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

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Julia in the desert


   The stars seemed to be very close. Somehow, the sky in such a remote area of the world was different than what you would see in other parts. Julia was lying down on a think towel she had purchased before the trip and she started counting the stars but she got lost and tired quickly. She hadn’t even removed her boots before lying down and now she was falling asleep, in the middle of the desert. She hadn’t prepared her tent or any food. She was much too tired after her first day.

 Early next morning, she was woken up by a tickling on her stomach. Julia didn’t really open her eyes immediately. But as the tickling persisted, she decided to sit down and properly wake up. She stood up in fear once she realized the tickling came from the tough little legs of a scorpion that was parading itself all along her body. She checked herself for any stings but there was nothing. It was clear that, if the creature had stung her, she would be in severe pain.

 Julia decided to spend her second day looking for a better camping spot. She walked half that day all along the desert and the small patches of life she could find, until she found a small group of thin trees. They gave some shadow from the sun, which was perfect because it had started coming out behind big clouds and it was insufferable to walk like that. She was able to put up her tent in a few minutes and get inside before the full power of the sun was displayed. Thankfully, she had bought the right tent.

 She smiled at the thought of her looking around several stores until she found the right one. It was clear that many of the employees at all the stores didn’t really believe her when she stated she was going camping in the middle of the desert. She even explained to them she was studying biology and that was the perfect way to get more comfortable with future trips she might have to endure. But apparently she looked too “girly” and too “nice” to be the type of woman that goes camping.

 Julia even imagined that they pictured her doing her nails inside of her tent or maybe bringing a man with her in order to repel bugs and others animals. But she couldn’t care about all of that, about what she thought they were thinking or about what they were actually thinking. She could only care about her priorities and her first one was to become the best biologist ever. She really loved the profession but had always had a certain fear and disgust towards going camping or working in the middle of a jungle or any wild place. So Julia forced herself to camp and live through it alone.

 She sat down on the tent and removed her boots after almost a day of use. Of course, her feet smelled awful but it was the price to pay for such an adventure. Besides, she was certain that a source of water would be around and she would take advantage of that the moment she found it. Meanwhile, she had to conform with removing her boots and socks and giving her aching feet some air to relax. She opened her backpack, grabbed a couple of power bars and ate them in a few minutes.

 Food was one of the big problems she had to face doing what she was doing. It  wasn’t like she was prepared from day one to hunt and eat anything she found. Besides, she was in a desert and the amount of animals there was severely reduced. It wasn’t as if she was in the middle of a beautiful European forest where she could hunt down boars and roast them slowly over a nice fire. She couldn’t do that, so she had prepared herself with lots of cereal bars and small foods that she could move around easily.

 It wasn’t the best meal ever, but at least she had fresh water, which was enough to make her feel alive once again. She lay down for a bit and realized she hadn’t really done much related to biology. The closes thing had been her encounter with the scorpion and she had run so fast after that, that she was ashamed to call herself a scientist. So after relaxing for a bit, she put on her socks and boots again and a baseball cap her dad had given her before departure.

Then, she went outside to check for animal life outside the tent. Julia found some interesting bugs near the thin trees and was able to take pictures with her cellphone. She had a better camera inside her backpack but she really didn’t want to be fixing its configuration when trying to take the picture of a small creature. She promised herself to check the camera features before going to bed. She saw some more scorpions, as well as tiny spiders that seemed to like underneath the hot desert sand.

 When going back inside her tent, a powerful noise attracted her attention upwards and she realized a very rare visitor was flying over her. Before leaving her house, Julia had checked all the information she could about that part of the country, so she was well aware of the existence of such a majestic creature. It had a very large wingspan but its body was rather small. Its feathers were light yellow, in order to reflect the sun light and being able to blind its prey with them. It was such a beautiful design nature had achieved, so of course Julia took lots of pictures.

 Later that day, and after eating a whole tuna can with beans, Julia uploaded the cellphone pictures onto her laptop. She had brought several spare batteries for it, but even so she decided to limit her computer time to only an hour a day. She erased the pictures that she didn’t like and was about to turn off the computer when she decided to look at some of the other pictures she had on her laptop. Family pictures, others with friends and some at college too. She was smiling in most, not in all of them.

 She even laughed out loud when she realized she had a couple of pictures of her old boyfriends. She hadn’t seen any of them in a long time, as they had been only high school crushes and nothing more. Yeah, she had gone with one of them to prom and with the other one on a long summer vacation. But that was it, they were both now in the past and she had to move on. Actually, it had been partly because of them she had decided to follow her dream of becoming a biologist. They didn’t think it was a realistic dream.

 After turning off the computer and putting it away, she decided to grab the camera to fix the settings before using it the next day. She had bought that second hand camera online and had never touched more than a couple of times to know it could be turned on and off. That was it. Now she had to put everything in the right setting in order to capture the perfect pictures in the scorching desert. But as she wasn’t very good with things like that, Julia soon fell asleep with the camera on her chest.

 The next day, she woke up to see the camera had rolled to the side. She grabbed it to put away but then the bird with yellow feathers screamed loudly. Because this time, it did seem like a scream and not like the beautiful chant of a majestic bird. Julia stepped outside barefoot, only to see the sky was very dark and that the bird was on top of the nearby thin trees. The bird let out another “scream” and suddenly flew over Julia and away from the tree area. It seemed to be escaping something.

 Only moments afterwards, the ground began shaking violently. Julia fell to her knees and saw how her tent moved around as if tossed by some invisible force. She tried t o crawl her way back inside the tent but the earthquake stopped right before she was able to get it.

 Inside, all of her stuff had spilled out of the backpack. Food, the camera, phone and laptop, everything was upside down. The bird had warned her right in time. She was thankful and realized she had made the right choice by spending two weeks in that desert. She was going to make the best of it.

martes, 9 de febrero de 2016

A hotel story

   When Peter got to the hotel, the first thing he did was taking off his shoes and socks. He massaged his feet for a while after arriving, checking if it was as bad as he had imagined. He had some blisters on his foot, probably because he had used the wrong shoes or the wrong socks or who knows. The point was he couldn’t walk anymore so he decided to shower in order to freshen a little bit and then go to bed.

He decided to sleep naked, as the rest of the body also ached from the long day and he wasn’t planning on doing anything special the next day. He wanted to be comfortable during the night and that was a nice way to be at ease. The weather was nice so he wouldn’t feel cold at night or anything like that. Just five minutes after getting into bed, he was already asleep, dreaming some wild story were he had to run and do many things that he would simply not do in the current state of his poor feet.

 All night long he tossed and turned and pushed his pillows to the ground and pulled up the covers and then down. He couldn’t stop moving and he finally woke up when his body felt the smell of smoke. His senses were not very good but he was certain it smelled as if someone was smoking right there in his room. He looked from one side of the room to the other and couldn’t see were the smell was coming from, if that makes any sense. He came out of bed and suddenly the room’s main door was pushed open by a group of men with flashlights.

 Poor Peter fell backwards and looked like a turtle trying to get back up. He had hurt his back and the men had to help him up and tell him to go out. With a hand on his back, the man obeyed and walked towards the door and it was there he noticed the smoke was everywhere. Maybe he had so many weird dreams because of the smoke and no because of his own head but, yet again, he always had weird dreams.

 He continued walking down the corridor, barely seeing were he was going, until he hit a wall and didn’t know where to go next. He noticed a fire escape sign on a wall and followed it. The firemen had remained behind, probably fighting the source of the smoke, so he had to go down some dark smelly stairs all by himself. He wasn’t thrilled to do it, especially since his feet hurt and he couldn’t walk very fast.

 It was just before descending the last step when he heard the voices of many people and realized he had arrived to the lobby, which was packed with people; probably waiting for the firemen to extinguish whatever fire they were fighting against. It was then when Peter realized he wasn’t wearing any clothes, not even underwear or a t-shirt. Not a towel, not a robe, nothing.

 He decided to remain there, in the darkness of the stairs and just hear the people talk in the lobby. He got very near the door and heard someone saying the fire was in one of the rooms, not very far from his own room. It was probably because of a smoker, said a man in very deep voice. He blamed the hotel for not having a policy against smoking and letting some people just do whatever they wanted. He also reminded his audience, which Peter couldn’t see, that many children had caused a scandal the night before at dinner in the restaurant and that it was rumored an old gentleman had once peed right there on the lobby.

 Peter wanted to laugh because that last story had to be false but the man had said it as if he was talking about some very important matter. Even if he couldn’t see him he was sure he knew who he was, a guy that looked at everyone as if they were a bother to him. He had seen him once during breakfast and he thought it was curious that such a large man could blame others for not respecting boundaries. That thought made him want to laugh but he knew he couldn’t.

 Then, he heard some noise coming from upstairs and decided to hide on one side of the stairs. Thankfully the space was almost completely dark except for the emergency exit signs. Sure enough, about five people were coming down the stairs and a fireman was accompanying them. He assured them everything was going to be fine and that they just had to join the rest of the people in the lobby. They passed very near Peter and opened the door, flooding the space with light for a while. Everyone outside turned to look at the family coming out.

 It was really unpleasant to hear so many people faking worry, as if they all knew those people. They were a mother, a father and three children, probably the same children the fat guy didn’t liked and he was one of the people to ask if they were okay. It just proved how false a person could be. Shortly after, the fireman attracted attention to him and announce the fire source had been found and that they were close to extinguishing it. After they had done that, sleeping bag would be borrowed for people to sleep in the lobby.

 Someone asked who had been the responsible for the fire and all that smoke but the fireman refused to answer that as the most important thing was that everyone was alive and well. They were still going floor by floor checking no one had been left behind. He then asked people to be still and let him count them in order to know if someone was missing from the lobby. After all, they had the list of every single person staying in the hotel and they could easily find out who was missing.

 When he heard that, Peter felt some cold sweat in his forehead. It was obvious they were going to see he wasn’t there and if that fireman had been one of the men that had entered his room, it would seem even stranger. The most obvious thing would have been to come out and just reveal himself naked as he was but he had a better idea: he climbed up the stairs as fast as he could and waited by the door there to check for anyone passing by. When he noticed that the floor was deserted, he came out and started pushing every room door he could.

 That level wasn’t as filled with smoke as the others but people must have been evacuated anyone. The bad thing was that many rooms had blocked automatically but not every one of them. Some had been left open and the system hadn’t closed them back. He entered some rooms and realized many women were at the hotel because he couldn’t find a single clothing piece for a man. He finally decided to put on some pajama pants he found in one room and just come down like that, with nothing else.

 Hoping no one would notice their pants on him, he went back down and opened the door to the lobby to reveal… Well, nothing. No one was there. The place looked even more deserted that the floor he had been in before. He had no idea where so many people had gone so he decided to go around the place to see if he could find someone. They weren’t in any of the two restaurants, or in the kitchens. They weren’t by the reception or by the smokers lounge. Finally, he saw some people running by the building and screaming. He understood right then he had to go out and see what was happening.

 Just as he crossed the doors, a horrible sound flooded the space. He knew he had to run but not why. He followed a fellow runner and just sprinted as fast he could which wasn’t much because of his feet. But he had to make them hurt because his mind knew it wasn’t a time to choose. He ran for at least to blocks until he stopped. Many people were running more but he just couldn’t. His feet were red. He sat on the ground and looked up, realizing why he had been running so much.

 The fire in the hotel had apparently been much more serious than what the fireman had said. A whole floor had sunk and the top part of the building had collapsed into the other and now it looked like one of those futuristic visions of architecture, the top part of the structure not far from collapsing into the street. It was certainly going down but for the moment it stood there, in an odd balance that everyone was fascinated with. He realized many people were looking at the spectacle besides him and that the people of the hotel were just some steps away.


  He walked there slowly, sitting on a bench near them. The fat guy was arguing with some lady, a woman was drunk or high or something, fighting against one of the fireman and a paramedic was curing a child that cried incessantly. Peter felt tired right there. So much he closed his eyes and the last thing he heard was: “I have a pajama just like the one he’s wearing”.

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2015

Sock Empire

   The place only sold socks. They were everywhere and in every single color you could imagine. It was very nice to see rows and rows of different tones and drawings on them. Special socks for Christmas, for Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for Valentine’s Day, for Easter and even for New Year’s Eve. Every employee knew where everything was and how socks were made and could help a costumer find anything they wanted in a matter of a few minutes. There was a reason why the store was called the Sock Empire.

 The Empire was also divided into types of socks, not only color, and between those made for men, for women and for children. Ruben Rostenkowski had been the creator of the Empire and many of his competitors admired him for his amazing take into the world of footwear. People had been focusing so much on the foot for so long, that it was refreshing that one store could focus its whole attention solely to socks and all the types that existed.

 No one knew how Ruben had come up with the idea but they were envious he had had it. Everyone in the city knew he made millions of dollars every year and only from the main store. He had stores in other states but they were not as extravagant and amazing as the one in his hometown of Cleveland. He had been born there over sixty years ago and, although he had lived and worked in other parts of the country when he was younger, he decided to go back to his home in order to make his dream come true.

 Back then, Ruben was just a young boy, not really a full adult. He was still shooting cans with his air rifle and drinking the content of those cans with his group of friends. He had gone to school to study medicine but the truth was that Ruben was the lousiest student ever. He attended only half of his classes and the rest of the time he just spend it with girls and drinking. For all that, he wasn’t apparently as childish. After all, he was twenty-five years old.

Many thought that a man that owned such a store dedicated only to the foot had to be some sort of fetishist. And they were right. Ruben found that out in college, as he met lots of beautiful and not so beautiful young women. The first thing he did every time, as a form of foreplay, was to massage the girl’s feet. He would do it in such a professional manner; the girls never really realized he was so into it. To be honest, he was obsessed with it as he detailed every foot he saw, the curves and the skin and the complexity of it all. He was very obsessed.

 In class, he would suffer sometimes when a fellow student decided to remove her shoes beneath the desk. He instantly wanted to touch the foot and have it for his own but then he remembered he was in class and he couldn’t risk shaming himself even more than he already did when getting drunk. So he learned to breath deeply and just think about something else, maybe even count backwards in order to relax his mind and get any ideas out of it.

 It worked, sometimes. Other times, he would just ask the girl out and massage her feet as soon as he was able. He decided, and that a very healthy choice from him, to visit a shrink. He was sure a person with enough experience in these things would be able to help him stop his obsession and live a healthy life.

 However, it was a surprise when the psychologist told him it was pretty normal to have a fetish. He told Ruben most people had one, whether they realized it or not. Maybe it was a hair fetish, or maybe a “tall” fetish or maybe even weirder stuff like liking sex in costumes or always in public spaces. The point was, and the doctor repeated it constantly, that it wasn’t a disease and it wasn’t something bad as long as he learned to control it and not the other way around. So he advised him to get a hobby with which he could control the thoughts he had.

 It was difficult to find the right hobby, though. Ruben had never been really good at sports. Actually he sex appeal didn’t come from his body at all but from the way he spoke to women and how they responded to his voice and careful and intriguing demeanor. Anyhow, he still tried to play softball, rugby and gold but he failed miserably at all of them and it was then when he noticed he had started looking at men’s feet and he hadn’t even realized.

 Now he was really worried because in his mind he thought that his obsession had made him gay. But after calming down and watching a pornographic movie, he realized he was not interested in men, at all. Only their feet. So it was in that moment when the idea of the Empire first came to his mind: he thought that if his obsession was to be put to good use the best thing to do was something with feet.

 He looked everywhere and finally found a small workshop where people could go and learn how to make shoes. Of course, it was more about seeing the process than doing it because the materials were not all that easy to find and the idea was to attract people into the footwear business. There were just a few sessions but he became obsessed about shoes now and started reading all there was to now about the history of shoes and also about the making of shoes.

 As far as Ruben’s parents were concerned, they were happy to see him doing his last year of med school. He entered that time when he actually had to help patients and do shifts in a hospital and so on. But he was as lousy in that as he was in class. Besides, he was reading all he could about shoes and started thinking a business dedicated to shoes might be just what his life could be all about. Making them was not that easy but maybe selling would be a lot more interesting. He would see feet every day but he would have under control because it would be his job. Perfect.

 But after months of research, he realized the market was just filled with shoe stores selling the same types of shoes to every single idiot in the United States. He had to be unique and bold.

It was around that time that Ruben met Carly, a student of reflexology. She wasn’t from college but she had attended a rare conference about the subject there and Ruben had instantly fallen in love with her. She took some time to liking him however, but after some weeks they were dating and enjoying each other’s company. They rapidly found out about their mutual interest and engaged in long and detailed talks about the history of the foot and its pressure points.

It was the day Carly took him home for Christmas, when he realized his biggest idea yet. Her grandmother was there, a lovely lady, and she was knitting the socks that were left for Santa to put on the presents. And it was then when he had the idea to dedicate his business, not to shoes, but to socks. He told Carly this over dinner and even her parents thought it was a very funny and smart idea. They had never seen a store that only sold socks.

 The following year was the one. It was hard at first because Ruben had to drop out of college only months before finishing. His parents were devastated and told him not to come back home. He was destroyed by that but moved on thanks to Carly, who traveled with him to Cleveland, finding a nice flat for the both of them. There, Ruben created the logo of his company, the idea, the details of the first store and so on.

 He asked for a loan and with that he set up shop and asked for socks from all around the world. Then, he decided to wait a year and see how it went. If it failed, he had lost a lot of money. If not, it was just the beginning.

 That was the birth of the Sock Empire. The name was made fun of sometimes but he loved it and people loved what he did with the place. He would come into the shop sometimes with Carly in order to visit his workers and shake hands and tell everyone how much he thanked them and how much he loved his sock world.


 Even now, years after his invention, he still massages Carly’s feet before bedtime. And he still looks at all the feet he can on the beach and on his store. After all, he couldn’t stop doing something that gave him his livelihood and so much happiness.

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2015

The massage

   My back hurt a lot. It started to get on my nerves that every single morning, without fail, I woke up with every bone in my body aching as if I had been practicing some gymnastics routine while sleeping. I didn’t know if it was the mattress or if my sleep routine had somehow been disrupted. Whatever it was, I had to find a solution fast or my spine would be gravely affected and I would have to sleep on the floor. I would have wanted to change the mattress but that wasn’t really an option: I lived in a rented room and the owner might have an opinion about it. Besides, even if I could do it, I didn’t have the amount of money to allow myself to do such an investment. So the mattress, even if it was the wrong one, was not the answer to my problems.

 So I decided to do something for myself. My body was in pain and I needed to make it better, to be able to walk in the morning without feeling hundreds of knives penetrating my skin. So I decided to try some exercises before and after sleeping time but that wasn’t a very good idea. Not only because I had never done any exercise whatsoever, but also because they didn’t seem to be affecting my sleep. Sometimes I moved less during the night but I had the same back pain as always. I was grateful that hadn’t worked because it could be quite an annoyance to workout just before and after you sleep. I mean, those are the two worst moments of the day to do any physical activity, even if I had been willing to do so. There had to be a better idea, more suited to me.

 It came to my attention one day, while I was taking a walk around the neighborhood. I was new to the area so I wanted to know about all the restaurants, supermarkets and stores in general that operated around my building. Two streets over, I discovered a spa. The entrance was quite small and, thank God, there was a list of prices and procedures on the window, so I didn’t have to go in. They specialized in massaged, have all kinds of them. Maybe that was what I needed: someone to undo all the knots on my back so I could sleep better during the nights. And the price was not too high so if I started feeling in pain again, I could come back in a month or two. I was about to go in but something made me think it twice.

 I went back home and, like an obsessive person, I decided to know about all the types of massages so to know the best one for me. Many were Asian and I had read stories about massage parlors there. I doubted the spa I passed by was a place like that. Anyway, they were very complete and did want something that was rather aggressive. I wanted them to “rearrange”, if that’s possible, all my muscles and bones and make me be able to walk again without having to complain bout something. I then stopped obsessing about it and just assured myself I would go to the spa the next day.

 And I did. It was a Saturday so this time around there were two people in the waiting room, a very small space with two chairs. I had to wait standing up, which was kind of funny considering I had come because my body ached. Anyway, it was not a long wait. Each one of us was directed to different rooms and was asked to undress and put on a gown similar to the ones used in hospitals. Not that I had ever used one but I had seen those many times. The woman that had led me there also told me to lay down on the table, face down of course, and wait there for the masseuse. I did as I was told, leaving all my clothes in a neat pile ad tightening my gown a bit. I lay down in the table and just waited there for five, then ten minutes. I was a bit sleepy when, finally, the door flung open and a man’s voice greeted me.

 I said “Hi”, in almost inaudible register. I couldn’t see more than his legs, as I was on the table with my face on a hole, but I could see his yellow Crocs, moving from one side to the other. He was apparently feeling some form and stretching or so it seemed. He asked me how I felt. I told him my story with the bed and my sleeping “disorder”. He was listening carefully, his feet still all the time. He resumed his walking when I finished and just asked me which scent I liked better: cinnamon or oranges? I chose cinnamon, so he walked out of sight but by the sound I realized he used a lighter and suddenly the room smelled like my favorite type of cappuccino. He also put on some music and I had the weird feeling of being in a really strange blind date.

 Then he started, rather predictably, on my back. I could feel he had big hands or maybe they were just very well suited for this work. I have to say I relaxed immediately. He was using my flesh as clay and it felt really good. Besides, the music and the scent really helped to make the room feel less like a doctor’s office and more like a nice room in one’s house. I closed my eyes for a good while, as he worked on my whole back, moving up and own, and possibly helping himself with some oil. I could smell almonds. Then I realized I had thought I was going to have a woman massage therapist but maybe a man was more suited in my case because of the great pain I was in.

 Then he spoke and I just opened my eyes, as if I had slept with him. What an odd feeling… He asked me if the pain was only concentrated on my back or if the rest of the body hurt as well. I told him the pain was all over but that it was stronger on my back. I saw his Crocs moving and his ankles going up and down, as if he was exercising right there. Maybe he thought I was with my eyes closed. He then told me he was going to do a full massage, trying to liberate the tension from every muscle he thought might have been affected by many nights of bad sleep. He said it just like if he knew me and, frankly, I loved that. I closed my eyes and stood still again, waiting for him to continue.

 I gasped when he grabbed the knot I had made behind my back and released it easily, relieving my whole backside to him. For a moment I thought about standing up and going straight to the front desk to accuse him of sexual assault but then he started massaging my thighs and I realized he had needed to do that to continue the work. Anyway, been touched there wasn’t very common for me so it felt very strange but also very good. Apparently, there was a lot of tension there too. He did bot thighs, then calves and feet. He finished by ding my back and my shoulders and spraying some scent I couldn’t identify all over my body. I guessed it was something to do with aromatherapy. When he was finished, he just walked out and I didn’t have the chance to thank him.

 The following days were perfect. My back felt like new and the rest of my body too. I was even able to do some exercise without suffering and had learned how great it was to give myself a foot massage every so often, specially as I walked around so much. Sometimes I found myself trying to picture how my masseuse looked like but it was a very hard thing to do. I just had his voice, a little deep but not to much, his yellow Crocs and his small exercises while at work. It was almost impossible to create an accurate depiction of him in my mind and I just let it go when I realized he had done a great job and that had to be enough for my brain. Maybe if I went back there, I would see him.

 I eventually did come back but this time it was a woman who did the massage and I was too ashamed to ask for the man that had done the massage the last time. Maybe they would think I was obsessed or that I had a complaint of some kind. So I just kept it for myself. To be honest, the woman did a good job but I still felt the man’s hands and thought they had been created for the job. I was thinking about it too much. So just after the massage I decided to go to the market and just relax buying fruit. The place was very big but not really crowded. I decided to buy some apples and oranges. I committed the stupidity of grabbing an orange in the base of the pile, so others fell to the floor. I caught all except one.


 I went after the orange, walking slowly and crouching to see where it had gone. I finally saw it beneath a vegetable stand selling organic products so I just crawled and took it. When I did, I felt relieved. But soon, I felt a mix of emotions I still have no idea how to explain. There, just a meter away, there were two yellow Crocs, moving exactly like that time in the spa. I got out   of there and saw the man working in the organics products stand. Somehow, I felt I knew him so I just waved at him and said “Hi”. He turned to look at me and, surprisingly, he smiled. He waved back and walked towards me. Something happened there and I wanted to know what.