Chapter One – Ablutions

In this morning that dawned, I made a resolution to confront myself: the flawed creature that I am. It was not in front of a mirror that I conducted my confrontation, but it was inside my mind as my body struggled to free itself from the spell of Morpheus. Why should I rise on this day?

The truth is that I did not want to get up from the bed and face the life that I have been living. My eyes opened and I stared at the ceiling. To whom do I offer the mundane fruits of my day? I slowly sit up and look around. The sun shines brightly into my room, illuminating my world. My things have surrounded me all these years, and have kept me company when no other human would stay. One corner holds a pile of dirty clothes; I try to do my laundry regularly—I always aim to do them once a week—but the pile holds several weeks’ worth of skins I shed on a daily basis. In my own regime of fastidiousness, I refuse to reuse the clothes that I use when I leave the house. However, the shirt and the pants I wore when I go to sleep has been repeatedly worn for several days already. These clothes are terribly worn in all the places, but their soft texture feels comforting and the lightness gives me the physical idea of nakedness without the actual exhibition. Being naked to my own self has never been comfortable, much less being naked with another human being.

I grab my towel and head from my room to the bath. I remove my clothes carefully, as these were in delicate condition. I walk over to the toilet and proceed to defecating, since this takes some time, I grab a book and begin to read. I’m always reading a romance novel, and this time is no different. The generic storyline never demands any deep thoughts, and any thought that comes out of it is from inspiration rather than stipulation, purely for enjoyment of words and images. Deep inside, I know that I read these novels because it helps me in my emotional isolation. With my bowels all emptied out, I grab the bidet spray and twist my body to wash my ass and my vagina. I grab a bar of soap with my right hand and create a lather then proceed to work that lather into my intimate areas. I rinse off my hand and my intimate parts, replace the bidet, and turn to flush the toilet. I walk over to the sink to wash my hands thoroughly before drying them on the hand towel hanging nearby. I walk over to the other side of the room to turn on the shower then leave it running as I assemble the various products that I will be using this morning: daily facial wash, a moisturizing body wash, a hair conditioner, and intimate wash. I carry them from the cupboards above to the shelf beside the shower.

Intimate wash! When I was a child, the entire body was washed with soap—from head to toe—but today, each body part requires a particular product. In the bathroom, I hardly realize that I am walking naked along its entire length and breadth. Then, as I gingerly walk under the shower, the cold needles falling against my skin jolts me into realization that I am indeed naked. A state that is better gotten over with immediately.

Dodging under the torrent of cold water, I stand impatiently waiting for my scalp and hair to get fully drenched. Then I grab my conditioner and squeeze about half a handful of product into my left palm, replace the bottle on the shelf right beside my facial, body, and intimate wash, rub the product onto my right while ensuring that water does not fall onto them. With my back turned to the shower, I crouch down and rub the conditioner into my hair—from the roots at my nape to the tips of my long hair. I work the product in thoroughly and slowly—this activity holds my complete concentration for about a minute—once satisfied, I twist my hair and slowly straighten, making sure that the shower does not touch my conditioned head.

Next, I run my hands under the stream of the shower, rinsing off what was left of the conditioner and raising my face to be moistened. I take a step back and grab my facial wash with my left hand. The steady stream showers down onto my chest creating rivulets of water to travel down my stomach and along my legs. I squeeze a small pea-sized portion of my facial wash into my right palm then replace the container back onto the shelf. Again, I rub both palms together to evenly distribute the product before bringing my hands to my face. Starting with the cheeks, I close my eyes to slowly work over up to my forehead then back down to my chin and down the front of my neck. This takes considerably less time than my hair, but I don’t skimp on the attention. With the tips of my fingers, I carefully feel every single flaw on my face: the sensitive bump of a growing pimple, the empty scars of pimples long past, the many microscopic warts that only my dermatologist can discern with her naked eye, scabs of healing that would certainly leave new marks, and lumps of whiteheads that I eagerly squeeze out while washing my face. I know that I should stop squeezing out those whiteheads because they always leave scars or become really bad pimples in the coming days. I carefully open my eyes, making sure that no product goes into them, and look at the harvested white head. Clear enough, I see a small pale amber at the edge of my finger nail. The doctor said that these are sebaceous cysts and they do look like small beads of hardened oil to me. I put my hands under the stream of the shower again to wash it away with the rest of my facial product.

Conscious of my conditioned hair, leaving the cleansing suds on my face, I quickly grab the biggest bottle on the shelf to squeeze a handful of product onto my palm. Sometimes, I grab the loofah hanging from a hook beside the shower and squeeze the product directly onto that. Today, however, I just want to use my hands. I quickly snap the cap in place and put it back on the shelf then rub the product onto my nape and shoulders. My other hand joins in to work the wash across my body. As I reach my breasts, both hands are working to bring out a lather. At this point, the stream of the shower falls uselessly to the floor. I keep the shower running because the sounds my hands make as they rub across my body makes me too aware of the tactile feeling. With my upper body well lathered from shoulder to belly, I grab my intimate wash and squeeze a small portion onto my hand and work it against my pubic hair. I work the wash into a lather covering my vagina and extending to my butt cheeks. Of course, in the interest of hygiene, the product is also worked into my butt crack and I feelingly touch my anus. I like being clean and I guess I am not afraid to get my hand dirty to achieve that. It’s easy to wash my hands anyway. I have not always been aware of it, but ever since I read an article about the shitafa that Arabic men and women use to wash their private parts, they particularly mentioned that they only use their left hand because they use their right hand to eat. Sure enough, as my left hand finishes the job, I grab again the bottle of body wash with my right and run my left hand under the stream of the shower—clean again to receive half a handful of body wash which will be used for my legs. I slap my hand against my left thigh and work it into a lather. As my right hand is freed after returning the bottle to the shelf, I work both hands down my leg to the soles of my foot. Then I straighten up and work the same way on my right leg. At this point, sometimes the suds of my facial wash would work itself into my eyes and I would feel a little sting. When this happens, I work on my legs with my eyes closed and once I finish with my right heel, I dunk my head back under the stream of the shower to commence rinsing.

Rinsing the conditioner off of my hair takes quite a while so I stand comfortably under the steady torrent and use both hands to slough off the product I diligently worked into my hair just minutes ago. There is a particular oily texture to the conditioner that leaves me in doubt whether I have rinsed off the product completely from my hair. Unlike the feeling of rinsing off shampoo, my wet locks do not register a squeaky clean feeling as I work my fingers along the length of my hair. I leave off my hair for now and raise my face to the downpour to rinse off the suds. Again I make use of my hands to make sure that the slippery feel of the facial product is completely gone. As I do so, I marvel at the immediate effects of the facial wash on my skin. Gone was the rough feeling of my cheeks, and now I enjoy a supple resilience as I work my hands down to rinse everything from the rest of my body. I turn in place under the shower to make sure that both front and back are rinsed well. Then I grab the shower head with my right hand and bring it down to make sure that even my privates are clear of suds. Then I slowly guide it down my legs and watch my toes wiggle under the veil of drops from the shower.

As a final sweep, I bring the shower overhead and once again work my hands to remove the last traces of product from my hair. I carefully check that the drops falling from the tips of my hair are clear. Once assured that I have fully rinsed every inch of my body, I promptly twist the valve to cut off the shower, squeeze out most of the water from my hair and walk over to where my towel patiently hangs as I finish my ablutions.

Spreading the towel, I crouch and bring my head down to rub the cloth all over my hair. It’s the part of my body that takes the longest to dry and once that’s done, I twist the towel up over my head and tuck a corner of it under the coils so it would hold up. Dripping wet, I walk back to the shower, grab the products I laid out: hair conditioner, facial wash, body wash, and intimate wash; I bring them back to the cupboard raised above my head and properly align them like little soldiers. I take a step back to view my work and crouch down again to unravel the towel from my hair then wrap it around my body.

I leave the bathroom, still leaving wet footprints across the hall back into my bedroom. I walk over to my closet and open the doors wide as I survey the armor I will wear out to protect me from the weariness of my day. Then I unwrap the towel, use the dry corners to rub my body dry, from my face to my ankles, leaving my feet wet. Then I once again use the towel to wrap my hair and tuck it in place. I proceed to choose my underwear, the first layer of protection. Sometimes the pair would match each other, but invariably they would not. Lacy flesh-toned bra would be paired with bright pink cotton panties or I would wear a bikini top with a lacy panty. It does not matter, really, as no one would see them anyway.

I walk over to the pile of dirty clothes and select a cotton shirt. I sit down on the dresser ottoman near my closet and I proceed to wipe my feet dry. Clean from head to toe, I step onto my bedroom slippers and walk back to my closet to review my options. Dressing up well strength to my confidence throughout the day so I try to dress as best as I can. My clothes can determine the mood for that day. Considering the half-hour contemplation about my life earlier this morning, my confidence needs a little more of a boost than normal. On these days, I like to dress more feminine and a little bit brighter. I see a pale peach rose knee-length dress with sequins on the shoulders making me look like a pastel general complete with epaulets. Making my decision, I turn around and walk back to my dresser to grab my deodorant and raise my arm to spray under. Then I sit down and grab my facial sunblock and proceed to dab then spread them all over my cheeks, forehead, chin, neck. Then, I grab my daily moisturizer and spread them generously all over my legs, and smaller amounts on my elbows that somehow seem drier and rougher without. Then I stand up, grab my perfume and proceed to sprit a little bit on my neck, between my breasts, and behind my knees. Placing the perfume bottle on the dresser, I walk back to the closet to begin donning my dress.

Spying the selected garment, I grab it from the hanger and raise it over my head to drop down onto my shoulders. The hem reaches just above my knee, perfect because I like my legs. Showing them off to advantage adds a boost of confidence. I walk over to my dresser to wear the gold-plated wristwatch that my sister gave me, eschewing all other kinds of accessories. Then I walk across the room to choose a strappy peach wedge. I remove my bedroom slippers and slip on my shoes. I walk out of my room and grab the cream studded leather shoulder bag that I used yesterday. I take the keys out and opened the front door to see the sun shining along the small cemented pathway leading out to the gate. I close the door behind me and securely lock the bolt in place with my key. I stare at the bright sky with the sun already high, my guess it’s about eight o’clock in the morning. Briefly, I check my watch to check the exact time, ten minutes to seven—oh well, close enough! I walk down to my gate, stepped out to the sidewalk, and secure it again behind me with a heavy duty lock. Straightening, I face the bustling street in front of me, already wide awake and moving with frenetic energy—getting things done to match the pace of the world turning. I’m ready to get in step with the rest of them.

Sins and Absolution

I am a prostitute. I have sex with men but instead of hearts exchanging love, we have hands exchanging money. I think it’s a pretty straightforward profession. The job is challenging but it has its rewards. Although there are days when you don’t want to get up to go to work, but I think that is a feature of most, if not all, jobs.

It all started when you broke my ego. The truth was that I wanted to give you my heart. I was ready to fall in love with you. But you weren’t ready for my love at all. So instead of doing something stupid such as going for another guy and hoping that he will fall in love with me, I decided to play sex smart.

There is a difference between being a victim of the crime or being the perpetrator of the crime. Assuming that all crimes are well-worth the effort, you can clearly choose to get the best out of the situation by being the perpetrator rather than the victim. Granted that victims will not be going into jail but seriously, if you knew it was a crime, you have got to be willing to give the time–whether it is spent in planning, its execution or your incarceration. Only the pussies cry when they are brought into jail. They were the ones who have what they call “regrets” or that they were too stupid to see so far ahead of what they’ve done. As for me, if I were to be led to the slammer, I’d get into it with my head held high. After all, I was working in a good profession and I very well knew that I was good at it!

So it was the 29th of December when I picked up my first customer. I had just left my friends, tipsy from our latest bout of drinking. I was smoking my cigarette and walking none too steadily. I took a particularly deep drag and to savor it, I stopped walking. Interestingly enough, I was right beside a huge sign that said, “TONIGHT: Lady Boxing and Midget Sumo Wrestling”. It was interesting and I laughed out loud to myself. Then I decided to wait at that spot for a taxicab to take me home.

A car stopped in front of me and the window rolled down in front of me. I wasn’t looking into it and I even stepped aside. My soaked up brain thought that he must want to read the sign I was blocking. Then the driver called out, “Wait!” That was when I knew that I had to make a choice. I didn’t have any intention of being a prostitute that night but when it was right in front of me, I knew that there was nothing to it. I knew that it was an honest mistake. I had walked into the red light district. I had regular party clothes on. I was smoking on the sidewalk and the place I stopped in front of was not the most sedate place in the area. I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I laughed aloud and said to myself, “What the hell?” I smiled at that driver and gave him a sassy wink, “Are you sure you want to play this game?” I knew that that wasn’t a particularly sophisticated thing to say. I knew now that I should have haggled my price then and there, but the truth is, I didn’t even care if I got paid. I would have gone home with any John tonight–the payment would have been just an added bonus.

I got inside the car. It didn’t smell clean and I knew that he was drunk. More drunk than me. He was about late 50’s but then again, all old men looked much older to my mind.

Dreams – Intimacy

I was just thinking of you.

You were always this tall man in my memories. There would always be blinding light coming from behind you. In my eyes, you looked like a super fantastical being with powers to make the impossible happen.

Until I stopped believing that.

I don’t know how it started. I don’t really know why I did it. All I knew was that you were no longer a man I could look up to. In fact, I couldn’t look you in the eyes anymore. When you would come near, my skin would crawl. Don’t think that I hated you. That’s not true. I just didn’t want you around anymore. If it was possible, I would not want to see you around anymore.

You are my father.

And that should have been enough.

Rude Awakenings: The Hunter and the Hunted

Honestly, I was prepared to dislike you the moment you walked towards me. I didn’t know that that momentous encounter would change my fate forever. It’s crazy, I know but I cannot help but tell you that I am now obsessed.

I don’t know if it started with how I immediately disliked you. I hated your unkempt self. I hated how you seemed to lack any grooming skills. You were clean-smelling but that was not enticing at all. You were simply someone who won’t be able to hold my interest for very long.

Unfortunately, I had already paid for you and decided to give you a try. You could never satisfy me that night. And as you cried on my lap, I couldn’t help but be moved by your tears. “It’s not your fault!” I said, trying to console you. Yet you still cried your silent tears despite my best efforts. When you looked up at me with your dewy brown eyes, I saw to the depths of your soul. Then I began to be awed at the tears that looked like sparkling diamonds on your long lashes. Or the freckles that glistened all along your tear tracks. Or the quivering lips that, even if pursed together, still remained so soft and kissable.

When I first saw your face, I didn’t know that it would lead me to this. Months after that first encounter, here I am following your tracks. Sniffing out your scent. Staking out your habitat. Learning your habits. I have done all that and yet it is still not enough. I thirst for your company and so I seek you. Time and time again. Always on the lookout for any glimpse of you.

Today, I refused to follow you around. Today, I did not listen to my urges. Today, I decided to free you. It is the nature of the hunter to kill his prey. I did not want to kill this obsession of you by satisfying it to the fullest.

Then at a different bar. Across a different dance floor, I felt your presence. Then I saw your piercing stare. I decided to turn tail and run. Run away from you and my obsession. You. My obsession. This happened several different times at different places with different people. I was always caught unawares by your stare. You were haunting me. I was being hunted.

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It is interesting how my writings surprise me. Truth is, this story was inspired by a burger that I ate for lunch yesterday. I hated it when I saw it because the price was SO exhorbitant, being a little over about US$3 (and that is JUST for the burger, no drink). To make it worse, it had a side serving of the ugliest and greasiest fries in existence. Then it was topped off by the banana-ketchup-and-mayonnaise nightmare that I just hate but most of my friends love it. Basically, I don’t like mayonnaise and I just wish that they didn’t assume that I would even touch that atrocious sauce by pouring a generous amount over the greasy fries. I think I ate about five pieces, with the sauce crap. I really hated the fries, but the burger! Oh that burger… Oh that BURGER! It was simply ORGASMIC. Which really surprised me! I love a pleasant surprise. I thought, okay for this surprising delicious burger, that was worth it.

Then a story started forming in my head. Now, I can’t believe the other story (nonfiction this time) that this piece had reminded me of. I am not particularly proud of the memories or the experience but I guess, if you’ve done something in life, it will come out. One way or another, the secrets will be revealed. Although I didn’t reveal much here–I think that I revealed a lot more to the memory than I was every willing to remember.

Rude Awakenings: The Lover and the Loved

I remember when I first saw you. Our eyes met across a smoky bar room. There was barely enough space to move and people like it that way. It gave a socially accepted excuse for everyone to rub bodies against one another in public, no matter how suggestive the motions are. The deafening beats of the music taught my body how to move in a dance of seduction. I was dancing with a different partner then but my eyes were watching you and you were doing the same. Finally, I turned my gaze away. I knew that you were hooked and all I had to do was reel you in.

My partner grabbed my waist and I gave a sharp bark of laughter. I knew that my full-bodied sound of glee reached your curious ears. I turned my gaze to your lifeless dance partner and felt smug about my impending victory. So I told my dance partner that I wanted to go back to the table and grab a drink.

Without looking, I knew that you followed me with your eyes. Smiling to myself, I sat at the empty booth and you were beside me in a second. You looked like you didn’t know what to do to me. We were just staring at each other and I fell in love with your nervousness. I took one of your hands into mine and you immediately engulfed it with both of yours. I laid my other hand onto your cheek and leaned in for a kiss. Your lips quivered against mine and I loved you even more. Your hands began to sweat, I knew that you were nervous. I freed my hand and clasped your face and gave you a deep kiss.

It was a swift whirlwind of notions, motion and commotion that brought us to your dark room. We were kissing against your door while eagerly tearing off our clothes. I think you tore my blouse but that is to be expected. Your furtive motions bespoke of your eagerness and your inexperience. I knew I loved you.

Suddenly, bare flesh was touching bare flesh. My warm palm touched your clammy belly. We moved onto the bed and you were less nervous then. I held you tightly as I loved you. Your body was shaking because you were trying to keep in control. Your tremors that caused rippling sensations in my body took me to ecstasy. Then we were both replete.

I closed my eyes and relished the remaining traces of pleasure in my body. Then you whispered, “I love you.”

I waited for you to reach the darkest slumber before I got up. I put on my clothes and left your house without looking back.

Rude Awakenings: The Ruler and the Ruled

This is his kingdom. Looking out into the window, he watches over it like a father watches over the first few steps of his infant son.

He fondles his black radio, listening in on the conversations of the guards, hearing of conflict arising. He waits and smiles as he hears them floundering, panicking. Triumphantly, he presses the button, speaksinto the mic. Relishing the power surging from his heart to his throat, he gives the order to silence these problems.

Minute after minute they call. Each call an additional electrifying surge of accomplishment and power. Their desperate voices pleading was his music.

Day after day, he watches over his kingdom. As each week, month, year wore on, he started to feel differently about each desperate call. Soon his dreams start to be dominated by that black radio, constantly calling his attention. In his most erotic dream, he imagines himself strongly stomping that black radio to smithereens. In the end, each of those thousand pieces would reflect his victorious face but as he crouches down to look straight into his own eyes, his slumber was abruptly interrupted by the mocking cackle of the radio.

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While I was in a one-on-one meeting with a client, I suddenly felt the urge to scribble this down. So instead of taking down the notes of the meeting, I wrote this short story.

Diseased

Water rained on me
Cold fingers, uncertain death
Sore throat, fevered chills

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And so my mother offered me a jar of cookies, a bottle of water and two tablets of medicine. I also lost control of my bladder. I must be really sick!