Old Rivers Run Deep

So, here we are, again – in the old, dark basement bar where you used to serve drinks on weekends, and where I used to run through the money I made working night shifts at the cylinder factory by the vacant airport. Of course, on nights you were working, you’d give me my drinks for free – even when I’d order two Cuba Libres for me and another girl I was with. Yeah, that’s the kind of mindless prick I was back then, and the kind of kind-hearted and naive soul that you probably still are today. This low-ceilinged place is still filled with the same old mouldy smell that would cling to our clothes and hair and make our bedrooms reek at least two days of every god-damned week when I still lived here. You’re talking to your friends now, and I’m talking to mine, and when our eyes meet across the crowded room, we give each other a brief, covert smile and look away. It’s been five long years now since the last time you’ve let me into your warm bed; it had been my birthday, three months after I had broken up with you for the second time, and I had been knocked down in a stupid bar fight, and we had both been drunk beyond repair. The next day, I lay in your bed with a bruised cheek and the worst hangover since probably last Tuesday and waited until your family was out of the house, so I wouldn’t have to see them on my walk of shame home. When I think about how often I have disappointed your parents, whom I loved more than my own back then, I already know how stinking drunk I’ll be later tonight. Continue reading “Old Rivers Run Deep”

Crystal Garden Conversations (An Excerpt from “Into The Void” II)

This is a shortened excerpt from the tenth chapter of the first draft of my novel “Into The Void”.

“You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet


When I stepped outside the airport in Sofia, I walked into a wall of hot, dry air. My weather app showed thirty-seven degrees. On the metro to the city centre, people sat in silent exhaustion, avoiding any effort in the midday heat that was trapped in the train. The middle-aged man sitting opposite me breathed heavily, as his half-bald head shone with beads of sweat. His dirty grey shirt was soaked, and he reeked of a kebab-heavy diet. The three-and-a-half fingers that were left on his right hand were yellowed by decades of cigarette smoke. When he looked at me, a fleeting smile illuminated the kind eyes in his chubby, impure face. The train had to stop at a station for a couple of minutes, and the lack of airflow that could come through the windows made it feel even hotter. After a while of standstill, the man turned to me and said in a thick accent, and with a sad smile, “How can it be that the seconds pass so slowly, but the years so fast?” Before I could think of a witty reply, he got up, walked out of the train, and disappeared into the life that had made his mutilated hands hard and his temper soft.

Continue reading “Crystal Garden Conversations (An Excerpt from “Into The Void” II)”

Revelry in Riga (An Excerpt from “Into The Void” I)

This is an excerpt from the seventh chapter of the first draft of my novel “Into The Void”. It is one of the darker episodes of the protagonist’s journey.

That night, I was sitting in a grey leather chair at the shiny black hotel bar with an old fashioned in front of me. Diffuse light radiating from the walls behind the bar gave a vast collection of bottles an alluring glow. I looked out of place in my sneakers, jeans, and T-shirt. As I took a deep sip, a young man in an expensive dark-blue suit approached me with confident movements and asked, “Do you mind if I join you?” He had a lean face, black hair, and alert almond eyes. His English accent was RP, his looks South East Asian. I pointed at the chair next to me and said, “Go ahead.” He thanked me, introduced himself as David Nguyen and took a seat. Pointing at my glass, he asked, “What are you drinking?”
“Old fashioned – Woodford Reserve bourbon.”
“Good choice.” He nodded to the barkeeper and said, “Two more, please.” He looked back at me and asked, “So, what’s your business in Riga?”
“Hanging out for a couple of days. I’m travelling and on my way to Berlin. And yours?” Continue reading “Revelry in Riga (An Excerpt from “Into The Void” I)”