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

sábado, 21 de mayo de 2016

The apartment

   Arthur just couldn’t keep himself from doing a party. He always had to have one. It didn’t matter if it was only him and a few people or with a large crowd. Somehow, he needed that at least twice a week and if holidays happened to be occurring, the number grew considerably. Once, he even drank every single night of one week. The amazing part of it all was that the following week he looked good as new, as if nothing had happened.

 Having him as a roommate was particularly difficult. The parties were one big part of it but also his lack of order and cleanliness. Every time he cooked something, the kitchen seemed to have exploded: every pan and pot was in the wrong cabinet, there was rice all over the floor and even small puddles of water or other liquids on the floor. He would also get ketchup on the walls, and would never, even by an act of kindness, get the trash out to the street.

 Normally, a person like that would have been thrown out of an apartment after a couple of mishaps, but there was an important detail to be considered: the two bedroom apartment, which had a large living room, a balcony, a very big bathroom and comfortable rooms, was owned by Arthur’s father, who also happened to be one of the richest men in his country. The man was very powerful and it wasn’t a surprise he had properties a little bit everywhere.

 Anyhow, that’s how I met Arthur. I remember having arrived to the city, from my country and after a twelve-hour flight. I had browsed online for days until I had finally found a proper place to stay in. The apartment looked incredible and the price was just insane. At first, I thought there had been a mistake but, after I decided to write, they confirmed that the price of the room I wanted was correct. Immediately, I booked the room, excited to have found such a bargain.

 When I arrived, a month later, the first person I met was not Arthur but his father. I had no idea of who he was back then and even now I don’t really now the extent of his power and wealth. After all, Arthur and I are not from the same country and his father is not very well known to me. However, he was very kind, greeting me as I arrived. He made a brief tour of the apartment and then asked to have a chat after signing all the papers.

 He wanted me to understand something: his son was going to leave there too and that’s why the rent of my room was so cheap. I didn’t understand at first but he said I would I due time. He only asked patience of me and swore I would be glad I had decided to live there. At first, I thought he was just exaggerating. I was very wrong!

 Arthur had grown to be a very tall guy. His feet were big and his hands too. His head was a bit smaller compared to the rest of his body and that made him look weird at first. Of course, the first few days were just perfect. The apartment was not only huge and very well located; it was also very modern and had everything one would need, even a maid that would come in every Thursday to clean up. She was a very chatty woman and it was nice to talk to her when she came.

 The first party occurred just after the first month had gone bye. It was a big shock to see at least twenty people, all over the living room, drinking beers and watching some show on the TV screen. Hours later, they would turn the music up and start dancing and jumping and being all crazy. The rooms were separated from the living room by a corridor, which could be closed by a door. And if you also closed the door of your room, the noise wasn’t too bad.

 But the noise factor was only a part of it all. It was much more annoying to be walking to the kitchen the next day and having to avoid stepping on someone that was sleeping on the floor or on food or on the various puddles of beer. Of course, when they all went home, they would never clean anything up. Everything would remain as it was, as if a bomb had gone of in the middle of the living room and also the bathroom. It was just too disgusting.

 I called his father the first time. I was furious, telling him about all the vomit there was on the bathroom floor and about the unconscious bodies on the living room and the smells and the amount of dirty dishes on the kitchen sink. But he just calmed me down by saying he would send Minerva, the maid, to clean up and that everything would be fine. Then, I decided not to day a word because I thought it was a once in a year thing, once every six months at least.

 Minerva came and cleaned everything in less than an hour. It was as if she was magical. And she didn’t say anything about all the disgusting things around. I kept complaining to her but she only nodded and said “Yeah”, which should have been a red flag but I just didn’t see it. When I wanted to comment on the mess with Arthur, he argued he was too busy and would just leave the apartment or get locked in his room.

 I had never been the type to ask fro friendships or to want to have a huge bond with the people I lived with. I just don’t think it’s necessary. But I was willing to try if it meant getting sure that bomb didn’t go off again. However, Arthur didn’t let me. We spoke very few words and that was during my whole stay there, which lasted a full year.

 Arthur seemed like a very private person but then he would bring two buddies to drink beer and watch a game in the living room. And then they would start smoking pot and then some girls would arrive and then more people and suddenly he would have a party on his hands that he even wasn’t around to handle. It was wasn’t uncommon to arrive late at the apartment and finding a party where the person that lived there appeared to be missing. People he invited, of course, didn’t care. But it was stressful not to find him when the mess was going out of control.

 Neighbors didn’t complain for two reasons: the first one was the apartment was actually sound proof. So it didn’t really matter how loud the parties could get, the people on the same floor or on the one below (as it was a penthouse) could only hear a very soft hum. That was it. The other reason was that they know who was the owner of the apartment and it was a general consensus that they didn’t want problem which someone like that.

 So complaining was not a popular thing. And those parties and that mess happened every single week of the year except for two glorious one in March, when Arthur was forced by his dad to visit his family back home. It was the only time Arthur shared a bit of his life, only to complain about it. When he left, the calm in the apartment was almost overwhelming but it was welcomed.

 I could sleep a lot better and could use the TV without him been there. I could keep everything the way I liked it and even Minerva told me that I should leave her more to clean. I enjoy those two weeks thoroughly but was always afraid a party would appear out of nowhere because that’s how it worked. I went out a couple of days and arrived late and it was so strange to get there and seeing no drunk people on the floor and having a clean bathroom to pee in before going to bed.

 Of course, that didn’t last long. Arthur came back and the following months were just as horrible as the rest. I endured because my parents were really glad I didn’t have to spend so much money on a place. I also didn’t want to break the contract, which stated that if I left before the last specified date, I would not get my deposit, which I needed. So I had to endure by going out of that place every day of that summer.

 I went to the beach almost every day. I even made a couple of friends there. But then I would have to go back to the mess. I reminded myself that it was only for a few more months and then it would all be done. I would go back home and I wouldn’t have to care about cleaning floors or doing dishes that hadn’t been used by me.


 The last day, we had a conversation. It was very surreal. He said he was very sorry about how everything had been between us and regarding the apartment. It was obvious his father or someone had talked to him. Or maybe it was him, who had had a revelation. But, honestly, I didn’t care. My luggage was ready at the door and I ordered a taxi on my phone as he spoke. We just shook hands and I forgot all about him, until today.

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Swimming

   The water felt really nice, wrapping his body in a very warm and soft cocoon as he went from one side to the other of the pool. Jim had always put aside a couple of hours of his schedule to swim because he enjoyed it a it relaxed him. He didn’t like to have massages or go to the sauna or things like that. Only the water was good enough for him. If he was visiting a place by the sea, the first thing he did was checking out the beach and swimming a bit. He preferred swimming pools, because of the lack of sand; he didn’t mind seawater from time to time. He found it to be a little more challenging but fun too.

 Jim had learned to swim from a very young age and had developed a very healthy relationship with water. Whereas many kids his age were scared of water, he had always loved it. He never forgot to ask if a party in some friend’s house involved a swimming pool and he made sure his mom always double-checked. Only once he went to a party with a pool and had to sit b the side and se everyone have fun and not him. So from then on he was always prepared.

 As a man who worked in the stock exchange, many people thought he would always go to the gym or do more intense exercising. But he only loved swimming and that’s how he maintained a nice body and a healthy lifestyle. He ate well. No diets or anything but just very balanced and swam every single day without fail.

 One day, his daily routine was stopped by a car crash. He always drove the same route to get to the gym to swim and it made him insane that the traffic was so heavy that he didn’t move art all for thirty minutes. Eventually, he arrived late to the gym but used the two hours anyway, without really thinking about how that changed his whole schedule. As he did his exercise at night, right after work, it meant that he would have dinner two hours later and that he would check his emails later too and sleep less than normal.

 But he didn’t care or maybe he didn’t noticed. He got to the gym and used the pool and when he was out, he was surprised to see the place was deserted. Only a couple of cars were left with his in the parking lot and when he got home it was almost midnight. He had some salad that he always bought premade, with lots of vegetables and stuff. It was a bad call because the aching muscles because of he swimming got combined with an aching stomach that found hard to digest some veggies at that time of day, with no energy left.

 He checked his emails like at two in the morning and there were many. He only got to reading about ten and answering even less than that. He was tired and he fell asleep in his couch.

 The next day, he was very late for work. He showered for only a couple of minutes; instead of the ten minutes he normally took for that. He also put on clothes that didn’t really look that good, which was strange because he had always been the kind of guy to pay attention to detail. But he was so tired he could barely see what he was putting on his body. The worst part was when he remembered, once at work, that it was a day filled with meetings with many people from different companies. The good thing was that the meeting took place at work but he wasn’t prepared at all for them.

 His coworker Julia had to step in quite often to correct number he was saying or to clarify things that were confusing because of the yawning. Every single group of every company could see that Jim was not in his best shape and moment. He hadn’t really shaved and he had quite a shadow, which made him look careless. His clothing, including two socks of different color and a pair of shoes that didn’t match anything, did not help his case either.

 Yet, he attended to the meetings all morning until lunchtime. Normally, he used to go to a very nice vegetarian restaurant that was close by. They had a really great variety of food for people that didn’t ate red meat or any kind of meat. But Jim was so tired that, when he went to his office to grab his jacket, he fell asleep on the desk and was only woken up by Julia, two hours later, telling him she had to attend to the first meeting of the afternoon.

 The rest of the day was even worse for him. He couldn’t really get the numbers and the names rights, he confused one company with the other and yawned almost with everything he said. He eyes looked terrible and so id his hair and everyone could see it. The thing was, most of the people in the meetings knew him, because they did exactly that once a month and had always being so prepared and charming and on point. Now, he was just a very horrible train wreck.

 When time came to go, Julia advised him he shouldn’t take the car back home, advising him to better grab a taxi or something like that. But he just nodded and ignored that comment because he had to go a swim, like he always did. So he went to his car, put on some loud music to really wake him up and drove all the way to the gym closing his eyes in every red traffic light and singing quite loudly when he felt he was about to go to sleep.

 Because of that reckless idea, he hit another car in the back and had to give all his insurance information and was late for the gym, again. He had lost time and money again and he was just exhausted. But he kept pushing himself for some reason.

 In the pool, he was able to swim nicely for the first ten minutes or so. But then something happened and the lifesaver in there had to get him out of the pull and give him mouth to mouth. When he woke up, they had called an ambulance and the paramedics were in the locker room checking him for water in the lungs and such things. He assured him he was fine but they insisted on taking him to the hospital to run further tests. He said no once, twice, three times and then grabbed his things and went to his car

 Jim felt frustrated because he hadn’t been able to swim at all. He felt weak now and something had changed in his life and he didn’t like it at all. It was like giving up on the one thing that made him stable. So he just hopped in the car and drove as carefully as he could and thanked the day for being a Friday. He would sleep until late and would still have time to do all the things that he could normally do on a Saturday. Besides, he was arriving home early.

He made himself a cheese sandwich and just watched some TV before going to bed. He fell asleep very quickly and, the next day, was able to wake up really early and really catch up with his schedule. He did everything by the book and was happy that the day was a very good one for him. The weekends had always felt like the worst time wasters ever but now it seemed he had discovered a way to make them have a meaning.

 That was until he collapsed in a large sports store where he was checking out bathing suits and earplugs. Then everything got like darker and he just fainted. Paramedics came soon and, this time, he didn’t woke up until they were in the hospital. They explained him that he did have water in his lungs but that part wasn’t really the worst one. They also told him he suffered from a rare condition caused by stress where people eventually collapsed because of all the stress they put on their bodies.

 He argued with them, saying he didn’t really do that much exercise and that he loved his work and so on. But the head doctor told him all of that wasn’t important at all. The point was that if he kept living the way he did, he was going to kill himself from exhaustion. He had to make some radical changes to his life and he had to make those changes soon because his body was just done with his lifestyle.


 Jim spent an entire week in the hospital, as they ran some tests. He felt useless in that bed and wanted to run out of there and swim some more and then do his work. He wanted his life back. But then the words of his doctor sunk in: his body was done with who he was and now he had to change every single piece of that.

sábado, 24 de octubre de 2015

Compensation

  I woke up suddenly, as if an electric charge had traveled through my body. But there was nothing electric there with me. Only he was there, breathing softly, very close to me. It was still very late at night as it was pitch black outside and the only object producing light was my cellphone, on the nightstand just behind me. I sat down on the bed, trying not to move too much. I went through my cellphone and erase every notification, in order to make the light go away. I saw some pictures of us together and then decided it was better to go back to the world of dreams. I left the cellphone facing down and just slid down the covers and hugged him softly. His body moved a bit but he didn’t do more. I fell asleep some minutes later, hugging him a little tighter.

In the morning, I realized I had maybe slept too much as the sun was rather intense on the outside. He had been kind enough not to pull up the blinds in the room. He was not there with me and I couldn’t hear him in the bathroom. A bit reluctantly, I went to the living room and the kitchen, and he wasn’t there. Apparently, he had taken everything and just left. I felt abandoned, even if we weren’t really a couple and he wasn’t living with me. We had been going out so often, I just assumed he would say something before leaving like a whirlwind. As I was already in the kitchen, I decided to make some breakfast. As I cooked, I couldn’t get him off my head. That was probably the reason why the eggs almost burned and I poured orange juice on the floor.

 Trying to leave last night in the past, I decided to work. Normally, that would make my mind so busy, I wouldn’t have time to think of anything else. It did work, as I had to grade several papers on Stanley Kubrick’s films. Some students had obviously not seen the movie they had chosen, as they repeated words and sentences often and used words, you know the kind, that make anyone sound smart but do no really mean anything. Some other works were better or at least not as offensive. I surprisingly took an hour and a half doing that and when I was done, he was there again, on my brain. Why couldn’t I just let him go?

 The rest of the day was about me trying not to think too much about it all and succeeding for a small amount of time, then my head would go back to the same thoughts all over again. I decided to watch a movie and order pizza and beer. I would not let him run my Sunday. But when they rang from downstairs some time later, it wasn’t the delivery guy nor the one that had left me alone on the bed, it was someone I hadn’t seen in a while. And I say “someone” because right then I didn’t know him very well and just recalled him from high school. I had no idea how he had gotten my address, as I didn’t speak to anyone from high school. But there he was, knocking on my door some minutes later.

 I remembered him as one of the few people that didn’t make me want to kill myself in high school. The rest were snobbish little rats, but he was all right, not a great person but not a bad one either. His cousin, a guy who had gone to the same high school with us, was a successful artist although I didn’t remember what it was he did exactly. Singing or something like that. I told him to sit down on my sofa and offered him some orange juice, as I had nothing else to drink. However, he said he wasn’t thirsty and that he had come only to deliver a message. “How mysterious!”, I thought. I mean, I didn’t really knew him but he had never struck me as the kind of guy that had any mystery in him but here he was.

 He had a backpack from where he took a envelope from. He gave it to me and I took it, as it was a bomb. The situation was not normal, at all, and I didn’t want to further spoil the only day I was really free from any commitments. He just told me to open it and read it, talking in a very hush voice, as if someone was hearing or as if he was afraid of talking too much or too loud. I opened the envelope and took out the letter inside. It was from his cousin, who apologized for stealing one of my ideas. I had no idea what it was all about and the letter didn’t really explain. He said he was sorry, very sorry, and that he just wanted to make things right for everyone involved. So he had included something else, for me to be compensated for what he had done.

 Inside the envelope, there was another paper. I had not seen in before. It was a check for several thousands of dollars and it had the signature of the deliveryman’s cousin. Then my patient just disappeared. I asked him what kind of joke this was and why they had to do it on Sunday, when I just wanted to be left alone. The poor guy, who had turned some shade of green, tried to speak and to explain himself but he couldn’t. That made me so angry, so I told him to please stand up and leave my apartment at once. I pressed the envelope, all papers inside, to his chest and told him to take all of that and go away. The doorman downstairs rang: it was my pizza, finally.

 I told him, again, to leave. He tried to speak but he just couldn’t and gave up. He left almost running and I saw him all the way to the elevator. When the door opened, he crossed paths with the man delivering my pizza, to whom I smiled and thanked deeply. I gave him a small tip and close the door, in order to enjoy my afternoon. But as I saw the movie and ate my pizza, I had that check and the letter on my brain. What the hell was that about? What did that man’s cousin wanted to give me money? Was it to bribe me? No, I didn’t even remembered his name… Maybe it was just a stupid joke, some kind of prank based on a dare they had done to one of the other idiots they knew well.

 The rest of my Sunday was pretty good. I drank several beers and watched movies I hadn’t seen in a long while. At night, I ordered another pizza, not caring at all about my body. I loved the taste of pizza and beer and if I had to pay with a belly in my future, I really didn’t care. No one had ever looked at me looking for a swimsuit model. Well, to be honest no one really looked at me… Well, except him. Again with him on my mind and with that stupid envelope. As I waited for the second pizza, I browsed through the local channels on the TV in order to check out the news. I stopped when I saw a familiar face: it was the guy’s cousin. And the news said he was dead. Apparently he wasn’t a singer but a filmmaker and he had died in a car crash in France.

 The news was shocking but it was even more shocking that his cousin, instead of being in France or at least mourning him, had decided to pay him a visit with a check. On the other hand, I realized I had never seen a picture by that man. And I should know, being a teacher to future filmmakers. Maybe one of my students had mentioned him once but I just couldn’t remember. I decided to look for him online. Must of it was about his tragic death, apparently a very shocking scene to witness, but I also found his filmography and had no idea what to look for. The buzzer interrupted my thoughts. Five minutes later, I had a slice of pizza on one hand and an open beer can in front of me.

 I stopped reading about the poor guy and decided to let it go for the day. Granted, it was something very strange but there was nothing I could do now. I started watching another movie when the doorman called again and told me I had some mail. I told him I would pick it up in the morning but he said something had just been delivered and that it was probably urgent, at least judging by the expression on the mail guy’s face. That was weird enough to go downstairs and grab my mail. Most of it was junk and a couple of bills but the letter that had just arrived was another unmarked envelope. I went back home and read it there. This wasn’t from the cousin but from the delivery guy.

 In the letter, he explained who he was, thinking I wouldn’t remember. He said we had been brief friends for a time when we were really young. I didn’t recall that. He also explained that the first movie that his cousin had made was base on a short story I wrote in English class. He actually copied it and made a movie version of it. He wrote that he had always felt bad for that and had begged his cousin to acknowledge that what they had done was wrong. Months before his death, he convinced him and the cousin wrote him a check to compensate. He was sorry for everything and apologized more. The check was, again, inside the envelope.


 I took him on my hands and, only doubting for a second, I tore it apart into little pieces and through it all to the garbage. I didn’t need the past to compensate for something I didn’t even recalled. I grabbed a slice of pizza and ate, a bit more angry than usual, and then my phone rang. It was him. He wanted to come up and chat. I couldn’t stop smiling and, hours later, I had to ask him to stay and never leave.