Two Women by Egon Schiele
The author died in 1918, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 90 years or less.
Adrenaline tickling my body, I crossed from one landing to the other. My ecstatic screams subsided only when I reached the other side.
It was Jeima’s turn. Others were teasing her. She had let her turn pass a few times, and watched many of us walk on the thin rail to the other roof, probably telling herself it was not a big deal, that it was one straight step she had to take after another. Had she not, so many times before, practised walking on a straight line on the pavement, pretending to be walking up in the air, with everyone watching and marveling at her courage from below, their eyes reduced to thin lines with the sun shining just above her?
Sometimes we played the acrobat game together, imagining we were world famous artists, walking on ropes above all city chaos, defying gravity, smiling and shining with the confidence we gathered from the inaudible applause below our feet shaking buildings with its intensity. Brunette Rebellion, the name we had chosen for ourselves, rebelled against gravity and fear!
I saw her, with her arms already lifted, balancing her weight, although she had not yet taken a step towards the edge of the roof. She seemed tense, much more different from her jolly, mocking self in our games.
I looked all the way down, focusing on the half of my foot resting emptily on the nothingness between the roof top and the grey pavement 7 floors below.
I imagined the one slight moment when I would push my foot forward and place it on the emptiness. It was as if I could keep walking to the other side where Jeima was still waltzing one foot forward one foot backward, trying to find the courage for the big adventure. It was as if all would unravel like in cartoons, where the character does not fall until it notices it has exhausted the cliff and is standing over a huge gap.
I wondered what difference it would make, my landing on the pavement and never getting up. I wondered what would change for the tiny people rushing in between tall chaotic buildings…
I wondered how my parents would feel and what would change for my friends, whether they would ever come back to this rooftop and carry on with their daring games.
A dress with dark hair rustling and dancing against gravity passed through the corner of my eye, followed by a thump.
And I received the answers to my questions.
People on the streets without a second to waste would quickly gather and stand still around my body. My parents would lose all motion in their body, maybe to go back to a time when they could hold me from climbing up to the roof top.
My friends would never visit the rooftop again, and the fun teasing would be diminished to an unbreakable silence.
I know all this, because it all happened when Jeima stepped quietly away from the cliff.
Daily Prompt Frame of Mind: If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?
They were using new paintings, the type that comes out alive AND touches you, affects you personally.
And there was a special exhibition, full of such paintings framed and displayed on walls, it was a first time ever trial.
Such an exhibition had never been tried before due to fears it might cause an overload on the spectators’ perceptive sensors, unaccustomed to such visual stimulation, and lead to a coma.
The first visitors to view the paintings were allowed in with great caution.
At first, the paintings took their breaths away and they had to close their eyes until their heartbeats subsided.
When they opened their eyes, they found themselves surrounded with the depictions on the paintings, living them.
They were enveloped in yellow paint of the prairie, green touches of the flowers, brownish grey of buildings, white bright drops of rain, pink of flushed cheeks and blue of wide skies.
They were exhilarated, taken by the colors, a brand new environment of oily plastic brush strokes that surrounded them all around. They had become part of masterpieces, their existence had taken form in art, they had been transformed to a superior being.
Within the wondrous smiles of each spectator, a few started losing their mesmerized gaze in their trance, doubled down where they were standing and threw up.
A few others showed crippling cramps in their body while the rest felt sickly overwhelmed.
Thus, the first enrobing art exhibition proved to be futile, and was cancelled shortly afterwards.
The audience who have had the chance to experience the enrobing art show later reported that most of their senses had weakened, and could not no longer enjoy tastes, smells, views, colors they used to care for before the show. They added that a major gap had opened in their senses distancing them from stimulants that could invoke happiness, pleasure, excitement or any other emotion.
Following the reports, people were once again left to their own devices to observe their surroundings, appreciate their skills and enjoy their existence.
For this week’s writing challenge, shake the dust off something — a clothing item, a post draft, a toy — you haven’t touched in ages, but can’t bring yourself to throw away.
I have this friend I love very much, but sometimes while talking to him, I feel like I am crashing into a wall and cannot advance any further, so I switch to “yeah”, “sure” whether I agree with him or not just to keep the friendship rolling.
But I am not rolling anymore, and am stuck a great distance away, back in my solitude, in between the little fences I remember having built as a young girl.
It is surprising to still find them there, that they have not disappeared after such a very long time, and sad that I should need them after so many birthdays…
( I think hormones are making me a little melancholic)
I had to register for the TEFAQ, the French exam to prove that I am Francophone enough to live here in Quebec. Well, TEFAQ is sort of the French equivalent of TOEFL… Have you ever registered for TOEFL? You can do everything, I MEAN everything ONLINE from one particular website, without having to search all the different establishments that may be giving the exam, while registering. For TEFAQ, I had to google search all establishments giving the exam, plus the prices were different (how is that even possible?) and figure out how to get to their online registration site. Well, most did not have one, or dates or something was missing! Except for McGill! Thank you McGill, for figuring out the internet.
Plus, I have registered for a few classes and applied for CSQ, the first step of permanent residence and am paying rent on a regular basis in Montreal. I have undertaken similar endeavors in different countries, it was never a big deal. I have used the internet to make my payments for exams in Turkey, for work permit and rent in Australia, to register for a number of things here and there. It was always simple, use your credit card, and voila! You do not have to do anything else! Worst case scenario had always been depositing the amount into a specified bank account and sending the proof of payment, which, needless to say, can also be done online!
But here, for some reason, old school checks are a favorite. You have to send a check for course registrations, rent (!) payments, governmental applications (which LOVE payments) and anything else you can think of!
And of course, if anything goes wrong in the mail, or if the recipients happen to lose that little piece of paper representing a certain fraction of your account balance, you are the one to be blamed and miss your chance for whatever you were sending your money for.
Now, here is another little experience my friend and I had: He won tickets for the Just for Laughs festival here in Montreal through the company we work for and since I am such a great friend, he picked me as his plus one. It is a big deal! He already has tickets that have been paid for, right? All we have to do is choose the shows we want to see and everything will be fine. That should not be so hard once you have your registration ID number, right? A very easy task that can be done online; time and nerve saving!
Instead of a huge web address to get the easy task done, they have inserted a huge phone number, so that we can easily reserve places for the shows we want to see.
I called them. On the phone, I learned that most shows we wanted to pick were already sold out. So making a representative wait for our decision, still on the phone, with major difficulty, we picked the shows and paid for the delivery of the tickets.
Oh nothing is ever free in Canada! Not even a show ticket you may have won!
Then we waited… Nothing, no mail, no ticket, no e-mail for a month…
So we decided to call them… No answer…
Now my friend has given up on the show and does not care for any other prizes that might take a toll on his time and energy. Side effect, I am not being taken to a comedy show…
In an era when plane tickets can be bought online and printed, when tiny codes are used as entrance tickets or even as currency, why is it so hard to make online registration and payment available?
But I still love you Canada. It is this naive side of you that makes you so attractive, and safe, as I like to believe.
Not quite finished, yet. More to come: Health and Banking…
“What?! You have to be joking! If any one of these happened here, there would be a lot of suing and TV shows to follow!’
This was my mother’s reaction earlier today to my one hour ranting about things that carry only the vital aspects of life to somewhere between difficult and almost impossible here in Montreal, Canada.
I love Montreal, and I can see why it is supposed to be civilized. I am not getting harassed at all, there is a greater equality between man and woman, I can express freely that I am an atheist without getting reprimanded for it, I can bike almost wherever I want and most drivers are respectful and patient, when anything goes wrong, I no longer wait for a fight to break up but smile only to be responded by an understanding gesture and a warm approach by people I have never seen before.
Yes, these are reasons why do not want to leave this city.
However, when it comes to vital aspects about life, such as medical situations, banking, taxes or even intercity transportation, I am more homesick than ever!
Here are my experiences in ascending order of importance:
Phone: When I got my first mobile phone line here, with Chat-r to be precise, I waited for 1 hour!!! STANDING! Another woman with her kid, waited at least 1,5 hours, if not more. In Turkey, it takes 15 minutes, max.
Internet: My husband applied for an internet connection with a little known internet provider. They did their end fairly quickly, but because all connections are dependent on a few huge companies, he had to wait for BELL to pass by and get him a line for the internet to function through, in the simplest terms. Around the same time, a friend of mine who had been assigned to a tiny village in the south east of Turkey, a part of the country considered to be not quite developed, applied for her internet connection with of course a Turkish provider.
2 weeks later, she had already been updating her facebook status and doing skype calls, while I could reach my husband only when he went to St Hubert, the fried chicken shop, and managed to connect to gtalk. It took Bell about 4 weeks to do the job with one appointment rescheduling.
One more tiny addition, if you opt for something ultra technological, like internet through a cable connection (wow!) it might take you a few months, as was the case with my colleagues.
Transportation, namely Greyhound:
So the people who work with Greyhound have learned one sentence by heart: First come, first served.
I have had to use Greyhound on two trips, on my way to Ottawa and New York.
Coming back from Ottawa, naturally like a lot of people who wish to be seated as they please together with their company, we made it there about 30 minutes earlier, which is a needless waste of time, but who am I to talk, I come from a third world country, right?
Just as we left the garage, the driver noticed that a window was open and would not close. The first thing he did was to blame the passenger sitting there, the exact reason why I had chosen not to sit there. Thus, we went back into the garage and the bus was changed.
Yet, this time, rather than first come first served, it was front seats first served, because all the people sitting in the first rows were the first to get off and thus the first to get on the new bus and sit wherever they pleased, leaving a woman with her baby and toddler to be seated on seats quite far off from each other.
Of course she got mad. She had arrived there 1,5 hours earlier, just so that she would not have to encounter such a splendid challenge to stimulate the ride and wanted to get off the bus. Some people had to give their seats and problem was solved (!).
Greyhound experience number two unraveled thusly: On our way to New York, the problem started before we got on the bus, even before I got the feeling we were being carried to a high security prison with a plastic indoor door to prevent us from approaching the door to reach for our freedom unless it was unlocked from the outside by the guard/driver who kept calling us folks, but rather treated us like a flock.
We had arrived 1 hour before the departure and got to waiting. While waiting, unless you are one of the first 5 people to be in line, if you get too tired, you can always sit on the floor, please, by all means. Make yourself at home. As we got closer to the gate to get on the bus, I realized there were two busses, and was relieved that we would get proper seats no matter what, since we had been there much before many others. I got on the first bus with my husband, but there were no seats left, except for two aisle seats, one next to a very large scary man, and two seats that would allow us to be together for the next 8 hours, but they were all the way in the front and contained large suitcases. I figured they had been reserved for the driver.
So since we had arrived there much earlier than a lot of people getting on the second bus, I asked to be seated in the second one. But there was this harsh answer that you get from people “in control”, with an undertone reminding how worthless I am. So, not to show how uncivilized I was, I kept quiet and headed towards the separate seats. You know, with one that had the pretty present of a large scary guy, with compliments from greyhound.
However, when a few minutes later, a pretty blond couple wanted to sit together, and the suitcases were removed for their sake, I got mad, as did my husband. The response from the Greyhound guy was: First come first served.
Wow, how could I not think of that?! What a logical and sensible answer and what a problem solving attitude! Our problem persisted until we made it to New York, that is, no special treatment for us. Next time, either I will not be using Greyhound, or there will be a MAJOR scene to follow!
In Turkey, the underdeveloped country, you know where many people still think have camels on the roads, while buying our tickets online, we can see the seats we are buying on the screen, check the type of bus we will be riding in. Thus, even if we arrive 5 minutes before the bus takes off, we know our seat will be safe! And there are ALWAYS free snacks and drinks! Thus, the driver is always kept awake by the in-ride attendant. Oh, did I forget to add? The driver snoozed a few times with his foot on the gas pedal, but we survived.
Sooo, it was a baby. I knew it and expected it, but the pee test just refused to show it. Last weekend, even the hormones could not deny the truth, and finally showed everyone I told about my suspicions, a great amount of people, that I was not imagining all the weird symptoms I was having.
Of course I went ahead and announced to almost everyone I know that I have been impregnated, the hubby scored a point, that his babies can swim, that I still have a few eggs still functioning in me blah blah…
Apparently it is bad manners or bad luck to announce before three months are over because there is a great chance for a miscarriage. I am thinking, if that should happen, I still have a couple of reasons to be thankful for. Not any cutie pie pretexts, like I am thankful fro having been with my poppy seed for a few months in my belly… Come on, right now, it is shaped more like an alien, so f… it, I don’t see much of a reason to try to bond with it, although I am having some weird lovey dovey emotions…
There is still a great possibility that it may turn into a miscarriage or some chance for major defects to be for it to be removed etc. So I am a little skeptical at the moment about having the pregnancy bonding moments.
And, I might still feel thankful if things go wrong, because it will give me opportunity to drink coffee and wine as much as I want to while thinking what sort of deep swamp I got myself into, plus a chance to move away from the work I have become chained to… If the whole pregnancy works out, I will have a three year blank in my CV. 2 years I spent here plus a year of leave… What a great place to take up working again… If the weird alien decides to move away from its current location much sooner than 9 months, I am thinking of going back to teaching in a few months. If not teaching, waitressing, as long as I am not wasting my energy at a desk.
Well, right now, I have become a week counter… That is how pregnant I am…