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

viernes, 1 de junio de 2018

He was me


   For a split second, I had been unable to recognize him. But then, as I drew closer, I realized that I had known him my entire life. The only thing was that, I hadn’t seen him in a long while. He was still inside my head but only as a fading memory, as something that wasn’t real anymore but does not want to die and disappear. I looked at him and started crying in silence. Suddenly, the past came rushing in like a flood, filling every corner of my being. Because he was me, only much younger and way more innocent than I am now.

 I hadn’t been able to see myself like that in a long time and I seemed to have changed. Well, it was expected to be that way because many years had passed, more than a decade in fact. Not only had my physical appearance changed a bit but also what I had inside my head. It was like seeing a mirage in the middle of the desert and just standing away from it, hoping it won’t vanish. Because if it does then it doesn’t exist anymore and it fails to become something real, something that I can point to when trying to explain who I am.

 That was one of those damn questions I wanted to answer so bad back then. I really wanted to know who the hell I was and how I had become who I was and how I could move forward. The need to know myself was first and foremost in my mind, so much that it was shortly after when I started stepping outside of my comfort zone, making it easier for others to take advantage of me without me actually realizing it. I was so much younger in mind and body, and so silly and plain. But I guess I was also brave, beyond my wildest dreams.

 I know that because I can see myself now, what I do and what I’ve done and all of that can only be the result of someone having the balls to run away from his or her life and just go for it, whatever “it” is. I never realized the dangers I had faced and that many of the moments I had forgotten were forgotten for a reason. Because it was then, and not before, when I realized that life is not so simple and so easy as many make it seem. Life can be horrible and tiring and just too much for a young person to handle. Just too much sometimes.

 I had no idea before that, of all the things that awaited me. And I know many think that it’s precisely that what gives life its meaning. That mystery and the unknown are supposed to be what living is all about. But they never tell us how frightening it is or how horrible it can be sometimes. You do things and then you realized you have crossed several lines created by mankind in order to controls us and you freak out because you’re not that innocent little boy anymore. You’re a grown man doing things, left and right, and they could be a deal breaker in life with many people or even yourself.

 A movie was the one that made me think all about this. A beautiful simple movie rocked my brain and made me remember moments and facts that I had completely forgotten. Moments populated with actions and thoughts and people, all of them part of that big dream we all call the past. And that dream keeps getting larger and larger and I have no idea if I should keep believing in that dream. Maybe that was the reason why, all of a sudden, everything exploded inside my head. Maybe I have to make a choice.

 But I don’t want to. Because choices in this world are never permanent, they are never something you take to your grave. Choices always get mutated and manipulated, whether you do it or others do it. Nothing is permanent, so why should I do something that makes anything seem forever when, I know for a fact, that forever doesn’t really exist? It’s a thing in our heads that makes us think about our legacy or how capable we are to survive our own lives but the truth is that we don’t. We die and that’s it for us. Nothing more.

 Watching the “me” from the past makes me feel very bad, it hurts me very deep. I disappointed him, so I try to avoid looking directly into his eyes. Because I know that even that figment of my imagination, of that past we keep recalling, can understand that my life did not get to be what we always thought it would be. The paths I walked on are not the ones we always thought we would walk on. And my life is not the life of someone in a movie, but the life a lonely boy who doesn’t really matter in this world.

 None of us really matter, by the way. I don’t want to sound as if everything had happened to me and only me. It is the world that doesn’t give a shit about any of us and that’s why our pasts or presents or futures are not important. Even if we become the worst person on the planet tomorrow, nature has an expiration date on all of us, and that will never change. So the mistakes we’ve done and will do, are never really important in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that we think too much about ourselves as a species.

 Thinking condemns us every single day or at least it should. Most people are drones who live their lives from one side to the other, never really thinking about themselves in a profound way. They fill their lives with things in order to fill holes that they don’t even know if they have or not.  They have friendships and relationships and try to be as similar as the norm says, because if you step out of the line traced by people before you, then you’re on your own and no one will help you survive. You will have to learn how to navigate life by yourself and that’s scary, so few people actually go down that way.

 The only thing I can do now is to wait for my memories to go back to sleep, deep inside my head. They will fall in a deep slumber because they know I have no use for them right now. But they will always be there, waiting in the dark for me to need them or for them to teach me a lesson about myself, again.

 As for the movie, it’s something that happened and now it’s gone. I will probably reflect on it some more but, as I have no one to talk to about it, the need to have that on my mind will also die down. And he will go back deep inside my soul and not comeback for a very long while.

 However, I’m sure I’ll see him again. At least once more before the end.

viernes, 20 de abril de 2018

Lessons in the ice


   I would always spend my winters in my friend Robert’s cabin, in the woods just north of the Northern Lake. His family never used it on such windy and cold months but I needed that time to be alone and be able to think for once, about my life, decisions and so on. My family lived far away and I didn’t have any money to go and visit them, so I would pack my laptop and portable Wi-Fi and just cold them from the cabin on Christmas day to wish them all a happy day and talk to them for a while.

 The reason I liked the cabin, or at least the main one, was that the lake was just a few minutes away by walking. Part of it would freeze but the other half would stay liquid because of a strong current coming from a river that traverse the body of water. The part of the lake nearest to the cabin was the one that was always frozen, and I would practice my jumps and twists right there. I would do it for hours, never fearing that the ice would break beneath my feet or that I could be attacked by a feral animal.

 I had grown to know the lake deeply, so I knew very well that the ice was at its thickest when I visited, almost a meter thick at times. That was more than enough for me to spend hours and hours practicing. My skating was getting sloppy and I couldn’t do the things that I was famous for several years before, when I first entered the ice skating circuit. I had been labeled a “star” and “the next best thing to come out of ice skating”. There were gifts and praise and flowers and all kinds of beautiful moments.

 But that had happened then and this was now. Me gliding on the ice, jumping and trying to make a good figure, just to be stopped in the middle of the air by my weight or my stupid feet. I seemed to have lost my form in a matter of a few years and coming back now was going to be the most difficult thing ever. I had made the decision to try my best to make a comeback, a last attempt at glory before I entered well into my thirties. That’s the magical number that you cannot go over, not in this world.

 I had checked out every single competitor I was going to have and they were all much younger than me. The prodigy of the group was a kid that was more than ten years younger, with a small stature and slender body, he was sure to make a big impression in any contest. I needed to work a lot to get to that level, to even get near what the others were doing. No one cared that I had won so many awards years ago. They didn’t care if they had been gold, silver or bronze. I wasn’t in their landscape at all. I was just a memory of a past that wasn’t that old.

 I worked out every single day in the cabin, just after having a small breakfast. I would jog around the woods and do sit-ups and pull-ups and every single kind of exercise to make my body what it had used to be. It hurt a lot and it there were many moments in which I wanted to drop it all and just go back to what I had been doing for the past year and a half. Working at the supermarket and as a cashier in the local skating rink was not bad at all. It helped pay the bills at least. But I needed more.

 Telling anyone about my plans was out of the question. Even after sending my papers to inscribe my name for the upcoming events, no one had notice that I was there, trying to make a comeback. They would only notice me once I stepped in the ice once again to reclaim my throne or at least make a decent attempt at it. I hadn’t told my family or anyone else. No one needed to know about what I wanted to do with the next few years of my life. They wouldn’t understand why I just need to do it.

 Maybe if I had a friend, I would tell them what was going on in my head the moment I decided to go back to such a difficult sports life. But I don’t have any because everyone left me after I stopped being famous and a success. And those who didn’t leave me were alienated by the person I became after I hung up my skates to pursue a more “normal” life. They were disappointed in me and got fed up of my negative attitude towards life. I have always said that I would never hold that against them.

 Sometimes, at night, I wonder about what those people think now that I’m planning to come back to the competitions. Are they going to be still mad at me for leaving everything in the first place or are they going to silently cheer me on? Well, I’m never going to know that but it’s not important. I need to do this whatever the results may be and no matter how difficult it can get. And it’s already pretty hard so I guess things are going to be pretty messy. But that’s the challenge I accepted.

 When winter is over, I will go back to the city and start practicing on a proper ice rink and then the trials and competitions will begin. Everyone will know I’m trying to get back to the top and then everything will become even harder. But I trust I can push through and just get to a point were I get to enjoy skating again. I want to feel what I felt all those years ago, because it was the best feeling ever. It was like walking on clouds and being able to fly over everyone else, doing something most people would only dream about. It felt so special and magical, a one of a kind sensation.

 But before that, I need to get back in shape, I need to be able to be that person I once was or at least someone very similar. I have to learn from the mistakes I made back then and also make new ones, because no one is perfect and there’s no way I’m going to step on those competitions thinking I’m better than others just because I have been there before. No, I need to know that I’m starting over, from the bottom. I need to make the trip to the top with all the dangers and difficulties, because that’s the only way I can do this right.

 Sometimes, I can already feel the rush through my body, going up from the skates to my hair, rushing with my blood which is warmed by the simple power that you feel when you’re doing something that makes you feel unique and present in this world. That one of a kind feeling.

 But then I fell, flat on my ass, hitting myself once and again and again, against the hard and cold ice. I see my body covered in cuts and bruises and I realize I’m just beginning. There’s still a long way to go for me but I do not mind at all. I want to get to the finish line. I need to get there.

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.

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.