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

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Friends & Secrets

   It was very problematic for Sean to admit that his life had improved dramatically since he had joined the gym. He didn’t want to tell anyone about it and only went there once a day, six days a week. Of course, sometime people would ask him where he was and what he was doing, but he had created the illusion that he was attending cooking lessons at a school that happened to be in the neighboring building of the gym. The smell of warm and fresh croissants was almost constant and made almost impossible to focus on one's obliques.

 Sean had never been the kind of guy that went to the gym and cared about his body. Earlier in his life he openly mocked those who took too much care of their bodies and looks. To be fair, he still mocked only that he refrained himself from saying anything out loud because he would really look like a hypocrite if he said something. The difference was the he didn’t exercise because he wanted to look better but because he wanted to feel better, which were too different things. Most of the people there were just show offs that already had a great body.

 Since he was a little boy, he had loved eating candy. His favorites were salted caramel and chocolate. His life wasn’t complete when he was at school if he didn’t have a piece of chocolate with his lunch. It was kind of a ritual, a weird tradition that he had with himself. He kept that for years, until very recently. Actually, some of his friends had begun wondering what had happened to the chocolates he always ate and also about the ones that he kept all over the house in case he wanted something sweet to enhance his day.

 All of those chocolates had disappeared and no one really understood why. Some were not idiots and had realized Sean had lost some weight and, weirdly enough, he looked as if he had grown taller and bigger but not in a bad way. They asked him about it and he only answered he didn’t really knew why and that he partially blamed work and the classes because of the tension he went through every single day. Stress could be a powerful force and could certainly be blamed for many things, so it was a nice save that not everyone bought.

 One of those who hadn’t bought into the story was Billy. He had noticed something really strange one day they were at Sean’s apartment watching a movie. At one point, they were having popcorn and Sean asked if they wanted more. Of course, everyone said yes. To be funny, Sean raised his hands in the air and exaggerated a positive response. It was then when Billy saw it: Sean’s shirt had been raised and instead of a normal belly, he saw a body in the process of getting really ripped. He knew his friend had never been like that.

 Many times before they had taken trips all together. Billy knew his friends bodies, not because he had an obsession with them or anything but because he had seen them in their trunks and bikinis. He knew what they look like. So the new appearance of Sean’s body was a very big surprise for him. Now that he was thinking about it, he remembered that Sean had not attended their last trip to the beach. He had told them that he didn’t feel quite right but when they came back he looked exactly the same, like a normal healthy person.

 Billy decided to follow Sean one day. He worked for his father so he asked him for a day off from the office in order to attend some personal business. His father never asked many questions and agreed almost immediately. They following day, he woke up really early and decided to follow Sean by bike. He decided not to take the car as he suspected Sean would know it was him if he saw it. The first time he saw Sean that day was at seven o’clock, time he left at for work. He stayed in his office until midday, when he came out to lunch.

 It was then when he saw the first red flag: Sean had never been the type to eat big pieces of meat or a large portion of anything. He knew how to choose what his body was capable of consuming. However, he had never been the type to refrain himself from eating something delicious, even if hat something was not especially good for you. Billy remembered fondly the time the two of them had eaten a big plate full of spicy hot wings by themselves, no beverages or carrot sticks with ranch sauce. That had been a fun day.

 But now, he noticed that Sean had bought a salad for lunch, a salad that didn’t even had a piece of chicken or bacon or anything. And the worst part of it all was that he really seemed to be enjoying himself while eating it. Sean stopped looked from a distance and thought that maybe he was been too judgmental and a tad exaggerated. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all if Sean was taking care of himself. He was trying to feel better or maybe it was that he wanted to look hotter or even that he was dating and he wanted to look great for that person.

 That all went to the mental garbage when Billy saw Sean pulling a bottle of water from his backpack and drinking from it. That was just ridiculous. One thing was to take care of his body and all of that but drinking plain water with a lunch that consisted mostly on a bunch of leaves only a turtle would eat, was just insane. Billy thought that there was something really wrong with his friend because he had never seen him like this. Something had to be wrong, that was clear. But what could it be or why could it be?

 After waiting for several hours in a café across the street, Billy followed Sean again and the next destination, to no surprise, was the gym. Granted, it was not the type of gym that had many windows and looked more like a giant fish tank than like a human building, but nevertheless it was a strange thing. Billy decided to go in, as he would see nothing from outside. Of course, he had to pretend he was interesting in joining because otherwise he wouldn’t have been allowed entrance. A trainer showed him round but he didn’t really listened.

 He only saw Sean many minutes later, working out on a huge machine that seemed to be used to help exercise the abdominal area. He had no trainer besides him and seemed to be focusing a lot on what he was doing. For Billy, the sight was really strange but not because it was his friend but because he had never seen someone so focused to do something like that. For a moment, he even thought it was quite admirable that Sean had decided to take on such a challenge, but moments later he felt betrayed again, as a friend.

 He decided to confront Sean. He ditched the trainer telling him he would join after walking around alone and then walked, almost ran, straight to where Sean was. As expected, Sean was quite taken aback when he saw his friend standing there. But then he decided to finish his exercise and then finally stand up, sweating more than he would have wanted to in that moment. The two friends looked at each other and didn’t say a word, not until someone dropped a weight somewhere, slamming his foot. They both laughed, which eased the tension.

 Sean explained to his friend that he had always had self-esteem problems, going back to his high school days. He had always felt fat and ugly and he recently had realized he could actually do something about it. He had begun exercising over a year ago but the change in food had been done very recently. He didn’t call it a diet because he ate as always on weekends and he couldn’t say he was going vegan or vegetarian because his favorite meals consisted of pork chops in a pineapple sauce. Anyway, he was trying something to help him achieve his goal.

 He told Billy he was sorry for lying but Billy interrupted him saying he was a bad friend for never having really talk about their past in a much more open way. If they had, he would have known his buddy’s struggles and could even have helped him. He told Sean he was sorry and then hugged him, which was a first for the two as they had always been the kind of buds that only shake hands. It was a new beginning to their friendship, a much needed one.

sábado, 19 de noviembre de 2016

Several adventures

   From the entrance of the cave, the storm looked somewhat beautiful. Rain covered every single plant in the forest, as well as every rock, leaf and animal, if they hadn’t found a proper place to wait out the storm. Tony and Gabe had found the cave just in time and had been there for at least three hours. In that time, the rain hadn’t stop falling and it didn’t really seem like it would stop anytime soon. It was as if it was the perpetual state of that corner of the world. Both men decided to take out their sleeping bags and rest, instead of waiting for something that might not come.

 The next morning, sure enough, the storm was still going strong. According to what they had read before going into the forest, it wasn’t that uncommon to have storms that lasted for several hours. According to one book, the record was five straight nights of rainfall. It was simply insane but that’s how nature worked in that place. So both guys decided it was best for them to wait. They didn’t fear the rain or anything like that. The problem was that they could get lost and that was a real problem that they wouldn’t be able to solve easily.

 They had brought food, and sleeping bags and several other things but they had forgotten a simple compass. Besides, their satellite map on their phones didn’t work there, as the forest had no Wi-Fi. So, in a way, they were trapped by rain. The physical map they had borrowed from the park ranger’s office was the only thing they could use to navigate the forest but there was no real way of doing that because the map was not precisely up to date. According to the bottom left corner of it, the design was copied from another map dating from the 1980’s.

 It was best to sit down on their sleeping bags and have a couple of energy bars, which would help them stay alert. Tony and Gabe rarely talked to one another. They were not really friends but they weren’t enemies or anything like that. The reason they were together was that they had originally plan to come with several other friends. The original group had around fifteen people but then the park made them cut off some of them because the limit was eight people. Then some of the ones remaining dropped out and only Tony and Gabe remained.

 They had decided to go together because they didn’t want to miss the opportunity of entering the forest. The government had announced recently that it was going to be closed indefinitely as the passage of people through the park was apparently damaging it. Tony and Gabe were practically the last two people to ever set foot there in, probably, many years. But they were so mad at their friends for not going that they hadn’t really thought about that amazing fact. It was practically a historical event in which they had been caught up.

 The second night in the cave, they decided to play a card game. It was one of the simple ones, nothing too fancy. It was Tony that had proposed to play, as he was getting crazy by just waiting to see if the weather got a little bit better. Gabe was also very disappointed in that trip. He had come because he really wanted to get away from people and things after he had finished the process of divorcing the woman that was supposedly the love of her life. He had found her having sex with another woman in their brand new apartment.

 Tony’s reasons were kind of similar. He wanted to get away from his family. He was an adult that still lived with his parents and had serious money problems. The trip to the forest had been his idea and he had designed it to be a perfect getaway with his best friends. That hadn’t come to pass and it made him rethink his relationship with them because he didn’t really knew anymore if they were really his friends or if they were only close to him because he was good with other people’s problems but no one helped him with his problems.

 The card game went on for several hours, until they had to drop it because one of their flashlights turned itself off. Apparently, the battery had run out. After all, it had been on for several hours a day, being in a cave and everything. They decided to sleep instead but they just couldn’t so they started talking. They first did so about the rain and the forest and how cool the first few days had been, taking pictures of animals and beautiful plants and discovering a whole world they had never even imagined that it existed so close to their homes.

 However, the conversation migrated soon to their problems. First, Gabe got to tell Tony every single detail about his divorce. He even told him exactly what he found his wife and now girlfriend doing in his own bed. Gabe’s voice sounded bitter, so Tony tried to make him fell better by reminding him that it was for the best that he had found out the truth. Gabe didn’t know if that was correct because he had spent a large amount of money in that marriage, from the ring to a holiday he had planned for their first anniversary.

 Tony insisted: at least he hadn’t lived decades a decades in a lie. He had found out in the first year and that meant he had saved himself years of suffering and lies. That was something most people would want to have in a relationship. Most never get to know any of the truths that lie beneath their relationships until it is too late. Gabe began to realize Tony was right and really assimilated the fact that he hadn’t done anything wrong and that he was still young, if he ever wanted to marry again.

 Then, they moved on to Tony. Gabe asked him, rather bluntly, why did he still live with his parents? It was a difficult question to answer but it all came from the fact that Tony didn’t really have any real skills. He had gone to school, he had gotten diplomas and so on, but no company seemed to be interested in hiring him. As he explained to Gabe, companies were not looking for people that had a vast amount of knowledge. They were looking for people to exploit and someone that knew his worth wasn’t going to accept anything like that.

 Besides that, he found jobs that paid him a little money at a time but never enough to actually save anything. In his parents house, he had to pay the electricity bill and had to help with the groceries too, so there was no way he could ever get his own place that why. He lived with his parents not because it was the right thing to do but because it was the safest thing to do. He thought going out into the world blindly was not a solution to anything. Going out from home and then failing fantastically, only to come back, wasn’t really something he looked forward to.

 Gabe told him that, at some point, he was going to have to risk it, in one way or the other. Maybe he did need to take a risk like leaving home for working away from his parents. Or maybe he needed to let a company exploit him, letting them know that what he wanted was experience and that they could pay him whatever they paid others in order to be able to work. Tony was not very convinced by Gabe’s advice but then he said that Tony could also do his own thing; create his own business with all his knowledge at the center of it.

 That seemed to get to Tony because he was silent for a moment and then confessed to Gabe that he had always imagined having some sort of library, where he could help all sorts of people with all sorts of books. It could be in an old house, with a small cafeteria and a certain ambiance that would make it attractive to every single person around. He would offer all kinds of titles, from novels to poetry, from cooking books to big ones filled with artistic pictures and paintings. He knew it was hard and that his dream required a lot of money.

 Gabe told him he liked his idea. Furthermore, out of nowhere, he told Tony he would love to help to get that dream become a reality. After all, he had gotten some money out of the divorce and he had a stable job that gave him more than enough to live comfortably. He could afford investing those earning from his failed marriage. Tony was overwhelmed. They both sat on their sleeping bags and, in silence and with only the rain as witness, they hugged and agreed to become partners in a new adventure.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

State visit

   Everyone at the airport was ready. The staff had put on their best clothes and every single corner of the small terminal building had been cleaned to the last millimeter. From very early in the morning, people had arrived to help organize every single part of this impromptu visit. After all, it was the president of the most powerful country in the world. And theirs was one of the poorest and most isolated ones on the whole planet. However, the presidential plane had to refuel somewhere, so the small nation had received the honor of hosting the president for a few hours.

 From the moment they had been warned about the impending arrival of the plane, hundreds of people were put to work. Not only those in the airport, people who only really worked on weekdays and even then only in certain time frames, but also every single operator and technician available. They wanted not only the people to feel welcomed but also to make the best work possible with the plane. They got fuel from the city’s reserves, as the amount they had on the airport was not enough to refill a plane the size of the one they were going to see in a few hours.

 The process required almost every person in the capital, a city of about a thousand people, to wake up and also help by cleaning the streets of the city and the authorities enabling the movement of fuel reserves from where they stored it to the airport, which was fairly close to the city. People took to the streets with brooms and mops and every single cleaning help they could get, but the truth was no one really knew if the president was going to land and stay on the plane or walk around a little bit. Many people were curious like that.

 The president of the tiny nation was the one that was moving all over his house, calling the right people and asking everything from food to more cleaning products. He wanted to send a message through TV but the people of the studios were helping around so he decided to send it through the radio. It was much simpler and more effective; as it was the medium of communication that people listened to while they were preparing the city for the big arrival. Every single person in the country heard it and everyone understood the importance of the visit.

 To the eyes of the world, it was practically a miracle that their country actually existed. To be honest, it had been a thing of luck and one of those strange coincidences that happen out of nowhere. They were too isolated and unimportant. Practically everything they had came from their neighbor to the east. So they had known starvation and real poverty because when that neighbor didn’t have enough for themselves, they suffered too. But the world in general never really knew anything because they weren’t watching, until now.

 The country had no army but its people did behave like one once the president’s message had reached every single person. They knew they had around six hours to have everything ready. With luck, the weather up in the clouds would delay the plane a bit more to give them more time but they constantly checked with the aircraft and that didn’t seem to be the case. Everyone had to do their best in the time given. Only an hour after the president’s announcement, everything was coming up nicely and all citizens were helping, even elders and children.

 A huge amount of people arrived at the terminal in order to use the old kitchens that some rundown businesses had not used in several years. The idea was to cook a good amount of their national food for the people arriving, as well as other dishes that they might like. It wasn’t crazy to think that they would be very hungry, even at that early hour of the day. After all, this was all going on in the darkness of the night. The president was scheduled to arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, so they had to wake up or not even sleep.

 The cooking team was led by the nation president’s chef, his own wife. It wasn’t like in other countries were the president has everything and the people below him have nothing. In that nation, everyone was basically the same. People hadn’t starved in some years but they weren’t rich or even close to that. So the president’s wife decided it was best if someone close to the government like her supervised the food. It was the best way to guarantee that it would be perfect for someone with such a high profile as the ruler of the richest country in the world.

 They acknowledge that all those people in that plane, around two hundred according to the information they had shared with them, had been and eaten in places much better than their small country. That was obvious and they didn’t feel bad about it. But they wanted them to leave knowing a little bit more of their culture and about what they loved to eat and drink in those lands. The menu had been defined by the president’s wife and she was very confident that it was going to be one of the best feasts in the recorded history of their nation.

 It consisted of a special recipe for meatballs using a kind of cheese that was made from goat milk, which also happened to be used in their national beverage, which was kind of like a milkshake but less thick and richer in flavor. They also cooked the goats in various ways and were very proud about their vegetables and mushrooms, of which they had a very large variety. Various dishes were cooked with all those ingredients and some spices too.

 The small country’s president arrived in the airport only two hours before the arrival of the plane, to check everything out. The terminal had been painted in record time by volunteers and the control tower was bursting with life when, in normal days, it would only have one person and not even all day. He thanked everyone there and then went to the terminal’s commercial area where his wife and helpers were giving the final touches to the food. The smell had flooded the building and it was very delicious, so much that many stomachs growled loudly.

 Then, he went outside and did a walk around the tarmac and the runway. There wasn’t a single spec of dust anywhere, which he thought was absolutely magnificent, especially for such a windy part of the country. It seemed as if the weather was also helping them achieve their goal. The red carpet in the tarmac was the same one that the president had stepped on when he was inaugurated for his term, more than three years ago. A president’s term was five years and he couldn’t be reelected, which he personally thought was a good idea.

 He decided to check the band that had been practicing for hour in the cold and congratulated them for the amount of love they were showing the country. He stayed a bit to hear them play and, to be fair, they were not as prepared as he would have like, but there was no way of getting better musicians with only an hour to go. They would have to do. What made them special, at the end of the day, was that they played their instruments with real passion and the idea of making their country proud. And that was more than enough.

 The president decided to wait for the plane in the control tower. There, he would be able to know every detail about the upcoming visit. When he stepped in, the plane had crossed into their airspace. It would be only thirty minutes until they touched down in the runway. The atmosphere was really special. Every single person in the tower, in the terminal, in the tarmac and even in the city was ecstatic. This was, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen in their country. And they had all worked together to make it the best day possible.

 The plane came out of the clouds and landed, in a very soft and elegant manner. Everyone applauded and greeted the people inside through the radio. The president ran outside, getting ready with all others. Many people from the city had come out of curiosity and they had been allowed to stay a bit further away. The plane parked exactly where they had determined it should go. For some minutes, nothing happened. Then, the door opened and everyone stopped breathing for a second. Their moment had come.