The mirror

Drawing by Yoneko Shiraishi


“You look ghastly,” said the mirror on the wall.


“Good morning to you, too,” I replied.


“You look pale!” shouted the mirror.


“Do I?” I asked surprised rather than offended by the mirror’s rude comments. 


“Indeed,” it replied barely acknowledging me.


“I still have my hair,” I saying trying to joke.


“Your hair is grey,” it replied in horror.


“What is it with you this morning,?” I asked “Because you’ve never shown any interest in my appearance?


“Honey, I’m concerned,” it replied with a whisper “You were much prettier just a mere five years ago,” it said almost bursting in tears “I mean, you never were the belle of the ball, but you were easy on the eye.”


“I know,” I said to the mirror “I was never the belle of the ball, was I?”
“Now, don’t get all sentimental, you know you have more to offer than beauty,” said the mirror trying to cheer me up.


“I’m alright, don’t worry about me,” I said trying to finish our uncomfortable conversation.


“I’ve got an idea,” said the mirror smiling widely “Why don’t you get a haircut?”


“Well, that’s not a bad idea. Can I think about it?” I asked.


“No, you can’t. You’re getting a hair cut. Today, as in T-O-D-A-Y!,” the mirror demanded.


And here I am at the hair salon, getting a new haircut, so that mirror doesn’t yell at me again.

My confused brain: On Sundays

 

I wake up as I do every morning at 5:00 a.m. without alarms.

I think I am an early bird because I am neither tired or grumpy.

I am fully awake.

But today is Sunday, and although my heart is ready to write, my brain has decided not to oblige today.

“It is Sunday” it says “ I want to have fun, I want to watch TV, laugh at silly jokes, and enjoy” it demands.

“Only 5 minutes” I reply, and I start preparing my morning tea.

“We’ll see about it” it threatens me.

“Time to work” I say once I finished preparing my tea.

“But we work everyday. It is Sunday” it says almost crying.

“We gotta get on with it” I say trying to make it understand

“It is Sunday. I want to watch TV, laugh at silly jokes, and enjoy. I won’t work today” It repeats again.

So I turn on the tv, and here we are still discussing when it is a good time to start writing. Sometimes my brain doesn’t want to understand that writing is having fun, enjoying and laugh at silly things, even when those silly things are our own lack of concentration and skill.

Her piercing blue eyes

 

Her piercing blue eyes went through me like an arrow.

“Yes” I replied “I kissed her”

She stared at me without blinking making me feel like the cockroach I was.

She stood up from the red sofa she had been sitting on all this time.

I expected to be slapped. I deserved it. But instead, she went to the room, gathered her things and walked to the door

I wanted to stop her but what for? I’ve had hurt her. I needed to suffer her absence.

She opened the door and turned.

I held my breath. Maybe she would stay, I stupidly thought.

“I hope you can find happiness, somehow, somewhere” she said and slowly closed the door without looking at me again.

And I have been looking for those piercing blue eyes ever since.

Error 5440

 

I upload my contents like every day, and like every day, I take a second to thank whomever deity might make people click on my posts,

I upload today’s post. And instead of the delightful thrill, I get by seeing my posts flying on the web. I get chills because the generous spirits (genies or angels) that have been helping me, putting my posts out there, are not doing it anymore.

All I get is Error 5440. Click again and as many times as my trembling fingers allow me, and the same message comes out: Error 5440

I’m sweating cold, and the anxiety’s invisible hand is tightening around my throat.

I try again: Error 5440. And another message: the website you are trying to find is nonexistent.

This is too much for me

I decide to leave it for now and to make myself a cup of tea, but something is missing. Maybe biscuits could go well with this fiery cup of glory.

I leave the house, and right in front of the door, I find a group of funny looking spirits who seem to be having a jolly good time. They look at me and flee into the house like a group of mischievous children.Something tells me I should get a better set of helping genies because these are more bananas (crazy) than I am

Anyway, I think I’ll better get to work again because if I leave my genies to their free will, I will never get anything done.

Laura

A rainy day of 2002, I was landing in Costa Rica, a paradise on earth, where the stress and rush of the modern world are not to be found. Just yet. Not just yet.

As always the same routine, immigration, taxi, and hotel. Just do it all over again a few days later.

But little I knew my life was about to take a turn.

Arriving at the hotel, a casual phone call home would confirm the worst. He was gone. The time stood still for what it seemed hours. The auricular fell from my trembling hands. And I stood there unable to move. Everything became a blur. Someone offered to help me with my bags. I looked at him. And tears started pouring uncontrollably. I collapsed crying onto the floor.

I woke up the next morning with my all my clothes on. I felt lost. It took me a while to remember where I was. And what had happened. And when the memories of the previous day came back so did the tears. And while I was debating if it was worth living another day, a knock on my door interrupted my suicidal thoughts.

I opened without asking.

“Laura” said a husky voice in the semi-darkness “it is time.”

“I know” I replied, “I had been waiting for you.”

He extended his pale, bony hand to me. I took it. And without words, he led me into darkness.

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Her

There she was waiting. I could see in her profile that she was shy.

Once we started talking I could see in her a wise but fragile soul, as she had survived not one but many battles, cried defeats and survived ignominy. She smiled and laughed at my poor attempts at humor. But her laughter, although sweet, was a cover. A cover of what? I don’t know. But I could see in her eyes memories that still hunt happiness away.

Her soul was a pandora box that could mirror the deepest darkest corners of ourselves. And yet, she was fragile. And in more need of protection than anybody, I have met before or after her.

“I have to go,” she said

She just stood up and walk out the door. And for a brief moment, I felt as if a part of me had just left behind her.

Broken pens: the drama and the inspiration

I love pens. I love holding them. But at this moment, all the pens I own are broken. Why are they all broken? I have no idea. 

The spring that unfailingly lowers the tip is stuck..!And It’s hard to make the ink leave a mark on the paper. I try writing with the other pens, but it is all the same result. 

And when inspiration strikes, it has to wait until I finish battling (dueling at times) with the pen, the ink, and the spring.
I’d love to curse and let it all out, but I shut those thoughts down because the inspiration is a sensitive spirit, who needs to feel peace and calm to work her magic. So there she is now waiting with crossed arms in front of her. She is huffing and puffing at me, and the foolishness of who I am. 

“Buy new pens,” she says. 

“I like these old ones. I’ve had them forever” I simply reply.

And the inspiration just rolls her eyes at me as answer.

When I finally get the pen to work, I write it all down, but something is missing. I know. And the inspiration knows I know. I look at her, but I don’t beg her. 

“Fine” she says angrily. And she starts pouring silk on air.

She cries with me in the funeral of Prince Charming and smiles at the birth of his heir. And when we finish the story she leaves without warning or a goodbye. But I know she will come back. Because although I know, she doesn’t like me because I am a talentless writer, I know she will come back because she has nothing better to do than torture me.

Miyazaki: And his magic at Kichijōji

As I arrived at Kichijōji station, I couldn’t help but notice little gnomes, faceless ghosts and other “magical” creatures walking around. They all seemed busy and preoccupied.

And although I gave them the best of my smiles, they were not kind because they didn’t stop to help me when I asked them for directions. They just ignored me.

And neither the scarecrow that so kindly helped Sophie in the moving howl’s castle seemed to be carrying out good deeds this morning.

I knew the Ghibli museum was close to Kichijoji station, but all those “magical” creatures were taking the whole station for themselves. The volume of their voices was growing louder and louder. And they didn’t seem to be going anywhere but rather waiting.

But waiting for who, I wondered.

And just after few minutes, my question would be answered.

Because just before me, Mr. Miyazaki himself appeared at the ticket gate. And those magical creatures, his creatures, jumped to attention.

He was wearing a wool checked jacket along with a hat of the same print. He, all of him, was just as colorful, enchanted and fascinating as the characters he creates. And they all followed him on to the next train like obedient and lovingly children. And without him, the Kichijõchi station became gloomy and silent.

Yone oni

One morning in the busy city I live in, I got into the train, without realizing I was about to be emotionally and physically abused by a ninny salary boy, who, I am sure, will die a virgin.

I will call him “the ninny”

I, unluckily, stood next to “the ninny” when I got on the train, and to an even worse luck, the train stopped suddenly, making us all stumble, onto one another. And to my outrage “the ninny” started elbowing me.!

 “The ninny” was elbowing me so I wouldn’t fall on him, which was not necessary because I was already trying hard not to.

Being elbowed so disrespectfully woke inside me, Yone oni (oni=devil), the dark side of me that I work hard to keep at bay.

But “the ninny” woke her up, I felt “Yone oni” waking up and start breathing with fury. We (Yone oni and I) took a look at him, and then we saw his weakness: embarrassment.

Embarrassing “the ninny” easy-peasy. So we started laughing at him. Laughing more and more, until we saw “the ninny’s” cheeks turning bright red.

Yone oni was happy but not satisfied. She started plotting against “the ninny” while I was trying hard to calm her down. But she refused to go back to sleep. She wanted revenge. She didn’t want to listen to me, until, I explained to her that spending more time on him would be a waste of our time.

Then she agreed, through clenched teeth, to take a little nap but she promised to keep an eye open just in case I might need her.

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The annoying meatballs

Italy, 2002

I am glad I let my friend Francesca set me up with this guy, I mean the guy is gorgeous, he looks like a model from one of those expensive magazines. He is just sitting in front of me. And I think I just forgot my name.

Did I take a shower before coming here? Yes, I think I did. God..! Just looking at him makes my head spin.

I can do this. Yes, I will seduce him with my charismatic personality. I am giving him my best smile when I hear an annoying pitchy voice.

“Stop fooling yourself, honey” the annoying pitchy voice is saying.

When I look down at my plate, I realize, to my horror, that a small round meatball has just spoken to me.

I need to lay down. I think I’m having a breakdown.

“You are not having a breakdown” repeats another meatball.

 “Elizabeth….are you ok?” asks my gorgeous date.

I reply the best I can, and I start rolling the spaghetti onto my fork.

“You know?….I wasn’t so sure about this date, but I am glad I agreed to it” he says with a killing smile, I freeze but I try to reply with coherence.

And the spaghetti takes the opportunity to jump back into the plate.

“It is cold,” it (the spaghetti) says when I was about to tell it off. But as I am too dazzled by my date, I decide not to pay much attention to the cheeky fugitive spaghetti.

I’ll get it later, though.

He (my date) reaches for my hand, lifting it to his lips, and my heart skips a beat.

I think I am in love.

“Elizabeth….” He says my name

“Yes…” I reply making plans for our wedding already.

“I hope you don’t mind….” he says

“Yes..” I reply again encouragingly

“I hope you don’t mind….but I forgot my wallet..” He says sheepishly.

Needless to say that I heard laughter coming not only from my plate but from all over the restaurant.

“Told you, honey,” says the small round meatball laughing at me.

I take my fork, and I stab it (the meatball) so hard that I almost brake the plate.

“Ahhh…..” the meatball screams.

And I eat it in one mouthful.

That’ll show them. I might be having a rubbish date, but the food won’t be showing me up.