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

lunes, 26 de junio de 2017

Camilla's aunt

   The man closest to the window started screaming, slamming the table with his fists, launching to the floor every single piece of the chess game he was playing with a younger man. That one looked like a younger and saner version of the person that was being carried away to his room by two big men in blue uniforms. The kid looked on in disbelief and fear, as his father kicked the air and screamed nonsense. A minute late, it was as if nothing had happened on the room.

 Camilla turned around and looked at her aunt Matilda. She had always had the most beautiful hair in her family: it was long and silky, jet black like the night sky. Her mother told Camilla that she had gotten her hair color from her aunt but that was everything she had that was similar to her aunt. That poor woman was now on a wheelchair and she drooled often, her mother having to clean it from her mouth and lap every few lines of a conversation that was one sided, as Matilda couldn’t talk.

 Her mother had always told Camilla that no one really understood why her aunt had fallen ill like that. As far as she knew, it had happened overnight or after a night fever or something like that. Camilla’s mother liked to invent new realities every time a subject so touchy came up. It was not as if she didn’t wanted to talk about it but rather, her subconscious had created different versions of what had happened to protect her. Her story kept changing every time she was asked about it.

 They stayed in the hospital for ten more minutes, then a nurse came around to tell everyone to leave as visiting hours had finished. Camilla kissed her aunt on the cheek and it was then, in a second, when she saw a flicker of something, probably life, deep inside her aunt’s eyes. Camilla didn’t have any time to respond or to say a word. Her mother took her hand and Camilla just walked until they reached the parking lot. Once inside the car, on the passenger seat, she wondered looking at the sky.

 Once they got home, rain began to fall from the sky, first kindly and then harder. Camilla sat down in front of her computer and started reading about psychiatric disorders and then about the places people like her aunt were put into when no doctors could point out what was wrong. She saw horrible pictures and read awful essays and articles from all over the place and was only interrupted when her nine-year-old brother came to show her that he had caught a toad outside the house. He had spent his day with their father, playing ball in some park.

 Camille humored her brother for a while but then she started thinking about her aunt again. She wondered if Matilda was curious still about the world around her. Would she be interested on a toad if she saw one through her room window or would she just stare, looking at nothing in particular? Then again, she had no idea if her aunt had a window in her bedroom. It was very likely but the place did look old and people never seemed to care a lot about mental health.

 She came up to this conclusion when one her classmates, a girl called Anna, committed suicide back in high school. They still had two more years to go and the poor girl couldn’t take any of it anymore. Camilla felt awful when it happened, as she felt she had never really cared about that particular girl. She knew she couldn’t be friends with every single person but anyway, guilt is like that. Unexplainable and painful. All the girls went to the burial and they all seemed concerned.

 However, the school never really addressed what had happened. They did tell everyone for a couple of days that, if they needed help, they could always go to the school therapist and tell him whatever they needed to say. A couple of girls did go but their problems were much easier to solve than the one that Anna must have had. Camilla tried hard to learn more about her deceased classmate, but she stopped when the mother yelled at her over the phone, calling her a pervert.

 There were all sorts of rumors: Anna was a closeted lesbian or she was a nihilistic teenager that wanted the world to end. Others said she was always on drugs while others blamed alcohol. Camilla even heard a teacher once saying that the girl must have had a secret pregnancy or, even worse, an abortion. But there was nothing to proof any of those theories. They only knew that a girl had died and all of a sudden a world of stories was born, about someone they had never bothered to really know.

 Camilla wondered all night if Anna and Matilda had anything that connected them, besides probable mental issues. She wanted to know more about the subject and she decided, very late at night, that she had to learn about it, no matter what. So the next day, before class, she decided to spend a couple of hours in the university’s library, where a towering amount of scientific book awaited her. She chose three of the ones that seemed less hard to understand and she started reading. About the brain, about the nervous system and about all kinds of psychological theories.

 By the time she came out of the library, her head felt full of information. A headache haunted her for the rest of the day, at class and even after having a generous launch. Her friend Bastian asked her about what was wrong with her but she decided not to tell anyone about her hunt for answers. She didn’t want everyone to look at her as if she was crazy. Because that’s something recurring she learned from the books: people trying to get answers are always labeled as crazy themselves.

 She blamed the headache for her attitude that day and decided to skip the last class, which was always very boring anyway. She did think about going home but, instead, Camilla decided to walk around a little bit. That way, she could avoid answering annoying questions at home about why she was so early at home. She wandered through some parks, a mall and several streets. She never got lost because she knew her way but aunt Matilda was always in her mind. Then, she knew what to do.

 Some twenty minutes later, she was waiting in the same room she had been the day before with her mother. But this time she was by herself, waiting for a male nurse to come with her aunt. She knew her mother was not going to like this visit but she didn’t care. Somehow, she knew that the answers that she was looking for where there, enclosed in one of the many rooms that had been built specially for people like her aunt, absent almost completely from all reality and sense.

 When the male nurse rolled her aunt in and left, Camilla looked straight to Matilda’s eyes and waited. She wanted to know if that glimmer had being something of one day or if signs of inner life could be seen again. Nothing happened. Camilla grab each of her aunt’s hands with her own and then smile at her. Matilda’s skin was a bit rough but she somehow knew she had being stunningly beautiful when she was younger. Her mother had failed to show her pictures of their past.

 Pushed by something, some strange feeling, Camilla went closer to her aunt. Her lips were a few centimeters away from one of her aunt’s ear. She doubted for a second but then asked the question she wanted answered, or at least one of them: “What happened to you?”


 She pulled back and waited. Her aunt’s eyes seemed dead for a moment, but then she saw that flicker again, a spark of life inside her aunt. Then, one word was spoken by Matilda. Camilla had to get closer to hear properly. And when she did, her world was turned upside down.

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2016

Helena's wake

   Roger and Helena had never been best friends or anything of the sorts. They had been the type of people that are kind to each other in high school and just say “Hello” and “Thank you” when it was needed. However, Helena had done something else that made her kind of special to Roger: she had been the only one to know he’s secret and had kept it for herself through the last four years of school. She had realized he was gay because Roger had been careless once speaking on his cell phone just after school and she had been the only one to hear him. They never spoke, they never agreed on anything but she never said a word and he was thankful for it.

 Now, many years later, Helena was dead. Roger had known of her tragic fate also by mistake, by chance, when reading the newspaper online one morning. The world is so plague with bad things that happen like terrorism and wars and so on, that sometimes road accidents pass unnoticed. The news of her accident was just a very small article, a few lines, but her name was there clear as day and he remembered it. At first, he thought it had been some other woman called Helena too but it the evening news they put on her picture and he confirmed that it was her. Roger wasn’t devastated when he realized it but he felt very sorry for her family and friends. It was a very tragic way to go and he then recalled the fact she had been a good person where most people wouldn’t have been.

 So, the following day, he decided to attend the wake as well as her funeral. Through the paper too he learned when the wake was going to take place and it was just after work hours in small mortuary not very far from his home. He tried to dress up as sober as he could, trying not to put on some colourful shoes or socks, which he loved, and stepped in the mortuary feeling very strange.

 The reason for this was because he felt he had stepped in high school again. Many people from back then had come to pay their respects and many were reunited in small groups talking about her but also talking about what they have been doing in the last few years. Many of them were still friends, at least on Facebook, so they knew exactly what the others were up to even if they pretended they didn’t know. But Roger was the only one that had not kept any contact.

 He had never had any real friends in school. His best friends had always been kids from his neighbourhood and friends he had made along the years. People at school were for him stupid and full of themselves, always trying to fake who they were and trying to know things that didn’t concern them. They were arrogant and very cynical and he just hated all of that so he never really tried to be friends with any of them. Not that they would have let him be a friend of theirs.

 He crossed that hall when they were all chatting as if they were in a school reunion and entered the room were the body and the family probably were. The ambiance there was very different. The family was crying and very close to the casket, which was closed. Roger instantly remembered what he had read about the accident and understood exactly why the casket was closed. He felt a bit dizzy but then someone came and held his arm. He was about to scream but the didn’t do it because he saw Helena’s mother broke into tears and also because he realized the person who had done that was someone he remembered from back then. It was a girl called Linda and she had always had a crush of him.

 Roger greeted her and she looked at him with those big annoying eyes of hers and talked in a sweetened voice that was just sickening. It was as if she was still trying to get him after all these years and it was just annoying. So, in a moment of genius, he told her he wanted to give his condolences to the family, which was effective: Linda let him go and he was able to walk towards the mother, who was still crying.

 Approaching someone that is such a state is always the worst but he had no choice as Linda was looking at him from the other side of the room. He followed an older woman who also came to pay her respects and the mother broke into tears and held her, even when they didn’t really seem to know each other that well. Apparently the poor woman was so socked by her daughter’s death that any person was a good person to cry with or on. Roger helped she didn’t do that to him, because he really didn’t liked to be touched by strangers but when she did he didn’t really mind. After all, she was a mother who had lost a child. And that’s something we can all agree is heartbreaking.

 He shook the father’s hand too and greeted Helena’s brothers, two big guys who he remembered from the rugby team back in high school. He instantly blushed when looking at the older one, whose name was Finn. Roger had had a big crush on Finn when he was about sixteen years old and he remembered going to rugby games only to watch him play and, more importantly, look at his butt. So it was really strange when, after shaking hands, Finn winked at him. For a moment, he thought that hadn’t happened. But it had.

 The former classmate stood there, by the casket, for several minutes. He wasn’t a religious person but he wanted Helena to know he was thankful for her being the person she was, for not telling anyone about his secret as he wouldn’t have been ready at that moment to face people about his sexuality. These days, however, he didn’t really mind.

 When he saw Linda coming to him, he decided to be honest so he asked her if they could go to the hall. She grabbed by he arm, again, and went along with what he said. Roger forced a conversation about life and what they had been up to. He wasn’t interested at all in Linda’s life but just wanted to be clear and get rid of her arm that felt more like a very annoying claw hanging off him. She talked about some boring job in engineering and he just nodded and when they were in the middle of the people outside he asked her about his relationships. Silly as she was, she giggled and said she had had some boyfriends but that she was available at the moment. And then she giggled again and put her hand on his shoulder.

 His moment had come and he was so happy to do this. It was like going back to high school, back then, and then just flip them off, as he would have liked to do. So he smiled and said the truth, which was the best way to discourage anyone, he said that it was a funny story because Helena had been the only one in high school to know he was a gay man. And that now, as a married man, he looked back at school as something so far away in his memory that he just smiled when he seldom thought about it.

 Linda was obviously shocked as she removed her hand and looked as if some horrible news had been announced via speaker. It was really like being back in high school and he enjoyed it thoroughly. What he had not realized was that people were not talking as loud as he did so every single person had heard what he had said. That was why the room had gone silent and then he looked at all the stupid faces around him and just smiled and couldn’t help laughing. When he did, no one laughed along but the sound miraculously returned to the hall.

 He kissed Linda on the cheek and told her he hoped she had a nice life. Then he marched out and he felt, very accurately, that many eyes were fixated on him. But he didn’t care at all. He decided to keep walking until he was outside and there he went to the nearest store and bought a pack of cigarettes. The storeowner lit up the first one for him and he went out to smoke in peace, happy about he had done, amused by the whole sad event.

 Then someone greeted him and he saw the large figure of Finn coming closer. They shook hands again and Finn said he had no idea he smoked and Roger said he didn’t but he had felt like it a few minutes ago. Finn laughed and then asked if it was true that he was gay and was married. Now it was Roger who smiled and nodded. Finn told him he had always known and not because of Helena but because he had noticed Roger looking at him often around school. And he said it was funny because he had always liked him too.


 It was an awkward moment but Finn proceeded to tell Roger he was about to get married to and he just wanted to invite him, that’s why he had come after him. Roger smiled again and promised to go with Jake, his husband. Then they started chatting about life, likes and so on. And when the conversation finished and he went home to Jake, Roger realized he had made a new friend, which was a very odd thing to get on a wake. He wondered if something weirder would happen at the funeral.

domingo, 6 de marzo de 2016

Ballad of the dead

   A couple of crows flew by, landing next to a large mausoleum, belonging to a general who had died long ago, in a battle no one remembered, in a country no one cared about anymore. The crows turned around on their dark feet and gazed at what appeared to be a shadow slowly walking up the hill. But the shadows was not such, she was a beautiful woman all dressed in black, walking slowly, trying not to make a strong effort climbing the hill that served as a cemetery in this region. The place was beautiful but grim and grey because of the many storm clouds travelling through the sky. Rain had already fallen and it would possibly fall again soon.

 The woman passed the general’s mausoleum and also a small patch of grass where several small crosses indicated the presence of bones belonging to several unidentified soldiers. But they were not marked as “unknown”, they were just marked with white crosses and some dead flowers. She only glanced at them, putting then her hands inside her pockets. A gust of wind had swept through the hill and she had received it full on her face. She was trembling and apparently had the urge to go back, because she stopped and turned around and looked at the town, which could be seen perfectly from there. She had been born in that place long ago and had left soon after. She didn’t know the place like her father and her grandfather before him. She was just there to see them.

 Finally, she took a left on a row of tombstones and knelt at the end of that path, were flowers and grass grew large and beautiful because of the soil that was so rich in nutrients. She caressed the tombstone, cleaned it with her hands covered in gloves and read the name of her father, slowly, as if she had no idea who he was. Almost instantly, a big lonely tear ran down one of her cheeks. And then, another one. Finally, she really cried, she allowed herself to do what she hadn’t done in all these years. She cried because she hadn’t been there when he had died and she cried because she had left home so young and had put them all at bay, fearing they might convince her to make the same mistakes they did.

 She wasn’t scared when a voice, a very cold and raspy voice, asked her not to cry anymore. She said, out loud, that she couldn’t bring herself to stop, because she felt guilty and needed to get it all out of her system.

   - So it’s all about you?

 The voice was right. She was crying just to cry, just to make herself feel better and free of any guilt from having been responsible for her father’s death. She knew she hadn’t been there, that she had been missed and they had asked her to return so many times. But, to her, that town was death itself and tried not to go back for many years.
 The woman had finally decided to do it, to confront her life and just do what she had to do.  But apparently it hadn’t been enough. Because now she saw him, her dad, standing in front of her, judging her choices and thoughts and actions. He was silent and wouldn’t say a single word about anything. He had always been like that, even when she was a kid, he would just look at her and she could know what he thought of her just by paying attention at his expressions.

 It was his fault too and that had to be proof. He had always been so far, so private and cold. How could have he asked for more from her when she never saw anything more at home. Her mother was not much different. She would always get busy doing something, just in order not to be depressed. She had some sever episodes when she couldn’t even see other people but she couldn’t be alone either. Besides, she suffered from migraines, so things where always charged with a level of tension no kid should ever have to bear.

 So the daughter stood up and followed the image of her father, that had stopped looking at her and was now just walking through the graves as if he had know the place like the palm of his hand. They didn’t have to walk much to find the grave of the mother, where the woman pour some more tear and realized how unfair she had been with all of them. She sat down on the damp grass and just touched the stone, the letters of her mother’s name and asked her why she had been so distant, why they had been so judgmental when they had raised her to be exactly who she had grown up to be.

 The woman had a nice boyfriend, a good job and a home, where she was happy most of the time. She had come to this town to be miserable, as miserable as she had ever been in all her life away from them. And now they looked at her as if she was the one who had been wrong, as if she had been the one that had caused the rupture between all of them, causing her to flee that life that was unbearable to any living person.

And then she remembered little Roby. His death had occurred six months after she had left to the city. Of course, she heard they had blame it all on her. They said he had been heartbroken that she had left because he had lost his big sister but that was just another lie, another attempt to make her feel worthless. The kid was too young to even notice he had a sister. And he had been born with so many problems. She cried for him to but they were tears of anger that she shed all over the graves of small boys and girls that had died long ago, Roby among them. She dedicated all those tears to damn, as they needed to know how wrong their parents were.

 Her parents, on the other hands, started talking and talking, and she was not interested in hearing anything they had to say. She stood up and ran up the hill, as fast as she could until she fell to the ground, having stepped on a large rock covered in moss. The fall had hurt but not as much as it hurt to hear them accusing her for so many things that she hadn’t even been there for and for other things that she didn’t even remembered. Her mother’s voice was especially annoying, very loud sometimes, the voice of someone who doesn’t speak too much.

 The woman slowly stood up and cursed her parents, told them to burn in hell or in heaven or wherever their real souls were. She yelled at them, saying that she was tired of having to carry the weight of a family that had been crumbling own for so long. Her father was a worthless maggot and her mother a crazy bitch.

    - There you have it! Now leave me alone!

 They did stop talking but they didn’t leave, their images still standing by, waiting for her to say something more. And she did. She told them it had been their fault that Roby died and it also had been their fault hat he existed, that he lived for such a short period of time suffering every single day. It was because of their sick minds and bodies that he had been born with so many problems and it was that that killed him, not her or anyone else for that matter.

 She walked the remainder of the hill and when she was at the top. She noticed the son was filtering through the clouds of rain. She felt its rays touching her skin, making her feel like she had finally done what she had to do, what she hadn’t been able to do when they were all alive. But then, they reappeared and several other figures like them. Their faces accused them of being of the same family, generations and generations of unstable people that had been raising awful families for children to turn into maniacs themselves. She had seen the light beforehand and she had been so grateful for it.

 They grew closer and closer and she just felt her body give in, kneeling there, being caressed by the cold wind of a region filled with people that were more dead than alive. She raised her hands to the sun and begged for peace and calm in her life. All the images of relatives looked at her and only one came closer and touched her head softly. She looked at the ghost and realized it was her grandmother, the only one that she had talked to during her exile in the city. She understood why she had fled and she didn’t judge. And now, even dead, she was on her side.


 That same night, the woman drove back to the city and she never heard or saw anyone again. Her prayers had been answered and she would never have to be a victim of her family anymore.

martes, 31 de marzo de 2015

In the rain

-       - Whatever you may want to forget, I can help you…

   The voice seemed to come from deep beyond the rain and hail. Marina stood there, freezing but attentive of the voice she had heard. But she never heard it again. Instead, another voice seemed to be approaching, yelling something that she couldn’t understand. Then she saw a shadow that turned out to be her father. He had a large plastic covering him and yelled Marina to go with him. She doubted for a second but he helped her by taking her arm and running with her. They were followed by Anseon, Marina’s pet pig, who stopped every so often to check on mushrooms growing in the ground. About ten minutes later, they were inside their house, by the edge of the town.

 Marina went straight to her room, dripping water. She crossed her mother but didn’t say a word, only standing by the door to let Anseon in. She then removed her wet clothes and put them in a plastic bag that she would get downstairs some other time. She lay in her bed and covered her face. Marina could hear the voice again, as clearly as she had in the downpour. Who had talked to her? The woman, because it was a woman’s voice, had not revealed herself and Marina’s father probably scared her away.

 Anseon climbed on to the bed and Marina uncovered her eyes, caressing his pet and wondering what had really happened that night. She had only gone to the forest to pick up some berries for a desert, the ones she did every week, and suddenly a storm had formed and she had been trapped there, on the mud, between the hail, the rain and that strange voice from beyond. It may have been a forest spirit or maybe a wandering soul… Many people, including her grandfather, stated that the woods were haunted and that spending any time there after nightfall was, at very least, dangerous.

 Marina was distracted from her thoughts when her father came in, without even knocking. He knew very well she hated when he did that, only because the doorknob didn’t work. She then grabbed a book that she had left on her bedside table and pretended to read, although she didn’t even look at more than two words. Her father sat down on a small chair by her closet and asked her why she had left the house that day. Marina left the book aside and told him he knew well that she always cooked a pie or some desert for all the family. She knew the best berries grew in the forest and she had gone to grab some. Her father then asked why she didn’t have any of them with her when he found her and Marina explained she had dropped them when running from the storm.

Her father didn’t seem to believe her very much, especially because when he found her she had not been running or anything similar. But apparently he decided not to keep asking anything and just old her to go down for dinner. After putting on a sweater and caressing Anseon’s belly a little more, she went down and sat besides her mother. Her younger brother Mason was already eating, trying to cut his meat but failing awesomely at it. Marina realized she was not very hungry but tried to eat at least some bites. She knew her father was looking her every move, as if she was a dangerous criminal. Her parents started talking about the downpour.

 Spring had arrived, that much was true. But it never rained like that on this part of the world. They hoped it would soon end because the river downhill could overflow and that would be devastating for the little town. As both kids had class the next day, no parent said anything when Marina stood up and left her plate almost full. She went to her room and hugged Anseon. Marian then thought of the rain, the voice, his parents, of everything that had been going on in her life and then started to cry in silence. The pig appeared to be worried about her but she soon fell asleep. After all, she was very tired and needed the rest.

 However, the rain didn’t stop during the night. It hadn’t become stronger either. It just rained and rained, sometimes some hail falling, others only liquid water. Marina’s mother called the school and learned it had been closed permanently because of flooding. The school was located in the lowest part of the valley and, apparently, many volunteers were trying to make a barrier with sand bags in order to repel the water. Father had gone to work, as the factory did not close for rain or for anything else. Mother was attracted to the idea of helping the school but the children were too happy about not going to class that it would have been cruel to take them there anyway.

 Marina decided to spend the time writing. She had been reading a lot about poetry and thought she could give it a go but after an hour she realized it was much more difficult than what she had thought. Then, she decided to try drawing but that wasn’t much better either. Bored with the outcome of her attempts at being an artist, she decided to help her mother with lunch. They did a gorgeous steaming hot soup, with all kind of vegetables in it and pieces of chicken. They all needed something like that to warm up the bones; after all, the rain didn’t seem to recede in any way.

 After they had the soup, Marina decided to cook one of her pies. True, she had lost of the fruit she had picked the day before, but her mother still had some lemons and all the ingredients to make one. So she started cooking and realized the feeling she had when doing a pie was the one she would have want to have when writing a poem or drawing some scenery. It was that permanent bliss, that strange peace that sets in when one does what one likes. When she finally put it in the oven, she looked through the window and then she was sure she had seen an elderly woman outside. But after blinking and getting close to the window, she realized the woman was not there.

 Maybe it was because she had been inside the house for too long… She had started imagining things. After all, the day before, she never saw the face of the woman that had talk to her. Marina thought she was just too eager to have something special happening to her and that’s why she was imagining things. When the pie was done, she gave a warm slice to her brother and mother, along with some tea. Her dad arrived just when they sat down and she gave him a slice too. For the first time in a long while, they had a nice time as a family. There was no fight or no unusual tension. Her father told them about the flood down in the valley and how the factory had been closed earlier to also prevent flooding.

 They chatted for hours until night came and mother started heating up some soup for everyone. It was then, when Marina went to her room to look for her notebook, that she saw the woman again. From her bedroom window, she saw the old lady looking at the house, at her. She smiled when Marina looked at her. The girl pulled away from the window, breathing heavily. Apparently, she was the voice in the rain. It was two coincidental… What did she want? Why did she think Marina wanted to forget something? Or was it a trick to lure her into the forest.

 Marina then decided to wait for everyone to be asleep and then she would go outside, not minding the rain, and demand an answer from the woman. She waited patiently, distracted by her family during dinner. Somehow, her father was in a great mood, telling jokes and holding their mother’s hand often. Mason had spent all they making small clay characters and they all congratulated him because they were just great. Even Marina got to confess to her family how much she loved doing the deserts, cooking. She told them about that feeling, the kind that fills your heart when you do something that you love.

 Her parents encouraged her to keep learning all about it, about confectionary and cooking in general. They knew she could be great as all her creations were just delicious. Their support almost made her cry and it was Anseon asking for food that distracted her and made them all laugh. After some time, they decided it was time to go to bed and see how the next day was going to be like. Marina volunteered to wash the dishes and her father stayed at the dining table trying to fix a clock that hadn’t worked in many months. When she finished, she looked through the window and then to her father, who was immersed in the fixing of the clock.

 Marina decided to sit at his side at the table and just speak to him. She did so, without stopping. She told him about how she was going to go to the forest again, following and old woman she had seen her earlier that day. She told him she felt that woman had something to say or to do and she needed to find out about it.


 Her father turned to her, smiling. This confused Marina. When he started talking, it was in a very soft voice, almost melancholic. He explained that woman had been seen often in the last few years. The forest was haunted, indeed. By a woman that had thought that the best way to deal with thing was forgetting about them if they hurt or if they're scary. That woman, he explained, was a rumored witch, an ancestor of theirs. He advised Marina not to acknowledge her but never to forget about her because she represented that which they should never do, which is ignoring problems. He then told his daughter to bed and rest as the next day they would be helping people in town. She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and went upstairs with Anseon to sleep, a dreamless sleep.