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

lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

Leap of the mind

   Breathing was not easy. For one moment, less than five seconds, no oxygen had reached Louise’s brain. She was going to hear this a few hours later from Yakuto, the onboard physician. But, somehow, her whole body felt shaken by what had just happened to her. As the hatch closed, telling her she was safe inside the station, she curved into a fetal position and started crying for no apparent reason, or at leas that’s what she thought of it at the moment. She would understand more later on.

 What was on her mind, the most present idea, was the fact that she had just survived a space walk that should have killed her. She had risked too much out there and she knew very well she was going to be scolded by the captain, but she had to make a choice right there, right on the spot, and he didn’t have the balls to take the next step. She, however, did have the balls to do the move that was necessary and she simply did. She took one leap forward and did what she had always trained for.

 Inside the ship, everything was silence. They had advised her not to do what she was going to do, multiple times, once and again and again. Female and male voices coming in trying to shut down her brain but they weren’t enough to shut her up. Her brain, her being was much stronger than the will of others and it was then that she made the choice, the right one, the one that almost killed her but that had also save several lives that now kept on existing thanks to her decision.

 As the machine regulated the pressure and the oxygen levels, Louise took small breaths in and out in order to get her body aligned with the environment. She couldn’t deny she had a massive headache and that she just wanted every single sound to be shutdown immediately. But she tried to relax as much as she could because she was no superhero and she had to accept that some physical malaise had to come with such a risky move. She heard her companions on the door, but she didn’t acknowledge them.

 She closed her eyes and tried to calm her body down and then her brain. But when she tried the latter, she discovered there was something new inside of her head. It was an idea… No, it was more than that. It was something that felt real, as if she could touch it. She tried to clear her mind a little bit more and it was then when the image became clear and she saw the face of a woman. She was a bit blurry still but Louise could easily say she was a very beautiful woman, or maybe just a girl. It was too hard to guess her age but her presence was comforting.

 More banging on the door made her open her eyes and lose the image she had been so concentrated on. She realized she had a couple of tears rolling down her face and there was no way she could clean them because the helmet was still on. When the alarm finally stopped, she removed it and cleaned her face, as the other hatch opened and her friends greeted her, all very happy that she was alive, except maybe the captain who had a very stern look on his face, like a very mad father.

 However, they let her be for a while. They decided not to pester her with questions and doubts. They just helped her to the medical area and there she was injected with a special serum to sleep two Earth hours in a row, without sleeping. The doctor told her it was very necessary for her to take the drug as her body had been pushed too hard and it needed time to fix itself up. She accepted, not because of the pain she felt on her body but because of the image she had seen.

 Every time someone talked to her or she was moved from one side to the other, she remembered the image and the woman on it. She wondered wy her brain would go to someone she didn’t recognize right away just as she was dying. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to know that person. Maybe it was just a random face in the huge amount of faces that had been stocked up insider her memory for so many years. Maybe she was thinking about it too much and she was just being silly.

 The doctor waited a few test results to be fully at ease with the idea of getting her to sleep. In the meantime, several of her teammates visited her and thanked her for her bravery. They explained that some final reparations were being done but that the trip back home was a fact. In hours, they would head to Earth once again and they would all be taken back to their families, to their homes. It was all very exciting for them but not so much for Louise, as she didn’t have anyone to go back to.

 Shortly before she had been accepted into the project, her husband and daughter had been killed in a traffic accident, after a massive truck had slipped on water in the highway. Several people were killed that they but for Louise the only important names were the ones of her husband and child. She had no parents, so she had to bury them alone, practically alone. She had been training that day and felt guilty, as everyone does when something of that caliber just destroys so many lives. She had the option to stay but she just didn’t because that wouldn’t have been her.

 The moment then came when Yokuta injected her with the serum. Her arm felt weird, and then her face and then her torso and other arm. And to her whole body. It felt as if many bugs, thousands of them, had decided to throw a parade on top of her body. And she didn’t mind at all because she was suddenly extremely sleepy. It was a very nice feeling. All her teammates came to see her before she fell asleep but they were there too late: she knew that they were there but couldn’t say a word.

 Her sleep was good. Very calm and beautiful at the start. She had many of those dreams one normally has when in preschool or something. Many beautiful creatures and colors and absolutely magnificent rooms. It was all so perfect that she cried in every single dream she had and she didn’t care at all because it was all made for her. She knew that those worlds were inside of her head, so she took advantage of that and decided to enjoy every single part of the ride.

 However, the woman of her death appeared again. But this time, she wasn’t an image. She moved and spoke. Louise couldn’t really interact with her, but somehow that felt just as good. She heard her sing and then cut some vegetables into boiling water. She was making some kind of big dish. It was obvious she was very happy. The place they were in was very bright so it was difficult to see what it was like. But Louise didn’t mind if it was awful, she was at peace.

 Then, another voice came from somewhere. She knew it was from a man but there was no one to be seen around. Only that woman, that beautiful creature, cooking and laughing and singing. It was so strange and, at the same time, it felt just like something she had seen so many times, lived in even. Louise felt that moment to be just hers and it was then when she realized that only she could have memories about that moment. Because she was an only child and those were her parents.

 They had died so long ago. She had never remembered their faces or their voices. Their home was a memory that had probably died but they were there, incomplete but trying to reach her innermost feelings. It was nice and unsettling at the same time.


 She didn’t need them anymore. She never did. But she thanked space for bringing them back to her. It was because of her brave attitude that she had been given that gift. It assured her that the decision she had made after her tragedy had been the right one. It had been made for all of them.

lunes, 22 de mayo de 2017

A wedding

   Once he stepped into the room, the sound of laughter and talk suddenly died down. As he walked to an empty spot in one of the tables, people stared and some even held their breath, as if what they were seeing was something they would have never imagined. The walk he did from the entrance to the table only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed it had lasted for hours. Once he sat down people started talking and the noise in the room resumed after a while, as if nothing had happened.

The man’s name was Peter and he had come to the wedding alone. In the table he sat on, everyone was looking at him although it was obvious they were trying not to do so. They were failing miserably, as he felt their eyes probe him as if he was robbing something instead of just grabbing the napkin on the side of the plate. He was saved by the food, because the waiters started entering the room just in time. They served every single person a small salad and a small cup of soup.

 Peter liked the taste of both things and he specially liked that people were not looking at him anymore. It was a relief that they had stopped piercing his body with their eyes. Instead, they were busy making a critique of the taste of the food and the portions. In every table, at least one person was mentioning how in other weddings the food had been much superior. Also, they gave what they though was advice in order to improve the flavor of the dishes, even when most didn’t know how to boil water.

 Peter ate in silence. Once he had decided to go to the wedding, he had been conscious that he wouldn’t really be able to talk to anyone or share a single honest opinion. He was clearly the most polemical guest in the room but he wasn’t the most ungrateful at all. Maybe everyone knew his past and judged him for it, even some thought he didn’t deserved a seat in the event, yet there he was among all of the, having much more decency in one arm than most had in their entire bodies.

 With the salads and soups mostly finished, the waiters came back. It was as if a flock of penguins had suddenly entered the premises. They were agile and very fast, as they grabbed the plates and carried them out of the room. Only a few minutes after the last empty cup had left, they entered again, this time with the main dish. It was a combination of seafood and ground food, if you will. It was served in rather small portions but it came with another salad, this one smaller, as well as a plate with a baked potato filled with cream and ham. It looked very good.

 They waiters also filled everyone’s glasses with champagne. They would have to make a toast later on, before the cake was cut. Of course, please went at it again, criticizing the food. Some said the fish was raw and others thought it was certainly overcooked. Same with the other meats. Others complained they had received a smaller potato than everyone else and some people even declared theirs had nothing inside. Of course, many complained about the champagne, demanding for a waiter to come in order to ask them for the bottle.

 Peter enjoyed his food a lot. Even without talking, everything was really beautiful. Suddenly, it dawned on him that all of it could have been for him, if things had lasted longer and if love had been a little bit better built. Because every single person knew that Peter had been involved with one of the people getting married and that’s why every single time they looked at him, they followed it by a whisper and questions he knew were not the kindest or of any of their importance, to be honest.

 He tried not to listen to his own head and kept on eating, enjoying the fact that he had at least been invited, which was much more than he could have ever imagined happening, as there was no need to do so. But they had done it and he had complied because he wanted to show everyone that everything was ok, that he wasn’t dying or anything because he wasn’t the one in the altar. To be clear, he didn’t knew if an altar had been involve because he had missed the ceremony on purpose.

 There was no way he would make a scene inside a temple. He did thought about going but at the last minute he decided against it. Instead, he would make it to the party. However, he never intended to be late and make such and entrance but that’s how it happened and the only one he could blame was the taxi driver for being so slow. He even thought of talking to the couple and apologize for that, but he ultimately thought it was better not to fan the fire that people carried around.

 His baked potato was very hot so he decided to leave it alone for a while. The shellfish were excellent, or maybe that was because he hadn’t eaten any for a long time. The other two pieces of meat were a small pork cutlet, which tasted really good with a sauce they had made only for it, and a piece of veal that many people decided to leave on the plate. Peter ate it and realized that it hadn’t been properly cooked. This time, the murmurs around the tables were right. As he prepared to eat his potato, it was taken away by the waiter flock that came and went in a second.

 The next thing they brought were the small plates for the dessert. Peter could actually see that some carts were being pulled into the room. They had a large selection of small desserts on them, so you could choose any to join cake on the plate. Most people were looking at the selection but that was exactly on the opposite way they should have been looking. They were warned about this with the sound of a fork being lightly banged against a glass full of champagne, done by the groom.

 Everyone’s face denoted boredom. That part was often the most boring one in any marriage ceremony. But the sad faces all around weren’t enough to make the groom refrain from doing what coupled had done for generations in a wedding: telling everyone about their love in that small public forum, as if they had to justify what they felt. And many people, in this case, felt exactly that was what was happening, especially when they noticed the presence of Peter once again.

 The groom talked about how beautiful the bride was. He told everyone, with jokes and a charming but used sense of humor, how he had being the lucky guy to ask such a beautiful woman out. It was childish at times, but ultimately effective, as many people had started crying for no apparent reason. The speech wasn’t sentimental, maybe romantic. It was short and people erupted in cheers but no one really knew if it was because he hadn’t talked for hours or if they were really touched by his words.

 Then, the bride spoke for more than thirty minutes. Granted, she looked quite beautiful in her white dress and whoever had helped her with makeup had done a fabulous job. But her voice was monotonous, and people were almost sleeping by the time she finally ended her speech. People applauded but clearly because they wanted to be mice to the person getting married. She was proud of herself and didn’t seem to realize she had bombed so hard. Love had made her stupid.

 They cut the first piece of the cake and, after fake laughs, apiece was delivered to every single person in the room. The cake was not good or bad; it was just fine, like the couple on the main table.


 Before attracting more attention, Peter ate his cake with haste and then left the room. He grabbed some macaroons on his way out and ate them as he cried on the taxi back home.

miércoles, 19 de abril de 2017

My choice

   Everything had to be done properly and n the most orderly fashion possible. No loose ends of any type. The first thing was to be sure that I wanted to do it and that was a resounding “yes”, from the very start. The normal thing would be for one to be scared or not sure that that’s the way to go. But I had been thinking about it for so long, that it made o sense to me to do anything else than that. So the first thing was off the table and that made me feel a little bit better about the whole thing.

 Then, planning had to start. Again, I didn’t want to make it messy, I wanted it to be done right, to make people think about what I was thinking and how I felt the moment I did it. It’s not that I wanted anyone to get hurt, but I did want to make them think. You cannot do these things and suddenly forget all of the symbolism such an event had all over it. So I needed to plan everything to the second, even if that meant thinking about it all the time. It was a test to my resolve.

 The supermarket was my first destination. I bought so many things; the cashier girl thought I was a little bit insane. The final tally was very expensive, but I didn’t mind at all, Money had stopped having any importance for me and the plan was all that matter. It was important to make it all as I had imagined so I couldn’t shy away from doing things just because they were expensive or almost impossible in the eyes of most people. I needed to do what I had to do, right then.

 When I came back home with all the things I had bought, I moved on to the second part of my plan: had to cancel everything with my name on it: every credit card, every bank account, every subscription to a magazine or to some email newsletters. Everything had to go. Of course, I couldn’t do all of this in one day but it was very important to just start and get it going. I think that was one of the most difficult things to do in the whole process, before talking to my family of course.

 Friends were very few and a couple of phone calls would be easy to make. But calling my family or talking to them in person was going to be very difficult. I didn’t know if I would be able to stare at them as I talked. Maybe it was better to just stare at the ground and hope for the best. I guess that’s why I kept postponing doing that. It wasn’t really necessary to be honest, but I had always felt hat I owe my family for every single thing they had ever given to me. So the natural thing, specially in this case, was for me to speak to them frankly and without shame,

 Anyway, I left that for the last week. The next few days, I just enjoyed myself thoroughly. I did a number of things I had never done. That was a huge rush, a feeling that made me think that my decision was the right one. I never doubted it for a second and I think many people, in retrospective, think that I was crazy because of that way to react. They thought I should’ve been in the bottom of a well or something like that, nor running around as happy as I had never been before.

 Yes, it was disturbing to me too, but that doesn’t mean it was an improper way to feel. It just meant that I was certain of my decision and that is a very powerful thing. How many people are really certain of the choices they make? How many people doubt once they have decided on something that will undoubtedly change the course of their lives forever? It’s an obvious thing, to doubt and to feel the need to correct oneself. But I never felt that and I’m not ashamed.

 Those days, about two weeks to be exact, were one of the best times in my life and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. Talking to my friends was not as hard as I thought, maybe because they weren’t many. Of course, they first opposed my decision; they cried and even quarreled with me for a while. But after venting everything, they realized it made sense. Every single part of my plan made sense to them and that made them realize I was right, even if they didn’t agree with everything.

 We had a long good time together, in my house. I invited them offer for a sleepover. We watched lots of movies, ate everything we wanted, talked trash about people we all knew and analyzed our past in the funniest ways. We did avoid talking about the main subject but eventually we just held each other and they supported me. It was obviously very difficult for them but they decided to accept my decision because they understood the reasoning behind it and they couldn’t really defy it.

 There were some moments during those days in which I felt extremely alone. Of course, my determination didn’t really change because of that, on the contrary. But for some silly reason,  I thought that because of my decision, all those strange feelings would go away. I actually thought that fear would go away and just stop harassing me. But I guess fear is too strong of a feeling and there’s no real way of stopping it. After all, it’s the feeling that commands you to do so many things that you would otherwise never do. I found it all very interesting.

 When the day came, I was actually very calm about it. I ran my last errands, disconnected by phone and threw away my cellphone. Then, I drove my car to the most beautiful spot I knew, one that overlook the city and there I waited for the sun to go down. It was strange to me how not even birds interrupted my moment. It seemed that the universe had agreed that my decision was correct and that nothing should interrupt what I had decided to do. It was very beautiful, in way.

 I spent all night there, in the pitch-black night, hearing the sounds of the forest and of the city that was just below. During that time, I decided to reminisce about all the things that I had loved about myself and others. I could choose some of those memories rather easily, others were a little bit harder to find. But I spent all night thinking about them and about me and I think that was the perfect thing to do right then. Nothing would have been better, that’s what I feel at least.

 Then, just before the break of dawn, I pulled out a little bottle out of my jacket, opened it, and drank all of its content without hesitating for a second. The taste was very bitter at the start and very sweet at the end. I threw the bottle far way and then just laid down over the hood of my car, watching the last few stars of the night being chased by sunlight. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life and, probably, one of the last things I would ever see with my own two eyes.

 I think it took my body about ten more minutes to die after that. It was as if every single machine working inside me was shutting down. Every single factory inside, the stomach, the liver, the lungs, they were all turning off their machines, ending production for good. I didn’t get scared in the last moment; I didn’t feel remorse or anything like that. If anything, I thought that I had finally gotten what I needed. It had been my choice and it had been the right one, I knew it.

 I died fast. My body was found later that day. I asked for them, my family, to cremate my body and throw the ashes away somewhere nice. They did exactly that and I’m grateful to them even now. They were my rock all along, my reason to live.


 Some said afterwards that I was very young and that I had no right to die like I did, by choice. But I think they have only live their lives. So they don’t know what it’s like for other people, they forget life is more than just one thing. And one thing it isn’t, is fair.

martes, 14 de junio de 2016

Tests

   The first day, he went alone. He didn’t wanted to get anyone involved in his personal life and he wasn’t ready to share his fears with someone else. He was even unsure about the whole thing but finally decided to go because he had to now. At last, he was making some money and he was about to go and live by himself. He already had a new place, his first ever in which he would not be sharing space with his family or with other people. A tiny apartment just for him. He had made the calculations several times and he knew he was able to pull it off.

 When he arrived to the hospital, they made him wait in a small room where all chairs were empty. No one else came that early to get tested. It was better like that, because he had no intention of running into anyone he knew and, besides, it was the only time he could pay a visit to the doctor without leaving his job. There was no way he was going to loose money to do that. He found a way to do it anyway and, after some time waiting, a nurse came for him.

 She led him to an office were a doctor asked him several questions. They were all very personal questions but he understood why those questions needed to be asked. He wasn’t offended at all but he did feel a bit embarrassed because it was the first time he really discussed these things with someone. The silly conversations with his friends, didn’t really count because there was always a certain amount of lying involved in that.

 Next, he was left alone in the office for a couple of minutes, time he took to take a look at the paintings in the room. There weren’t many. Most of the frames concerned some diploma or a family picture. But there were two actual paintings: one was the image of a field, probably wheat. The image seemed to have no end. In one side, little in the big space, there seem to be a couple of peasants, working in the field. Probably cutting some of the wheat or maybe taking care of something else.

 The other painting was an abstract work. It had a few read lines and dot among a jungle of black geometrical figures. It was very tiring to watch because it was obvious the red in the picture was being overwhelmed by the black. He didn’t have to be a genius to know what the picture was about. He was about to get nearer to the painting when the doctor came back with all his equipment.

 One by one, the doctor filled three small flasks with his patient’s blood. The process didn’t really took that long although it did seem longer for the man being drained out of blood because he suddenly felt dizzy and very weak. The person on the phone had told him he had to come without having anything to eat or drink. And now the doctor said he should do the opposite.

 As he stepped out of the hospital, he had to walk very slowly. He didn’t feel good at all. Not only was his brain aching, his arm was in pain too. After all, the man had used a needle in it three times. He had no idea the amount of blood they needed for testing but he thought that, at least, he could assume the results were going to be accurate with the amount of blood they had to double check any findings.

 He grabbed a taxi, which he never did, and asked to be taken to his work. He had money to pay but that expense meant he couldn’t so other things that week. A taxi ride was too much for him to handle on his low income and now more than ever, with the new place coming and the bills for that place and everything related to it. He was very happy to move out of his parents’ home but he was also worried that he would fail as an adult. After all, it had taken him thirty years to leave the nest.

 Once he arrived at work, he was greeted by people who told him how bad he looked. He told them he had being at the hospital for a flu he was feeling coming, and that they had asked him to come without anything on his stomach. So he ran up to his desk, left his bag there and then ran to the kitchen where he poured himself some coffee and looked around for the messenger boy, who was normally around the office at that time.

 He finally found him flirting with a secretary. Interrupting the conversation, he asked the boy to please go for him to the nearest store and buy him some things to eat for breakfast with his coffee. He gave the boy a bill and told him exactly what to buy. He also told him that he could have the change, which made the boy stand up fast and run out of the office in a huff. He returned to his office, a cubicle in corner of that floor, and started working. Yet, he realized he couldn’t do any working.

 The boy returned soon and he was able to eat and feel a bit less weak but he didn’t do much that day at work. He felt very dizzy and even thought he was going to vomit at one point. He ran to the bathroom and, thankfully, no one saw him do that. He stayed in the bathroom for several minutes, drinking water and sprinkling his face too in order too cool down. It didn’t really work that much but he had no idea of what else to do.

 That night, at home, he fell asleep fast. He was very tired. He just left his clothes all over the place and didn’t bother to have any dinner. When he woke up, he realized he had bled out of his nose, his pillow stained with a big puddle of dried blood. He was surprised he hadn’t been awake by the bleeding; yet he had been so tired that even that accident wouldn’t be significant enough to wake him up.

 He threw away the pillow and washed the pillowcase. He threw that too after he realized the stain wouldn’t come off. He didn’t tell anything to his parents about it and they didn’t ask why he didn’t have a pillow in the following days. After all, he was about to move and maybe he was throwing the things he was going to replace once he was in his own environment.  It was only a couple of weeks later when it happened.

 His mother cried a lot, as if he was going away to the other side of the world. True, the apartment was not very close to his family’s place, but it was in the same city all the same. He asked them to visit once he was ready to receive visitors, in other words, once he would have furniture and glasses and plates and all that stuff that make some place a proper home. He moved out a Saturday and the following Sunday was a hard day to put everything in place and buy a lot of things, including a new pillow.

 Mom and dad had given him some money to start and he was grateful for that because there was no way, with his salary, that he was going to be able to buy everything he needed for the new place. With that small help, he was able to make that place something he could be proud of. However, the weekend ended very soon and he had to work as he finished putting everything where it belonged. But by the third week there, he decided he could have a small gathering of friends and then ask his parents to visit him.

 Those two couldn’t be done at the same time because of the size of the place, but he was thrilled to do it. He asked his friends to bring their own bottles of alcohol. There was no way he was paying for those. They had a very good time, joking around and even dancing in the small space. They had to end the party when a neighbor complained about the noise. Ironically, it was a neighbor that was always kind of drunk.

 It was the following day, a Saturday and more than a month after his blood had been taken out, that he received a letter in his house. It was the first letter that he received there and it was kind of awful it had to be one from the hospital. Once he saw it, he wanted to open it. But then he remembered his family was coming for lunch. And he didn’t want that on his mind while he ate with them. So he put it away for the day and enjoyed his family.

 He cooked that day. His mother tried to help every so often, but he wouldn’t let her. They had the best day ever, looking at old pictures, eating a lot and giving decoration ideas for the whole place. His parents wanted to be involved in some way and he wasn’t rejecting the idea at all. He needed them by his side.


 The following day, alone, he opened the letter. He had known what it said long before he ever got tested. But to know was exactly how he thought it would feel: like a hot knife piercing through the skin. His life had been on a path for a long time and now, his eyes had been opened. What to do next?