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

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

The Jones'

   The day the Jones family drove into the quiet neighborhood of Riverview, people of the street decided to greet them personally, as they had done before for every new family arriving to their community. It was a small town and they all believed a good relationship between neighbors was essential to improve the lives of everyone and even in order to prevent major catastrophes like someone disappearing from the face of the Earth or the kids being a little withdrawn.

 However, the Jones’ didn’t receive anyone on their first date. Every single person who went to their door was received by a little girl who told them they were really busy with moving and that they should get back once they had been done unpacking and setting their lives back together. Our of respect, people decided to come back later, although many housewives were insulted to be refused entry, especially if they had cooked something delicious.

 A whole week passed until the Jones’ themselves invited everyone o their home. They sent very nice invitations and tried to make every single family on the street feel they were sorry to make all children look around. Too many people thought that was something only strange folk did and they certainly didn’t wanted to live nearby anyone like that. But the invitations changed their minds, as they were never courted in such a nice way.

 It was a Friday night when everyone attended a dinner party organized by the Jones’. Children were admitted but had to leave the party at 10 in the evening. The Jones family was composed of several people: Lucy and Bert Jones were the mother and father of the family. And it had to be said they were very particular: they only wore black clothes and appeared to be as in love as a couple of teenagers, kissing around and barely showing people more than they needed to see.

 The kids were only too; there was Regina, the young girl that had opened the door for people when they had been moving and Jonathan, a teenager with baggy eyes that seemed to have never slept a day of his life. There was also a very skinny woman that spoke in another language, probably one of the adults mother. And finally, there was Brock. He was a very tall man, with a bit of a silly expression on his face. He seemed to be their employee or something.

 He spent the whole party in a cornet, as if he was verifying that everything was going smoothly. He made the glasses bang chilled again by the staff the Jones’ had brought for the event and he seemed to vanish every so often. A rumor saying they had one more member of their family started to grow after that and because of that strange employee.

 In any case, the party had been a real success. Now every single person knew who they were and, although they were called eccentric and other similar words, the Jones’ became an integral part of the community of Riverview. Yet, children would never go alone to that house, for example if they had lost a baseball or something like that. Children had invented that the woman was a witch that failed to be a proper one. They were scared of her because she was nothing like they were used to.

 In school, the Jones’ children were almost always alones, especially the teenager. He was obviously dressed much more conservatively than the rest of the children and seemed to be sensitive enough to make beautiful drawings and art in general. His teacher was impressed from day 1 because of the small masterpieces Jonathan had created for him in such a small amount of time.

 As for Regina, she did have a lot of friends but sometimes she said she felt alone and strange. She thought sometimes that her family was too uncommon and that because of that she failed to connect with anyone else. And when she did connect, she felt bad because she assumed that wasn’t what a Jones family member would do. They would talk about it and discuss it and see the options. They were very uncommon parents and it was often that the kids had to solve their problems by themselves.

 With the passing of time, the Jones’ house turned into the street every single kid avoid and also every adult ran in from of. It was like if their happiness was sucked away by the sole presence f the house. And then there was that monster, that enormous man that appeared no to be ale to talk. But he did talk but had decided years ago to limit the amount of things he said because he thought it was not necessary.

 Brock was not really a Jones but they had brought him to town and every single person wondered what did he do in that house. It wasn’t as if they had a mansion were help would be needed. Some people saw him in sometimes around the commercial area of town, buying groceries or running errands while the Jones’ were out. Everyone just stared at him because of his height.

 Every neighbor thought he was maybe the weirdest but the parents were not really the most normal people. No one actually knew what it was that Bert Jones did for work. The only true thing was that he left every single morning at the same time and he was the first husband to arrive to his home at night, something that most housewives around there thought was very curious, as they were used to their husbands arriving always late, with food already cold.

 But Bert was always there for dinner and kissing Lucy’s face every time he arrived into his home. It was something the neighbors also grew very curious about, the fact that they didn’t really hide the love they had for each other. No other couples in town were like that, maybe because it was such a conservative place. They were the only ones to actually show that they were in love and that their relationship seemed to work.

 Lucy also left in the mornings, after her husband, but returned very early in the afternoon, possibly to make dinner. Those were the assumptions the many eyes looking at them could make. Maybe she had some type of part-time job or she had something to do with family. Either way, she would always have her black hair in the same style and her clothes were always similar, very dark and kind of revealing for the taste of the community.

 Yet, as odd as they were, the Jones’ always attended the social gatherings. Whenever there was a meeting of the neighborhood patrol or some kind of reunion at the mayor’s office, they would always be there, husband and wife. They liked to help and were always very keen on making others feel happy. It was strange from them but that’s what they did and most of the time their attempts actually work. They were very beloved in that regard and many envied them for it.

 Of course, some people were actually scared and never really bothered to talk to them too much. There had been a small group of people who had refused to go to their welcoming party and had done it because they thought that they had been rude from the start, not receiving people into their home just because they were moving. They also thought they were strange because of their behavior and their looks.

 Jonathan was teased in school by the kids of those people. One day he was sent to the nurse’s office because one of the boys that thought he was weird had pushed him in the yard and he had fallen and hurt his chin. Both Lucy and Bert picked their son up from school that day and they seemed to be very surprised that such a thing had happened there with their son. It didn’t seem like something they understood.

 They lived there for a couple of more years until they felt they had enough of their reputation as “the weirdos” on Riverview. So one good day, a single moving truck took everything away and the neighbors only knew about them leaving when Brock was seeing driving the truck out of the city. The next day, the house was on sale and there was not a single Jones to see. They had tried and failed again. It wasn’t the first town they settled in and many more would come, as they had done for so many years now.

lunes, 13 de julio de 2015

New life

   Just before the quake, all the horses left the fields. The Winston’s employees had left them put to pasture but they had no idea of knowing they would behave so strangely right before and after the quake. They never came back and only a couple could be retrieved from other farms. People were too busy attending to the wounded to worry about some horses. The family had not had any casualties but their offices in the city had been destroyed and that was devastating enough. They lived on their bank and their bank was now destroyed. They had data and other offices but it would take time to put everything in order again. Everything was in chaos though, and what remained of the building had been looted once and again.

 Jonathan and Peter, father and son, had decided to leave for the city immediately, in order to focus on the retrieval of data from their other offices in order to rebuild. So they left Regina and Vivian, mother and daughter, alone with their staff. Only the lifetime gardener and one maid had stayed with them. The rest had, comprehensibly, left their jobs to be with their families. Every single family had at least one casualty so people were just gathering and looking to be together, not to split or fight because someone had been lost. The air was also contaminated with this worry, this sentiment of grief and death. Many said that the city, once a thriving metropolis, was now an enormous graveyard and that all efforts should be concentrated on that, because they needed to go back to normal and that was impossible with that feeling in the air.

 The two women waited for days and later weeks. But Jonathan and Peter wouldn’t come back. The last time they had heard of them, they had said that it was better for them to go to their offices in Hong Kong, where all back up was stored in order to put everything back into place but the women had not heard anything from Hong Kong either. They had called them there and the people at the office assured them that no one had come from the main offices to retrieve anything. Regina just asked them to call if they ever knew anything but they never did because her husband and her son would never go there. She was alone with Vivian and they spent the days, wondering and pacing.

 Finally, on one rainy day almost a full month after the quake, a man from the police came t tell them the bad news. Apparently Jonathan and Peter had been caught up in a skirmish of victims against security forces. The first ones were complaining because of the poor medical attention that was being paid to the people. It was obvious many officials and firemen were used to help the rich get their things back, so the mobs went for everyone. Father and son were there when it all started and they were two of first victims, only identifies until recently. Regina fainted as was helped by the policeman and Vivian went very white and just couldn’t say a word.

 Now, the two women were all alone. They had lived like queens but now their reign was over and they had to face the truth. With the bank collapsing as it was, with former friends becoming their enemies, money started to run out. The house couldn’t stay perfect, as it had always been, forever. So they had to take the difficult decision to sell it, and use part of the money to buy a country house, way smaller than their mansion, in a town nearby. The gardener and the maid had to go too and the day they left, it was the first and only day that the women treated them like family. Finally, one day in autumn, the two women took all that they had not sold with the house, and left their manor forever. Neither of them looked back not even for a final glance at the grand house.

 Regina still hoped they could get some of the money back, or at least keep one of their many business. But when people heard they had been left with nothing, they started to pull off from every single business they had ever established. It all went to hell and the women finally realized they had never had any friends but just people that saw them as a trampoline to make their own lives better. They didn’t resent them however, because Regina knew very well that was what her husband had done with many of them too. They were just paying them with the same currency and she couldn’t blame them for that, even at sight of their awful prospects in a house that had nothing on the manor.

 It wasn’t the poorest house in the world as they had two floors, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a small patch to grow vegetables. But that was not how they felt. Fortunate would not have been a word either of them would choose to describe their situation. Vivian was especially sensitive, as she had been courted by a very handsome and rich man just weeks before the tragedy. And now, of course, he had disappeared in thin air and she knew she would never again have such an opportunity to make her life better. Now, no man with prospects would ever look at her and she would be condemned to marry some nobody or to stay alone and bitter.

 But they couldn’t just mourn and complain. Because the money they had saved would run out soon if they didn’t find a way to get things in order. So Regina decided to start growing several types of vegetables in the garden and asked Vivian to go around town and look for a proper job, something decent but with a handsome pay. Vivian complied but that was an impossible task to fulfill. There was no work as many had left to the city to rebuild. She walked all over town until she got to a bar and realized they were looking for a new waitress. She knew that it wasn’t a great job or a well paying one but it was the only thing she could find. Besides, she could really use a drink or two.

 When Vivian told her mother, Regina wasn’t happy but she wasn’t sad either. She just sighed and realized that life is not what would like it to be and that we just have to do what it’s necessary to keep on moving. She started growing her veggies and in a short time she started selling them to the shops in town. People recognized her and most shut their door on her face, when they knew it was because her and her husband that many of them had lost their life savings. That it was their home, their cursed manor, and the one that had caused all of their misery along the years. No one wanted to help the woman that had been there and did nothing and she felt miserable because they weren’t wrong at all.

 Tired and with her feet hurting, she tried one last house and when they opened she realized whose house it was. Because it was her former maid Rosie the one that had opened the door. She didn’t know what to say and was about to run away but Rosie grabbed her hand and made her come in. Regina didn’t know Rosie had a convenience store in her home, were she sold flour, sugar, rice and many other things. She sold vegetables two and, without any further talking, she decided to buy the vegetables Regina had brought with her. The former rich woman could not believe her ears and she was even more surprised when Rosie told her they would need veggies very often as many people in town were being hosts of their city relatives who had lost it all.

 The two women signed a contract and, before parting, Regina hugged Rosie. She told her that she did not understood why she was so kind with her after all those years together but she thanked her with all of her soul. Rosie just answered that she had been a nice person to her and that it wasn’t in her heart to let someone starve simply out of spite. Besides, she had never invested in Jonathan’s bank, so she hadn’t lost any money. Regina laughed at that and discovered on the way home that it was the first time in many months that she laughed. The only people that could do that were her family and now she only had Vivian.

 They had never had the best mother-daughter relationship, but now someone could have confused them with sisters or best friends. Vivian would tell her mother everything she had seen or heard at the bar and Regina would tell her daughter about all the anecdotes and jokes she learned with Rosie when working with her, because Rosie had also realized that, in their mutual benefit, they needed a larger patch of dirt to grow the goods, so she was helping Regina to make that a reality. Vivian was doing great at work and was respected and adored by her employer, an old man that had seen more of life than he wanted and realized he only needed a glass of beer in one hand and his wife Ellie in the other.

 Eventually, mother and daughter lived a respectable life, full of happiness and enjoyment. They once thought their former life was the only thing that could make them happy but they realized they had only being happy when Jonathan and Peter were there. They still remembered them often and cried for them but not for long because now they had reasons to live and that’s what they were going to do. Just live.

miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

Cruise ship

   The Excelsior was a marvelous machine. It was one of the biggest boats in the business and would carry passengers all over the globe. Each summer, the ship would do a completely different schedule: sometimes it would be sent to the Caribbean, some other times it would be sent to a very unique trip to Alaska or even Antarctica. Captain Jones had been at the helm since the ship had been operating and he never liked to be too far away from it. He was an older man now, with grown children and no wife so he could actually just live for his boat. Every morning he would do a tour of the ship, check every single section and even ask some of the passengers for suggestions, complains and any other issue they would like to communicate. He was always listening.

 The latest trip of the Excelsior had been through the Pacific, linking the US with Hawaii and then on to Japan. It was a very long trip and everyone in the crew was happy the journey was over. They could all go back home and be with their families but Jones remained in Tokyo, very close to the place were the Excelsior was under maintenance. Even in those days, he would go to the harbor and look at the ship for at least an hour. It was as if the cruise ship was his baby and he needed to know where it was and how it was doing every single second of the day. He didn’t do much else in Tokyo. His children had encouraged him, over the phone, to visit as many places as he could and to try new kinds of food but every ounce of adventure Jones had in his body was only related to the sea.

 When he was told that the ship’s maintenance would last more than scheduled, he got very worried and insisted on talking to the chief of the team that was doing the repairs. The man accepted to talk to him because he saw how much he cared about the ship and realized it was best if he knew. The boat’s engines had to be repaired as they appeared to be over strained by so many journeys. The hull also had to be reinforced due to the many voyages the ship had taken to cold waters were there was ice. The captain asked what he feared most: how long would it all take. The chief of the repairs told him that at least a year, if they were really fast.

The company then intervened and asked Jones to join other liners. He wouldn’t be captain in the next journey but they would try to find something for him to administrate as well as he had done with the Excelsior. But he was adamant that his job was to be a captain and that his ship was the one docked in Japan. They tried to convince him to take another ship but it was almost impossible. So the solution they found was to propose to him to take his vacations and come back when the ship was ready. Jones had not gone into a vacation for several years and being sixty-two years old, he knew there was not much more time to be a captain. So he accepted the vacations and demanded from the company to be notified about the Excelsior’s progress.

 Once he realized he was free to do whatever he wanted, he realized he had no idea about being free from duty. He had always being such a dedicated person but only regarding his job. There was nothing else he actually did that well and he needed a distraction for at least a year. He tried to get a job in another cruise line company but apparently they all knew about the Excelsior and about his love for the ship. And they were right; he wasn’t going to be at the helm of any other liner until his ship was out of repairs. He even tried getting into fishing companies but it wasn’t the same.

 He finally realized he had to take the vacation period seriously and decided to call one of his sons and ask him if he could stay with him for a couple of months. At first, his son was reluctant, telling him he had to ask his wife and children and that the house they lived in was too small. Jones knew for a fact that wasn’t true as his son was a lawyer for a large company and made tons of money, enough for a large house where his own father could spent a couple of months as he waited for his big baby to be ready. Some days later, his son called him back and told him he could come right away. Jones bought a ticket to Germany and went there immediately. During the plane trip to his son’s home, he realized he hadn’t ben in an airplane for several years.

 His son Robert picked him up at the airport and did a nice job welcoming his father into his house. They had prepared fruit punch and the children were all hugs and questions about Jones’s trips around the world. That first night, they went to bed late because of him. The following days were not as nice as that evening as the children were at school, Robert in his office and his wife would come and go many times during the day, despite not having an actual job. For a time, Jones thought the women was having an affair but he soon realized the real thing happening was alcohol. The woman reeked of it.

 The children’s interest started to decrease as their grandpa was seen more as an invader than as a nice guest. As he was always there, they were no longer interested in him. So Jones decided to take longs walks, at exactly the same time his son’s wife decide to take her alcohol fueled lunches with her girlfriends. He walked many kilometers in a day, checking out the stores in the way and the architecture. But he felt a little bit choked. He tried to sit down to get some air but that wasn’t it. After some more walks, he realized his body missed the ocean and its air. The city were his son lived was inland and there was not even a lake to go to. And the truth was that Jones felt alone everyday, as he had never felt before.

 So he decided, after only one month, to call his daughter Julie that happened to live in Panama as an artist. That country was surrounded by water and there was the canal where he could see large ships, something he loved. He had being then in his journeys many times but he had never touched the land. So he announced his decision and told the family he would leave them in a couple of days. They didn’t say much but it was obvious they were not very sad about his departure. They didn’t even take him to the airport and it was then when he realized he had never been close to his son. It wasn’t because of him that he was who he was. But that was ok. Jones didn’t want to ruin the last years of his life only to be liked as if he was a twelve year old. He just packed and moved on to the next adventure, as he always did.

  When he got to Panama, his daughter greeted him with a nice dinner and lots of kisses and laughs. She had always been a cheerful girl and had always been close to him, being the only one that called him at all during his journeys. It wasn’t something often but he loved when she did. She had married a photographer but then divorced him because he cheated on her so much. During dinner, he told her father that she had found out about so many women and some men that it had become unbearable. So she divorced and decided to pursue her passion of sculpting and she was doing very well for herself, doing works for many prestigious clients are the world.

 Jones stayed there for about four months. He loved the weather, which was very humid and very hot. He loved to walk around even if the city wasn’t made for it and, mostly, he loved to see the boats making line to enter the canal. His favorite thing was to go to one of the locks of the canal and check out every single boat that passed through. That easily became his favorite pastime and the people that worked there grow accustomed to his presence. He just wanted to be in a boat soon and the next best thing was to be there, watching every single one of them that passed through the country. It was kind of sad but he knew he had to be patient and just wait for the time he would be able to go back to Japan.

 One day, he thought about visiting his third child. His son Marco lived in New York and they hadn’t talked in several years. That was because his son had left home after high school due to Jones’s stubbornness. But it was right then when the company called and they told Jones the Excelsior was much worse than they had anticipated. The ship had not being properly repaired in the past and now it was beyond anything they could do. They would only lose money if they keep up the work so it had been decided it was going to be decommissioned. Jones was speechless and did not say a word for the next full day.

The following day he bought a ticket to Japan and told his daughter he was leaving to say goodbye to his ship but then they got into a fight because Julie thought the best thing to do was for him to go to New York and make amends with Marco. But his father was, once again, stubborn and putting his job first, as he had always did. She decided to let him do what he wanted and took him to the airport where they bid farewell. Jones thought about his daughter’s remarks but his life, and he was honest about this, had never been his family but that damn ship. That was the awful truth.

viernes, 16 de enero de 2015

The Winter

   Helena worked in one of the many factories located along the river, a fast-flowing stream filled with waterfalls and whirlpools. Every single worker of the factories and the people from the town knew that it was very dangerous to play or stand near the river. But Helena always did, just right before work and just after it. She loved to see the big chunks of ice go down the river, fast, as if they had a rush to get the waterfalls lying only some kilometers further ahead.

What she loved about the river was that she felt strangely alive when looking at it. For her, it was almost as looking a group of children play ball or a market filled with buyers and sellers. Anyway, not much happened in town so when winter came and the river started its battle against the low temperatures, it was always entraining to see which one of the two won the match.

Helena’s post inside the factory was just next to one of the big windows. She had to stitch together two pieces of fabric in order to make underwear, which would be sold in many stores around the world. At least that was what they told all the women working there and, as most of them would have never had the money to pay for such nice clothes, they had no idea if they got only to the next town or a fancy store in Japan, or something.

Through the window next to her, Helena saw the river trying not to lose its power, its grace and insistence. People around her never understood her fascination with it but she had no need to tell them. After all, it was her thing and no one else’s so, she kept this particular enjoyment to herself.

One winter in particular, it was clear that the river would lose the battle. Helena lived upstream and many sections there were already frozen. It did look beautiful, she thought, but it was better when it was liquid and it could do everything, even if it got dangerous and often devastating. By the factory, some waterfalls had frozen over too and it was clear the river wasn’t going to hold much longer which was particularly bad for town.

The electric energy provided to the houses, the factories and so on, were generated by a dam upstream but if they reservoir froze over the electricity would stop arriving. And that’s exactly what happened on the third week of January, when the hum of electricity coming from various machines suddenly stop. The heating system in the factory failed too and they were told by their bosses to get to back home. If they received a call, it meant they wouldn’t need to come to work the next day. Helena knew there would be no call.

She walked home but first stopped by the baker.  It was clear he was having problems to as they were trying, with his son, to turn on a generator that worked on gasoline. Not that gasoline wasn’t expensive but the baker couldn’t afford to lose the job of one day. So they turned the machine on and Helena took home a baguette and a couple chocolate croissants. She ate one as she walked towards home to make her heart feel warmer.

When she entered her small cottage, she looked through the window and saw how the river was almost entirely frozen. Only a small stream of water passed through the ice and it wasn’t enough to make the dam work; that was obvious. Helena left her bread in the kitchen and went up to change off her work clothes. She put on a thick sweater and loose pants, the kind you use to exercise. She went down to the kitchen and checked the time on a clock hanging over the oven: it was one o’clock.

Realizing they had really been let go rather early and wondering if this time the call would be real, she decided to make herself a proper lunch. She normally ate something like a sandwich in the factory’s cafeteria but the bread there was normally stale and the meat seemed to have seen better days. Helena decided she would take this chance to make herself something delicious to eat. So she checked the cupboards and the fridge, which wasn’t working anymore, and decided to make a nice fish on herbs and roasted potatoes to go with it.

She checked her oven and it did work. Thankfully, it worked on gas and not with electricity so she could cook her dinner there. In an hour, she was seating down to a small table by a window, the one from which she could see the frozen river. She started eating the fish, enjoying herself despite the cold. Then, for a moment, she stared again at the river but her expression was now pensive, almost sad. She seemed to scare the thoughts out of her head, in order to continue eating. But when she finished she was again looking at the window.

Several minutes passed until she stood up, washed the dishes and went to her room. Somehow, she didn’t really feel cold or tired. She just wanted to lie down and think. From her room, the river could be seen to but she deliberately lay with her back against the window. She didn’t want to look at it, at the water, anymore. She had tried hard to have a nice relationship with it but sometimes it got hard. It was as if winter made it harder on purpose, in order to make her remember.

 It had happened in winter too, so maybe that was why. One day, Helena had been walking upstream with her, holding hands, looking at every animal remaining in the cold and at every plant that looked as if they were also fighting the winter, just like the river. They had stared at the beautiful shapes of a frozen waterfall and the silent and peaceful sound of the remaining water, sometimes underneath the thick layer of ice.

The next day, she woke up suddenly, like scared or as if her body was warning her of an incoming danger. And it did: she looked through the window just in time to see how her only daughter, age five, was taking a first step into the frozen water. She ran as fast as she could, in her pajamas, almost falling to the ground, getting mud and frost all over. But as she drew near she heard that horrible sound, the sound that she would never forget.

It was the ice cracking beneath the feet of her daughter. In that moment, she screamed, calling her. Nowadays, she wished she hadn’t. The little girls, got even more scared because of this and decided to walk back to shore but then the sound coming from the ice became louder and Helena saw how her daughter was engulfed by frozen water. When she got to the spot where her daughter had been, she realized the river was only superficially frozen. Underneath, water still moved fast.

She ran downstream, screaming for help and then falling mute, as she saw her daughter’s body floating face down underneath a thin layer of ice. She broke it with her fists, dragged the girl from the water and held her in her arms as people gathered around and saw what had happened. Her daughter was dead, in the blink of an eye. From that day on she respected the river but she hated it too because it had taken her life from her.

Her daughter, a bright young girl, was going to be such a better person that she had ever been. She was going to be someone amazing and outstanding, fearless and strong. Helena was going to help her do whatever she wanted to be the best of all. She would have the courage to leave town and really live the life she wanted for herself. And Helena would have been proud and happy for her, because her life dream would have come true.

But the river ended that. She ended that. She blamed herself, even if it was worthless to do it. During winter, she remembered her daughter almost every day and tried to be strong enough to keep living but sometimes it got extremely difficult, because Helena realized she was truly alone in the world. She fell asleep crying in silence, in her bed.

But the following morning she went, as usual, to work. The dam was still no working but they had to work anyway. She stopped by the river on her way to work and looked at it for a couple of minutes, paying her respects. She got hold a beautiful surviving twig, with some leaves on it, and threw it in the water. Then she moved on, to work and to the rest of her life.