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

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2018

To vanquish fear


   Trying clothes was one of those things that Rebecca had never really liked about going out to a mall, whether it was with her friends or her family. She would always see something cute that she would love to wear herself, but wouldn’t be able to bring herself to try it on and least of all buy it. Something just prevented her from actually trying to change, even when she really wanted to make something for her that would maker her at least a little bit more interesting, not only for men but also for everyone in general.

 She had never been the kind to talk to strangers or just initiate a conversation in the line of the grocery store. It was very difficult to find the right moment and the right words and apparently the right person to that with. And when she finally decided to do it, people would have moved on and she would already be out, walking home or something. Rebecca would always blame it on her being slow and not as smart as other people, but the reality of it was, and she knew it very well, that she was just too shy and insecure.

 Her parents had tried for years to get her out of her shell, almost pushing her to do different extracurricular activities in order to discover things she could be good at or that could help her relate better with people. She tried cooking and playing various sports, as well as knitting and dancing and also horseback riding and even volunteering to help those in need. She did all of them for some time and then quit when she realize she wasn’t really getting anything out of any of those activities, only frustration.

 After every single failure, she would go back home and stay in her room for hours and days, sometimes crying for being such a weird kid but then realizing she didn’t really care about other people and then taking on hobbies that could work with her being alone like drawing and writing. The only things she would ask her parents to buy for her would be pencils in every single color in existence, as well as notebooks and, once, a better laptop to keep a copy of everything she did just in case she needed it.

 For a while, she was able to just to that and come to school almost running in order to keep drawing and writing. Her parents were busy most of the time so, even if they had been worried at first because of her lack of skills with others, they soon realized that they had to be grateful their daughter was having such safe and creative hobbies, rather than causing problems for others or for herself. So they were happy buying her whatever she said she needed for her arts and they never doubted her skills again. However, it would soon be all for nothing because of the big changes that happened afterwards.

 As everyone knows, the Plague started its expansion about a year ago and in a matter of days, several millions had died suddenly and others had been severely deformed and turned into creatures without a proper mind. They had no thoughts of their own, nothing that could relate them to the people that had been before. They just lived, if that could be called living, to wander the world and attack those that the Plague had not killed in the first wave. The survivors moved around often, avoiding their former families and friends.

 Rebecca had been one of the few survivors of that cataclysm. It was very strange but, for a long while, she had been completely oblivious about the whole thing. Not only because she spent her days in her room, drawing and writing about all the things that came into her mind, but also because the Plague had expanded at the beginning of summer, meaning she had less reasons to be outside or wander around town. Rebecca enjoyed the sun more when she could be as away from it as she possibly could.

 She was already seventeen when everything happened. The day she heard shots outside and people screaming was the first one when she realized something was going on. She had been in her room for at least a week. Rebecca had learned to cook for herself a long time ago, as her parents would often be at work, so she had not missed them or needed them for anything. But the day the shots were fired, was the same day she ran out of pages on her favorite notebook, which had a beautiful Japanese design on the cover.

 Normally, the girl would ask her mother or father to go to the shopping mall and buy a new one but she wasn’t able to find them at all that they. She waited at home all day but they never came in. So she looked for their offices phone numbers and then things got even stranger because the phone wasn’t working. It was obvious that something very bad had happened because when night came, the lights suddenly went out and they never came back again. She was very scared and decided to stay in her room.

 She did so for a whole day until she heard shots again and then more screams and then silence. Rebecca was terrified and in need of her parents. It was true that she had never been really that good with people but she realized that her parents had been essential in her becoming at least a functional human being. She didn’t love being with them and she felt bad for that because she knew children were supposed to love their parents and she had never felt that. Until, she was alone. Until she had been forced to realize how dire her situation was without them. She cried herself to sleep that second night.

 By the third day, she came down to the kitchen and decided to pack every single piece of food she could find on a bag. She would carry that bag to her room and then survive whatever was happening in there. As she put everything on a suitcase that her father would often use for business trips, she realized she had never thought on turning on the television or the radio in order to know what was happening. She was about to do so but then she felt stupid because the electricity had stopped working two days ago and she knew that.

 Rebecca felt very stupid and realized filling a suitcase with crappy food was not going to save anyone from anything. If she wanted to know what was happening, and it was probably best that she did, it was imperative for her to step out of the house and confront the world, once again. She climbed the stairs fast and looked out the window, something she rarely did. There was no one on the street and no sounds could be heard. If there was a perfect time to come out of her house, that was it.

 She emptied the backpack she used to go to school and packed in some clothes and things she would need outside like a flashlight and batteries, some of the crappy food from the kitchen, a Swiss army knife her father kept in a drawer and a tiny bottle of pepper spray that her mother had indicated her on how to use, in the eventuality that a man would try to do something inappropriate to her or someone mugged her on the street. Of course, she had never found use for any of those things, until now.

 When ready, she slowly walked towards the front door of the house and opened the door with doubt. She was not as scared of what might have happened in the world, as she was from the exterior in general. She took a deep breath and slowly but surely walked beyond the front side of her house. Rebecca stopped for a moment and looked behind, wondering if she would ever go back there but she knew it was better not to ask too many questions, at least when she was so insecure about everything in the world.

 Rebecca started walking again and, in minutes, she was deep inside her neighborhood. Contrary to a normal day of summer, the streets were very empty and the sun was only heating up the cars that had been left outside. There were no corpses to see, so she was optimistic.

 She stopped being that when she got to the supermarket her family visited. A group of people was gathered in front of the door. She doubted for a minute but then, knowing she had to be brave, she yelled at them. She had vanquished part of her fears, just as a bunch of zombies looked at her, licking their dry lips.

viernes, 1 de junio de 2018

He was me


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

viernes, 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.

miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2018

Life is strange


   His body felt warm and I liked that. I hugged him, tightening the grip with my arms, because I was actually afraid he might leave at any moment. But, for some reason I never asked, he stayed that night with me. We made love again and he told me he loved me as he kissed my neck and I caressed his thigh. It was so much, maybe too much, for just one night. But I decided not to ask anything, not to think about it all too much. I didn’t want to ruin the moment with a question that could be answered another time.

 Nowadays, our relationship has evolved greatly. That was three years ago. We are now married and his son lives with us. He had him with a woman he thought he loved, right out of high school but it wasn’t what he thought it was. However, from that weak union came a strong bond in the form of Nicholas, a bright kid that has made me rethink my role as a man. I’m not his father, not biologically and I haven’t adopted him yet, but he calls me Dad anyway, without thinking about it too much.

 We live in a house we were able to buy with both our salaries. The cost was high but we knew exactly what we wanted. It has a large main bedroom and two spar bedrooms for visitors. Thomas, my husband, decorated Nicholas’ room personally, putting on the walls every single thing the kid liked and making it removable in order to be adjusted as the years go by. He dedicated long hours to that project and refused my help, as he wanted to do something special for his kid after years of a difficult relationship.

 Thomas and the kid’s mother had been fighting for their rights for a long time until it was agreed she would have the kid for one month and then Thomas would get the kid for the following month and so on. I thought it was cruel to use a kid like that, as a thing to put on or off the counter. But I never said a word because that’s something for Thomas to fix and tend to. We even fought several times because he seemed too focused on his kid and his former girlfriend than in our life together.

 I have to confess I got to be a lot meaner than I ever was. For starters, I never liked the kid before he came in to live with us. I resented him in a way, seeing how Thomas loved to spend every waking moment with him and I just got some weekends and not even that. Our relationship had passed from one with a lot of romance and sex, to one where there was only a random kiss a week and some conversation that never went anywhere. Even after we got married, I felt he wasn’t mine yet and maybe he would never be. I neglected to see he was a father first, my husband later.

 The kid would come in some weekends, from time to time, but it would often be a very tense time for Thomas and for me as well. Not only because he would spend every single second with the kid but because he would spend the rest of his time talking about his former girlfriend and how he thought she should run his life. I heard so much about her for so long. The few chances I got to meet her; I avoided the opportunity at every turn. I didn’t want to feel even more threatened and unsure of myself.

 I even decided to attend a shrink once a week. I’ve never believed in those people but I thought it would be much better than just staying at home on the edge of screaming at Thomas or, God forbid, striking the kid. So I excused myself telling them I was going to meet my parents but I really spent an hour with Dr. Mendelsohn, who was as useless as I had thought before attending our appointments. The only good thing was that I wasn’t at home anymore. As I’m not made of money, I stopped going after one month.

 After that, I decided to really spend my days with my parents. After I had moved out of the house, I didn’t really got to speak with them that much, only over the cellphone or something. So I began cooking with my mom again and talking politics with dad. It was like back when I was younger and I found myself yearning for those years. It was hard because I was depressed often but at least I had them back then. They were always there for me to talk or at least just be there, to be present.

 Eventually, Thomas confronted me about going to my parents practically every single weekend. I confronted him too, telling him I had no interest in meddling into his affairs, into his life before I entered into it. He said he wanted me to be in his present fully, involving myself with his child and even with the woman that had brought him to life. But I told him the truth: I couldn’t make myself want something I didn’t. I had never wanted children or the past to come knocking on my door. I just wanted him.

 That was the moment our relationship took a deep dive. We didn’t yell or anything like that after that argument. We just fell silent and suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed a suitcase and started putting some of my clothes there. I told him it was temporary, because it was clear we needed space to think about what was happening. I reminded him he was my husband right before heading out. He grabbed me by the wrist and told me I was his husband too. I won’t lie: fear ran through my spine right then and there. I have no idea why but that’s what happened.

 I moved in with my parents and I asked them not to say a word about the whole thing. I would just continue to go to work and fulfill my responsibilities without any delay or doubt. I would just go on with my life because stop it altogether would be fatal. Of course, I cried every night thinking about him and how the man I used to know was no longer there. I trusted him to think about it all and come back to me with a proper response. He never did, at least not in the way I had always thought.

 He came to my place almost a year later. I had decided to rent a small apartment downtown, as I realized my parents already had a life between the two and me being there was not the life they had envisioned in their golden years. So I decided to move on, never minding anything else in my life. I even got a promotion, which was celebrated with a big party where I almost kissed another man but didn’t. I felt like shit after that but at least I stopped myself, despite the large amounts of alcohol in my blood.

 The day Thomas came, I was cleaning my place up. I stopped everything and we sat down in the living room, which consisted on a sofa against he wall, facing a flat screen TV. There was a moment of silence and then I told him I hated when silence feel between us. It seemed unnatural. He finally spoke, saying he had come to me to tell me the years of litigation were done and that he had finally gained a good amount of time with his son. I was happy for him, because he was finally ecstatic with the news.

 I thought that was it. He didn’t seem to have anything else to say, so I stood up and told him I needed to finish cleaning soon, as I had to leave later. It was a lie; I just wanted him out of my sight. But then he came close to me and hugged me as I had hugged me so many years ago. He told me he loved me and that he missed me every single day. He even kneeled and asked me to marry him, which was nice because I had been to one to do that the first time. I said yes, because I do love him.

 We then had the best sex I have ever had. It’s strange how you take some things for granted, like how much better it is when your partner is someone that knows your body thoroughly and has a very good idea about what you like, what it is that makes you feel in heaven.

 I have no idea how, but he transferred that knowledge to the other parts of our lives. That’s how I got to understand him better and to love his son, maybe as much as he did. Now I found myself packing lunches and preparing camping weekends. Life is so strange… But it’s life.