cold coffee

I pushed the door open with my foot, startling you. Your eyes were filled with sleep; mine were full of mischief. I came to your room with the intention to wake you up with the smell of coffee, but seeing you like this; naked, hard, embarrassed; it did things to me.

You were a guest in my house. A friend. The polite thing would have been to apologise and leave. But I couldn’t. I was hungry. Starving. And not for food. You looked at your erection, then at me. I licked my lips and tried to find a safe place for that cup of coffee in my hand.

You sat up and reached for the sheets to cover yourself. I shook my head. “Don’t, ” I croaked. You rose an eyebrow, probably intensely aware of the situation too. I kept my eyes on you, avoiding to see myself ungracefully join you on the mattress through the mirror on the wall.

“Hi, ” you said as if you were seeing me for the first time. Your hand was already in my hair, pulling my head; my lips, to yours.

Outside, rain was joining the wind that had been up all night. Inside, we were joining too.

Everything fit. Profoundly. Almost overwhelmingly. The natural flow of things didn’t take us aback. It didn’t leave room for doubts or vanities. Every touch meant something. Every time I felt your tongue on my heated skin, it felt as if I was becoming a part of you. Your hands explored my body as if they had never done anything else. The weight of you on my tongue was exactly right, and your taste made me swallow you as often as I could. I was drowning in our lust.

When you finally penetrated me, it only took a moment before the world exploded for me. Shivering, sweating, swearing, I encouraged you to keep moving. But you didn’t. You lay on top of me; your hands were caressing my hair, your eyes were searching my face for something that I couldn’t pretend wasn’t there. A smile appeared on your lips. Proud of yourself and how you had undone me, you kissed me. You were pulsating inside of me, but not moving. Heavenly torture. I begged for more, gyrated my hips underneath you, but you were stubborn. And too close to be consumed by our lust too.

Two micro moves later, you stopped breathing. Your sweat was dripping down on me from the tip of your nose; your eyes were closed. A strangled noise left your lips just before you started to breathe again.

I had seen you. I had felt you. And it left me breathless; and not only because your full weight was on my body now. The beauty and surprise of us in this situation was overwhelming. You kissed my temple and rolled off me with a loud groan and a chuckle. Your arm covered your eyes, and your hand was running up and down your stomach. The most handsome man who I had ever been with.

I put my head on your chest, your heartbeat sang a song for me, while I retraced the pattern of the tattoos on your skin. Your eyes were filled with sleep again. I covered us with the crumbled sheet, making sure that the wet spot we left was covering me and not you.

In a while, I would worry about the meaning of it all, but right then I decided to go with the flow and let it happen.

Only the coffee had grown cold.

Upside Down – who is Giuseppe

At the other end of town, a middle-aged man was pacing the length of his office. Every once in a while, he looked across the room at two burly men who didn’t dare to look at him. They tried to be as small as they could, given their sizes and the confining space of the leather chairs they sat in. Giuseppe’s rage made a large vein on his forehead appear. It looked intimidating and as if it would pop every moment now.
“One thing. Just one thing,” Giuseppe seethed, pointing a meaty finger at his minions. “That stupid little…, how could you lose her?” The boss was not amused, and the look of his lackeys did nothing to soothe him. “I want my money, and I want the girl. Bring me both. If not, your future is sealed. Now get out of my sight. And don’t come back without Mildred.” Giuseppe rubbed the bridge of his nose to fend off an impending headache he felt.
“Yes Sir,” Tonio and Richard answered in unison and left Giuseppe’s office.
Exhausted, Giuseppe dropped down into his chair, massaging his temples. He looked left and right, making sure that no prying eyes were watching him, and then, out of a folder, he pulled a picture. On it, a younger version of Giuseppe was leaning against a tree. Next to him, another man stood with a little girl on his shoulder. Looking closely, one could see the men holding hands. Lovingly, he traced the other man’s face with one finger, wishing he would be able to touch more than just a fading picture. He remembered the day the photo was taken vividly.
Giuseppe and Connor had taken their daughter on a picnic in the park. They had played ball and fed the ducks; they had played catch and eaten fresh sandwiches Connor had prepared for them. And later in the afternoon, when the girl had been tired, the little family had found this large tree that offered shade for them all. A timer had helped to take this family picture, and minutes later, little Milly had fallen asleep in Giuseppe’s arms.
That time was long gone. Twenty years later, all Giuseppe wanted was revenge. Milly had stolen from him. Not only had she stolen Connor’s heart, but she had taken money that wasn’t hers.
Giuseppe slipped the picture in the folder, hiding it again. He had sought revenge for such a long time; he didn’t know how to stop anymore. If he let Milly go, he would appear soft to the other mobsters around, and his reputation would be damaged beyond repair. Silently and secretly, Giuseppe only wanted peace of mind. He wanted his family back, and he wanted to spend the remaining years of his life in the presence of his little girl and the love of his life. Neither was at his side for now, and as long as he was chasing Milly, she would not be back without a fight. Giuseppe sighed and cursed. Life was complicated. He just hoped Tonio and Richard would not kill Milly when they found her. “Where are you, you silly girl?” Giuseppe asked into the empty room. The question echoed off the walls without a reply.

Upside Down 4

Milly scratched her chin with the gun in her hand. She had to come up with a way to get in touch with Giuseppe. And she had to get a nice little ransom for Josh. But how? Milly wasn’t a seasoned kidnapper. She didn’t have a criminal mind, no criminal energy. She had slid in with the wrong crowd, and now she was in a right mess. And her side hurt. She didn’t want to let on that a bullet had hit her, but she felt the blood flowing out of the wound. It was soaking her shirt.

“We need to stop for supplies,” Milly announced. She put her gun in her bag and winced again.

“You okay?” Josh asked. His kidnapper grew paler by the minute. It would have been easy to stop and get rid of her. But he was concerned about Milly. And intrigued as well. He wanted to hear her story. She seemed kind enough, even while she was pointing a gun at him. And so he decided to stay and help her as best as he could.

“Pull over there,” Milly ordered Josh to pull up to a parking lot of a grocery store. “We need some food and other things.”

Josh parked and got around to open Milly’s door. She blinked, ready for an attack, but it didn’t come. Josh held out his hand, and Milly blinked again.

“We should split? I am sure Henry called the cops. Or a neighbor did. After all, there was a shot.” Josh took Milly’s bag. She didn’t say anything, just held her side with one hand. She didn’t dare to look down. She didn’t want to see how bad it was. “Or we go together, and you tell me what to get?” That option was more to Milly’s liking, and she nodded.

“Let’s do that,” she croaked. “And after that, we will find us a motel or something.” She wanted to sound in charge, but her injury made it hard to think about anything else than the hole in her.

“You could also wait here? I promise to be back,” Josh offered, but Milly shook her head. “I am okay, let’s go.” At the store, they stocked up on convenience food and snacks. Josh sneaked medical supplies into the cart, and he insisted they buy a set of clothes to change into for them both. Milly agreed, and she didn’t bicker when Josh stood in the beauty aisle and chose deo and shampoo. Their shopping trip only took them twenty minutes, powering from isle to isle, always checking if no one was looking at them funnily. People were watching them, of course. They were an odd couple, and even a blind person could have seen that Milly was not well.

At the checkout, Josh put an arm around her. She tried to shake him off, but he didn’t let go. “Are you okay, Miss?” the cashier asked. Milly merely nodded. “Cramps,” she replied with a tortured smile. “Nothing a hot bath and lots of chocolate can’t cure.” The cashier smiled emphatically while Josh paid her. Milly had not reacted to the things he had added to their shopping. He took the bags and guided Milly back to the car.

“You’ve been shot,” he finally said.

“I am okay,” she replied through clenched teeth, getting into the car.

“Let me take a look!” Josh didn’t wait for her affirmation, and already he was pulling at her shirt. Milly didn’t like it at all, and with a mighty punch, she let Josh know it too. “Let’s get this straight, don’t you ever touch me again,” she threatened.

“I don’t need to be here. I could have run a while ago and left you.” Josh shot back.

“Why didn’t you?” Milly groaned and hid her face behind her hands. “I am the world’s worst kidnapper.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I want to get back at my father too.” Josh finally admitted. He pulled out of the parking lot, and both stayed silent for a long time. The silence was comforting, as was the sound of the car. Before long, pain and exhaustion got the best of Milly, and she fell asleep.

Working title: upside down

A bullet whistled past her ear as she ran for shelter. Milly dug her head in, exhaling a deep breath. This one had been too close for comfort. And she kept running. She heard bullets missing their target, missing her. In the distance she heard heavy footsteps following her, but she stood her ground. More and more distance was appearing between her and the men who hunted her. Her lungs were burning and her legs were heavy but she had to keep going. There was no other option. Milly had to ditch the two gorillas soon. She ran left, she ran right. She turned right into a small alley and knew she had to act quickly. Assessing her possibilities, she jumped on the trash container, climbed up the ladder, and she had a half second to spare to hide on the fire escape of an apartment. A large flower pot hid her from view. She saw the men stopping almost directly under her. She willed her breath to even out, all she could hear was the rush of blood in her ears. She prayed that these dumbasses didn’t hear it too. They looked around and cursed. They were both panting and holding their guns tightly but they didn’t shoot. There was nothing to shoot at, because she was hiding above them, and no one looked up. A moment later they admitted defeat and left with their heads hanging in shame and bickering about whose fault it was that the girl got away. She didn’t want to trade places with them. Giuseppe was not a nice guy and he didn’t tolerate failure. Failure. She hadn’t failed. She just hadn’t succeeded. She knocked on the window behind her twice and a young man opened. Bleary eyed he look at the sweaty woman. Without a word, she climbed inside the apartment, closed the window behind her and plopped down on the bed that stood in the middle of the room. The man observed her every move, his arms were crossed over his naked chest as if he was waiting for an explanation. But it never came. She undid the laces of her boots, shrugged out of her jacket and found a comfortable position on the preheated bed. The adrenalin was leaving her body, and she felt exhausted. If anyone had watched the scene, the pair would have looked like a couple. They weren’t. In fact, the man found a way out of his stupor asking: “I’m sorry, but who are you?” The woman was already almost asleep and slurred: “just for one night, please. I’ll be gone tomorrow.” Josh looked at the sleeping beauty. He was perplexed. He should have done something, but he didn’t know what. And he was tired too. He pulled a spare set of blankets from the cupboard in the hall but immediately returned to his bedroom. He had no intention of letting a stranger, albeit beautiful, alone in his home. That night Josh slept on the floor. That night Milly fell asleep in a soft bed engulfed by a very comforting manly scent, never releasing the tight grip on her gun.

Find a Little Love in me 61-80

61

I splayed out on my couch in my most sensual pose and waited for my knight in shining armour.
“Hello?” he knocked on the door, and I heard his footsteps on the hardwood floor. I closed my eyes and puckered my lips. He chuckled.
“Shelly?” And I realised this wasn’t Sam. Sam never called me Shelly. He called me Sweetie. Always. He had done that from the beginning. Trying to unfold my inebriated body from my couch, I landed flat on the floor. Ouch. Strong hands grabbed me under my armpits and tried pulling me up. But getting my feet under my body was a challenge. We wrestled to gain control, and both slipped. A male body was on top of me.


62

Through blurry eyes, I recognised a familiar face that I couldn’t quite place. He scrambled off me, and I blew my hair out of my face.
“You alright?” He reached out his hand, and I grabbed it. With a groan, we both landed on the couch.
“Have we met?” I slurred.
“Not face to face, no.”
“Fuck. No way. You are Matt. How did you get here?” I pushed his shoulder and giggled.
“I thought we should meet and I came over. Hi, I am Matt.”
“You should’ve called.”
“And ruin the surprise? No way. You would have told me not to come.”
“I am dreadful.” I tried to hide my head in shame. I didn’t even want to imagine how I looked.


63

I must have passed out because I woke up in my bed with a very fuzzy mouth.
“Sleeping beauty,” I frowned and wiped the drool out of the corner of my mouth, trying to find out where that voice was coming from. My hair was clogging my sight, and I was noisily swallowing past the cotton in my mouth. And then it hit me.
“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck” I sat up too quickly and felt dizzy at once.
“Good morning to you too,” Matt chuckled with his gravelly morning voice.
“I’m Shelly. Nice to meet you,” I stuck out one hand and covered my face with the other.
“You said that. Last night. A couple of times. I’m Matt. Still Matt.” He took my hand and laughed out loud.


64

“I need to go to work,” I realised and panicked. I jumped out of bed, horrified to feel that I was only wearing a shirt.
“Relax, it’s Sunday.” Matt was still grinning. His chest was bare.
“Right. Right.” I groaned and flopped back on the mattress. “Usually I am not such a mess. I simply overdid it last night. I am really sorry.”
“No worries, Shelly. Tell you what, I’ll raid your fridge for some breakfast and you go and take a shower.”
“I am disgusting, I’m sorry.”
“Stop apologising. You are amazing. And stunning.” I snorted, but Matt kissed my temple and left the bedroom. I stared at his naked back.


65

I looked at myself in the mirror and blushed with embarrassment. My eyes were puffy, my hair was sticking in every direction, and I was practically naked. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and released it again. At least I hadn’t slept with Matt. I took a quick shower; I didn’t want to let him alone in my home for too long. Dressed in a tank top and loose pants, I joined Matt in the kitchen.
“Nice hat,” he pointed at the turban on my head with a smirk. I scrambled to get it off and took the mug Matt was holding out to me.
“I didn’t know how you’d take your coffee…”
“Black is okay.” Matt fit right into my kitchen. In my life too?


66

Matt still wasn’t wearing a shirt, and his jeans hugged his ass. He was soft around the middle, but an attractive man nonetheless. I kept staring and storing every inch of him away until he cleared his throat.
“I swear I am not a psycho!” I took a sip of my coffee. It was delicious. “And saying that doesn’t make me any less creepy. Urgh…!” Matt chuckled again.
“I like you a lot, Shelly. So… any plans for the day?” I hadn’t thought that far ahead. And why was he so relaxed while I was freaking out?
“Let’s take the bus.”
“The bus?” I wondered out loud. “To where?”
“To wherever it leads.” Matt shrugged, and I was sold.


67

I gave Matt one of Sam’s old shirts. Yes, I had moved three of Sam’s shirt with me. But now I was glad I had done that because Matt’s shirt wasn’t ready to be worn. After having cleaned my kitchen together, we left my apartment. I turned to look at Matt while we were walking down the street. He didn’t notice.
“So… what happened last night?” He didn’t look at me when he asked his question. I shrugged
“I wish I had something great to say, but honestly, I just got carried away and forgot to stop drinking on time.”
“Good, I like your honesty. I would hate to know that this was a regular situation?”
“No. It’s not. I am not an alcoholic.” I felt offended, at the same time, I felt also cared for.


68

Matt’s hand slipped into mine naturally.
“Is this a date?” I asked, knowing full well how lame it sounded and how unimportant it was. Matt shrugged and pulled me into one of those tourist’s buses. We climbed the stairs and found a spot. The sun was shining down on us, there were some clouds, but they weren’t looking threatening. Talking with Matt was easy. We had many things in common. There weren’t any awkward silences, but lots of laughter and banter.
“What happened with your wife?” I breached more delicate territory.
“The usual. We fell out of love. She found someone else, made me feel like shit and as if it was my fault. Took Eddie, my house, my money, everything, and left.” I was sorry I had asked, and I apologised.


69

“Tell me about that other guy. Dan?”
“Sam. He broke up with me and gets in touch once in a while. Like, he expects me to drop everything to have phone sex with him? Stuff like that.” I admitted and began fidgeting with the straps of my bag.
“Do you do it? The phone thing?” I blushed, I guess that was answer enough. Matt chuckled.
“Really? How does that even work? I am a writer, inspire me,” he taunted me.
“I can’t. I mean, what do you want to know?” I would not talk dirty with Matt face to face. Not while we were on the bus.


70

A light drizzle made Matt and me move closer together.
“It’s just a shower, it will be over soon,” I claimed, and at that moment the drizzle turned into a downpour that soaked us to the bone. We hurried down the stairs to find shelter inside the bus, but it was too late, we were dripping.
“Let’s go have a coffee.” On the next stop, we got off the bus. I wanted to run, but Matt caught my hand and slowed me down until we came to a halt. The scene was absurd, yet utterly romantic. Like out of a movie. Matt’s hands were in my hair, my hands played with the hair at the nape of his neck. His lips came closer and closer until they touched mine.


71

An electrical surge went through me, and I moaned into Matt’s mouth. I felt his lips turn up into a smile. Instead of going for coffee, we headed back to Matt’s place. To change into dry clothes. That was the lie we both told ourselves. We knew what would happen once we were alone inside the confines of his home. And we didn’t waste time and wrestled each other out of the sticky wet fabrics that clung to our skin.
“You are stunning,” Matt told me in between kisses and while he was pulling my shirt over my head. My entire body reacted to him. His touch made me feel things Sam never made me feel. And he weaved a blanket of kisses across my naked body. When we were united at the core of our beings, I couldn’t believe the wave of emotions I was feeling. He was shaped perfectly for me. I came many times that night.


72

Lying in Matt’s arms, playing with his chest hair, I felt like home. I felt safe and understood. His fingers were running up and down my arm, and we didn’t talk. I was listening to his heartbeat instead. We had a moment in a perfect bubble. Until the door to Matt’s apartment flew open and a female voice called out his name. Our bubble burst.
“Shit,” he cursed disentangling himself from me in a hurry.
“Daddy!” The bedroom door flew open, and an excited kid came running in. I had barely enough time to cover myself. Behind the kid, a tall woman was shooting daggers at me. If looks could kill, I would have dropped dead.
“Wait outside, Tiger. I’ll be there in a minute.” Matt forced a smile into his voice.
“I’m sorry Shelly.”
“Yeah… no… it’s okay.” I didn’t bother to try and find my underwear. I just ran.


73

I felt humiliated. And I didn’t care if he had lied and the woman was his wife, or if she was his ex. The situation was embarrassing. And his poor son. Such a bubbly child. And he had found his dad naked in bed with another woman. Tears of anger streamed down my face as I made my way back home. I could have called a taxi, or taken the bus. But the crisp air after the rain felt good. People were looking at me sideways. I was a mess. Since I was not paying attention where I was going, I wasn’t all too surprised when I collided with someone else.
“Sweetie? Are you okay? What happened?” Sam. I sank into his arms and was reduced to a bawling mess.


74

“Breathe Sweetie,” Sam ordered. I looked up at him. My eyes were pleading for him to love me; to protect me. “I’ll take you home.”
“I moved,” I informed him between sobs. Sam pushed me in his car, and we drove off. To my surprise, he didn’t drive me home (I hadn’t provided him with my new address), and we didn’t drive to his place. He stopped at a hotel.
“Why here?”
“Neutral ground.” And it made sense.
While he checked us in, I waited in the lobby, watching him. I felt cold inside. My heart was racing, but there was no passionate fire inside of me. Not for him.


75

Sam ushered me to the elevators, and within minutes he opened the door to a luxurious suite.
I turned to him, speechless and out of breath. He had never done anything like this before.
“Sam,” I swooned.
“Let me take care of you, Sweetie. I will run you a bath.” It sounded amazing. I really needed a bath. I felt sticky, and Matt was still clinging to my skin.
“Thank you,” was all I could say to Sam. My Sam. He was back for me. I shrugged out of my jacket and put it over the back of a chair. I hugged myself tightly to keep the pieces of myself together. Then, I followed Sam to the bathroom.


76

Sam stepped closer to me. I inhaled deeply. I had missed him so much. I ran my hands through his hair and down his face. He was real. My saviour. Wordlessly, he began undressing me. There weren’t many clothes. Just a shirt and jeans.
“No underwear? Kinky.” He smiled his devious smile. Sam didn’t waste time. Already he was kissing my breasts and fondling my pussy. The cold and hollow feeling didn’t leave. I wanted to feel different. I tried to enjoy Sam’s hands touching me, but I didn’t. It was pretense. I had to feel ecstatic after having missed him for so long. Right? Why didn’t I?


77

I let Sam go through the motions.
“You were with another man,” he stopping kissing my body and pushed me away.
“We are not a couple,” I tried to say, but Sam looked at me with disgust.
“After everything, I did for you. You slut!” Sam yelled at me, and my tears just rolled down my cheeks silently. I didn’t want to cry.
“You broke me into pieces. You push and pull at me. You broke up with me. Not the other way around.” While yelling back at Sam, I got dressed for the third time that day.


78

“You love me. And you know it. You can’t leave,” Sam crossed his arms over his chest and smirked. “You are nothing without me.”
“Well, then I think I prefer to be nothing. Goodbye Sam. And thank you. Thank you for putting my feet back down on the ground.” I said it calmly, collected my bag and was on my way out.
“God knows, your feet must have been stuck in the air a lot these days.” He couldn’t let me go without a final shove. I didn’t slam the door. I didn’t yell or scream. I just walked out. In the lobby of the hotel, I realized what just happened. I called a taxi and drove home. To my sanctuary. Once inside I ran straight to the bathroom. All my emotions were vomited into the toilet bowl.


79

On Monday I went to work as a shadow of myself. Sam hadn’t gotten in touch, and I was grateful for that. Matt, on the other hand, had tried to call and left several voice messages. I didn’t feel brave enough to listen to them. At noon, my boss asked to talk to me.
“You didn’t have any days off this year so far. It’s time, Shelly. Take two weeks, sort whatever it is that is bugging you and come back with your usual smile. Please? You are scaring the parents.” Weakly, I tried to protest and said that I didn’t need a vacation, but I knew that Cora was right. I signed the papers for my leave and went to say goodbye to my colleagues. I was hugged that day. And they didn’t spare their pitiful looks when I left the building.


80

Left on my own devices for two weeks, I didn’t know what to do with myself and with my time. I fell into a lazy routine of sleeping, Netflix, and ordering takeout. Outside it was raining again. And I hadn’t changed my sheets. Even after a week, they still smelled like Matt. Determined, I got out of bed and began cleaning my mess. I even changed the bedsheets. After a day of physical activity, I already felt better. I went to the bathroom and ran myself a bath. A vision of Sam doing the same pulled at the edges of my thoughts. But I didn’t let it in. Sam was the past. Once and for all.


To be continued…

Heatwave – mature content

The heat, it got to her. She had always had a healthy sex-drive, but this here right now was a lot, even for her standards. She felt insatiable. Always in the mood.

Naked as she was, she let the light breeze, that found a way into her bedroom, caress her skin. It was as if her lover was gently tracing her nooks and folds and crannies with his tongue. She closed her eyes and arched her back. This felt good. Her hands knew where to go on their own. No explanation needed. One hand massaged her breast and played with her nipples, while the other hand traveled south. Legs spread wide, she didn’t waste time. Too good. She was wet. Not moist; no, dripping wet. The sound her body made as her fingers entered her spurred her on. She needed it. Right then. Right there. The smell of her own sex engulfed her and laid a thin veil over her senses, blocking out her environment. Sweat was covering her; droplets rolling down and pooling between her breasts. She wet her lips with the tip of her tongue moaning deep within her throat. Almost there. She didn’t take her time, didn’t prolong the explosion that was at the tips of her fingers. Her legs were shaking. Ragged breath. She bit her bottom lip, her eyes were closed. More. More. More of this. Her hips moved on their own accord, trying to find more friction. The tingling that had started inside of her was spreading fast. She threw her head back with another moan. Her back was arched, her hair was drenched in sweat. Pulling her legs back to reach more; to enter herself deeper. It was there, she felt the wave coming. Ready to let her lose her mind.

Another touch startled her. Not her own hands. They ruined her orgasm. Calloused, male hands. Asking for permission to continue what she had started. She took her hand from her pussy, tasting her own lust with a sly grin. Eyes meeting eyes. Dilated pupils didn’t hide their carnal desires. The sensation of his hands on her was too much to bear. He knew how to push her buttons. He knew exactly how to read her body. What had started slow and casual was building up again. She was biting her hand to keep herself from screaming out her lust, but he didn’t allow it. He demanded to hear her. And there it was. The right touch. The right pressure. Too fast. Too soon. Her entire body tensed. She stopped breathing. And the heat swallowed her from within. Sensitive to his touch, she tried to move away, but he was not done. The night was young and it was too hot to sleep anyway…

untitled flash fiction 20180701 or With you, I want to live

“Do you ever think about suicide? About ending it all? Just vanishing? Being gone? Not existing at all?” he asked, avoiding making eye-contact. He took a sip of his coffee and looked at the people on the other side of the street. She didn’t answer. She didn’t know how. “I do,” he continued. “I think about it. All the time. Not about death itself, but how to make it easier for those around. And I wonder what they will say and who will miss me.” Their eyes briefly met, before he averted his gaze and looked at the clouds in his coffee. “I would miss you,” she croaked, cleared her throat and repeated the same words in a steadier voice. “Why?” he whispered. “Why” was a question that often made his life unnecessarily hard. That three-letter word made him dread and anticipate answers, all at once. “Because the thought of not having you close to me breaks me inside. The void you would leave would swallow me.” Tears welled up in his eyes. He didn’t want to make a scene, but she had a thing with words; always finding the words that forced his emotions to explode. “If you were gone, I would probably follow you. There is nothing keeping me here. If it wasn’t for you, I would not be here,” she whispered sadly. He didn’t know how to react and how to respond. He just covered her hand with his trembling one. She looked at their hands, then she lifted her head to look into his face – into his eyes. “Please don’t leave me behind,” she begged. “Never,” he replied. “I love you too much.” She nodded, wiping the corner of her eye. A tear was threatening to ruin her makeup. Lately, she had thought about taking her own life a lot. She led a happy life, but something dark was clawing at her thoughts. Something devastating was fraying the edges of her fragile soul. Holding on was much more exhausting than she would have ever thought. Why was living and staying alive so easy for most people? Why was it so hard for her? And him too. “Let’s promise each other to stay alive together for as long as we can. There are reasons to stay alive, right? If I remind you of them, and you me, we will be okay.” On the other side of the street, a toddler was crying in his stroller. From her point of view, it looked as if he didn’t like being strapped tightly in the stroller without any means to break free. “Freedom is just an illusion. A creation of the mind. The emotional cage we are living in is a creation of the mind too. It either helps us to stay sane, or we will break and grow insane.” He tilted his head to the side and took a sip of his coffee. It was as if he was seeing her for the first time. He had been too busy with his own thoughts, missing that she was not alright either. “Depression is a selfish bastard,” he thought out loud, taking his hand back. “We should go,” she ignored his statement, got up from her chair and put her bag over her shoulder. He stood next to her, kissed her forehead and let his hand find hers. She looked up at him. The affection in her eyes made his heart race. “I love you,” he blurted out. He had never said the words before, but they had never been this true and important to share either. A genuine beaming smile appeared on her face. She didn’t reciprocate his words. She didn’t have to; he felt her love wafting off her skin. Being alive wasn’t so bad, if he was allowed to do it with her.

underneath the surface of my skin (throwback poetry, June 3rd 2016)

Underneath the surface of my soul hides a raging silence. One that becomes louder with every scream. One that haunts me in my sleep.

Underneath the surface of my soul lie many hidden emotions. Those that are never far from being voiced. Those that bubble up until they become an explosion.

Underneath the surface of my soul lives a ghost. One that will never see light, yet never succumbs to darkness either.

Underneath the surface of my soul are rotting lost hopes. Those that make me have regrets. Those that pull me down and make me drown.

Underneath the surface of my soul a whisper is repeated. One that says ‘I’m still in love with you’. One that says ‘I’m still loving you’.

Underneath the surface of my soul are blooming fragile bonds. Those that will last forever, even when they are broken. Those that constrict my heart with their beautiful intensity.

Underneath the surface of my soul is a place for you. One that will always stay yours. One that will never fade – even when it is invisible.

Destination Unknown (repost from March 2014)

I am nervous. It isn’t only the flight that makes my pulse race, but it is the knowledge that in a few hours, I will be able to look into his eyes, to hear his real voice, to feel his arms around myself and to smell his scent. All for the first time.

This is not my typical self. I was never the adventurous type, I prefer to live my life as straight-forward and predictable as possible.

But then I met him. A lot of things are different with him. We met on the web. It was never really my world and meeting a man and falling in love? That was for fools only. He made the first step, chatting me up and at first it was only meant to be fun and distracting for me. Banter and flirting, where’s the harm in that? Slowly, though, his emails and the photos he sent me day after day, became the highlight of my mornings. And now I sit here. In a tin can that is about to fly me across the ocean and to him, and I just have a one-way ticket.

****

The plane starts to move and takes me out of my reveries. The flight will be long. There will be time to worry and to be happy and to be afraid too. For now, my hands are clammy as the trees become a blur, and I get pushed into my seat. Takeoff. Silent tears stream down my face. I am not able to stop them, and I am too panicked to make a sound. I look out of the window, grabbing the armrests until my knuckles become white, and I can only see the clear blue sky. I look past the row of other passengers and look out of the opposite window. I can only see green fields. My hands grip the armrest that separates me from the empty seat next to me tighter, and my fingers hurt, but I am not ready to let go of my support. It’s becoming my safety. And then, the plane seems to have reached its travel height. The tension slowly fades away from me, and I breathe, relieved. I am not afraid to fly, its the takeoff that makes me panic and with no one by my side to soothe or distract me, the fear and anxiety I experience in this situation is overwhelming. Once the plane is up in the air, everything is okay. I have to sit by the window, though. I need to see everything around me, the fake control calms me.

****

I am giving up my old life for him. I sold everything I couldn’t fit into a few bags, I gave up my job and my flat, only to fly into the unknown. A new continent, a different language, no job, no apartment and I have never even met the man in person. He is supposed to take me in and help me get my feet on the ground over there. What, if he doesn’t like me? What if we don’t get along? And what if he is a creep? Before I can rile myself up too badly, I feel my eyelids becoming heavy, and I slowly drift off into a dreamless sleep. At last, the Xanax my sister slipped me in my drink is kicking in.

Next thing I know is that a flight attendant wakes me up and asks me to fasten my seat belt. “We are going to land soon.” Did I actually sleep almost six hours? In a plane? Alone?

The plane lands effortlessly, and I breathe again. It feels like the first deep breath since I woke up this morning. The landing is never as hard for me as the takeoff, because of the pure knowledge that soon there will be solid ground underneath my feet again. I am so weird. But that makes me my loveable self.

People scramble their belongings together and make their ways to the exit, where a flight attendant waits and says goodbye to every single passenger. I like this. It’s nice. It’s normalcy. Polite too.

As soon as I enter the terminal, my heart begins to pound in my chest. The inevitable moment is close. I don’t have to wait long at the baggage claim. For once I wouldn’t have minded to wait, if only to stall and keep the inevitable from happening. I heave my bags on my luggage cart. I hate to steer those things because they never go in the direction I want them to go, but with a bit of effort, lots of strength and one or two choice words, I manage to push it to the exit. Ropes separate the newly arrived from the ones being there to pick them up. My heart beats so fast, it threatens to burst my ribcage. It’s an unpleasant feeling. I see people falling into each other’s arms, crying happy tears and clinging onto each other. Families, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons… Reunited. Different people who arrived at their destination. Not me. I am an alien.

The crowd slowly dissipates, and I am still looking for the one person who is set to pick me up. I’m beginning to fear that he isn’t here, but then, through a group of laughing teenagers, I see a man holding up a poster. SHELLY, it reads. That’s my nickname. It is him. I feel hot, and I smile. I don’t want to do it, but I can’t stop or hide it. It takes me a moment to get my legs moving. They are like lead and trembling as if I had never taken a step before.

At first sight and from the distance, he is even more gorgeous than he was in his pictures. I see him stretching and rising on his tiptoes. He is scanning the crowd with a frown. I can see the exact moment his eyes land on me, and he recognizes me. A bright smile erupts on his face, and I know it is matching my own.

Step by tiny step, we get closer to each other until we both stop in our tracks. Only three steps separate us, and I see his face becoming serious, the smile faded and he is worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. How do I approach him? Are there any rules for this? I am unsure what to do, my instinct tells me to run away from this weird situation, but my body doesn’t want to obey. And I don’t know where to hide anyway. Dreadful moments pass, and I wait. Frozen. Unable to act or react.

“Shelly,” he whispers almost inaudibly, because of the busy people hurrying to get to their planes and the ones hurrying to get home. I nod, not knowing what else to do.

The poster glides from his hands and slides to the floor while he takes another step towards me. Feet are walking over the white sheet of paper. I see it and think for a brief moment that it’s such a waste, then my thoughts are back in the now. The suspense and anticipation are killing me. My heart still races and if nothing happens now, the moment passes, and we will never get it back. And the something inside of me snaps. I can’t contain myself any longer and jump into his arms, laughing out loud. He catches me with ease. He is shorter than I had imagined him to be, but he is still a few inches taller than me. My body fits his perfectly. I bury my nose in his neck and smile when I notice his scent. It is an aphrodisiac. His arms come up and circled my waist almost lifting me off the floor, and I laugh happily. The sound is bubbling out of me. His arms feel like home, and I haven’t even heard him say more than a whisper.

My hands cup his cheeks, and I scan his face. I look into his eyes – beautiful light green eyes. I take a step back, not to walk away, but to get a proper look at him. His cheeks are stubbly, just how I love it, and his ginger hair is cut close to the head, but not too close. He is gorgeous. His lush lower lip begs to be kissed and again, it is me who takes the first step and I kiss him hesitantly. He kisses me back and pulls me closer to him. All of this is shallow, and I know it, it is appearances and superficialities, but I already know the person hiding inside.

Reluctantly, he lets go of me and now, he looks me up and down, making me slightly uncomfortable. Mere moments ago, I did the same to him, and I feel a little ashamed that I did. What does he see when he looks at me?

“Let’s go home,” he says smiling and with a grunt, he gets my luggage cart to move and pushes it towards to parking lot.

Time and time again, we look at each other, only to shyly look away again. We load my bags into his truck, and he comes around to open my door. His truck seems huge, but every car I see here is. I am not in Kansas – sorry, Europe – anymore.

Before I can climb into the massive vehicle, he holds me by the wrist and spins me around. I stumble into his arms, but again, he catches me with ease. He lowers his lips to mine and then, kisses me passionately. I’ve been kissed before – a lot, but I’ve never been kissed like this before. It takes my breath away and leaves a warm feeling inside. My heart skips a beat, and it is as though an electrical shock rushes through my entire body. I am aware of how silly it sounds, even more so because I used to make fun of people saying this. But wow… If I have had moments of doubt about my decision earlier, I am sure now, to be at the right place with the right person.

“I am glad you are here. Finally.” His voice is gentle, but deep and a little hoarse. I like it very much, and I wonder what it will sound like in the morning when he wakes up. It occurs to me that I will hear it soon enough, and it makes me smile again.

“You must be starving. Would you like to go out on a dinner date with me?” he asks formally. It takes me a while to find the right words and my voice, but I accept his invitation. Of course, I do. We seal the agreement to our first official date with a long kiss. A car honks, and we break apart, chuckling like teenagers. We drive off into the sunset. Destination unknown.

***
(Unedited… I will get to that later…)