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

lunes, 7 de agosto de 2017

They speak to us

   If you stand in the bridge, you wouldn’t be able to see it. You have to walk south, by the great way. It’s a rather short walk. On the left bank, you will see a beautiful meadow plagued with trees that are not tall or especially beautiful. However, if you walk across the meadow, close to a wall that limits the growth of plants, you will see a small hill and three trees on top of it. The one with the straightest trunk, clean leaves, and no roots on sight, is the one I want to tell you about.

 Beneath that tree, a friend of mine was buried a long time ago. He was not especially strong or fit or brave. He was not particularly remarkable in any way. He was just my friend and that is the reason why that tree is so special to me. I’ve been there many times, at night and during the day, a few minutes and also several hours. And every single time I visit that place, I talk to my friend. Sometimes there is nothing to say, other times it’s different. It changes, as life happens to be.

 I like that meadow because the sunset look gorgeous from it, the golden rays from the sun seem to be touching your body in such a magical way. Even when it rains, the green field looks as if it had escaped a book of fantastical stories. It’s the kind of place where, in stories, ladies and lords encounter beautiful white unicorns and heroes lift a sword out of a stone. I wonder if thing like that have actually happened there but maybe it’s best not to know for certain and just imagine.

 It feels good to be there, laying on the grass and just hearing the wind caressing the greenery. Flowers are scarce but when you find one, it is sure to be one of the most beautiful botanical being your eyes have ever seen. So many colors and such beautiful designs. They make you realize how perfect nature is and how intricate life can be in order to create things that have apparently little to no value. That’s how simpleminded and stupid humans are, because we just do not understand.

 I’m not saying I do understand but, when I’m there, I do feel different than usual. Sometimes I feel my muscles are stronger than ever and some other times I feel it is my mind that has grown one full size, in intellectual terms. I have attributed this particular feeling to the fact that my friend is there, beneath the tree or maybe inside of it. I have a special connection with that place, that goes far beyond it’s location or the many ways the sun touches the leaves and the rain flows down the small hills. It’s just something that I will never be able to understand or explain.

 I never go to two of my favorite places at once but I do have another natural space where I like to relax my aching bones. It’s a prairie, many hours away by walking from the meadow. It’s on the outskirts of civilization and maybe that’s the reason why it feels so special. It might also be the fact that many great people died there a long time ago and the place became a graveyard, although not on purpose. There’s not a sign labeling it as such and there are not tombstones to read.

 You feel the presence of thousands of soul when you enter the prairie. That one, different from the meadow, is filled with flowers all over. As trees are scarce, flowers grow on the ground, big as the fists of a mighty warrior. The colors are unimaginable if one has never been there and the sound of many birds creates a wall of sound that no scream or weapon can pierce. It is very beautiful but it can also be a little bit too much, if the person doesn’t know how to handle it.

 I’ve gone there for many years, from a very young age. Family members were buried there for generations and I feel that my body will also lay beneath the many flowers of the prairie. It’s not a nice thought on my head, but it comforts me that, at the very least, my final resting place could be that beautiful place full of all many of the things that people in other places don’t really have anymore. Birds and flowers are considered wild nowadays and people don’t like that too much.

 There are no hills, no real elevations on that never-ending prairie. There’s just a road on one side and a road on the other. The rest is grass and flowers and birds’ songs. Nothing much besides that. I relax on the meadow but not on the prairie. The prairie makes me think too much sometimes, about my own mortality and about the many things I have yet to do in this life. It makes me feels I have little time, which is true, but I suddenly hear the clock ticking and it’s unbearable.

 When I go, I only stay for a couple of hours and then leave without a prayer or a word. I don’t talk to anyone there, even if a good part of my family’s bones has fed the flowers that live there. I don’t feel comfortable or happy there. But I don’t feel sad or persecuted. It’s just a very strange feeling of not being quite there somehow… I don’t understand it and I just go there when I feel I need to pay my respects, which happens when I take the road north in order to get home after several days of hard labor. I go because I have to, in a certain way, not because I want to.

 My final spot is not very far from home. I live in a beautiful mountain, which oversees the most amazing green valley you have ever seen. Only a small amount of farms break a beautiful natural landscape. The sound of the stream is the one that always tells me I’m only a few minutes away from seeing the faces of my family. When I pass the rushing waters, I can almost feel their skin on my hands, their perfume on my noise and their happy laughs on my ears. It really is home.

 When I’m there, I often take my family to the other side of the mountain. It’s a bit colder and rockier than the place we live in but somehow I really like it. It happens to be the border that separates our country, if one can call it that, from the rest of the world. Beyond the rocks, you can only see the tallest and greenest trees in existence. They make a kind of fabric that extends for several kilometers and then some more. Water can be heard but not seen and animals are the only ones populating it.

 There are no roads that cross it. No one really dares to go through the maze that is the forest. Some daring neighbors love to go there in the summer to pick up grapes, the wild kind, that grow on the outskirts. The yare very sweet and have a beautiful purple color and kind smell. However, wolves have been known to attack people that stay there for too long. It is not a place for humans to thrive. But it’s nice to look at all those leaves from above, while having a warm drink.

 I enjoy the view alone or with my family. We spread mother’s ashes there some three years ago and I still remember how the wind carried the dust the deepest parts of the forest. I stayed there, waiting for the cloud that was my mother to fall on top of the trees but the wind kept on carrying it away, farther and farther away from everything that woman had ever known. It made me think about her and about every single person I had ever met that was not in this world anymore.

 Those are my favorite places on this Earth. They are so different the one from the other but they do share the fact that I feel my people on them, I feel their hearts and minds and, certainly, they souls. They guide me still in this wretched world.


 I know I will become one of them someday. It might be today or tomorrow or in several years. But I know it will happen. In a very strange way, it calms me to know that they are going to be there, on the other side. And I will still be able to visit all my favorite spots.

jueves, 1 de septiembre de 2016

Chance, the dog


   Chance had been their first dog. He had been living in the house for a long time now, he had no idea how much, but he was very happy with everything he had: the food, the toys, his owners and everything else. At first, he remembered vaguely, Chance had been owned by one of the two people that lived in the house. His name was Philip and he worked a lot or so it seemed. Apparently, and Chance had no proof of this, Philip had been convinced to have a pet after he had a couple of crisis related to his work.

 Chance was only a puppy back then. He didn’t remember how his mother looked or how his brothers and sisters looked. His first memory was always Philips face, looking down at him with a strange expression in his face. He wasn’t happy or sad. He seemed more confused than anything else. To be fair, Chance was also very confused but that was because his memory did not work very well.

 The first bonding experiences he had with Philip had to do with the park. As young as he was, Chance would go to the park and meet other dogs and even other animals. As he met them, he remembered Philip was always sitting close by, watching or checking a strange rectangular black rock that he had with him every single time Chance wanted to play or have a moment with him. Once, he had attempted to grab the black rock but Philip had made it clear that it wasn’t something for him to play.

 So Chance learned not to bother his master whenever he was on it. But that didn’t prevent him from noticing that, often when he used the rock, he would become very sad. Chance didn’t like that so he always tried to distract him, trying to make him play by getting the ball or rolling on the ground or whatever that could work.

 Surprisingly, the ruse worked quite often. He made his master smile and even laugh several times and he understood that his job as a dog was to make Philip happy, no matter what. It was a rather simple job but a very important one. In a short space of time, Chance was able to make his master a little bit happier, more of an enjoyable person to be around. Chance noticed this when he saw other people around and they seemed to enjoy themselves more with Philip around.

 That was nice because it meant that those people would bring treats for Chance. Sometimes they brought food and other times they brought toys. Some of them even gave him other things but he wasn’t as excited about those as he was for the treats and so on. The best part was that Philip got out of his house more, although not always with Chance which made him think that maybe his plan had not worked to perfection.

 However, Philip always came back smiling from those nights outside the house. At first, Chance had been worried that maybe he was being sad outside of the house. That would have been a tragedy, so he tried again to be nice and cute to his master in order for him not to o fall into depression again. But when he saw his face, when he felt his mood, he realized Philip was not sad, not at all. Philip was not happy either. It was strange.

 The first couple of nights he left for a long time were just torture for Chance. He would spend his whole evening just pacing around the house, waiting for his master. It was a very annoying thing not to have light in the house when he was alone and he tried to have it a couple of times until he finally was able to turn on the living room light by himself. Chance was so proud of himself that he thought Philip would congratulate him. But nothing of the sort happened.

 Most of those times, when the man went out for many hours at night, he came back smelling very strongly to something Chance didn’t like. He didn’t know what it was but he was certain it wasn’t something good because his master would often vomit on the floor or on the bathroom. Neither smell would disappear for weeks. That was always tougher on Chance because of his ability to smell things better than any of the humans. Something was very wrong with his master but he kept behaving like a happy person the rest of the time so it was very confusing too.

 This happened for what humans call a year. Chance got used to it to happening at least once a week and those nights, he knew it was better to rest than to wait for his master because when he came home he was too busy vomiting and falling asleep to take care of his pet. So he started sleeping earlier and would wake up before Philip on what humans called Saturdays. It was the best because his owner was very nice during that time. They didn’t go to the park or anything, but they had good times.

 The other thing Chance had noticed during that time was that, after he decided to fall asleep instead of waiting for Philip, he would sometimes smell the scent of another human in the house. Sometimes he would see them and sometimes he wouldn’t but out of nowhere, other humans were sharing Philip’s bed. And he knew, because of his nose, that it wasn’t always the same person.

 That was a very confusing thing to happen but Chance had no way to ask Philip about it. And he was clearly not very good at understanding human behaviour as he thought he was. So he decided to be the best dog to his owner and that was it. After all, humans are rather smart and he trusted Philip to get better on his own.

 He had been right about it. For some time, Philip stopped his weekly escapades and he would stay at home with Chance watching what humans called movies, which was basically staring at other humans who were apparently funny or very depressing. Sometimes Philip would cry or laugh hysterically but that was better than him vomiting in front of the door or on the couch. Besides, he now loved to have Chance by him to hug him and stroke behind his ears so that was always great.

 Philip never again went out so late as before but he did go out some other times and Chance wouldn’t worry because he would always return very much tired and alone, so things were improving or at least that seemed to be the case. After all, Chance knew that understanding human behaviour was extremely difficult. They were all so different and liked so many things at the same time. Sometimes he thought to himself that humans were very complicated animals.

 Then, something changed again: a new human started coming often to the apartment. At first, Chance was very reluctant to let that person touch him. He would roar and bark if the hands came too close and he would stay in the kitchen if the situation became too stressful. But what turned him around was Philip actually asking him to like that person. Apparently, it was very important for him that Chance could give that new human a proper opportunity, so the dig decided to try.

 That human’s name is David. David is one of the best strokers Chance has ever met. He just knows were are the best spots in a dog’s fur and its thoroughly enjoyable when he uses his fingers to massage any part of his body. David started coming rather often and Chance got used to him pretty fast, specially because he brought in gifts and that was always better than not bringing anything.

 Chance liked to join David and Philip for what they called movie night, when they had round human food and seemed to be really nice to each other. Philip would often send Chance to his bed early those nights and he obeyed because he knew the very sad times were in the past. He could feel Philip was now a really happy human being and that had been Chance’s goal for a long time.

 Now he had another human to make happy, although David seemed to be happy already. He eventually moved in permanently with them and Chance had the best time of his life during that period. It’s always nice to remember, even when you’re a dog. People think you don’t understand but you do. You understand it all very well.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.


 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.

jueves, 30 de junio de 2016

Unavoidable

   First, they packed everything in the living room. The lamps, the vases, all the little objects around the house, even the chairs and the big furniture. All of that could be covered in plastic and then put in a truck in order to move. It was the biggest thing Joan had ever done and she felt very nervous about it. Packing all of her house, the things that she had gathered through the years, was not easy. Every time she decided to help with the small objects, she started telling a long story about it, recalling where she had bought it or found it or who had given it to her.

 It was all because of her husband, Martin, who had accepted a surprise job offer around the world. They have never really been that far, always enjoying their holidays pretty close to home. That’s how they had lived for the past ten years. But then, Martin had come to the house with that information, the fact that they could choose to go if they wanted to. Her husband was kind enough to consult her before accepting the job. The thing was, she had no idea what to say.

 Joan had never really wanted to travel the world or nothing like that. She had never been an adventurous person. Her personal life dreams had already come to happen: she was married, had a beautiful home and had two young kids. She knew may of her friends thought she wasn’t aiming high or that she was very unusual for a woman in this day an age, but that was all she wanted. She didn’t want to see Paris or London, Joan was happy with their summer holidays when they used the car to get where they wanted.

 However, Martin would receive a very generous raise and the truth was they really needed it. They had always thought of getting a bigger place, improving their life a little bit more. He had always wanted to own a new car, a brand new SVU or something like that. They weren’t big objectives or anything but it was their idea to make their children have a better quality of life.

 The kids were unaware of what was happening but they did notice something was different about their parents. They were always talking about something they didn’t really understand and then they seemed to be thinking of something else all day. They didn’t really seem happy or sad, more like confused and oblivious.

 For the sake of change, she supported Martin in accepting the job. Things changed then because they had to begun moving everything and it was costly. First they had to throw away whatever they didn’t want to keep or give away several things, mostly minor objects around the house. They also planned on selling some of the kitchen items but they would do that at the end of their remaining time at home.

  Some family members came by to help with some of the stud, choosing what they should keep or what they wanted for themselves. It took forever to do all of that, as everyone wanted something. They all wanted to take something or the kids would fight for a thing they had not seen in ages or they would reminisce for hours without really getting much done. So they decided to tell their family and friends it was best for them to be away while they organized everything.

 The day the moving people took away everything in the living room, Joan almost died. She felt very sad that her home seemed to have been robbed or as if anyone lived there. She was exaggerating of course, because all other rooms remained the same. But there was something about seeing nothing in that living room that really affected her. Somehow, change wasn’t something she welcomed with open arms or anything like that. She was afraid of it.

 Joan tried to talk about it to her family, her mother specifically, but she shut her down by saying it was normal to feel strange when moving but that Joan needed to understand that life is best when nothing stands still. She even told her that death was good precisely because of that, as well as children births or accidents or promotions. They changed the game in order to make you learn more and be creative and imaginative.

 But Joan didn’t care for all of that. She cried at night sometimes, after Martin had fallen asleep, as she was scared even more change would come her way. What if her husband changed too much in that other country? What if her children resented her for moving somewhere everything was so different. What if she was the one who changed, really transforming in to someone she had never wanted to be?

 The next room to be cleared was the studio. Lots of books in boxers, an old desktop computer that was sold for parts and some more little objects they had bought in their holidays and such. She couldn’t contain her tears when the truck came and took all those boxers away. She didn’t say a word to the men who came, who had been the same than before. Joan didn’t know what to say or what to ask. She felt they were taking everything from her.

 She was normally very active all around the house and outside of it. She would participate in various school activities or in the community center nearby, she would buy new thing for her house or change the decoration a bit, doing a lot of things by herself. But now, she couldn’t do any of that as it made no sense to keep doing them. No more baking, no more cute decoration in the kids rooms.

 Her children were actually the ones that noticed she had changed somehow. Her youngest, which was nine years old, approached one day in her room and asked if everything was ok. She was now suffering because her kids’ rooms were next. They were sleeping in the sleeping bags they used to go to camp. Their actual beds had been sold and new ones would be bought for their new homes. They had decided that themselves. Children were always looking forward to change, or so she thought.

 Plushies and toys and all other stuff had been selected by them: some were on boxes while others were in bags in order to be given away as donations to the community center.  They didn’t seem to mind. She thought they were going to be very upset once the asked them to do such a thing but there was no outburst or bad reaction. They just did what they had to do and seemed only mildly worried about sleeping in those sleeping bags. They had never really like those.

 The moving men came again and took everything away form those rooms. The following day they came for things of the master bedroom, which was the second to last to be scrapped of its objects. Joan asked Martin to take care of that, as it was a Saturday. He was very fast in deciding what he wanted to keep and what not and she let him handle it all except her clothes. She had to pack those herself, which was also a nightmare. Throwing the old and keeping what she liked in big traveling bags.

 Soon, they were also sleeping on the floor like their children. Two days after that, they were going to come for the remaining objects in the house, particularly some stuff in the kitchen, and that would be it. Their flight was on Tuesday so they had planned it all perfectly. Joan became more and more anxious, unable to stay inside the house for too long. She would often go to the backyard but it was difficult to be there too, as it brought too many memories to her mind.

 On Monday, she decided not to be there when the men came. Martin could handle it. She decided to go to a spa with a friend, to get a full treatment. She enjoyed herself a lot, almost forgetting why she had chosen to do that. Afterwards, they had lunch in their favorite restaurant and talked about the elephant in the room. Joan had no other choice than to tell her friend how she really felt about it all.

 Her friend told her she understood how she felt a lot, because she had lived all of her life travelling. But she assured Joan she didn’t have anything to fear as, maybe, she could discover many more things about herself in a different environment. She could try to get out of her comfort zone.


 That phrase made Joan think all the rest of the day and even the day after, when they were driving to the airport. Once they reached the security area, she realized it was all for real and that it was happening. The moment they sat down on the plane, Martin on one side and her children on the other, Joan realized she had nothing to fear. A few deep breaths and then she was ready to dive into her next big adventure.