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2009-05-01

Mari Poisson. 001 . A WRITER‘S STORY from novel A TRUE GIRL

Publikuota: Kita

 

Humans learnt how to write only 5500 years ago. I read somewhere ,that writing occured in Mesopotamia and Egypt at  one and the same moment 5500 years back in time. So the oldest writings  are  Mesopotamian, Chinese, Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek and Latin.

The limitless possibilities of placing the lines in space built a connection between the writing and the  fine arts. Some thought, that writing was the gift of gods,others, that it was stolen  from gods by the immortals.

I remember, when I was reading about that, I liked that sentence immensely. Just read it again-  some thought that writing was the gift of gods, others, that it was stolen from gods by the immortals“. It is not just a simple sentence, it is a real pearl of wisdom.Mysticism,thought I.I really appreciated the idea that writing was in no way associated with simple life of ordinary people. Writing was the property of gods or immortals. They can give writing to you,but they can very well take it from you,either. Mysticim, I thought again.

That very sentence taught me how to lie.

Yes, I must admit I have complexes. I am unable to tell anybody I am a writer. I feel timid about it. As if I were a pretender. Whenever I am being introduced to new people, I tell them I am a teacher or a lecturer. Sometimes I  even say I am a cleaner or an unemployed person. I never tell anybody I am just a housewife,though that would be closest to the truth.

Only one thing betrays I am a writer, and the thing is my ability to lie. I am unsurpassable in that field. But there are truths, which won‘t let me lie. Those unnecessary truths, like some rocks, sometimes emerge all of a sudden in the middle of a well kept lawn. In the most unappropriate place, at the most unappropriate time.  I have a suspicion,that those hapless stones experience physical satisfaction in the opportunity to hurt me. They like to tease me. They mock at me and sometimes, I have to admint, are unbelievably witty. They relish in  all that  with awesome pleasure. Their sharp sides send flashes and they are…brutal, if you permit me to say so.

Let‘s take my neighbour Laura…

My neighbour Laura,who , by the way, also is a housewife once asked me in a  menacingly mocking voice,if I really was a writer and since when I became one. That rude and straight question might have stemmed from some rumours, which somehow reached Laura, because a reader she was not. What she was, she was a permanent discloser of my lies, if I can say so.

She  was exhilarated every time she caught me lying. Very probable it was her biggest and only pleasure in life.( God save me from such pleasures,but there‘s no necessity to identify myself with Laura. Let her have her own pleasures…and I will have my own).

Since I am a woman, I find no difficulty in noticing menace in other women‘s voices, so I heard it clearly. But I couldn‘t repay Laura in the same manner, because I had to mask myself.

See, Laura is a very intrusive and sharp- eyed neighbour and my life is not sinless, I have to admit. She knows a lot more about me, than I wish she knew. Let‘s say ,she can tell how much my husband earns and what I made for dinner when his married daughter from the first matrimony came to visit us. The other Sunday she saw me sitting with Gi in one of the cafes, in the old town. She took trouble to call Gi‘s wife. So the wife came and took him home without ceremony.I remained in the cafe and sat there, as the biggest fool ,till all the public changed. I Couldn‘t find any courage  in myself to move before that.

Pretending to be indifferent, I asked her somewhat lazily:

-          Are you really interested in that, Laura?

Laura all but shrugged her shoulders. She was one of those women,who had always wanted to live my life and to do what I was doing. If I was embroidering, she immediately came to borrow threads, if I was knitting, she came over with the knitting needles and asked me to teach her some new pattern. She made me understand, that it would be even better, if  I knitted a sweater for her husband myself, because she was too busy…If I was cooking, she would ask for the recipe, though I knew she would never make any use of it. If I was washing a car, she made her husband go out into the yard and do the same. If I was making pictures, she made inquiries about cameras and asked for advice which one to buy. And what was better- to take pictures or to film. When she saw me working with computer, she at once bought one though she never learnt to press the mouse button twice. Because it was so boring…to learn such stupid things. If I was translating something , she all of a sudden started attending foreign language classes. Are you asking, which foreign language? Most definitely the one I was busy with… She watched attentively what flowers I liked, what sort of perfume I bought for myself, which colour I considered to be fashionable, where I was planning to go for  my holidays, what sort of presents I bought, whenever I went to a birthday party, which magazines I read, what style of music I prefer and what my opinion about dogs was.

Writing, to Laura’s mind, was sheer nonsense. And because of that reason, she sincerely believed I was telling lies. As usual. She believed that writing was another of my shameless lies. She had absolutely no strength to talk seriously about writing and literature.

As most women, Laura was not interested in things, which were difficult to accomplish. Because  they required certain efforts. All talks about exhausting work, sleepless nights, obstacles and rivalry sounded so boring to her, that she could not stand them longer than  for thirty seconds. If she had to work nights, she would not be able to survive ,and her facial skin would lose freshness… Even one sleepless night was harmful. If she could not sleep at night, the next day she would look like a corpse.

Laura inquired me about that hapless writing only for one reason- she expected to catch me lying and to make me feel ashamed. She was used to doing that. She could not let such a thing happen! She is the one, who comes to my place  couple of times a day, watches everything and all of a sudden finds out that there are things ,which she does not know. It’s nonsense. Nothing else.

While I was finding reasons for  my own justification , looking for excuses and making decisions, whether to go on lying or not, and to admit, that…the doorbell rang…and  behind the door my mother was standing.

Mother knew about my true life even more than Laura did. There was only one difference- my mother was more familiar with the first half of my life, while Laura with the second. The thought ,that they will meet now, made my legs shake under me.

I even tried not to let my mother in. I told her that Laura and I were about ready to go to the sports centre, where she had been attending the swimming pool for quite a while. It had to be my first time though and Laura was taking me there in her car.

Mother was not even listening to all that crap. She was overwhelmed with euphoria. She came to me in a taxi, because she wanted to tell me everything as soon as possible. Just imagine, though it is difficult to believe, that half an hour ago, she met our last but one maid in the market. The maid kissed my mother’s hand and told her everything about her late husband’s sickness and death. So mother gave her ten litas and kissed her on both cheeks.

I was astounded and amazed. My mother got so deeply into her story, that finally  she told me about how she had met our last maid,too. The maid remembered me very well as teenager…

Again now, I thought, I was caught hiding the truth. Laura stared straight into my eyes. I had never felt worse.

Laura got insulted, angry and red in the face. Looking like a boiled crayfish, she ran  through the door. But very soon she changed her mind and came back. I don’t know why she changed her mind and came back, but I suspect she just had no other choice. I was her neighbour. She had to know all my life story. She had to know all the truth, though to know it and unmask me  was a lot less pleasant than  to listen to my lies and fantasies. Because the truth cannot be denied or criticized. The truth is the truth.

Finally I went to the kitchen to make coffee for them, while my mother stayed with the best listener ever.

I was making coffee for a very ,very long time. Then decided to boil each of them an egg, to cut some dill and make a light crab salad .

Translator: Grazina Nemuniene

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Atgal į: Mari Poisson. 001 . A WRITER‘S STORY from novel A TRUE GIRL