Monday, February 15, 2010

An Ordinary Day

I looked at the clock, then at the blank page in front of me, then at the clock again. I think it’s been an hour, or, to be accurate, it’s been an hour and 15 minutes since I sat here like this. Many people always talked to me about Writer’s Block, but as I’ve never had one before, I was so confident that I would never face such a thing. It was a silly, ridiculous idea to imagine that I could sit, just sit on my desk, and not be able to write something on a white sheet. But as it’s always been said, there’s a first time for everything. And apparently, that was my first.

“Are you gonna sit here for long?!” wondered my older sister. One fact about my sister is that she always believes that I’m better off doing errands around the house than sitting down to write. She was in an all-time bad mood for some reason.

“Life isn’t fair. It’s not fair at all” You’ll find her saying, as she remembers her glories in basketball when she was still in Middle School (which was winning a couple of tournaments with the team, in which she only played like 20 minutes or so, and luckily scored a couple of points). The thing that she had to give up, at some point for an obvious reason. She had a weak knee. But that was only the doctor’s opinion; it didn’t do the trick for my sister, as she was mourning every now and then about her wasted future and the fact that she could have been a pro by now, hadn’t she had ‘bad luck’.

“Do you need the room? Cuz I might stay here for a while. I’m writing” I said, not looking at her, holding my pen, and trying with all my might to concentrate, despite the noisy sound of the vacuum.

“I need to clean. I know you’d rather sit and sleep in dirt than do anything round the house. Such a spoiled brat. You know that someday, you’ll know that this is all you got, cleaning the house. Then you’ll know that what you’ve been doing, and all these hours you spent on that desk were for nothing. Learn from my life story. I could have ended up otherwise, if it hadn’t been for my lousy luck. I would have been featured on Sports Illustrated, and could have had a beach house and….” As she went on, I pretended to be looking at her, adjusting myself on nodding and showing signs of sympathy every five seconds, while I was still thinking about my writer’s block. I was devastated to know that I, of all people, would have such a thing. I never, and I mean never, ran out of ideas. I was like a flowing river; it was too much to believe.

As my sister refused to leave the room, I had to leave, and try my luck elsewhere. The only place where my sister’s vacuum wasn’t making noise, was the living room, near the garden. I thought it was a good place, and that maybe my block will go away when I face nature. Well, I was wrong. I found my mom, planting and watering her flowers in the little garden of hers, she seemed so preoccupied, that she hardly noticed me sitting by the window, right behind her. My mom loved her garden, sometimes, I think, more than she loved us. Something about it made her feel in control. As a stay at home mom, she had to give up most of her dreams. Those that she never really knew, but she was positive that she had them. I asked her more than once, what were your forsaken dreams; she’d look at me, ponder for a couple of minutes and finally say:

“I could have been anything I wanted, I could have been…an air hostess, everyone I knew always told me I had a nice smile, and a very nice figure, with nice legs to go with the short skirt. Well, at least I had that someday before” She’d then stop, as if remembering these victorious days, when she used to walk down the street, and get all the eyes of the finest guys in town following her. I’d ask her jokingly, how come she fell for my father; she’d look like she’s been reminded of a sorry accident and say:

“Your grandmother likes to call it Fate. I think its mere bad luck” She’d say, and the turn back to gardening. For anyone who’d hear how much people talk about bad luck in my family, would find it so hard to believe how we’re still alive. I like to call THAT good luck.

I continued sitting behind my mother. Enjoying the beautiful scenery and the silence, trying hard to break the wall that’s been built between me and my words. I was about to start writing, when my father suddenly stormed into the room. His face was as red as a dark face can be, and it seemed like he had just been into a fight, or at least was about to start one.

“Dad? Are you okay?” I asked him as soon as he entered. He looked at me, I think with contempt, for you never know what my father’s facial expressions express. His face never shows any kinds of inner feelings. He’s mostly frowning; I can’t recall seeing my father smiling. Not to mention laughing. I always had the feeling that my dad was always angry for some reason. I never knew what is it was. But something this time was altered, he wasn’t frowning, it seemed that he’s on the edge of screaming.

“NO…I’m NOT okay…not even close. Your brilliant brother is expelled from school for two weeks. TWO freaking weeks. I was called to his school today…” He then stopped talking, took his breath, he seemed to have forgotten to breath, and then he turned to my mother, who was apparently too busy – and happy – with her little garden, that she was hardly paying any attention to anyone or anything.

My dad walked to and fro in the room. He couldn’t settle down, even when I tried to make him. It wasn’t the first time for my brother to cause problems; it was his ‘thing’ actually. He was neither good in school nor in life. The most ironic thing about him is that he always had an excuse or a reason for screwing up in right about everything.

“These are my abilities” was his catchy phrase. He wasn’t even creative in making up excuses, nor lies. I’ve tried more than once to get him to sit down and try to study or read or anything. He didn’t even like sports; his best ‘sport’ was to hang out with his friends around the neighborhood, hardly doing anything useful.

“You’ll see. Someday I’ll be very famous and successful. I’m not stupid, I just don’t bother with showing off, like everyone else does” Of course to my brother, showing off was getting good grades, and passing his exams. We all failed with him, and it seems that he being expelled was the end of it for my father.

“He needs to be punished. He HAS to be punished. I need to find the appropriate punishment and give it to him” My father kept on saying to himself, as if searching for the best way to make my brother suffer for what he did. See, my father was that kind of a man who believed that without suffering, there will be no manners or discipline. He wasn’t harsh, not at heart, but on the outside he was very strict, and as I said, always frowning. He was also one of those people who married just for the sake of marriage. For him, it’s just another social tradition that should be carried out, and should be tolerated, with all its outcomes. Unlike most of the people here, my dad was probably the only one, maybe besides me, who didn’t believe in bad luck. Instead, he believed that not being what he wanted in life was cuz he was envied by many people for being himself. He’s been thought as a very smart person, obviously someone forgot to tell him about Einstein, but that would just be a name to my dad, just another sheep in the flock.

When my brother came home, it looked like Troy all over again. Lots of shouting and screaming. My mother finally came into the house, joined in the fight, and as usual she defended her beloved son. It seemed to at that point that my sister’s vacuum was better after all. I knew that I won’t be able to write anything this time. I decided to go out, maybe to a park, and try to clear my head; maybe my block will go away after some fresh air and new scenery.

As I was getting ready to go out, I overheard my family still fighting over my brother’s problem. My dad was still shouting, my sister was still vacuuming, and my mother took the high way and got out in her garden again. I took a look at the house as I was on the door step. Something about the whole scene made me smile. It was only then that my block vanished, and I knew exactly what I wanted to write.

I sat again on my desk, despite my sister’s protests. I got my notebook, opened a blank page, looked at the clock and started writing.

“I looked at the clock, then at the blank page in front of me, then at the clock again. I think it’s been an hour….”



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