic surgery, medication, or embolization. I had very few options this time, and they were all bad, sort of comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges. I picked one which seemed to make more sense, took more Valium, and kept putting one foot in front of the other and filling one  form after another, until I finally woke up from general anaesthesia for the second time.

It has now been four days in recovery, and the worst is behind me, I hope. I have also found that grip I was so desperately looking for earlier. As a self-proclaimed Queen of Silver Linings, I found a few even in this miserable shithole of a situation. I managed to fall pregnant naturally, so it could happen again. I found out about the bastard before it grew to a size of a baseball (yes, they can do that) and required a hysterectomy. I didn’t need blood transfusion and the nurses keep commenting on how quickly I’m healing. Josh and I are more in love than ever, and we are still getting married, only a few weeks later than originally planned. I have six weeks of paid sick leave, so I will finish my third novel. I’m alive. I can, actually, do “this” or whatever else life throws at me.

I have also learned a lesson, and this is the one I wanted to share with you: trust your gut and get three quotes  or opinions on anything important. Bathroom remodel? Get three quotes. Manuscript edit? Well, I got about six quotes with sample pages. That persistent pain your doctor dismisses as “normal” and “nothing to worry about”? You get the point. You are the one who cares the most about your body, children, finances, and yes – your book. If you feel that something isn’t right, don’t let others dismiss you. Stand up for yourself. Be a brick wall – not aggressive or angry, just self assured and persistent.

I’d also like thank everyone who’d shown me so much support when I freaked out and asked for prayers on Twitter just minutes before the first surgery. It was amazing to see such an outpouring of support, well wishes, and even people contacting me privately, all worried about what was going on. Sadly, some of my real- life “friends” were not as caring. They will be fired. I needed to make some space for new friends, anyway.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

130 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

The sun came out!

Just as I suspected and hoped, the view is spectacular:

WIN_20151222_143802

The ocean is still murky brown, but who cares! We are going outside, to have adventures and bask in the sun.

The pool looks pretty good in the sunshine, too:

WIN_20151223_162120

According to Josh, the pool in nearby Sheraton is even better. Yesterday he went over and asked to see their rooms – for about 50% more you can have modern luxury and amazing facilities, like a proper gym and an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. With all that, there’s no security – so he just waltzed back in later and used the gym. This is the strange benefit of being white here – you are assumed to be a guest in whichever hotel you boldly walk into.

We ventured out on the town and visited the market:

IMG_2358IMG_2359

Had to snap a photo of this “security” dog watching over the local mechanic shop:

IMG_2356 IMG_2357

I was happy not to see any dogs for sale, anywhere. They are everywhere, though – every other shop has a small dog hanging out at the front. In general, dogs here look healthy, well taken care of and even loved. Here are a couple of dogs napping with their owner in the afternoon shade:

IMG_2360

We managed to do a few things, like visit a 1,300-year old temple:

IMG_2372

Josh was told to wear a robe to enter the temple, and we had to take our shoes off. I think he’d make quite a fetching monk:

IMG_2365

The temple is on a hill and offers an amazing view of Nha Trang, somewhat marred by the monstrosity of a hotel/apartment block under construction. Just one look at this, and you’ve got to agree, town planning laws and regulations are a necessary evil:

IMG_2374

We climbed another hill, to see this enormous Buddha:

IMG_2378

It was hot – at least 30 degrees Celsius, and on the way we saw a quite few people napping in the shadows (sorry, the best pic I could get without feeling like a complete intruder):

IMG_2377 (2)

In fact, afternoon naps are everywhere – I even saw one guy laying back on his motorbike, fast asleep, yet somehow maintaining a balance. Shop owners sleep on the chairs out the front, and rickshaw drivers sleep in their carts:

IMG_2389

We had dinner by the water, in Ana’s Bar – a tranquil place full of lights. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with Christmas, but the Christmas lights are everywhere, in abundance. I was hoping to see some stars, but not with this kind of light extravaganza everywhere:

IMG_2391

We decided to walk back, to work off some of the calories. This was apparently completely unacceptable to the local rickshaw drivers, who ganged up on us, to the point where one of them got off and very nearly tried to pull us into his cart:

IMG_2401

We literally ran away from the rickshaw drivers and things got better on the other side of the boulevard, where tourists were expected to walk by the local restaurants, most of them displaying live or recently deceased sea life out the front:

IMG_2402 IMG_2405

We have also come across an amazing workshop, set in a tranquil garden:

IMG_2411

It was half-workspace, with girls embroidering right in front of us and half-art gallery. This is just one of the “paintings” on display – I’ve tried to capture the fine quality of fine embroidery – it looks three-dimentional.

IMG_2408 IMG_2409

It’s not cheap, most items were in thousands of dollars, and this enormous one was about $25,000 USD:

IMG_2410

So that was it for yesterday – today the weather has been just as awesome, and I will try to post more photos and a bit of a story later – I had the balls to ask some expats if they live here, and got some ideas for future retirement plans 🙂

34 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

Thank God for free Wi-Fi!

Incidentally, it is everywhere in Vietnam. The country may be lacking in physical infrastructure, but it is certainly staying well-connected. Yes, I’m looking at you, Melbourne – when will you get free Wi-Fi, at least in CBD?

I have done practically zilch work on the sequel, so I thought I might as well write down some of my fresh impressions of Vietnam in a blog post. I will translate them into Isa’s adventure in India some other time.

It’s day seven of my adventure, and so far nothing has gone according to the plan. Truth be told, the plan was not all that well thought through – from memory, every time I got on the web to research the weather or transport options, I inevitably ended up checking stats, blog comments, or my Twitter feed. As a result, we have landed in some pretty crappy weather in Hoi An (yeah, I know it’s winter in the Northern hemisphere, but c’mon! It’s supposed to be the END of the rainy season!). We were also forced to buy two pretty expensive last-minute plane tickets from Hoi An to Nha Trang (yeah, I didn’t realize it would take 10 hours by train, but c’mon! They are so close on the map!).

Josh just read the last bit over my shoulder and concurred  – but he has no right to comment, really. Every time he was tasked with booking anything online, I’d hear suspicious sounds of weights hitting a gym floor – he was looking at people deadlifting the equivalent of an average cow.

Anywho, back to more complaints (the silver lining should be coming up any moment!). Everything is more expensive than I expected – the side effect of being overly optimistic. There’s no such thing as “good and cheap” massage or food, or clothes, or anything. Just like anywhere else in the world, you can have good, or you can have cheap. You can find good and moderately priced (compared to ridiculously expensive Melbourne, Australia), so we’ve settled on that. I’ve also passed on having any clothes custom made – I’ve had one bad experience with that in Bali, that was enough. Sure, the fabric was great, but it didn’t fit right, even after two fittings.

To be honest, I’m not loving this trip as much as I was hoping. For starters, it’s hard to enjoy being served and pampered in a country of such drastic contrasts of wealth and poverty. It’s everywhere – from Mercedes on the street next to a rickshaw, to tiny toddlers trying to sell random goods to tourists dining outdoors. It’s especially hard if for whatever reason you decide to start you relaxing vacation with a visit to the war museum, and then you can’t stop quietly weeping, and decide to have a second glass of wine in hopes that it will stop the waterworks, only to find that it makes the flashbacks to the horror that much worse. All I can say is that I was happy to answer “Australian” to the question of “Where are you from?” , because I got a feeling that either “Russian” or “American” would not win me any favors. Actually, now that I think of Australia’s new immigration policies, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut and look mysterious…

I wrote the above paragraphs in the airport lounge, waiting for that unplanned flight to Nha Trang, full of anxiety and pre-flight booze. I wish it could be any other way, but unfortunately booze-induced arrogance is the only way you could coax me onto a plane these days. And it has to be planned early – I’ve learned a hard way that you can’t get a drink out of a steward on the plane until the wheels leave the tamarack. Turns out that the liquor license only starts in the air, and that the stewards won’t risk their jobs to pacify a hysterical woman. Not that I was hysterical. I mean, maybe a little.

The flight started off well, and Josh and I were pleasantly surprised at how new the Vietnam Airlines plane looked, compared to the dingy Jetstar Pacific one we took from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An. Then, just before landing, we hit some pretty major (I mean, up-and-down and side-by-side) turbulence, which alone would be enough to plunge me into hysterics. To make matters worse, during one of those down the rollercoaster rides, Josh squeezed my hand and said “I love you” in a way that made me wish very, very hard that we’d opted for that supposedly terrible ten-hour train ride.

We did make it to Nha Trang, but I guess you’d probably already figured that part out. We also made it through an even crazier taxi ride from the airport to the hotel some 40 kilometers away. The driver practically flew through the torrential rain, hitting water puddles with a force of a speeding boat, spraying miserable motorbike drivers in our wake. His radio was sputtering incessantly, a woman’s voice chattering in high-pitched Vietnamese, accompanied by constant blowing of the car horn. Every driver, at all times is blowing the car horn – I’m not at all sure how it helps others, and it certainly pisses of bike riders, which sometimes shake an angry fist in protest. This time, they just hunched down under their plastic ponchos and persevered through the wet misery.

Driving through such conditions would not be a picnic on any road, leave alone a winding stretch between mountains on one side and the drop-off to the ocean on the other. Yet the driver managed to check texts on not one, but two cell phones. I’d thought about asking him to put at least one phone away, but decided against it – not only his English seemed to be limited to basic numbers and pointing, he seemed already sufficiently angry. I did not feel like finding out what his driving would be like if he was royally pissed off at some tourist telling him what to do.

We’ve now checked into our supposedly 4.5 star hotel, which looks like a Roman palace on the outside, and like a dingy 80’s motel on the inside. I’ve already found a wiggly worm in my bathtub, which looks suspiciously like a human parasite. Staff moved us to another, equally dingy room, and assured me that the supposed parasite is actually an adorable and crafty red worm which navigated its way from the soil, up the drainpipes, and into the tub on the first floor. Doesn’t matter, one way or another, it’s not a kind of assassin worm I want to get acquainted with.

Sorry, looks like there will be no silver lining in this particular post. I’ve had cookies and cream ice cream, maybe that counts? I will try harder tomorrow.

 

37 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

Going down to Vietnam, gonna have myself a time!

By the time you read this here stream of consciousness, I will be on a plane or perhaps already in the exotic far-away lands. Vietnam feels like an odd choice for our pre-honeymoon, at least for me – having spent half of my life in the Soviet Union, and the other half in the US, I’m used to the stories about Vietnam being all about “smell of napalm in the morning” and “Charlies in the trees”. That was half a century ago, though, so things have changed – I’m going to spend two-and-a-half weeks in the lap of luxury, eating awesome cheap food and getting awesome cheap massages.

I’m hoping for an easy trip with aghm, a very budget airline…and that I don’t freak out the way I sometimes do, when it suddenly occurs to me just how ridiculous it is to be hurtling through the air in a sardine can…

I’m also hoping to detox a bit from my addiction to social media, so I might be sparse and not answering comments as I usually do. I will try to stay true to form and post updates on the promos I got scheduled – if not on the blog, then at least on Twitter.

Please don’t forget to enter the free cover design contest or the free Goodreads giveaway – both end on 31 December. Otherwise, enjoy your various holidays, and see you in 2016!

41 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

The best way to predict your future

The best way to predict your future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln said that. Dude was a genius and a visionary. Today I was reminded just how important it is to follow this motto.

It’s been two years since I’ve started this blog. On a whim, I’ve decided to have a look at my very first post. I had to read it twice, and I was completely overcome by the complex emotions that could only be expressed by “OMG!” and “no way!”

My dream two years ago was for someone to read my not-yet-written book, close it, and want to read more. This is exactly what has happened: I’ve finished a novel, I’ve published it, and, according to Amazon reviews and comments on this blog, people want to read the next installment. Exactly as I have wished for/predicted in that very first post.

Be still, my heart, I have another wish to make:

By 16 October 2017, I want to quit my corporate job and become a full-time writer.

There. The power of intent, and all that. Thank you all for helping make my first dream come true – I gotta go start working on this next one.

Big, big hugs.

 

50 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

A little perspective

No matter how hard I try, I don’t get what I want.

This thought has taken over my already exhausted brain on some kind of evil repeating loop. I have been trying for about a year to get published (over 70 applications and counting) or at least get a new job (lost count of applications). I am pretty thick-skinned, but the sheer amount of rejections, or worst yet, the continuous silence, is depressing.

I was walking home this afternoon, pissed off that the grocery stores dared to close on Good Friday, when I noticed my engagement ring sparkling in the sunshine. It occurred to me that the ring is a symbol of many things – not just our undying love and commitment and such, but also that one should never stop trying. After all, if I stopped a year or a decade ago, this wouldn’t have happened:
Me and Josh

I guess one should also not forget to stop and smell the roses, or spend time with their significant other without being distracted by constant checking of SEEK.com or email. After all, if I had to choose between getting published or getting married to Josh, I would choose latter.

I just hope I don’t have to choose. I’m willing to work twice as hard to get both.

5 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

Look what the cat dragged in

Ok, look what I found lurking in the dark corner of my harddrive – a first chapter of a dating chicklit book I never finished. Ok, never wrote – all I have is a couple of chapters. Who wants to read another dating book, anyway?

This is not a true story. Ok, it is loosely based on some of the terrible experiences I’ve had dating a few years back. Thankfully it’s all behind me now, so I can just laugh at it…hope you do too.

Prince Charming

“How could she do this…this…to me?” Matt slurred. The late hour and an unknown number of long island ice teas were taking their toll. “She was everything to me!”

“I am sure it was for the best,” I said once again.

Matt looked at me for a moment. I thought he was about to disagree, but instead he just hiccupped.

“Eek!”

Great. As if the night could not get any worse.

“Well,” I said, “I really, really do need to go now. It was very nice…”

“All I ever wanted was to love her…eek…to come home to her…eek..to…to…aaahh!”

With that, Matt dissolved into a stream of hiccups and sobs. It was hard to imagine that this caricature was a well groomed businessman just a few hours ago. He slumped over the table, knocking over an empty glass and the check tray that has been quite suggestively brought by the waiter about half an hour ago. It was time to go.

“C’mon Matt, let’s get you a taxi, you’ve got to get some sleep,” I tried to pull him up by the elbow, but succeeded only in dragging him down to the floor.

He kneeled in a heap next to his chair, still sobbing. I bent down to try one more time to pick him up, when he suddenly threw up all over my shoes. Brand new, soft as butter, suede boots that I wore for the first time. I felt fury and nausea all at the same time. It was late on a school night, my date and my shoes were ruined, and I obviously had to pay the tab for both of us. I was done playing either the nice girl or the psychologist.

I marched over to the bar, where an icy cold waiter was cleaning up for the night.

“Excuse me” I said with forced calm, “could you please call two taxis, for me and my friend here?”

Ice Man gave me his most demeaning, sub-zero look as if to say “I am not here to clean up your mess, hun”. Then he looked over at where Matt was still worshipping his chair and must have realized that getting us both out of the joint was in his best interest.

“With pleasure” he said through clenched teeth, picked up the phone and punched in a number with a little too much force. I smiled my fakest smile and walked back to the table. Behind me, I could hear Ice Man trying to convince someone on the other end to deliver two cars to “Laika” as a special favour to him.

Matt was doing a little better. While I was gone, he managed to get himself back to the seat and was wiping his face and hands with the edge of the tablecloth. Oh well, at least the night was about to be over. My whole body ached from the sheer effort of the last hour. I could not wait to go home, take a long hot shower, climb into bed, and forget, forget this night all together.

“How are you feeling?” I asked, wondering why I still bothered.

“Much better, thanks” he sounded a little sobered up, and quite a bit ashamed. “Thank you for listening to me…you are very sweet”. He was looking down at the ruined tablecloth.

“Glad to help.” Instead of telling him that I was actually boiling with rage, I picked up the check from the floor, pulled a couple of bills from my purse, and put them under an empty glass.

“You really are…I mean it…” he looked up at me with his wet puppy eyes. Thankfully, Ice Man was suddenly beside us. Apparently, someone did owe him a favor, because two taxis were already outside, in less time that it would have taken the cops to respond. Very impressive.

“Thank you,” I said, realizing that it was the first truthful statement of the night.

“My pleasure,” Ice Man said, while grimacing to indicate otherwise.

Matt managed to get up on his own and put his arm around my shoulders. The torture was not yet over – apparently he expected me to drag him out into the street. It did not bother me as much as it should have, probably because our every step brought me closer to the shower. Outside, I gratefully sucked in a full breath of fresh air. After five hours in a smoky bar with an emotionally unstable drunk man, the sudden surge of oxygen made me lightheaded.

It must have had a similar effect on Matt. He slowly turned and brought his face close to mine, as if he suddenly saw me for the first time.

“You are a sweet girl,” he slurred again. The stench of vomit made me gag.

“Yeah, that’s just great…” Thankfully, the driver of the first cab came around and opened the door for us. I staggered two more steps, pushing Matt closer to the cab.

“Sweet…so sweet,” he kept muttering.

“Well, good night then,” I said.

Mentally I was already home, so it took me by surprise that instead of peacefully sinking into the back seat, Matt lunged at me. He grasped my head with both hands and attempted to swallow half of my face in presumably a goodnight kiss. I tried to scream in horror and protest, but he mistook my muffled squeals for groans of passion and thrust his tongue so far into my mouth, that for a moment I thought I was going to choke. Finally, I was able to shove him away and he hit the side of a cab.

“I love you, Nasty,” he seemed unfazed. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me”. He tried to reach for me, but lost his balance and fell back against the cab.

“It’s Nastia! Anastasia, you drunken idiot!” I screamed, finally losing it and shaking all over with anger and humiliation. “You are the worst date I’ve ever had!” I shoved him, hard, turned around and stormed to my cab.

“Carlisle and Burke, please” I said to my driver.

“Don’t you want me to follow your boyfriend?” the driver said, laughing. He must have witnessed the whole catastrophe.

“He is not my boyfriend!” I screamed. “Just drive, or I swear to God, I will lose it up in here so bad, they will never find your body!”

“Whatever, I am just trying to help,” the cabby looked offended, but drove off. Good. I was done being nice for the night.

I fell back against the filthy cushions and closed my eyes. My head was pounding and the only thought still running through it was, “How did I get myself into this mess?”

4 Comments

Filed under General thoughts