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

miércoles, 13 de septiembre de 2017

Claudia's new life

   Rain had fallen all night long, forming little ponds all around the house. As it was surrounded with dirt, the water had converted the landscape into a horrible mixture of mud and overgrown foliage. However, the weather had improved over the morning, which Claudia took as a permission to go outside and check on her beloved plants. Normally, she would have carried all the pots inside before the tempest but that storm had come in such a way, no one had predicted it to land just there, on Hownhall.

 The small town still preserved much of its architecture and every year one of them was chosen as the prettiest in the entire county. The contest was only a month away and Claudia had a lot to do to make her estate be at its most perfect. She had already won the prize for two consecutive years and she planned to do so for the remainder of her life. Being seventy six years of age, she knew that wasn’t much of a time window but it was something to put her mind into.

 Her husband Jim had died only two years prior and that same year she decided to enter the contest. She had loved the man for many years, but he wasn’t the type to like a lot of people in the house. They would spend entire days enclosed in there, reading and not talking. To Claudia, that was torture. She liked when the children visited and brought the kids but Jim had always dreaded those visits because he had never really being into children, which explained why their own had such a tense relationship with him.

 So when he died, Claudia decided to do something that made her feel alive and still willing to contribute something to society and to herself. She got the idea from the weekly newsletter written by several women of the county. They were a small group that gathered often in the town’s main square and discussed the many ways that they had at hand to improve their lives and the coziness of the region. They loved their part of the country and wanted everyone to know about it.

 So once she entered the contest, Claudia decided to simply be the best at it. She went out of her way to get the most beautiful flowers ever seen, which she bought from people that did walks on the remote mountains and in areas that were difficult to access. Practically no one else had all of that in front of their house, so it certainly gave her an edge. The other detail was that, when she was much younger, Claudia had learned a lot about design from her deceased brother Remus, who had been one of the top designers in the capital, a great artist in every way.

 As she prepared once again for the contest, stomping the mud and cleaning all the leaves and overgrown branches of the trees, Claudia heard some rumble in the house that was closest to her. As she lived in the outskirts of the small town, only one other house was close to hers and it hadn’t been inhabited since before Jim had died. An older couple had lived there for years but they had both died and no one had ever come to reclaim the property. However, that was about to change.

 Claudia continued to use her gardening tools but she moved slowly towards her fence, from where she could easily see the entrance of the other house. There was a moving van in front of the gate and two men dressed in couple carried boxes into the house. More voices came from there but Claudia couldn’t really hear much more than the typical noise people make when moving things around. Later, she was tired of not seeing anything and decided to leave work for the day.

 At night, the woman would always make herself a hot cup of chocolate, with some small marshmallows to enjoy in front of her favorite dramas. Jim had never really liked sweet foods or drinks, so now she enjoyed them continuously. Her doctor had told Claudia that she should measure her consumption of sugar a little bit but seeing she was and older person, he also told her it wouldn’t be wise to cut on any food. So she didn’t and decided to treat herself every night.

 A powerful revelation on her soap was obscured by a scream, a loud and powerful scream coming from the neighbor’s house. Claudia didn’t got up from her armchair. She clicked on the “mute” button of her remote and tried to hear something else. It was possible at her age to imagine noises, so it wasn’t really that scary. But then, a weaker scream was heard. She decided to stay still and think what the best response would be. Seconds later, she was calling the police.

 Granted, the police always took a while to arrive. Such a small town did not have a police force to help people in need. They came from another county, which made their trip around twenty minutes. Claudia did not hear another scream during that time. She didn’t stand up either. She didn’t want to get so involved in the matter. She just wanted to clarify what happened because maybe her neighbors were simply loud people and she wanted them to know early on that she was not going to stand up for that. She had learned to be like that from Jim.

 A young female officer and an older male officer arrived exactly twenty minutes after the call had been made. Apparently it was still raining in their part of the country because they were drenched. Claudia did not let them inside her house and simply repeated what she had heard that night. The officer looked at each other and they decided to investigate. She knew they had decided not to believe her but that didn’t matter. Anything to live at peace in her home.

 She entered the kitchen as they left, preparing them some tea. It was a nice custom to give a beverage to people that came to help. True, she wasn’t going to let them get the floor all wet, especially after seeing their boots live a trail of prints on her property. But she had to be gracious and look as if she was accepting of everyone. Claudia clearly wasn’t, as she had been prejudiced for a long time, in part because of her husband but also because of her very conservative upbringing.

 Actually, she had noticed that the policewoman was not from those parts, or at least her parents weren’t. According to what she saw on TV, she knew it was wrong to feel that way about people but she couldn’t help it. It was as if something manipulated her from inside her head. She tried to change her ways but, in the end, it didn’t work. So she simply did what she had done with her husband for so many years: she kept her mouth shut and didn’t get into “difficult” business.

 The police officers came back in a matter of minutes. However, the man ran to the police car, not saying a word to Claudia. The young woman entered the house without being properly invited, grabbed the phone on the living room and started dialing. As she waited for someone to answer, Claudia was livid: there was mud all over the entrance and on the beautiful white carpets. They were ruined. She looked outside and saw, in horror, that they had broken a pot with gorgeous roses when coming back to the house.

 Claudia did not hear when the policewoman alerted her precinct that a double murder had taken place. She didn’t hear the gruesome details, of how the wife had been decapitated and how the husband had been found without his genitalia.


 The older woman only cared about her contest, about her little world. And it was all thrown to the abyss because of that silly murder. She was so enraged at the matter that she decided to find out who had killed the couple by herself. It couldn’t be more difficult than her topsy-turvy life.

viernes, 16 de junio de 2017

That old house

   In the neighbourhood of Cedar Hills, the people were kind and very friendly. The houses, built many years ago by people wanting to have their personal paradises not too far from everything good in the city, were established in a very perfect order, each different from the next but still seeming like a family. Not one house seemed out of touch, except for the one at then end of Maple road, just by the tall trees that belonged to the park. That house was the odd one out.

People were extremely nice. They would have all these parties and gatherings, to eat food or watch a movie. Sometimes they did this inside of their houses and other times they would occupy the street and do a nice night outside or something like that. The children were all specially close, having a group that headed every morning to school together, in bicycles. However, in that one ugly house, there were no children. No one ever heard much out of it, least of all a laugh.

Once a month, every single person in the neighbourhood, made out of about two hundred people, got reunited in another of their gatherings in order to talk about the most pressing things involving their community. If one of the lampposts of the street failed, it was there they decided how to proceed with the local council. Of course, the woman that lived in the run down house was never in those meetings. Actually, many people had never ever seen her face while others had already forgotten.

 But the meetings were mostly about people talking to others and sharing their love for each other by singing some music, showing their talents and even sharing personal news that wouldn’t normally be in public record. They loved their community and trusted everyone in it. They were close, so close in fact that when something bad happened, everyone was there for the person in need. Again, except the old lady from Maple street, who people had already learned to forget about.

 Bad things rarely happened in the neighbourhood. In the recent years, the most awful thing to happen was when a storm ravaged through the city and many trees fell because of the potency of the wind. Many houses had minor damages but the neighbours helped in a very short time to have it all looked as it had always looked: perfect. However, a large tree destroyed the garage area of the house no one ever talked about. It was the first time in years they ever talked about it, as if it had become real only because of the wood scattered all over the place.

 Reparations on that house were done only several weeks after the storm had passed. The people, concerned by how their neighbourhood would look which such a horrible stain on it, decided to write letters and then sliding them under the door. No one ever tried to talk in person to the woman that lived inside. They just wrote letter after letter until they got tired of it. And when they did, they decided to forget the house was there, again. They just didn’t want to know anything about it.

 Children, however, were not as “kind” as their parents. They couldn’t block out the house so easily, particularly because it stood by the entrance to the forest, a place where they liked to play and explore. The fact that they had to pass by the house every time they wanted to enter the forest, made it impossible to just forget about its existence. They couldn’t do what their parents do and often even stopped in front of the house and talked quite loudly in front of it, about the person living in there.

 Kids are mean. They used awful words to describe the woman, the house and everything they could come up with about the two of them. They insisted the old lady inside was probably dead. And even if she wasn’t, she was clearly a witch or some kind of sorceress. They also all agreed that the house was haunted, probably because of the woman’s tendency to kill every single man that became her husband. She was kind of like a black widow but in a human form and even deadlier than any animal.

 None of them could know for sure whom she was or why she didn’t seem to mind about the state of her house. The children often asked their parents about it but they never really received answers. Parents liked to pretend the one thing that made their neighbourhood out of the norm was just not real, not even there. One day, the people from the city council decided to remove the tree that had destroyed the garage. Weeks later, the garage was repaired, looking as if nothing had happened.

 Of course, children attributed this to the woman’s powers. They could have realized that the materials used in the repairs were not very good or that it was obvious the garage could collapse again by being hit hard by a gust of wind. But the fact that there was such mystery around the house, made it clear that they preferred to answer all questions about it from a supernatural point of view. But when kids grew older, they forgot about those thoughts and the words they used to mock the woman and the house, and they became just like their parents.

 But no matter what the neighbours thought, including their children, the woman inside still lived and had no plans to go anywhere else. She was called Sara and she had lived in the house more than any other person in the neighbourhood. The reason her house seemed like the odd one out was that it had stood there long before plans to build other houses and streets had been laid out. Her home was ultimately included in the plans, in an effort to have a certain harmony.

 Of course, that wasn’t what happened at the end because everyone disliked her house even more than they disliked her. She remembered clearly that her last day outside was when the first families decided to move into the other houses. You see, there was a reason why Sara lived so far from other people and it was that, her father had built her a home because of a psychological condition she had, where she couldn’t stand too many noises or constant contact with other people.

 She didn’t interact with her neighbours, not because she thought she was better or because she hated them, it was because she naturally feared them. She felt it every time she saw one of them out the window. She hated when they spoke loudly in her front lawn or when they held parties on that street. She would close doors and windows in her bedroom and then sleep inside her bathtub, where another door would protect her from the people outside and their words and hands.

Sara had been raped when she was just a teenager and her father had always felt responsible for what had happened. He felt he could have done so much more to save her, to put her away from danger. But when it happened, he decided he would do what he thought was best for her. As she became more and more aggressive to other people after her recovery, he decided to build on a land he had acquired long ago and that was how the house came to be, made only for her.

 He had been dead for many years and she wasn’t going to last much longer. Although still agile and sharp, she was an older woman that depended on family she had never seen to deliver her food at night, through her backyard. She only ate things she could stock for a long time.


 Sara never felt she needed other people to survive. She had learned to think those boxes of food just appeared there, out of the blue. It was better that way. Inside of the house, it was her own worlds with her own rules and that’s how she lived, in almost exile.

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2016

Home

   Some people refused to understand. They had an idea of family in their heads and they couldn’t be bothered to change it, even if the city they lived in was one of the most progressive in the world. They stared and sometimes even laughed. But the trick was not caring at all about what they said or did. Moving forward and just doing your thing was paramount in order to survive the horrible feast that was living in a suburban neighborhood like White Pines. There were things people had to do and one of them was having a thick skin.

 Diego and Liam had moved from another city two years ago and even after that time people still looked at them as if hey were the weirdest people in the world. Yes, they were married to each other and yes, they had a son called Duncan, but they often felt it that what people saw was so much more than that. Actually, it was Diego who had to endure most of the social pressure of the neighborhood because he was the one that stayed at home. Liam saw some of those things but he refused to acknowledge it was serious in any way.

 Mothers specially, were vicious against Diego. Well, at least most of them. From the first day he brought Duncan to school, he was a topic of conversation of the group of mothers that helped with several matters like organizing parties or fundraisers. After all, the school that Duncan went to was a very high achieving one and it was paramount that all the children and most of the parents got involved in some of the social crusades that parents loved to be involved with such as feeding the poor and organizing lavish parties to give a few bucks to a charity.

 Diego wasn’t used to that. In the city they lived in before, his life was kind of different. He had always tried to be a writer but never really realized how hard it was. Liam tried to help him but nothing ever worked. Then, they had the idea to adopt a child, so they did and that was how Duncan became a part of the family. Now, the boy was nine years old and Diego was what you would call a “house husband”, completely dedicated to Duncan and to the new house they lived in, which was substantially larger than their former apartment.

 They were all happy, in a general way. But Diego soon became frustrated with all the parents thing. He thought it was quite an old fashioned idea that only women would leave their kids at school and be the ones who helped for all the things that they needed there. He was the only man to do so and he had done it after Liam and him argued about the school and him not having a job and so on. He didn’t like to go to those meeting but he felt he had to because of his responsibilities towards his son and his husband. But even so, it was very annoying.

 Most of the meetings lasted for more than an hour and, for Diego that was excruciating. Not only because the women rarely stayed on topic (whatever it was that they were planning in the school) but because they always stared and asked the silliest question, just as if the last hundred years of social progress had never reached their homes. He got asked who was the woman in the relationship or if he felt emasculated for not having a job. They also looked at him constantly, as if he was some kind of strange creature walking around the downtown area.

 Sometimes he skipped sessions and he had to come up with excuses. There were times when he actually did have true excuses and other times he just came up with something. But that didn’t matter because they always would look at him as if he was lying and, even more annoying, as if they pitied him for some reason. It was as if they thought he was just a poor soul that they were helping, kind of one of those charities they loved to donate. One day he had enough of their nonsense and just stormed out of one of the meetings, with no explanation.

 When he arrived to the house, he realized two things: that he had to come back in a few hours for his son and that the place they were living in was too damn big. The house looked like one of those in which people live in commercials or something. It had a big backyard and a front garden too. The kitchen was enormous, as was every other room in that place. Diego didn’t like to say it but he missed his apartment from before. Not only because it had been something his family had passed on to him but because he felt really at home there.

 In that cavernous house, he only felt at home when Liam and Duncan were there. But Liam was always at work or busy doing something else and Duncan was at school or at some friend’s house on Saturdays. Only on Sundays they behave like an actual family and even then Liam was distracted by his phone every minute and Duncan was exactly the same thing. Diego didn’t really have any friends to distract him. He only had a couple and rarely spoke to them because their relationship was a bit different than normal.

 When he was alone at home, which was for several hours a day, he would clean the house by himself. He even refused to hire a maid because he argued that it would make him turn alcoholic in five days. So he scrubbed the floors, the toilets and trimmed the grass all by himself. It was very hard work but he enjoyed it because at least that way he was distracted doing something productive that maybe his family would acknowledge. They never really did.

 He decided not to return to the meetings. However, he was surprised to realize, one day, that they had called Liam and told him about that. And the fight that ensued was just ridiculous. He said it was his obligation to go to those meetings and help and Diego replied he wasn’t going to be their animal to look at anymore. He would rather feed the poor himself than helping in those ridiculous parties. Liam said the husbands of those women were the one doing business with them and Diego said he didn’t care. It wasn’t his problem.

 Liam said he would never understand how working and living a good life really worked, al the thing you had to do to make it work. Then the fight got uglier, with Diego telling Liam he knew he never really approved of his choice of not having a job but at least he was there every day of the week and not having meetings that took hours and not even looking at his eyes for several days. Liam couldn’t respond to that and Diego just turned around and left the house. He jumped into the car and drove off without much thinking about his destination.

 He used the car to think, to try and get an idea of what it was Liam wanted from him. But he just couldn’t be that submissive person he obviously wanted to have by his side. He wanted him to be like all those other women and there was no way Diego would go down that road. The fact that he wasn’t a working guy did not mean he had no integrity. When he realized it, he was driving to the city they lived in before. It was only three hours away so he pressed on, thinking it could be a nice idea to go back to his real roots in a place he loved.

 He arrived in the morning. Thank God, they kept the keys in the glove box of the car. When he opened the door, a cloud of dust escaped the apartment. They hadn’t been able to rent it, partly because of the chaos they had left in there. So, out of the blue, Diego started cleaning, opening windows and buying products to get the place in perfect condition. When he went to the supermarket, people greeted him. They remembered who he was from childhood and from living there with Liam. They asked for him but he didn’t say too much.


 After a week, the place was perfect. He let Liam know he was there and he announced to him he was going to stay there. He actually told him that if custody were not his, he would fight for his right to Duncan. And so it happened, months after. He got his son to live in his former house and he noticed how much better it was for both of them. As for Liam, he had been seeing some woman for many months, so he stayed with her in the other town. Diego didn’t mind. He had returned home and he would never leave again.

sábado, 5 de noviembre de 2016

Active dreaming

   When I realized, I was at the beach. But it wasn’t like all other times. This time I was the only person there. My bare feet sunk into the sand as the ocean brought water and foam to the shore. The rhythm of the water was pretty soothing and I couldn’t help but notice the most particular colors in the horizon. The sun was going down and it was a show that deserved to be seen. I felt as if I was the only person allowed to see the beauty of the world and I was thrilled to have been chosen. I sat down on the sand and watched the lights.

 It was beautiful. So much more than anything that I would have seen in other circumstances. I liked to feel the sand on my legs and feet, on my hands as I watched an iridescence in the horizon. It was just like a rainbow forming but not in the sky but there, far in the horizon, over the ocean. It was so weird to be able to see it and to be there in my yellow trunks, the ones I loved to wear every time I actually went to the beach. They were my favorite and, of course, I was wearing them as I saw the most spectacular natural show.

 I knew nothing that I saw was actually real. Not the beautiful colors and tones, not the sand in my hands or even my yellow trunks. My brain had made copies of many experiences and was using them as I slept, replicating memories with some amazing twists. I didn’t mind to be in such a wonderful dream, I wanted to stay there more in order to be able to enjoy once more everything that I had loved before and even actually enjoy it this time. It often happens in real life that you don’t notice the world because of stupid little things.

 That dream was bases on one of the many times I had been to the beach but it also used one memory that I almost never remembered, which was walking by the shore during the winter. It was the only time I saw the beach empty so I guess my brain combined a little bit of each experience to create what I was watching. The show in the horizon, which ended soon enough, was something out of my head. I have no idea how it created all of that beauty but I was glad to have seen it and to have been able to enjoy such a beautiful spectacle.

 I stood up and walked a little bit. The sand was nicer than normal. I realized that my memory of the actual sand of that beach had not been used to create that space. Some memory of another beach had been used for the sand, as it was not as rough or coarse as the actual one that I had felt all over my body when I had visited that urban beach. The sand on which I was walking on came from a memory of some volcanic beach that I had visited many years ago with some friends and with… With someone else I had completely forgotten about until then.

 Of course, he was suddenly there. His face was partly in shadows, as I sadly didn’t remember what he looked like. I did recall he was tall and rather skinny. He wore those exact trunks to the beach, those blue ones that seemed to be too large for him. I remember he was drunk most of the time we were there. I guess that’s why nothing happened: after I rejected him because he was been too annoying, I saw him sneaking into a bedroom with a girl we had met earlier on the beach. That didn’t hurt me but it made me feel I was right about him all along.

 He disappeared from the beach and I decided to keep walking. As I did, building and trees began to appear on the side, just crossing a road. Again, that mix of things was the results of many memories trying to create something I didn’t quite remember. One of the buildings was the one I stayed in during a trip to Barcelona and the other was my hotel in Rio and the park was the one I played in my childhood. Seeing all that together gave me a slight headache so I decided to keep walking, closing my eyes for a short time.

 When I opened them, I was somewhere else. I was still barefoot and actually completely naked. No yellow trunks or any other piece of clothing. And it was happening in the worst place possible: it was my high school’s theater. I ran to the side, behind the curtain, and apparently no one saw me. I looked into the crowd and didn’t recognize anyone. Then again, none of their faces were actually clear and perfect. They were all in shadows. It was obvious that memory was kind of repressed or I just didn’t remember any of them at all.

 Suddenly, a bunch of people appeared on stage and they started doing a dance. Then it clicked: I was in my senior year performance for my physical education class. As I was a really lazy person for sports, and also sucked at them hard, I had entered the girl group where they danced and did rather easy things. It was a very sexist thing to have but I was obviously not against it. It gave me a way to escape the sports and the laughter of all the other guys in high school. So I didn’t mind I had to dance to any type of music.

 Then, we all appeared on the beach and I saw myself perform there, on the sand by the ocean. It was beautiful and it really improved the actual memory, which I never really recalled because I never thought about high school. It had been such a trying moment for me that I just attempted to erase every single memory that had to do anything with that time. Of course, the brain never forgets every single thing and that dance routines, as bad as it was, was one of the memories preserved.

 When the act was finished, they all disappeared and I stayed in the beach alone, walking as the wind moved my hair. I was aware that it was only me who controlled everything that was happening in the dream. I was the one deciding to go to my high school or to stay at the beach or to mix up both things to improve one of the memories. I could have woken up a long time ago but I wasn’t doing that and I had no idea why. What was it? What was I doing there that seemed so important? The past didn’t have any clues or magic for me.

 I decided to go for a swim and ran to the water. I jumped into it and water splashed all over the place. I moved my arms fast, trying to propel myself further into the ocean, farther from the beach than in any other time. I knew I couldn’t get hurt so I forced my body and my mind. When I emerged from the water, I didn’t saw the beach anymore. Instead, I was in a swimming pool I had when I was little. I had fallen into it once, fully clothed but that was not the memory I was in there for. Actually, I didn’t even know if it was a memory.

 No one else beside me was there. I climbed the stairs out of the water and then walked towards the door and opened it. Yes, I entered the house through the kitchen and then the living room. It was amazing that I could remember everything about that house. I loved the bedrooms there and also the small room upstairs as it was just like the secret hideout I had always wanted to have. I was again in my yellow trunk but no water was dripping from them and I was glad that was the case because that place was too precious to mess it up.

 I decided to exit through the front door. On the other side, there was only darkness. I couldn’t see or hear anything but after a while, I did feel something. It was someone else there, with me. We hugged and gently touched each other’s bodies. We then kissed very softly and then more and more until we lay on the invisible ground and made love right there. Everything felt so real; I could almost smell his skin and feel his breathing on my neck. It was perfect but it ended soon enough. A very dim light went on and I could just see a glimpse of his back.


 It was cruel from me to do that to myself. But maybe it had not been me in control all the time. Who knows, maybe something else gets into our dreams with us and plays around with our thoughts and memories. Or maybe it was me and I was just attempting to make a point. Anyway, when I woke up I was really warm and had to drink two glasses of orange juice to compensate for all that walking. And as I did that, I realized I remembered every single thing about the dream. That made me smile.