GilThis is the seventh part of my short story, The Poet. Please would you correct my mistakes.
In the meantime, I found another job as a cleaner. I mostly cleaned schools and offices all over the city. I worked for a small cleaning company, and there I met Martina, who
had been mywas a fellow worker(By using "my fellow worker" it appears that she was the only other worker. If there were more workers, then us, "was a...). She was a few years younger than myself - a plain woman who loved cooking and watched soap operas in her spare time. We got infatuated with each other and began an intense love affair. Although she did not have an attractive body, I would think of it all the time, and I would rush home from my work with my erected organ to her flat to have sex with her. At weekends we would stay in bed all day and night and copulate until our bodies hurt offrom exertion and fatigue. Those months of intense passion and sex had completely drained off my energy. Since I had met Martina I had not written one single poem, nor could I find peace in my soul. I would be lying beside her and my eyes would involuntarily glance at the typewriter waiting patiently for me to return to it. I had a pang of conscience as if I had been cheating on my own wife.
The longer our relationship continued the more I felt emptiness despite having passionate sex. I began to despise her and felt lonely as soon as I was with her. “What I had been doing beside this unattractive, overweight body,” I asked myself. I was wasting my precious time and energy on satisfying my sexual drive when, instead, I should have been writing poetry.
We parted like friends, without quarrels or tears. When I told her that writing poetry had been giving me more satisfaction than sex, Martina answered that she had noticed from the first day when we met that something was wrong with me. Maybe I should stay away from women for the rest of my life to avoid further disappointments, she concluded with the a trace of bitterness in her voice.
Once when I was walking from work to my flat I heard a woman’s voice calling out my name. I stopped, turned my head and saw my mother a few meters behind me. I wanted to ignore her and walk on pretending I had not heard her, but when I saw her tired, wrinkled face and her lacklustre mousy hair, I took pity on her and we shook hands. She accompanied me to the flat and I invited her inside. She did not want to share dinner with me and told me she was not hungry. She sat at the other side of the table and watched me intently, with tenderness in her eyes. She noticed the typewriter and asked me what I was writing. I told her I was trying to write some poetry. “I wish I could write poetry myself, but whenever I try to write anything I feel like a cramp in my hand, and I’m unable to begin even a simple sentence,” she said.
After inquiring me about my flat, job, health and my relationships with women, she said “ So, you’re ignoring me, son?”
I looked at her face and for the first time noticed a web of wrinkles under her eyes and the sallow complexion of her face. “Do you remember how you treated me when Joakim and Irena have been alive? I was invisible in your eyes.”
“Everyone makes mistakes, son. Your mother isn’t a saint. But still she’s your mother. Let’s forget the past and move on.”
I felt pity for her. She was a shadow of her former self, being eaten from inside by her suffering. She was searching for my company probably as the last chance to return to her previous life, believing that her only living child would bring some light into the darkness. I was not of stone, and my heart softened. After all, she was my flesh and blood. I lay inside her womb for nine months, living off her body and her fluids. Before she had left, I had told her to come and visit me whenever she wanted. She gave me a hug, kissed me and her eyes moistened.
She would visit me about once a week, bringing her tasty pies, cakes and even cleaning my flat. She crept inside my home unobtrusively, ingratiating herself with me and never arguing with me. She was playing a game, although I was too naive to understand what her real intention had been. She probably wanted to see how the land lay and prepare her attack properly. Because suddenly, she started again with her preachings. She talked about the people I had known, who had married, had children, and lived in harmony with their wives. This was like tidbits of light gossip, which she would tell during our meals and then change the topic looking at the expression of my face. However, these occasional remarks soon turned into her lectures I had heard before. I would close the door behind her and then pace my flat like a lion, shouting at myself and my naivety, boiling with rage and wanting to punch her in the face. Then, my anger subsided and I told myself that she would stop once she understood that I would not follow her advice. But she did not change her behaviour, and in the end I had no other choice but to close the door of my flat on her forever. I did not want to land in prison for beating her, or even worse, as a matricide.
The following day when I went to my job I felt terrible. My mind was whirling. I had a pang of guilt at having thrown my mother out of my home, but also was angry at myself that I had resumed contact with her in the first place. She was more cunning than I could have imagined. She was not interested in my well-being at all. Instead, her real intention was to keep me subjugated and under her control. All these thoughts came and went through my mind as I was cleaning the office of the CEO early in the morning. I could see the pictures of him and his family on his desk, on the walls and among the books on the bookshelves. He was a man is his fifties, with an ugly face and almost no hair on his head. But his wife looked like a model and was at least 15 or more years younger than himself. They had two children, a boy and a girl, both beautiful teenagers. The photographs showed them in different settings. They were in the Alps, on the French Rivera, in Sidney, New York, on
thea safari in Africa...He and his family members were smiling brightly and apparently enjoying life fully, squandering their money on all kinds on luxuries and expensive gadgets I could only dream about. My eyes swept the expensive, spacious interior, and I asked myself how much more he was earning than I - a hundred, two hundred, or a thousand times. Suddenly, my work seemed meaningless. Was I going to spend the next decades cleaning dirt, sweeping dust, and emptying dustbins? Was I going to risk my health for meagremeager wages? I did not feel like a free man, but rather a modern slave - an expendable creature, who would be thrown away when he was no longer needed. I had decided that this was my last day I had spent working for someone (I decided that that this was the last day I would spend working for someone else). I knew I was going to be poor and would never be able to buy the things I wanted, but at least I would enjoy the freedom of my mind and be independent of other people. I would have a roof above my head and food to keep me alive. And themost important - I had my typewriter and my poems. I did not need anything more ("I did not need anything more" is fine. "I did not need more" is another option).
To be continued.
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