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

lunes, 30 de enero de 2017

Early hours

   For some reason, he wasn’t able to sleep properly, as he would have wanted. Ever since he could remember, his eyes opened automatically very early, always around seven o’clock in the morning. Every single time he tried to keep sleeping, staying in bed and covering himself up with his bed sheets, he failed miserably as his eyes wouldn’t close for anything, no matter how much and how long he tried. When he had something to do late some day, he just woke up that early and then waited.

 If he ever had to wake up earlier than that, then there was no problem. It was over sleeping that was the problem and not the other way around. Certainly, it was a very uncommon thing, but very real nevertheless. Craig, that was his name, had become an expert in handling all those hours that he normally had to spare on days he didn’t have to work or on weekends. He tried to use them for exercising or doing some of the things he never got to do when he was busy like his taxes and stuff like that.

 It was this early, once he went cycling around his neighbourhood, when he met someone that had a problem with his bike. His name was Rick and he his bicycle on the lawn of a park, trying to figure out what was wrong with it. As Craig had gathered a considerable amount of expertise related to cycling, he decided to stop and help the guy, carrying the bike to a near gas station where they could check the tires for any problems. Indeed, the issue was that something had cut through one of them.

 Rick felt really silly and blamed his accident to the fact that he hadn’t been sleeping much. That small phrase caught Craig’s attention, who rapidly responded by smiling and confessing he rarely slept too much, instead doing things like cycling to spend the time. Rick was very intrigued by that, so he asked Craig if he would like to join him for some lemonade while walking towards his house. There was a place nearby that made an excellent, sweet, lemonade.

 They each bought one and talked about everything as they sipped lemonade and walked with their bicycles on the side. Craig realized, once he got home, that he had practically neglected to actually exercise that day. But he didn’t mind because of two reasons. The first was because he didn’t cycle to exercise as such but to get distracted and spend time he didn’t want to waste. And the other reason was because he had enjoyed Rick’s company too much and would have wanted to spend even more time with him. It had been a nice thing to ask for his phone number.

 He had to wait a week, until next Saturday, to receive a text message on his phone. Rick wanted to know if he was going to go out on his bicycle again, as he had already fixed his bike’s tires and he was looking forward doing it correctly this time. Craig wrote him that he was indeed coming out with his bicycle and that he would love to meet to exercise together. Sure enough, Rick was on the front door of Craig’s building very early on Sunday, yawning a lot but with a smile.

 That day, they both really exercised a lot. They went very far, some ten kilometres away. There they looked for some place to have something to drink and then they came back to Craig’s apartment. As the only thing to drink they had found was a store they had bought some water bags from, Craig decided to invite Rick to his apartment, for a proper breakfast. Rick refused at first, saying he still had to go to his house, but as Craig knew it wasn’t very far, he accepted the invitation.

 The bikes stayed on the basement, behind Craig’s car. On the elevator going up to the apartment, the two men realized they didn’t know what to talk about. They were tired but at the same time they both felt it was necessary to speak, as they were going to spend some more time together that day. But not a word was said in the elevator. On the fifth floor, Craig grabbed his keys from his pocket opened the door. Rick was visibly uncomfortable, as Craig walked stretching his arms into the air.

 They both entered the kitchen and then decided to make omelettes for breakfast. Realizing how tense Rick appeared to be, Craig decided to make the moment very interactive: he would ask the other guy fro every single ingredient for breakfast and Rick would have to look around for it. Surprisingly enough, he was very fast with everything, finding all necessary items in just a few seconds. The game was a very smart way to break the ice and initiate a proper conversation.

 As the eggs cooked, Craig explained Rick everything about his rare condition, where he couldn’t sleep past seven o’clock, how he blamed his childhood for it and some funny things that had happened as the years had gone by, during those early hours. Then, it was Rick’s time to talk about himself. He chose to acknowledge the fact that he was very shy but that he was always trying to push himself forward, in order to meet new people. He confessed that was the first time his experiments had actually been successful. Craig proposed a toast with orange juice.

 They spend the morning eating and talking, until they realized the moment was becoming very awkward again. Thankfully, Rick’s phone rang and broke an uncomfortable silence that had settled in. They didn’t write or called each other during the week. But, at least Craig, certainly thought about Rick when his mind wasn’t busy doing something else. He realized he felt something but he didn’t know what it was and it bothered him. So he tried not to think about it too much.

 The next weekend, nothing. Rick didn’t call or sent a text. Nothing at all. That was the first Sunday in a long time that Craig spent in his bed. He decided he was tired of exercising and instead chose to watch an animated movie he had never paid attention to. He surprised himself by doing that, as he wasn’t the type of guy to watch cartoons but he thoroughly enjoyed his morning, complete with a big bowl of cereal and sliced bananas. He felt like a younger self again, for some time.

 That afternoon he decided to go to the supermarket, as his refrigerator was becoming more and more empty. He normally didn’t worry too much about it, as he normally ate outside of the house, but an urge to eat better thing took over him, so Craig decided he wanted to start cooking more. He was on the pasta aisle when he heard a familiar voice. At first, he thought he was imagining it and got very embarrassed with himself because of that, but then he realized it was really happening.

 Slowly, he moved his shopping cart around the corner into the next aisle. There he was: Rick was talking to a small girl. Apparently she was deciding which cereal she was going to buy. The decision was down to a pink box with princess related stuff painted on it, or a red box with a big panda on the front, eating something that looked like tiny chocolate cylinders. The girl grabbed the pink box and hugged it. Rick smiled and then his eyes moved up, to see Craig standing there like a lamp.


 There was no way of pretending he hadn’t been looking so he only waved and smiled. He didn’t come closer; somehow his legs wouldn’t move his body forward. There was a tense moment, in which the only noise was the girl trying to make Rick move from his spot. They didn’t say anything. Craig was the one who moved first, turning around, almost sprinting to the nearest paying point. Once he was at home, he decided that his early hours would never be used to do any exercise again, or at least not one that involved meeting strangers, as if that had anything to do with his embarrassment at the moment.

sábado, 25 de junio de 2016

Orange

   The soap was provided to us at the entrance of the showers. No one could keep their soap bar in case they wanted to put something inside like a razor blade or something of the sort. There had been too many murders inside the prison and the administration had decided to make crime a thing of the past for the inmates. Yet, there were still all kings of drugs going around. They were used as money or money was used to pay for them. Anyhow, everything was about drugs, it was the only way most men had to live through their sentences.

 It was a minimum-security prison. No fancy cells or big electric doors that opened and closed behind and in front of you. That was too fancy for that place. It was a big prison but the kind where you can go out and enjoy the sun if you feel to, you can exercise in the yard under the watching eye of several guards or even take care of a garden the crazy ones almost owned. Everything was organized, in a way.

 Me? I had been there for a couple of months. My sentence was five years long, no parole. I could maybe scrap a year of the sentence if I decided to be a good boy but it was very hard to be one inside that place. Even a minimum-security prison can be hell and I never dared to think how much worse other similar places could be, with tighter security. I just focused on my life and things I had to do to stay alive and well. The rest was a thing of the outside, where I wasn’t.

 Shower time was always at the same time. One of the oldest inmates had told me that, years ago, guys were able to come and please from the bathrooms as they pleased. But so many got stabbed or raped there, the administration decided they would force everyone to be clean and ready by 8 o’clock. A general alarm was heard every day at that time in order to wake us up. Then, each dormitory would form a single line and all lines would go to the showers.

 The room was huge. On my first day, one of the other guys joked about it being like the place where Nazis had killed Jews in the World War II. I thought the joke was in very poor taste but I rapidly noticed he had many tattoos and most of them had something to do with Nazi symbolism. I had seen it before in History class. So I knew I had to stay away from those guys, being a foreigner and all.

 There were at least sixty showers. One group would go first and then another. Each group only had about five minutes to wash everything properly with the small soap bars we were handed at the entrance. When we were done, we had to leave the bars on the floor for the next group. If there was no next group, the same thing. A waste, I always thought.

 Of course, everyone in the showers was naked. They would make us remove our clothes in a room just before the showers one. Each guy would put his things in a small squared locker. On the way out, we just had to find our number and get dressed fast in order for the second group to go in, if we weren’t in the second group ourselves. It was the routine and, I have to confess, I got used to it fast. In there, you get used to everything. Life is not really yours anymore so you just do what you have to do.

 I’m always asked if it was a problem to be gay inside a prison. And yes, it was. Once someone shouted it in the mess all, many guys looked at me instantly. Who I was wasn’t really a secret or what I had done. Not that I was famous before that or anything but lets say I made myself famous because of all the shit I did. I couldn’t go to my bunk without at least four guys looking at me in a not too flattering way.

 Which way was the best one to avoid all of their attention? I have no idea. Because I didn’t really repel all of them, I couldn’t. I’m a small guy, not very strong. I had to do thing to survive and I am proud of it. Some people are ashamed of their actions in jail but not me. I’m proud to have gotten out of there alive and well and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, I let some of them, the powerful ones, have their way with me. It was the only way the others could leave me alone. The idea was to be seen as someone else’s property.

 Besides that, I did something even bolder, which gained me the respect of most of the men inside the prison. Maybe I wasn’t strong or big but I’ve always had a good brain and I knew I had to use it in order to make things easier for me there. In the first few months, I heard horrible rumors about some guy in the Nazi group that wanted to rape me somewhere no one could hear me scream. I heard it so many times I decided to go big and do my move first.

 His name was Duncan. He was a very tall guy and the few guys I hung out with told me he was a rather new guard. Apparently, he had been a soldier; veteran of all the recent fucked up wars that their country had started. So with only that in my hand, I decided to talk to him a little bit every single day. I heard him when he had something funny to say and he was kind to me, letting me in always first in the mess hall line and the shower line.

 Just some time after that, I was already letting him fuck me in broom closet no one really frequented as I was the one in charge of cleaning the floors in that area. It may see like a crazy thing I did and it was but it saved my life. He did that and I’m forever thankful.

 Being a guard, people knew they didn’t want to mess with him. So, by definition, they kept their hands away from me. I was protected and I really enjoyed it. It was then when I really made some friends in jail and started exercising more and, as crazy as it sounds, I was having a great time. I even slept nicely at night, with all the snoring and the body odors around me. I didn’t care anymore because I knew I was protected by someone everyone feared and it felt great. Sadly, it didn’t last very long as Duncan had decided he was a good person and he didn’t wanted prison to turn him bad.

 Somehow, I was broken hearted. Not only because I was afraid for my safety, but also because I was beginning to care for him. We didn’t just had sex, we also talked and had these small moments together I really appreciated because they… he made me fell like I was worth something in a place where you’re supposed to be repenting and feeling like a piece of garbage.

 The day he left, I cried while mopping the floors. On our last session together he didn’t say a word and neither did I. There wasn’t something I could say that would magically make things great between us, or that would change what was happening. We had to move on and we had to do it fast because we weren’t able to do anything about it. So he left, I cried for a while and that was the end of it.

 However, I forgot my Nazi problem. They knew very well Duncan had left and every single one of them decided to threaten me everyday. They wanted me scared out of my mind until the day their boss, the one with the tattoos, would order them to drag me somewhere dark and probably fuck me with something awful. I thought of it a hundred times and it did make me shiver and had no idea what to do.

 The truth is I had forgotten to know myself. They day one of them came to me, I fought. I broke his nose and crushed his foot. Another one threatened me with a razor he had gotten in and I was able to disarm him and tell a guard he had a forbidden item. He was send to solitary in a second. I had learned how to defend myself. So it was me who went to the tattoo guy and told him to go fuck himself.

 That action made me even more respected among some of the other inmates. The minorities if you will. I didn’t really identify with them but they soon became my friends and, some of them, my lovers. Even condoms can be found in a prison, if that’s what you want and I did. The following years were very hard on me but I got stronger and smarter and much more intelligent, being able to fool everyone, even me.


 The day I stepped out of prison, I realized the real world had moved along without me and it scared me. But only for that day. Because the following morning, I used what I had learned and got myself a job in no time. I have a life now, a real one. And, strangely enough, I have to thank prison and its population for that.

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Swimming

   The water felt really nice, wrapping his body in a very warm and soft cocoon as he went from one side to the other of the pool. Jim had always put aside a couple of hours of his schedule to swim because he enjoyed it a it relaxed him. He didn’t like to have massages or go to the sauna or things like that. Only the water was good enough for him. If he was visiting a place by the sea, the first thing he did was checking out the beach and swimming a bit. He preferred swimming pools, because of the lack of sand; he didn’t mind seawater from time to time. He found it to be a little more challenging but fun too.

 Jim had learned to swim from a very young age and had developed a very healthy relationship with water. Whereas many kids his age were scared of water, he had always loved it. He never forgot to ask if a party in some friend’s house involved a swimming pool and he made sure his mom always double-checked. Only once he went to a party with a pool and had to sit b the side and se everyone have fun and not him. So from then on he was always prepared.

 As a man who worked in the stock exchange, many people thought he would always go to the gym or do more intense exercising. But he only loved swimming and that’s how he maintained a nice body and a healthy lifestyle. He ate well. No diets or anything but just very balanced and swam every single day without fail.

 One day, his daily routine was stopped by a car crash. He always drove the same route to get to the gym to swim and it made him insane that the traffic was so heavy that he didn’t move art all for thirty minutes. Eventually, he arrived late to the gym but used the two hours anyway, without really thinking about how that changed his whole schedule. As he did his exercise at night, right after work, it meant that he would have dinner two hours later and that he would check his emails later too and sleep less than normal.

 But he didn’t care or maybe he didn’t noticed. He got to the gym and used the pool and when he was out, he was surprised to see the place was deserted. Only a couple of cars were left with his in the parking lot and when he got home it was almost midnight. He had some salad that he always bought premade, with lots of vegetables and stuff. It was a bad call because the aching muscles because of he swimming got combined with an aching stomach that found hard to digest some veggies at that time of day, with no energy left.

 He checked his emails like at two in the morning and there were many. He only got to reading about ten and answering even less than that. He was tired and he fell asleep in his couch.

 The next day, he was very late for work. He showered for only a couple of minutes; instead of the ten minutes he normally took for that. He also put on clothes that didn’t really look that good, which was strange because he had always been the kind of guy to pay attention to detail. But he was so tired he could barely see what he was putting on his body. The worst part was when he remembered, once at work, that it was a day filled with meetings with many people from different companies. The good thing was that the meeting took place at work but he wasn’t prepared at all for them.

 His coworker Julia had to step in quite often to correct number he was saying or to clarify things that were confusing because of the yawning. Every single group of every company could see that Jim was not in his best shape and moment. He hadn’t really shaved and he had quite a shadow, which made him look careless. His clothing, including two socks of different color and a pair of shoes that didn’t match anything, did not help his case either.

 Yet, he attended to the meetings all morning until lunchtime. Normally, he used to go to a very nice vegetarian restaurant that was close by. They had a really great variety of food for people that didn’t ate red meat or any kind of meat. But Jim was so tired that, when he went to his office to grab his jacket, he fell asleep on the desk and was only woken up by Julia, two hours later, telling him she had to attend to the first meeting of the afternoon.

 The rest of the day was even worse for him. He couldn’t really get the numbers and the names rights, he confused one company with the other and yawned almost with everything he said. He eyes looked terrible and so id his hair and everyone could see it. The thing was, most of the people in the meetings knew him, because they did exactly that once a month and had always being so prepared and charming and on point. Now, he was just a very horrible train wreck.

 When time came to go, Julia advised him he shouldn’t take the car back home, advising him to better grab a taxi or something like that. But he just nodded and ignored that comment because he had to go a swim, like he always did. So he went to his car, put on some loud music to really wake him up and drove all the way to the gym closing his eyes in every red traffic light and singing quite loudly when he felt he was about to go to sleep.

 Because of that reckless idea, he hit another car in the back and had to give all his insurance information and was late for the gym, again. He had lost time and money again and he was just exhausted. But he kept pushing himself for some reason.

 In the pool, he was able to swim nicely for the first ten minutes or so. But then something happened and the lifesaver in there had to get him out of the pull and give him mouth to mouth. When he woke up, they had called an ambulance and the paramedics were in the locker room checking him for water in the lungs and such things. He assured him he was fine but they insisted on taking him to the hospital to run further tests. He said no once, twice, three times and then grabbed his things and went to his car

 Jim felt frustrated because he hadn’t been able to swim at all. He felt weak now and something had changed in his life and he didn’t like it at all. It was like giving up on the one thing that made him stable. So he just hopped in the car and drove as carefully as he could and thanked the day for being a Friday. He would sleep until late and would still have time to do all the things that he could normally do on a Saturday. Besides, he was arriving home early.

He made himself a cheese sandwich and just watched some TV before going to bed. He fell asleep very quickly and, the next day, was able to wake up really early and really catch up with his schedule. He did everything by the book and was happy that the day was a very good one for him. The weekends had always felt like the worst time wasters ever but now it seemed he had discovered a way to make them have a meaning.

 That was until he collapsed in a large sports store where he was checking out bathing suits and earplugs. Then everything got like darker and he just fainted. Paramedics came soon and, this time, he didn’t woke up until they were in the hospital. They explained him that he did have water in his lungs but that part wasn’t really the worst one. They also told him he suffered from a rare condition caused by stress where people eventually collapsed because of all the stress they put on their bodies.

 He argued with them, saying he didn’t really do that much exercise and that he loved his work and so on. But the head doctor told him all of that wasn’t important at all. The point was that if he kept living the way he did, he was going to kill himself from exhaustion. He had to make some radical changes to his life and he had to make those changes soon because his body was just done with his lifestyle.


 Jim spent an entire week in the hospital, as they ran some tests. He felt useless in that bed and wanted to run out of there and swim some more and then do his work. He wanted his life back. But then the words of his doctor sunk in: his body was done with who he was and now he had to change every single piece of that.

sábado, 13 de febrero de 2016

Simmer

   Just the sight of the stretch marks in his arms, close to his armpits, was enough to make him swim abruptly and very fast, further into the ocean. He could see the people and the beach getting away, he couldn’t feel the bottom anymore and, when he stopped, he noticed he had passed the border marked by the buoys. He swam towards one of them and rested there for a while. He was very agitated because of the effort, his chest going up and down. It seemed he was having problem breathing. Shortly after, a lifeguard boat appeared and offered him help. But he was able to say that he didn’t want any and then swam towards the beach.

 It took him a little more time getting there, making a few stops along the way. The salty water of the ocean mixed with the salty water from his tears, but no one knew that or noticed that in the beach. No one really had seen him going that far, everyone was minding their own business, not caring if a guy just swam like a mad man. When he got to the beach, he stood on the edge for a while, cleaning his face and letting the water drip from his body. Then he walked up to one of the showers by the walkway and showered thoroughly there, he had sand all over the place. When he finished he walked up to the parking lot and changed by his car. No one was there to watch.

 After that, he drove home and there he ate one of those salads, the kind you buy in the supermarket and are already done for you. He was hungrier than a salad but he didn’t want to go out again and eat something else. He instinctively gazed at his arm but he had a shirt on now and didn’t bother to yank up the sleeve or anything. He just finished his salad and then sat in front of the TV and put some silly documentary about aliens. They were always on, always with some crazy theory. They were the best shows for him to sleep to because he didn’t really care what they were all about. He only knew he was really tired.

 When he woke up, the room was in darkness. He looked at his watch and just sat down, covered his face and then stood up. It was time to go to the gym. Once he got there, he realized he was too tired. He tried several machines in a very short time but he just couldn’t do much on any of them. He didn’t know if he was tired from his earlier workout or if he was just not in the mood to do any exercise. Even though he clearly wanted to leave, he made himself stay at least an hour. He didn’t wanted to waste time, even if he preferred to be home reading or watching TV or doing whatever else felt more attractive than being in a gym, not being able to do much. Again, in that place no one really looked at him and he luckily wore a sleeve shirt too. Somehow he had never been a sleeveless shirt type of guy. He just wasn’t many things…

 When he finally came out of the gym, he intended to go and eat another salad in his home but he chose, instead, to go and walk around for a while. He was very close to home but he didn’t wanted to go there just yet. He wanted to think for a while or maybe not think at all. He just wanted to keep moving because when he stayed still he began torturing himself and he didn’t wanted that at all. He walked looking at the people going up and down the street, some were alone and others were in couples or even in groups. Some seemed happy and others not so much. Some were in a hurry and others just sat in the benches and just were there, not doing much more than looking at the cars and at the people, like him.

 He stopped to check out many store windows, some of them selling toys, others videogames or home appliances or even art. The street on which the gym was located, the same that passed near his house, was very commercial and active. And as the night progressed, more and more people popped all over the place, entering bar and restaurants, greeting people with hugs or only a cold handshake. It was Saturday night after all and everyone was out and about, no one wanted to be alone at home and he was certainly one of those. Normally he wouldn’t really care but this time was different. He felt he needed to stay outside for the remainder of the night because if he went back home he would do the same thing he did every time his thoughts cornered him.

  People never really watched, never really cared. They always excused themselves on a false sense of modesty or on a fake respect that no one ever asked of anyone. When he exercised in the gym the first few months he had a trainer. She was very strong and beautiful. He knew she saw the marks on his forearms, on his forehead. They were difficult not to look at if one really thought about it but she never mentioned anything and they saw each other everyday for at least three months. How could she not say anything? Did she really not mind or was she appealing to that false sense of respect that no one ever asked for? It’s not that he wanted to be asked but at the same time he did, he needed to be recognized.

 But no one had ever asked, no one had ever been interested. Besides he was very good at curing himself, he knew how to do it in order for anyone to miss the obvious marks. But nevertheless, they were obvious and anyone could have seen the problems, what was bubbling below his surface, that emotionless face and the stretch marked arms and the tired body. Everyone knew but no one cared. He was aware with that everywhere he went, even in that street, walking among people that seemed to be having an ice time with each other, that looked like they couldn’t care less about what happened beyond that place.

 He stopped at a small park and realized he had passed his home several blocks ago. He turned around but as he did, a voluptuous figure appeared in front of him. He didn’t really want to have that interaction, not then. It is common that the only people that see those in the shadows are people in the shadows themselves and these people really were. The police, the city officials and the neighbors all knew about it but no one really did anything to prevent it. Prostitutes had taken over and had taken the park as their place to work and get work. The lamps were not as bright as they could have been and some places were just very dark at night. Not only prostitutes hid in the shadows and he knew that well.

 Before she could offer him anything, he told her he wasn’t interested. She walked closer, in order to get in his way. She was very tall and had very strong legs and a wide chest and back. But she had the most luxurious head of hair he had ever seen on a prostitute. He repeated himself, told her he wasn’t interested. She then explained what she could do for him, what she liked to do and what he might like to do. She got neared but he took a step back. She smiled and he didn’t and she put a hand on his shoulder. It was a heavy hand and he felt as if he had sunken a couple of centimeters because of that hand. She assured they would have the best time ever and that she wouldn’t charge him too much. But the think her arm, pulled her hand off him and told her he wasn’t interested.

 This time he walked away and heard the prostitute insulting him and saying a bunch of derogatory terms, one after the other. She was like a machine of insults and, it had to be said, she was very creative about it. He tried not to hear any more that meant that he had a small penis and just walked home as fast as he could. It was late and the weather outside got very cold without him noticing. When he got home he took off his gym clothes and put on a pajama. Again, he turned on the TV and tried to watch some documentary about sharks, then a movie about some teenagers lost in an island and finally some cartoons. But the thought was already there and he couldn’t get the image out of his head. He had to do it, he had no option.


 Hours later, he was in his bed, head on the pillow looking up but with his eyes wide open. He was shaking and his arms were slightly opened, as if he was playing to be an angel of sorts in his own bed. But it wasn’t an angel one would have thought of when looking at the large blood stains in the blankets. They were rapidly expanding, forming the wings of the possible angel. But no real angel could have been found there. He closed his eyes to sleep and, this time, he cried again. He understood this was the day in which it finally got to him, in which he lost his grip on everything. He was finally lost and there was no one that could save him. Then again, there was no one at all.