In a world where lives intertwine in a surreally unpredictable way, destiny awaits an eclectic blend of souls who desire love more than anything.
A man sits alone in a restaurant, his mind perfectly at anchor with his living memoir as he quietly observes the only other person sharing the room with him: an unaccompanied woman also lost in her thoughts. Absurdly drawn to her while he waits for his brunch date to arrive, Richard silently wills her to speak to him. Amid the stirring echoes of memory, the noise of the stock exchange, the sophistication of the theater, and the serendipity of private business, two tortured souls who long for love must somehow manage to find each other amid a crowded world.
This unique novel opens the door to a new way of looking at the nature and purpose of relationships, as a man and a woman await their destinies and long for love.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)|
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Destiny: the odds of You and I
By IRINA V. BOCA
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Irina V. Boca
All rights reserved.
He found it hard to think about it. Memory, he often said to himself, cannot be a thing of this world. Indeed, in so far as everybody was concerned, it belonged to a certain mystery of the past. A certain recollection of unforgettable moments, each in its own way very similar to another, fastened to it by some urge to remember the ghostly chain of events. This moment, this very moment, he imagined as he glanced at the uniform geometry of clothed tables, was just another feast of past time memories, silently drawing a garland of square windows, heavy drapes, and wine glasses stenciled with the fine prints of alcohol, teeth, lips, and fingers. As he pondered, he came to the conclusion that nothing could be said of such a moment. Nothing at all. And he was quite certain of his muteness. He knew why certain impressions had flashed at him rather selfishly, dallying with his aroused senses in the most perfect calm. Why his heart sank and suddenly chimed on its own in the gear of his chest, turning inert beneath the flesh scales of age. His shoulder blades shrunk immediately after, as if insensible to him or anyone else in the world. They fled inwardly and almost cracked while he sat there, unable to articulate a single word of what he felt. Nor could he anticipate or make himself conscious of any sort of intuition. He coughed and chose to linger on, servile to the habit of smoking as if to some chronic ache of his own lack of judgment. So swift a sensation, though! So dark, too. Right there, choking him in the shade, while it seemed to be yielding for something or perhaps someone who had been forgotten long time ago. It seemed, indeed ...
Well, yes, it did. Even though to him it appeared to have been nothing extraordinary, nothing palpable to respond to the moment but the dark thread of an illusion flickering vaguely in his mind. He was sure there were no candles around. He had remarked their absence as he came in, slowly unwinding from the stroll. There were no fresh flowers in the little vases set on the tables either, but their absence did not prejudice him, things like that were meant to be observed and naturally forgotten. The cool shaft of air, the waitress' skirt, the smoke ... These were the things that mattered! They formed the living memoir of being there: seated, thirsty, anxious, quiet, and unprejudiced, perhaps, in so many other ways ... This pale memoir of being here, he thought, was all he needed to remember. All he liked about life as it leered by, unhindered. It whispered and then groaned, and whispered again, unabated. It laughed and shouted and moistened his lips in the chilled bitterness of a glass of wine. But that was another memory altogether: the wine. Half a glass of Cabernet, tasting ever more enticingly of ferments and chemicals, seeds, vines, barrels, and soil, from which he could easily retrieve the image of a sun dried valley or a moon polished hill that might have caught his breath as he toured the country sides of Europe. For what was worth! For in truth, truth be true!, it no longer mattered. The flavor of the wine vanished from his tongue as soon as he got lost in reminiscing about it, giving in to the whiff of purple vapors (with a slightly inept jerk). For he knew, alas!, he knew that none of his senses have been so thoroughly defeated as the romantic marvels of his own eyes and ears. All the other senses fumbled restlessly as substitute ranks of superficial perception, turning vague, empty, sorrowful, even implicit, while his own consciousness seemed to him to have been put to sleep. His own thoughts bewitched him, as it were, while massive crests of dark metal, etching glass, flesh, dirt, noise, and clouds were fastening their grip on the morning's horizon.
Half a step away from the margin of the table, there, outside the window!
NO, of course he did not mind the view. He was not even looking at the pierced walls and windows. His heart began to shudder just at the thought of it. It shuddered, sure thing, even though the waves of perception failed to stir him. His mind was perfectly at anchor with his body, following each and every notch of feeling to the smallness and rapt insignificance of random impulses ... Ash flakes, he mused as his thoughts strayed off to some eerie edge of apprehension, leaving him nothing to rely on but the toxic sentiment of unrest that stretched from bone to bone inside his body. As he tuned himself to the unstirred ballast within, he found nothing better to do than lean against the chair's back and give in, sip by sip, to the quiet Now. He found himself thus moored, waiting for something to appear, perhaps as the negative of his own absent mindedness, perhaps only as a trace of lusting angst, but surely as unfeigned as a childish emotion, or at least as unprejudiced as he happened to be musing, smoking, blinking, drinking, in no precise order of movements and ideas.
He waited so, ordinarily. Indeed, he would have liked to wait so indefinitely, until there might have etched something else there beside the alchemy of waiting. A feminine umbra in place of a shade perhaps, a living thing instead of the prints on the wine glass, the whiteness of the table cloth, or his hands grabbing and gliding to and fro in quiet shifts of their own. In fact, he would have persevered long enough for something to gain pulse beneath the storm of memory, something not of this world, nor of any other, but simply and inexplicably something else. This something (else) he would have liked to place aside. Dusted in an armor of its own, faceless, tacit, complete, and no less lonely, immaterial, vivacious. Something, indeed, unexpected, frosted, dejected, blind, and yet, feminine. He thus found himself pondering. Relinquishing his own mood as plain being there, enticed by the furtive rhythm of things and no less by the wine and the fraps of solitude that settled him into thinking, once more, about, in such and such a way, deliberately, leisurely, perhaps even sheepishly, and no less closer to the things that have always preoccupied him. The living mien ... of being there! Wrested by the waitress' plump hip, by her pale cheeks vexing quietly on and off the servile grids of deception, scantily smiling, noting, bowing, arching over, and scurrying to the back kitchen, to bring the next order. Scarcely a living soul and yet, so flagrantly bound to her flesh, so appetizing to a man's egos, a thing, and yet, a woman, a silhouette, a face splendidly casting its makeup in the crock of a mirror before vanishing into the kitchen.
As for the rest ... There seemed to be no one there for the moment. No one. And yet, perhaps there was. A woman sitting alone, hued in thoughts just like he was. Her body dyed in some colorless tint, gray, beige, or simply damask dye covering the caps of her knees and her slender torso. He could spy the arches of her breast, her hair blazing with the sparks of brass chandeliers, her fingers dancing lavishly on the clutches of a zipper, and yet, he could not help thinking she might have been different than other women. Perhaps less beautiful, less fashionable, less amiable, but nonetheless a woman – sitting alone, hued in thoughts! – whom he would have liked to speak to for no reason at all, knowing just by looking at her that he wished to hear her voice. "Say anything," he heard himself beg at the back of his mind, "laugh!, cite, swear, even spell if it need be," so he argued with her, a stranger in one of the finest restaurants in the city, to whom he finally whispered "do not leave that many words unspoken!" He could tell her body faltered, deceived by too many solstices of memory perhaps, and then deceived once more by the shock of remarking him sitting close by. Her wrinkles loped in dollish cues under the jagged lines of her eyebrows, bathing, as it were, in sheer probes of awe and woe, and yet, yet!, she made him suddenly discover he could no longer think of her more than he thought of himself.
He could not deny that both of them were sitting alone, indulging the physical miens of another. Each of them seemingly besieged by the distant shadows of loss as they happened to survive untouched by the twists of fate that must have polished them into familiar edges of indifference. He could not deny, indeed, he could no longer avoid thinking that she might have been one of those lovely apparitions about which time, in the garbs of many sophisticated egos, complains in abundance. Yet, she did have something of a provocative woman playing errands on the conventional casts and moulds of emotions. She reminded him of an extremely pedant woman whom he used to know very well but also of so many other women who failed to fall in love with him, to befriend, hate, decry, obsess over, forget, and date him, while he simply hoped to regress, in their presence, to a more natural state of discernment. He therefore had to ascertain her presence once more and reckon restlessly with himself (against the intensely sensual grids of her chin and lips), as it were. He made an effort to remind himself that there was not much to discern in a man's as well as a woman's mind apart from a few inept pictures, few gestures standing out for timid and frail silhouettes, for a breath of fresh air perhaps, heat, shelter, and no less for artificially groomed muscles and sounds caught in the pantomime of fighting and love making. No, certainly there was not much of a pleasure to recall such imponderable things, to seal them up like chocolate boxes and flesh them out on a dusty shelf in one's memory while dreaming intently of a woman's lips. He had to reckon thus once more about the importance of a woman's stature, about the way she covered her knees or styled her hair, incessantly thriving on the most ridiculous of details, such as the unbelievable (!) crush of an eyelid, the periodic acoustic systoles, or the chip of a nail stuck god knows where by dint of a severely excruciating process of absurd effemination.
But this woman! This figment of his imagination breathing so close to him that she might have been his daughter, whom she was surely not (if only because he did not have any daughters), seemed so evidently lost in thoughts, so naïvely construed, so frightened and derelict that it sufficed to assure him of his inchoate chance of being there. Absurdly drawn to her, but also quietly smoking and by habit leaning over slightly more than the fraction of an inch so as to be able to anticipate either her thoughts or her feelings and eventually recall every moment of silence that inevitably fell between them. He certainly did not mean to pry, nor solicit her for a flirt, he simply wanted to continue reminiscing and smoking, inspired by silence. As he mused, as he strayed into remembrance, he happened to recall a very sad childhood memory. A devilish day when the gray drapes of ceremony began to enfold the thread of his life while he stood there motionless, watching the soot shrine fall over the reigns and plays of color. It must have been a wedding or a funeral, or perhaps something not as thoroughly festive as it seemed, though he did believe that from that moment on his life began twisting the spells and shades of memory into distorted yawns, runs, embraces, cries, kisses, and armpit odors, while also forming in the mind's eye a collection of formidable prints for the sagacious rhythm of living. His own ego! Yes, his very ego must have discovered itself that day, rooted in sheer simplicity just like any other while coming into its own by despairing default: as if. Just as if in its place life was about to groom a vast army of impressions and losses, white noises, and ineffaceable sagas weaved together by the rough humming of misery and grandeur.
Not very many memories surfaced afterwards, not verily poignant either, except for a few disparate clichés and whispers that shrouded his mind in ambiguity: a freshly plucked whip, coins, oars, hygiene, bridges, sports, and chatting mouths that pried on one another with the empty vibes of scorn, slowly knitting the cataracts and amoebas of his senses, slowly entrusting his thoughts to discern between whip and coin as if between first and secondary degrees of consciousness, while each impression kept twisting inside him with the humbleness of superfluous recollection. Perhaps not much was there to be desired, after all. Perhaps the image of some crowded European boulevard or the line of seashore simply surrendered their autistic promenade to the lost pulse of a boy's wrist, quietly sedating his impulses and even more quietly haunting the vivid panoramas of his arms. Youth bulged in without further notice, spoiling its insufferable nightmares and its long chains of dreams and mishaps, while every single night and day soothed his impassionate temper as if it were the very sleeve of bad luck. Maturity, too, aced in its unlucky shot, finally triggering one naïve syncope after another as they presented themselves in the suits of happy events: graduation, exile, marriage, trials, dates, and innumerable reunions. All sealed in one address-less envelope: "general delivery."
But with her, with her!, he imagined, life must have been less faulty. If only because she was such a quiet specimen, such a beautiful portrait of a woman, shade, figment, creature, whom he had happened to remark for no reason at all. He simply liked the fact that she was sitting alone, pondering, just like he was. In truth, he enjoyed everything about her. Everything, except her haughty obstinacy to pay no heed to the surrounding milieu while she seemed to him to be thoroughly subdued by it. The table, the way she held herself, her arms, the curves of her neck, the notebook under her fingers reminded him of an old illustrate. A miniature copy of something or other, arriving from afar, certainly, though he could not feign why, when, or even if it was ever signed or not. Perhaps it did not make a remarkable impression on him, or maybe it did surprise him, somewhat unconsciously. As he noticed the superb line of her dress, he came once more to the conclusion of having received such a benign illustrate at some point in his life. A forgotten postcard that must have made its way to him just as it started to rain, or perhaps made its way in winter, just as it began to snow from glassy skies for all the beautiful women in the city.
But how it was with her, he could not say and therefore guessed, once more, that she must have come across a similar experience. She must have hailed in tears and slowly presided over, keeping herself in the culprit's chamber – where else? – while waiting for the postcard to arrive. A cupid mote carried around in the postman's satchel while she imagined it signed by the hand of a wise and decent man, one of the last centurions of fate and laughter calling for an embargo of blind dating. Alas, if she ever received such a postcard, she must have undoubtedly overlooked its ransoming significance, so he said to himself, convinced that very few impressions dwell in truth, people even less, or even things. But she must have found herself troubled by the very promise of an idyll, she had to, she had no other choice, per-chance, but hope for it, while quietly intoxicating herself with the lure of sophistication. She must have peered at her egos just as he peers at her now, with a stranger's eye, acknowledging this, that, there, here, and, de facto, learning how to discern and sculpt each radiance into a shade of make believe. Learning, as any woman does, how to disavow each smell by counting on interminably sensual variables: rain, sun, street, beach, bench, radius, etc. But as she waited, she must have inevitably discovered how much less substance gathers around for a thought. How very few breezes mingle with one another like old spells of remembrance by virtue of which one toxin persists, presides, and naturally takes over living people and things. One toxin per-capita and no longer per-chance, slowly taking over the body of a woman or at least over the memory of one of her antiquated egos who either laughs or cries in cascades of insinuation, bursts, hiccups, and naïvely construed grins, while silently turning the poison of memory into a perfume, into a marvel wrapped in flesh, invisible, undetectable, and exquisitely persistent, as they say, beyond the solitude of madness.
Why chance? He asked himself. Why perfumes? In all sincerity – why? If it was solely fragrance that appealed to him, he must have gained no inkling of who she was. All along, he must have dreamt she was there when, in fact, she was not. So he reckoned, while seriously doubting he could ever rely on the unconscious use of his nostrils and the resulting bulk of mental conjugations. He doubted that women's senses and poses, their pores, and freckles, and moles, could be malevolently serried along the shores of memory in order to be moved by nothing but accidental blushes of anticipation. And so, he argued in his mind, very rarely by a word or a shadow caught in the cells of reasoning and even more hazardously by a recognizable train of thought.
Excerpted from Destiny: the odds of You and I by IRINA V. BOCA. Copyright © 2014 Irina V. Boca. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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Table of Contents
ContentsAbout Memory, 1,
Eons of pleasure, 45,
Stock Exchange, 86,
The ego, 123,
A Mannequin's Requiem, 178,
Fiona Arrow, 220,
The Dice Throw, 251,