The girl is tall, beautiful, stark-naked, and stoned, or drunk, or both. The two guys on duty are doing their duty bringing her out of the jacuzzi and the pool, but they are reluctant to touch her. No wonder. They suggest her companion to help her, and he would like to, but he is stoned, too. Handsome, trimmed and out. As she is standing on the steps to the pool, she looks like a statue. And falls back to the water like a statue cut off its standing support: spectacularly, straight, with no fear, into the blueish sparkling water. Finally, the guys on duty manage to get the whole party out. When she sits on a bench in the changing room, she looks far from spectacular, lost, confused, cold, unable to move and dress herself up. The spa has a different vibe on the weekend night, more charged with restlessness.
What is there to numb when one is young, good-looking, and apparently well-off as this is not a cheap place?
Well, I can conceive stories, as I am a storywriter.
These days, I also feel the difference between storytelling and storifying, subtle and huge at the same time. A story is always open to interpretations and never gives a moral, or any answers, for the matter. A story does not draw a line between good and bad. It contains some mystery and never ends. Into any story endless number of others are woven. It is light and contains humor.
Storifying is a mind´s concept of putting on labels, avoiding a deep dive and not daring to enter the unknown, unclear, non-resolved. It is a closed-up concept, or mis-concept. I hear a lot of them around, I quite often storify my experience, too.
Here in the Tulip Street, there is a shop called The Barn. A great place selling only essential staff mostly from local sources. No neon lights, no music, very little packaging, and a friendly service. Outside, a lady used to sit and beg. We became a kind of friends. Her Spanish was exceptionally good, her smile contagious, and she, for sure, has stories to tell. She was saving money for the trip back to Spain where her husband and kids are. I helped her with a 5 or 10 Euros notes here and there, bought a few tomatoes in The Barn here and there, and we chatted. I was not the only one – I saw her in conversation with several people. The inside of her mouth was astonishingly red, the colour I have never seen in any other person´s mouth. Not that I was ever too close to her mouth, if that might pop up in your head, no, the vibrant colour was obvious from a several meters distance. She was also very open expressing her needs and once asked me for a pair of earrings. And a pair of trousers, but those I never provided. But I did give her a pair of earrings from our vast collection of trinkets. She is gone, I hope in Spain, I hope working. I hope with her family. We said goodbye before she took the bus one Saturday in October. Brussels is not a place to spend winter outdoors. A guy took her place and when I asked him if he wanted something from The Barn, he walked into the shop and pointed out a bulb of celery. A strange order.
The Tulip Street also has a few DIY shops – the window displaying coloured wool feels cosy as nights grow darker and longer. There are two old-books stores that hold a lot of appeal, so much that I have never entered either of them yet. Saving it for a special moment? I do not know. A jazz club, apparently a venue with a long history, is closed but about to open. A garage door across our building opens and closes with a funny squeaky sound, strangely soothing.
So many stories. The one about Linda written for the Writing Brussels takes place in the Tulip street, too:
When do we storify?
Our intuition knows. There is a usually a hint of fake in words or a voice when we storify. There is some insisting and a good deal of repetition. There is judgment and conclusion.
It has not ended for the girl stoned in the spa outside Brussels on one Saturday night with her male companions. It has not ended for Andrea, the Romanian living in Spain who God-knows-how landed in Brussels for a brief chapter of several months. The story has not ended for the Sound Jazz Station with windows lit and about to open. Stories never end.