what happens if I'm forced to write

This is the short story whose script drove me mad today. But luckily it's ready by now, so I took another look at the story, changed some parts...didn't like it too much, myself, because it has been written only to contain the scene from this photograph (I had to write it for a seminar). 

A photograph by the american artist Gregory Crewdson
 I don't like stories with corpses, or too dramatic stories, but this one obviously had to contain a corpse swimming in a flooded living room. Due to my current obsession with Hamlet, I decided to call it


Paul didn't like parties. He had never fancied the idea of hanging around for hours with people he mostly didn't know and watching them getting more and more drunk as the sun set. Sometimes, unfortunately, he couldn't avoid participating; he didn't want to be impolite with his friends.
Richard had called him, just to shout out happily:"I've got that job!!" and to invite him to the most amazing party of the century, to celebrate his luck. Richard's parents were extraordinarily wealthy and everyone in town was dying for that event to come, for it was promising to cross all levels- a luxurious dinner, fountains of champagne and the catering supplied by the most elegant restaurant of the area.
And finally the great day had come; Paul was standing around, suited and feeling uncomfortable, in the tastefully decorated entrance hall of Richard’s parent’s big, posh house, watching the other guests. There were actually quite a few people he knew: There were Johnny and David, two fellows he was familiar with from university, who were obviously enjoying themselves in a group of giggling and dolled up girls; Richard’s cousin Ralph, an incredibly impertinent person, who was enthusiastically discussing something with a guy Paul didn’t know; he assumed the topic was likely to be boring, because no one else seemed interested. Sarah, a girl Paul knew from school, and her fiancé Robert were chatting to Richard’s older brother Frederick.
Paul didn’t feel like talking to anyone, he was tired and wished nothing but to return home and to finish that theatre script he was thinking about all the time. It was a complex story, and he was still struggling to find an appropriate ending.
He had noticed, though, that one person he had expected to be there and to actually ruin the party, was missing: Ophelia. Paul didn’t like Ophelia. They knew each other for as long as he could think; since the age of two they had been next door neighbours. Ophelia had always been the exact opposite of Paul: she was loud, extrovert, very mainstream- he’d even say vulgar- and seemed to change her mind about people every five minutes. Back at school, she had been one of the popular kids and had teased him because he had been a loner and a rather calm boy. He had never been the typical outsider, but he belonged to a bunch of students who shared an interest in arts and literature, which people like Ophelia found highly peculiar and therefore never missed out an occasion to point that out. Later on, for some reason, she had intended to redefine their relationship, but Paul preferred things to stay the way they had always been and finally kindly rejected her attempts. She had started hating him straight afterwards.
“Hey, Paul! Have you fallen asleep?” It was Richard who had come over and now smiled at his friend. Paul smiled back. “Oh, I’m a little bit tired, indeed, but, um, it’s a really nice party...” Richard gave him an ironic look. “Oh, come on, Paul, don’t you seriously think I don’t know you hate that sort of thing? Anyway, I truly appreciate you’re here, and I’m really happy, my friend. Come on, I’ll introduce you to a couple of guys, they’re going to work together with me!”
At first sight, Richard didn’t seem to be the perfect best friend for someone like Paul; he was very sociable and loved sports more than anything else, but he was good company and open to everything new, and he had also been the one who started the conversation as their paths crossed at the very beginning of their studies. As time passed, Paul found himself excited about baseball, Richard had lend books on the history of art at the library and they both knew they would stay friends, to everyone’s surprise.
The young men made their ways through the crowd of old and new friends of Richard, of people whose identity they both weren’t sure about, but that was fine as long as they didn’t cause any trouble, because the house was really huge and Richard’s parents were really rich. Another young man approached and greeted them cheerfully. It was Patrick, one of Richard’s mates from his sports club whom Paul had gotten to know at their baseball weekends. Unfortunately, some day he had invited them both, Patrick and Richard, for a nice crisps and TV afternoon at his parent’s house- where Patrick had met Ophelia. Actually, he had met her on the street in front of the house, but as soon as he had come in and asked who that marvellous girl with the dark hair was, the one that lived in the yellow house on the left, Paul knew the disaster was soon to come. And he was right. After countless desperate phone calls Patrick made and all the hours he spent waiting in front of her house, staring at the trees in the front yard and waiting for her, they had started going out together. And still were.
Richard slapped Patrick on the back. “So what, old chap, did you try the champagne already? Have some with us! And you Paul, don’t you dare to refuse, you didn’t drink anything yet! Waiter!” A guy with a tray hurried past other guests calling and poured the sparkling drink into three glasses. “So, how’s it going? Are you doing well in your new job, Pat?” Paul asked. Patrick smiled. “Yeah, thanks for asking, everything is brilliant, it’s well paid, colleagues are friendly, too.” Richard laid his arms round the shoulders of his friends. “Life is good,” he said, “especially, now that even us three queer guys managed to organize ours. Now there’s only left for Paul and me to find the loves of our lives, right?” He started laughing and Paul smiled. Patrick looked down. “Well, seems like I’ll be joining you in this,” he said. Paul and Richard looked at him in surprise. “Why, I thought you were absolutely crazy about your Ophelia?” said Richard. Patrick mumbled something incomprehensible and seemed as if he wanted to change the topic, but Paul added: “Tell us, what happened? The last time I saw her she seemed quite upset, but I thought it was because she got sacked.” Paul knew about that sad fact in Ophelia’s biography because his mother was friends with her mother, which meant he knew a lot of stuff he had never wanted to know and still received up to date information every morning at the breakfast table. Patrick cleared his throat. “Yeah, she was quite pissed about that...but, um, actually, we had an argument yesterday. I think I’ll break up with her. She just doesn’t care about me, not even half as much as I always did.” Paul and Richard exchanged looks. That’s why the lady isn’t here, already completely drunk and dancing on the tables, Paul thought. Aloud he said: “I was already wondering why you didn’t bring her tonight.” Patrick looked down at the floor. “She didn’t tell me about the job, instead, her mum did. So I asked her what had happened and why she didn’t tell me, and she was just shouting at me, that I don’t understand anything, that I’m getting on her nerves and-“he stopped, looking really miserable. “I mean, I didn’t do her any harm, I really cared for her! But she just acted as if I was a natural attribute, or something! No idea why she stayed with me, if she...ah, I don’t know... and she was always on parties, always drunk, always depressed with her endless hangovers...I told her to stop that drinking but she wouldn’t.” Paul nodded. Yes, that was what Ophelia was like when they were about 17. She was the unchallenged party queen, although her parents were desperate about it, but in the classes, she was hanging around as if it wasn’t her life but someone else’s. Her marks were horrible and Paul had no idea how she managed to finish school in the end. He guessed that she had been sacked for the same reason- her unsteady, untamed lifestyle- but he wasn’t eager to learn more about it, because he didn’t like her and wasn’t interested in her failure. If things went wrong in Ophelia’s life it was her own fault, he was convinced of that. Only for her awkward name her parents had to take responsibility- who, for heaven’s sake, would want his child to be called like someone who went mad and committed suicide?- but it didn’t force her to drown herself in alcohol, that was for sure. Paul shook his head. “I don’t know what’s happening on her mind, I’ve never understood her. But maybe you two should meet up and discuss the whole issue, and get it all sorted out somehow? That’s the only thing you could do, actually.” Patrick was biting his lips. “Yeah, maybe you’re right... We really ought to talk, I mean, I doubt we ought to stay together after all...” Richard shrugged his shoulders. He was clearly feeling uncomfortable, after being prepared to celebrate, he wasn’t so keen on talking about his friend’s depressed girlfriends. Paul noticed that and raised his glass. Loudly he said:” Friends, I suggest we drink to each other; in the end, things will be ok, and if they’re not ok, it’s not the end!” Richard smiled at him thankfully; they drank and came to talk about different things afterwards. Richard introduced them to his new colleagues as he had planned to; people were cheerful and the party was being a real success. But Paul still didn’t enjoy it too much, because now he was thinking about Ophelia’s destiny. She seemed mad sometimes, when she was in rage, and you could never be sure about her attitude towards anything or anyone. Why was she being so bloody nasty with her own boyfriend all the time? Why did she stay with him? Poor Patrick was really upset, but he did his best not to let Richard see or feel that.
Paul damned his ability to always see and feel things like that, and spoke to Patrick a little bit aside. “Listen,” he said, “if you want to, we’ll just drive there tonight and you two sort it out at once. Her parents are off to visit some friends, as mum told me, so she’ll be alone at home. And I’ll see if I can help you guys, I mean, I know her longest...” Patrick nodded slowly. “Yes...that’s probably the best thing to do. Wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight, anyway...Thanks, mate.” Paul nodded, too, quite sure that although he had never wanted to be involved in any business that concerned his neighbour, he needed to catalyse this. Patrick couldn’t manage this alone, he was too soft. And he, Paul, definitely wasn’t dying to listen to all the sad stories throughout the next weeks, months... They joined the others in silence.
In the very early morning hours, as the majority of the present people were helplessly drunk and Richard, too, had had enough Champagne to enjoy the feast without Paul and Patrick, they told him they’d come and see him in the afternoon for a coffee and left.
Paul was driving and playing agony aunt while Patrick told him the tale of woe of his and Ophelia’s relationship. How she mocked him for spending too much time at the university library, how she didn’t care for her own future at all, how worried he was about that, how she started spending time with his friends on her own, how he suspected that she had an affair with some guy called Jeff, how she had laughed at him as he asked her about it... Paul started feeling angry with Ophelia. Incredible, how this person could annoy him without actually doing something or being there, just existing. He had never liked her, never liked her at all, and it was a riddle to him that an actually nice guy like Patrick could fall for this impossible girl. And Paul was sure it was impossible to change her. He sighed. People could so easily destroy their lives for the sake of nothing.
The windows of the yellow house were bright and Patrick hurried towards the door. “She’s awake,” he said, rang the bell and waited. Paul looked at the stairs. “Wet..?” he murmured, confused. “It didn’t rain, did it?” Patrick shook his head, turned round and looked at the street. “Why doesn’t she open up, for heaven’s sake?” Paul got down on his knees and fetched a spare key out from under the door mat. “They’ve always kept it here, Ophelia has lost her keys at least a million times,” he explained and turned the key around. A stream of water splashed out onto their shoes. “What the-?” The living room was flooded with water. The lifeless body was floating on the water’s surface in the middle of the room, Ophelia’s empty eyes staring straight forward. The lamps were burning with a soft light, as if nothing had happened; from the bathroom they heard the rushing sound of a tap.
“They should have called her Susan, or something,” Paul said quietly.


  1. Hey, ich freu mich wahnsinnig über deinen netten Kommentar! So lang bin ich ja noch nicht dabei und ich bin ganz verzückt, wenn ich einen neuen Leser bekomme. Sag mal studierst du in Köln Spanisch? Übrings sehr, sehr schöne Texte! Ein Yay von mir, dafür :)

  2. hehe, studiere da auch! Und auch Spanisch :) klein ist die Welt!

  3. :D ich glaube auch;)
    danke für den kommi;)

  4. da hast du wirklich recht :-)
    Ps.: Dein Header ist super :)

  5. yay, Kira!

    ich liebe alles was mit Ophelia zu tun hat. besonders die Bilder von Waterhouse:



Don't be shy.