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

miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

That's who she is

   Ms. Maurier had always lived in the same neighborhood. She had been born almost seventy years ago in the local hospital and now she lived in one of the many high rises that had been built after the war. The idea was that people should live closer to the core of the cities, thus limiting how much a city could actually grow. Many of the sight that were around when she was a young girl, were nowhere to be seen anymore. The building in which she had lived with her husband had been recently demolished.

 With the money she had received from the city, Ms. Maurier was able to pay for her new home and some other things that she had always wanted to have but had not being able to buy because of her husband. She had loved him dearly but he could be a bit of a bore at times. He didn’t like loud music or a lot of noise in the movies. He just liked peace and quiet. She had no idea if it was because he had worked as a security inspector in a local warehouse, but now she was able to enjoy life a bit more.

 Of course, she felt guilty for the first few months. Then, she realized her husband would have loved her to be happy after he died, so she went to one of the largest stores in the area and bought all the latest appliances in video and sound. A group of very nice men and women came one morning to set it all up for her. She talked with them and made some fresh scones with tea for them, when they were done. Once they left, she started reading the instructions and enjoying her new space.

 In seconds, she had every single movie, TV series and documentary ever produced at hand. She started watching that same day and she laughed profusely once she realized the time for lunch had been quite a while ago. She decided to change things further by asking for something on her new devices. A pizza was her choice and it arrived just in time to watch the last episode of a soap opera she had followed years ago but had not seen the ending too because of their TV breaking down.

 She enjoyed her meal, even though she had never really liked pizza, and she went to bed rather late with a smile on her face. She thought of her Richard, her husband, when entering the bed. She never really understood why he was so uptight and dry in so many ways. He was a proper gentleman and had always been the best husband she could have ever wanted. He was good provider and a kind soul. But he was boring, every single day of his life. Always doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time. He was like a clock, always hitting the same marks.

 When she woke up the next day, Ms. Maurier decided it was time to broaden her world a little bit longer. Although her new experiences with appliances had gone great, she wanted to explore the world outside of her neighborhood.  She walked to the train station and waited for one going towards the beach, which was located far into the city’s suburbs. She smiled every second, waiting for the machine to arrive.

 It pulled over smoothly and Ms. Maurier stepped in carefully. She had always seen the trains filled up to the roof in TV and on the news, so she wanted to be prepared for the chaos. But what she found was a beautiful place, all clean and sparkly of how white it was. It had big windows that curved and gave a great view of what was outside. Even the voice announcing the stations sounded kind and much like a long forgotten friend. She sat down and enjoyed the ride, looking around, like a little girl.

 Most people were working. That was the reason she found for the train and the stations being so empty. She stepped outside on the last stop of the line and when she crossed into the boardwalk, a potent beam of light received her. It was the sun that was just poking his potent mass from behind a large cloud. It had been a strange moment but she had liked the fact that the weather seemed to be welcoming her into that new world she was visiting. It was scary so the light made it less so.

 The boardwalk was also very clean and from there the ocean could be see in its entire splendor. The waves were soft and small, no real wind blowing over the sand. Not many people were enjoying the weather, except from a woman and her children a few couples that seemed to be more interested in kissing their partners than in watching the majestic thing that was the sea. It’s color had never been seen by that older woman who was about to cry for it was much more than she had imagined.

 She immediately ran towards the sea and didn’t really care if she looked insane or not. She couldn’t care less about that. Ms. Maurier had never seen the ocean and it was an experience that had just changed her perception of life. It was too much to process but, even so, she wanted to enjoy every single second of her encounter with nature. She hadn’t put on a swimsuit or anything. She hadn’t even grabbed anything besides her purse and an umbrella. But she realized she didn’t need anything. She removed her coat and scarf and started enjoying the place she was in. It was perfect and she realized she would have loved someone to share that moment with.

 Richard had never wanted to go to the beach or anywhere else for the matter. They didn’t have a honeymoon because they knew a baby was coming home soon and they just wanted to provide the best for the little one. She had loved the baby so much, since her doctor had told her about him, that she didn’t even cared about not being able to travel or move a lot for months. She wanted to be a mother, to be the one to take care of that new life and just have a happy family with her husband.

Things went on as such for several months until Ms. Maurier fainted in the kitchen one morning, while making her husband his favorite dish for breakfast. He took her to the hospital right away, the same she had been born in. She was in a room for hours and hours, no one talking to him or telling him even two words. Finally, a doctor approached her and explained that his wife experienced a miscarriage. That morning, their baby had died right in their home.

 She thought of them while looking at the ocean and she thought that maybe, just maybe, Richard had always been rather cold because of the abortion. It’s not like he had been the life of the party before that but he did have traits of someone else in him, a rebellious and interesting soul that had things to say, even if they weren’t many. That person, who she had fallen in love with, disappeared right after she went back home from the hospital and he was never seen again.

 Cleaning a tear from her cheek, she thought that it was possible that her husband had lost his feelings for her after that event. She knew she had changed and it was fair to say she had changed too. She felt empty and a failure. Ms. Maurier never told anyone, doctors or family, about a couple of suicide attempts she had committed the year after she had lost her child. She had to endure it all by herself and now she was looking at the sea, trying to stop the tears from coming down her face.

 A young vendor appeared nearby and she bought a freshly squeezed lemonade from him. It had the right amount of sweetness and it was just enough to pull her spirits up. It brought a smile to her face again. She only stayed there for a bit longer.


 Back home, she went to bed early, with no dinner on her stomach. She just wanted to rest and not think for a few more hours. But her life decided to haunt her that evening. She couldn’t handle it. So she stepped out of bed, turned on the TV and put on a comedy movie. That was Ms. Maurier.

jueves, 13 de octubre de 2016

Movie legend

   The cameras were rolling and everyone was silent on the set. No one dared to speak or even breathe loudly. They all knew how difficult and expensive that scene was, so they wanted to make sure that everything went perfect on the first and, hopefully, only take. Heavy rain was falling, as predicted, and everyone seemed ready to go. The scream of “Action” had to be repeated into walkie-talkie because no one could really hear anything. The first ones to move were the cars, then the extras running from one place to the other. And then, the leading man appeared.

 He walked into the center of the square and waited there, in silence, with a red rose in his hand. Everyone was counting, without making any noise, until ten. Ten seconds was the magic number fro the leading actress to appear on the far end of the square. She would then run into the arms of her lover and they would kiss. That was how the scene should have gone but not how it actually went. They waited ten, fifteen seconds and then a whole minute but no one appeared on the far side of the square. Soddenly someone did appear but it wasn’t her.

 The person was her assistant. She was escorted by the nurse they had on set, as she was bleeding a little from the head. She had a very nasty purple circle and a cut. Production was halted. The woman got nearer and they heard her scream “She’s out, she’s out!”. What she actually meant was that the star of the movie had run away from her trailer by knocking her assistant unconscious. Apparently she had caught her off guard and struck her with some sort of glass bottle she had around. The director couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

 Of course, production was halted for the day. The “money shot” would have to wait as the actress was essential to the success of that scene and of the whole movie. Every single person that worked in the movie had to look for her: around the set and in every single cornet of the city they could think of. What made things harder was the fact that they didn’t really talk the local language so it was very difficult to speak to anyone or make themselves be understood. So they had to cut her face from magazine or other places to make sure they knew who they were looking for.

 But no matter how many people got involved, finding the woman they were looking for proved exceedingly difficult. They had to halt the production for another day and the company that was financing the film was not happy at all. Each day they did not work was a day thrown to the garbage, along with thousands or even millions of dollars. The permit to film on that square had been very hard to get and now they would have to get another one, if they found the actress and if that government allowed to close the square off a second time.

 For the producers the money aspect was a disaster. But it got worse when the magazines and the entertainment industry learned of the disappearance of their leading actress, Valerie Ríos. She had been the face of so many amazing movies, she had even been nominated for several awards as, one of her first ever performances, had captured the hearts and minds of every single person in he world. She was one of those girls whom everyone knew was going somewhere. She had a lot of potential and a charisma that few other girls had.

 In every single magazine article, they wondered about why and how exactly she had escaped. That was a major thing because the production insisted that she hadn’t fled or anything but rather “stepped out” of the set. The media however preferred to say she had run way and they had a very nice way of explaining that by running interviews with her assistant once and again and again. Of course, the woman was fired because she wasn’t supposed to be telling gossip about people on the film, but once she had talked it was much too late.

 After the third day, the production company decided that it was for the best to shut down production and put the movie away for an indeterminate amount of time. As the movie was almost finished, they couldn’t just replace her. And the scenes had to be shot in such a way that people would noticed right away if they used some kind of visual effects aid. They had to shut it down, which was a very hard decision because of all the problems that brought, especially relating to payments and so on.

 Valerie went from being one the promises of the industry to be universally hated all over the globe. Every single person thought it was at least disrespectful to have done what she did, leaving her job out of the blue and hurting someone in the process. There were even some that advocated for her to be sent to jail once she was captured. Yes, they were already considering her a felon, a criminal and there were many voices putting pressure on the police for them to actually look for her as someone who had done something wrong.

 But the thing was that, once the assistant was checked by professional in the police department, they determined that the way she had been struck in the face didn’t really coincide with someone with the strength of Valerie striking her with a glass bottle. Many experts considered all the options but it was the assistant that, after considerable pressure from all sides, decided to confess Valerie hadn’t done any of that. It was her who had done that to herself to make the scene more violent and to ride onto Valerie’s fame and mistakes.

 People’s love for Valerie returned briefly after the assistant’s confession but it didn’t lasted long because there was no one to actually receive all that love. Many people wanted her back. Not only the companies she had something to do with but also many of her peers in the industry. None of them could understand why she had disappeared like that and it was even more of a mystery to imagine where she could be hiding. No one seemed to know anything at all.

 Her family was also harassed for many weeks. Many were sure they knew everything about their daughter’s plan and thought they knew where she had gone. But the truth was her family was devastated. Every time cameras arrived to their home, the mother would start crying because of how hard it was for her to confront her daughter’s disappearance. As far as she knew, her daughter could be dead. They really had no idea and it was a great thing for them when the media stopped dropping by and the hype around the news went down.

 A year passed and the executives in the studio decided they sue Valerie, even if she wasn’t there to pay. It was the only real way they had to try to make up for the huge losses they had because of her disappearance. It wasn’t and exaggeration to say that because of her, the company was having some serious financial problems. Many saw them as too permissive and as the real reason why she had left filming. Some even thought they had mistreated her somehow and that’s why she had decided to leave in such a strange way.

 Suing her, of course, didn’t amount to nothing. The production company decided to actively pursue other projects and the year following Valerie’s mysterious disappearance, they released a movie that was universally loved by the audience and the critics. The movie was so good that it won every major award that season and the studio soon forgot everything that had to do with their past production. They were able to make huge amounts of money, enough to pay the many debts they had acquired with insurance companies and so on.


 Valerie never resurfaced. From time to time, people would say she was alive. Some said they had seen her in a remote beach in Thailand and others claimed she was working as a waitress in a café in Florence. Some men even confessed to have been her lovers but they were soon uncovered as liars. Nobody was ever found and no real account of where or how she managed to escape without being noticed was ever found to be 100% accurate and possible. She became one of those movie legends but for all the wrong reasons.

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2016

Tragic triangle

   It all happened so fast. People crossing the pedestrian bridge above were able to see it all. But who couldn’t want to see all of that, you would like to see how lives end and how tragedies happened?

 The SUV was driving extremely fast. Eileen, the driver, was worried about so many things. She had just received vey bad news and just wanted to head back home or anywhere she could feel safer, loved and appreciated. She had been crying and was in no state to drive. But there had been no one to tell her that, no one that could stop her from making that mistake.

 On the other side were the Martins. Joanna and her husband Matt were in a small car coming back from the hospital. They had received troubling news: Joanna was pregnant with their fourth child. Normally, a couple would be happy and celebrating. But in the Martin’s car, there were only long faces and sighs. Raising such a big family was very hard on them. They had stopped doing all those nice things life has to offer to invest them in education and diapers and food and so on. Their children were too young to understand but they really needed that time off.

 But they had been silly and that’s why they were pregnant again. If they didn’t want more children, the solution would have been really easy. Well, apparently not easy enough for Joanna and Matt who kept having unprotected sex just because they had been together for over fifteen years. Actually, that was the other thing. They weren’t really that attracted to each other anymore. They didn’t feel anything when the other got naked near them in the mornings or even when they showered together. That’s what Matt was thinking when he got distracted, let the car go a bit to far to the left and then it was chaos.

 Eileen was so furious, so sad and so broken that, at first she just let gravity do its job. Her body was propelled out of the window just after the two cars had crashed against each other, done several circular turns and then hit the side of the road. When she was conscious of what had happened, Eileen realized she was on the ground, probably bleeding and not really able to move. She could feel the wind caused by the passing cars and felt suddenly even lonelier than ever before. How could people be so mean, so awful, that they wouldn’t even stop for an accident?

 Joanna and Matt had been wearing their security belts and that was good because their car had been flipped over. The baby chair they had in the back was one against the roof of the car and they were both bleeding but still breathing normally. Matt was the first to wake up and he was so scared the first thing he did was liberate himself from the belt and they try to get out. In his attempt, breaking the window with a kick, he realized his wife was there. Of course he had known this all the time, but it was as if his survival skills had made him forgot about her, at least for a minute.

 He then screamed and Eileen heard him, far away, but clearly. She then knew there were more people involved but, somehow, she couldn’t care less if they felt as miserable and broken as she was. Because even with so much physical pain, Eileen’s heart was the one that hurt the most. She even began to cry right there in the pavement, not even trying to lift a leg or an arm. She just lay there and cried her eyes out, thinking about how she had run into her long time girlfriend with another woman. And they weren’t kissing or touching. She even felt disgusted, truly sick about it and she vomited.

 Joanna was bleeding. She had hit her head during the accident and Matt was worried he couldn’t be able to move her like that. He decided that it was best to get out of the car and ask for help or see if there was any police coming or ambulance or whatever was available. He cut his hands with the glass but tried to ignore the pain and just stumbled out and suddenly passed out. He only did for a few minutes but during that time he dreamt about the time it was only him and Joanna. He remembered their first date, how they had planned to eat in this fancy Italian restaurant but then had problems with the reservation and they ended up having some tacos in fancy outfits. They really loved each other that day.

 After crying so much, Eileen opened her eyes and realized she really needed to start thinking about what was happening and decided to try and stand up but the thought of Erika and that woman together were like a film in her head that she wasn’t able to shut down. It hurt her badly because they had been together for a long time and they were doing all these things together like looking for an apartment and even planning to get a baby through adoption. It had been Eileen who had met Erik when she was a girl afraid of the world and with no knowledge about anything. She had been the more mature woman that taught her everything that she may need to know and apparently she had learned it all too well.

 Like trying to scare some flies away, she moved her arm a bit and finally tried to stand up but realized she couldn’t. She could only see forwards because of her position but had a feeling there was something wrong with her legs. Having been so worried about Erika, she had not realized that her legs didn’t feel as before. They did not feel at all.

 Matt woke up from his dream and realized there was a man running towards him and asking him so many questions. It seemed to be a policeman but he really had no idea. He answered what he could, not even knowing if it made any sense and then heard an ambulance and a fire truck.

 He stood up by himself, trembling and with pain all over his body, and saw that there was another car that had been involved but he couldn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat. Maybe that person was also trapped or maybe that person had fled the scene. His mind was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Thinking hurt him but he couldn’t stop doing it. He walked to his car and a fireman asked him to remain away for the moment. He nodded and decided to wander off in the opposite direction. He didn’t care about the voices that spoke to him, policeman and people on the bridge above. He couldn’t hear them and felt everything was slowing down so every single sound made no sense to him.

 The paramedics picked up Eileen first and she remained awake during the whole trip to the hospital. However, she wasn’t able to speak. She really wanted to answer the questions, she really wanted someone to know that it was all her fault and that she had been cheated on but nothing came out of her throat. Her heart was still hurting to much and, with morphine, she felt a little bit better and then fell into an uneven sleep in which she would imagine entering several room and in some of them Erika was with the other woman and in other she could see her parents or herself when she was just a little girl. She recalled her past times back then and how much she loved horses.

 The second person to get into an ambulance was Joanna. Her husband nowhere to be found, she had to board the ambulance alone after several men were necessary to pull her out of the car and then up into the ambulance. She was bleeding internally, as determined by the instruments used by the paramedics. The driver was ordered to rush to the hospital but only two minutes after that they told him there was no real emergency anymore. Joanna was stable but she had lost her child, so they didn’t have to be fast to save anyone.

 Matt kept walking until a distracted old man run over him. The car lifted him and pushed him to the side of the road. The old man didn’t stop to see what he had done. Matt lay there and then came back to his body for a while. And realized how miserable he was, he realized how sad he had been for so long and it was all because his life had failed to be what he wanted. He loved Joanna and the kids but he wanted so much more from life, so much more than responsibility.

 In the hospital, Eileen was put in the room next to Joanna, who got better quickly but got almost insane when she was notified about the baby. Then she learned, through a nurse, that Eileen was in the other side of the wall, so she tried to choke her with a pillow, because the nurse had told her it was Eileen who was to blame for the crash. It was the only way Eileen came back to the real world and the only way Joanna could realize how ready she was to be a mother again, when she couldn’t be one anymore.


 Meanwhile, Matt lay there in the pavement. And cried too.

domingo, 6 de marzo de 2016

Ballad of the dead

   A couple of crows flew by, landing next to a large mausoleum, belonging to a general who had died long ago, in a battle no one remembered, in a country no one cared about anymore. The crows turned around on their dark feet and gazed at what appeared to be a shadow slowly walking up the hill. But the shadows was not such, she was a beautiful woman all dressed in black, walking slowly, trying not to make a strong effort climbing the hill that served as a cemetery in this region. The place was beautiful but grim and grey because of the many storm clouds travelling through the sky. Rain had already fallen and it would possibly fall again soon.

 The woman passed the general’s mausoleum and also a small patch of grass where several small crosses indicated the presence of bones belonging to several unidentified soldiers. But they were not marked as “unknown”, they were just marked with white crosses and some dead flowers. She only glanced at them, putting then her hands inside her pockets. A gust of wind had swept through the hill and she had received it full on her face. She was trembling and apparently had the urge to go back, because she stopped and turned around and looked at the town, which could be seen perfectly from there. She had been born in that place long ago and had left soon after. She didn’t know the place like her father and her grandfather before him. She was just there to see them.

 Finally, she took a left on a row of tombstones and knelt at the end of that path, were flowers and grass grew large and beautiful because of the soil that was so rich in nutrients. She caressed the tombstone, cleaned it with her hands covered in gloves and read the name of her father, slowly, as if she had no idea who he was. Almost instantly, a big lonely tear ran down one of her cheeks. And then, another one. Finally, she really cried, she allowed herself to do what she hadn’t done in all these years. She cried because she hadn’t been there when he had died and she cried because she had left home so young and had put them all at bay, fearing they might convince her to make the same mistakes they did.

 She wasn’t scared when a voice, a very cold and raspy voice, asked her not to cry anymore. She said, out loud, that she couldn’t bring herself to stop, because she felt guilty and needed to get it all out of her system.

   - So it’s all about you?

 The voice was right. She was crying just to cry, just to make herself feel better and free of any guilt from having been responsible for her father’s death. She knew she hadn’t been there, that she had been missed and they had asked her to return so many times. But, to her, that town was death itself and tried not to go back for many years.
 The woman had finally decided to do it, to confront her life and just do what she had to do.  But apparently it hadn’t been enough. Because now she saw him, her dad, standing in front of her, judging her choices and thoughts and actions. He was silent and wouldn’t say a single word about anything. He had always been like that, even when she was a kid, he would just look at her and she could know what he thought of her just by paying attention at his expressions.

 It was his fault too and that had to be proof. He had always been so far, so private and cold. How could have he asked for more from her when she never saw anything more at home. Her mother was not much different. She would always get busy doing something, just in order not to be depressed. She had some sever episodes when she couldn’t even see other people but she couldn’t be alone either. Besides, she suffered from migraines, so things where always charged with a level of tension no kid should ever have to bear.

 So the daughter stood up and followed the image of her father, that had stopped looking at her and was now just walking through the graves as if he had know the place like the palm of his hand. They didn’t have to walk much to find the grave of the mother, where the woman pour some more tear and realized how unfair she had been with all of them. She sat down on the damp grass and just touched the stone, the letters of her mother’s name and asked her why she had been so distant, why they had been so judgmental when they had raised her to be exactly who she had grown up to be.

 The woman had a nice boyfriend, a good job and a home, where she was happy most of the time. She had come to this town to be miserable, as miserable as she had ever been in all her life away from them. And now they looked at her as if she was the one who had been wrong, as if she had been the one that had caused the rupture between all of them, causing her to flee that life that was unbearable to any living person.

And then she remembered little Roby. His death had occurred six months after she had left to the city. Of course, she heard they had blame it all on her. They said he had been heartbroken that she had left because he had lost his big sister but that was just another lie, another attempt to make her feel worthless. The kid was too young to even notice he had a sister. And he had been born with so many problems. She cried for him to but they were tears of anger that she shed all over the graves of small boys and girls that had died long ago, Roby among them. She dedicated all those tears to damn, as they needed to know how wrong their parents were.

 Her parents, on the other hands, started talking and talking, and she was not interested in hearing anything they had to say. She stood up and ran up the hill, as fast as she could until she fell to the ground, having stepped on a large rock covered in moss. The fall had hurt but not as much as it hurt to hear them accusing her for so many things that she hadn’t even been there for and for other things that she didn’t even remembered. Her mother’s voice was especially annoying, very loud sometimes, the voice of someone who doesn’t speak too much.

 The woman slowly stood up and cursed her parents, told them to burn in hell or in heaven or wherever their real souls were. She yelled at them, saying that she was tired of having to carry the weight of a family that had been crumbling own for so long. Her father was a worthless maggot and her mother a crazy bitch.

    - There you have it! Now leave me alone!

 They did stop talking but they didn’t leave, their images still standing by, waiting for her to say something more. And she did. She told them it had been their fault that Roby died and it also had been their fault hat he existed, that he lived for such a short period of time suffering every single day. It was because of their sick minds and bodies that he had been born with so many problems and it was that that killed him, not her or anyone else for that matter.

 She walked the remainder of the hill and when she was at the top. She noticed the son was filtering through the clouds of rain. She felt its rays touching her skin, making her feel like she had finally done what she had to do, what she hadn’t been able to do when they were all alive. But then, they reappeared and several other figures like them. Their faces accused them of being of the same family, generations and generations of unstable people that had been raising awful families for children to turn into maniacs themselves. She had seen the light beforehand and she had been so grateful for it.

 They grew closer and closer and she just felt her body give in, kneeling there, being caressed by the cold wind of a region filled with people that were more dead than alive. She raised her hands to the sun and begged for peace and calm in her life. All the images of relatives looked at her and only one came closer and touched her head softly. She looked at the ghost and realized it was her grandmother, the only one that she had talked to during her exile in the city. She understood why she had fled and she didn’t judge. And now, even dead, she was on her side.


 That same night, the woman drove back to the city and she never heard or saw anyone again. Her prayers had been answered and she would never have to be a victim of her family anymore.