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Three Situations, One Narrator

 

Situation One:

Two Sisters Discuss the 7th Commandment

 

“She said she wanted to get married.”

“Who said that?”

“Mother.”

“But she is married.”

“I know that.”

“Is she having an episode or what?”

“An episode of what? She does not have episodes.”

“How about last month when she said ‘they all die so young’?”

“When did she say that?”

“Last month when we were at the market.”

“I thought she meant the apples. Like in they rot too easily.”

“She meant men.”

“How do you know?”

“You stupid or what?”

 

 “Look, our mother was never monogamous.”

“So, when she said ‘they all die so young,’ what did she mean?”

“Judging by her style, she could have meant that all men die young… I don’t know… Maybe it’s about how she loses interest in … men. She mumbles a lot lately.”

“Still… Mom … you claim she was never monogamous, right?”

“Digest that. It takes a few weeks or so. And then you accept it. And flush it out of your system. She has her right.”

“Does dad know?”

“Would he be able to change who she is?”

“But isn’t he entitled to know?”

“I don’t know. I don’t care.”

“Why are so defensive… Did you… No, you couldn’t… No… I don’t believe you!”

“Really???”

“But he was so good to you…”

“Yeah, so…?”

“I let you have him.”

“What the fuck? Are you saying I married him because you offered Nick to me? Like he was some sort of object… or I was … what? What was I?”

“He fell in love with me first…”

“That’s how you tell the story.”

“But he did… He kissed me first.”

“And he fucked me first. What’s your point…?”

“Never mind… it’s all ancient history….”

“Funny…”

“How so?”

“Because we do not seem old.”

“No, mom is…”

“We have time to hurt ourselves.”

“Or others.”

“Stop that!”

“What?”

“Finish my ideas your way.”

“I thought we were talking…”

 

Situation Two:

Aging

 

“Mother, you need hearing aids. You will make an appointment today! You can’t hear. Ah, and you can’t see either.

 

The mother mumbles something just to be left alone.

 

A hearing aid. A pair of glasses.

What if aging meant hearing and seeing differently?

Newborn can barely see. They adjust to this world. They are not impaired. They are given time.

True, aging is a race against clocks.

 

The body needs to be left alone.

At least for ten minutes a day.

 

Maybe it’s better to hear fragments of words and create new ones or fill in that partly heard word with whatever one feels in the moment. Have fun. Hear the unheard. Do the same with the eyes. See blurry lines, intentionally. See pixelated. See the unseen.

 

Over time, humans lose friends and gain objects.

Bodies and adult companions: hearing aids, eyeglasses, canes, and vitamins.

 

The mother looks at her daughter. She remembers all of those long nights when she was needed. “My dearest daughter, I am fading. Let that happen. I want to hear and not hear, see and not see. I want to know how it is to be incapable: of seeing; of hearing. Maybe there is something else beyond what we are told to see and hear.”

 

“Mom, forget about what I said before. Do you want some pie?”

“Apple pie.”

“Great. I just know the perfect place.”

 

That day they were in New York.

The city was full: of people, glass, and noise.

 

If she remembers.

Correctly.

 

Situation Three:

A Writer Questions Her Endings

 

Louise doesn’t like endings. It’s like she’s in a train. The train ends its ride. So, just because the train reaches its terminal point, why must she get off? She keeps saying, this is not, this is not, this is not her ending. That’s her struggle when writing. She almost never changes the beginning. But the ending is always rewritten, and she is never satisfied.

 

Maybe I don’t want him to end…

I have never been so lost.

 

“If I could take you anywhere, I would take you to this place in an instant.”

“Where?”

“Greenland.”

“I was there.”

“Whaaaaaat”?

“I was there when I was a boy.”

“No, you were not.”

“I was not a boy?”

“Stop it. You were not in Greenland.”

“If I tell you I was, then I was.”

“Fine! How old were you?”

“9, maybe 10. I was traveling from England back to the U.S., and the plane had a problem, and we had to make an emergency landing. It was dark.”

“Were you there for long?”

“No, they were able to fix the plane quickly.”

“What else do you remember?”

“Not much. I looked through a window. But it was dark. So, no, not much.”

 

I did not know what else to say.

I did not want him to end his story.

 

 

“Why Greenland?”

“Huh?”

“You said you would have taken me there if you could.”

“Ah… never mind.”

“Come on. I told you a story.”

“You stole my dream.”

“How did I steal it?”

“Well, I had this dream where you and I would go there together.”

“So, let’s go there.”

“No, the dream was your reality once. Can’t you see?”

“Whatever. Don’t take me there. You go.”

“I’ll.”

“Go!”

 

Neither he nor I said another word.

Neither he nor I turned the phone off.

 

“This is ridiculous.”

“What?”

“This silence.”

“Yes. I am sorry. The thing is … lately … I imagine myself in places that could make me happy. Really uproot myself from what I see daily. I could borrow a different reality. This friend posted photos from Greenland and I was in love, love, love. Things seemed quiet.”

“I thought you liked summer.”

“Yes, I do. I can’t stand the cold. But you don’t get it, so let’s not…”

“Let’s not what…?”

“I think all these years, you have been only in my head.”

“Maybe I did steal your dream, but I am real.”

“You keep me at a safe distance.”

“That’s not true.”

“I am tired. I will go out for a walk.”

“Take me with you.”

“But you are not here…”

“I am… in your head.”

 

Louise sits in front of her computer. The lust of her life is miles away. She types. The…

Barely audible, she says: end. She does not write it down, though. She stands up. She decides to go out to buy apples. She does not have to end the story now. There is time. The convenience store, on the other hand, closes in ten minutes. Now she really wants an apple!

 

She can’t find the keys to lock the apartment. She searches frantically. She finds a note in one of her pockets.

“She said she wanted to get married.”

“Who said that?”

“Mother.”

“But she is married.”

 

Bio: Catalina Florina Florescu was born in the Balkans where the Danube ends its journey. She has been living in the States for the past 22 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Medical Humanities conferred by Purdue U. She teaches at Pace U in New York. She is the curator for a new plays festival at JCTC. She has authored and/or edited 8 books. More about her: http://www.catalinaflorescu.com/

 

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