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

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

No end


   As everyone celebrated on the streets and in their homes, Veronica wandered through the rubble trying to feel as happy as most people around her were. But it wasn’t possible or at least it was very hard to do so. Even smiling felt like a chore, like something you would do only to please people but not because you really felt it inside. There was a feeling of incompletion around, as if all the sacrifices of the war had not been enough to end every single type of hostility that many people harbored against one another.

 As she walked the streets, some lit and others not so much, she realized that the world after the war would be in chaos. Yes, everyone was cheering and celebrating right now, probably drinking stolen articles and launching fireworks that had been banned for so long. But after all of that happiness, a moment of truth and reflection would have to come and the atrocities of war would have to be addressed. For example, not everyone was on the same side, the winning side. Some people were not celebrating.

 Well, some of them were but just because they had to survive and keep on living. It was widely assumed that trials, of sorts, would emerge from the victorious side, condemning the losing side to many years in jail, banishment from the country or even death. Even if the maximum penalty had ever been enforced legally in the country, many of the victors would want the vanquished to be treated just as them treated others during the war. There were lots of executions, on the streets even.

 Veronica was actually just passing a street she knew very well, not only because it used to be a prime shopping spot before the war, but because many people were forced to stand in front of the former storefronts in order to be killed with guns. It was horrible to think about those moments, the images that would never going to leave anyone’s mind. That could never be overlooked, the fact that a large amount of the people now alive had killed at least one person over the last seven years.

 Everyone’s hands were tainted with blood; there wasn’t a single innocent, not even the children. They were used so many times to lure the kindness out of people, that all of their innocence had vanished. Many children were now celebrating the end of the war, just like adults. And the ones that were too small were orphans or just dead. Every single person had done something horrible during the war and now they chose not to remember that because it was a clear image of how disgusting and vile a human could get. So many atrocities in such a relatively short period of time.

 Veronica reached the gates of the Compound just as the night was darkest. She had to use a pocket lantern she had found days earlier, in order to go inside and check out the place for herself. The prison or camp or however you may call it, had been liberated only a few months before the end of the war but it looked as if it had happened many years ago. The place was covered in ash and debris, and the gates, doors and windows had been torn apart or had simply disappeared from sight.

 She walked from the entrance to a large yard area were she knew people had been selected. You see, not everyone was imprisoned in the same place. They had categories and each category had their own building in the premises of the Compound. The differences between each building were in the treatment given by the jailers. For example, former members of state entities and such would receive a better treatment there than homosexuals or blacks. Just the same as it had happened so many years ago, elsewhere.

 The Compound had surprisingly not been built by the losing side, as one would think. It had been built by the so-called winners, by the so-called heroes of the war. In some parts of the country, people were already designing statues for them to be put in every single park, in every single town. They had been the ones fighting for justice and freedom but they clearly didn’t respect their enemies’ rights at all. They were just as vile and vengeful as all the other people. They were not different.

 Veronica walked through the large yard in order to get to the only building that had been kind of spared by the last bombs the “enemy” had dropped from the sky. That was how the prison got its freedom. It hadn’t been an act of kindness. It was just the result of the last desperate attack from the would-be losers of the war. They had sent the few planes they still had and just bombarded the jail were their family members and friends had been imprisoned. They believed it was better to be dead that a prisoner.

 So pride made them act on that last move. And they succeed in destroying the prison and liberating some of their people from it. But only days later they would realize their days were counted and that their fate had already been sealed, well before the attack on the Compound. Veronica saw on the floor of the building some bone fragments, as well as fabric that used to be made into uniforms for the prisoners. There were also several metal plates and bowls, and a large assortment of cutlery. Maybe the prisoners had staged a mutiny as the bombs lit everything on fire.

 After a short time, she decided to leave the Compound through “the back door”, which was actually a large gap in the tall wall of the complex. She didn’t want to stay there too long in case the “winners” were patrolling the premises looking for someone to practice shooting with. She adjusted her backpack and walked on, towards very dark park covered with grand beautiful trees. The place was covered in shadows but even that way it felt like somewhere one would feel at ease.

 The park was one of the largest in the city and it was used to process many of the prisoners of the Compound. But apparently cold heads prevailed and no one ever really destroyed it on purpose or tore the trees down. Some of them had received damage from the bombs that were dropped in the nearby prison, but the building between the two sites had prevented the fire to really destroy the last green place in the city. It had been a miracle that most people were ignoring in that precise moment.

 Veronica walked along the central path of the park, hearing her steps on the stone and the wind blowing through the tree leaves. Everything felt so peaceful, and she was very glad to be there but even then she felt all of that could not be forever. She knew things were going to be bad for a while and she was alone and no one could just come and be with her. Her family had died during the war and those were not times of real friendship, just of convenient relationships that no one knew how long they would last.

 The best thing to do, maybe, was to leave the country altogether. It was a difficult choice to make and also a hard thing to achieve, but Veronica had nothing else to loose. She was carrying everything she owned on the backpack: some pieces of clothing and a couple of objects she had rescued from her former house. She had also stolen some food from a ruined supermarket, but that was it. She could easily walk her way towards the border and attempt to cross it. Or maybe get into a boat and sail away.

 Whatever she did, she had to do it quietly and carefully, as she had no intent of driving attention onto herself. No one was looking for her specifically, but everything around there was going to become very unstable and she knew that’s when unlikely things tend to happen the most.

 She decided to leave the city that night, taking advantage of most people celebrating the end of the war. As they raised glasses, told jokes, remembered family and friends, Veronica would banish into the night and attempt to forever disappear from that other night, one that would never end.

lunes, 2 de abril de 2018

Movie lights


   Alex walked by Roman, who was helping with the lights. They had to grab the wires and put them neatly into a circular position, in order for the metal parts not to get damages. But the lights were too hot still to put away. So he asked his boss what he should do next and he was sent to the changing room of the actors, which happened to be one of the big bathrooms in the house. Apparently, the director had found the property online and just new it was the perfect setting for many of his movies.

 As Roman entered the bathroom, Alex was there. He was still naked and talking to his co-star Yuri. The young assistant asked where the boxes with their costumes were and it was Yuri who pointed at three boxes stacked up in a corner. For a moment though, Roman was able to notice that Yuri had been crying as his eyes were very red and he was trying to hide them as much as possible from anyone else. As Roman fixed the boxes to be able to lift them all at the same time, he heard part of the actors’ conversation.

Apparently. Yuri’s family was in desperate need of money. However, the month was not over yet so he had no money he could send to them. He sent almost everything he earned to them back in Belarus, only keeping enough to pay for a room in a shared apartment in a very crappy neighborhood of Los Angeles. The director intended him to be the next big star in the business, but that was in its early stages and Yuri’s family couldn’t wait that long. He feared they would be evicted if the money wasn’t paid.

 The assistant did not hear much more after that. He decided to get out of there as soon as he could, as he didn’t want the actors to notice he was overhearing on purpose. He was just very interested on the different kinds of people that worked on such a business. It had been his mother who had asked her brother to get her son a job. Her brother happened to be part of a production company that worked with various people, including those who provided entertainment for the adult video industry.

 She didn’t mind. Her mother was very liberal in that sense. For her, the most important thing was for her son to understand the value of money, of effort and perseverance. He was still young, actually underage. But she wanted him to get a job in the summer in order not to have the same problems he had every single summer in the past. He had even been in the police station once, after he had decided making graffiti in the neighborhood’s park was a great idea. She wanted him to stay away from trouble and a job, any job, would probably make all that messy stuff go away.

 Of course, her brother explained to her the kinds of places her son would work in and she didn’t mind. She told him that her son knew very well what sex was and that people that worked in that business were just that, workers. Whether they were actors or the lighting crew, they were all doing a job and they were all getting paid for it. Her son would get paid to, but not as much as an official worker. Her brother had to pass him for a “personal helper” of sorts, because of his sixteen years of age.

 The good thing was that, as most kids in the United States; Roman had developed early in his life and by age sixteen he was already sporting facial hair and very tall and lean figure. According to his mother, he was the spitting image of his father, a man that had been known to be very handsome in his early years. Sadly, he had been killed in a bank robbery a couple of years before. That was also the reason why the family could actually make good use of another salary, no matter how miserable it could be.

 So Roman understood Yuri’s dilemma. As he crossed the hallways of the big house with the boxes, he thought about part of his salary going to his mother and how he thought that was unfair at first, but then realized that it was necessary to pay the bills that kept his house going. He came to appreciate his work because of that and his mother too, for having the good sense to send him out into the world and make him work to feel how things work in life. He left the boxes in the truck, still thinking.

 When he came back into the house for the lights, both Alex and Yuri were already dressed and coming out of the bathroom. They looked both like the type of guys someone would see on the beach, parading around with clothes that made their bodies look even better. They were very beautiful and Roman often had a lot to think after seeing them perform. He wasn’t sure if he was gay or straight or what. But he knew that they were very attractive and he had a certain respect for them because of it.

 As he put one of the lights on the respective crate, he saw Yuri walk out of the house with a tissue on his hand and his eyes still red, but Alex stayed in and actually walked towards him. He sat down on a sofa nearby and just looked at the kid as he did his work. Once the light was on its crate, Roman started the same process with another one. Alex then spoke, asking Roman how old he was. The question made Roman very nervous because both his mother and uncle had told him several times not to reveal the information to anyone. It could mean the end of his job and his uncle’s too.

 So he just said he was old enough to be there. Alex smiled, still watching Roman do his job. Then, he started telling him how the whole industry can be quite the monster. Of course, he said, being beautiful and appreciated feels great, but the best thing of it all is when someone tells you that what you did can only be accomplished by you and no one else. That sense of power and being special really makes the difference in any job. Or at least that was what Alex thought after working in many different things.

 He told Roman he was twenty-six years old and he had started doing movies seven years ago, when money for college was low and his family had threatened to stop funding his studies. He wanted to become a veterinarian. He told Roman he had two dogs now and a small rat named Stevie. That made Roman smile and Alex did so too, because he knew he was listening. He told the kid how he was able to finish school because of his work doing movies and how he even got to pay for a place of his own.

 Then, there was silence. As Roman put the last light crate away, Alex told him that Yuri was in a similar but worse position. Roman stayed to hear the story. According to Alex, Yuri had arrived to the United States only two years ago. He was an illegal immigrant who had come to the country with a legal tourist visa but had just overstayed his welcome. Apparently, Belarus was not the best country for gay people. And it seemed it wasn’t a great place to fin work either, so he decided to basically flee.

 He had a mother and two sisters there; their father had left them for another woman years ago. None of them had any idea what he was doing in Los Angeles. But he sent them almost all of their money and now they needed more or they would loose their house. Alex stopped talking and then looked at Roman straight in the eye. He asked the young man if he had a good family, if he knew how difficult life could be. He told him that even if it all looks nice and easy from the outside, people always have shit under the rug.

 Roman told Alex he had a mother that was crazy but that loved him endlessly. He also said his uncle was a very good person. Finally, he told Alex he knew not everything is what it seems but that it was precisely that which fascinated him from the world of adult entertainment.

 He lifted two of the crates and carried them to the truck. When he came back for the other one, Alex was gone. Roman told his uncle about Yuri’s problems and the man promised he would talk to the director. People don’t imagine it, but in such a small community, people tend to help one another, no strings attached.

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.

viernes, 2 de febrero de 2018

Broken home

   Shaving had always been one of those things to do when things were about to change. For many people, it wasn’t like that. Most people would never do something like a ceremony to move from one place to the other. But Phillip was not like every person. He had always felt different from others even when he was certain there was nothing really special about him. Nothing at all. However, he felt he needed to shave before leaving his parents home for good. It felt like the right thing to do.

 As he was doing it, he realized he hadn’t shaved in a long time. The last time he had, another change had come to his life. He had done it after formally entering a relationship that didn’t last very long. Phillip found it funny that people talked about one, two or even five-year relationships. He had no idea what that was like or if it was even a real thing. Being together for that long wasn’t the difficult part, but being interested in the other person for that period of time seemed excessive to him.

 Then again, he really didn’t know any better. When thinking about his parents home, it has to be clarified he was talking about a place were both his parents lived but had decided to do it in separate rooms, with their lives almost completely apart except for the obvious part of living together. But he had seen, for the last two years, how they had transferred from being a couple that was always fighting, to a pair of people that would rarely even speak to each other, let alone fight.

 They had decided to divorce a long time ago, but the process had become stalled do to several complications with many documents that they had to fix with the law, one by one. Any time now, they would be divorced for good and his father would leave the house to finally start a new life on his own. At least that was what he told Phillip in numerous times, as if his son had any interest in what he was going to do next. Frankly, the kid only wanted to get away form all that madness.

 He had achieved that by sending documents and filling forms for every single university he could find on the Internet. Not only colleges in his country but also abroad and with programs longer than four years. He really wanted to go away, to experience something new and different. Who knows? Maybe he would be able to find some really needed stability away from his crazy parents and from the person he had always been. Because he was also one of the problems he faces in life. Phillip had an issue with his lack of passion for anything other than getting away from his parents.

 He had tried though, a lot. In his last two years of school, Phillip had decided to try lots of new things and, thankfully, his school was a very good place to do that. He could include at least two classes each year that had nothing to do with the mandatory assignments. So he still had to go to math and physics class, but he was also able to attend some cooking classes, karate, football and even the woodwork workshop. He attended every single class until the end but the real results were very mixed.

 In cooking class, he had a tough time with the amounts of every ingredient he had to put into each concoction. He followed the recipe word by word but that didn’t seem like a good strategy because his creations would always taste awful or burn in the oven or something would happen. Phillip had to apologize to the teacher several times until he grew tired of doing that and he just tried to fix every single one of his failed attempts at making something edible. The teacher realized he tried, at least.

 In karate, he had the most fun out of all the classes. It came as a surprise to him that he was very strong in all the right ways for such a sport. The bad thing was that he wasn’t really able to channel that strength like he was supposed to. That meant that, although he could do all the exercises the trainer demanded from him, Phillip was the culprit of about five broken noses and several kicks that had left his opponents without any air and wanting to go urgently to the nurse’s office.

 In football, he realized he was out of his element the moment he put on the uniform. He felt strange and clumsy, which was kind of a premonition of his performance in every training session that season. He was so awful at even walking around the field, that the team’s coach decided to assign him as water boy for the remainder of the year. He was teased a lot because of that but at least that guaranteed him a good grade, which was all he really needed at the end of the day.

 Finally, it has to be said that Phillip really liked the woodshop. He was in his element when using the machines, because he was doing it all on his own. Unlike in the kitchen, he felt being alone there was relaxing and really a good way to spend the time. The only thing was his creations were never what the teacher wanted. He never really knew if he was bad at it or if it was all about that bald man not liking what he did just because. He got an average grade again and also the sense that people don’t really give a shit about how you do anything in this world.

 When the acceptance letters began to arrive, Phillip wasn’t surprised that the first two had been rejection letters. They all began in the same way, praising the idiot that had spend hours filling forms, only to say at the end that he wasn’t what they were looking for. Reading those letters, he wondered why would anyone spend so much paper only to say “no”. It would a lot easier to just send an email with the word “NO” and the words “rejection from this college” in the subject section.

 The third one was an acceptance, which was kind of exciting, but it was a college he didn’t even remembered reading about. Letters poured in for about two weeks. After that, he had received sixteen rejection letters and four acceptance ones. Three of the acceptance ones came from schools fairly close to home. Only one was from a university abroad that offered various programs but nothing that he was really interested about. He looked at their website for our but couldn’t make up his mind.

 That was until his birthday, the day his parents had agreed to behave like normal human beings. Or at least that was what was supposed to happen. Instead, it became the first time in two years that they engaged in fighting, this time over the size of the portions they should serve of the birthday cake. Phillip had so many feeling trapped up inside of him, that he just spouted out that he was about to leave them for good and that he was very happy he would probably never see either of them again.

 You see, Phillip’s parents had given him as a present a bank account with years of savings on his name. They had planned that since he was a baby, in order to give him the best education they could. It amazed him that they were able to do it, knowing how much they hated each other. The point was that he had the money to do with it whatever he wanted and, right then and there, he only wanted to run away from their crazy ways and every single thing that reminded him of them.

 For months, he prepared everything to leave the country. He finally decided on some career, not even knowing if it was the right choice. He made all the payments, got a place to live in and even tried to get a job at his destination, soon to be his home.


 The day he left, his parents agreed to take him together to the airport. Right before crossing the security checks, he apologized to them and told them he wanted to say “Thank you” for their efforts and also that they were finally free. And so was him.