Friday, December 29, 2017


Chapter 1
Cora kept all her lipsticks in a box she had inherited from her grandmother. Like everything she owned, the box was elegant and unique. Painted green with a domed lid and decorated with pink roses. Beautiful things made Cora happy.

She had already got dressed and was looking at herself in the mirror. She had a light pink lipstick in her hand and was applying it carefully.

Just then the bell rang. She ran downstairs and opened the door. A tall, dark-haired man stood in the doorway.

‘Hi, John. I’m almost ready. Do come in.’

‘Hi. You look great.’

‘Thanks,’ Cora said. She blushed and pirouetted in front of him. Then, she went back to the bathroom upstairs.

She finished doing her make up, put her lipstick carefully next to the others in the box as if it was something so fragile it could dissolve on touching, and  was ready to go.

John was waiting in the living room. He hadn’t removed his coat and looked positively uncomfortable.

‘Shall we go?’ Cora asked.

They left the house and Cora locked the door behind them. It was Sunday and her parents and sister had gone to church. She had pretended to have a migraine to be able to go out with John. She felt slightly guilty, but her pleasure was much stronger than her guilt. She still hadn’t decided how she would explain her absence when she got back home. But it didn’t matter.

John and Cora walked along the street in silence. Cora blew into the cold air and a little plume of steam came out of her mouth. Even though she was twenty-two, she often behaved like a child.

Eventually, they got to John’s car and he opened the door for her to get in.

‘Where are we going?’

‘It’s a surprise.’

They left London and were soon driving along the motorway. Cora wondered why they never stayed in London, but she didn’t ask. She never questioned him. He was the one who decided when they went out and where they went.

She was besotted with John, she thought he was too good to be true and didn’t want to lose him.

‘Are we there yet?’

‘Ten more minutes. You’re like an impatient little girl.’

This time they ended up in a pub in Windsor. They ordered a full Sunday roast and drank delicious cider. As usual, John paid.

Cora and John had met at work three months earlier. She was a typist and he was the boss’s nephew. Nobody knew exactly what kind of work he did.

None of their workmates knew they were dating. John had insisted it was better this way. He said somebody might report them to his uncle and Cora might lose her job.

She thought he knew better and respected his wishes, but sometimes, alone at home, ugly suspicions nibbled at her brain. Was John ashamed of her? After all, her family was a lot poorer than his. Her father was a cabinet-maker and her mother had worked as a maid when she was single. But then she got angry with herself. ‘So what?’ she thought. She wished she could confide in her mother or her sister, but for some reason, she was sure they wouldn’t approve of her choice of boyfriend.

To be continued... maybe.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Don't Leave Me Here

Trapped by my mind,
Twirling inside.
Floating away.

I hate the world
I can’t go on.
You left me alone,
You put me away.

They say I need 
Another test
To look at those
Peculiar thoughts.

It is your fault.
You brought me here.
The white walls,
The metal door.

They say I need
To take these pills
To calm down,
To plant my feet
On the ground.

I trusted you,
You let me down.
You brought me here.

The brick walls,
The locks,
The locks.

I know I’m mad,
My brain
Betrays me.

But please don’t go,
Don’t leave me here.
They’ll shock me awake.

Don’t you see
The wires
Below my hair?

You promised me
To keep me safe
Don’t let them
Lock me 

Note. The wires the narrator mentions in the poem refer to ECT, a form of therapy used for mental patients.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


George wished he had been born to a cleaner family. His parents never tidied their home and his brothers and sisters were always filthy.

George was only happy when he visited his friend Luke. Luke’s home was immaculate.

‘I wish my family were like yours.’

‘Well, being clean and tidy is not always fun. My mum is obsessed. Everything needs to be spotless.’

‘Just what I love. I have an idea. Why don’t we switch families for a while?’

And that’s what they did… George the Pig had the time of his life, but Luke The Cat realized living in a pigsty wasn’t that great…

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Strain Of Madness

I should probably be writing about the joys of the season and, while I feel them, I’ve been lost in philosophical thought since yesterday.

I’m in the countryside, sitting in front of my computer, watching the leaves falling from the trees. It’s getting dark now and I cannot help remembering a documentary I watched last night and that started the musings I mentioned before.

In March, I’m doing an English Lit course and to prepare for it, I decided to do some research on Virginia Woolf.

This lady and her life and death have always intrigued me, but the reason I’m writing this short post goes beyond this exceptional author.

As many of you know, she battled with depression and other more serious mental health problems all her life. However, she’s not the only creative person I know who faced or is facing this kind of issue. 

Mary Lambe, who wrote Tales from Shakespeare with her brother Charles, killed her mother in a fit of rage. Yes, I know, this is an extreme case…

But what about Sylvia Plath? She was beautiful, intelligent and yet she killed herself. Well, learning her husband was being unfaithful certainly was a contributing factor…

And what about the flamboyant, life-loving Hemingway? Why did he end up committing suicide?

This is not the first time I think about the link between creativity and mental health, but I have asked a couple of doctors in the past and they both dismissed it. However, there are studies on this topic and they seem to conclude that there is a connection between the two.

Anyway, I’m not trying to be scientific, just putting a few thoughts into words. I’m sorry if you think I have chosen the holidays to be morbid.

I want to leave you with a quote from Aristotle: “No great genius has ever existed without a strain of madness.” I wonder if he was right. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Miss You, Dad

You were small,
Like a supple branch.

You were unassuming,
A smile
Rather than a laugh.

You were 
The best Dad.

You were soft,
But your beard
tickled my cheek
When I kissed you.

When I was little,
Your eyes
Rested on me
As if I was 
Your jewel.

But time passed,
And I grew up.
You faded
In front of my eyes,
But you did it gently
And I never noticed.

You left
And I couldn’t say goodbye.
It was all so commonplace,
So normal.
You just got a bit sadder,
A bit smaller.

I’ll never forget you, Dad.
You were
The best Dad. 
The best man ever.

My dad suffered from diabetes, that's why he was always so thin. He died at the age of 63. He loved life and was a wonderful man. 

In the picture above, you can see us together in the centre of Madrid. I guess the year is 1970.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Behind Closed Doors. A poem for the victims of domestic violence.

I smile,
When we are with friends.
Nobody knows
What goes on
Behind closed doors.

Nobody knows
My skin breaks,
My soul bleeds,
My tears flow.

I love you 
And you love me.
Then why do you
Cause so much pain
Behind closed doors?

I’ve had enough,
Can’t take no more.
The bruises,
The cuts,
The broken arm.

I’m leaving home.
Too much has happened
Behind closed doors.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Reckless. A Dribble.

A dribble is a story written in just 50 words.
Below there's an example. Can you write one yourself in the comments section?

Adele had been unfaithful before, so when her husband heard her say ‘I’m in love’ with a smile on her face, he couldn’t control his rage and stabbed her.

If he’d waited a bit, he would have found out she was speaking about the new puppy they had just bought.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Needless Needles

  • You have a lot of balls, coming in here dressed like that.
  • And you are plain boring, mate.
  • I hate Christmas.
  • Why? I think it’s a lot of fun. I love the lights, the tinsel. Yes, the tinsel is my favourite.
  • What’s to like about it? It’s just a fluffy rope.
  • Why do you have to be so pessimistic? Don’t you see how happy all the people around us are? Don’t you want to share their happiness?
  • No, not really. I’m a victim of Christmas. A bit like the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Seriously? A victim? I see myself as a symbol, an emblem of the season and I’m proud of it.
  • You know they’ll strip you of those baubles in a few days and you’ll die alone in the backyard, don’t you?
  • Maybe, but now my feet are surrounded by presents and the children love looking at me.
  • Shush! It’s my turn. They are going to decorate me now. I hope I get a star at the top. Then it won’t be so bad.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


You strum 
My body
Like you did
Your old guitar.

You caress
My hair
Like you did 
The old guitar.

We make music.
We shoot for the stars.

You touch
My lips
Like you did
Your beloved guitar.

I bend,
I stretch 
Under your fingers.
I want to be
Just like a string.

We play together
A sweet melody.
I do my best
To cast a spell.

Will you forget
Your sweet guitar?
I want to be
The only one.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Better Safe Than Sorry

‘Did you hear that?’ I asked my husband, Julian.

It was quite late at night and the children were in bed. I was reading a mystery novel and Julian had fallen asleep on the couch as usual.

He grumbled something and kept on sleeping. I knew it would be impossible to have a coherent conversation with him, so I gave up and kept on reading.

After a while, I heard the same noise again. It was a distant whirring, the noise I imagined a chainsaw would make.

Our home was usually quiet at night. We lived in a very peaceful area and the only thing that broke the silence was the barking of the neighbours’ dogs. That’s why the noise seemed so out of place.

I walked to the hall and turned on the porch light. Nothing. Everything was as it should be.

I went back to my armchair and picked up my book.

‘Where did you go?’ Julian asked me, his eyes only half open.

‘To the hall, don’t you hear that strange whirring?’

‘No…, wait, yes, I do,’ he said, finally waking up.

‘What do you think it is?’

‘Maybe the serial killer…’

‘Don’t be silly. One day you’re going to regret those jokes.’

Julian always said our next door neighbor was a murderer. He never talked to anybody, watered his garden in the dark and, when he went out, he always wore a cap and dark shades. Nobody knew anything about him, he was a mystery.

Just then there was a knock on the door. Both of us jumped in our seats.

‘Who can that be at this time?’

‘I’ll go and check,’ Julian said. My husband has always liked pretending he’s a macho man, but the truth is he’s a softie.

He got up and walked to the door. I followed him, my heart beating fast. I saw him looking through the peephole. 

‘It’s him, ‘ he whispered.

‘Who?’ I asked, though I kind of knew.

‘The serial killer…’

‘Don’t open the door.’

We both stood there, not knowing what to do. Then we heard him speak.

‘Can you please open? I know you’re there.’

Julian looked at me, a questioning look in his eyes. I nodded.

‘Good evening!’ our neighbour said. Even in the dark he was wearing his cap and sunglasses.

‘Hello. Isn’t it a bit late for a social visit?’

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you, but there’s a strange whirring sound coming from your home.’

‘We thought it came from yours.’

‘Could you please check? I’m sure it’s coming from your shed.’

‘Okay. Let me get the keys.’

I stayed in the house while Julian and the mystery neighbor went to the shed at the bottom of the garden. I looked out of the window at their retreating figures, but it was so dark I couldn’t see much.

After ten minutes or so, Julian came back. Alone.

‘How did it go?’

‘It was easy. I hit him with the spade. It felt like killing a mosquito… I think it’s too late now, we can get rid of the body tomorrow.’

‘Do you really think he was a serial killer?’

‘I don’t know… but better safe than sorry. We must  protect the children.’

‘Did you find out what the noise was?’

‘Nah! It didn’t come from our shed. But does it really matter?’

‘I guess not.’

I smiled at my loving husband and continued reading. After all, it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to us.