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

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2018

La Vérriere


  The sound of a piano being played could be heard on the staircase that led to the each one of the seven floors that made up the building. In each floor, there were two doors: one for each apartment. Nevertheless, not all of the apartments in the Vérriere building were used as homes. Some of them were offices and others, like 7B in the upper most floor, had been in use for thirty years as a teaching hall of music. Some days you could hear a piano, some others a violin or even a flute.

 Below 7B lived an elderly couple, Ava and Michael. They had been living in Paris for almost seventy years, from the day they had visited as a recently married couple and had fallen in love almost instantly with the city. They loved the architecture and the vibrant artistic movements that you could see and feel all around. And the food, of course, was one of the big reasons for them to stay, as Michael had always wanted to become a professional pastry chef, and Paris was the perfect city to achieve that.

 They decided to move into the Vérriere less than a month after their marriage and announced their decision to family members and friends back home in England with a postcard of the city seen from the Eiffel Tower. Of course, everyone was surprised by their sudden decision. Yes, maybe Michael had always wanted to be a chef and he loved everything that had to do with pastries and bread, but they no one really thought he would follow the dream. And Ava… she was much too young.

 When they moved, Ava was seventeen years old and Michael was nineteen. They started working right away, Michael in a bakery and Ava in a bank. They didn’t ask for experience back then, just the language, which they had to learn bit by bit at nights. It was a hard life for a long time but they eventually moved up in their respective fields. Michael got enough money to enter school and become the chef he always wanted to be and Ava was able to be the accountant of a very prestigious chain of stores.

 Now, Ava and Michael are in their early eighties. They are still in love with each other and they rarely leave their apartment, for which they paid rent for many years but they were eventually able to buy it, as the owner had became a great friend of the both of them. They had two children; now living in the country they had both came from. Somehow, the love the couple had for the city had not being transmitted to their children. They rarely visited, the only foreign sound in the apartment coming from the music lessons above, which were an entertainment for them, more than a nuisance.

 In the middle of the building, in 4A, lived a young man that had recently moved from an eastern European country. It was almost a year ago that he had entered the building, only to check it out with a friend. But they hadn’t been looking for an apartment to live in. His friend ran a production company that produced pornographic content on the Internet and he was looking for a place that looked old and could be used to set various types of productions, somewhere versatile they could use.

 Both of them loved it but Karl, the boy with a thick accent, was truly enthralled with everything about the location. He liked every single little details like the door handles and the sink appliances, but he also loved the views from the windows and the fact that there were very well lit rooms and other one that seemed flooded with darkness. The high ceiling and beautiful wallpaper sold the deal for him. His friend, however, thought the place was a little pricey and that’s when Karl proposed a deal to him.

 Karl would give money to his friend, in order to cover the price of rent, but with the condition he would be able to live there, use it as his home. His friend was doubtful because he knew it could get annoying if someone lived there and a filming crew would suddenly need one of the rooms for a movie. But Karl assured him he was very used to the whole filming scene, being an actor himself, so he assured nothing would go wrong and no problems would show their ugly heads.

 Actually, he said that not being sure of anything, only knowing he just wanted to live there. But he eventually realized he had been correct: the place was not only perfect to live as it was huge and conveniently located, but it proved to be a great setting for lots of movies. Karl even participated in some of them. The incredible surprise was that the building was so sturdy, that people were not able to hear anything on the other floors. And the fact that there were offices around was even better for them.

 Eventually, Karl met a nice young man like himself during another location scouting. They talked and dated for several months until he asked him to move in with him. Karl’s friend eventually found other locations and he eventually stopped using the apartment in the Vérriere building for his films. The place turned into the home of Karl and his boyfriend, who would eventually become his husband. They made great friends in the building, including the elderly couple made by Ava and Michael but also the dozens of cats that Mrs. Laffite had taken in.

 She lived in the only apartment located on the ground floor. She was the person in charge of getting the building clean, on the outside and the inside. Mrs. Laffite was also the only person to have an actual garden in the building, complete with a small bench to sit down and several plants that made her home look like something of an anomaly for such a huge city. Nevertheless, she wasn’t the most sociable person ever, so most people didn’t even know about her beautiful apartment.

 Sometimes called Lala by other people living there, she had surrounded herself with dozens of cats. It was common to see her entering the building holding one or two cats on her hands, just as if she had came into the building with two bags of groceries or something. She always brought in new kitties, mostly strays that she found around the marketplace and other corners of the city she liked to walk around. Granted, she never went to far from the building and never spent more than two hours outside.

 The rest of the day was spent inside her house and sometimes standing in the frame of her door telling the cleaning lady how to do her job. There was always a different woman or man cleaning the place, as she grew impatient with them very fast. She never liked how they clean, how not thorough they were. She trembled when thinking about their homes, and how dust and dirt would be slowly accumulating in corners and under the furniture. Lala was a big germophobe, odd for such a cat lover.

 When someone talked to her, saying “Hi” or something, she always responded by nodding. If people started talking more, she continued answering with head movements and other gestures. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk but she simply didn’t like to interact with people. And those who had been living there for a few months already knew how to handle her situation. And they didn’t mind and she didn’t really mind any of them, she didn’t really care too much to be very honest.

 Her happiest moment was being in her garden, tending to her plants. She would sing to them and that was the only time some of her tenants were able to hear actual words coming out of her mouth. Her voice was beautiful, soothing and simply magnificent.

 La Vérriere was a building filled with so many people from different backgrounds, doing different things and having different thoughts. It was pretty much as any other building in the world. A place where everything and nothing meets at the same time.

jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

Lemon slices

   She cut a slice of lemon and put it on the edge of the glass. One of the waitresses came in a second and grabbed it, taking the drink to its table. Working on a bar wasn’t the best paying job ever but no one ever get bored during a shift. Bronwyn had been working there for almost a year and she had already witnessed every single kind of thing you could see at a bar. From the beginning of a fistfight to a couple falling in love. She had seen first kisses and last dates. She had even been a shoulder to cry on for some people.

 It wasn’t like she had looking for that specific job or anything. The reality was that Bronwyn had not found a proper job in the two years after she had graduated college. She had a diploma that made her a professional engineer but she had never been able to work as one. Every single company she had sent her CV to, turned her down because she had no experience. But how could she gain any experience if no company would hire her? It was the eternal struggle and it got worse as time went on. She was desperate and there’s when her friend Alicia gave her the idea.

 Alicia had been dating a guy who owned a bar. The place was not very big but it had a very good location. As Bronwyn’s friend, Alicia offered her a job in her boyfriend’s club. She told her it would be nice for her to have at least one paying job in her information and that it would only be for a short period of time. Bronwyn wasn’t very convinced by that. She really wanted to find something that suited her better but Alicia reminded her of how much time she had spent looking for that. Besides, it would be fun for her to be a bartender.

 The first thing she had to do before taking the job was studying a little bit about the drinks that she would have to serve. Alicia gave her a copy of the menu of the bar and Bronwyn looked for the appropriate way to do those drinks. She practiced by watching videos online and failing once and again. She dropped several mixers to the ground before she could do the shaking moves the right way. The rest of the things she had to learn were quite easy and it was just about remembering the right ingredients and the amounts of alcohol she had to use.

 She practiced a lot because she wanted to be really good in her first job. If she was going to do it, Bronwyn had to feel she was doing the best thing she could do. The very first day she worked on the bar, she impressed everyone with her moves, despite being very nervous about something she hadn’t realized she had to do: talk to people. She had always being kind of shy but talking to half-drunks and people in almost darkness was much easier than doing it as if they were outside.

Her first day was an absolute success. Alicia came around late to watch her for a bit and then congratulated her on how much energy she put into doing the drinks. Bronwyn couldn’t really talk much because she was always focused on making the drinks properly and not missing one thing about them. She supposed that, in time, she would be able to do them without thinking that much. And it was true. After only a month in the bar she began to be more relaxed and even made friends with the other people in the bar and some of the clients.

 Besides, she found out people could give her tips and some of them were really good tippers. It was very clear for her where they came to, but it was pretty obvious that Alicia’s boyfriend had attracted the right crowd to the bar. They dressed with expensive clothes and paid for several drinks that large groups would consume. Some nights it was truly insane, seeing these rich youngsters drink and drink and their wallets never feeling a single thing from all of that craziness. For Alicia that was simply incredible, as were the tips she received.

  The place had two levels: the lower level was where the bar was located also had a lounge area and a small dancing floor. But the true dancing area and full club experience was upstairs. Lights there were even more scarce so all the waiters had to act as security officers also: they couldn’t allow any bottles or glasses upstairs, only in the tables and the bar in first floor. It was a difficult task for everyone and Bronwyn tried to help as much as she could by always being attentive of the stairs and the people going up to the second floor.

 There had been several times in which people tried to go there with their champagne or whisky bottles and one night in particular they found out why it was so dangerous for that to happen. A very drunk client grabbed his vodka bottle and hid it in his pants. The lights, or lack of them, helped him go unnoticed until he reached the stairs. Bronwyn thought he looked very strange, so she told a waiter to follow him and just see if he was hiding something under his clothes. The waiter did as she said but finding the guy wasn’t easy upstairs.

 It only became clear what he wanted to do once a girl screamed upstairs. Bronwyn almost dropped a bottle when she heard the noise. She ran upstairs automatically, as well as many other people. When they got to the second level, they realized the drunken man had broken the bottle and was threatening a woman with it. The waiter that had gone behind him was trying to convince him to lower the bottle but the he launched himself at the waiter, trying to cut him. Someone, a big guy, grabbed the drunkard before he could do any harm and put him on a lock.

 The bottle fell to the floor and the big guy took the man downstairs. The lights were put on and everyone was asked to leave the scene of the aggression, except for the workers, the drunkard and the girl he had threatened with the bottle. They all waited for the police, who arrived shortly and took the man away. The girl then explained to the officers that she was his ex-girlfriend. She could only guess that he had followed her into the club and had been waiting to do something all night. She was trembling a little bit as she told her story.

 After that, the big guy revealed his identity: it was Victor, Alicia’s boyfriend and owner of the club. He had been there just by chance and had been able to intervene. However, he wasn’t in a very good mood. He told everyone it was a shame that they hadn’t realized he was going up there with a bottle. He told them that they should be much more perceptive about who went up the dance floor. He told everyone he was very disappointed in them. After saying all that, he just left, leaving everyone to clean everything before leaving.

 Bronwyn thought she was out for sure. After all, she had left her post only to see what had happened upstairs. People could have stolen drinks or even money. She was certain that Victor would call her to tell her she was fired or not even that, maybe someone else would tell her. The next day of work, she was really nervous about that but no one ever came in to say anything. Furthermore, every single person that had been working in the club was still there and some of the also thought that they were going to be fired on the spot.

 Apparently, Victor was a much kinder guy that he looked like. That was a good thing for all of them because it wasn’t only Bronwyn that needed the job but every single one of them. From then on, they assigned a waiter to the stairs area to check on people and eventually Victor hired a security guy to do that job. The tips eventually got even better and Bronwyn realized that working as a bartender was not bad at all. She earned good money, she was good at it and she would make friends every night. The conversations she heard sometimes made her laugh, and some other times almost cry.


It was such an experience to be there with all those people, hearing their problems and the reasons they were happy about. It was funny to see the groups of friends dancing all together and it was also great to see love flourishing between two people, whoever they were, or seeing friendship be so active in men and women. Eventually, she stopped working there when a company finally decided she was good enough for them. But Bronwyn never forget the lemon slices she cut and the drinks she served at that club.

martes, 9 de agosto de 2016

The ninja (Part 2)

  The ninja covered his face again, being able to stand up after being smashed against the ground. Kevin was still in shock, almost paralyzed, very close to were he had stood when that familiar face had looked at him with the eye that had gazed upon his so many times in the past. The ninja did not stay to chat; he was agile enough to open the wind and exit through there. How did he not fall to his death? Kevin had no idea. To be honest, he wasn’t even thinking of that.

 That night, he wasn’t able to sleep. He decided to go to work early and check on the records again for the incident that had taken the life of his husband almost two years ago. As he drove to work in the middle of the night, he remembered that day clearly. They had been fighting a lot, the reason been that Paul wanted to have more missions on his own. He didn’t want to be paired up with his husband every single time. Kevin took this the wrong way.

 For a week, the tension in their home had been very high. They would only spoke to each other if they had to, avoiding each other completely at work. However, they were assigned to the same mission once again and Paul wasn’t up to complaining about it with his superiors. He knew it wasn’t a good way to try to start his own thing as an agent so, in order to win everybody’s trust as a capable guy, he accepted the mission without asking any questions.

 It was a very straightforward mission: they had to infiltrate a very secure compound where a very wealthy businessman kept his private documents. In them, he supposedly had proof of the existence of several chemical and biological weapons that had been sold illegally to countries that wouldn’t know how to manage any of that. Their mission was only to copy the documents and come out as soon as possible.

 Entering the compound was very simple. The three agents they had sent were able to step in undetected, all very well trained in martial arts and everything needed in order not to make noise or activate any of the alarms of the place. They were able to reach the library, where the documents were being kept. It was Paul who took the pictures of what they needed and finished just when Kevin stepped in the wrong direction and activated an alarm.

 They had to knockout several of the businessman’s thugs, which was easy at the beginning. But on their way out, one of them was able to take hold of Paul and Kevin was sure he had heard the snapping of his neck and his body falling to the ground. He was sure he had seen his body hit the ground just as his body went numb and the other agent had to help him run faster.

 The information was lost that day. However, they were able to retrieve all of it months later, in a raid the special forces of the state had been authorized to do in the compound. Of course, they had no opposition of any kind. They didn’t find any bodies on the premises or recently dug areas. Even like that, it was very unlikely that Paul had survived that. The guy that grabbed him was taller and bigger in every sense, his hands being larger than Paul’s face. He had to be dead, that’s what Kevin had to convince himself to believe

 There was a funeral for Paul and everyone in the agency attended. Kevin got to meet his parents, which he had never met before. He didn’t get close to share his grief, instead looking from afar and realizing that, despite having gotten married in secret, they still didn’t know a lo about each other. The fact that he had no idea what Paul’s mom looked like before the funeral made him feel awful.

 And that was two years ago. As he drove into the office building, he realized he had no idea what route he had chose to get there. He had barely paid attention to the road and he felt bad for that for a second, before returning to those days once again, before Paul disappeared and they were happy, back when they had decided that they wanted to live together forever and ever.

 It had been a very easy thing to decide. They had been dating for a little more than a year after the relationship had started in the strangest of ways: not four months before commencing their love story, Kevin had finished another one with a former girlfriend with which he had been engaged to be married. He decided to call off the wedding when he realized he couldn’t deny that he felt different inside and needed to process that. Beside, work had been hard, as usual.

 Paul had been working with them for a while, not too long. He barely knew him well and the truth was they didn’t really like each other. Paul saw Kevin as the typical guy that thinks he’s better than everyone else at anything, form his physical appearance to anything he could do with his body and his mind. And Kevin thought Paul was a very smug guy, never really accepting his mistakes or accepting his obvious flaws.

 It was on a mission that took several months to complete, where Paul had saved Kevin from a bomb, practically using himself as a shield in order to protect his partner. From then on, they gained a certain respect for each other that enabled them to form a relationship that grew to be a very stable friendship. But even then, they felt something was off with all of it.

 At the same time, Kevin began his problems with his girlfriend. They got worse as the date of their wedding got near and, after another intense mission where he and Paul single handedly completed the task at hand; he realized she was not what he wanted from life. So he cancelled the engagement and tried to think about everything for a while. Just two weeks after that, he kissed Paul for the first time. And another two weeks after, they had sex. It was then when Kevin realized that he had been very close to making a very big mistake.

 The guard at the office building recognized him and he was able to enter without any problem. Outside, the first glimmer of the new day could be seen very far into the horizon. As he sat in his office, he looked for the files of their last mission and checked every single paper the Special Forces had submitted about their mission there, when the whole place had been swept.

He couldn’t understand what was missing, what had happened. Paul was dead; he had heard his neck snap. He was sure of it. He had been convincing himself of that for years. But now he was alive. Even with that scar on his face and those wild eyes,  it was still him beneath that ninja outfit. He looked in the computer again and discovered that a similar ninja vigilante had been reported before, in a couple of missions by the agency. It seemed he was very skilled and worked both against and with them.

 It was difficult for Kevin not to think about the guy with whom he had slept so many times, kissed so often and felt so close during so many nights. During their life together, they had slept in the nude and Kevin had learned to love to wake up and feel Paul just by his side. He would often hug him tight and kissed him softly. It was difficult to understand why and how he loved him so much but he did. Maybe that’s why it was so hard to see him alive.

 A stack of papers fell from a nearby table. Kevin woke up from his daydreaming and looked in all directions. The papers had been stable moments before and there was no window opened. He got near it in order to check out the exterior but they were too high above the ground. He knew it was stupid to be worried. He decided to grab something to drink from a machine, unaware that the picture he kept there of the two of them had been taken away.


 In the rooftop, Paul removed the cover over his face, revealing his very pale skin and the scar across the side. He looked at the picture, without any particular expression. He seemed to be on the edge of tears for a moment but then he threw the picture from the rooftop and put on his face cover again. The shadow of a soul that had been visible for a moment, was not there anymore.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.


 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.