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

jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2016

He was a friend

   The problem with having people over was that Tom’s place was always a mess. He tried to keep it clean; to make it look like someone responsible lived there, but it was impossible for him to keep that façade up. He had to confront the fact that he was not the most organized person in the world and that he shouldn’t have said “Yes” when asked if he could have his friends over for their weekly gathering. They had that tradition since they started having their own places. It was an excuse for seeing each other more often because if it weren’t for that dinner, they wouldn’t know anything.

 Marina had almost always hosted the dinner. She had the most beautiful apartment of the group and her husband was very relaxed about them meeting up so often. Sometimes they only met every two weeks because she had something else to do or her husband needed his space so they just didn’t get together. If it wasn’t her house, they sometimes used Greg’s place but the problem with his house was the fact that it was too far away from anyone else’s and that he had a baby so they had to keep it silent and very short.

 So Tom had a lot to do before his friends came over. By his request, the dinner was changed fro mthe usual Friday to Saturday. He knew that if he needed time to plan the whole thing and it was going to be an important meeting because the New Year holidays had just ended and it hadn’t seen each other in weeks. They would normally call for a pizza or something like that but he really wanted to impress them as he had always been the loser of the group, the one that never did anything too impressive, the one that was still single and working a menial job.

 Yes, Tom wanted them to see another side of him, a side that he would hopefully actually have. As he started planning, he realized he was really as dull and simple as anyone would think. His job was really not interesting so they never spoke about that but he always got so tired from it that he had almost no time to actually read or hear about other things in the world. He didn’t have any real knowledge about the interesting things of life. He only knew about the boring corner he occupied in the world and that was it. So he really had to make an effort.

 The first thing was actually planning the dinner. Even in the New Year’s Eve dinner with his family, he had his old timey notepad and a pencil with which he would write ideas for things to eat. His brother insisted he should just order a pizza and garlic bread but they always did that and he wanted to impress them with something they couldn’t see coming. The garlic bread was a nice idea, so he wrote it down and his mother told him a good salad is always welcome so he wrote that down too. The idea was to have many simple things around.

 The days before the meeting, he decided to buy most of the things he needed for his dinner in order to do them first and see if he could do it all by himself or if it really was a better idea to just ask for a pizza. He used the oven and borrowed a bunch of kitchen equipment from his mother, as he didn’t have anything to do proper things at his place. He didn’t even have a blender, just a couple of pans, a cooking pot and the microwave. Tom had to borrow his father’s car too to be able to take all of that back to his place. They thought he was going crazy.

 The first thing he decided to do was the salad, which he thought was the simplest of the dishes he had wrote down. He decided to do one mixing vegetables and fruits. It was supposed to be something refreshing and filled with flavors. He did everything the recipe called for but at the end, he doubted the result was the same as in the recipe. Apparently, the fruits and veggies he had chosen weren’t in their best moment. Some of them were too “green” and others were too ripe. It wasn’t to be surprised, as he had never picked up so many things from the supermarket.

 He put the salad on the side and decided it would be nice if he kept it on the refrigerator. Then, Tom decided to make the garlic bread. It was a rather simple thing to do. His trial test was going to be with cheap bread he had found in the supermarket. Again, he had made the wrong choice, as the bread was much too hard, like a rock. It was almost impossible to cut it. But once he did, he smeared some garlic paste on it and put it in the oven. The thing was he forgot about it when doing another recipe, so the bread got burned and his second attempt another disaster.

 What he was doing in the meantime was mixing the ingredients to make nice thick waffles. He had found a website that advised against the mix they sold in a box and encouraged people to do the mix themselves. The whole kitchen got covered in flour and a couple of eggshells ended up in the mix. He let it harden a bit when he got the garlic bread out of the oven so when he mixed it again, it had a very rough texture, not very similar to the one in the pictures of the website. When he tried it in the pan, it just got stuck there and burned like the bread.

 And all of that happened in a single day, the Monday previous to his gathering with friends. He wasn’t ready at all and he was even more of a disaster than he had thought. Tom had never cooked anything for himself and had no idea about entertaining people. He was a shy person, the kind that would always be asked last about a subject, if asked at all. He knew they had put that burden on him because no one else could do it and that thought made him realized he didn’t want to be that person.

 So early Tuesday, he grabbed the phone and called every single was one of his so-called friends and told them that he had decided against organizing their little event. He didn’t explain why or anything like that. He thought it was best not to say anything that they could use against him, although he knew they were going to talk anyway. After making all the appropriate calls, he decided to go to bed and rest because he hadn’t been able to sleep properly just because of that stupid meeting being in his brain for weeks and weeks.

 A surprise came in Wednesday, after having been able to sleep for ten straight hours. A girl from college called Alicia had come to his door to visit, out of the blue. When he buzzed her in, he didn’t really realize what he had done. But then he did and he started picking up the trash from the floor but then stopped and realized that didn’t make any sense. If Alicia was there, it was because the others had told her about the cancelled reunion. She wanted to know more and he shouldn’t just fake that everything was perfect when it wasn’t.

At the end of the day, that mess in his house was what made him Tom. He was that mess and it was the most original version of his own self. Nothing more could be as perfect to describe him as that pile of things all around, ranging from papers and notebooks to all the ingredients that he hadn’t used and wasn’t going to use for anything, never again. He even had some clothes on the floor, mainly the ones he would pick up and put in bag to take to washing machines in the basement of the building. It was one of those places.

 When Alicia arrived, he greeted her on the door and didn’t ask her to come in. He just wanted to know what she was doing there. She said that a bunch of people, including her, were worried about him because he had cancelled out of the blue. She reminded him that he was always so worried about arriving on time to their other meetings and often gave money for more pizza, so it was weird that he would just cancel the gathering that he was in charge of. So Alicia was just there to receive an explanation and she really got one.


 Tom said he was tired of being the last person they always thought of, except when they needed money or some idiot to do shit for them. He told Alicia to told every other person in their so-called “friend group” that he wasn’t going to be the same idiot that he had been since college. Maybe he wasn’t brilliant or successful or anything, but he still deserved some respect. He closed the door on her face and decided it was a nice time to order a pizza, all for himself.

sábado, 3 de septiembre de 2016

Phalanx mystery

   Everyone that crossed William’s path was always amused by what he did for a living: he was the marketing manager in a company that sold condoms called Phalanx. He was very popular at parties, telling one and ten stories about the funny things that happened both in his department and in the factory where the condoms where actually made. He even knew some other stories about people that had called the Phalanx hotline in order to ask silly questions that no one ever knew if they were real or false.

 The point was that he had a lot of fun at work and out of it. However, for a person that saw condoms so often at work, he didn’t really get to use a lot. In one of those ironies of life, William had not had a real sexual encounter in a long time. He was a very busy person and he always failed to have time to party or socialize except for the events hosted by Phalanx. The few times he met people was in those parties but they were always funny for a while but not for the long haul.

 Every single Monday at the office, they held pitching sessions in which any of the employees of the company could present new ideas to make the product more attractive. Normally, they would laugh a lot more than do actual work but sometimes, once every six months almost, they got a very clever idea that could easily become a big thing in the world of condoms. Anyhow, it was a very fun thing to be in and most people were very serious about their ideas.

 There was the typical things like making condoms into different sizes or different flavors and colors, but then they were the crazy people telling them to sell condom certain foods in supermarkets, or not only having flavors but also smells, which everyone thought was absolutely awful. They laughed a lot the time that someone proposed to print images on the condoms and even the possibility of personalizing them with your signature. It seemed like a good idea but it wasn’t.

 There were some good ones like having a guy dressed like a penis or condom in some popular area and make him do funny dances and stuff and then handing out pamphlets about how important it was to use condoms. Others had made proposals about the packaging and image that they were really considering. As in any industry, they needed to keep innovating and doing different stuff or they would get obsolete.

 But there was one presenter William remembered for weeks after they moved on. William had always identified as a straight man but somehow that man had captivated him and he had no idea why. It was something more than looks and his idea. It was something he could really pinpoint.

 The man’s idea was very simple: in each one of the condom packaging’s, putting a drawing of a different position in order to kind of make it like a challenge towards the couple that was going to use the prophylactic. Everyone received the proposal to mild enthusiasm and only William seemed to be distracted by the guy that was in front of him. For weeks, he had him inside his head moving around, appearing in the weirdest moments and it was a long time after that, when they were executing some of the ideas people had pitched, when he realized why he thought of him so much: he knew him.

 That day, after all work was done, he went to the archive room and asked fro the file on that man. Apparently, he had been working in the office for as long as William had been there. He was his same age and had gone to the same college too. The difference was that that guy hadn’t been able to ascend in the company whereas William had climbed that ladder a lot faster than anyone else ever before. He was very talented at what he did.

 When he got home that day, he was relieved to realized he didn’t like the guy for his looks or something like that but because he unconsciously knew something weird about him. He couldn’t really remember him from any of the classes in college but apparently something inside his brain did remember him and had been curious to reveal that.

 As tired as he was, William relaxed that day with a bubble bath. He was so tired that he fell asleep inside and only woke up because he was slowly sinking into the water. When he got out of there, he just dried himself up and fell asleep naked as he was on the bed, above the sheets. He must have woken up at four in the morning only to crawl under the covers because of the cold.

 After the weekend, he stumbled into his old college partner in the elevator on the way to his office. It was kind of an awkward moment: there was some tension between them but William had no idea why. He knew now that he wasn’t interested in that guy physically and that was the only thing that had been weird before. But now everything was tension and looking down to their shoes and it was very strange.

 For the rest of that day he didn’t really pay attention to anything else because his mind was still trying to understand what had happened in that elevator. He tried to remember anything about that man but he just couldn’t remember him in college. Maybe crossing him one or twice in the hallways but that was it. He was so distracted during the pitching session that day, that he missed every single one of the funny presentations. His fellow managers would laugh and he would just smile.

 The following day, he was lucky enough to have dinner with a friend from college he had not seen in a while. She had always been one of his best friends back in college and now she worked out of the country in a job that paid very well. So they got together and talked and laughed and drank and ate. It was a very fun evening. When the dessert was brought to them, William remembered the man from his office and instantly asked his friend about him. He described him as well as he could and she was surprised by the degree of detail he was able to give her.

 His friend had no idea of whom he was talking about. Then, William looked for a picture on his cellphone and showed it to her. Crazy as it seemed, William had taken a picture of the file on the guy in order to remember his face the next time he saw him and now he got to show to his friend so he didn’t see how awkward it was.

 Then, she immediately recognized him. Trying not to laugh at her friend for having some random guy’s picture on his cellphone, she reminded him that that guy had been a good friend of the people they used to hang out with during college. He would even go to some parties with them although she didn’t even remember his name. He wasn’t a particularly social person but she knew she had seen him a number of times around there with them.

 William thought about that for a long time. He looked at the guy’s picture that night before going to bed and then spent a good half hour trying to sleep but really thinking about why he had no idea of who that person was. The next day at the office, he got the rumor that many people were being laid off because the company had decided to wipe out a whole section in order to make room for new people that were going to be in charge of social media and such.

 As he went to get coffee, he saw the guy from college with a single box, eyes very red, standing in front of the elevator. He had no idea why, but he walked towards him and asked what was wrong. The guy was obviously surprised to see William but he just answered the question: he had been fired. William offered to help him with the box and in the time from there to the first floor, he was able to remember who that guy was.


 They had kissed once in a party. William had been very drunk. He was sure to have vomited at least a couple of times that night. And somehow, in between all that, they had kissed. He gave the box to the guy and told him to call him if he needed any help. The guy seemed confused by that and honestly William was too. He didn’t know why he had said it but he thought it was the right thing to do.

martes, 19 de julio de 2016

Early

   Gustav had been waking up early for year. Since he was a baby, he had a thing for waking up his parents very early in the y day and not been able to sleep until it was later in the day, so late that their whole morning routine was disturbed by his actions. They didn’t need a clockwork because his timing which was always perfect. Every single morning at nine o’clock he would start crying and would do it for about two hours until he stopped and resumed later that day, in the evenings.

 After that, in preschool, he was considered a very different little boy. He woke up before his mother and his father and was able to serve himself a glass of orange juice which he drank as he waited for them to wake up. The bus picked him up at seven and he woke up at six every single day, no exception. As he got older, he was able to dress himself and work the shower in order to have the water in the right temperature, the one he preferred.

 In his preteens, he was teased by all the other kids because of such things. As per usual, they didn’t like him because he was so different. He wasn’t a genius or anything like that. His parents thought he would demonstrate at an early age his remarkable brain and that they would have to homeschool him because of how special he was going to be. But the truth was much different: he was only different because his eyes started to bother him from an early stage and glasses were needed sooner than expected.

 Gustav knew he needed the glasses but he was sure to take them out whenever he was able. He liked to take them off in the bus back home or in class when he was sleepy. Most adults didn’t like when he did that but the truth was he had never grown accustomed to sing them. Sometimes, on weekends, he wouldn0t use them at all, instead playing around the house like a normal kid having no problem with his vision.

 As a teenager he was still harassed by his classmates, pushed around occasionally, especially after gym class. It was the favorite moment of the week for jocks who were eager to prove themselves more important than everyone else. Even then, he was the first to arrive to school and that granted him with a special knowledge of everyone’s ways to do things.

 He realized the people that annoyed him had a really bad problem with sleeping so what he did was just avoid them in places they would never go on and if that wasn’t working, he would always know which classrooms were available to tell them in order for him to be released and them to have a nice nap or even for kissing their girlfriend. Whatever it was, Gustav knew it was useful information.

 Even in college, living away from his parents, he woke up very early in the morning to read the notes he had taken the way before. It was his technique for remembering stuff. The other good thing was that he always had a great seat in the earlier classes of the day and sometimes they did put up the most interesting ones very early.

 Different from high school, Gustav became one of those people that everyone knew in college. At first, he didn’t really have any friends but every single person knew who he was. He soon made real friends and in no time he was going to parties and drinking and smoking and doing every single thing teenagers do if they want to defy the authority out up to control them. After all, Gustav was only special in so many ways and, sadly, not really in a significant one that can save anyone from anything.

 Even after weekend long parties, he found himself waking up drunk or with a huge hangover very early in the morning. No one ever did that so that made him very notable in his group of people. It wasn’t that they made fun of him but rather that that they seem to be really captivated by how strange he was. And he knew they were all looking at him so he decided to be more interesting and started changing his clothes and doing more interesting things with that extra time he seemed to have every single day.

 He started to smuggle drugs into the campus the second year he attended college. Some guy he had met at a party told him about the huge amount of money he could get just buy passing the product from one person to the other, he didn’t really had to sell anything, he just had to help the product get to the real buyer. He never really knew who that person was, but he was very excited about being involved in such a thing.

As he woke up so early, he could easily grab the packages from one site and put it in the next without anyone saying anything. The only people that were awake so early were the members of the cleaning crew and many of them were also involved in the network of drug handlers. He was proud of himself because he had proven himself to be useful in some way. He had never felt that, not in his career and not before at home or elsewhere.

The smuggling business lasted for two whole years until some idiot was busted with a large pack of ecstasy pills in a park, at night. Apparently, she had the stupid idea of trying to rob one pill from the package and when she opened it every single pill jumped out of the small bag and fell into the grass in the middle of campus. The police was notified fast by some older woman and the girl was arrested and possibly sent to prison fro drug trafficking. The thrills ended for everyone that day.

 He knew he was lucky that he never got caught but, even so, Gustav was kind of sad that part of his life was over. Soon, he would graduate and he would have to confront the real world on his own. The truth was he didn’t feel ready to take on anything by himself. He used his morning time to walk around, to get to the roof of his dorm and lay down looking art the sky and watching the last stars of the night disappear. He thought of his decisions and his possibilities in a world that asked everyone to be exceptional, special in some way but no one really was.

 When he received his diploma, he came back home for some time. It was nice to see his parents again and feeling they were as proud of him then as they had been years before, when he thought he was the most special little boy to live in the planet. They were really nice people, honest and full of good principles that they had tried to put into his son. But they had failed and that’s why he couldn’t be in their presence for long. It could get very exhausting.

 Soon, he got a job in the city so he moved to a small place and started making a life for himself. He was lucky enough to land a job that required him to be very early every day so he didn’t really mind. He was a cameraman in a morning show and that always happened very early. His coworkers were always very tired in the morning, having to drink two or even three cups of coffee to actually work. He didn’t need that.

 His superiors realized that and decided to assign him to a reporter that was in charge of all the “night stories”. He went all over the city in the darkest hours to report on what was happening like road accidents, cases of violence, curious occurrences and all types of things that happened really late or early in the day. Gustav felt he was in the perfect place, being able to do his work in the best way possible.

 After his first six months, his boss was so impressed with his work that he decided to assign him the job of reporter after the one they had decided to drop out because of the “difficult job schedule”. Gustav was very thankful because he had never thought of being in front of the camera instead of behind it. He got some classes on how to speak properly and he documented himself on the city. By the time he started, every person looking just fell in love with him.


 For that work, he received a lot of praise including several awards that made him kind of a famous personality in TV. He eventually got married and received many other proposals for similar jobs and he would consider them all because he had finally understood he did have something that made him special. It was just it wasn’t the most amazing thing ever.