Liliana Widocks is a Romanian living in the UK. She describes herself as “a writer, when that doesn’t bother anyone, and a blogger, when I feel suddenly opinionated.” Most of her work, which can be found at her website HazNa cu cazna, is in Romanian. Some of her articles and stories are published on two popular Romanians online platforms/sites: Republica and Catchy. She recently started a blog written in English, which she describes as “just few poems now, tiny baby steps.” She is planning to publish a book of poems in her hometown, Suceava, in Romania in 2018. Liliana adds: “I am somebody exactly like yourself; when today is too lazy to come up with a story, I write down one of my own. We were given life, we just need to love.” Liliana’s short story, “Getting Dawn,” won second place in our contest for Aurora. Enjoy the excerpt that follows, and buy a copy of the book to see the rest!
IT HAPPENED NEARLY overnight.
Yesterday, I was still that young, fit, and beautiful woman, but on that particular, awful “today,” I awoke with those twin, embarrassing eye bags, loose like a pair of old sandals. My skin was dry and wrinkled, like last’s week newspaper, left too much in the sun. As for my hair, well, I will not even go there.
Physical appearances. Everyone knows that a woman’s day depends entirely on those moody little bastards, which follow their own selfish ways.
Yesterday, I was not worried about dates or getting out. Today, standing before the mirror, I wondered if someone, anyone, might ever look again at me, seeing a woman. Not just a wise kind of library ornament. Not just someone else’s grandma. Yes, that awful, soon-past future caught up with me exactly when I was completely lonely, enjoying, for a bit, my career, and thinking to find that special somebody. Maybe the one with whom I’d grow old. Not acting, just thinking, which proves that too much thinking, without acting, remains the mother of many monsters.
And that wasn’t all.
Not at all.
The entirety of that carelessly wrapped package came with anxiety, fear, and insomnia. Little wonder I was looking worse than my mom–my beauty sleep was shredded to pieces. Ms. Fifty-five looked as ghostly as a one-hundred-thirty-four-year-old great grandma.
I began waking up at one or two hours past midnight, staring at the ceiling, scared of my own heartbeat. At first, I tried to find comfort in television, but found only horror movies, documentaries obsessed with the emergency room, crime series, and other shows filled with too much blood and too little mercy.
The books at my disposal were no better. At some time and certain page someone was dying, too. I started feeling like my end was not so far, either. But I was going to fight. Oh, yeah, I was going to give it a go. Just didn’t know exactly how. So I took a glass of white wine, wrapped myself in some fluffy blanket, and laid on top of a lounge chair on my balcony, outside of my bedroom.
I live in a condo, surrounded by hundreds of other condos, full of lively, busy people whose major concern is the future. In between, discreet alleys edged with red roses and delicate jasmine are guiding our ambitions to the heart of the town, where big companies are replacing our little dreams with their, much bigger, more important dreams.
One night, as I was listening to the music of the stars, it occurred to me that was somebody else there, keeping company to the dark. Not far, just a silhouette. On that particular night, it was the cigarette that caught my attention; a little crumb of a light, lost from a star’s pocket. For a while I felt that we were watching one another, intense and suspicious. But the silence was still there, clean and peaceful, reassuring. He, because it was one hell of a he, dared the first “hello” after another couple of weeks, until then it became a routine to just lay down outside, waiting for something, anything to happen.