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

lunes, 29 de enero de 2018

No idea

   For a moment, we held our foreheads one against the other. It was not a comfortable position but it was the one we somehow needed to hold for a moment. I felt his breathing near me and even his heart pumping blood all over his body. I could see his pores and even smell the chicken and egg sandwich he had eaten for lunch. His eyes were shut but mine were open, looking at him and him only, wondering if that moment was really happening or if I had been transported to another strange dimension.

 But it was not one thing or the other. It was just one of those moments in drawing class when the teacher asks two students to come forward and pose for the rest. Of course, we would all be having actual models later in our careers and in college, but for the time being it was best to use ourselves as pieces of art. My partner in the exercise, Alex, was a kid that never spoke too much and that used to carry a huge block all over the place. He would always draw when there was no class to go to.

 What I did in those empty spaces of time between classes was to hang out with other students or go to the library and try to pass the time reading magazines or sitting in one of the many computers available for investigation. I would invent something to do for myself and then spend the rest of the afternoon there. I had never been a very social person, which might have made Alex and me really close but we were still two very different people. He was, and always had been an artist. I wasn’t.

 My family was made up by my father who was an engineer, my mother who was an architect and a sister that had recently left to pursue her career as a publicist. She would write to my mother almost daily about all the exciting things she was doing for herself and I would have to listen to my mom talk about it over and over again, during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister too but sometimes it was a bit too much of the same damn subject. But then again, there wasn’t another.

 My decision to become an artist had been subject of the most passive resistance I had ever witnessed for my parents. Thank God, that had happened only for a month, the time between the first payment and the first actual day of college. And had decided that to be my route in the blink of an eye after coming out of high school. My parents were not only against the decision because of the career being Arts but because I had never really shown an interest in it or, to be fair, an actual talent for anything that someone might consider an art form.

 Nevertheless, I assured them I was certain that it was the career I needed to achieve my dreams and goals. So they paid for it. My parents would never be the kind of parents that would say “no” to their children. Not that we were spoiled or anything like that, but they always knew when was the moment to say “yes” and they had to intervene. Apparently, this life choice had to be respected, so I entered my first year with the goal to make it all work and make them see that I was right.

 However, my second year had begun and I still had no idea why I was there. To be honest, being weird and not social wasn’t the only reason why people wouldn’t really talk to me. You see, artist love to have other artists to talk about… Well, arts. They don’t really care that much for people with other interests. Just look at any tabloid: most actors or actresses marry other actors or actresses or maybe someone in the business anyway. Yes, they might be exceptions but that seems to be the rule.

 And in my second year, it was quite obvious. Some of my fellow classmates, most of them to be honest, had already discovered what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. The first year had been an introduction to the whole things, so after that, it was kind of expected by the teachers that every single person would have an interest that was more of a goal than any of the other things they would learn about. And the cool thing is that they could start choosing classes that suited those interests.

 That was the reason why my schedule for the year was all over the place. Contrary to most people, I was having a little bit of everything. I had music and pottery and then photography and drawing and writing. There was even a women studies class that I included solely because it gave me necessary credits to graduate. But I had no idea what people were discussing most of the times, except when the discussions got very heated. Then, I loved to see people fight for their causes, even if they were clearly wrong.

 The point is, I had no interests and I wasn’t good at anything. Yeah, my grades were fine. Not excellent or dreadful, just fine. I didn’t excel in anything and I wasn’t a total disaster either. I was one of those students, which always got asked their name, even if I had said it out loud in at least twenty different classrooms. I was sometimes tempted to lie about it but then all these issues and problems came to mind and I just decided either not to raise my hand ever in class or simple say my name always before answering any questions or stating my personal opinion.

The second year drew to a close fast. There were two more years and then we would have to choose what we would do for our finals. We didn’t really have many exams, like in other careers. We had to build a project and then just do it. I think that was the worst part of it all. I had no idea what to do and I started worrying about it the day that second year ended. Those holidays were not really relaxing at all. My back would hurt every single day and the number of nightmares was growing exponentially.

 It was so bad, that I decided to go to the shrink that the university had in campus to help students. Of course, he helped people with bigger issues than mine but I went there anyway because I actually thought he could be able to help me. The moment I saw the amount of people waiting for their slot of time, I was baffled at either how many people had so many issued in college or how bad this doctor was at what he did. You’re supposed to not go back if your problems were solved, right? Isn’t that the deal?

 I went there for about two weeks and then never came back because I had no idea why I was going at all. I realized the problems I had were becoming worse because that damn shrink wasn’t helping at all. He was actually trying to get to my deepest insecurities and private pains, and that would have been a box that I didn’t need to have open. The weirdest thing was, a month later, when I ran into him in an elevator and he looked at me the whole ride, clearly wanted some sort of an excuse from me.

 Surprisingly, I came up with my project’s idea one day, when Alex came into the library and just started talking about what he was going to with his own project. I listened to him for a while and then we had to leave because the librarian thought we were being too loud. He finished telling me his story sitting on a bench near the cafeteria. I remained silent until he asked me for my opinion and I had to be honest with him: I had no opinion because how would I dare to criticize someone who had already thought it all through?

 And then it hit me: I was going to be the subject of my own project. I would do something like a collage of various forms of art in which I would always be at the center. My struggle to know who I was would be my theme and the subject would be me.

 I had fun making it all, coming up with the ideas and telling all the professors about it. Yeah, they didn’t really get as excited as I was but at least I got a nice grade and Alex became some sort of friend. We even talk nowadays, when he’s not looking up at the ceiling. Oh, and I still don’t know who I am.

lunes, 25 de diciembre de 2017

One kind of Christmas

   Last Christmas, he came out of the bathroom disguised as Santa Claus. I laughed at first but then realized it was supposed to be a sexy thing between the two of us. He did a striptease for me and then began to pull some presents of a big red bag he had brought out of our bedroom with him. A couple were sex toys, intended for both of use whenever we wanted to spice things up in the bedroom, not that we ever needed that. But one of the gifts was something else, something I wasn’t expecting.

 It was a little red box with only a simple ring inside. It had a smooth surface, resembling a little donut made of silver. When I saw it closer the next day, I smiled thinking he had been a very smart man by buying the one that I liked and then he would keep the gold one. Each ring was unique, as according to them we were different and that made us a better couple, but inside each little piece of jewelry, there was the name of the other one, the other person forming the relationship.

 That way, he would always be close to me and I would always be close to him. I changed from been excited and, frankly, very horny, to being on the edge of my seat, crying in silence, as I had never thought such a gift would come my way. I mean, yes, we had talked about it before but it had never been serious at all. I had no stable job, living from one thing to the next and his salary was just enough to survive for a month. His bank account was always empty by the time he received his next paycheck.

So marriage or whatever one would call it, wasn’t precisely something we had been planning on. We didn’t even lived together, not exactly at least. He would spend a couple of weeks in my place and then I would spend some time in his place. He always left socks or underwear in my place, in my drawers and on the washing machine. And my favorite sweater always had a certain tendency to end up in his closet, although I was certain that had to do with him loving it as much as I did.

 We wore different sizes of clothing but we sometimes shared, especially in the morning when it was difficult to find what one had wore the night before. I had answered phone calls or the door many times wearing only one of his work shirts. He always told me not to do that because then he would need to either iron them or send them to the cleaners, and none was a choice he enjoyed. But then he gave me mixed signals when he had sex on the couch just because he had seen me wearing nothing but that. It was funny and exciting, two words that described what we had together.

 The reason why I didn’t accept his proposal right away was the fact that his company was sending him far away, to a symposium or something like that in a city with beaches and many beautiful people to watch. He tried to convince me to go and I needed no convincing at all, the problem was the money, as I had no savings to just take a short holiday. I had to look for work everyday and there was no option for me to stop doing that, unless I won the lottery or something as insane as that.

 So I asked him to give me some time to think about it, because he wasn’t going to be there for a while and I had to be sure I wanted to change our relationship in such a way. I made it very clear that I didn’t wanted to end the relationship and that my decision wasn’t motivated by me not loving him anymore or something of the sorts. It was exactly the opposite: I loved him so much that I really wanted to make the best choice for us both, as marrying would be a huge thing for the both of us.

 He left for his symposium the day after Christmas. We had been in bed for hours before that, making love but also kissing, holding each other and enjoying each other’s silence. I loved him deeply and wanted the best for him, I really did. And I knew he had asked me to marry him because he was in love with me and he wanted, in a way, to make sure what we had together was never going to change. It was understandable so that’s why we tried not to talk about it too much, until I told him one-way or the other.

 Oddly enough, I felt devastated when the taxi came and he left in it, smiling to me, trying to cheer me up. But it was right then when I realized my mind had been made up for a while. Who was I kidding? Yes, money and all that stuff is always a problem but, there are some things that you just have to do, no matter what and being sure to stay with the person that you love forever, is one of those things. So I went up the stairs, running to my apartment, and I wrote him I would be happy to marry him.

 He didn’t say a word to me until two hours later when he made a bunch of people on his plane dance and cheer because of our engagement. He told me he would have a glass of wine and celebrate in his hotel room jumping around. Sure enough, he did call me later that night, while I was getting to go to bed. He was so happy and looked even more beautiful than always. It was contagious to see him smile so much, asking all sorts of silly questions and wishing me to dream with angels and with him. And I did have a dream about him, a really good one.

 One week passed and we tried to write each other everyday but it was very difficult. His office had decided to stay a while there after the symposium, as their whole goal had been to open an office in that city. In order to do that, they proposed him a raise in exchange for more work and a lot of effort put into making the whole new office thing work. According to his estimates, which he told me half asleep, the whole thing would take at least a month, maybe even a little more.

 He tried to make smile after telling me the bad news but I just couldn’t. Deciding had seemed easy once I knew hat I felt but then I realized I actually needed him to be around in order for the whole thing to work. He had asked me to look at restaurants to reserve in order for us and our parents to celebrate after getting formally married, but it all seemed pointless with him so far away. Besides, he always looked too tired or too distracted to talk about anything related to the wedding. So why bother?

 Then, the unthinkable happened. As his stay on the beach city turned into its third week, I received a phone call that changed my life. A company had been looking for me because they had an interest in new talent to come work with them. Apparently, they had gotten a copy of my resume and that had been enough for them to call me and schedule an appointment. I was very nervous throughout the whole thing but the people seemed very nice and comprehensive of everything I told them.

 Strangely, the day he decided to call and tell me his office had asked him to stay there to head the new office, the people from the interview had called me to offer me a full-time job which paid more than I would ever imagine someone would pay to a creative person. I almost didn’t have the courage to tell him, but I did. We had to talk about it; we had to make a choice. Either he stayed in his old job, something that made him mad and depressed, or I would stay jobless for longer, maybe forever.

 We decided to think about it and talk another day. Three days passed until we got the chance to talk again. He had been busy and, frankly, me too. He told me he had decided to accept the job and I told him my first day was already scheduled.

 Nothing was heard in either end of the call, for a while. His face was grim and so was mine. We did not want to day what we knew had already happened, because it would mean it was a fact. We didn’t wanted to accept things had already changed, and that was too late for us.

miércoles, 2 de agosto de 2017

The planetarium

   The planetarium was almost empty. The small crowds of the morning had been gone for a while and now only two couples and a sleeping guy were beneath the dome, not really witnessing the lightshow that had been made to teach people about stars, planets and all other astronomical bodies. However, there were two other people in the room. They were there only for a couple of minutes but enough for one of them to look at the massive Milky Way for quite a while.

 His name was non important. His service badge had the number 954. The number was always assigned randomly, with no real meaning. It was just a way for people to know something and, at the same time, not knowing a single truth about the person they were in front of. He would wear his badge everywhere when on duty and, on secret missions like these, he would have it somewhere on him to pull out fast or throw away in an instant, anything to live a bit longer in order to survive, step by step.

 He had arrived too early at the meeting but he had done so because it would have been too obvious if they had met on the street or even in front of the planetarium. And if they had entered at the same exact time, people would have noticed something else going on. So he just got there earlier, his hotel being pretty close to that place, and had witnessed most of the lightshow without a sound interrupting the narration, except maybe the snore of the sleeping guy on a back row.

 The agent sat down and waited. As he did that, he remembered his childhood, when he asked several times for stickers that lighted up in the dark in order to decorate his room. His mother tried to buy him some but she gave up after a couple of outings. Besides, his dad was against it the moment he knew of the kid’s request. The man declined to buy his son anything, especially not when he was doing so poorly at school. 954 had to repeat that grade the following year.

 Stars were just things that had fascinated him for a long time and they were also one of the things he had given up during childhood. When he looked back at those days, he felt that maybe he hadn’t really lived as a kid. His parents had always been so different and he was trapped often in his discussions. It was especially hurtful when they blamed him for things they hadn’t done in life, as he had been born very early in their relationship. He eventually learned that they had married only because of him. One of his grandparents told him, as if it was nothing.

 The exchange went fast. Agent XDE had come a long way for the information and she really didn’t feel like staying more than needed in that dreadful city. It was a very strange thing but she had been born in a city and hated every single urban landscape she had ever seen. This was because the only good memories she had had taken place far from those places, in nature, where animals lived and everything had a really nice feel of freedom and excitement about it. It felt true.

 She had landed her job just as she had come out of college. She was a very brilliant student, who had been fortunate enough to go to a very private and respected high school. She had done so many things to earn people’s respect that it wasn’t a surprise when the government started offering her jobs. Most of those jobs involved working on offices and she hated the idea of being in a closed environment. It was her that proposed them to work as an agent and they gladly complied.

 Her training was done faster than most recruits and she was sent to her first mission at the same age other girls are trying to fit in college and find what their passion in life is. She didn’t want their life and was successful in using everything she had in life in order to progress faster than others and always be ahead, no matter the costs. She had learned to be self-reliant and didn’t care at all about other people. Spies exist to prevent evil to destroy common people but she didn’t care at all.

 The adrenaline of her job was what kept her going; from the moment she stepped in her first mission. She never had an issue when asked if she could separate completely from her family. She even did it before they asked her.  XDE was assigned as her code and it was a series of letters she had chosen for herself and submitted them to her bosses. She didn’t care about receiving a “no” for an answer and that was because she knew people were afraid of her. She liked that.

 No one ever knew what her code name meant but that was of little importance in the long run. The most important thing she had to offer was her skills: she was fast, effective, silent and with an excellent eye to predict how a scenario would play out. She would play all the possible outcomes in her head and then try to move everything in order for her to get favored. She was a very good manipulator, which explained how she entered the museum without being seen and then out again, in a few minutes. She was one of the best spies the world had ever seen.

 The transaction was as follows: agent 954 was seating on the front row, very close to the projector. The couples were on the middle rows and the sleeping man on the back row. Agent XDE did not enter through the main door but through the one used by maintenance crew and all other people that worked in the planetarium and in the adjacent museum. She did it silently and had previous knowledge the door was always covered in darkness during one of those lightshows.

 When 954 noticed her, he immediately knew who she was. It wasn’t because she was obvious, but it was something about the way she walked or the way she looked at him from the dark, for only a second. He just knew that what he had to do was stand up and walk towards her side of the dome room. Darkness would help the deal get done faster and so it was. When he was very close to her, already covered by darkness, she grabbed his hand in a grip, almost as he wanted to crush it.

 Instead, she passed him a very small tube with whatever his bosses had told him to collect. The woman didn’t say a word. He just knew he had to pretend that he had decided to leave the show and she just disappeared through the same door she had used when entering. The woman almost flew away of the scene like a cat or some kind of incredibly silent creature. In a matter of minutes, she was already grabbing her only suitcase and hopping into a car for the airport.

 Meanwhile, he walked slowly through the planetarium’s exposition halls, watching the beautiful dioramas of how Humanity would colonize Mars and other celestial bodies in the Solar System. He just knew running away wasn’t the best way to do what he had to do. He had to play it cool. So he walked slowly towards the cafeteria and then bought some coffee there. He had in a table by a garden and then left walking as if nothing had happened, towards his hotel.

 The show ended inside the planetarium. The couples left after realizing the lights were on. They didn’t say a word, just walked to the exit in silence, as if they knew they had desecrated a place that was not meant for horny younger people.

 But the sleeping man remained there for a little more. After all, he hadn’t really been sleeping at all. He had just seen a very interesting exchange happened and he was well aware that many people would pay a lot of money for the information that was now in his power.

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Afraid of them

   Each one of them had to be eliminated. There was no point in trying to argue this logic. The fact remained that all of them had been witnessed of something they shouldn’t have and they needed to be killed before they could say a word to anyone. Lucas did a very thorough list where he wrote the name of each person that had seen him move that object with his mind. Every single one of them had to be destroyed unless he considered them to be harmless with that knowledge.

 Actually, he did consider that for a while. After all, it wasn’t like he knew them all personally. All of the opposite, he couldn’t care less about who they were and he did try to convince himself that none of them had seen absolutely anything on that night. But then, someone was stupid enough to tell someone else, maybe as a funny story, and Lucas had to take care of it before it couldn’t expand beyond those two people. His watchful eye had been right then and he concluded it should be a definite answer.

 But, as he planned everything, he thought that probably every single one of those people didn’t really know what they had seen. Maybe they were confused and had decided to deny it or even rejected what their eyes had brought to them because their beliefs did not match any of what was happening with that unique moment in time. It was possible that people weren’t as bad and terrible as he thought they were. But then someone spoke about it and then someone else did and he realized what he had to do.

 A total of one hundred and fifty three people would have to be killed. That was the amount of people that had seen the large explosion he had caused very high in the atmosphere. He had caused that by pushing a bomb that was going to detonate, destroying a whole town. His reaction was to use his mind to push the object as high as he could. That way, the bomb would go off but harming no one. His effort almost caused him to faint but he bomb successfully detonated away from town.

 The problem was that, during that night, the monthly fair of the small town was taking place and, at least, a thousand people were there, eating and enjoying many rides and games. So was he and it was just after winning a plushy on a booth that he discovered the plans of a mad man and had only second to propel the bomb up into the night sky and hope his plan worked. That was why so people had seen his feat and that’s why know he needed to eliminate them all, as they couldn’t be allowed to know what he did, least of all tell anyone else about it.

 For many weeks, he decided to listen to every single person he remembered in the fair. The good thing was that he had a photographic memory and he was able to a complete list of people that had seen the explosion high up in the sky. After that, he followed every single one of them and checked on their lives to see if they had spoken about him at all. This they didn’t know, but he had very good hearing, able to hear a person speaking from many kilometers away, which he used to his advantage.

 He would spend hours hearing what a family talked about during and after dinner. Lucas did that in order to convince himself that maybe some of the people would be able to keep their mouths shut, for the good of the future and because they were afraid to say something out loud that seemed a little bit too crazy. However, that first family finally talked about it almost a week after it had happened. There was no choice in Lucas’s mind. So he entered the house at night and killed them with care.

 The idea was that he didn’t want the police or anyone else to think that someone had silenced those people. Instead, he wanted them to believe that all of these people had died of natural causes. Of course, after the first few, imagination would begin to be much more difficult to harness. But, thankfully, not much of it was needed because no one questioned the first deaths. It was all seen as a coincidence or as tragic ending stories for very happy and, sometimes, very sad stories.

 When he wasn’t doing what he was doing, he punished himself physically for what he did. He did so because it was obvious that he wasn’t killing criminals but all of the other people instead, the good ones, the ones that had families, and something they loved doing and lives that shouldn’t be disruptive of someone who wasn’t able to find another solution for an immediate answer. Lucas blamed himself for not having been able to handle things in a different way, for having to kill.

 Yet, he couldn’t change his plans now that he has started to execute. It wouldn’t make any sense to ignore them and let oust him as what he was. They couldn’t understand what was happening and what had been happening to him since when he was a teenager. Although he had received training, Lucas had never been able to master the complete arts of mind control and everything that had any connection to it. People wouldn’t understand that having those abilities was more of a curse than a blessing. And he couldn’t explain carefully to anyone, it would take much too long.

 Two weeks after his initial decision, only forty-two of the former group was still live. He had killed most of them during their sleep so they could be able to avoid pain and everything related to it. Lucas hated himself every single time he had to do it and would have loved to have a second opinion but there was no one there except him and his plan. He couldn’t be stopped and he honestly regretted that because a good person always wants to be stopped when they do something for the greater good.

 More often than not, the greater good is a way to shield oneself from criticism and understanding. He would have loved all those little children and the adults to understand that he didn’t want to hurt them but that he knew very well, after hearing all of them, that most would like to have his abilities or at least be able to see them in action once more. Once they had seen something so strange, they really wanted to see it again and again, until time came that it made no sense or they decided to be afraid.

 And fear was his number one enemy. Many of them had already planned to speak loud and clear about what they had seen and whom they had seen doing it. Although they felt a little bit of envy, fear was the key in making them move against what had fascinated them at the start. All of those he killed first were that kind of people, thinking they were doing this country a great service by pushing a fellow human into the pool of hungry sharks that was the military or even worse.

No, his powers had to die with him and that was it. He completed his mission almost a year after he had decided that was the only solution. There was no one to recognize that but at least he was in peace, or something close to that, at last. He also decided to never use his powers again, even at home where no one could actually see him. His short run as a powerful man was over. Lucas had so many other things to be worried about and he was glad everything now was on the past.

 But that never actually happened because the death of all those people was on his hands. It doesn’t matter what this intentions were back then, he had killed all of those people in order to protect himself. Every single day, he had to be convinced that what he did was the only choice. But then, months after finishing, a voice appeared in the back of his head and it told him something that he wasn’t expecting: an alternative. His own brain wanted to explain to Lucas how things could have been so different. But at the end of the day, he had to live with what he had learned.