Sharing with you a little bit of this and that.

Fiction, some thoughts and more fiction.

If you're a first time visitor, feel free to browse and don't be shy to comment!

Also feel free to contact me on fdramani29@googlemail.com!

Enjoy! x

Friday, 28 May 2010

Stranger In The Dark

‘Get out of the car’! He screamed at the top of his lungs. ‘Get out of the car!’ The stranger's face was contorted as he shook the car with force. His speech was muffled as if he wasn’t able to speak properly. He had a hood pulled down low over his face and everything about him was angry and invasive He was a stranger that had come lumbering toward her. It was dark outside and Jada’s car had just broken down. She was stuck in the middle of weeds and bushes on a dark deserted road.

Locked inside the car, she was shaking. ‘Leave me alone!’ she cried, ‘leave me alone!’. Jada was frantically searching for her phone to call emergency. Her hands shook uncontrollably in her search, her fingers unable to pick up any object she lunged for steadily. Her blood ran cold through her body, it seemed she was no longer a part of herself. She couldn’t find her phone.

The man was full of menace and fury as he banged his fists on her car window. ‘Get out!’

‘I don’t have any money!’ Jada screamed, ‘Please just go’. Her car had broken down and she was forced to wait for someone to pass by and help. She threw out the contents of her bag onto the floor of the car and scattered things around until she found her phone. Battery dead. ‘No!’ Jada cried, ‘No!’ She could taste a strange metallic intoxicating taste in her mouth. The taste of death.

The man was rocking the car back and forth with immense strength. The car seemed ready to topple over. Jada was beyond fear. Adrenaline was coursing all the way through her body. This man had an intent to kill her.

He growled and punched the window of her car with his fist and the glass cracked. Jada screamed and cowered back into her seat.

The man seemed to give up.

He stopped his attack and limped slowly away.

Jada was trying to catch her breath. All was silent.

Suddenly he appeared again, his face close to the window he had just cracked. In his hand he had a huge rock. With major force he pulled back and threw the stone at the car window. Glass shattered all over the passenger seat of the car and all over Jada as the rock missed her head as she ducked, and exited the driver window. More glass shattered and fell to the floor.

She screamed and backed into her car door. she was unable to control her whole body shaking now. A cold chill ran threw her body. ‘Please somebody help me!!!’ she screamed at the top of her voice. ‘Please! Somebody!!!’.

The man reached his hand in through the broken glass and unlocked the car door. He pulled the door open and grabbed at Jada’s leg. Jada felt the cold night air against her as the wind howled and whistled.

‘Get out’ The man screamed furiously lunging towards her. ‘Get out! Get out, get out!’.

Jada kicked and screamed trying to get this monster off her, as the man grabbed both her legs and pulled her out of the car. He dragged her to the floor and pulled her with him as they struggled on the dirt floor, just as a train came careening by. Lights flashing and horn blowing smoke, the train smashed into Jada’s car.

She had been parked on a railway line that was covered up by the weeds and bushes.

The man had just saved her life.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Welcome to Chicago!

‘Ladies and gentleman - welcome to Chicago’ the pilot spoke into the intercom. ‘The weather here in Chicago is 4 degrees Celsius, and local time is 6.30pm. Please be sure to take all your belongings with you, and we thank you once again for flying American Airlines. Enjoy your stay’.

I was well excited. I had been looking forward to this trip for so long, and I was pretty impressed that I managed to get to the big old US of A in one piece seeing it was the first time I had ever traveled such distances alone. Welcome to America! Woo hoo! This was going to be a lovely week, a short stay of 7 days but I anticipated it would be memorable.

My good friend was getting married and she had asked me to be a bridesmaid and sing at her wedding. What a pleasure and pure delight. I knew it was going to be a hectic week getting things organised, making sure the nuptials to be had everything ready as well as trying on the bridesmaid dresses and hoping there wouldn't be a need for much alterations.

After meeting a friend I knew who lived in Chicago who had kindly offered to pick me up and drive me down to the Radisson O'Hare Hotel, my stop for the night, the streets reminded me of Africa. It had the same hue, a colour about it – and the wide roads were a replica of the Accra roads just as you came out of Kotoko Airport. After checking into the Radisson, spending some time jumping up and down on the Queensize bed that graced my room, I felt like a kid again. It was a little chilly, but I was prepared, my friend had warned me that the Chicago weather was as cold as I had heard about and it wasn’t called the windy city for nothing.

My chaperone for the week was such a great woman, all props to her willingness to drive miles upon miles here and there trying to get everything arranged for the wedding. The English accent drew some attention from the drawls as some Americans asked if I lived next to the Queen. I was tempted to say we were best friends and I lived in the floor above hers in Buckingham Palace.

Driving down into downtown at night to meet with the rest of the crew – my breath was taken away as I saw all the lights and sights of the famous American skyscrapers almost looming down on me. What I had seen in the movies and on postcards was actually a reality to me as I looked at the breathtaking sight of downtown Chicago. It was awesome. No words to describe the picturesque scene. I knew instantly that America had captured my heart, and I would certainly be stepping foot there again.

After checking into the very plush Allerton Hotel right on the Magnificent Mile I bid farewell to my newly made friend of the week ahead and proceeded to my room on the 22nd floor. I decided to venture out for a short walk before turning in for the night. I didn't know whether I'd be jaywalking if I crossed the road at red lights. After 3 minutes of stepping in and out of the road with caution because of cars turning in from the 'wrong side of the road'... I lopsidely walked, half hopped, half ran, fully stumbled un-glamourously across and hoped I wasn't breaking the law and wasn't quite so obviously giving my foreign status away. The 7-Eleven sported Kool Aid and Corn Dogs and friendly assistants taken by my accent which definitely exposed me as foreign. I could have stood there all night and just talked!

The next few days were a gem. After speaking to my good friend, the agenda for the next few days was getting our bridesmaids dresses altered and getting shoes for the day and getting nails and hair done if needed. My friends wedding dress wasn't even a joke, she went all out, it was fitting to call her princess - for the day at least. She was happy and beaming on her special day after getting ready in the presidential suite of the Fairmont Hotel - it was a truly spectacular day. We bridesmaids felt equally special in the beautifully beautiful bridesmaids dresses tailor made to fit.

The day after was a free day to take taxi rides and visit the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower and venture onto the glass ledge that brought out the vertigo in you that you never thought you had as you stared across at 3 different states in view. Walking along the sands of Lake Michigan, window shopping at Macy's on the Magnificent Mile, Saks 5th Avenue, a Starbucks double mocha chocolate with whipped cream and fudge stick, McDonald's Chicken Nuggets, more shopping at Forever 21, TJ Max on Michigan Avenue, I didn't want to leave. I had only got settled in after jet lag and now it was time to go again. Spending time with my friend and her new husband and family at the Fairmont on the night before departure was a lovely send off, and I felt saddened to have to go.

I felt a little down in spirits as I sat in the airport waiting for a delayed flight and the thought of my return to London after such a whirlwind experience - but this only gives me a better incentive to have to return!

God bless America!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Right Back Atcha

So I’m standing in the kitchen, making myself a cup of tea, and my colleague walks in and exclaims that my stomach seems to be getting bigger.

‘It wasn’t like that yesterday!’ He screeches, pointing a finger at the said swelled belly. ‘What happened?!’

Doing my best to emulate love and peace and joy, I smile, calmly stirring the sugar into my cup.

‘I’ve been feeling really dizzy and off balance lately’, he goes on to say.

Pause. Don’t say it girl. Don’t say a thing.

‘Is that literally or in your head?’ I retort. Ha! I couldn’t resist. Lips pursed and hands on hip, my colleague mutters ‘how rude’! as he sways and drops to the floor. For him, I guess he meant literally.

I release and feel the bloated feeling in my stomach disappear. For me, I guess too much fruit and veg happened.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Rise And Shine!

The sound was intrusive. A relentless, on going, intrusive sound. The loud beeping penetrated to the very core. Zara stuck out her arm and groped for the source to silence it. She knocked over a glass of water from the bedside table and swiped her glasses clean off in her mission to find the culprit. The alarm clock, at this moment in time, was not the most welcome.

She opened one eye and looked at the time. She sat up in bed and let out a loud cry. It was 8.30am! She was meant to be at work at 9.00am. Frantically disengaging herself from the covers which had strategically wrapped itself around her, Zara fell out of the bed and ran to the bathroom. Cold water tap full on, she splashed the offensive, cold liquid on her face clenching her teeth at the shock. Toothpaste and toothbrush doing its job she got out of her pyjamas and began to pull on anything she could find readily at hand. Making do with a pair of jeans and a jumper she had worn the day before, she hurriedly put them on.

Back in the bathroom, spitting out the toothpaste, she rinsed her mouth out and ran back to her bedroom. She took of her skull cap, and brushed her fingers through her hair. Make up bag in hand, she dapped on some concealer, some foundation, slipped on her heels, put on her coat, grabbed her bag and ran out of the house.

“Not a good day, not a good day”, Zara repeated to herself. “Not a good day to be late for work. Lord I just want one day off!!" she cried. Her boss had sternly brought to her attention that her time keeping was becoming more than a ‘once in a while’ problem, and she would have to make efforts to see that she made it into the office for 9.00am. ‘The alarm didn’t go off’, or ‘I went to bed late’ just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. It was a race against time. She didn’t work too far from home, but the old age saying of the closer you work to home, the harder it is to get in on time was factual for her at this present moment.

Bus or train, bus or train? Zara mused as her heels made an off beat clicking sound on the ground as she walked rapidly. She looked at her phone - 8.43am. She decided to take the train, despite the fact that she would have to face the sweat and grime of the over crowded, over heated, less than comfortable rush hour. Normally, the bus or walking was her preferred mode of transport, but for Zara this was a moment of desperation, and desperate measures had to be called for.

She raced down the escalators to the Victoria Line just in time to see the train pulling out of the station. 8.47am. 5 minutes until the next train. Her jaw clicked as she clenched her teeth. This was so frustrating! She blew a loose strand of hair from her eye and smoothed out her jumper as she paced up and down the platform. Finally the train approached, and she got on. She was surprised how empty the carriage was, she would have thought for a week day it would be chock-a-block with commuters. She had been preparing to go shoulder to shoulder with the mass of people that would spill out of the train as well as those trying to fight to get on. She remained standing, tapping her foot impatiently on the hard plastic floor. First stop, second stop, third stop. Finally her stop arrived and Zara rushed out to make an exit.
Weaving in and out of the crowd she ran up the escalators and turned to apologise to the owner of a suitcase she had just pushed half way down the steps. Oyster card at the ready, and with crowds of people at the barriers, she attempted to squat and run through the suitcase barrier until a station ward very gently pointed to the correct exit barrier.

Out of the station she ran the last few steps it would take her to get to the office. Her boss would at his moment be checking the clock to check the time. 8.58am. “Sorry!” she called out to the carrier of a Starbucks coffee as it fell to the ground. Car horns beeped as she attempted to cross the road at a red light. Finally green, she ran across the road. Panting, wishing, hoping her boss wouldn’t even be in this day.

Reaching the office, Zara pulled out her staff pass to activate access. The light beeped red when she placed her card to the electronic reader. She tried again, and again a light beeped red. Why in the world, today of all days, was her pass choosing to act up? She looked at her watch. 8.59am. She attempted a third try. Beep. The light turned green. She pulled the doors open and ran past the Security Guard at the front desk as she made her way to the lift.

“Excuse me, Miss?” The Security Guard called out behind the desk. “Where are you going?”

“Um, let me think”. Zara put her finger on her chin contemplatively and cocked her head to one side. “Maybe...upstairs today...to the 2nd floor… where I work?” she retorted sarcastically as she repeatedly pressed the up button for the lift. The security guard came over to where she stood and pointed to a nearby sign. It read ‘Staff Access – Monday to Friday only’.

“Listen, I just need to get to work…” Zara's words trailed off as the guard squeezed her shoulder sympathetically.

“Miss”, he whispered. “Today is Saturday. Looks like you get a day off.”

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Who Will Buy My Sweet Red Roses, Only Two For A Penny

I just had a random flashback to my elementary days, when I was eight years old and was playing Nancy in the school play Oliver. As Oliver was on stage offering roses for sale, and singing his solo part so sweetly and serenely, I couldn't help but think 'I was supposed to be Oliver'. After all that's what my teacher had promised me when I didn't get to play the part of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I was initially the understudy for Dorothy, and when the lead part fell ill, in stepped I to bask in the glory of singing sweet tunes with a dog called Toto, a tin man a scarecrow and a lion. dancing along a cardboard painted yellow brick road off to a city of green.

When the lead part suddenly got better about one week before the show, my hopes were blown when her mum, auntie and cousin came in to the school to not plead their case of why she should be given her part back, but to demand it back or else. Teacher did always strike me as the timid type, and I gathered he didn't want to cause any trouble or adopt a black eye, so I promptly found myself on props painting the Emerald city into the backdrop with his promise that I would be the lead in the next play.

So as the young hopefuls of the new year sat on the hard plastic seats, waiting to hear who had got which part in the upcoming play Oliver, I felt smug as I remembered teachers promise knowing that I would be clicking my heels, pinching pockets and jovially dancing along side whoever Fagan was meant to be.

Picture this - the pin on the decks has been lifted and dropped onto the vinyl and a sweet sounding melody is being played. I smooth out my skirt, uncross my ankles and get ready to stand to accept the part as Oliver, only to hear another name being called. The pin slides off the vinyl as the sound of scratching of the said sweet and melodic sounds leaves a barren emptiness sounding in the air.

I was trying to hold back the tears. Off course, I could take this like an eight year old should. I got a nudge from my friend who was sitting next to me, 'Go on, cry, you know you want to'. The actress in me came alive, and I immediately squeezed my eyes tightly together to try and conjure up some tears to show my disappointment. 'Don't be silly', Teacher intervened, 'she's a big girl, there's nothing to cry about'. I had been staring in one place without blinking for about a minute or so in the hope of making the crocodile tears appear, and at my teachers words, began to frantically search for some tissues in my school uniform to wipe away the trickle threatening to roll down my cheeks. I didn't want teacher thinking I was a big baby, nor did I want any future parts jeopardised because I was unable to take demotion.

Oliver played his part wonderfully as I think back on it. He was a boy after all, and the role as the waif like orphan begging for food and constantly dirty with filthy hair and clothes that didn't fit right suited the scene better than it would have had it been me playing the part. I rather enjoyed playing the larger than life Nancy with the big fancy skirts that I had the joy of swishing around as I took to the role more than I had expected.

I never did get to fulfill the promise of playing the role of Sandy in Grease either, after my teacher thought that the two chosen to play Sandy and Danny, who were real life boyfriend and girlfriend would capture the roles much better. Instead I was subjected to playing a Venus Fly Trap and dancer in The Little Shop Of Horrors thereafter, and one of the show girls in the 1954 musical There's No Business Like Show Business after that.

I guess it was just the way things worked out, but I had fun experiencing it all the while. And from that discovered my love for singing. I wonder what Dorothy, Oliver and Sandy are up to nowadays....