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

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Julia in the desert


   The stars seemed to be very close. Somehow, the sky in such a remote area of the world was different than what you would see in other parts. Julia was lying down on a think towel she had purchased before the trip and she started counting the stars but she got lost and tired quickly. She hadn’t even removed her boots before lying down and now she was falling asleep, in the middle of the desert. She hadn’t prepared her tent or any food. She was much too tired after her first day.

 Early next morning, she was woken up by a tickling on her stomach. Julia didn’t really open her eyes immediately. But as the tickling persisted, she decided to sit down and properly wake up. She stood up in fear once she realized the tickling came from the tough little legs of a scorpion that was parading itself all along her body. She checked herself for any stings but there was nothing. It was clear that, if the creature had stung her, she would be in severe pain.

 Julia decided to spend her second day looking for a better camping spot. She walked half that day all along the desert and the small patches of life she could find, until she found a small group of thin trees. They gave some shadow from the sun, which was perfect because it had started coming out behind big clouds and it was insufferable to walk like that. She was able to put up her tent in a few minutes and get inside before the full power of the sun was displayed. Thankfully, she had bought the right tent.

 She smiled at the thought of her looking around several stores until she found the right one. It was clear that many of the employees at all the stores didn’t really believe her when she stated she was going camping in the middle of the desert. She even explained to them she was studying biology and that was the perfect way to get more comfortable with future trips she might have to endure. But apparently she looked too “girly” and too “nice” to be the type of woman that goes camping.

 Julia even imagined that they pictured her doing her nails inside of her tent or maybe bringing a man with her in order to repel bugs and others animals. But she couldn’t care about all of that, about what she thought they were thinking or about what they were actually thinking. She could only care about her priorities and her first one was to become the best biologist ever. She really loved the profession but had always had a certain fear and disgust towards going camping or working in the middle of a jungle or any wild place. So Julia forced herself to camp and live through it alone.

 She sat down on the tent and removed her boots after almost a day of use. Of course, her feet smelled awful but it was the price to pay for such an adventure. Besides, she was certain that a source of water would be around and she would take advantage of that the moment she found it. Meanwhile, she had to conform with removing her boots and socks and giving her aching feet some air to relax. She opened her backpack, grabbed a couple of power bars and ate them in a few minutes.

 Food was one of the big problems she had to face doing what she was doing. It  wasn’t like she was prepared from day one to hunt and eat anything she found. Besides, she was in a desert and the amount of animals there was severely reduced. It wasn’t as if she was in the middle of a beautiful European forest where she could hunt down boars and roast them slowly over a nice fire. She couldn’t do that, so she had prepared herself with lots of cereal bars and small foods that she could move around easily.

 It wasn’t the best meal ever, but at least she had fresh water, which was enough to make her feel alive once again. She lay down for a bit and realized she hadn’t really done much related to biology. The closes thing had been her encounter with the scorpion and she had run so fast after that, that she was ashamed to call herself a scientist. So after relaxing for a bit, she put on her socks and boots again and a baseball cap her dad had given her before departure.

Then, she went outside to check for animal life outside the tent. Julia found some interesting bugs near the thin trees and was able to take pictures with her cellphone. She had a better camera inside her backpack but she really didn’t want to be fixing its configuration when trying to take the picture of a small creature. She promised herself to check the camera features before going to bed. She saw some more scorpions, as well as tiny spiders that seemed to like underneath the hot desert sand.

 When going back inside her tent, a powerful noise attracted her attention upwards and she realized a very rare visitor was flying over her. Before leaving her house, Julia had checked all the information she could about that part of the country, so she was well aware of the existence of such a majestic creature. It had a very large wingspan but its body was rather small. Its feathers were light yellow, in order to reflect the sun light and being able to blind its prey with them. It was such a beautiful design nature had achieved, so of course Julia took lots of pictures.

 Later that day, and after eating a whole tuna can with beans, Julia uploaded the cellphone pictures onto her laptop. She had brought several spare batteries for it, but even so she decided to limit her computer time to only an hour a day. She erased the pictures that she didn’t like and was about to turn off the computer when she decided to look at some of the other pictures she had on her laptop. Family pictures, others with friends and some at college too. She was smiling in most, not in all of them.

 She even laughed out loud when she realized she had a couple of pictures of her old boyfriends. She hadn’t seen any of them in a long time, as they had been only high school crushes and nothing more. Yeah, she had gone with one of them to prom and with the other one on a long summer vacation. But that was it, they were both now in the past and she had to move on. Actually, it had been partly because of them she had decided to follow her dream of becoming a biologist. They didn’t think it was a realistic dream.

 After turning off the computer and putting it away, she decided to grab the camera to fix the settings before using it the next day. She had bought that second hand camera online and had never touched more than a couple of times to know it could be turned on and off. That was it. Now she had to put everything in the right setting in order to capture the perfect pictures in the scorching desert. But as she wasn’t very good with things like that, Julia soon fell asleep with the camera on her chest.

 The next day, she woke up to see the camera had rolled to the side. She grabbed it to put away but then the bird with yellow feathers screamed loudly. Because this time, it did seem like a scream and not like the beautiful chant of a majestic bird. Julia stepped outside barefoot, only to see the sky was very dark and that the bird was on top of the nearby thin trees. The bird let out another “scream” and suddenly flew over Julia and away from the tree area. It seemed to be escaping something.

 Only moments afterwards, the ground began shaking violently. Julia fell to her knees and saw how her tent moved around as if tossed by some invisible force. She tried t o crawl her way back inside the tent but the earthquake stopped right before she was able to get it.

 Inside, all of her stuff had spilled out of the backpack. Food, the camera, phone and laptop, everything was upside down. The bird had warned her right in time. She was thankful and realized she had made the right choice by spending two weeks in that desert. She was going to make the best of it.

lunes, 5 de marzo de 2018

Where's the passion?


The day was as clear as it could be. From the terrace of the tenth floor of the Equity Tower, one could see for miles and miles. Evan was standing there, in front of the glass, just millimeters away from a one hundred meter drop. But he wasn’t looking downward. He was looking across the park in front of the building and a little bit upwards. There was some sort of bird flying around, possibly after having spotted a delicious rat or something down between the trees. It was a majestic site.

 Evan didn’t move a muscle, as he looked on, mystified by the gracious movements of the bird. It was so agile and beautiful, only an event that could’ve been created by nature itself. Evan didn’t want to miss the moment for one second, as he knew it could end soon. And so it did: the bird suddenly dropped from the sky, flying downwards at top speed. It disappeared between the trees. Evan waited for several minutes, but the bird didn’t resurfaced. Maybe it had been successful. He wanted to believe that.

 Evan moved away from the glass and walked slowly towards his kitchen. Mind you, Evan had no clothes on: no socks, no underwear or shirt. Not even a towel or a baseball cap. He was naked as he always was at that time of day, which was past midday. The man was one of those people with so much money that they didn’t need to care about schedules or time in general. Besides, he loved to do his work and other commitments at night, when he felt most comfortable. During the day, he would rather sleep and eat.

 In the kitchen, Evan fixed himself a bowl of his favorite cereal. He poured some almond milk on it and then started eating it right there, just by the coffee machine. His empty cup was in the sink, as well as plates and other stuff from past days. Evan wasn’t a good cleaner and he preferred when he came back from work and everything had been cleaned and organized for him. But the lady that did that was sick and he did not want a stranger to come into his house just like that. He’d rather do it all himself.

 So after finishing his bowl of cereal, Evan did something he hadn’t done in a long while: he did the dishes and then checked his refrigerator for rotten vegetables or fruits or products past their expiration date. Nothing was out of order and he was able to get it all done in a matter of minutes. He wasn’t one for doing those sorts of things but the truth was that his work had begun to feel repetitive and boring to him. A change of pace would suit him right, as well as doing things he wasn’t used to do. The moment made him have several ideas, right on the spot.

 One might think he could’ve wanted to put on some clothes on before going ahead, but he didn’t. He decided to check every single drawer and closet in his two-story apartment and get everything he didn’t want to keep out of the house. He looked for some big garbage bags in the kitchen and then started on the living room. There wasn’t much there besides his bar, fully stocked at all times with the most expensive wines and spirits from around the world. However, he did find some underwear that wasn’t his. He just smiled and moved on.

 There were lots of drawers in his studio. He threw away a bunch of office papers that he wasn’t going to use anymore and several other notes and small objects he just hated. There were things inherited from his grandparents and parents and he really despised some of them. There was this bowl of marble balls that was supposed to be an ornament but it had always made him crazy because it reminded him of how strict his father was. When he wanted to use the marbles to play, his father would practically yell at him.

 There was never real violence on his house. After all, he didn’t really have a relationship that strong with his parents, he didn’t even see them enough during a whole year. It was rather sad but he always smiled telling the story of how he learned his parents birthday dates when he was about to enter college. The funny part, according to him, was the fact the he learned those facts by accident and not because they wanted him to know. It was like learning the birthday date of a beloved movie star. A far away star.

 He filled a whole garbage bag in the studio before moving on to his downstairs bathroom. There was not a lot there, only some old flu medicine and ointments he used sometimes when he was sick. It was funny that he had all of that there, as he would never use any of that. His parents only intervened in his life when health was an issue, probably because they knew that if he died, there would be no heir of blood running the company. As if it mattered, but it seemed important enough to them.

 After so many years, he still did things to keep them happy. He would do parties in his apartment with various friends of his family and the company, even if most of those people barely knew his name. He treated old friends of his parents and grandparents as if they were elders of great wisdom, but deep inside he knew there was no way he could really trust any of them. They were all around because of the money. Same happened with his so-called friends, vultures flying around him waiting for something to fall on their lap, a job or some money or compensation.

 In his bedroom, he threw away various pieces of clothing. Being naked, he smiled and thought of the whole situation as ridiculous. But then, he realized it wasn’t an accident that he liked being naked around his home so much. Back when he was young, Evan had been thought that the human body was practically something to be ashamed of. It was only during his years in college when he learned that shouldn’t be the case, when he started to explore his body and those of others.

 He remembered wearing ties every single day, not only to school but also in the house and to all formal events to which his parents were invited to, and there were a lot of those. His former house was one of the gigantic mansions where you might imagine a caped crusader living in. But nothing of the sort happened there. He did imagined to be an orphan many times in his life, but he was reminded many times that he did have parents and that it was important that he was their son.

 Evan’s future had always been in the company. He had no control of his work life and, to be honest, he didn’t want control over that. In college, he soon discovered he wasn’t really interested in something in particular. He liked numbers and sometimes watching movies and also music. But would have never thought of been an accountant, becoming a filmmaker or learn to play any kind of instrument. He had no passion for any of that. The only thing that ignited passion in his heart was his private life.

 He lived to invite random people to his house. He met them at galas or bars or even cellphone apps. Sometimes he would say how much money he had and other times he would create some sort of story, like the one where he was a caretaker for some rich people and how they paid him the bare minimum to take care of their houses as they sailed through the Caribbean. And people bought all those lies because they wanted and also because Evan was a very good liar.

 He got four garbage bags filled to the top. He took them all himself to the deposit downstairs, wearing a hoodie and some gym pants. As he put on the bags on a large container, he saw a picture escape one of the bags and fall softly, like a leaf, on the floor.

 Evan picked it up and saw his own face looking at him. It was a very old picture, from his early youth. He was maybe five or seven years old. And he was smiling. He seemed so happy and eager, so full of life. Evan wondered what had happened to that little boy, to his spark.

lunes, 16 de octubre de 2017

Two Theresa's

   Theresa had just come out of the asylum. She wasn’t supposed to call it that but she found it was better to call things by their name. She had been there for five months, after suffering a very serious mental breakdown in her office. Thing had been thrown, insults had been hurled and the police had to be called to stop her from hurting more people. Things had really gone badly that day and she had to accept, in front of a judge, the condition of getting help in the insane asylum.

 Her stay there had been largely uneventful, except for the screams she had to hear every single night, that prevented her from sleeping like a normal person. Besides that, she had to go to the shrink every single day, for an hour, and also to group therapy once a week. It was a lot of talking, of listening and of showing others how she felt and looking at people hurting from their pasts or presents. It was kind of tiring at the beginning, but it eventually became part of the routine.

 Same happened with the meds. Her doctor had assigned a certain prescription to her at first, but then it was change several times during her stay in the asylum. The things she had to take, with a little sip of water, kept getting stronger. She had begun losing grip of reality. After having a crisis in her cell, she decided to leave the meds and just pretend she was taking them. It wasn’t easy because they checked everyone afterwards, but she was able to make one of her new friends take them.

 The first week she spent outside of the asylum, she realized how mean that had been. Making someone unstable taker her meds could have been potentially destructive for said person and maybe even for herself. However, she knew that those chemicals would have never helped her at all. She just needed to get away from everything, she needed silence and calm, as well as some time away from everything that bothered her, starting with her job and her family. In short, she needed some sort of holiday.

 That’s why she liked to tell people that her stay in the asylum had been uneventful, just something he had to do in order to please the society that had deemed her unfit to be in society. She tried to fake her hatred of the system and decided to get a job that wouldn’t be as stressful as the one she had before. Over two months after her release, Theresa was able to get employed in a flower shop, taking care of the plants and also attending costumers when the owner wasn’t around. It was a very calm environment, perfect for her. Free of stress and fear.

 However, her family was still around maybe even more than before. Theresa had tried hard to make them understand she needed time for herself, in order to get well again. But they didn’t care about that at all. They were too busy thinking about how others would perceive them. Her mother had many friends all over the city and she had even received some gossip about her own daughter that Theresa just refused to discuss. She had no need or urge to comment on any of it with her mother.

 Her father had been dead for a couple of years and her mother and siblings would always say, when she was around, that it was better that way in order for her not to shame the family name and her father’s prestige in front of the rest of the community. They behaved as if they were kings and queens or something very similar. It was a relief when Donna, the owner of the flower shop, asked her to go for a short period of time to the small town from where she received the flower shipments.

 Apparently, they had been having problems with some of the plants and they needed to get them in line because Valentine’s Day was coming soon and that was their big day of the year for sales. Theresa had shown so much interest in the business and in the plants as themselves, that Donna thought it would be perfect to send her to represent the company. She would have to visit several plantations and tell them exactly what they were looking for, in order to improve sales and wealth for everyone involved.

 She accepted the moment Donna proposed her plan to her. She left a week later, without telling her family or anyone else. She just grabbed a suitcase and hopped on the bus. She arrived there and discovered how beautiful real nature was, how calm really looked and how people lived without so much tension from urban life. She hadn’t realized how her rough lifestyle had been an important factor in the development of her emotional crisis. City life almost killed her.

 When she arrived, Theresa was supposed to stay up to three weeks in the town, travelling to other parts of the region every day. However, she ended up staying more than two months. She only came back to help Donna with all the craziness of Valentine’s Day. Once the season ended, she went back to the countryside. No one ever knew what she did there but the truth was that she had been hired to do the same thing she did in the flower shop. The only difference was that she did it in the open; with real sunlight caressing her skin and that was priceless.

 Her family looked for her through email, mobile and telephone, but they never got to her because she had taken a step back from most of the things the modern world could offer. She visited an Internet café once a week to read some news and chat with Donna and other friends, but that was mostly it for her technological life. Most days were spent in the fields, sweating from early morning to sundown. It was hard work but she loved feeling so tired that no thoughts ran through her mind.

 She would be the first person to wake up, feed the chickens and pigs and then help in the field, doing whatever they asked her to do. She loved tending to roses, sunflowers and dahlias, but she would also work on a potato plantation and picking strawberries and grapes. It was always changing but it was good money for only one person. She eventually got to save enough to have her own little house, from were she could travel by foot to any of her jobs, no matter what she had to do.

 Before her breakdown she had been one of those women that never touched anything without a real necessity. She had a chauffeur to pick her up from her meetings and then take her back home or to the office. She had a maid to cook for her and two assistants that helped her much more than she would admit to. She would be very cold to all of them. Cold wouldn’t be the word as she was never outright mean, she just wasn’t one of those people that liked to hang out with others.

 Looking back at her past, she thought that woman in her memories was someone she couldn’t really recognize. That woman, through some sort of creep psychological magic, had been locked away in the asylum, with all the other crazy people. She was a danger to herself and others and it had been quite a difficult task to get rid of her. Because, before anything else, Theresa had to realize how bad everything was before taking the road to a better life, which is exactly what she did.

 Eventually, she met someone she was able to fall in love with. He was the first person there, in the countryside, to know who she had been and how much she had changed. He praised her for that and acknowledged her might every day of their life together.


 As for her mother and siblings, they kept trying to reach her but she never went back to the city. She just wrote them a letter telling them how her life was now much better than before and she had no need to go back to a place so toxic for her.

viernes, 8 de septiembre de 2017

Liz

   The album filled with pictures from her childhood had to be somewhere handy. She would always bring it out when her children visited and now it was nowhere to be seen. She looked for it beneath the sofa, inside very shelf and drawer and even on the small and cramped space above the house that people called an attic but it was not as big as she thought an attic should be. She had to bring out a stick to bring down the stairs and at her age it was not an easy thing to do.

 Liz was her name and she had never been too fond of her name. Her mother had named her after Queen Elizabeth and her father had agreed. She would always ask her dad why he had let that happened and he never thought she was speaking seriously. The truth was that Liz didn’t feel anything like a queen, specially living in such a secluded place, when most people didn’t even care about such things. She would have wanted a simpler name, a more normal one in a way.

 Finally, she found the album behind a big chair near the curtain. It was right then when the wind broke the glass and she was forced to duck down, scared a big piece would cut her face or any part of her body. After all, Liz was all alone in that house and the only way to get to a shelter was to go down the road towards the town, where a big sports venue had been built more to shelter people when hurricanes happened than for hosting sporting events, rare in the island.

 When she realized the glass had fallen far from her body, Liz stood up and decided it was time to get into the car. The keys were on the dining table, next to her jacket. It was a bright yellow jacket, which came with a hat of the same color. Her niece had bought it for her in a big fancy store in New York and she had to accept it in order not to make her sad. The truth was that Liz had never liked yellow but with that rain, the jacket had finally become pertinent in her small world.

 Before heading outside, she stood up in the middle of her living room, looking around, trying to remember if she had left something. There was a backpack with some clothes in the car, along with Jim, an orange cat that had accompanied her for the last three years. Besides that, she had her album beneath the jacket, to protect it from the water, and she was closing her right hand around the car keys. She then realized that, maybe; she would never see her home ever again. That realization sunk her heart a bit but her feet suddenly moved.

 Moments later, she was shaking her gray her in the car and Jim was meowing like crazy. He was sitting in the copilot’s seat and he seemed to be a bit scared of the storm. Honestly, it was much stronger that what Liz had predicted. The wind was moving the car, so it felt as if she was in the middle of an earthquake. On the windshield, lots of water was pouring down. It was impossible to see beyond the car’s hood. The lights of the town were nowhere to be seen and the sun had been lost.

 Nevertheless, Liz turned on the ignition and started moving her car very slowly down the road. It had been a great idea by her son Richard to pave the road all the way down to the village. They had made a big garage sale and with the money they had managed to fix the access to the house. It was one of those things George had always hated about living right there, far from his beloved ocean. But the properties down there could only be afford by the wealthy and they weren’t any of that.

 It had been George who had discovered the island, in a way. He had been there while doing business and he had fallen in love with birds and the ocean and the lush green soft hills all over the place. When he visited, the island only had a couple hundred people living in it. His insurance business could do great with things like hurricanes. Liz laughed when remembering that, she thought the irony of him never seen such a storm living there having insured the whole island was just too funny.

 Maybe too funny indeed because it was right then when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator and the car when downhill fast for a few meters before she could react properly and hit the breaks. When the car stopped, Liz was very scared and Jim was meowing even more than before. But she wasn’t afraid of the storm. She had lived through others after her husband had died. The thing was that she was certain to have seen a man outside, through the windshield, before pushing the brakes.

 It was getting darker outside and Liz didn’t dare to step outside the car and check if everything was right, if it was her eyes that were creating mirages in front of her or if something had actually happened. Jim fell silent and that for Liz was louder than an alarm. She put on her hat again and opened the door, letting in lots of water and wind into the car. Jim didn’t say anything; he seemed to be too preoccupied for that. Liz was about to close the car door when she felt something on the pavement. She screamed the moment a hand grabbed her left ankle.

 But it wasn’t a zombie or anything of the sort. It was a man, a black skinned man, much younger than her. He was very weak and his hand soon fell to the floor from her ankle. Liz kneeled in front of him and touched his face. He was very cold and it was obvious he had been outside for too long. Maybe he was extremely sick. There was no one near and screaming didn’t help at all. The wind was howling much too hard for anyone to notice her, even if they were close.

 Liz grabbed the man’s face again and she gently patted her cheeks. Seeing nothing happened, she slapped him harder. The man opened his eyes and he started mumbling but nothing made sense. There was no reason for him been there, unless he had gotten lost in the storm. Maybe he had left his house after the rest of his family and then he had just lost track of them in the storm. No one, not even the youngest person, could ever see a thing or two with all that rain, haze and wind.

 The older woman decided to do the only thing that made sense. She opened one of the back doors or her car and then grabbed the man by the armpits. She pulled as much as she could. It took her a while to get him close to the door. Then she slapped him again and managed to make him help her, by raising his waist a little bit. That was enough to get him in the car. She pushed his body gently by closing the door and then she hopped on the vehicle, all wet. Liz had lost her hat and she hadn’t realized.

 It was easier to go up that road backwards, than moving down. She knows that at full speed, she would be back home in less than a minute. Liz stopped the car right before she hit her house. Jim had jumped to the back seat and had helped by keeping the man awake, although he kept trying to talk, as if he was in the middle of a very deep dream. Urged by the situation, Liz grabbed the man by an arm and took him to the house. Jim followed, unbothered by the rain. The car had been left open.

 Liz left the man in the small room beneath the stairs. He would be safe there. She would hide in a tiny cellar that her husband had built beneath the kitchen to keep his wine bottles cold. She took the bottles out and snuggled with Jim in the cramped space.


 Few minutes had passed when she heard a horrible noise, as if a tree had been pulled out of the ground. It was awful. She closed her eyes in horror. But instead of remembering something comforting, she reminded herself of the album she had left in the car. Her memories were gone.