Saturday, November 14, 2009

Involuntary Reversal


It all happens so quickly. You move to beautiful, breathtaking, sunny Sardinia with Kevin, the man you chose to marry twelve years ago - Kevin of Celtic blood and temperament. In Sardinia, you find a quaint house overlooking the coast in an expatriate neighborhood and move into it with Kevin and Alexa, your ten-year-old daughter with a sunshine smile. Life is good, your freelance photography career is going well, and you are happy in every sense of the word.

One day, shortly after you have moved into your new home, they come to tell you, "You must leave this house at once. The landlord has passed away and his heirs are reclaiming their property. Apologies for the inconvenience, naturally."

You think to yourself, Is being kicked out of my home considered a mere inconvenience? And you ask them, "Is there any way this can be avoided?"

They look at you with false pity and say, "Signora, the property must be returned to the heirs for them to do with as they see fit. You have twenty-four hours to collect your belongings. We pray that such time will be sufficient." And they depart, the tails of their expensive attorney blazers flapping in the breeze.

So you start to think, Why is this happening? But before the thought has come full circle in your conscious mind the doorbell rings once more. Now what? 

"Hello, I'm Leslie Branch." Her sun-streaked chestnut hair is in a ponytail, and her warm honey eyes, which seem to be smiling at you, are glowing like two tongues of flame. "I'm your neighbor from across the street. I just came to tell you that if you need a place to stay while you find a new home, you're welcome to stay with me."

You thank her profusely, wondering how she ever found out, and you tell her that she's very kind but that there are three of you, and you couldn't possibly impose upon her privacy in such a manner. You are very proper while speaking, and she is watching your face very intently. You become self-conscious, wondering, Did I pluck the hairs above my upper lip or can she see them? 

"Oh, don't be silly," she says to you, and you think she's talking about the hairs. But of course, she's talking about the fact that even if there were five, six, even seven of you, there's plenty of room in her house. "And you're welcome to stay for as long as you want. Let me give you a house tour."

So she takes you by your wrist and leads you. Her hand is warm around yours, but it is also strong and callused. And all the time you are thinking, These are not the hands of a woman. 

"Please don't mind my hands," she says, and you jump because you assume she is reading your mind. But of course, she is merely apologizing for having grabbed you with such force.

And now you are standing in her entrance, greeted by the pleasant aroma of baking orange scones, preparing to take your first step into what might be home for a while, until you and Kevin and Alexa can find your own place.

"Don't be shy. You can't afford to be if you stay with me," says Leslie, while you reluctantly survey your surroundings, taking in the deep earth tones of the walls and the elaborate but monstrous crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. You also take in the portraits of various stunningly attractive women which adorn the walls, and you ask Leslie, "Who are they?"

And she says, nonchalantly, "Oh, just friends," as she grabs you by your wrist again and leads you upstairs so she can show you to your room. You follow, like a pressured teenager.

Soon, you are standing in the doorway of an enormous room with an antique four-poster mahogany bed, crimson velvet wallpaper, and another sparkling monstrosity hanging from the ceiling. The walls are decorated with gilt-framed ceiling-to-floor mirrors.

Something twists inside you, like a key in a lock.

You start to back out of the room but Leslie is standing directly behind you, her crotch to your ass. You begin to tremble, and she tries to calm you, her breath in your ear, telling you that there is no reason to be afraid, and that inside of every woman this is what she really wants, what she spends a lifetime searching for subconsciously. You find yourself nodding like an imbecile as you are taken by the hand once more. And even though the sun outside glows golden in the clear blue sky and, in the distance, the waters of the Emerald Coast shimmer, in your head, your gut, your heart, the sun sets on Alexa's smile.

37 comments:

  1. this is a fascinating way to lead the story , and the woman .
    i was reading and didn't understand at the beguining the image above .
    hahahh... when you wrote : something twists inside you , like a key in a lock ....
    wow , i know very well this sensation .
    thank you Nevine . your way to write has its own light and colors .

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  2. This is so beautiful. I need to read it all.

    Secretia

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  3. this is a daring story, nevine, very daring. but where you're coming from is real. so many times there are friendships or helping hands that are extended with other hidden mmotives, and that leaves the relationships with much to be desired. the way you set the story, led us into it, brought us to its climax and then crashing down in one second was unbelievable. i was holding my breath in thelast paragraph. and i'll say that this can come only from the mind of someone as talented as you are. i've been away a while but i'll be visiting more often. promise.

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  4. Nevine,

    Your use of details that are quite original and revealing fascinate me, the orange scones, the mirrors, the four poster mahogany bed, all of it...to be honest I'm not sure this woman is a woman...is she a man? There is so much mystery in the story. Every word means something I'm never sure if I'm getting your meaning...

    much love

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  5. OH Nevine, this might be my favorite to date, friendships with hidden meaning....ohhhhhhhhhhhh

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  6. Caio - That image is quite a tricky one, isn't it? But I thought it matched perfectly with my conniving character. And I think we're all familiar with that bad feeling in your gut when something isn't quite right. Thank you for your kind comment, Caio.

    Secretia - Please do!

    Samarcande - Daring is what my blog is all about. No more inhibitions about what I want to write... at all! And it's those hidden motives that kill me most, too. Thank you for the comment, especially about my last paragraph. It was a bit of a trick working it that way.

    Stacey - She isn't a man... she's a woman... a lesbian... with an agenda.... She wants the other character, and she's out to get her and just happens to step in at a most opportune moment for herself and least opportune for the poor woman who is losing her home. Don't stress over the meanings, Stacey. Most of the time they're simple but disguised in complicated actions.

    Steven - I'm glad you enjoyed it, you twisted man, you... ;-)

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  7. You carry us along as if through a tunnel to a nether land, possibly revealing an inner truth/compulsion only revealed to the reader and the character in the last paragraph. Well done.

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  8. M'Lady didn't waste any time with her motives. As always you have a gift of pulling the reader in. I've learned that you never know who is watching you from afar. Opportunist take advantage of situations usually to their benefit and sometimes we give in to the temptation. I like the very last line because it makes me think that she gave in for the sake of the immense, unconditional love for her daughter. Self-sacrifice for preservation, keeping a roof, albeit temporary, over their heads.

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  9. Your imagination continues to astound me. I wish I had that talent.

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  10. Nevine- for a long period, I thought it was a real telling. I can visualize the characters and am intrigued to what happens next. Very Good. ~rick

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  11. You mated these wells. I was on tiptoe until I got to the last paragraph --- then the picture and the text meld into one, and I understood.

    There was a place where I couldn't connect the two things --- that is, the woman losing her home, and the woman offering her one. --- made me wonder if the one offering might have set it all in motion so that she could manipulate the other --- otherwise the woman doing the offering was into mind reading or eavesdropping.

    I hate it when one presume to tell me what it is they think I want; but maybe in this case the woman was right, as the other yield ---

    .... by the way, I loved the title to this piece. The photo is amazing, and funny at the same time. Where do you find these gems?

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  12. Judith - It is these hidden compulsions that I love to dig into. Human behavior is so complex to the extent that even when we think we know one another, or know ourselves, things can happen in a split second to shatter this "knowledge". Your comment hits the spot!

    Sharla - Yes, I agree entirely about our never knowing when someone might be watching us, as the protagonist here was entirely unaware. For the last line, I had something a bit different from your interpretation in mind: mainly that the main character is already burdened, merely by having succumbed to the draw, by the guilt of knowing that her daughter is going to be shattered when she discovers her mother's "reversal". But like I always say, this kind of writing is open to many interpretations, and yours is your vision entirely. There are no right or wrong answers, here.

    Mme. DeFarge - We all have different talents, and that's why we love to visit one another's little worlds and take a peek. It's what makes blogging so exciting. I like to visit your world and enjoy your talent, as well. Thank you very much; I'm truly honored by your comment.

    Rick - There is very little on my blog that is non-fiction, and this piece is entirely fictional. I usually label my pieces non-fiction if they're from reality. What happens next is, I suppose, not what I was focusing on, here, so I really don't know. I guess we can all build our own outcomes... It puts more fun into it all!

    Amias - Yes, it's that last paragraph that gives sense to the image. The woman doing the offering (antagonist) came in, in my mind, because she had already targeted the woman losing her home (protagonist) as soon as she had moved into the neighborhood. So, it was like she saw her, became attracted to her, and waited for the right moment to make her move, hence the opportunism. The right moment for the antagonist came when our protagonist was on the verge of an eviction from her home. As to where I find the images, I just go to bing.com and browse around using key words that might lead me to something that works for my piece. I always find too many, and then I have the difficult but fun task of making a choice. :-)

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  13. Oh, now I get it! *smacks self upside the head* Hence, Involuntary Reversal. That makes sense. It's always enlightening to know what's going on inside the writer's mind. I did get the meaning of the image though. Thanks for sharing :)

    Sharla

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  14. Oh Nevine, your writing is like a box of chocolates... you never know what treat you're going to bite into next. You are so creative, so vivid, full of variety! I enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing, as always :)

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  15. Convincing plot and a twist at the end. What a marvellous (unintentional) birthday present you had for me! :-)

    Ths story is scary because the woman comes across as such a friendly creature. I loved the way you increased her proportions using her house as a prop. And that final scene was a killer (pun not intended :-D). Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  16. Boy! It would be an understatement if i said...'You sure know to write'. i was totally captivated....like it is the case with each and every post of yours! You sometimes remind me of Guy Maupassant!....so much of Mind talk!!!
    Wonder what you'll come up with next!
    just love the way you astonish me!

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  17. Sharla - No problem! :-)

    DreamDancer - Life is so filled with colors and images, why only focus on one combination? There are infinite mixes to explore, infinite images to paint. It is always a treat for me to know you enjoy reading what I write. Thank you so much! :-)

    Cuban - Yes, I saw it was your birthday. I think I was on your blog just as you were on mine. We are now (well, almost) officially the same age! I beat you into this life by a few months... Ha! But yes, those friendly people oozing with warmth and invitation... how to trust them when they just might have another agenda? Trust your instincts, I say. My protagonist had her gut feelings, but didn't make a mad dash out of there before the plot thickened. Have a good one tomorrow, Cuban! Enjoy your whistles to work... :-)

    Craftsman - You are too sweet. Guy de Maupassant? The master of the twist in the tale, or should I say in the tail of the tale? You humble me with your kind comment. Really. As to what I will come up with next, I'm not sure yet, but my mind is brewing, and you probably know by now that I have a sordid imagination. Thank you tons!

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  18. Nevine, your story left me reeling, the mystery, the uncertainty, the doubts, is it you, is it real, is it purely fiction, could such things happen, and especially... what happens next ???? Brought to the edge of a cliff, do we fall, do we leap, yes, the term "cliff-hanger" comes to mind, you have created almost intolerable suspense... Yes, what happens next... ?

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  19. Owen - Lots of doubts in situations like these. Is it me? No. Is it real? In life anything is possible, I always say. Yes, such things can happen. I have learned that there is no such thing as "impossible". I've seen so many situations where I was left thinking "What the...?" that I'm no longer shocked. As they say, "Shit happens!" What happens next? We can only imagine. I really didn't think about it. I just thought about the life-altering moment. We all have them at some point. They come in different guises and patterns, and they can have devastating consequences.

    Bard - Coming from you, I will wear that like a crown on my head. What else can I say? :-)

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  20. Now this was one helluva read. I was waiting for the end of the post. Having just begun Susan Stryker's "Transgender History," I was totally zapped when the last paragraphs were appearing.

    You write so well.

    Joy always. More writings in anticipation.

    Shall follow you for the words.

    Susan.

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  21. Nevine:

    Forgot to write about the picture. Amusingly sensuous.

    The photographs also look splendid!

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  22. I love the picture at the top of your post, Martins de Barros is one of my all time favourite artists. :)

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  23. Susan - I have never read "Transgender History." Sounds fascinating! And I do thank you for taking the time to read and comment, and of course for following my blog. That image is quite a riot, isn't it? As for the photos, they carry beautiful memories for my husband and me. Thanks again!

    Akasha - Oh, isn't he the coolest? :-)

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  24. I have to think that setting sun is a darkness, not a sentiment of worship. I have to wonder why she is vulnerable to this controlling woman. Maybe it's about the dance of compulsion/power with submission/surrender, whether male or female. Of course, the surrender is more full here. Given her reaction, I get the sense that your character is in for a period of disappearance and troubled dreams.

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  25. Jason - The setting sun is a darkness, exactly! In my mind, she's vulnerable because she got caught off guard, in a moment of great weakness, having just been delivered the news of an eviction. Then Leslie shows up and makes her an offer she can't refuse, except that the offer came with a caveat - something she wasn't aware of until she was led to Leslie's house. The disappearance will depend on whether or not she decides to continue a relationship with Leslie, and of course that will determine everything...

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  26. I really liked the use of second person here. It drew me into the web, along with your character. There is something almost fated, and powerless, to the momentum we find ourselves falling into. By the time we realize what is happening, she has us ensnared. We are prey. She is the spider.

    Her sun-streaked chestnut hair is in a ponytail, and her warm honey eyes, which seem to be smiling at you, are glowing like two tongues of flame.

    This description is ironic, after the fact. The warmth and lightness are illusions. Yet the flame is very real.

    Very creepy and unsettling story, Nevine. You twist that key in the lock, and open the door into dark and hidden worlds. And we all want to see what's inside.

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  27. Sarah - It seems I can always count on you to read not only the lines but also between them, and between what's between them. The quote you cited is exactly as you described it - I wanted to create the image of the devil, through Leslie's eyes. It was as unsettling an experience for me to write this story as it was for you to read it. My mind often asks "What if...?" and more often than not, I allow it to continue with possible outcomes.

    Thank you so much, Sarah. It means a great deal to me that you take the time to read and truly understand my writing. I really really appreciate it.

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  28. absolutely mesmerizing and beautifully told, nevine! it has it all! and very close to home to a lot of us - brilliantly done!

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  29. Nevine, once again I'm left with no words that could possibly convey how much I adore your work. I think we've all been in situations like this-ie, "mysterious friends" with an agenda. Your descriptive home "tour" had me there...right there.
    Thank you, Nevine. You're the bee's knees!
    Much Love,
    Deborah

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  30. Gypsywoman - Thank you for your very kind words; they're very much appreciated.

    Deborah - The "bee's knees" - I'm so flattered! And thanks so much for stopping in. :-) It's good to "see" you again.

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  31. some stoop to anything to get what they want... well said

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  32. Thank you much, laughingwolf! :)

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  33. Ewww, that is so creepy!

    Yet another great post, Nevine.

    Jai

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  34. Yes it is creepy, isn't it? But I had fun writing it, although I had goosebumps doing it. Wacky rides are always fun! Thanks, Jai.

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  35. when you wrote : something twists inside you , like a key in a lock ....


    Work from home India

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  36. Yes, that was a very strong hint, I suppose.

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.