The Bubble Burst

Iunia slept the best sleep in a very long time. She opens her eyes and finds Ben wrapped around her sound asleep. She pulls herself from his arms gently and goes to the bathroom. The reflection shows was she already knows, she looks rested and a pinkish blush highlights her cheeks. It’s still early and outside is dark. Iunia makes a small espresso for her and prepares something for a frugal breakfast: toast, butter and jam. Her first impulse is to open the laptop to see what she missed on facebook and on the group chat, but something stops her. She just realized that it’s been like forever since she just stopped from any stimulants and think. Think for herself, no judgements, no presumptions, a good old fashioned introspection. Why did she let Ben stay? Where were things going with Chris? The job is everything she wanted, she dreamt of? The job met a few of the minimum requirements of a job: it allowed her to improvise often and reformulate the same information, she could travel and she earned enough. She was always happy to come home and find a familiar universe, couldn’t really complain there was nobody waiting. But everything seems wrong with the picture of her life. The thought of a baby warmed her heart, but it was a big responsibility. Plus, she was approaching 40 and never involved in a serious relationship, no man ever stayed enough to think about making it official. There weren’t many, true, but those that stayed longer never warmed up to the idea of spending a lifetime near her. Iunia wanted to insist on this thought, but it was too disturbing, she started biting her lips in an effort to stop herself from crying. And there was Chris, almost 30 years old, adventurous and kind. She could always predict his next move and this comforted her a lot. It was never a question of who earned more, in spite of what he thought. It was a matter of being taken over, shaken to knock some sense into her head, loved beyond reason. Chris wasn’t in touch with anything, he barely scratched the surface. He never saw her for real! But who wants to be seen, I mean really seen?! Who would want to see and then comfort her?! Who can stand by her side when she felt like running away, when she felt she isn’t worthy to be loved and cared for? Yes, she was a strong determined woman, always ready to deliver a funny quote or a movie quote, but never thought she deserved a love so consuming… she couldn’t find a term to compare it with (no wonder, ‘cause she never felt such love). The lyrics from her favorite band came into her mind:

I only call you when it’s half past five
The only time that I’ll be by your side
I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me…

She took a deep breath… and turned her thoughts to Ben. Ben who really saw into her, saw her speech inconsistency, probably saw fear and wasn’t scared. Saw a tormented woman, a woman that was never worshipped, nor loved or fucked properly. And he was still here, he even chose to stay against her will. This felt like her cue, she shrugged her shoulders in a poor attempt to become smaller and burst into tears. Her sobbing was so unexpected that it woke up Ben who found her cuddled in a fetal position.

– Baby, what’s wrong? Are you upset I didn’t hit on you last night? He tries the funny approach. I was really tired, I am sorry!

– Don’t call me baby! Please go, I don’t want you to see me like this, she says in between sobs. Give me some paper hankies, please, and go!

– I don’t want to go, I am sure it’s PMS! The man is unbearable, this is not funny!

– No, it’s not! It’s just you fucking up my life, I was fine until now… I could handle my emotions. What do you want from me?

– Why would I want anything? Can we just be here, in the moment and not wonder? Can you please try not to control it? You can’t be constantly putting yourself through this!

– Through what? What are you talking about, Iunia’s voice grows hysteric.

– You don’t have to think about it now. Relax for a minute, and carefully turns her on her back. I saw this in a movie: Hugging provides manual stimulation of the parasympathetic system. I am not gonna hug you, I will lay on top of you. You seem to need it badly and I hope it will calm you down.

Iunia looks at him perplexed and lets her arms on the side of her body. She is almost certain this will prevent her from breathing well, but she lets him do it.

Pierderea inocenței

Am văzut duminică un film pe care îl căutam de multicel pe anumite canale, să le zicem neoficiale. Țineam foarte mult să-l văd pentru că recomandarea era făcută de o prietenă pe care o apreciez foarte tare, o „poetesă de poezii” (se știe ea). Filmul se numește Three Steps Above Heaven, e spaniol și eu am văzut versiunea de 2010 (mai e una de prin 2004). Filmul are notă bună pe imdb – un șapte parcă, nu că ar avea vreo importanță. Povestea clasică, un bad boy furios pe viață (și pe mă-sa) se îndrăgostește de o ea finuță, tocilară și cu nasul cam mare. Filmul e okiuț, dramatism, pierderea virginității, prima dragoste cu năbădăi gen. Pe mine m-a apucat o furie groaznică după ce l-am vizionat, nici nu știam către cine să o îndrept: către poveste, către el care nu se putea tempera sau către toate poveștile de acest gen rămase nespuse (și care nu sunt speciale). Cumva mi se părea neverosimil sau așteptările mele erau setate greșit. Nici măcar nu are happy-end, ca să-l calific de-a dreptul prost. Oricum nu mă dau expert în filme, ci pur și simplu le interpretez din punct de vedere al identificării cu personajul. Concluzia: Sunt bătrână!😦

Nici nu știu cum am ajuns la concluzia asta, cert este că nu m-a lăsat să dorm ultimele două nopți. Când am ajuns atât de bătrâni, de cinici, de echilibrați emoțional?! Eu am spus-o și cu alte ocazii, nu am experiență în relații, în primul rând că nu interacționez foarte pașnic cu sexul opus (răzvrătire de principiu) și apoi pentru că pare că sunt inadaptată la ritmul în care se derulează acum relațiile de orice natură. Se pare că trebuie să fii foarte cool atunci când ești abordată, să arăți o anume disponibilitate și experiență care să nu transmită cumva că ești versată (a se citi curvă). Dar nici ingenuă, să inspiri sexualitate debordantă, dar să nu simtă omu’ că te pângărește în vreun fel. Nu mai crezi în Moș Crăciun, dar poate crezi în Piticul Bălții Snagov. Ești frumoasă, deșteaptă, dar deschisă la nou (orice ar însemna asta) și mai ales, foarte important: ești totdeauna civilizată indiferent de comportamentul interlocutorului. Ai neapărat un pension în spate(le blocului) și jonglezi cu ușurință cu cel puțin două limbi de circulație internațională. Nu crezi în prostii care ne validează existența: flori, bomboane, nimicuri. Ești above them! Cam cu trei pași cum zice și titlul filmului.

De-aia zic și eu ca poetul:

„Lângă foc, o babă surdă
și absurdă
Spune, ca și alte dăți,
Tot povestea cu Ileana Cosânzeana,
Plina de banalități.”

Povestea am pus-o și eu într-o carte, nu era cu nimic mai specială, deci aștept propuneri pentru film. Tot sunt discuții despre filmul românesc depicted from reality, realitate pe care nu vrea nimeni să o vadă. De parcă iubirea născută în Rahova sau Militari nu e interesantă! Ce voiam de fapt să zic nici nu mai știu. După ce mi-a trecut valul de furie și supărarea pe fugit irreparabile tempus, mi-am dat seama că mai vreau să văd încă o dată filmul. Din fericire nu am apucat, pentru că am constatat că are și continuare (din care am văzut doar jumătate). Cert este că sunt toți maturi, echilibrați, simt mai domol și au replici mai inteligente, adică mă pot identifica cu ei. Echilibrul a fost restabilit, toată lumea și-a reluat pozițiile pentru scena plicticoasă „almost married with children”. Fraieri, nici nu și-au dat seama ce mișto era în prima parte… O să las pe final o întrebare retorică de la Times New Roman, titlul unei analize a unui film de pe ecrane: Où sont les MILFs d’antan?! Nu le căutați, sunt prietenele mele și o să mă ajute să mă adaptez la timpuri noi, femei noi (reinventate). Doamne-ajută!

Two sexy red scoops of ice cream
real edible icecream, no artificial ingredients used!@istockphotos.com

No matter what I do…

All I think about is you…

Iunia knows she can’t sing, but is happy to pack her bags, so the singing part doesn’t bother her as much. Someone once told her she sounds awful and she can’t stand not being perfect, so she gave up singing long time ago. Stupid, in my opinion, we should be free to act as we feel at least when we are alone! She is in a hurry to leave, although her flight is scheduled for noon. She was stuck in the airport, but the least she can do is treat herself with gaufre for breakfast. The training was not so bad, Iunia already knows the colleagues and the formal dinner is always fun. If it hadn’t been for all the wine drinking she would’ve thought they are aliens or something. But the wine helped them loosen and eventually get rid of the ties and interact like normal people. They were always curious about life in Romania and crazy stories about life in communism. She was amazed how the cultural barriers seemed to melt after leaving the formal environment…

The flight is on time and a certain excitement fills her whole body as the landing approaches. She never had that disappointment or sadness for getting back home. Romania is home and all the people she loves are home. While waiting to pick her bag, she takes a quick look at the duty free offer, and not surprisingly chooses 2 boxes of Godiva chocolates. As the doors open she spots something disturbing: Chris with a bouquet in his hand and Ben in a casual outfit, no flowers ofcourse. Iunia feels as wanting to exit on a back door although she knows well there isn’t such exit. Eager, impulsive Chris jumps over the separation fencing and picks her up! Iunia could not prevent this from happening and sends Ben a sorry smile obviously embarrassed by the whole situation. Ben stands still, one hand into the jeans pocket and stares shamelessly. He doesn’t even blink when Chris gives her the flowers and picks her bag, nor when he kisses her ostensive and drags her towards the parking spaces.

– Hei, what’s wrong? I thought you will be happy to see me.

– I am, Chris! I really am! I think there was something wrong with the food I ate on the plane…

– Who the hell eats that food?! Chris feels like scolding her, but when he sees her yellowish complexion he softens his words: You sometimes scare me with these cravings. Do you feel like eating a proper meal?

– Yeah, sure! What do you have in mind? Iunia really feels sick to her stomach and the onboard lunch is not the only one to blame. Just another Dilemma, she didn’t know Ben will be waiting, so it’s not her fault.

No matter what I do
All I think about is you
Even when I’m with my boo
Boy, you know I’m crazy over you

Chris is a little puzzled:

– What are you humming?

– I woke up with this song in my mind, you know how that is. I feel like eating pasta and something lemony! Iunia has adapted quickly to the new situation and prefers not to linger over the airport incident. She will sort it our later, she deserves a little pampering and Ben wasn’t the man for that.

– Italian it is, principessa! Chris is happy to please her.

Later that evening they finally arrive at Iunia’s place and Chris knows he won’t get invited up.

– Please, let me sleep tonight, I hate sleeping at the hotel! Besides, I feel bad when I exploit you like this! She places one tiny pale hand on his cheek and looks into his eyes with deep gratitude. She’s a bitch sometimes and he is like a faithful compagnion. Now, for the first time in the last weeks, she lets her affection show and Chris receives the good night kiss comforted.

Iunia’s finally home and the first thing she does is turn on all the lights. She draws the dirty clothes and puts them in the washing machine, then with feet on the coffee table checks facebook. These is a single message from Ben and it says: Wtf?!. She wants to discuss this with the girls, but first a warm bath is in order. Unfortunately she is not so lucky to enjoy the bath, the interphone is constanly ringing. She gets to it and answers rather edgy: Who is it? A familiar, yet annoying voice answers:  Honey, I am home!. Fucking Benji!

She has time to put some sweat pants on and a sleeping t-shirt.

– What the fuck, Ben! she greets him.

– I thought that was my line! You didn’t answer, by the way!

– What are you doing here, I really didn’t call you this time. I didn’t even had the chance to have a proper bath.

– Wow, it’s hot in here, Ben passes by her and lets himself in while removing his jacket and shoes. He is already set comfy on the coach when Iunia finally has passed the initial shock. She stares at him waiting for some kind of explanation for this familiar behaviour.

– Honey, get a towel, your hair is wet. I love this sexy look, but I don’t want you to get ill because of me! he confronts her with a look that means I am here to stay! I waited for the little fucker to leave and got a little bored.

– Please don’t talk like that about Chris, you don’t know him. He is a way better man than you!

– Really? What gave him away: the roses that are still on the kitchen counter?

– I didn’t have time to put them in a vase! Iunia is almost shouting. Why did you come?

– I came because I wanted to see you, I am not a stalker. I don’t care about this guy, I feel sorry for him. I am not going to fight him for you! I want to stay the night, that’s all!

– A lot of wants there, you are kind of demanding… do I get an opinion?

– Yes, you get to come beside me on your couch after you put the fucker’s flowers in water. Nothing shows on his face, no want, no need.

Iunia is not impressed and clearly the lack of any emotions in his words is not very enticing. No, she doesn’t want this!

– I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. I really don’t feel attracted by the perspective of you staying over. I think you misjudged me. She is serious and feels a little humiliated for some reason. You don’t get to come here and make fun of my life, you were not invited!

Ben drops the acting and comes near her: I don’t want to sleep with you, not in the state you are right now. I want to hold you and maybe get a glimpse of the real person hidding behind all the characters you impersonate. He gently caresses her face and with pleading eyes places the most chaste kiss on her lips.

– You kissed the wrong boo-boo! Iunia notices with a girlish smile.

– All in good time, sweet Iunia! and the moment of intimacy passed. Do you have anything to eat in this feminist nest of yours?

– Chocolates and tea!

– That will do!

Parenting reloaded

Da, eu sunt mama care nu scrie despre parenting pentru că nu știe ce e ăla. Eu chiar am vrut să cresc bine un copil, așa că l-am citit pe Dr. Spock (nu ăla din Star Trek). Mi-am cumpărat cartea cu vreo 10 ani înainte de apariția copilului, fără să intuiesc că se vor schimba lucrurile dramatic sau că respectiva carte a fost re-editată. Nevermind! Am citit și What to expect versiunea română în timpul sarcinii just to be safe. Nu știu ce era în capul meu că doar văzusem Bundy și în niciun caz Peg nu era o mamă bună (o considerăm reprezentativă pentru average American woman).🙂

Mi-am promis să nu fiu ca mama (a se citi chill), dar mi-e teamă că nu pot să mă țin de cuvânt. Am ratat deschiderea anului școlar din lipsă de zile de concediu, plus că mi-era milă de bietul copil, aș fi plâns alături de el. Urmează cursurile aceleași școli pe care eu am terminat-o în ’96 (Doamne, 20 de ani?!). Tacsu’ și cu mine nu ne deosebim prea mult de orașul în care locuim, orice eveniment natural sau nu, ne prinde nepregătiți. Sâmbătă, AMR 1 zi până la începerea anului școlar, ne uităm la avizier să vedem în ce clasă va fi copilul și dacă e nevoie de uniformă, apoi mergem să căutăm ghiozdanul cu Gumball, neapărat Gumball. Da, știu, e prea mic să se uite la Cartoon, dar dacă de asta e nevoie să fie copilul fericit, ne supunem. Aflăm încă din prima zi că de fapt nu-i trebuie ghiozdanul că manualele rămân la dulăpiorul dedicat. Asta e, vom vedea ce pasiune are anul viitor! Primim și renumita listă cu rechizite și ce să vezi:  la Auchan e omor pe rechizite! Ajungem acasă cu 90% din ce era pe listă și ne apucăm de etichetat și învelit în folie (am crezut că e mai ușor cu folia!). Dacă era să primim notă la învelit, sigur era Nesatisfăcător! A doua zi, în dulcele stil clasic, copilul meu ajunge ultimul la școală, toți copiii aveau creioanele în suport, rechizitele în cutia de plastic recomandată. Cine sunt părinții ăștia așa disciplinați? Când se odihnesc, când merg la muncă?! Dar e bine, din relatările beneficiarului direct află că doamna are un like sau e ok, nu țipă prea mult (dar are un clopoțel cu care face liniște) și la școală e așa și așa.

Maică pe vremea mea… era super drăguță doamna învățătoare, am fost a doua ei promoție. Nu aveam rechizite fancy, dar dacă se milostivea soră-mea să pună etichete și să învelească era curat artă. Mi-a plăcut școala aia care atunci era de o curățenie îndoielnică, profesorii de sport aveau glume grosolane cu fetele și Cristi Piticu’ (golanul cartierului) te pipăia dacă nu erai vigilentă. Nu am avut pampoane apretate, dar tind să cred că erau supraevaluate.😛

Doamne-ajută să trecem cu bine primii nouă ani! Mă bucur să fiu mama unui băiețel cu un simț al umorului dezvoltat și care apreciază desenele alea cretine din motive evidente:

(Mr. Robinson is slowly parking behind a car while Gumball believes that he is being run over) „My whole life is flashing before my eyes and it’s boring!”

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You Don’t Fool Me

It’s a new day, it’s a new world! Iunia thinks. She woke up and realized she slept on the couch fully dressed. It’s been a long time since she indulged herself like that. She knew that today is not a working day, she has to pack her bags for a training in Amsterdam. The training starts the next day and most likely will keep her hostage in the airport for two days. These trainings are held at the Alliance HQ and they always book a hotel nearby. Cheap bastards! She missed a call from Chris, but doesn’t feel like calling back. What’s there to discuss?! He couldn’t come over, plain and simple!

Iunia’s mind is a little tormented by the fact that Ben triggered some emotions kept in a stable, safe environment deep inside her. He wasn’t even good looking, and yet she felt attracted by him in a strange way. Not one that raised sexual fantasies, but one that made her question this self-imposed lifestyle.  He made her think about being taken care of, about letting a man in her life and yet she didn’t flatter herself that he felt the same. Also remembered the last time she had the exact feeling: in eighth grade when her colleagues offered to beat someone for her as a birthday gift. She smilled to that memory and a warmth filled her body: affection for Cezar, Iulian and Marius. If they would’ve still kept in touch, she could ask them to beat up Ben just because he wasn’t charmed by her personality.

You don’t fool me

With those pretty eyes,

You don’t fool me…

Iunia wished to have him fooled and wipe that superior grin off his face! Or maybe have him fall for her madly and then reject him.

Chris calls again:

  • Yeah, hi!
  • Are you upset? Why didn’t you call me back? I already said I am sorry…
  • It’s not that, I really didn’t have time… I just woke up. Slept like a baby! Iunia rolls her eyes.
  • What are doing today, can we grab a coffee?

Don’t go there, Chris! thinks Iunia.

  • I am packing for Amsterdam, it’s the monthly training, I can’t!
  • Can I drive you to the airport? Please, I need to see you!
  • You need?! Chris, how can I put this mildly?! I don’t want to get involved, I appreciate what we have.
  • Right! What do we have? Chris’s tone changes into something that feels like grudge.
  • Ok, come pick me up at 2 and hopefully we’ll solve this dilemma of yours.
  • It’s not a dilemma, it’s just you being stubborn!
  • Fine, stop the psychological whatnot, it doesn’t become you! I said I am willing to talk.
  • Ok, I’ll be there!

Iunia throws the phone on the couch in a dramatic gesture, but clearly she didn’t mean to brake it. Her phone is her everything: weapon of choice, shelter, book and defense against countless hours of boredom.

She calls Mermaid as an attempt to find comfort somewhere. She knows that on the group there is always support, but she wants to linger some more in melancholy.

  • Hey, hun! Iunia greets. Can you talk?
  • Sure, I always have time for you! Mermaid’s voice is already comforting, unaltered by judgement of any kind. Are you OK?
  • I don’t know, that’s why I am calling. Do you ever feel sorry for getting involved in all that „married with kids” stuff?
  • When I look at my boys I know it was all worth it. Why? Did you get the time is ticking alarm?
  • God, I hope not! But yesterday I was affected by this man and I am scared about feeling anything. I thought my life is simple and now I don’t know for sure. What if I want all that? What if I wanted for someone to wait for me at home, someone other than a cat?!
  • Please, be serious! You don’t want that, you’ll never respect a man that waits around! Maybe it’s just the fact that you cannot play with his mind… I know you.
  • Yeah, maybe! I mean: it’s like that movie with Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga: how can I figure the difference between love and infatuation?! I’ll think about it on the plane and get back with a conclusion. If the conclusion is against my beliefs, don’t let me acknowledge it!
  • I won’t! Iunia feels her friend smile and hangs up feeling better.

In a few hours Chris picks her up.

  • Hi, he says with apologetic eyes. I brought you a „kiss and make-up” coffee. Please accept it. I went by the French patisserie and got that lemon tart you like.

Iunia kisses him as to reassure everything is fine between them.

  • Thanks! I appreaciate! And I appreaciate everything you do, although I am not showing it.

She’s a terrible liar, but he is too much into her that he doesn’t even notice.

  • Please let me take care of you! Chris asks and he seems very sincere.
  • You know I take care of myself and don’t carry this further!
  • It’s about money? I earn enough…
  • No, it’s not about money, it’s about you clinging on me like you do. Sorry, that came out wrong!
  • No, you are right, I should treat you like shit and this would make me a real man! I should let you wait for my calls and then given proper respect! I’d rather be myself in this case, whatever this says about me.
  • I always encouraged you to be yourself, it’s what I love about you. Everything you invest in me it’s flattering, trust me. Are you proposing something or are we good as we are?
  • We are good, but a man can hope!

He gives her a glance and gets back to his driving. Iunia has the commercial smile on, she fooled him once again. She can admit she needs him, but not out loud. She respects his persistence and the fact that he’s always there, he’s a great lover, but she always felt he needn’t have to be more.

Later that night, she’s checked into the hotel and now is watching her favourite show – Shameless, as a poor attempt to distract her from thinking of Ben. The lives of the show’s characters seem really fucked up and this draws her to watch. The familiar fb messenger rings and she quickly checks it: it’s him alright!

Ben: hey, baby!

Iunia: don’t call me baby!

Ben: If I call you by name, will you come?

Iunia: Depends…

Ben: I want to make you come! :))

Iunia: Charming as ever!

Ben: You called me, I heard! Seriously, can I come over?

Iunia: Maybe it’s the wilderness calling… and I am not home

Ben: and you are…

Iunia: At a training in Amsterdam, I will get back in two days.

Ben: Fancy some sexting?

Iunia: No, but I’ll let you sing me a lullaby🙂

Ben: Sleep tight! Sweet dreams!