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

sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2016

We all know Doris

   Doris had never been the most beautiful woman in the world. She was rather plain and didn’t have anything special going on for her. Besides, she was already over fifty years old and women her age simply didn’t have the same opportunities in life that younger ones. She couldn’t complain about her job, because she had been very lucky to keep it for so long but she would have loved to get married at least once in her lifetime. She had always dreamed of wearing a wedding dress and having one of those fun parties to celebrate her nuptials.

 She had her chance when she was around twenty-four years old. An older man had wanted her in marriage and her father had agreed to it. Of course, Doris didn’t want to marry him but, in those times, women did whatever their father told them to and it was very difficult to do something different than what parents told their children. Doris cried and stopped eating for a week but that didn’t change his father’s mind. However, the old man that wanted to marry Doris died only a couple of days before the actual ceremony so she was saved.

 When she looked back to that memory, she found herself thinking very differently from that young girl she used to be. For example, she regretted the fact that she was never interested in knowing more about the man she was going to marry. Of course, they practically didn’t know each other but she could have asked and maybe, just maybe, that would have changed everything, even the fact that he had died. Yes, fifty year old Doris thought it was a good idea to marry a man that was, at least, thirty years older than her.

 Be that as it may, she never got to wear that wedding dress. Besides, she had to see her two brothers and three sisters getting married. She had to go to their weddings and pretend to be happy for them but she never really was. She also had to go to other weddings, where she was even a bridesmaid. That was even crueler for her because she got too close to the real thing but it just wasn’t the same. It was all an illusion to keep her away from the one thing she wanted in life, the one thing you couldn’t really buy or force to happen.

 In her work, however, Doris was successful. She was the assistant of the principal in the same high school where she and her brothers and sisters had gone. At first it had been weird to work there but she adjusted just fine in no time. Now she loved to reminisce about all those good-looking boys that had walked the hallways back when she was a teenager. She found herself thinking about them a little bit too often and even took to the social networks to track some of them down to see if they had changed a lot or not so much. The results were predictable.

 Before turning fifty, Doris had gone over backwards to get a man. It sounds a little bit too desperate but it was what she wanted. She opened profiles in most of the matchmaking sites in the Internet and also downloaded several apps on her phone with the help of one of her nieces. She even started going to bars on Friday nights to see if she could attract any man. Doris didn’t even mind if it was only a crazy sex night but that didn’t happen either, which was frustrating and also hurtful for her. She felt even older than she really was.

 As her birthday grew closer, she decided to go to all these events that advertised that you would get a couple in no time. Some of them were events where you met several men in a limited amount of time and others were holidays for singles in which the goal was to meet all of the people that were there with you and then just see who you had the best chemistry with. The thing about all of those was that they were only a waste of money. She always came back home disappointed on everything and even sadder than before.

 After she turned fifty, it was as if something inside of her changed. She didn’t want to keep being desperate and accepted the fact that she was never going to find anyone. Of course, she remembered all of those family dinners for special holidays when she had to lie to her family or confess to them that she was still alone. As her family was concerned, Doris had been in a relationship with several men but it never really worked out for several reasons. Some didn’t have a job; some others were scoundrel and they were even a couple that ended up being gay.

 Now that her parents were dead, those family dinners were over. She rarely met her brothers and sisters, only in funerals and such events, which was great for her because that way she didn’t need to talk about her private life. Stopping the lies had been really good for her because for a fragment of her life, she knew too well all the things she need to say to make a believable lie. She was so good at it that it seemed that she was beginning to believe everything she said herself. It was a very sad thing to do and it was for the best that it was all over.

 So, after fifty, Doris was not interested in finding anyone new. She wasn’t interested in anything to be honest. She went from her home to her job and back home every evening. On the weekends, she spent several hours tending to her dog Fluffy and her small but well taken care of garden. It was her pride and joy, as she really loved to spend hours and hours getting everything to perfection. It was her passion and it helped her not thinking about thoughts that hurt her.

 One day, by the advice of her next-door neighbor, Doris sent pictures of her garden to a specialized magazine, just for fun. Her neighbor had said that sometimes they sent people over to take pictures for their magazines and that was always fun. She thought that Doris could be one of the proud owners of a famous garden. At first she wasn’t too sure but one night she decided to do it, just to add a little bit of fun to her life. Maybe it was the wine she had been drinking, but she was as happy as one could be while taking the pictures.

 Days later, she received an email from the magazine telling her that they were interested in a visit and asked her about her availability. Sure enough, they were there the following weekend. Her neighbor stood close by the whole time, showing Doris her two thumbs up every time the photographer took a picture or when the interviewer asked Doris about some of the flowers and she answered in the best way possible. They were only to people but she felt overwhelmed for a moment and had to take deep breaths when they weren’t watching.

 The interviewer, shortly before leaving, told her that her pictures would be in the mix for the next issue, which would portray suburban gardens from the country. She could be in or out, they didn’t know yet so she had to be very attentive of the issue. For Doris, it was a torture to wait that long because the magazine was released every two months. But thinking about it also made her very happy and proud and it was certainly better than wondering why she was not married or why no man appeared to have any interest in her.

 Sure enough, almost a month and a half later, the magazine’s new issue had her garden in the front page and in at least four other pictures inside. There even was an awkward picture the photographer had taken of her looking at her tulips. She was a bit embarrassed by it but many people thought it was a very nice picture. She kept the issue by her bed, to look it every time she felt down. Doris knew not many people knew about that magazine but that didn’t matter because it made her feel great and that’s what mattered.


 However, the following week every single person she met greeted her kindly, smiled and congratulated her. At first she was very confused but then she read a letter she had gotten from the magazine: she had been awarded a prize for the best suburban garden in the country. The prize came with a cash prize and an actual medal that would be given to her in a ceremony in the magazine’s headquarters. For the first time in her life, Doris was really happy, for real, and did not relate her mood to her relationship status. No man could make her feel better than that recognition.

jueves, 18 de agosto de 2016

The monastery

   The poor creature did it al by itself. It had carried the body of a lost hiker after almost dying in an avalanche. The donkey was exhausted and collapsed after crossing the gate of the monastery. Monk Yato was crossing the yard in order to get to the kitchen and was the first one to see the poor animal and the person it had brought to them. By the touch of his fingers, Yato noticed the donkey had died. It was probably due to exhaustion. As far as the man was concerned, Yato and other monks carried him to one of the rooms.

 He was in some kind of coma for almost a week. Every so often, monks would check on him and realize that he was doing great except for the fact that he was fast asleep. But life in the mountains went on, no matter how interesting it was to have someone from the outside so close by. The younger monks were the most curious ones, whereas the older ones hadn’t cared yet and had decided not to visit the tourist at all

During that week, the monks held a small vigil for the soul of the donkey, which they had buried near the main temple of the monastery. They all appreciated a lot what animals could do for humanity and had a tremendous respect for any kind of life that was lost during accidents in the mountains. The men from beyond didn’t seem too convinced by this but the monks believed it with all their hearts.

 One week after, the hiker woke up in the middle of the night. His name was Greg Emerson and he had been climbing almost every single mountain nearby. It was very dangerous as some of the mountains had special regulations but it had been clear he didn’t care about it, at all. When he woke up in the small room they had put him in, he instantly thought he had been captured by some foreign force from beyond the mountain range. He had no idea of monks or their beliefs.

 The halls were being watched and his bedroom’s window overlooked a large chasm with no apparent bottom. The morning after, when one of the monks decided to check on him, Greg committed the mistake of being excessively aggressive. He thought he was too strong, so he released the man in order to stand up and run away. But the monk had not being that injured and jumped at him, tacking Greg to the ground with ease.

 He was locked up in the cell once again and no one came to tell him anything for a whole day. It was very late when he noticed the movement of a light behind his cell’s door and then some steps. He trusted he was going to be released real soon. When the door opened, it was the Grand Monk, a very small mall that seemed to move his legs really fast in order to move at a normal pace.

 When he entered the cell, he told Greg that he knew who he was, his full name, his job in the city and why he had come to the mountains. He even knew that that his reason for wanting to get to know the mountains and nature was false and that’s why he had been confined to that cell until he got better. Now that he was, they had to check if it was in their best interest to release him or if it was better to keep him for a longer time. He complained, saying it wasn’t legal and ethic to retain someone against their will but the Grand Monk clarified he could leave his room but not the monastery.

 The following day, he noticed the Grand Monk’s orders had been honest: no more monks came to check into him and the door of his cell was now wide open. He could walk all around the various levels of the monastery, including the dining room where all of the monks gather at night to have a very sensible and small dinner. Greg missed the real foods from the city, sometimes being hungry for a hotdog and other times for some pasta with meatballs. In the monastery there was only a lame kind of bread with nothing on it and some goat cheese.

 One day, a monk showed him the burying site of the donkey that had brought him to the monastery. Greg remembered that creature and thanked him on his grave for having saved him. As far as he could remember, he had been riding the donkey for a while through the mountains just when they had been caught by one of those awful storms that sometimes happens deep in the mountains. During that awful weather, he had been knocked out and the animal had done everything by itself. 

 Weeks after being “released” from his room, the Grand Monk ordered him to participate in the various activities that the monks did all around the monastery, as he was one more of them for at least a while. So they decided to try him in various areas. The first one was the garden, a small hydroponic plantation overlooking the chasm. He wasn’t very good with plants so he did not do a great job. Besides, his hand were not at all delicate and he was always distracted, looking over at the view or being apparently immersed in his thoughts about how he would return to civilization.

 The next place they tied him on was the goat pen. It was really simple: he only had to fee them twice a day and let the roam around the main yard for a while. The ideal walk for the goats would be to go beyond the gate but they couldn’t let him go with them there so the monk had to tolerate the goats being all over the place now and Greg being useless when feeding them. He only gave food to a couple of them and then he just got distracted when looking at the snowy mountains and imagining what his loved ones were thinking right then.

 His last opportunity was in the kitchen, where a big Monk called Hitso, taught him about how to make the simple bread they ate and how to do some other dished with the vegetables they grew in their small garden.  They didn’t have any modern appliances, only an oven that used wood but there was no wood nearby that they could use. Beside, Hitso explained to Greg that the monks preferred not to eat things that were cooked, instead eating everything raw.

 In the kitchen, Greg really felt he was a little bit happier. Maybe it was the fact that he was serving the monks and that gave him some kind of purpose or it may have been the fact that he had stopped thinking about how to escape and about his loved ones in the city. He just realized that the monastery was his reality at the moment and that it was best to use it in his advantage instead of always being distracted by other things.

 Greg began to enjoy the company of all the monks and even tried to meditate like they did but he wasn’t that calm yet. In his spare time, he would look at the chasm and wonder what marvels laid down there, beyond the light of the sun. Monk Yato explained to him that the monastery had been built right there because their religion believed an ancient evil slept beneath the darkness of the chasm and that it was necessary to have prepared religious people nearby in order to defend the world once whatever lived down there emerged.

 It was a very nice story and, of course, Greg didn’t believe any part of it but he respected the fact that the monks were dedicated to their beliefs. He began thinking that maybe that was something he was lacking. He didn’t believe in anything except fame and fortune and going on to the next thing. Greg was very impatient and had always been like that. He wasn’t the kind of person to wait patiently to see what happened. No, he was the one “creating” his future. Now he was doing the opposite angle.

 Months after arriving in the temple, the Grand Monk called Greg to his room and told him he was ready to go back to the outside world. The young man nodded but then he knelt and asked the old monk to let him stay with them and become a monk like them. He wanted to learn their ways and be calm and a better person.


 But the Grand Monk said that couldn’t be. He had to go back to the outside because he had unresolved business there. Greg had to attend to that and, if he still wanted, he could comeback afterwards and join them. Greg left that same afternoon. He would never come back to the monastery but would always remember what he had learned and try to pass it on.

viernes, 22 de mayo de 2015

Conflicted savior

   The botanical garden was a large peaceful place where people did picnics and took pictures of various flowers and butterflies. Families and couple came because it seemed like a nice place for them to bond. So when David and Katherine entered the premises, it was obvious they hadn’t come to appreciate the flowers or bond over anything. His jacket had bloodstains all over and they looked fresh. She had several cuts on her face, one very deep and slowly bleeding out. They appeared to have come from a battle zone and the botanical garden did not seem like the first place to think about when hiding.

 As if they had picked up on how strange they looked to others in the gardens, Katherine grabbed one of David’s hands. But this didn’t help at all. It was more obvious now that ever that they didn’t have any kind of relationship. They were holding hands as if they were grabbing a freshly caught fish.

 They enter the largest greenhouse and there they were able to rest for a while. People seemed too be more focused on the beautiful colors and insects than on the couple that had come in. Katherine touched her face and noticed the blood whereas David took off his jacket and turned it around. It looked kind of funny but it was better than displaying blood all over the place.

 But still, that did not help that much. After all, David was dressed in his usual attire, which meant tight jeans, suspenders, black polo shirt and red boots. Yes, David was a skinhead but, as he explained to everyone that cared to ask, he was not the “bad” kind of skinhead. He just liked the ideals, the real ones, behind all of it. He was used to people staring at him everywhere he went but now wasn’t the time to be noticeable. With his jacket’s sleeve he cleaned some of the sweat from his almost bald head (his hair was very short).

 Katherine, on the other hand, was a bit older than him. Not enough to be his mother but old enough to be a grumpy older sister. But they weren’t related and had just being together at the wrong time and the wrong place. As a matter of fact, they did not know anything about each other, except a mad man was chasing them. Katherine grabbed her phone from her pocket and checked some things very fast. After all, it was her tool of work. She was a very important part of an advertisement company and she knew her boss was probably wondering where she was.

 After all, she had just left to pick up some photocopies that were needed in the 5 pm daily meeting. Although she thought her work was important, it really wasn’t. She was basically and errand girl, running around with coffee mugs and photocopies and various folders. Her main task, after all, was classifying every document the company had in order for their main archive to be in order. She just liked to think it was important because after turning thirty, every job matters as if it was the best of the best, even if it’s obviously not.

 The couple picked up the pace, went all along the inner path of the greenhouse and got out of it on the other end. Fortunately, they noticed there was a different exit than the entrance they had used earlier. In a very hush voice, David told Katherine the best thing was to go to a police station and tell them everything that had happened. They would provide security and the mad man may be even apprehended for following them. But they hadn’t seen him since they had entered the gardens, so maybe he had just gave up. At least that was Katherine’s opinion.

 They walked slowly, following a brick path through a forest of palm trees that lead to the other exit. Katherine stated that it was probably best of they each left for home and just let it go. David looked at her as if she had lost her marbles and didn’t even reply anything. If they separated, he was going straight to police station. Maybe they wouldn’t believe him, it had happened before. But after the mess that man had caused, it was going to be very difficult for the police not to believe him.

 As they got closer to the entrance, they realized two things: the man was on the other side. He had apparently not seen them yet but he looked oddly calm and controlled, very different from his display at the stationery store. The proof was that both David and Katherine started to tremble as soon as they had seen him and hid behind some bushes. The woman then agreed that they had to get to the police so she took out her phone but wasn’t able to dial because someone kicked her hand. It was the mad man.

 He looked enraged but controlled. It was very scary to see such a normal looking guy with so much evil in his eyes. He was holding a gun with a silencer and told them that he would shoot if thy screamed. He then advised them to stand up and walk in front of him, slowly. He would put the gun away but advised them not to run away or he would pull it our fast and shoot them both in the head before anyone could catch him.

 Katherine and David stood up and complied. The group came out of the botanical garden as if nothing was happened but anyone that would noticed the twitching in David’s eyes or how sweaty Katherine’s hands were, would instantly now that something strange was happened. As the man had told them, they walked in front of him slowly, just as if he was a friend and they were there with him. But they didn’t even talk so the image was even stranger than one would think. They crossed the street and the man told them to board a red car that was parked on the sidewalk. They looked at each other before doing what the said.

 Inside, the car was incredibly hot and the leather seats were not helpful. The man boarded too and put the gun on the dashboard. Soon, started the engine and he drove, without telling a word to them. He looked straight to the road, not moving his wide-open eyes for nothing. It had to be said: he was a very good driver, even letting old women cross at the corners and cleverly avoiding buses and trucks. He didn’t look like the man they feared.

 A couple of hours earlier in the stationery, that man had been waiting for some photocopies too, or at least that’s what it looked like. Katherine had come in because of work and David had to pick up several pages of a book that he wanted to read carefully. He had just begun the career of social studies at the university and wanted to nail every class to be the best social worker he could. Each one of them was there, minding their own business. It was when two petty thieves entered that it all went insane.

 Those two attempted to steal the money but, in the process, hurt people all over the store. They pushed Katherine towards a glass structure, which broke and cut her face and shoot a little boy and his mother, whom David tried to help when the men weren’t watching. It was when one of them tried to drag one of the girls that worked there to a storage room, that the mad man acquired his nickname.

 Without even hesitating, he pulled out his gun and shot one of the guys in the head. His body collapsed right there, for everyone to see. He then ran to the storage room and grabbed the other man by the hair. He had his penis out but hadn’t raped the girl, who was lying on the floor, crying. The mad man put his gun on the thief’s mouth and pulled the trigger. Everyone screamed. Then, people thought an even crazier man had rescued them and that they could go. But, what was his business there with a silenced gun?

 The man was aware people were scared of him and decided to take Katherine by the arm. She had been helped by another woman with her wounds but the man stopped that. He took her as a hostage because, in his mind, people had turned against their savior. David tried to talk to him and even got him to say a few words. For a moment there, it seemed he understood what had happened and that if he released Katherine nothing would happen to him. Everyone would say to the police how much of a nice man he had been by saving that girl from being raped and all of them from being hostages.

The man released loosened his hands and Katherine took that moment to step on his foot and run outside. David, stupidly, followed her. And now they were hostages again, in his car, going who knows where. The man didn’t say a word until they had left the city. He took the car through an open field and then parked right in the middle of it.


 He came out of the car, taking his gun with him. As he walked on the moist grass, he looked up. Some stars could already be seen. Then, he pointed the gun to his head and shot himself. The couple in the car where just to scared to scream.