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The author was born in 1980 in Riga, Latvia.

She was interested in books from an early age and started to write short stories at the age of ten. She lives in Barcelona with her partner and one year old son.

Olga Martinova

A Short Story Compilation

Copyright O l g a M a r t i n o v a The right of Olga Martinova to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers. Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library. ISBN 978 1 84963 208 9 www.austinmacauley.com First Published (2013) Austin & Macauley Publishers Ltd. 25 Canada Square Canary Wharf London E14 5LB Printed & Bound in Great Britain

Our life is a journey Through winter and night We look for our way In a sky without light
Song of the Swiss Guards, 1793


There is one life to live, and fifty ways to live it in, and little time to choose the one in fifty that will suit us best. We all know it, and pretty much accept the bitter facts of life, because, lets face it its all there is. But human nature has a devious mind a contriving, inventing mind and that kind of mind doesnt give up easily. It imagines, reflects, finds the way through the obscurity of its secretive brain, bumps into the grey matter and explores its functional capacities. Since the brain controls everything, as its believed love, pain, fear, anger, hunger and so forth it might just as well learn how to control itself. Persuasion is a good start, the most feasible, which doesnt require genius. Its rather the opposite it takes a pure and innocent soul to fathom the real nature of human depth. Its when only when we let our minds fall blank and turn to our heart, when we realize that the only way there is, is right there within ourselves. But the mind is a persistent devil. It needs to know, yet its smart enough (or reasonable enough) to understand an inevitable failure of such an undertaking, as well as the ruinous consequences such oblivion into another dimension can incur the mind doesnt fool itself with futile hopes, it doesnt have time for weakness. And so it brings up a saying that saves: What you dont know cant hurt you. Still, when our mind is tired and has let down its guard, we imagine another kind of life, that we know well never get to see, though at that moment of abandon we hope to spot, if only a glimpse, another possibility; dreaming of a miracle to be given another chance, another lifetime, perhaps, to choose our way again. Indeed, our mind is a great power that is too strong for the

fragile heart to defeat. But then again, can you control your brain? You can, as it is. Can you control your heart? As long as it beats you cant.


I am a member of a dream world. Some people, the ones who never diverge from the steadfast position on the ground, find my perception of life completely unacceptable, if preposterous. I wont dispute it, since Ive already figured a long time ago that proving your point to anyone with the negatively determined opinion towards yours is damaging not only for the grey matter of your brain its a stark waste of time! There is no right or wrong there are different choices, different opinions, and many ways of life that abound in the innumerable amount of mistakes a human being makes while he chooses; makes assumptions and walks his way. As for my choice, my life is shaped around the only truth there is for me, which I call a not giving a damn attitude. Its a state of mind that relieves you from the shackles of your tortured self and sets you free. Its like a blessing or a gift that you might not deserve, but aspire madly to. However, it would be wrong to think that a not giving a damn attitude just happens out of the blue and makes the world rosy. Not so fast. Like everything good in life, this too, has a price its a hardship of many years, which involves some crucial aspects of a personal development. Here is how it goes. It starts from being confused about everything and everyone, leading to a total alienation and the most profound emptiness imaginable, which, subsequently, brings you to a point of total self-absorption and a drastic feeling of loneliness combined with a silent grief. To wrap things up, its like when you are sixteen and you dont see sense in anything it sucks big time. That state of mind is a big, a huge damage to your nervous system, not to mention your complexion, which no matter what you still care about (might be the only thing you really care about in your dismalness). Breathe! All that is expected! Without this infliction one can never come to revelation, that is, a not giving a damn attitude, but stay put

there will be obstacles! Once you feel this way or, rather, when people around you realize that your mind functions differently, theyll try to convert you back to normality. So, be prepared to fight for your only right as a human being your freedom of choice. And to choose ones state of mind is as important and crucial as reading Freud without being prosecuted. I know, it doesnt sound too liberating but as one beautiful mind wrote Be patient and tough, one day this pain will be useful to you. I keep this in mind every time I feel a looming danger in the shape of my family, friends and even my neighbours dog that puts on a most tragic face to elicit pity from me every time I pass by (its stuck on the terrace for the whole day, damn it). Unfortunately, this is the way a not giving a damn attitude works, but trust me its so worth it. It only takes some getting used to; the day will come when all those well-wishers stop pestering you. The day will come the moment of true bliss! April What was the day? I wouldnt know, considering I couldnt care less about the actual date. The weather was warm, and I spent the whole morning staring out of the window in complete indifference to everything in sight. I remember myself reflecting on certain things that had recently happened in my life. But soon I kind of lost the track of my thoughts; everything sort of jumbled up and I couldnt bother to try to make sense out of it again, not like itd had any before. However, having been in an utmost Zen-like state, I let my thoughts float to another direction, totally dismissing the previous ones and then didnt waste time to lose track of the following ones as well. I guess it had something to do with the book I had been reading at the time it turned out to be the opposite of what I had expected, so I must have been thinking whether I should continue reading it or not. Most probably that was exactly what occupied my thoughts, for I remember having spent the rest of the day struggling through the pages of the book, which in the end, literally, bored me into a condition of coma.

April The weather was getting warmer with each day. I woke up with a strong feeling to be outside and face some street movement, which I hadnt been experiencing for some time. After having inspected my clothes options, which hadnt been taken care of in weeks, I got confronted with quite a task. Then I remembered one smart ass once told me to never let the obstacles in the way of a good decision. So I figured, why even to bother with any decision whatsoever if in the end there was always something that got in your way? In short, I turned to my not giving a damn spirit and threw on the first piece of cloth that caught my sight. What obstacles? I dont even know the word, let alone the meaning! Thats the privilege of a not giving a damn life you just turn yourself inside out and let all the bad cells go. April I didnt wake up till like Im not sure about the exact time, but what I was sure of was that I felt inexpressibly hungry, and that, doesnt happen often. Well, thats also the thing about being in an indifferent frame of mind you stop worrying about your nutrition as much as before, because that would mean that you care, which is not acceptable if you want to reach a peace of mind that offers you your exulted position as a person who doesnt give a damn. However, it also gives you the right to be flexible in your choices. And so, I left the house in an agitated mood to catch up with the little joys of everyday life. 1st stop Caf Bonjour One plain black coffee and two croissants (eatable but far from good; I guess thats why the place is called Bonjour, meaning, you go there in the morning and eat your croissant before it gets rigid!) 2nd stop a bookstore. Dont get me wrong, a not giving a damn attitude doesnt

mean an ignorant piece of log. As I said, you get to choose whats important and whats not. Books are important. I took my time choosing the book that would be both entertaining and educative, without leaving me with a sensation that I knew a shit. Its really amusing how writers tend to put your self-esteem to a point of total insignificance. I try to do my best to avoid this type, thats why picking the right book is a matter of an extreme importance. No matter how much you do not care, you still dont want to be reminded of what you try not to care about. 3rd stop Pet shop. Hadnt been planned. A little hamster caught my attention sad little thing. I guess it was a female. We had a full minute of an eye contact, then, she went on, minding her own business how female-like (never mind). April Midday. I remember the time because somebody buzzed on my door, and I had a fleeting thought to ignore it on account of my still being in bed. Then I checked the time and wasnt convinced with an excuse. Sam, a curious piece of work hectic in action, slow in reaction! I have known him since I know myself. Sometimes I cant distinguish who is who we tend to merge into each others personalities; its some kind of psychic case, but he is probably the only person I feel connected with, even though its against the protocol which consists of eleven unbreakable rules: 1. Never pick up the phone (one can always leave a message, giving you a chance to decide for yourself whether to answer back or not). Keep your cool with the neighbours (terse Hello will do. Any emotional expressions beyond that will allow them to stop you for a little chat every time you pass). The same thing with the children (see the clause 2) just ignore them!




Dont get into discussion over anything no matter how absurd the other persons statement is (why would you even care?). Avoid all the family gatherings (why provoke yourself?) Stay calm. The world can go to hell you are here to not give a damn! Have one thing to focus on (just to have something to turn your thoughts around, otherwise your mental capacities start to be questioned). Always say yes, then do as you please (it worked for Confucius a big Zen practitioner). Keep any affection in moderation (strong attachments destroy the balance of the whole concept).

5. 6. 7.

8. 9.

10. Be yourself just dont give a damn! 11. Whatever indifference always take a shower and do your hair (think: The Great Gatsby sexy melancholy, Tarzan in the Jungle not so much!). Some time in May I consider myself quite fortunate in respect to rarely being disturbed. The town I live in has already quite a detached air about it, and people are in the habit of passing you by without any acknowledgement of your presence whatsoever. But whatever appearances, I know they care no matter how hard they hide it. However, on a sunny, warm day in May one cannot be ignorant, at least not to the beauty of the nature. At first, when I came up to this revelation, it got me confused a little, since Id been positively indifferent to everything. Then, I found myself being drawn to the walks along the river; wandering the streets of the old town or simply sitting on the bench, imbibing the surroundings. The whole of May passed in such activities as described above. I was wrong to think that by being in touch with an actual

world I might be getting into a relapse. As it turned out it made me feel even more convinced of my total detachment and not giving a damn attitude. I discovered that by being in accord with nature, it is how you actually live a life of your own self. Having realized that, I made a pact with myself I was letting life itself take control over me since I didnt care about an outcome for obvious reasons. It felt promising, even exciting in some way, but I dont use this word it clashes with my peaceful state of mind. May 28th The day of my Birthday even if I wanted to forget it, somebody would be still bound to remind me about it. Seriously, Do people really think that congratulating you on your Birthday is a nice thing to do? Im sure, most of the time wed rather not be reminded of that superb day of your life when you entered this world! and there are many reasons for this, one of which because you wish you never did! That is if speaking of people in general, and they are basically out of discussion, as they are supposed to be ignored but what you are supposed to do about your extended line of relatives, and above all your own mother, trying to reach you, by all possible means, to impart their best wishes? It takes a lot of mental meditation to stay calm, not to mention being excited and all! Or, when your best friend wants to get you out for a lets get together drink!, or, something even more considerate organizes a surprise party? Its pretty much close to a nightmare or a suicide, for that matter. Seriously, everyone, mind your own business! P.S. Can you stop talking to your own mother? Hypothetically, you can in reality not a chance! May 29th Yes, I remember this day too! It was a post surprise (trauma) Bparty day! Lets just put it straight no comments well, no there Is Sam! Seriously, how could you do that to me?

Some time in June After having had Sam understood the full seriousness of a committed crime, we went back to being friends again. Of course, I knew (subconsciously) it was unfair to treat him the way I did. I knew he meant good. Thats what friends, supposedly, are for they mean good! But this is exactly what gets me people and their good intentions (definite way to hell, to be sure). June I had been reading a lot, practically all the time. Itd have been fine, from some points of view, hadnt it been for the fact that I caught myself rereading the books I had read before (like twice!) that got me worrying about my mental state. You see, detachment and self-perception is a good thing, dementia status I doubt that! June I live by the lake beautiful, peaceful and even inspirational scenery to look at, especially for somebody who is looking for these things in life. As for me, the lake, with all that amount of water, just makes me want to drown in it. Yes, I know, it is a positively morbid thought, but then, wouldnt it be fair to be able to choose the way you want to terminate your life, considering you are not able to give your opinion on entering it!? Shouldnt be here some compromise or some kind of law, which would make it Okay to go on with whatever choice you decide to make? I had been mulling that theory of mine over for such a long period of time that I, actually, started believing in it. I even found the site on the internet titled To live or not to live! Well, it had nothing to do with what I had been looking for. It said, Become a member of a Greenpeace environmental... blah, blah... blah! I stopped my search at that; it didnt really matter what anyone had to say about either life nor death. What

mattered was what I myself believed in and what felt right for me. June Sam came by. Hed been avoiding me since our last talk (the one where I made him feel all guilty and repentant over his surprise Birthday party for me). I was relieved to see him back, as if nothing had passed between us. In gratitude, I went to a great extent to make him feel good about himself (I owed him at least that much). I was aware of my being concerned and sorry and all those things that meant YOU CARE! Nevertheless, as long as I felt the presence of indifference in me towards everything else around me I was fine. Sam is an exception, undeniable in every sense. He is not only a good friend he is a good human being in big letters. Whats also good about him he doesnt see me as a lost cause that needs help. He, actually, thinks that living a self-absorbed life, detached from the outside world, is the only way to find new dimensions within yourself, which leads to discovering who you really are. At first, I did not know whether to appreciate his insight on such a complicated matter or resent him for that. I felt like it was my call to come up with that kind of conclusion. Then, having thought it over, I realized that my state of mind wouldve never reached that high point of reflection, at least not when you did your best to not give a damn. July It pains me to look out of the window and see the hoard of people smugly enjoying the warm days of summer sitting at the terraces with blissful expressions on their faces; sipping cold drinks, laughing their wits off and making life seem to be a sheer trifle. I guess thats what one is supposed to do in summer time go crazy and make a fool out of oneself (oh, how charming!). As for me, July is the most depressing month of the year or, rather, it used to be, but not anymore. Now, in my sublime indifference,

I dont even notice the change of the month, sparing myself any emotional outbreaks over it (I keep my shutters down, though, just in case). July I often wonder why people are expected to be happy, joyful, and full of life in these particular months (summer months). The same, when its considered to be normal if you get into winter depression. My opinion on that if you are miserable, then you are miserable, full stop; and if you are happy, then thats what you are, whether its sunny or pouring rain. It all depends on your attitude towards life and yourself. Thats why distinguishing your own attitude towards things in general is so vital, because by finding the right way to perceive life and your own relation to it its the straight pass to a content heart and a peaceful mind. I guess, here, where I have to clear things out about my not giving a damn attitude. Its not exactly an ultimate and allembracing force; in fact, I do care and quite profoundly, though, only and exclusively about the world within me and the way I feel it. It is by giving a break to your outer emotions towards the outside world and ceasing to give so much importance to the irrelevant things (just think of all those amounts of superficial things we surround ourselves with), you become a person of your own making, you become yourself unaffected and immune to anything that comes from outside yourself. P.S. You can call it selfish, but then, everyone is entitled to the life chosen for oneself, just as long as one stays true to oneself. July Summer rain, it brought strange feelings to me. I couldnt define them though, only that they put me into a state of complete serenity. I could say I was almost happy, in my own indifferent way, of course. It also made me do several strange things:


I called my granny; after twenty minutes of having talked to her I realized that she had taken me for another person. Well, never mind! I dropped by Sams for a little chat. Got him real nervous with my nonchalant benevolence and after one hour of soliloquy I took off, leaving him with a vividly drawn question mark on his face (Sam, seriously, its about the time you didnt give a damn!). Went to the Supermarket; bought five types of cereals and five types of yoghurt (I struck a positively handsome picture of a family man, piling it all into the basket. I was sure of it). Watched the movie (missed a half of it down to my full concentration on Choco Pops soaked in vanilla yoghurt).




July The days of July were dragging on in a quiet indifference to everything beyond my shuttered down windows. There was August yet to come, as unfavourable as July, but high-lightened by the anticipation of September. September used to herald the beginning the beginning of what exactly I cant quite determine, well, definitely, not a starting to do something productive out of life beginning (like getting a job, for instance, as my father once put it; only once, god bless). So, as it was, September hadnt been connected with any kind of activity. It had rather something to do with a change of my senses. I was looking forward to that time without knowing what was exactly to come, but having a strong feeling of the things yet to be discovered. August 18th It was an exceptionally good day (weather-wise). Unfortunately, it

makes people do spontaneous things and my personal attitude doesnt welcome it. Imagine my utter despair when Sam appeared at my house, spasmodically buzzing at the door (presumably, trying to make me understand that there was no way out for me). The idea was, as he put it, to go camping for a couple of nights (what about days? I mentally checked, clinging to the last hope of a part-time-camping!). The picture looked daunting. I believe my unhappiness didnt show, since Sam never stopped talking excitedly about an impending adventure. I was watching him with inscrutable eyes, weighing up my options of turning it down and being fully aware of having none whatsoever. My thoughts kind of stopped circulating for at least a minute, and then it struck me that all I had been doing was a total opposite of what I had been convinced of, which was a not giving a damn attitude. I knew I had to change the situation ASAP. So I relaxed my muscles, pulled out the most careless expression of the face and said: Yeah, sure, lets hit it off! sounding pretty much like a person on the brink of hysteria. August 19th Sam and I set off camping a memorable day! I didnt know what to expect, since such a thing had never happened to me before. I was an obscure creature through the whole high school, never taking part in any activity. Sometimes I couldnt wriggle myself out of it, but, in those rare cases, I made my best to move or say as least as possible. That, of course, asserted me as quite an unfavourable type for any teamwork; therefore, as a rule, I was left to my own devices with a smug content. So now, you understand how the idea of camping shattered my spiritual peace. But hey, you should have seen the look on Sams face when we finally came to the moment of being all set and ready to go. It made me think, for a second, of it all being worth the pain but just for a second, as I was quick to remember how mercilessly I had been forced into it and let my mood slip back into some sort of passive aggressiveness.

August 19th (midday) We had been driving for almost three hours, ostensibly not being even close to our final destination. If I had a choice, Id drive as long as it took. Id have, actually, rather got lost without reaching the spot. Ever! Being on the road has an extremely mitigating effect on me. Somehow, it makes you feel free, unburdened (you might ask, what exactly I had to set myself free of, since my whole being was a state of negation?!), which was exactly what made me realize how exhausted Id become carrying this load of indifference in me. It took me by surprise to having felt such an abominable weariness of the condition I had put myself into. I knew there had to be something that would change everything for me but I also knew it wasnt the time yet I was still a part of the world which I was rejecting; it wasnt my time, not yet. 5 P.M. Weve been driving, what seemed like, forever and still not even a promise of nearing a stop. I fought with the urge to ask Sam about an approximate arrival to our place of camping, trying to keep up with the appearances as of not giving a damn! Though the fact was, I truly didnt mind our protracted drive; like I said being on the road, driving into the unknown (which was my case) had an extreme appeal to me. It almost made me swoon into a Nirvana-like state, pretty close to happiness or delirium, which is the same. Sam drove all this time without even once letting me swap places with him. He had expressed his opposition to it quite clearly right from the start, by simply saying: We have a long drive, so youll have plenty of time to enjoy the view outside and have a nap several! That was exactly what I had been doing for the past well, half day. I stopped thinking, switched off my brain and let myself melt into the oneness of nothingness. I must have had fallen asleep for quite a while, for it was pitch dark when I woke up. Sam sat there in a quiet stupor,

reading a book and munching on crackers, evidently waiting for me to wake up (yes, I know no comments. As I had mentioned before, Sam was an inhumanly human creature!). 11P.M. Driving continues I stopped looking at the blackness outside a long while ago, and directed my full attention on staring at Sam instead, with the vilest look I could muster. Unfortunately, no message was delivered. The whole trip suddenly seemed unreal; I lost track of the time; I was asleep again August 20th It had been raining since morning; we stopped the car in the woods, still, being on our way towards the place of camping! It rained too heavily to make out the road, so we sat there, eating sodden sandwiches (made one day and a half ago) and listening to The Bee Gees. Sam thought it to be a pretty distinguished experience, in a particular way of looking at it, of course, as he put it; I thought that I might well strangle him for having ever thought that! Then the rain stopped, suddenly, as if having been turned off the sun showed up, piercingly bright, triumphant in its power of bringing the light to the world. But in spite of being aware of the beauty around me, I felt sad. An invisible force held me tight in that cage of mine, which I couldnt let myself out of; I felt trapped, closed inside, shut down from the world that I refused and at the same moment was so painfully drawn to. Some time later Even though the rain had already stopped a while ago, we still did not move anywhere further. We hadnt even discussed whether we should continue driving or not somehow, it hadnt crossed our minds. The freshness of the air after the rain, mingled with the ubiquitous scents of nature, inadvertently glued us to the spot. That was the moment of pure serenity, which we

didnt dare to disturb. Shortly, without any hesitation, we took on setting up a tent, and clearing out a place for the fire. Simple as that, this was tacitly decided to be a perfect place to settle. The Evening It took us two hours to build up a fire. I was wrong to think that Sam had been acquainted with all the things related to camping. As it turned out, he was as inadequate as I was, which caused me a substantial racking of my brain when figuring out how to make things work hence two hours of struggle to set a fire (the lit match would have probably made as much light!). However, in spite of the grueling hours to get things to work, we enjoyed the experience and were quite content with the result (quite possibly because we couldnt give a damn anymore!). The attitude also helped while having burnt sausages washed down with warm beer, and trying to melt the marshmallows on a stick with a Spartan patience over an extinct fire. The night came quiet and mysterious, spreading the carpet of stars in the sky. If I had to choose the moment to die, that would be the one. Sam proved to be a perfect companion not a word uttered from him, not a sound, which would have disturbed the magic. I loved him for that. Our fire dwindled to the merely visible shimmer of the coals, leaving us in stark darkness. The weather was still warm, so we decided to sleep in the open air, at least till it got colder. I lay there, ensconced in my sleeping-bag, listening to the silent wind, slowly giving myself away, being dissolved in the moment of completeness. I kept my eyes closed, so that nothing could break the spell. I blocked my mind, stopped process of any thought through my brain, relaxed the whole body to a condition of total disability, and tried to ignore the fact that I still had to breathe. I figured that was how you felt when in a coma! The thought made my heart skip a beat, and then accelerate with a marathon speed, leaving me helplessly breathless. Unfortunately, no matter how much one wants, one still cannot refute to be alive. I opened my eyes, and virtually got blinded by the light of a thousand stars staring down at me.

It was the sight worth living for! And so I stared at them back, as if defying their magnificence with the morbid voracity of a worshipper. I watched them, I watched them closely, as close as my eyesight could reach and it pained me to tears to realize how impossible they were so far away, unreachable, isolated from each other by the immeasurable amount of space glorious in their uniqueness and, yet, so unbearably lonely. The stars are just like any human being or, rather, each of us is just like a star a different polarity with the space between, with a doom of loneliness and a futile hope. Everything in the universe is meant to exist as a separate creature self-sufficient and wholesome in its own unique world. But human nature is intrinsically rebellious, therefore we defy the rules and do everything that is possible to break the set order, and connect with each other in perfect harmony. How in vain this all is! The wall that we build around ourselves, as a natural self-defence, is never to be broken this is the law of the universe, it doesnt allow it, no matter how much we try, beseech or despair. One is still where one should be in a place of ones own, in the world of one heartbeat. However, one is never in peace, for, unlike the stars, each human being has five senses, which are the cause of the constant craving for unity, an unstoppable urge to reach that moment of union and never let go. In the end, it doesnt matter how in vain this all is, because in the world of a human beings heart the rules of the universe are broken.