Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta bathroom. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta bathroom. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, 7 de julio de 2016

By the lake

   On his request, I sat outside the trailer, sitting on my green folding chair. I could hear his rattling inside and wondered what he was doing. Of course, I knew he was cooking because, earlier in the day, I had seen him fishing for a long time. He had woken up at the crack of dawn to do it and when I got up he was still there, very quiet and with his headphones blasting some rock music into his ears.

 I scared him a bit when I kissed him on the cheek without notice. He almost fell from the stool where he sat when he fished. But after his initial scare, he took off his headphones, kissed me back and greeted me wit a huge smile. His bucket was fool and he was very proud to announce he was going to cook lunch for the both of us. I tried to tell him I didn’t really ate fish, had never really been into it, but he didn’t let me say a word. He was too excited.

 So I stayed outside as he cooked his very special recipe. He had caught enough trout to last us for the rest of the week. The lake was filled with them or so they said. As he did his thing, I sat down outside and enjoyed the sunny day. This was after we had showered and had some breakfast, something simple not to steal the leading spot to the fish we were going to eat later in the day. He was so excited about it that I just smiled and nodded at everything he said.

 The lake was a very peaceful place, even for a spot were so many small hotels were located. There was also a very big presence of people who practiced several types of watersports. Some even brought their sailing boats in order to practice for competitions. It was kind of relaxing watching them go from one side of the lake to the other, floating over water so easily it made your soul feel at ease.

 Paul came out of the trailer for a bit, only to tell me he had already gutted the fish and it was ready to cook. But it wasn’t even midday yet so he decided to step outside and seat next to me. His folding chair was yellow and mine was green, our favorite colors. He took my hand and relaxed, watching the birds fly by and feeling the beautiful breeze that made waves on the lake.

 It was a cold wind too, as the lake was located up in the mountains. But the day was unusually sunny and people were visibly trying to enjoying at its fullest. As the day went by, I could see more boats on the lake, even those ones in the shape of ducks and other creatures. We waved at them laughing, as it was a little bit ridiculous. But it was so much fun, especially with him by my side.

 After a while, he went in again saying it was time for cooking. I almost entered the trailer behind him to go to the bathroom but he prevented me from doing so. He said he didn’t want me to see any of it so I had to remain outside. I told him I really needed to go to the bathroom, as I had drunk a very big glass of orange juice. My throat was a bit sore and I thought the juice would help in making me feel a little better.

 Paul told me to go to one of the hotel or something. At first, I thought he was joking but then I realized he wasn’t. He was very serious and the whole place smelled strongly to fish. So I decided to tell him to let everything exactly as it was before and then I stepped out. He even closed the door on me, which I thought it was unnecessary but apparently he felt he was going to do something so incredible that it was better to keep it a complete secret, even from me.

 I smiled. My heart belonged to him and I knew he had always dreamt about being a real chef. He was always buying and reading cooking books at home and he often tried to do what he had learned in our kitchen. The difference was that he couldn’t really kick me out of our own place. I think he did that by the lake because he felt the place called for it and I couldn’t agree more.

 So instead of insisting, I decided to go for a walk and explore the vicinity as Paul did what he had to do. I started walking by the edge of the lake, watching people having fun in their boats. Some were riding one of those floating things that you ride and when it too bouncy you fall into the water. I really wanted to try that but then I realized it wouldn’t be too nice if I showed up wet to lunch.

 I kept on walking and remembered I needed to go to the bathroom. So I woke up a small hill and arrived to a small hotel that handled some cottages overlooking the lake. It was also the hotel that managed the area we had parked our trailer, so it made sense to ask for the bathroom there. The owner was a very nice lady who seemed to be as old as time. However, she moved very fast and seemed to have her senses in much better shape that most people.

 She gave me the keys to her private bathroom and it took my only a couple of minutes to be done. I cleaned my face watching myself on her mirror and realized I looked rather good. We all have those days when we think we look particularly great. We also have those other days when we think we look awful but, thank God, I hadn’t had one of those in a long time. In my day to day, I rarely used the mirror but the bathroom was so small it was not really easy to avoid looking yourself in it.

 When I was done, I thank the owner and decided to keep walking around the lake. I decided to make a full circle around it, as it wasn’t that big and I knew Paul needed time to cook. So I started walking, by another hotel and then a patch of tall grass filled with mosquitoes. I almost had to go into the water to avoid it. After that, there was a small forest of eucalyptus trees. It was nice to see the brown leaves on the ground and the sound they made as I walked on them. There were birds chirping and I could even feel there were squirrels somewhere above me.

 As I came out of the forest, I noticed someone had a problem in the lake. A lady in of those rowing boats was calling for help. Apparently her husband wasn’t feeling very well. She was yelling towards a place located further ahead on my path. It was the rental area where people that weren’t staying in any of the hotels could just grab a boat and have some fun for a couple of hours.

 I glanced at the woman and then at the rental area and noticed two men getting into a motorboat, going to the rescue of the poor woman. I kept on walking as they arrived by her and grabbed her husband who couldn’t apparently move. Probably a heart attack or something of the sort. She jumped from their boat to the other and then one of the guys that had come for them tied the rowboat to theirs with a rope. It looked nice how one little boat tagged along with the other. The journey to the shore was rather short.

 By then I realized I was halfway from my trailer. I tried to see if Paul was looking for me yet but I couldn’t see anyone waving or anything like that. Even if he had been outside, I doubt he would have seen me, as we were but very shortsighted. One of the many things in common we had. So I kept on walking through a very large area with only grass and some floors growing in peace, with no one grabbing them or taking them home.

 I sat down there for a while and breathed in a lot of that fresh mountain air. Then, I lay on the grass, enjoying how it felt, closing my eyes to try and seal that memory into my mind forever. It was very nice to be there, after so many things had happened to us in the last year. It hadn’t been easy at all but this small trip was kind of a prize for the both of us. I stood up and kept on walking, thinking we were much stronger than we thought.

 My last stop was close to our trailer, were lots of people were raising kites into the sky. There were lots of children but also adults that tried to teach them the proper technique to make everything perfect. I looked at their kites for several minutes, floating high in the air, doing the most peaceful think I could ever imagine. It was so nice to be there and not thinking about anything else.


 When I neared the trailer, I felt the smell of food. As I sat on my chair, he came out with a white wine bottle, which he poured into two glasses. We made a toast for ourselves and for that beautiful place and then we ate, talking about everything. It was delicious, every single part of lunch. But what was much better was to have gotten there with him. That’s why my hug after finishing eating was unusually stronger.

sábado, 2 de julio de 2016

A good day

   Someone spoke, far away. It was a very deep voice, capable of piercing through walls and any other objects. It was kind of annoying because the rest of the world was at peace except for that voice that appeared not to be able to calm down. When Jay decided to get out of bed, the voice appeared to be stronger but still difficult to understand.

 Jay stood up in front of his mirror. Not much light entered his room through the small window there was on the wall, but he didn’t turn on the light either. He just stood there, looking at himself. He observed every inch of his body until he decided he recognized himself in that image. It was a very strange to do but he did it quite often, just to check he hadn’t lost his mind or something. It was his biggest fear.

 He put on the t-shirt he had wore the day before and some sandals. He looked at himself again on the mirror and went out the room. The hallway was empty so he knew he had a good chance to arrive at the bathroom and not find anyone there. He walked rather fast and, when he pushed the door, he was happy to see there was no one there.

 It was difficult to live in a place like that, where almost everything had to be shared. There was one bathroom per floor but sometimes something would go wrong on one of them and chaos would ensue as people from one floor would have to go to the one above to shower or to take a piss. It was very annoying and it happen frequently.

 But that day, everything was good and empty. After he was done, he decided to go back to his room and grab his shower things. It was best to take advantage of the unusual situation and do what he had to do in the bathroom at once. He almost ran to his room, where he grabbed his towel, soap, his shampoo bottle and toothbrush with toothpaste. He ran back out and was surprised, again, not to see anyone around.

 It really was a strange day. He showered for a good ten minutes, washing his hair, getting all his body clean and brushing his teeth with ease afterwards. When he got out of the bathroom, there was someone waiting by the door. His name was Carl, or something like that. It was one of the junkies that lived on the room opposite to his. He just said “Hi” and moved on to his room.

 Trying not to turn around and see what Carl was up to, jay knew it was best not to interact with them too much. They were really strange people and they were always high on whatever drugs they could find. Sometimes it was scary, when they got really annoying, but Carl was apparently on a down mood that day. It was best for everyone that he was.

 Once in his room, Jay noticed a bit more sunlight was entering his room and he realized he was smiling. He didn’t do that often but his day seemed to be having such a good start, it was hard not be optimistic. He put on his regular clothes for a Friday and grabbed his wallet and keys before leaving the room once again. As he put the lock on the door, he gazed towards the bathroom and noticed there was a line made up six people and it seemed to be growing slowly. He really had been lucky.

 Outside, on the street, the sun was even brighter so there was no need for a jacket or anything like that. Spring had moved on to that stage when its more like summer than like winter, which was perfect because Jay only had one jacket and it was too old now to keep using it. He needed money to buy a new one before the next winter, in order not to die frozen on the street or on his bed.

 In the winter, he usually slept clothed as the building had no central heating and his room could feel like a freezer sometimes. But now, he didn’t have to think of that. Next winter was months away and his day was doing to good to be thinking of the bad things in life. He walked block after block, ten in total, until he got to the bus stop that was closest to is home. He hoped not to be late for it because sometimes he would arrive just as the bus was leaving and it could be another fifteen minutes until the next one came into the neighbourhood.

 He stood by the stop and realized there was only one other person waiting: an old woman who seemed to be sleeping. Maybe she had already been sleeping for too long. Jay looked at his wrist, to an old watch he had found on the street, and realized it was a bit earlier than normal. That may have been the reason for his luck so far. Or maybe it was just a coincidence. In any way, the bus would be approaching in any minute.

 As if he had summoned it, the bus appeared on the street and stopped right in front of Jay. He walked towards the entrance and realized the old woman wasn’t moving. He asked the driver to wait for a moment and decided to try and wake up the woman. At first, he thought she might have been dead because she was unresponsive but she finally woke up and stood up slowly to walk to the bus.

 Strangely enough, the driver had waited and he smiled at Jay for his actions. That was something strange but even stranger was the fact that, after paying his ticket, the old woman asked Jay to seat by her side in the back of the bus. He accepted the offer and sat up there, where the seats were a bit higher than the rest. He rarely sat on the bus, always standing up.

 The old lady thanked him for his help and told him she was going to visit her daughter in the hospital. Apparently, she had some problems with her lungs and was going to undergo a complicated surgery so the old lady wanted to be on his daughter’s side through all of it. Jay nodded as she told him every detail of her life, about her husband who had died five years earlier and about her grandchildren that rarely came to visit her. She seemed like a nice person. A person that rarely has anyone to talk to.

 Some minutes later, she asked Jay to help her to the bus exit. He did so and she surprised him with money, a proper bill that was maybe too much to accept. She noticed Jay’s doubt to grab the bill and just put it in his hands. She said she was grateful for all the good people in the world and then pressed the button to let the driver know she was walking out. She did so rather fast, faster than he thought she could move.

 Still confused, he got out of the bus himself ten minutes afterwards. He had put the bill in his wallet but was still thinking about it. It wasn’t a common thing that random people would come up to you on the street to give you money. To be honest, his problems with money were always about not having enough, not the opposite. So he was very confused about what had just happened. As he arrived to work, he quickly forgot about it as the good day he was having may come to an end right there.

 He worked in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant, one of those big chains that makes burgers and nuggets and fries. At first, he loved the smell of it all, even of the ice cream as it got out of the machine. But now, after almost a year of working there, he had become rather oblivious to all of it. He flipped burger some days, some other he had to put salt on the fries or lift boxes with every single product they used in the restaurant.

 His shift began early in the morning and ended around eight o’clock at night. Sometimes he would stay more time because his supervisor would need something but, again, that day was a bit different. He was going to clean the floors but instead his supervisor wanted to have a word with him, He thought that, for sure, that was the end of his very good day.

 His supervisor, a very young man with lots of pimples, had decided to put him on the register. It was a promotion. He would win more money, as he had to learn some new things. He had to start right away so he had to learn fast. All day long, he did great, learning all the codes rather fast from another cashier. He smiled to every client and one of them even told him to keep the change, which was a very big tip. That day was really strange and he was really liking it.


 At night, back home, he counted the money he had made and was happy to know he was a bit closer to what his goal was, which wasn’t really clear. He thanked life for such an amazing day and hope all others would be the same.

miércoles, 16 de marzo de 2016

Homeland

   When Muriel was in the shower, she suddenly remembered how being in a combat zone felt. The water reminded her of the many times they had been under heavy fire and how they had narrowly escaped death. Well, how she had narrowly escaped death because there were others who had gave their lives for the cause that they were defending, a cause that Muriel had trouble understanding now that she was home.

 She had arrived just a couple of days ago, being received by her parents and her boyfriend, although she hadn’t seen much of him. Muriel couldn’t explain it but, she had missed John so much in the filed and now that she had seen him again, she couldn’t even make herself hug him or kiss him or say anything sweet to him. She felt as if her heart had dried out in the desert, consumed by everything she had seen, day after day. She hadn’t even hugged her parents and they had tried and she knew they had felt it too, that awkwardness, like a barrier that now existed between them.

 Trying to scare all the negative feelings and memories away, Muriel decided to shampoo her hair and enjoy the nice odors of her parents’ home. Where she came from, she didn’t really have the chance to wash her hair very often. Actually, she had showered a few times the last month and it was always a minute, two at the most beneath the coldest water a country that’s hot as hell can have. But, even so, she had to confess that made her feel alive.

 The smell of chamomile that the shampoo had reminded her of a time that seemed very far in her past now. She had been picking up flowers with her sister near a house her father had rented in some mountains, not very far from the city where she was now. That time seemed like a dream. Because it was almost false, unlike the burned bodies and mutilated corpses she had seen in the last year. Her mind immediately went to the destroyed cities she had seen; the destroyed cities she had helped become a battling ground. Because, the more she thought about it, the more she realized her presence there was also a problem.

 For many people, she was the enemy and even locals, just people that tried to survive, ran away from her when she tried to come near them. It didn’t help that she was the only woman in an assault team and that the rest of her teammates could be considered brutes. They were man built like a mountain, guys that she had managed to control during training. Some were nice enough, she could even talk to them about what she liked and didn’t like in life, about her boyfriend, her parents, her dream to someday become a veterinarian. But other were just beasts that had to be controlled at all times. And some other times, they were released.

 She rinsed all of the shampoo from her head and then just enjoyed the warm water falling on her black, gliding down her breasts and belly and legs. Muriel instinctively touched her breasts, as if she didn’t know that they were still there. She really touched them and got a bit aroused but her goal was not that but to really feel something, whatever it was. She had been numb for so long that she started touching more and more and then put one of her hands over her vagina and… And she stopped.

 Like a pinch to the stomach, memories came running into her brain, once again. One of those beasts, one of those animals she had been to war with, had tried to rape her on the first week. Luckily, Muriel was a good cadet, a good soldier in general and was able to turn his brute force against him. She threatened him with telling everyone and he laughed at her, touching his penis over his pants. She ran away before he could say or do anything else. That image stuck in her head, even though she had been trying hard to eliminate of her mind.

 She grabbed the soap and decided to clean herself properly, every single centimeter of her body. She even sat down in the shower floor in order to feel she was under a waterfall or something like that. She had always done that, fro, the time she was a child, and her mother always told her that was a waste of water and that people in other countries would have loved to have that water to drink and cook and live. And then she would argue with her and loose.

 Now, Muriel had seen the world and the truth was that she didn’t really cared if a family or a boy or a girl had no water to drink because of her. She simply didn’t believe that it made any difference. For her, she had discovered, the world was full of shit. The world was evil and awful and people didn’t really ended up in the bright side of things. People had bad endings, every single day. People died or they were killed, and there were orphans and fear conquered all of their hearts and that was just how things were.

 What Muriel had done in that country, her killing and her helping, was not useful. She didn’t make any difference by doing those things and she was ready to tell any idiot than helping with such stupid things didn’t help anyone. Being kind one moment and awful the next didn’t make you even or something. It made you human and humans are made to make each other miserable, make each other suffer and, slowly but surely, make competition go away because that’s how the world goes.

 Then, she stood up from the floor and closed the shower. The lack of water noise made her tremble but she inhaled deeply and stepped out.

 She took a yellow towel her mother had left her and dried herself with it over the small mat on the floor that was shaped like a hamburger. She liked that mat, ever since she had seen it once, one of those few times she had been able to chat with her mother over Skype. For some reason, she had shown her the hamburger mat and told her it smelled nice and that she wanted the house more fun with it. It was such a silly thing but that stupid mat was a symbol of the home Muriel wanted to go back to. Her goal was to go back home and see that mat in person and now that wish had become true.

 Walking slowly, she got out of the bathroom and walked to the closet in the next room. She had somehow done that automatically, because of a force of habit that came from years of doing so, but her true attire of the day was on the bed. Her father had gone to a special store were they specialized in pressing and cleaning uniforms. And hers now looked brand new, with every single detail in the right place. She removed the plastic and just left it there, on the bed.

 That green, that shade of color on the uniform, had always symbolized so much to her. And now, she was trying to remember what it was that she had felt the first time she had seen it. And she did remembered but, again, she couldn’t feel it. She knew that the uniform had made her and her family happy and proud. She was one of the few people she knew that had decided to join the army. The reasons were many; include the benefits in education and even health but also because Muriel had been a patriot for a long time.

 When she was just a little girl, she was the one that made her father built a small metal thing to put over the front door of the house in order to put the flag there every time there was a holiday. With time, she just left the flag there because she liked to see it move with the wind. She liked the colors and the shape and how it made her feel. Muriel liked to learn more and more about her country and her community and was really admired by many parents and teachers, not so much by her fellow students.

 But now, all of that had left her. Her patriotism had been left for dead in a horrible battlefield filled with charred cars and corpses, were the only noise was the crying of a baby somewhere. Her flag was a rag with which she had cleaned all of the blood from her hands, as well as the blood dripping from her weapons.


 Muriel put on the uniform and didn’t even look at herself at the mirror after putting it on. She just went downstairs where her parents waited for her in the car, to take her to the ceremony where she would be qualified, by all her brothers ands sisters in arms, as a “hero”.

jueves, 25 de diciembre de 2014

Airport

So many people, coming and going. So many people busy or pretending to be easy. Some with their families, some alone, some others in large groups were they never really meet. Other are there to work hard, give away tickets, checking people on their flights, tending to their many needs or cleaning the large spaces filled with light and energy.

At the entrance, the men that guard the trolleys to put the bags on, chat about how many tips they have received today. They live on them so every single coin and bill count. And many people prefer to carry their bags inside, not wanting to spend the little money they have on a trolley they have to return to the entrance. They prefer to spend it on one of the restaurants or in some gift to the person they are going to see at their destination.

One of the men hasn't had the best week. He really needs to win some money and tries to attract clients by telling them how easy it is to help them with their bag. He greets foreigners specially, as they are more likely to ask for their services or women alone traveling with a lot of baggage. At home, his wife works doing laundry for neighbors and their daughter works as a secretary. Life is hard and, sometimes, difficult to bare but they are fighters and never give up.

Inside, the many women and men handing tickets are specially busy. They have to be smiling every single minute of their work, trying to provide the best service possible. They are many hundreds of them as all airlines make use of checking counters, wether they have fifty stands or only one. Most of the workers are women, dedicated completely to the old art of traveling.

One of them, Adrienne, is working for he first time. Every time she came to the airport when she was young, it was a whole experience to see the many people working and the planes through the glass of the main corridor. She loved to wonder how many people were traveling and to what exotic destinations they were heading. She never traveled a lot to be honest, her family couldn't afford it. Her first time on a plane was for the school trip on her senior year.

Children like it specially when groups of pilots and flight attendants pass by. Their uniforms are so pretty and most of them look perfect, like real size dolls. They are greatly poised, carrying their wheeled bags, always matching the color of the bag with the uniform. And there are so many colors and shapes of uniforms, pending on the country of origin of the airlines.

Padma, for example, works for Air India and, as expected, her outfit represents her country everywhere she goes. It is a beautiful traditional sari. Its bright orange in color with a red and black scarf around her neck and black shoes complementing it. She is very proud of wearing those colors every single day to work as it represents the rich tradition she loves so much. Being born in Mumbai, she learned through her mother about the gastronomy and many other cultural aspects of her country. After finishing school, she traveled through all of India and then decided to become and air hostess in order to bring India to the world.

But the most interesting part of the airport is were all the passengers and crew members gather: the duty free area. A tiny mall inside the airport, the stores sell every single thing passengers may want to give as a present to their fellow travelers or to someone they are looking forward to meet when they finally get home or to work. The stores are never deserted, filled with the scent of thousands of perfumes, the voices of buyers and sellers and even the taste of many delicacies made for the inevitable need to eat and drink.

In one of the stores, Roger works selling small crafts for people to go home with. There are refrigerator magnets, smalls pieces made of wood or glass or plastic and many sweets and other traditional pastries. Roger likes when people want to taste the pastries in advance, wanting to know what they are bringing back home. It's a pleasure for him to promote the country, its traditions and even the values behind it all. But buyers often go straight to the magnets and that's not bad. He has many, funny and not so funny wants. Delicate and detailed or just simple. He sells them all.

Meanwhile, in one of the many fast food restaurants, works Felicia. She puts fires on the fryer and puts salt on them. She also pours the drinks and sometimes flips the burgers. The ambiance in a fast food kitchen can get very annoying, all hot and sticky and smelly. But its a "safe" job. People work there for as long as they like. No one really gets fired, unless they do something really gross or awful. Felicia likes it and hates it at the same time. She loves the pay, that simple. But she hates to smell like a burger all day long. And she hates it too because there's no way to go out and smoke. There is no out so she really has to wait all day to feed her need for a cigarette.

At the waiting rooms, other hard workers do their thing with people many times not even noticing them. They clean up the place, making it look decent, unspoiled and perfect. They pick up every single piece of paper, every candy wrap, old magazine left behind and many other objects passengers may leave around thinking the airport cleans itself. But it doesn't, an army of men and men work every single second to provide high higiene standards, specially in the bathrooms were people tend to be even more careless than usual.

There, cleaning one of the stalls in one of the many women bathrooms, is Clara. She's a big woman, capable of cleaning a big mirror in seconds with the help of her many work tools: liquids, sponges, rags and mops. She loves it when no one enters the bathroom when she's cleaning. She cannot block people from entering so most of the times it proves to be a difficult thing. But when no one comes near, she feels like singing and even dancing a bit while cleaning the floors. Clara likes it a lot when everything is nice and clean. That is because if she does her job right, she wins more money. And more money is a better life for her and her children. She's not married but has three kids to care for and they are her reason to live. And with her kind smile, she greets passengers when she's finished working.

The other army working at the airport is the one working below and outside. The many people helping bags getting to their planes, the security guards caring for the safety of everyone inside the terminal, the ones with the glowing sticks helping planes to their stands and even those with unique jobs, that no one really knows about.

Henry, for one, is in charge of the birds around the whole area of the airport. Yes, that's his job and he has a companion. A small hawk called Flash. Henry uses Flash in order to scare other birds and animals and make them clear the runways. If one of the those birds gets sucked by a turbine, they may cause a fatal accident and no one wants that to happen. So every single day, from dawn to dusk, Henry and Flash go around the airport on a small four wheeled transport. They have fun together, pulling the danger away from the runways, looking closely at how the planes land, filled with people glad to get home or to a new beginning.

That is the heart of the airport. The planes and the passengers traveling inside. It is them who make an airport what it actually is. And they are some many over the course of a single day. People sitting on a small or very large planes, bound to a city an hour away or another continent very far away. they may get to sleep or just to sit around for the duration of the flight. There are some many going through the airport, running even, as they are making a connection. Those people, although not spending a lot of their time, end to know what the airport experience is all about and that is bringing people together.

We have the example of the García family. Maria and Manuel married three years ago and now they have a new member on the family: her name is Emilia and she's only one year old. It's her first time traveling and its a long flight. She will be visiting her grandparents, uncles and cousins, who haven't yet met her, or maybe only through a webcam. She can't speak yet but she's thrilled by the prospect of a new experience. Although she doesn't know where she is, she knows its something different: the sounds, the smells, even things feel different.
Her parents are excited to. As soon as they sit down, they put on their seatbelts and take each other's hand. They have that custom and they are not letting it go no. They squeeze hands when the plane's door is finally closed and the craft begins to pull away from the airport.

That's how one airport story ends but, as we know, many more are still ongoing and many others are yet to come.