Beautiful Things | Cassandra Voices

Beautiful Things

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I see everything as if it were under a magnifying glass, so clear that it hurts. My thoughts race to and fro. Ideas drop as ingredients would, into the mix. Into a boiling cauldron. Then as popcorn does, they fly out, across the counter, and all over the floor. Trying to contain this is futile. That buzzing sound they emit is driving me mad. Add to this my impatience and an indecisive nature.

I’m painfully aware of what’s entailed in attempting to follow through with a single idea. The details of which are tedious and delay any potential progress. But after a glass or two… it all becomes manageable. I cease to worry about the details and start imagining my success. After a bottle or two, I even think that I might find someone who could collect the bricks that are my ideas and with them, build me a palace.

Waiting for something to happen is unbearable. So, to relax, I have another drink. Preferably two. I really need to drink a lot to drown any unwelcome thoughts. If anyone is going to bring up any obstacles, I will lose my temper. I don’t need that. I need clever people to carry out my plans, but clever people tend to have their own ideas, and don’t want to be bothered with mine. It’s so frustrating… but the wine is going down well. Floating on cushy clouds, I’m feeling no pain. There is nothing that needs to be done. Finally, I can fall asleep.

When I wake up in the morning, whatever the weather is, I’m fine. Weather doesn’t get me down. It’s people who do. If my wife doesn’t greet me with a smile, I get upset. But of course, she had a rough evening, listening to me getting angry because it takes so long to get anything done. So, the smile isn’t there. Everything is clear again, crystal clear. It’s excruciating and I’m beginning to think that a nice glass of something would be nice. But, it’s not even noon.

I can’t stand the fact that she isn’t on my side. If she continues to sulk, I won’t be able to think. I get emotional and my brain becomes mush. She doesn’t realize what she is doing to me. Suppose I’ll have to apologize. That’s it. I’ll apologize. I don’t know what I said last night, but it must have been bad.

She says it’s ok. But I’m not ok with ok. I want my wife to radiate goodwill. I want her to listen to my ideas and take over. Put them into practice. At least write them down.

It’s hard to find people who will turn your ideas into reality. Very hard. Because people are so stupid. They lack vision.

Many of my friends have such successful businesses. I know that I can be even more successful than they. I’ve more brainpower in my little finger than most of them. Their success, well, it’s like a slap in the face. Soon it will be time for lunch and I can’t wait to have a drink. My friends might ask my advice. That would help to wipe away any doubts I have about myself.

My wife is exceedingly clever in one way and quite stupid in another. She says that you don’t need to be clever to make money. She’s of the opinion that if you want money badly enough you will get it. That said, you’ll have to work and build up a business. That means more details. Lots and lots of dots and knots. I need money, but hate to work. The idea that I would have to start from the bottom up sounds ludicrous to me. Start at the bottom? Me? The idea could drive me to drink.

I’m busy most mornings. Making important decisions. Don’t bother me with unpaid bills. Distractions like that will only derail my chances at success. The urgent decision right now is where to have lunch today. I call my friends to see where they are going. If it’s not to my liking, I suggest another place. Once this is sorted out, I can relax and give my wife a list of things to do. She will sort her own lunch. I’m not worried about that. My lunch is business. You never know what will crop up.

If you aren’t successful, who are you? You’re a nobody. And that scares the hell out of me. I’ve had some financial success. But not on the scale I aspire to. You’ve got to keep your cards close to your chest. This way at least your friends see you as a success. I often remind my wife to keep her trap shut. I’m not a bully. But I feel the need to repeat it, because I’m never sure if she’s understood me. She says I drive the point home so hard, that it comes out the other side.

I don’t like it when I see her talking to someone, and I can’t hear what she’s saying. What is she saying? She’s giving something away. So naïve, and laughing a little too enthusiastically. She should maintain her composure and behave like a lady.

That man she’s talking to is touching her arm. This is outrageous! I’ll have to do something about it. I feel as if it’s not her, but me he is touching in his patronizing way. He is laughing at me. He’s saying “See how easy it is to touch your wife? And she likes it.” No! He won’t get away with this. I’ll put a stop to it now.

I walk over and pull his hand away. She shoots me a look of dismay when I say it’s time to go home. She isn’t happy and I’m positively furious. What’s wrong with her? Can’t she see that she’s let me down? I don’t need this.

I have a lot on my mind.

So, I give her a piece of my mind.

“You’re drunk!” she says.

How dare she. Doesn’t she realize what she is doing to me? This is why I’m in the hole I’m in.

“Just because someone touched my arm as we were chatting? It’s normal. People do it all the time.”

“People? We aren’t just any people. A lady doesn’t behave like that.

“Well, if being a lady means no one can touch my arm, then I don’t want to be a lady.”

This is hopeless. I now see. And I despair. She points out that I’m paranoid. That I read something into it which wasn’t there.

“I wasn’t flirting”, she says.

“Anyway, he’s your friend. If you question his intentions, then don’t be his friend.”

What really kills me is that he’s a nobody! Absolutely nobody. It would be different if he was successful. Then that would be a compliment. When a somebody finds your wife attractive, well, that’s a whole different ball game.

My wife thinks success isn’t all about money. Maybe she’s wise, but I couldn’t live like that. I spend money. To impress people. So, I need it. It’s not necessary to accumulate it. I just want to walk about unhindered. Yet, no matter how much money I manage to come into, it slips through my fingers. When I have money, it triggers a frenzy of shopping. My wife goes bananas trying to stop me. But there’s no stopping me. I’m like a criminal. On the run.

In fairness, I love beautiful things. Things of quality. She doesn’t understand that it’s an investment. I did well in the past but would she give me credit?   Nowadays, I’m not bothered to sell my acquisitions. I have a position to maintain. It’s too demeaning to haggle over the price. After a few drinks, if I’m trying to sell something, I get the price wrong. And once you get it wrong, there’s no righting it. Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps subliminally, I didn’t want to sell it in the first place. People may let you down, but beautiful things are always there for you.

I don’t see why my wife won’t look after my debts. It’s not a bottomless pit. She suggested I speak to Monsieur So-and-So. Plead with him to wait a little bit longer to be paid. So-and-So doesn’t bother calling me anymore, because I don’t bother answering when he does. But he’s begun to call her. There’s no point talking to him. Have you ever seen his eyes? They’re small and cold. Like two bullets sticking out of their sockets.

“Nonsense,” she says. “He is a kind and understanding man. Just give him a reasonable explanation and a time frame for paying him back.”

But I haven’t the slightest idea when I’ll be able to pay him back. If I make more money, there will be things I’ll want to buy. If I can’t look forward to getting something new, life just isn’t worth living.

A kind person would just forget that I owe him anything. If someone owes me and can’t pay, I don’t push.

“Don’t be silly,” she says. “You’ve got to pay your debts and vice versa.”

What baffles me is why I can’t get away with murder … when so many other people do.

Feature Image: ©Daniele Idini

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About Author

Born in in Tel Aviv, Israel, Yona is of Yemenite origin, and grew up on a small farm near Ashdod. She studied sculpture at the Bat Yam Institute of Modern Art, also writing poetry, and short stories for children, in Hebrew. Her work was published by literary magazines in Israel. Moving to Ireland, she devoted her energy to painting, and began writing in English, for Social and Personal, before her work appeared in Cassandra Voices. Yona’s painting accompanies Seamus Heaney’s poem in a book of poetry entitled, Remembered Kisses.

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