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Life Happens

Hey guys! This particular piece is a short story I am working on for one of my university classes. It has been previously workshopped by both my tutor and fellow students alike and I would very much like to know your opinions. If you believe there are any editorial issues, grammatical errors or general sentence concerns, et al, please notify me and I will gladly take them all into consideration before I am to submit the finalised piece in three weeks time. Thank you!

People say that a person can eventually move on after losing someone they love. It has been ten years since I lost Katarina and I never have. Today is the anniversary of her death and I cannot help but reminisce on what could have been, for the day I lost my girlfriend, is the day that I too died, for I’d hardly say I’m alive when I feel so dead inside.

The rain was the heaviest I had ever seen. The headlights on our vehicle barely managed to reveal anything that night, the entire highway more like an endless tunnel than a road. The heating in the car could barely keep out the cold; our breath was coming out before us in clouds as the two of us shivered. Even my favourite dark brown leather jacket was unable to contain my warmth.
‘I can’t believe we chose this night to celebrate my birthday,’ sighed Katarina in her natural, high pitched accent. Because English was not her first language, she often spoke slowly to avoid mixing up her words. She wore the jet black jacket I had bought her two Christmases earlier. The collar was beginning to fray as she must have worn this a hundred times or more. Can’t believe she couldn’t wear something else on her special day. Her dark brown hair hung down to her shoulders, her naturally pink lips stood out on her ghostly white complexion, her brown eyes watching the rain droplets move across the windscreen.
God, I realise I must sound like a love struck teenager on her first date, but you must understand something. For us, every date was like our first because we would always discover something new, and every time we made love it was as though we had never explored our bodies before. Every second of our time together was divine, well, most of it.
‘It’s just a little rain, it’ll dry,’ I reassured her, pulling one hand away from the steering wheel and rubbing her freezing cold hands. I saw my reflection out from the corner of my eye in the rear-view mirror. My dark hair was tied back in a green hair tie, which, according to Katarina, perfectly matched my eyes. My lips were stained with dull red lipstick, whilst blue mascara lined my eyes. ‘You’d better button up Kat,’ I noted
She smiled back at me. ‘I’ll be fine. The cold has little effect on me.’
‘I hope you don’t expect me to care for you when you’re all sick and disgusting,’ I retorted.
‘Shut up,’ snorted Katrina. ‘I cared for you when you had pneumonia; took time off work and everything so I’d expect you to do the same for me.’ She folded her arms across her chest and looked out the window once more. ‘I only hope we get there before this storm gets any worse.’ Her eyes no longer sparkled like they so often did.
I could feel Katarina’s emotion as though it were my own. ‘We’ll get there eventually,’ I promised.
‘If anyone else said this I would be unsure,’ stated Katarina, turning to face me. ‘But because it’s you Aryah, I’d believe anything,’ she giggled. We stared into each other’s eyes, neither of us noticing the van veering onto the wrong side of the road until its blinding headlights collided with our own.

It is said that a person always remembers their first kiss, or, more accurately, the person who first kisses them. Funnily enough, I don’t, I only remember Katarina. Our first chance encounter was anything but normal: she stole my car.
At the time she had been working as a journalist and I as a public relations manager. I was hired to facilitate an agreement with two rival companies who wanted to merge into one. Apparently the idea of acquiring more money was enough for them to set their differences aside to work co-operatively towards mutual goals. Katarina had been asked by her boss to write an investigative article on the merger, but had unfortunately been denied access. For the best I would presume. I left the merger almost immediately after it began. I know, I know, how unprofessional of me! But I personally felt as though my talents had been squandered. I guess I was simply unable to listen to a gaggle of grown men strutting around talking shop. On the drive back to my hotel I received a phone call and only took my eyes off the road for a second when I hit something. I slowed down to retrieve my phone so I was glad that when the collision occurred, Katarina, the victim of my bad driving was not terribly injured. Apparently Katarina had never received her driver’s licence despite taking the test a few times and was forced instead to use alternate means of travel – in this case a bike – which unfortunately bore the brunt of my vehicle’s bonnet. I did try to apologise, I swear! However Katarina was in a state of shock and would not hear any of it. This led to frustration and eventually anger, which led to her kicking me in the shin. She just so happened to be wearing metal toe capped boots, so you can imagine the pain I was in; it was probably more than what I had inflicted upon her. After I fell to the ground she looked me up and down, jumped into my car and drove off. She did leave me the twisted carcass that was once her bike, which was awfully kind of her.
Luckily for me, her inability to drive led to her arrest. According to the patrol officer, he found it a touch odd when he recovered my purse and driver’s licence on her person, stating how I had apparently changed in ‘height, weight and appearance.’ Katarina had replied with ‘shit happens,’ and shrugged at his remark. She always was bold and her mouth almost always got her into trouble. I think it was this trait of hers that I first fell in love with. The officer, as strange as it might seem, decided to drop all charges, believing that we had paid each other back in full.
However, this chance meeting progressed into a friendship, which in turn became something else. This might have been because we couldn’t keep our hands to ourselves – probably because we were always fighting, and when we weren’t, well, we’ll get to that.

Katarina’s apartment at the time was in no way the definition of cleanliness; the floor was her wardrobe and the bed was her bathroom cupboard. We had decided to test our wits at a game of poker on this particular stormy night, and neither of us wanted to brave the weather to get a good night’s supper. However, the game seemed to be one sided. I was left in the bedroom to set out the cards across the bed, whilst Katarina was inside the bathroom, the door just open a crack, enough for me to see her shadow skirting the walls as she busily went about her post-shower business.
‘How long does it take to get ready?’ I shouted.
‘Patience Aryah!’ shot back Katarina in return. ‘You shouldn’t be so eager to charge headstrong into the fight. I always win you know.’
‘Do you now?’ I asked with a sly grin.
‘I am known for being quite vicious,’ she replied. ‘I take what I want and I always play for keeps.’
‘You sound as though you do this often,’ I commented.
‘Only when there is something worth fighting for,’ replied Katarina.
‘Is that why you are getting all pampered up in there?’ I asked. ‘Are you gearing up for battle, or do you have a hot date planned after this?’
‘Don’t know’ said Katarina in reply, ‘depends if she’s interested.’
Little did Katarina know I had already left the bed, quietly navigated the room and opened the bathroom door to find her standing before the mirror in her fluffy white towel, drenched with the water continuing to drip from her body. ‘Oh, she’s interested’ I replied as I wrapped my arms around her and planted my lips to hers as she did the same to mine.
A second later I had slipped the bath towel away from her body and let it fall to the tiles. Words could not begin to describe the flawless sight that befell my eyes and it would be an insult to even try.
It was not long after I had pushed Katarina up against the bathroom wall that she had pushed me back as well, forcing me once more into the bedroom where we found ourselves a couple of feet short of the bed, her clothes cushioning the fall as we fell on top of one another onto the floor, giggling as we did so.
Katarina pinned me to the ground before tearing ravenously at my clothes, a number of buttons coming loose in the process as my shirt was thrown to the side. With that, she came down upon me like a tidal wave, ever so slowly nibbling her way down my front, not daring to stop until she reached my clitoris. From where she lay her head, Katarina smiled up at me, before taking me into her mouth, a spasm of ecstasy rushing through my veins. Mind, heart, body; I was entirely hers and she mine, and nothing but the steel of an out of control vehicle would ever separate us from one another.

Pain was the first thing I felt upon waking in the hospital ICU, the flashbacks which had comforted me disappearing into the room. My arm was broken, my face badly bruised and my lips swollen from the airbag (deploying in front of me), a deep gash cut into the left side of my face from where my head connected with the side window. Only three of my ribs were fractured and yet all of them ached unanimously. The ramblings of the doctor meant nothing to me, for all I cared about, all I would ever care about, was lying a few rooms down from me.
I was allowed the privilege of seeing Katarina almost immediately. The walk to her room felt like an eternity and although Katarina looked nothing like I remembered, my feelings for her were unchanged.
She was lying back in bed, a great portion of her body having received terrible injuries during the crash. Her right leg was elevated and in a sling, being fractured in several places. Five of her ribs were broken, her left arm being wrenched from its socket whilst her right wrist, along with several fingers, were broken. Her face had been battered, a significant portion of her cheeks and nose being caved in from the smash. This of course was just the physical damage, the doctors warning me of the severe internal injuries.
At present it seemed that Katarina was in no position for any further surgery and the medicos were planning to wait for a good eighteen hours before they attempted any further procedures. Despite all this, Katarina was conscious, fighting the twilight that was creeping up around her.
‘Hey,’ she managed upon my entry as I grimaced when sitting down beside her. ‘I’m glad to see you were not badly injured.’
‘Tell that to the rest of me,’ I replied, attempting to keep up appearances as I ran my free hand through her hair. ‘The doctors say you are going to make a full recovery,’ I said as Katarina smiled weakly at me.
‘I’m a journalist, remember,’ she stated, her lips barely moving. ‘My job is to search for the truth; don’t start lying to me now.’
‘I’ll try to keep that in mind,’ I noted, maintaining eye contact as I did so, a tear running down my cheek.
‘Please,’ said Katarina. ‘I don’t want you to remember this as anything but a happy moment.’
‘How can that be when the woman that I love lies before me in critical condition?’ I asked. ‘Besides, how do you know that this is not a tear of joy? I was not lying when I told you that you may very well pull through, because there is still every chance. You are a fighter Katarina and I don’t want you to give up in the moment when you need to fight harder than you ever have before.’
‘You know as well as I that’s not true,’ replied Katarina out from the corner of her mouth.
‘Don’t talk like that,’ I sobbed, gripping her hand with mine as she winced from the pain, but continued to hold on regardless.
‘We’ve shared in a lot of adventures,’ she said with a smile as though recalling every one of them with those words. ‘But I won’t be coming with you this time.’
‘What?’ I spluttered as tears continued to well up in my eyes, yet Katarina continued to remain strong, although even she was having trouble trying to keep her emotions in check. ‘No,’ I retorted, ‘we-we stay together. I should have watched where I was driving. I was supposed to take care of you.’
‘No,’ replied Katarina with a sigh. ‘We were supposed to take care of each other. Don’t ever blame yourself and don’t stop living because of me. I’ve been strong enough for both of us, but now you must be strong enough for yourself.’ Katarina swallowed before continuing slowly once more. ‘Who knows, if there’s a bar up there or something I’ll save a seat for you and I’ll look down on you from time to time. You will never be alone and no matter what, I will always lo-’
In that moment, Katarina slipped into unconsciousness. She never spoke again. I remained with her until the monitors around us came to life with the sound of raucous beeping, and just like that she was gone.

INNOCENT

SYNOPSIS: About the funeral of a loved one.

A small gathering has come around
to farewell mummy from this town
because she couldn’t stay.
It’s sad when someone passes away.
But looking over her memoirs,
it’s obvious that she’s come far,
and we should all be proud
as we gather in this crowd.
Please darling, don’t start to sob,
for mummy’s gone to God.

 

the Night Melbourne Died

SYNOPSIS: About a young woman who left Melbourne, Victoria, to experience a life outside the city, and the repercussions of her leaving on the state. For she was no ordinary woman – no, she was the heart and soul of the city, and without her, everything was no longer as beautiful as it once was, paradise being inevitably lost.

A million Australian hearts are aching because we love you,
if you would close your eyes you can feel exactly as we do.
You should know deep down that one of those hearts indeed belongs to me,
like so many others you are my private stash of ecstasy.
Yet none of us will ever be able to feel your gentle touch
despite the each of us been cursed with this infatuated crush.
For you are the heart and soul of all that is Melbourne;
from the Yarra River all the way to St.Albans.
And if you should leave you would hear the sounds of all who have cried
for the night that you left is the night, that poor old Melbourne died.

I turn on my television and see your name on the six o’clock news
and then your face appears and I stare longingly into those baby blues.
When you left everybody they knew you, but then the city began to fall,
it would appear through such actions that none of us really ever knew you at all.
When we used to sit together I should have tried to make conversation
because your leaving inevitably caused all of this devastation.
It would appear that not confessing these feelings was a terrible mistake,
the final one of such gargantuan magnitude that I shall ever make.
And now that I’m alone, I’d give up forever just to see you again,
for you are the heart and soul of this city, being my lover and close friend.

I would have said something to you but I always get so nervous
and I feared you had a boyfriend I would not want to make jealous.
If I had tried to confess my feelings you would have known you had my full attention
for my lips would have failed to move as I attempted to conduct conversation.
My big, wide brown eyes would have been all that expressed the truth;
that I am forever and undoubtedly cursed to never stop loving you.
I would have told you how I feel and asked if you hunger for me,
for you are my angel; the only one I ever see.
I would confess I feel the urge to have you crawling underneath my skin
and said ‘the hell with it’ if I was considered to be living in sin.

Usually in this alternate universe I’d have been incredibly shy
but on this one, fictitious occasion I do believe I caught your eye.
I was strung out and lost, without any sense of bravery,
but you helped provide to me my missing masculinity.
On that night it would have been both our first time, during which I felt I died
and on this hypothetical night we made love, you turned your back on me and began to cry.
You would compare our love to a boat on the ocean being pushed forward by oars,
‘this was mine’ you would say, indicating your body, ‘but now all this is yours.’
But the fates or whatever have permanently barred me from you
and I guess this fantasy world I live in will have to make do.

In truth I am only half the man you need me to be
although I have been caught by your embracing melody.
You have put a spell over me as you have over every man you’ve ever met,
your radiant appearance is the one thing I’ll never be able to forget.
Compared to you we are but flotsam lying under the city lights
whilst you soar gracefully up above, being our radiant satellite.
For not confessing these feelings I especially am sorry
but one day I might open up my heart once I’ve found the glory.
And when that day does come I shall tell you ‘you are my queen’,
I’m sure many other men know exactly what I mean.

Everything I have failed to achieve can never be undone
and the feelings I have for you are constantly on the run.
For my feelings are a lost and broken ship at the mercy of the sea
constantly fighting for survival and hoping one day you’ll notice me.
Because you are the great lighthouse, which is positioned in the harbour,
waiting patiently for the right ship to arrive and be your lover.
There you are so graceful, captured in the simplest and most purest of ways,
your light, which is so eloquent, constantly shining every single day.
If only it were so easy to tell you how I feel
then perhaps I could take you out for an exquisite meal.

But I know all of these feelings are a result of an infatuation,
at least that is the opinion I have acquired from this one assumption.
The strongest thing in this city would undoubtedly be your spirit,
the one thing in all of Melbourne that none of us could ever edit.
If your presence were to ever leave I would feel so lonely and out of place
and inevitably I would be caught by the memory of your embrace.
I would undoubtedly remember how I stumbled all my life,
until I laid my eyes on you, wishing for you to be my wife,
for you are the young woman who shall save all of our lives;
and save each and every one of us from our own demise.

If I had written a diary, you would be in every single line,
describing your beauty on every page which is just so sublime.
By writing my feelings down no longer would they be trapped behind a barren door,
in reality this facade of mine is something I can’t keep up no more.
Since meeting you my life has changed and has ultimately not been the same;
I am proud to say although I do not write it down that I know your name.
I, like so many other men, find myself wishing to turn back time;
I too, like every other man, wish that someday you could be mine.
But then reality bites, the curtain falls and all the lights come up
and I know deep down that this fantasy world will never be enough.

If you should ever disappear, who will ever take your place,
for there is nobody in this world with such a pretty face.
And just like a river runs directly out to sea
I would wish that someday you would return to this city.
And perhaps a miracle would occur and you would return someday,
when that day does come, everything, will inevitably be okay.
But until this day does come fantasy and reality cannot relate
and the penalty I’ve been endowed is that my mind cannot think straight.
Until the day you do return, in my heart you are a runaway train
and all of my feelings for you, which are locked away, beg to be explained.

Everyone of us inside this state are filled with a great amount of pity,
each and every one of us praying for the survival of our city.
If I had to take your place to protect this city I know that I could
if you told me to be yours forever I know I undoubtedly would.
But until that day comes we drink ourselves down to new lows,
the love each of us has for you continuing to grow.
For you are the heart and soul of all that is Melbourne,
from the Yarra River all the way to St.Albans.
And if you should leave you would hear the sounds of all who have cried
for the night that you left is the night, that poor old Melbourne died.

No Death in Love

SYNOPSIS: My idea of a stereotypical break-up poem

Today could have been the day you found out you were pregnant and we began to start a family.
Today could have been the day I proposed, getting down on bended knee, asking you to marry me.
Today however is the day I sit back, alone again, and cry.
I stare drunkenly at the moon and toss insults at the falling stars,
the same falling stars I once wished upon that never truly brought me to you,
and even though I held you in my arms, you were never truly mine.
I could have been a million miles away because sitting next to you meant next to nothing.
I would ask if anything we experienced was true, but I’m afraid of the answer.
Was everything simply one great big lie, is that a tragic fact?
I should have realised your promises were too good to be true,
but I unfortunately had been struck down by love, and refused to see the signs.
When I told you my feelings, you didn’t believe me, and my heart lay down and died.
You had this picture perfect image of the perfect man that, like a tuxedo two sizes too small, I could not fit into.
When we first met, you were looking for Mr. Right, but instead you found me, and now it is a second too late; all our love is gone.
When in a relationship, you stressed you give it your all; your heart, mind, soul and body.
When I was younger I had delusions of grandeur, I wanted to be yours.
Since then, I have learnt a lot. I only wish I had been born with such knowledge
to avoid the unspeakable pain that now resides inside my head and heart.
I will admit, lessons have been leant, however, heart’s have been razed to the ground,
although I can only speak for myself because mine is all but dead and gone.
When we first met, I was so alive, free and passionate; I cannot believe who I once was. I cannot believe how much things have changed.
I am now an archipelago, lost and stranded in the crisp blue ocean, sending out an S.O.S to your heart,
for mine, it has been belittled, it has been broken, and it is no longer yours.
Last night I had myself a dream, one in which your loving heart came to rescue me,
but I knew from the beginning, although it was so beautiful,
it was rather unfortunately, happily never after.
When we were together I was hypnotised from a spell cast by your hand;
a man I had once been, but now a prisoner, one enslaved to your voice,
and whatever order you gave to me, I would have only too gladly executed.
You could have taken out a gun, pressed it to my temple, and asked me to pull the trigger,
and I would have obediently done so too, because I was not quite myself anymore.
I would have done anything you asked of me, but now I fear it’s too late to dwell on the past.
I read somewhere and ignorantly believed it too, a quote from a wise old woman,
who stated ever so positively and honestly, that there was no death in love.
For your crimes against the loving heart, warrants should be out for your arrest.
You need to be charged with the murder of love, and pain was your accomplice.
Every law enforcement officer, bounty hunter and able bodied hand should have been deployed
to apprehend the heinous violator who committed such horrid acts against romance.
To this I say; long live the ghost of the fallen angel, fallen angel which was you,
but no longer. Now altered into blue eyed devil, blue eyed demon, blue eyed evil.
So sweet and innocent you once were, when you went looking for a young man’s heart;
taught to be good by your parents; to treat others with decency and respect,
and to never talk to strangers, especially when within a strange land.
You had your own ideals on love however, your own beliefs on romance;
you enjoyed the company of older men for their experience and younger men for their passion,
until you were barbarically taken advantage of, and it was only then that we fell in love.
But perhaps all of it was nothing less than a dream, and if it were, it was a good dream while it lasted
within the fabricated reality of my mind,
where I daydreamed in the dark spaces of this cold, cold world.
However, if it were to happen again
there are some things I would have to recommend.
Instead of surrendering your entire self, you could have put in half of your heart,
and I could have put in half of mine, and together we would have made a complete whole,
and therefore you would have been without a fathomable excuse to leave me,
because losing you was difficult, for you’re like no woman I’ve ever known.
I wish I had the power to see into your heart, to feel as you do,
because I cannot believe you could forget what we had so easily
and begin something new with a certain someone.
I believe it’s a facade, a shitty disguise,
because I think, or I hope, although I don’t know which just yet, that you still love me,
for the greater the romance, the worse the pain, and therefore the greater the rebound.
When we cried, it was comparative to rain in a formidable storm,
and when you started up your vehicle, the engine throttled like thunder,
right before you left at a speed faster than that of lightning.
Over time I had said jokes and I had confessed my feelings;
if only this were the way love was supposed to be, you would still be in my arms tonight.
I would have popped you the question; I certainly would have, this is my truthful confession,
but you tore out my heart from its place in my chest before I even had the chance,
and yet I am still the proud owner of my heart’s train, but rather regrettably
and unfortunately, it is at the end of its line,
for no more tracks will be laid upon this broken romance.
Now, when I walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror,
I see there’s a hideous monster staring right back at me.
This monster, he is representative of my terribly scarred heart,
for I cannot believe you are walking around with somebody else
and not just walking. But I do not dare imagine, or even write down, what else you are doing,
because it is just too painful to imagine your Heavenly body loving somebody else.
You say you do not know what is happening, you do not know what you are doing,
and in turn I reply, it is obvious. You are going to do each other,
all the two of you need to discover is where? Why? And how?
Later I regret saying this, but admit it, I will not.
All I can say, is your new man, he had better hold you real tight,
because if he don’t, I swear to you, I’ll steal you right back to me.
You say he’s great, this guy you talk about, the guy you’re constantly with,
and I ask, how can you be with him, I cannot believe he’s your type.
You say you have never felt this kind of love for any other man before.
You think you have finally found the one, that you have finally got it right.
Such words are music to your ears, but they certainly are not to mine.
How do you think it makes me feel to find everything we had was flawed?
Was I simply and always invisible to you – like a specter it would seem?
Was I a sand man, but a man made of sand, who would blow apart and disappear?
However, and it might just amaze you to learn, that I still love you;
the same way a verse loves a couplet; the same way a song loves a rhyme.
You could change your face, hair and name. You could flee to a foreign land,
and still I would have nothing but romanticised feelings for you.
If you want these feelings I have for you to end
you had better get yourself a gun for hire
because I am not ever going to stop loving you,
even after all that you did to me and I to you,
because I love you now, exactly as I loved you then.
I have always loved you, and I fear I always will.