Gaslighting Anita

She wouldn’t notice. Not tomorrow certainly not today. She was too occupied with the fur baby he just gave her. How it would be wonderful for her to practice taking care of Butter, the pug that he adopted for her. Butter would take her mind off from the things that were bugging her lately and he knew she liked the idea.

There she was at the beach sitting, petting Butter, taking selfies and laughing. He heard her flirtatious laugh again, the one that made him notice her, the one that made her more attractive.

From afar, as if watching the waves crush into the shore, he was startled with the vibration from his pocket, someone was calling him on his mobile. He clutched it and put it in his right ear while he was waving at her his left arm lifted with a cigarette. He knew she wouldn’t notice. If only he would stay calm as he always was with her, she would be fine.

He was on the phone with Karen and it was one of the intense talk again. He talked to her between his clenched teeth while cursing her. Crazy woman, he thought to himself while not leaving Anita within his peripheral. Lately, she’s been pestering him on his work, annoying him, blackmailing that she’d call his girlfriend.

He approached Anita after he hung up on Karen. He made sure his phone in airplane mode that no call could penetrate, whoever it is was would try to call him.

He hugged her and she just laughed and all giddy like her usual ways. She stopped laughing when she remembered something. Darling,she said. Karen called last night while you were sleeping. She was crying, she told me you got her pregnant, that your baby needs you! Anita’s brows were worried and she sounded unsure.

He shrugged, he looked at her directly. He said, while he was stroking her hair, baby love, there’s no Karen existing, there’s no one pregnant. Check your mobile if she really called. He confidently urged her.

She did as she was instructed too. Her hand was shaking and almost frantic. She said, while her voice was shaking too. How come? How come there was no call registered? I swear I talked to her. I listened to her for goddamn two minutes until I told her that I you were sleeping and both of us wouldn’t want to wake you up. She even sent me a text that she’d call around 11! Her tears were almost waterfalls but warm in a windy afternoon.

He wiped her tears while the wind blew from the beach. There is no Karen. No record of her. No calls no messages. You checked it just now. Have you been taking your medicines lately? Darling I don’t know know what are you talking about. So whatever she told you doesn’t make any sense because she simply doesnt exist. Go call Butter, we don’t want Butter mirror your distress, don’t we? He told her after hugging her tight. He tried to pacify her as she let little sobs and tears faded with the waves.

She wiped her cheeks where her tears ran down. She looked at him. I don’t know why this is happening. Even if there is a real Karen, I wouldn’t believe her! I would only believe you! She hugged him back and she hastily let go and walk towards Butter.

He felt relief, last night after Karen’s call and he waited for Anita to sleep, he carefully got up from the bed and checked Anita’s mobile phone. There were messages from Karen, there were missed calls and one call received. He deleted all that. After checking for one more time and his satisfaction was met, he slowly joined her in her sleep.

He couldn’t afford to lose Anita and he couldn’t let anyone like Karen to break her trust on him. She trusts her whole life to him and he loved that. He loved the idea that he could make her believe whatever he say. He knew something was troubling Anita even before they live together so a little bit of lying as far as she wouldn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. Not tomorrow, especially not today.

He forgot about the cigarette in his left hand. The ashes reached the filter, he dropped it off in the sand.

What Changed?

He used to like her, that’s what she thought, what happened? What changed that, the laughter they just shared prior to her week off from work? She couldn’t figure it out, somewhere along her busy mind, that for quite two days after she had come back, everything seemed to be not in their right order. Her guts was telling it, or this “weird” feeling was a product of her imagination?

He loved how she was witty in their conferences. She built a rapport within their team. She took time to help him shine as he indirectly telling her that all of them, as in all of them within the team will be shining in front of their bosses. There was even a time she was more than sure that he liked her, as a subordinate and on a personal level, oh how he laughed at her silly jokes!

She gasped of the thought, wasn’t it because she was moved into a different department by the higher management? She was no longer under his wings, no longer a close ally. She couldn’t be the eyes anymore, a spy that she sometimes volunteered to play for him. But aren’t they friends? Aren’t they supposed to be sharing secrets or funny things about their co workers, like they used to do?

She almost fell on her seat, trying to not show any emotion. There he was, smiling elegantly like the same smile he used to give her when she used to do all his long and tedious monthly reports, and then in a blink of an eye, she saw Valentina: that new girl who replaced her with a blonde hair and a milky white skin, smiling back at him.

Her chest was full of the sigh she’s so anxious to release.

IMG_5472
CTO

 

Let’s Start The 2018!

Celebrate life. Celebrate Literature.

Here’s to another exciting year, starting another, yet vicious cycle of quenching our thirst for written words, for stories.

Let us enjoy the books! I truly believe in their power to influence, inspire and make us dream about life. Life is not calibrated as fairy tale, or a constant feel good scenes, but between the fine lines, we can always find a pulsating element art of the artists; their long sleepless nights, their agony, their dark side, their unrequited love, their anger or their stoicism which connects to our different state.

Is it too late to say Happy New Year, considering we are in the 2nd of Jan?

Testing the Waters (Dating in Dubai)

Dear Diasporic Jasmin,

I am currently testing the waters with a guy who apparently comes from a family who has strong background in academics, and here I am, without any degree.

He is quite conservative and I am quite carefree. He likes me and I think I like him too, there is problem ‘though. There are things that I do not really consider as potential problems if we will go into a deeper relationship, but lately he just told me that I should not take it personally but there are 3 points that he finds a slight concern if we are going to be together:

  1. Educational level – he is intending to do his PhD, and I am not going back to school anytime soon.
  2. Religious practices -we are both Muslim, and for him and I admit I am a very open Muslim lady. I am modern lady who loves make-up, smoke and occasionally drink.
  3. Cultural background – I was born and raised in Europe so I am a carefree person.

After hearing this, I am confused with emotions, what do you say?

XO,

Mimi DbX

 

 

Dear Mimi DbX

I like how articulated he is as he pointed out the 3 points. Did he do a power point presentation? The sarcasm on him.

First off, I am not a relationship guru nor a life expert, but you, asking for my opinion is a delight.

Rhetoric aside, If I was to go through to your concerns, we will try to reach in the same eye level as the PhD gentleman, we will try to dig from the shallowness rather the soundness of his arguments and I would be as a normal woman as I am.

  1. Congratulations to him! All praises as he seeks to improve his already strong background. Personally, I have high regards to individuals who strive for academic excellence, and it is not an everyday occurrence we meet one from these species. One’s educational attainment, on the other hand, to resort on making himself feel superior over someone especially for a prospect love interest is a big NO NO. He could be a candidate for a doctor of whatsoever philosophy, but just because you do not have the same level of education as he has, his passive doubts on you as non-effective partner, is such a pity. Unless, he tries to get to know you deeper, then his hypothesis is null and void. If your meal conversation requires thesis and arguments, then you might examine the need for you to go back to school if not, no one has the right to question your education level. (Only your employer, should they attest your school credentials, you know some companies in Dubai, they do that.)

For all we know you could be having an IQ of more than 134, and you were judge for a context that you didn’t finish your education. What is he going to do? Or what does he want you to do? Does he want you to go back to school / university so both of you can really enjoy dating? Questionable questions (pun intended)

Am I promoting a neglect on education as a standard for future girlfriend/ spouse/ mother of his child? Of course NOT, but that would fall into different circumstance that I do not wish to cause a more disoriented thought.

  1. To have the same religious belief as a common denominator with the opposite sex makes the candy sweeter. However, if still, there are attributes that makes him uncertain whether he like to proceed a period of courtship with you or not, makes me ponder, about his intentions. We are in 21st century and I do not understand why US, women, even from different belief and castes still have to explain our lifestyle and choices to men who we just met for short period of time. Of course, majority of individuals are bound to follow their own religious creed and there is no harm about that if he or she is imposing it on himself and not questioning the others. If you think he does make you feel uncomfortable to make you feel awkward about who you are now, honey, step back and count how many beautiful things you have enjoyed and tried exploring your youth without explaining until now, errr to him. We are in a digital age where you can just swipe right or left and skip seeing the person in person. Ask him, why does he point these things to you making you feel guilty about nothing, just to suit his “ideal” non-smoking girlfriend. (but seriously, stop smoking.) How about you and your  “ideal”? Or is it because he is a good catch, that he thought most people think he is, then why is he single, until now? Sorry I do not mean to be aggressive, just I try to open some windows to the narrow thinking room he is providing you.

If both of you practice the same religion and he finds your lifestyle too loud for the religion, isn’t it too condescending? Nobody is perfect, sure in his eyes you need advice but don’t you think he does need some too for being so judgmental? Just food for the thought.

  1. Mimi, I believe you are a beautiful person inside and out, you may be different culturally because you grew up in a place where you enjoyed the same liberty as the boys have, in the school back to your birth country, but with your family’s nurturement, I am taking the assumption that you have respect on individuality, understand the sanctity of marriage, and peace and love in your heart. Those are cultural universals, as you know, things that are expected from a normal homo sapiens, ‘though not everyone are living it. But how one’s culture be an issue? In your case, I assumed no cannibalism involve, no human sacrifices to volcanoes are part of your culture (I hope I am correct?) So how does one’s cultural background be a challenge for him? Wouldn’t it be nice to discover a different culture and celebrate diversity? You are carefree, you have the right and again be not questioned about it. Both of you are in Dubai, he should know that hundreds of ethnicities are here residing, he cannot play culture or race cards here. And If due to the fact that you are born outside the country or continent that the man was born is an issue, then something is not right.

Mimi, I am sorry to say, that relatively, not because I am woman, I am speaking in this way, kind of imposing our rights, but I need you to understand that the guy has his doubts and issues and you do have your own doubts too. He cannot point those things to you and expects you to fit in his category of accepted or not accepted. It is the matter of both you two consenting adults to see each other again to talk about it, or it could stop right there, calling it quits.  Dubai is city that is full or lack of opportunities to meet a future relationship, depending on one’s paradigm.

As a single lady, meeting an opposite sex that meets your initial standards like good looking, smells fresh and with good sense of humor etc. etc. makes you want to discover more. Courtship is such a nice process. Girlfriends from different nationality must have told you that, one way or another. Ideas on dating is like 4 per .25 fils. At the end, it is on your shoulder, how would you value his doubts on how dating each other will be a successful. But for me, after those counter points I mentioned, my hormones tell me: his ambiguous pointers are nothing but a way for him of saying “This is me, I am PhD candidate gentleman, I know what I want and please do not take it personally but I want you to adjust according to my standards, I want you to embrace the embodiment of my ideal woman”. Now, will you let it?

There Mimi, I said it, he might mean it differently, but this is how I perceived it, unless you are referring to Prince Harry, then you can reconsider my statements accordingly.

Yours truly,

Diasporic Jasmin

 

Human Acts by Han Kang 


   Han Kang’s way of story telling is not a conventional one. She explores different perspectives, but agreeably collective agony that only individuals in that particular situation can truly express; thus after reading it made me feel the forlorn, the torment that each had experienced.  

   With interconnected characters I found empathy; Searching for a friend; the love with a shadow of guilt over the death of their young brother; the human being trying to master her demons that made her detached of people, of men, and to the mother whose heart had shattered into pieces longing for her child, reliving the moments that they both shared until her death. You will feel compassionate with the characters, be it fiction or real people. 
   Absolutely, Human Acts’ setting, Gwangju cannot be compared to any other story of a nation or a city under a siege, or to that of classical frame of tyranny, of dictatorship. For every civilization, long before the tanks have been invented, there had been countless loss of human beings, and each and every human souls got stories to tell, wanting to be heard. 
   Her descriptions. Her intellectual way of conveying the pain is plausible and would even make one think: it could be worse in real life, what more to encounter if this is happening, right now around us. Unimaginable. 
   Han Kang’s Human Acts may ignite deep introspection, if the reader would read it with an open mind. Painfully, life goes on, even to those who are left behind by their loved ones. Humans survive, though without utter peace, somehow they manage to remain alive carrying haunted memories that they try so hard not to remember. 

Recommendations

DO NOT READ – if you find serious topic not your kind, because it might affect you, drain you in a way. If your are expecting an easy read, I discourage you. Obviously not for YA fans. 
READ – if Historical fiction is your cup of tea. If you are ready to be heartbroken by gruesome description of war depicting emotions, harrowing pinches in your heart. Go ahead.