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

lunes, 14 de mayo de 2018

My partner


   When I saw him, I could only laugh. He looked at me exactly in the opposing way, making his eyes turn around as if he had just witnessed the most annoying thing happening right in front of him. That was the kind of relationship we had the moment we started working together. For some reason, our boss had decided our skills complimented each other’s, so he appointed us to missions together very often. I have forgotten how many times I pretended to be his brother, his friends and even his boyfriend or even husband.

 It all depended on the places we had to go and the things we had to do. Sometimes, the mission would be a very relaxing cruise through the Caribbean on an enormous boat that would float peacefully for over a week, carrying carefree tourists around. People that just wanted to get a tan and swim and maybe walk the massive ship, enjoying everything the place had to offer. Yes, I have to confess I loved those kinds of missions but we got assigned to them because they were specifically for rookies in this business.

 I remember one time; only about a year after we got to know each other properly, when we were sent to the Bahamas pretending to be a married gay couple going on an exclusively gay cruise. We had to steal some very important papers out of the office of a very important businessman who happened to be frolicking in the boat with his lover, unknown to his wife. It was a hilarious place and situation to be in, and of course stealing the plans was the easiest part of the whole thing. We did it the first night.

 For the other eight days, we had to hold hands pretending to love each other to death, when in reality we had almost hate for one another. Well, it wasn’t really hated but we certainly didn’t see eye to eye. He was the kind of guy that loves to focus on the job and is obsessed by doing everything by the book, like a little boy scout trapped in an adult man’s body. That to me annoyed me so much that I would often just go rogue for a couple of hours and that would, of course, made him go insane, a result I always loved.

 In the bedrooms, we agreed on sleeping on the same bed but avoiding anything weird during the night. No touching each other’s private space, especially not each other’s bodies. The first one to wake up would be the first one into the shower and so on. After a few months, we had a great system that avoided, almost always, any unpleasant moments during our missions. And as they would often take long periods of time to get over with, we just had to find a way to live with one another. It was almost a sacrifice for both of them and we did it because it was our job.

 However, those were our first missions, years one and two. By the third one, they sent us to shorter missions that required a greater deal of commitment from our part. In not so many words, that means that we had to risk our lives during those assignments. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even see each other but once, in critical moments. Besides those, we would often fly solo and assume unrelated identities. I have to confess it was kind of fun at first, playing to be so many different types of men, so many times.

 But after a while, it got annoying and the stakes started looking at me in the face. On my first mission, I got fired several times and they had to pull me out of a dumpster with a bullet on my thigh and several cuts all over my body. It was a weird experience, which was better than what my former partner was going through. I say former, because sometime after we started that decisive year, the bosses decided we wouldn’t be working together as often as we had done in the past. They said it was the right thing to do.

 However, I heard a drug lord almost killed him, after his disguise as a dealer was blown by some snitch. The snitch got killed right in front of him and the drug lord ordered his people to tie my former partner to a pipe and beat him up in every way they wanted. I have no idea of the details, but some people say he could have been killed if it hadn’t been for his security bracelet, which was a secret piece of equipment we all wear that activates itself if we fail to report to it at least once a day.

 You see, the drug lord took all of his clothes away and let him in a cold basement for at least four days. So the bracelet activated itself, called for back up to that specific location and the agent was saved. I was in a mission during that time, so I just heard it all from others. I was tempted to visit him in the hospital, the moment I was able to go back home, but I decided against it. Actually, I realized I was caring for someone I had never cared before, and that confused me enough to do nothing and go back to my life.

 It was almost a year later when they assigned us to a mission together. This time, it was a classic spy stunt: we had no covers, nothing sleek or sexy or nice. We just had to get our hands on a witness, extract him from a certain country, and go back home with that person alive. It was a nightmarish place to be, a horrible experience to be having. But, between all of it, I have to admit I was comforted when I saw his face in the airport the day we left for our mission. I wanted to tell him something but had no idea what to say. So, again, I decided to stay quiet and focus on the mission at hand.

 As predicted, the situation was dire. We had guns and a contact, but that was all blown to hell the second day of our stay in that dreadful hellhole. A group of guys attempted to blow us up in a crappy hotel. It was just luck that the cleaning lady had gone in before us. I know, that sounds insensitive but you kind of lose that part of yourself in such a job. We just started running and killing them all to get the fuck out of there. And in that moment, we were the best team anyone could have ever hoped for.

 It was as if our minds were connected, as well as our bodies. We didn’t even have to look at each other to work in unison; it was almost like a dance that has all the perfect moves to be the best anyone has ever seen. At the same time, I realized we weren’t the same people that had enjoyed those cruises and nice hotels at the start of this whole thing. We were two entirely different men and it showed. I saw it in his eyes the moment we started running away and I had felt it in myself for a long time before that. It just had been confirmed.

 He surprised me with his knowledge of the underworld of that city. Maybe he had been there before or maybe he had just changed that much. I had heard that after his traumatic experience, he had stayed on his post, taking many other risky assignments. He had a nice fiancé at the start but eventually she left him and no one could point at the exact thing that had caused that rift. However, the job was not one where you could see a lot of happy endings. So I understood if that had been the reason why he had decided to be left alone.

 In time, we got our witness and got her out of that place. It was by the skin of our teeth, as I was shot in the shoulder moments before our party rescued us on the border. The thing was, he had stepped in front of me and blocked most bullets by using a metal door as a shield. Only that one bullet had been able to reach me. Making me lose a lot of blood. I fainted in the helicopter that was carrying us and woke up many days later, back home, in a hospital bed. I was very dizzy, so what I saw seemed very unreal.

 It was him. He was fast asleep in the only furniture in the room other than my hospital bed, a very old sofa that seemed to have seen better days. When the nurse came in, she told me he had been there for over two days, never leaving for his home, never going anywhere. He just stayed there.

 After she left, I watched him sleep for a while. And as I did that, I tried to understand the whole situation. It was confusing for me and I know it must be the same for him. So I just decided to think it through another day. What was important was that I felt safe now, and I could finally rest properly for a few days.

miércoles, 28 de febrero de 2018

Adolescence


   The taste of iron was not to be ignored. Maybe it was because of the cold that had swept through the city around those days, the fact was that the gun tasted like pure iron and the taste was enough for Felicia to pull it out of her mouth and put it back on the wooden box her mother kept it in case robbers or someone broke into the house. Felicia’s eyes were flooding with tears, so she ran to the hallway bathroom and thoroughly washed her face, trying to eliminate her feeling while doing it.

 She looked at her own eyes and nose and skin once she was done but everything she had been feeling was still there: her insecurities and self-hatred had not left her body just because she had taste the iron that made up a gun. She did feel a little bit less agitated and her mind seemed clearer, as if she had put on glasses or something. She dried up her face with a small towel, taking her time to appreciate its smell and texture. It felt as if she had never used her senses until that day.

 Felicia then walked to her room again and closed the door. She didn’t lock it though, because it didn’t really seem necessary anymore. She had dropped the whole idea of killing herself, only because of the taste of the gun. But it wasn’t only that, it was also the fact that she wasn’t really sure about what she was going to do. After all, Felicia was still a very young woman and had a whole life before her. Something inside of her told her to wait a little bit longer, to hold on for a while.

 The young woman was in high school and, as with most kids there, she had started feeling anxious when she discovered how things had change from one grade to the other. Now, all the girls in her classroom and age would be trying makeup away from teachers, drinking alcohol, smoking marihuana and even talking about their sexual experiences. Felicia, at first, thought it was all about a little group of girls that had changed in the blink of an eye but then she realized it had affected every single person her age.

 She used to enjoy talking to her friends about the shows she liked, many animated programs among them, and about some games and silly things that they liked because, after all, they were still children. Maybe not like her brother Thomas who was eleven years old, but kids anyway. They couldn’t legally drink or vote and they were still in high school trying to decipher math problems and having homework. The shift that she had witnessed seemed rushed and unexplainable but she soon learned she had to adapt soon to this new state of things.

 Felicia realized this when she started being harassed by some girls in school because of her weight. She had always been a little bit bigger than most girls but no one had ever said anything hurtful to her because of that. Now, things had changed dramatically: some people outwardly said to her how fat she was and that she looked like a pig or a boar. Sometimes it would be in a low register on the school corridors but some other times it would be right to her face, as if they wanted to see how she responded.

 She always walked on, deciding not to engage in any sort of fight. But as the school year went on, it was more and more difficult to resist. She tried to remember what she liked about school and so she decided to spend a little more time in the library. Her best friends were sadly not there for her at the moment because one of them had left for a neighboring city and the other one had just stopped talking to her out of the blue. It was probably the worst part of the whole deal.

 Anna had been her best friend since they were toddlers. They had been in each other’s houses and their parents knew each other very well. They had celebrated birthdays together, as well as spending some holidays in the same place whether it was Disneyland or a cabin in the woods. They loved to go shopping together and make fun of everything and everyone, along with their mutual friend Jeff. They were basically sisters for more than fourteen years and now all of that had disappeared for no apparent reason.

 They had not talked over the summer because Anna had left for a long trip with her parents and she never contacted Felicia after she had arrived. Felicia didn’t think much of it but she quickly realized in school that everything had changed between them. She had tried to come close to chat for a while but it was obvious Anna had no desire to interact with her. So Felicia stopped trying and the relationship died a sad and unexpected death pretty soon. It was devastating for Felicia.

She even called Jeff to tell him about it and he was kind enough to hear about all of it but the thing was that Jeff had some problems of his own. His parents were divorcing and it wasn’t clear what was going to happen with him after that. He had told his parents he wanted to go back to were he had friends and family but his parents didn’t seem to care a lot about what he had to say. They were too busy accusing each other of something, so Jeff couldn’t really be there for Felicia in any way. He just asked her if she was okay and that’s when she realized she wasn’t.

 After that phone call, it was the first time Felicia realized that she didn’t really feel great about the whole situation happening around her. After all, she started feeling alone and without friends, something a young person is sometimes unable to handle, as it is a necessity for them to be social and able to talk to someone if they need help or advice, and sometimes that comes from people their age who have information they personally don’t have. It’s something they need Felicia realize she didn’t have anymore.

 Her parents were another problems. They had recently begun showing signs of a certain distance forming between them. There were no family weekends anymore. Mom stayed at home while Dad went away to fish or be with his friends. And when her mom went out with her friends, Dad stayed around to be with the kids. It was nice and all for a while, but Felicia soon realized it wasn’t very normal for parents to simple not talk a lot to each other. She wondered if a divorce was looming.

 So the bullying at school, which got increasingly worse, her lack of friends and the tension at home, had all been enough for Felicia to take advantage of none of her parents being at home to get into their room and grab the gun, to the point she had it in her mouth. After she went back to her room, she started crying and she didn’t really knew why. Maybe it was because she felt weak or maybe it was because she felt very alone. It was then when she heard the door and it was her little brother.

 He had arrived from being with a friend and Felicia could hear him throwing his backpack and turning on the TV. Without thinking, she opened the door and walked to his room. He was watching cartoons and looked at her on the door when she appeared. Felicia tried to seem calm and just wanting to hang out for a bit but Thomas was no fool. It is a common mistake to think youth means ignorance when it’s nothing of the sort. He realized soon something was wrong but didn’t ask outright.

 Brother and sister spent a good chunk of the afternoon watching cartoons and sharing appreciations about them. Then, they grabbed cookies and milk and also some ice cream and ate it all just before their parents came back home. They didn’t look as happy as them.

 But all of that didn’t matter because Felicia realized she still had people around who she could trust and also that she had to take care for. The world was not going to end. She was going to face the tide with the weapons she had at hand and promised herself to survive the whole messy thing that is adolescence.

viernes, 23 de febrero de 2018

Rollercoaster


   Waking up had never been that difficult. My eyelids felt heavy and sticky. In the glimpses I had been able to witness, I couldn’t really see anything. Besides, they happened every so often, when my body would come back from the induced state the doctors had put me on. I remember opening my eyes wide, right in the middle of the main surgery. After that, I opened them slightly and wasn’t able to see a thing because it was blurry and pitch black. I remember the scent of disinfectant, though.

 I did not now how long I stayed in there; it felt like days, maybe weeks. The day I was finally able to properly open my eyes, I was surprised to find myself in a large hospital bed. Of course, I knew all along I had been in a hospital but there was no way I or my insurance could afford to have such a nice room. I turned on my chest and looked to the other side of the room, finding a very large window overlooking… Well, nothing. I was apparently in a very tall building because I could only see clouds.

 It rained soon after; at about the same time a nurse came in and checked my pulse and other vital signs. She asked if I was able to sit, so I tried to rise myself and sit on my behind, like people do. But I couldn’t. I felt a jolt of pain electrifying my body. She helped me back to the position I had been before and said she was going to get a doctor and some painkillers. The only one I wanted to see was the medication. I had never been a fan of doctors, especially when they tend to ask too many questions.

 Sure enough, a rather large man with a white robe entered the room minutes later and started firing questions. At first, I tried to keep up with him but eventually I stopped answering because he wanted very specific responses that I wasn’t able to answer properly. Besides, he seemed angry somehow, almost yelling at me for not knowing what he was asking.  He hurt me a bit when he grabbed my arm to check my blood pressure and then another jolt ran through my body when he checked my backside.

 That second instant of pain was enough. I don’t even know how, but I turned around and jumped out of bed, away from him. It hurt, but I didn’t care. I reached the doorway and there I faced him and demanded him to go out of my room. He seemed sort of amused by my demand but I insisted, as some tears started to run down my face. Not only that, something had happened and I was bleeding on the floor, heavily. The nurse ran out to get help and the doctor did the same, not before looking at me as if I was a monster. I wanted to die right then and there.

 A group of nurses took care of me. They seemed kind and did a wonderful job at patching me up again. Apparently, one of the stitches had come loose after I walked out of bed. So they had to fix it, giving me more painkillers and even a special medicine to sleep all night. They had intended for me to have something to eat but I seemed far too tired to do that, so they decided to leave that for another moment. I remember sleeping like a baby, having no dreams or pain. Only a great moment of peace.

 I woke up the next morning to a face I had never seen before. It was a woman, older than the other nurses, wearing a nice knitted sweater and matching skirt. She seemed kind, at least if her smile was to be believed. She excused herself for being there but told me she had wanted to talk to me for a while and she had decided it was best if she just waited for me to wake up. I felt a little bit weird at the moment, but the arrival of one of the nurses made the room feel a little bit cozier.

 After a brief check on my status, the nurse left not before telling me she would bring me some food in a moment. I smiled at her because, obviously, I hadn’t eaten a single piece of food for days or even weeks, only having a liquid pumped into my veins. When I thought of food, I pictured chocolate cake and a good big piece of red meat and a cup of tea with lots of cookies and even a big bowl of vanilla ice cream.  Then, I remembered I was in a hospital and realized they weren’t known for great food.

 I was left alone with the woman in the sofa. She stood up when the nurse left and asked me how I was feeling. I did not know how to answer the question and she seemed to notice that because she then asked what my favorite movie was. Instantly, I was able to tell her I had many favorites and would never be able to choose only one. She laughed and told me she loved romantic dramas but also science fiction films with a lot of gore. She knew it was a curious mix, but it worked for her.

 That silly question got us talking for a whole hour, even after the nurse came back with my food tray. As I had imagined, the food was very bland and not especially appealing but it was something and I ate it all within minutes. The woman, who happened to be a psychiatrist for the hospital, was a very funny person and I have to say I felt safe with her Besides, she seemed intelligent enough not to drill me about what had happened. Obviously, it was her job to know about it and ask me how I was after that ordeal, but she knew exactly how to manage the whole situation.

 She came back every day for a week, as I slowly got better. She was just outside the room when another doctor, a kinder one, came in and removed the stitches. It hurt a little but I never felt a jolt of pain again. The man told me that it was all coming up very well and that I could be out of the hospital in a week or even less. That reminded me to ask who was paying for the whole thing but the doctor pretended not to listen to what I said and instead made me remember I had to rest properly.

 I asked the psychiatrist too but she authentically did not know who was paying for everything. We had talked about how I had left my home years ago and how I wasn’t in touch with my parents or any of my relatives. Besides, I told her how they had rejected me when I was outed in school and hypothesized that they wouldn’t even look at me if they knew what my life had come to. She asked if I missed them and I confessed sometimes I did. But most times, they weren’t even in my mind.

 Two days before my release, a nurse and the psychiatrist joined me for a walk around the hospital. They told me I was going to need a lot of physical therapy to be able to walk normally but that it was almost a given that I would be able to do so in a few months. Of course, the therapy had already been paid but, again, no one seemed aware of who was paying for all of it. And to be honest, I had grown tired of asking. Maybe after it was all in the past, I would be able to properly investigate the whole thing.

 The day I was released from the hospital, all the nurses that took care of me came to say goodbye. I cried and they cried too. We had become closer and I felt them as sisters or aunts. My psychiatrist came too, telling me she would be there if I ever wanted to have a word or if I needed something. She even gave me her personal phone number. I thanked them all and went back home, to a small and dirty little apartment in a crappy neighborhood and the reality of having no prospects in life.

 The very next day, I got a letter. A written one. Of course, that was highly unusual. The moment I read it, I felt weak and wanted to run away but I didn’t know where. Suddenly, I felt in an open field where I was an easy prey for anyone to take advantage of.

 Then, I remembered my psychiatrist’s number. I asked her to meet me and she gave me her address. I arrived there within the hour, crying and in a state I hadn’t been in days. I explained to her the contents of the letter: the revelation of the person that had paid for my hospital expenses. It was him.