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Articles tagged "Friendship"

from “The Boys”

It was a balmy night, spring had started to slip into early summer, the trees’ leaves were thick and bright green. We didn’t speak, we only looked each other in the eyes and received the paper bags that Momo ceremoniously handed to us. And when I opened my bag in Bella’s room, my heart started beating so fast it hammered in my ears. She had made me a tiger costume. There was a hooded coat and a pair of elbow-length gloves, the tip of each finger adorned with a golden...

The Art of Falling

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How can anyone predict the future if it's not already mapped out?


A Mexican Story

My friend Lencho Mejía has been murdered thirty-seven times in Los Angeles, five in Tijuana, and once in a Romanian-Argentinian co-production filmed in Honduras, which came very close to being nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Only twice, though, has he had the chance to say anything before dropping dead: “You fucking bastard!” On both occasions. He had to say it quickly and quietly, but he put a lot of feeling into it. Everything he learned from...

Welcome to the Club

It was a spring evening and Dylane had invited us to her apartment in Rosemont, which she’d bought a few months earlier. It was the first time we were going to see it, so Hélène suggested we buy a plant she could transport by car, and we’d all contribute what we could. The choucroûte garnie on the table was ridiculously outsized, and we wondered how we’d make our way through it. With summer on the way, we were all watching our weight and picked at our...

The Cover

I’m starting this diary so the days won’t pass without my knowing what I did. I live in the suburbs. I knit, embroider, and crochet. I sell everything I make at the nearby farmers’ market. Other women are there too. We bring stools, little chairs, or whatever we have. We sit down and spread doilies, tablecloths, and blouses in front of us. The needles in our hands fly through the air. Needles, hands, fingers, mouth. Fingers, hands, mouth, needles. Everything is moving,...

Two Old Kippers

. . .sleeping as quiet as death, side by wrinkled side, toothless, salt and brown, like two old kippers in a box. —Dylan Thomas, “Under Milk Wood” Recently two pensioned old men in Calcutta met by chance in a public park. Six years ago, but on different dates, they had both retired from government service. Ever since, providence had been preparing for the day when they would be found sitting side by side on a single bench. Apparently they had each lived their lives...

Damned Spring

Before Vanessa, I had other girlfriends, but none of them was memorable or worthy of appearing in my scrapbook. Actually, I never needed a confidante because I had an imaginary one. Sometimes I talked to Tatum O'Neal, a redheaded actress I admired for her role as a precocious adolescent capable of falling in love with Richard Burton, who was old enough to be her grandfather. Vanessa was the first girl, and possibly the last, who earned the right to be a part of my world. She began to...

from Everyone Dies, Even the Paddlefish

The new boy with the big ears stood in the cold neon light of the cloakroom, right in the middle of the room, and his school slippers seemed to be stuck to the green linoleum. Take off your pants, Aunt Edeltraut said, and the new boy pressed his hands against the seams of his cords. All the children take off their pants here, said Aunt Edeltraut. Her voice still sounded friendly, but it had that slight quaver that signaled danger. The boy wasn't familiar with the danger, it was his...

The Man in the Travel Trailer

"Impossible" must be eliminated from our vocabularies! —Napoleon Bonaparte Professor Pizier lives in a trailer. In order to be prepared, as he says. He's set for his getaway. His bags are packed. He has ten canisters of gasoline and if need be, could escape to North Africa via Malaga and Algeciras without stopping at a pump. If "they" come, they won't catch him. They caught him forty times. They locked him up in a camp forty times—but he always managed to slip out....

His Majesty

When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn't sleep. One day I was down with a high fever from morning to night. My mother, Ammajan, sat by the bed massaging my head. Granny Mughlani, whose house was next door, heard the news about me, so she came over and began rubbing the soles of my feet. My loving Granny Mughlani must have been around eighty at the time. Her love for me was boundless. To this day, I remember her face, her love, the things she said. Her face was the...

The Silence of the Outcasts: An Interview with Dacia Maraini

(Pescasseroli, Easter 2005) To meet with Dacia Maraini and speak with her in peace means going up to the bitter and severe lands of Abruzzo where the writer, who lives in Rome, takes refuge during holidays and in summer. This March, Easter concludes a winter of polar temperatures and the snow in the National Park of Abruzzo remains plentiful. Dacia Maraini loves cross-country skiing and walking in the woods; this is her natural realm, and she settles here to write her books in solitude...

from “Out Stealing Horses”

We were going out stealing horses. That was what he said, standing at the door to the cabin where I was spending the summer with my father. I was fifteen. It was 1948 and one of the first days of July. Three years earlier the Germans had left, but I can't remember that we talked about them any longer. At least my father did not. He never said anything about the war. Jon came often to our door, at all hours, wanting me to go out with him: shooting hares, walking through the forest in...

Heart’s Desire

Eliza 812 is a psychiatric computer. All female psychiatric computers are named Eliza, in accordance with a fine old tradition. All males are named Higgins. Eliza is a research project, and her main objective is not to raise the standard of psychiatric care; that can come later. The object is to ascertain to what extent a computer can be made to think and react like a person. The problem at hand holds extensive consequences and presupposes research of an interdisciplinary nature. It...

from Biography of Ash

There, where my body seemed to lay a great distance from me, I put my hand on my leg, on my fingers, and I couldn't tell they were mine. My thighs. My legs. My waist. Everything was dry and withered. It was the dryness that scared me. Every time I placed my hand on a part of my body, it was as if I had placed it on a piece of damp wood. By the third day after I had been blindfolded, it seemed to me that I was one of the walking dead. I began to notice that my body was becoming...

Waiting in the Offing

"Itoyama's sharp eye and sly wit set her apart from other Japanese women writers. Her writing style is intellectually controlled, and often glows with wisdom."--Kenzaburo Oe "My hiccups won't stop." Makihara Futoshi was standing in his stocking feet just inside the door with a woebegone look on his face. When I stop to think about it, that somewhat troubled expression quite suited him. It hadn't been my intention to go to Gotanda. After all, I live in Saitama City and...

Nora in Wonderland

Unlike Alice's adventures, Nora's didn't start with the appearance of a late and harried rabbit, checking its waistcoat watch. In fact, hers began immediately after her birth, which was sometime in April 2002. It's safe to assume that she was born in the huge educational compound in Ramallah, under an olive tree or some bushes. On several hundred acres of land surrounded by a high wall on all sides, it accommodates the sleeping quarters and training facilities for young...

Death of a Swan

Later it wasn't easy for Michael to believe that they had really been capable of it. It must have been because it was Christmas Eve, one of the last of the century, because of the solemn air of withdrawal around them, which made the streets appear abandoned. The holiday isolated the four friends, who had been thrown together, more than any ordinary day. The evening was not excessively cold. There was a thin covering of snow on the streets. The overcast sky was pale gray and hung low...

from Havana Black

"And get here quick!" he screamed at a sky that seemed languid and becalmed, as if still painted from October's deceptive palette of blue: he screamed, arms crossed, chest bare, bellowing a desperate plea with every ounce of strength his lungs could muster, so his voice would carry and also to check that his voice still existed after three days without uttering a single word. Punished by cigarettes and alcohol, his throat at last felt the relief of creation, and his spirit thrived...

Queen of the Night and Stone Flower

On the souls of those who live life free under the skies-with the blades of grass, at the edge of the forest, on hills bedizened with bright flowers of the field-it is written that they must know many hidden mysteries. The eyes of the Roma know exactly when the earth's heart begins to stir deep down at spring's root, reviving the shoots of grass and the buds of trees until the green sap bursts with love before the Sun's eyes. How many things my grandmother Lulika knew! Time...

from “Ashes of the Amazon”

I'm from where I was born. I'm from elsewhere. --Jo£o Guimar£es Rosa I read Mundo's letter in a bar in the Beco das Cancelas, an alley-way where I found refuge from the hubbub of the centre of Rio, and endless discussions about the future of the country. The letter had no date, and was written in a clinic in Copacabana, the words jolting up and down, in a small, tremulous handwriting that revealed how much pain my friend was in. "I thought of writing my life...

Nausea

The street where I live doesn't know it is not yet another snaky street in Istanbul but in truth some kind of a vessel. We the fortuitous passengers keep this as a secret, divulging it to no one, not even to our children. We don't talk about it. Never have we been told about it. We just happen to know-like the ones before us did and the ones after us will some day. At night, even in deepest sleep we listen to the splashes the street-boat unleashes as it floats on the ghostly,...

The Man Who Sold His Shadow

Here's a question we all ask ourselves at least once when we're young: Where does that starlight come from? It's been there before I was born, and before my grandmother, and her grandmother were born. So just how far is that star from Earth? The curiosity of children is insatiable. They'll grab a flashlight and aim it at the stars and think, This light will get there someday, won't it? When I'm dead, and my grandchildren are gone, and their grandchildren as well....

Ahem

It wasn't his cough reaching me from the inner cells across the dark, narrow hall that struck my interest more than the slamming of a door or the resonating ring of a pot falling on the hard floor. Rather, it is what followed that changed the sense of the trivial event and imbued it with meaning. Shortly after the coughs, sharp and successive, emerged from the heart of the hall, I was coincidently afflicted by my own coughing fit—less harsh though, and just about over when two...

Puerta de Alcalá

It loved to happen. -Marcus Aurelius (Written over the doorway to Seymour and Buddy Glass's bedroom in J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey) He had always heard that to name disasters was sure to make them happen. And now, once again, the Jornal de Angola was announcing an imminent South African invasion. Every week the same announcement was repeated with absolute certainty along with irrefutable evidence, logistical facts and government statements. Nevertheless, despite the fact...

Iraq Stories

Journalists who visit Iraq hear many stories, yet they are prevented from recording the majority of them because they must chase after the hot story, the quick journalistic news piece. A journalist might sit down in her hotel room to record the things she has observed, but in the frenzy of filing her report, not only will she forget these stories, but they will appear to her afterward as something faded, having lost its luster. It might even-and this is quite conceivable-appear to her...

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