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

miércoles, 11 de octubre de 2017

The day he wanted to be someone else

   Trying to sleep on that big room was an impossible task. Not only the windows had cracks that let the cold wind of the night in, the stone floor prevented anything to be very warm, even under the covers. It was a dreadful place to stay for a night and John had to stay there for, at least, a whole week. It had not been his choice to go on such a remote place for a vacation. If it had been for him, he would have stayed in his cozy tiny apartment, with his cat Michael.

 But a letter had come on the mail telling him to wait for its writer during that week. It didn’t specify a date and the only thing he could learn out of it was that, whoever had wrote the letter, he or she knew a lot about him and about his family. In three pages, he wrote things that only a family member would know. It was very eerie but John had a sister and a brother, so his first reaction was to think it was one of them, or maybe even his parents, who would be most likely to actually written a letter in paper.

 After finishing the letter he emailed his family and told them it was a very funny joke, especially with his birthday approaching, but they all responded that same day telling him they had nothing to do with a letter. They even joked that the world was too advanced for such thing and that they hadn’t touched a piece of paper or a ballpoint pen in years. And to be honest, John hadn’t done either of those things either in a long time. Paper and pens where only in banks. So who was behind all of it?

 He decided not to respond and just doing nothing. Maybe it had been mailed to him by mistake or maybe it was just a very bad joke. There are people in the world that don’t really have a good sense of humor. Many have a deviant kind of humor that only a few people understand and sometimes only them. But the letter was not even funny, on any level. Maybe it was just a random thing, someone hoping to get a reaction out of the blue. It was possible, John said to himself.

 However, as the dates in the letter grew closer, John received another letter. It had the same kind of calligraphy but this time it was way shorter, more concise and had a certain air of urgency. The person that had written knew that it was difficult to believed someone that knew him so well was written but it clarified that it was a matter of life and death. The letter begged for John to go to where it was indicated and wait there for more information. He had to trust his instinct. And then the letter finished with a simple but resonating phrase: “You have to come because you need to close that chapter for good”.

 That really scared John. He had never discussed his past with anyone else. Not even his family knew everything that had happened to him when he was younger, the things he did when he was out of the house. John had always been the kind of child to stay behind, to have a small amount of friends and prefer to play with toys or videogames at home instead of going outside. But he did try to be another kind of person and it was then when it all happened. The trip reminded him of everything.

 He arrived to that sad hotel the day the week indicated in the letter began. He had to ask for a special permit in his office, permit that was strangely granted very fast. It was not very common for him or anyone else there to get permission to leave for a whole week that easily. The whole situation felt really strange, as if someone else had had some sort of hand in the whole matter. It was a very scary situation but he decided to ignore those facts and just do what he felt he had to do.

 The hotel was the only one in that small town, located about three hours away by road. As he had decided a long time ago not to drive a car, he had to take the bus and that experience was worse than anything because of the delays and all of the walking he had to do. It wasn’t that he hated walking around or anything, more that he really didn’t wanted to move more than necessary for whoever had lured him to that far away place. The town was made of maybe twenty blocks, more or less.

 The hotel felt more like a cemetery than nothing else. The only difference was the fact that there was a roof over his had. Aside from that, you could really feel the same kind of cold weather; the same ripe smell all over and that very sad light that makes you feel unhappy about being alive. The second day there, he woke up rather early. After a cold shower, he decided to walk around town and hope he could find the person he was looking for right then. Or should that be the other way around?

 The cold wind was powerful, descending from a mountain range that seemed to be really close. A woman in the grocery store told him the temperature was always the same every single day of the year. No summer days, even if the sunny was high up above them. The rays of sunlight also felt cold in that part of the world. She also realized John was a visitor and she recommended him to go to the nearby hills for some fresh air. She assured him it was much less depressing than the small town. Hearing her say that, gave him a little bit of hope, which felt out of place.

 He went to the hills every single day, for the next few days. On day six, he decided to leave the following morning very early. All that time in such a small town was making him insane. He wanted to hear noise again, to hear babies complaining and people being awful to each other in the street. He wanted to hear the sound of cars and planes and trains and he wanted to have his cat Michael next to him to warm up his feet before going to bed. He didn’t belong there.

 That day, he walked all over the place and stayed in the hotel lobby for at least three hours after lunch in order for his so-called host to come and tell him what it was that he knew, what the hell he wanted to speak with him about. He waited and waited, hearing the sound of the clock and the snoring of the man that tended the front desk. He wanted that awful week to end and was furious to have been made to spend one of his legal holiday weeks in such a sad a depressing town.

 In the afternoon, he headed off to the hills again. He did like to see the landscape, the mountain and a river far away. Sometimes there were some sheep around and he loved to caress them. That day they came again and he wanted to touch them one last time but they left suddenly, as a figure wearing a large overcoat walked towards him. It was a man, a very frail looking man, maybe the same age as he was. When he was closer, John was able to see a scar above one of his eyebrows.

 Then, he gasped and walked back a bit, scared of this vision of the past. Even without saying a word, he knew who that person was. As a teenager trying to get people to like him and having friends, John had stolen the keys to one of his classmates’ parents’ car. It had been done on a dare. He had to steal the keys and drive the car down the road. It was a short trip, a crime without victim. Or so he thought. The man standing in front of him was the kid he had run over that day, so many years ago.

 He had always thought the kid was dead. He had left them there, on the pavement, to die. He had turned around the car and left it at that. He always thought the police would find him. But nothing ever happened and John eventually learned not to think about that day.

 And yet, there he was, the victim of his attempts to be a normal kid. John wanted to be someone else and all he could produce was a horrible accident. His victim had traced him down for a long time and had been watching, waiting for his moment to come forward.

sábado, 7 de enero de 2017

Accidents happen

   The pain in my legs was, for lack of a better word, horrible. Any movement caused me awful pain, so I had to learn to be still or to move only from the waist up, twirling that part of my body like a gummy candy. The bed they had assigned for me was, thankfully, larger than myself and very comfortable. It even had a sweet scent that I couldn't point to but that I found really interesting and soothing. I think it may have been vanilla or something very similar because it reminded me of my past. For some reason, that smell help me calm down whenever my legs would start to make me feel as if I was in front of the devil in the depths of hell. It was that bad and, looking back, I can easily say it was one of the worst moments in my life.

 The accident had caused me to stay in that bed for months, in that hospital located in the middle of nowhere. The number of patients changed dramatically during my time there. At one point, I could swear we were not more than twenty people. Later on, it felt like a filled up prison holding more than a thousand inmates. And I talk about prison because that's how it felt like sometimes and the building really did help to that effect. It was one of those relics from some war long ago and they had tried, without much success, to convert it completely to a hospital. Apparently it had also been a mental house, a school, an orphanage and even a place where alcohol would be hidden from the local authorities.

 The history of the place, without a doubt, was very interesting. But during my stay I could only think about when I was going to be released. The doctors told me, through a translator they had called only for my case, that my recovery was going to be so difficult that it was best if I stayed there for several months. All in all, I stayed there for around five months until I was finally released. The doctors and the nurses were not the most loving or soft people in the world but they were very good at what they did. Maybe I didn't see them smile very often but I know that they did the best they could with my case and thanks to them I was able to recover. Of course, my legs still have some moments of "weird behavior", but I have learned to live with that.

 After all, only centimeters and seconds had separated me from being dead. Everytime I think about the accident, I understand everything a little bit less, if that's even possible. Because I have no idea how I got to be fighting for my life, my legs covered in blood and my body just aching with pain. I have no idea how I endured after all of that but here I am, I guess. It happens often after I shower that I sit down on a chair in my bedroom and I look down to them and I see some of the scars, still visible below a not so thick layer of hair. I am thankful to be alive and walking around because I have no idea how the hell they did it, how they made my legs work as if nothing had ever happen to them. It's just amazing.

 I am not a religious person and doubt I will ever be but, during my stay in the hospital and even recently, I have found myself praying somewhere in my house. I had never done that before but I guess that when death has been so close, you just want to cover your bases. And besides that, I really think it was a miracle that I could walk again. I don't think it was the Lord or anything like that that helped me recover, but I cannot find a proper way to understand how it all came up to this. to me writing about this, here and now, as if had been nothing. It just amazes me every day and I think many people that know me and that know about what happened to me, are just as amazed by all of it as I am.

 Even the stay in that dreadful place is something I will keep forever in my heart. Because in that place I learned to love myself for who I am and not for anything else. I learned to settle down, to calm down even and let things fall into place before I rush into anything. I had many sleepless nights, many moments of reflection during days in which I didn't do much. I even met some great people and, towards the end, I also had a temporary lover who helped me in more ways than one to pull it off, to survive what I was going through. It wasn't easy and I won't, ever, forget that it happened because it is one of those pivotal moments in someone's life. It had to be that bad to get a slightly better with time.

jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016

In a second

   When she opened her eyes, she saw directly into the fire. The flames were in front of her, making her face feel warmer than she wanted to. As much as she wanted to move or get away, she just couldn’t move. Her body felt extremely heavy and her head felt really big, turning like crazy as she closed her eyes again and tried to convince herself she was not awake but sleeping, deep into one of her very crazy dreams. But she couldn’t do that either. It was all true. The flames danced in front of her and she could only look at them, feeling almost burned.

 Suddenly, she felt her body being pulled away from the car, which had being turned upside down. It hurt as the asphalt of the road caressed her skin and clothes. But she couldn’t complain. She couldn’t say a word even if she wanted to because of how weak she felt. Also, she was very dizzy and couldn’t quite understand what was happening. However, she kept her eyes opened because she just couldn’t close them anymore. The heat of the flames seemed far now and all she felt was the smell of it all, which was awful.

 Suddenly, the car exploded and several parts rained all over the place. One of them fell a bit too close to her face but she didn’t really mind at all. It was as if she was looking at a movie, at something she wasn’t really involved in. Her eyes were open the whole time and her brain worked so slowly she never really asked herself who had pulled her away from wreckage. She was just too shocked to think of anything. After a while, she felt very tired and decided to close her eyes for a moment. She fell asleep and only woke up many hours later in an ambulance.

 It was for long though. The only thing she saw was a very big needle and some blurry guy holding it. Or maybe it was a woman… She had no idea but she did now that a sudden pain invaded her body and then she was immersed again in the world of slumber. She dreamt about an ice cream shop she had loved as a child. Her father used to take her there in secret, as her mother was not very keen on sweets. They would ask for the ice cream and eat it in under thirty minutes, almost as a challenge to themselves before they had to head home.

 She woke up again many hours later, in a hospital bed. This time, the moment she opened her eyes, she felt the strongest headache she had ever felt. It seemed as if it was going to break her head into two parts. The pain was so awful that she screamed and in seconds two nurses came rushing in and injected what was probably a sedative on her IV. She calmed down but the headache was still there. She tried to tell them, tried to explain to them how much it hurt. But no words came out of her mouth. She couldn’t speak a word.

 When she woke up again, it was a very bright day outside. The light rushed into her room and she felt kind of happy to see the light after so much time spent in her dreams. However, her mind was still working slow, as well as her body. She was thankful because the headache had disappeared and she could at least look at the window without feeling a huge pain in her head. She looked on for a long time, so long in fact that the rays of sunlight changed angles as she stared at the world outside of which she couldn’t see very much.

 Outside, the sky was very blue and just a couple of thin clouds floated high above everything. Aside from that, she could only see some building, all made of bricks. She had no idea where she was or how but she was sure it was a safe place. Although, she did wanted to go back home as soon as possible. So much so, that she tried to get out of bed to have a better view of the window in order to know where in the city she was and if she could maybe walk home. She knew there was a hospital near her house, so maybe that was it.

 But when she attempted to move her legs, they didn’t respond. She attributed it to how slow her mind was running, so she decided to take a deep breath and then try again. But again, nothing happened. She looked at her legs and slowly touched them as much as she could. Her arms were not very long and they felt extremely weak, but she reached down as she could in order to verify what was going on. In that precise moment, a nurse entered the room and saw her. She then rushed back out, yelling someone’s name.

 The woman stopped trying to touch her legs and rested her body against the pillows. She felt exhausted and tried to think about what just happened: she couldn’t feel her legs. She couldn’t move them at all. Why wasn’t she reacting more violently to this revelation? Why didn’t she felt compelled to yell or cry or whatever? Her head felt like a balloon, filled with air that didn’t let her think of anything. She pulled her head back and closed her eyes, trying to get back to her last memory before the hospital. But that seemed to be almost impossible.

 The door opened again and this time it was a man dressed in those mint green uniforms that people often used in hospitals. She looked at him quietly, as he checked the machines around him. A nurse was behind him, taking notes. He then checked his patient by looking at her eyes and then checking her ears and skin. He asked for her to pull out her tongue but she didn’t seem to hear or understand what he had said. He tried again but she didn’t do anything.

 Then, he pulled out a very small bottle from his pocket, along with a syringe. He filled it with the liquid in the bottle and injected it directly into her arm. At first, she didn’t feel a thing. But then, it seemed as if whatever that liquid was, it worked as a way to shake people up in the most violent way possible. She suddenly felt pain and many thought rushed into her head. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Sounds were loud, maybe too loud and the sunlight felt too bright. She covered her face and cried, trying to control what she was feeling.

 After a while, the pain and awkward feelings went away and she knew exactly where she was and what had happened. She was finally aware of everything and not in some sort of trance. Whatever the doctor had put in her bloodstream, it eliminated all the effects from the other shot she had received. She was no longer a peaceful lamb that couldn’t even think for herself. She was her again, with every single memory and pain possible. But she couldn’t remember why she was there. As much as she tried to remember, it seemed hidden somehow.

 The doctor asked her if she knew her name. The woman said it out loud, hearing her own voice for the first time in a while. Then, he asked if she could remember the reason why she was there. She indicated that she couldn’t and asked him to tell her because she was going mad trying to remember, trying to go back to at least a sound or an image or whatever that could help her remember. The doctor said she had been in a car crash, having been expelled out of the car by the force of the impact. That’s why she had some cuts all over.

 When he said it, she looked at her arms and realized that was true: she had small cuts on her skin. And suddenly she remembered the flames and someone pulling her away from them. She told this to the doctor and he asked her if she knew who had done that. She replied that she couldn’t remember a face but that it had probably been her husband. But then the doctor looked at the ground and got closer. He explained his patient that it was not possible that her husband had done it because he had died instantly in the crash.

 The news hit her hard. She started crying and was held by the doctor for a moment. When they separated, she looked at her legs and realized what had happened. She looked at the doctor and he nodded, words being useless at that point. She cried in silence and the doctor left with the nurse. It was a lot to take for her and she was going to need all the time in the world to adjust to the fact that, in a single second, her whole life had been turned upside down, almost destroying her in the process.

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

Big versus small

   Amanda hated that big departments store, the one that had being opened just a few months ago by the highway. It was mainly because every time she drove past it, it was packed with people and everyone from every corner of town had at least been there looking around. Besides the crow factor, she really disliked all those big brands that didn’t really specialize in anything, instead selling every single thing under the sun. It seemed greedy to her, from a business point of view.

 Everyone else loved it, even her own family. The day they had the idea to go to buy some of the Christmas supplies to decorate the tree; she was adamant in buying them in the Christmas store she had always gone to in the neighborhood. It was owned by a very nice woman who brought all of the objects from her town, where many of her family members helped in the process of making the ornaments. But now the number of people going there was diminishing a lot due to the new big store opening so close by.

 She decided to due that shopping herself in the small store from the neighborhood and found everything she needed right there. It was appalling it see that there was not one other person buying anything in the store and it was the precise season to do it. The owner of the store was so grateful, so gave Amanda one extra box of silver handmade balls for the tree. She didn’t wanted to accept them but looking straight in the eye of the woman, she decided it was best not to argue.

 When she returned home, she discovered her family was not there. Amanda was very angry because it was clear they had gone against what she had said. Of course, she hadn’t forbidden them to go to the big store but she was very disappointed that her own family was not supportive of the people they had known their entire lives. When they arrived with bags full of stuff, she ignored them and had an early night.

 Her husband even attempted to have sex with her but she refused, turning all the lights off and giving her back to him. There was no way she was going to have sex with someone that didn’t respect her convictions and everything she stood for. So she just closed her eyes and tried very hard to go asleep fast. She took several hours to do so, whereas he fell asleep in a second.

 The following morning, she discovered the fridge and the cupboard had been filled with products from that big store. Every single thing from there was twice as big as a normal product: the cans of beans left no room in their space, the soda had to be displaced next to the fruit to fit into the fridge. And the ice cream occupied almost the whole freezer compartment. To Amanda, it was obscene.

 Every time in the following days and weeks leading to Christmas, it was really hard to pass by the small store and seeing how no one was entering. One day, she decided to do something about it. She stopped by and looked for the owner. She spoke to her briefly about wanting to help her make the store the preferred Christmas store once again. The old woman was not convinced as she thought the big store was too attractive for people to stop going there.

 She confessed Amanda to have been there and told her hat the boxes of decorated balls and other ornaments for trees had many more product inside and the cost was ridiculously cheap. It was practically impossible to sell something cheaper; it would be like giving it away for free. She seemed very sad about her discovery; maybe even to the point she wanted to cry. But Amanda told her they could make something about it.

 The first step of her plan was doing what Fanny, the owner of the small Christmas store, had done before her: Amanda had to go to the big store and see for herself what it was that people bought there and why they all went there instead of shopping for nicer things in the small family store. It was difficult for her to confess that she had to go there and that’s why she waited for everyone to be busy to do it. Her husband and kids were in their final weeks of work and school, respectively, so it was perfect timing.

 The day she went to the big store, she was able to find a parking space in no time, even with most of them being already occupied. For a moment she felt please but then remembered what her mission was there. Inside, she decided not to ask anyone where to go because she thought it would look kind of strange if she ask for Christmas decorations and days later the other store got new things.

 So she wandered around, looking at the frozen foods section, which consisted of five very long aisles, the pet area that was like a small city and the automobile department, which had a very strong smell of new car, an aroma she had always loved. It was something very difficult to ignore but she was able to do it once she finally got to the Christmas ornaments area, which was packed with people looking for stuff.

First, she took pictures with her cellphone of what they had on display. Then, he paid close attention to the items that people seemed to be buying more. She pretended to be curious about some teddy bears to hang on the tree every time a worker went by her. She knew they wouldn’t appreciate her corporate spying at all. After an hour or so, she decided to go back home and analyze the situation.

 The very next day, she visited Fanny to have a talk about the ideas she had for the store and its products. The first thing was to give it a new look, inside and out. So she did a whole presentation, kind of a proposal to Fanny, of what to do and how to it. Fanny was so moved by the passion Amanda had put into it that she decided to go along and let her try to make her store an important part of the Christmas tradition again.

 Amanda’s family began to wonder where she went every single morning and afternoon. Her and her car disappeared so often that her children began to miss her mother’s presence, even if it was only to complain about something or if they needed her to take them somewhere in the car. Those duties were passed on to the father, which was definitely not very pleased to be the new chauffeur of the house.

 Back in the store, Amanda and Fanny had bought supplies in order to start the remodeling. They weren’t going to do something very deep because there was no time to hire professional to do any profound work. Besides, Christmas was not very far away and they had to take advantage of every single day they had. The idea was to have the store ready by December the 1st, in order for Fanny to get at least three weeks of good sales. Amanda felt they could do it easily.

 The first thing was to ask Fanny’s family in her hometown to change the design on the balls. They had to make new designs, more modern but still hand made. They decided to go with new colors and themes for each of the boxes. The idea was to make every single box of ornaments a very unique one. Fanny’s family was very happy with the idea and they got to work immediately.

 The second part of the remodeling was decoration. They spent a whole afternoon looking for the right paper with the perfect colors to do the decorating inside and outside. They also bought a 3D projector, which illuminated a wall in the outside and gave nice images of Santa Claus and other Christmas characters. That was the most expensive thing but she assured Fanny that it was going to be a great investment.

 They worked together intensely for the remainder of November and when December the 1st came, they held a big inauguration party where they invited every single person in the neighborhood. The new ornaments arrived just in time and they flew off the shelves, having to order a second bigger batch the next day. The store was a success and it was Amanda who had made it possible. She felt really proud of her work. She had proven everyone, including herself, that she had a very good head above her shoulders.