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‘Beyond the Sea’ book excerpt

As I had promised to myself, I pushed Klaus in the water. It took him by surprise, maybe because he still had his clothes on or maybe because he did not anticipate such an act at all. I remember my father telling me I was unpredictable. Now Klaus knows. I watched him splash around and wave his pale, slender, Russian arms. I took a few shots with my phone, thinking about how much fun he was having. Then I realized that he was flapping around struggling to stay afloat. Klaus was drowning! I dropped my phone and jumped in the water to save him. I thought how I must have put on a pound or two because I went in really deep. It took me a few seconds to resurface and catch a breath. I came face to face with Klaus who then put his palm on top my head and pushed me back in the water. Klaus was lying. He could swim. He pretended to be drowning to get back at me for pushing him in the water. That little weasel! We got out and sat on the pier. I watched my Garbo hat float away in the distance. I told Klaus that he should never cry wolf. He said he was not afraid of wolves.                                                                                  We caught a fish! It was small and silvery and because we did not recognize the kind we agreed that it was a toddler silver perch. We admired its slippery beauty for a little while and then returned it to the water. We then admired our fishing skills. I never caught a fish before and when it first pulled the line I was so surprised I almost let go of the rod. Klaus jumped in and helped me pull it out. We wrestled with it for about ten, maybe twenty seconds. There are some tricks about how you hold the rod so that the fish does not escape. It was very intense – almost like in Jaws except with a harmless baby fish.

framed pier

Book excerpt

* * *

It’s Friday and everybody at work has some amazing weekend plans. I bet that most of them just sits at home, folds laundry and watches TV. Klaus came by to ask me who is he going out with? He wanted some insider info on Mandy. I told him that she was as tall as him but probably stronger and that he can only hope that she does not have some dangerous mental issues. I meant it as a joke but after seeing a glimpse of worry in his naive bluish-greenish eyes I decided to explore the subject. I told him that Mandy has been very sensitive ever since she had pubic crabs and everybody in her college class laughed at her. And she has hard time getting rid of them. It was a stupid and totally implausible lie but it was all I could come up with at that very moment. Klaus didn’t think twice about believing me – he bit that hook like the baby silver perch that day on the beach.

‘She has pediculosis pubis and she can’t get rid of it?!’ he said.

‘You know how to say crabs in Latin?!’

‘Yes, pubic crabs, not regular crabs. She can use shampoo to kill them. I’ll buy her one.’

‘No, you won’t. Who does that? Besides, she thinks…she thinks that the scratch comes from some skin disorder.’

‘She can’t see the crabs?’

‘She also has very poor vision.’ I was out of control.

‘Why nobody tell her?’ insisted Klaus. I noticed that his grammar would always drop down a level if he was in any way confused or excited. I guess he’d lose the linguistic focus.

‘Because she is very sensitive. You don’t just walk up to somebody and tell them they have crabs. This is not Russia.’

‘We don’t do that in Russia. Only when you know the person well.’

‘Well, don’t say it to Mandy. She is too sensitive. It could send her over the edge.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘It means that…well, she is also…she is a little mentally unstable so it means that we don’t want to disturb her. You promise you won’t say anything.’ Whoever said that lying is like quicksand was right. I could feel that mud around my throat.

‘It is very difficult for me to withhold the truth,’ said Klaus.

‘Even when truth is none of your business?’

‘Truth is everybody’s business.’

‘I will tell her, okay. You don’t say a word. You are a man, and a foreign one for that matter.’

‘I am almost American.’

‘I am almost five five.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘My height. I am almost five foot and five inches tall. Keyword almost. You are almost American but you are still a foreigner so zip it when you talk to Mandy.’

‘Zip my pants?’

‘No, zip it means don’t speak.’

‘You mean I should not speak when I talk to Mandy?’

‘Exactly.’

‘That’s impossible. If I talk to somebody then I have to speak.’

‘No, you don’t. Let her do the talking. You just listen and smile politely and mind your own business.’

‘Dating in America is very complicated…five five…you are not very tall.’

‘You are not very muscular.’

‘Don’t be mad, I think your height is very feminine. It’s the perfect height for wearing high heels. I love high heels. For a woman, not for me, I prefer desert boots. I am not cross-dresser. ‘

‘I don’t wear high heels.’

‘I know, you also wear desert boots, but if you did wear high heels your height is perfect.’

‘Just don’t say anything to Mandy.’

* * *

Excerpt from book

    ***

I spent my lunch-break shopping. My ex-husband Richard (calling him Dick now) never liked anything about my looks. When I say never, I mean after we got married. My high heels were inappropriate, my eyes the wrong color, my feet too big, my boobs too small, my legs too thin, my makeup too strong, my taste in fashion frivolous – the list could go on and on. Sadly for me, I really wanted him to like me. I mean, he was my husband, and I loved him – and the thing is – if the one who actually married you (for whatever reason) sees you as a complete visual failure – what are other people seeing? I remember that my self-esteem at the height of my now broken marriage was at an all-time low (ironically) and no fake smile could hide the fact that I was unhappy. Those smiles, they show up on photographs. Sort of like age. You smile and you think you look fabulous and plump like a cherubic 18 year old, and then the picture comes out and you think ‘Who is this old hag with a creepy grimace?! Oh, it’s me!’ I thought of that while smudging different colors of eye shadows on my eyes and wrist at a beauty counter of a local department store. I tried different eye shadows, lipsticks, lip-glosses, blushes, BB creams and whatever the rather amused saleslady offered. By the time I left the store, I looked like a clown. But not the creepy, scary clown that makes people shudder. I was a thirty something divorcée (what an ugly word!), well dressed, smelling of Coco Mademoiselle (because there is no Coco Divorcée), stylish, and most importantly – happy clown. I crossed a little girl and her mom on the way out, and the girl looked up at me, smiled and said to her mom ‘I want to look like this’. Her mother glanced at me a bit uncomfortable and not quite sure how to respond.

Clinique counter’, I said, ‘straight down and to the right.’

***

 

Excerpt from ‘Beyond the Sea’

Everybody in the office did the Myers-Briggs test today. First the test, then the discussion about the results received. Everybody kept saying how they finally feel understood. My type turned out to be ISFJ-T which means that I have good practical skills, I am supportive, reliable and patient, observant (I disagree on grounds of husband and friend’s affair), enthusiastic, loyal and hard-working. I sound like such a bore. No wonder Richard turned to Hope – my lameness is hopeless and I did not need a test to tell me that. The irony is that this is supposed to be a good personality, helpful and altruistic – and yet, I feel resentful towards it. Klaus is ENFP-T which makes him curious, energetic and popular. Joann is ESFP which she summed up as Excellent Slut For Parties and made sure that everybody heard it. I decided to take my weaknesses into consideration and work on them. It does not sound like a fun project but then again, my personality is not about fun so it should not be a problem!’

 

If I can do it, you can too!

 

I have finally finished writing the book that’s been bugging me to come out for the longest time. It took a while but it’s published! I guess the key is to persevere, and keep moving no matter how small the steps. So if you are writing and maybe feel stuck – just keep laying those words like you’d build a house, brick by brick, and eventually you will get there! If I can do it – you can too!

So, the book is out – here is a link – I think that if you have Kindle Unlimited you can check it out and decide if it matches your interests and is worth your time 🙂

It’s a story about moving on, with diverse characters and funny situations.

A short excerpt from the book I am writing

“Penny named the baby Tristan. We thought it was after the legend of Tristan and Isolde but she said it was after the Legends of the Fall. Mother was confused and I explained to her that Tristan was a fictional book character played in a movie by a very handsome Brad Pitt. Mother was not pleased as she still holds a grudge against Pitt over his break up with Jennifer Aniston. One would think she knew them all personally! I miss hanging out with Klaus. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was sowing his wild oats as instructed by me. I think he said it to hurt me but there was no spite in his eyes. I told him that he needs not share details with me.

I forgot to take the romance book to Mrs. Banfree. I’ll do it tomorrow. She’ll make me read it out loud so I better stock up on antacids to prevent becoming nauseated from all the unrealistic love happenings.”