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

jueves, 30 de abril de 2015

More than love

   Crabs invaded the beach. They were many, turning the shore into a large red stain. It was strange, but they seemed to stop just before entering the water, as if they knew there were dangers beyond the foam line of the waves. Anyway, they walked in and swam into the bottom of the bay without much further hesitation. Every single one of those animals did the same thing as they stepped out of their homes in the inner side of the island, after having eaten all they could there. It was a sight to be seen and two humans were actually looking at it.

 Behind some bushes, Christina and Neil were observing with fascination the event. They were just there for their holidays but had wanted to see the mass entry of the crabs into the oceans, as many biologists said it was one of the most beautiful events in nature. They were biologists themselves but worked mostly in labs so they didn’t have the chance to see much of the animal’s natural behavior.

 Christina was the first one to stand up when it was all done, when every single one of the crabs had gone into the water. The beach was now deserted; only some leaves and branches soiling its pristine white color. She helped her husband up and took his hand as they walked in silence along the beach. The waves brought a nice unique sound to the scene that included a sunset and a nice afternoon breeze.

 They stopped walking near the middle of the sand strip and sat down on the sand. The couple saw each other’s eyes and kissed, then hugged watching the sun disappearing on the horizon. They were happy to be there, finally resting and building a relationship that had always been put on hold because of their work.

 On one hand, Christina worked in a cosmetics lab creating new lipsticks based on animals and plant life. Of course, she was against the killing of animals, so the company had agreed they would only buy the ones that were already going to be used for other purposes, such as fish. They used the scales and bones for the lab but the meat was packed and put into freezers for people to boy them in supermarkets.

 Christina was not thrilled with her job. Her dream, ever since she was a little girl, had been to work in a zoo and care for many types of animals there. But after several interviews, trips and trials, she had not been selected in any zoo, no matter how small or wealthy. She just wasn’t needed anywhere until she found this cosmetic company and decided to work there for the money. They had recently stopped makeup trials with animals and she was happy about it as she had always been an advocate of animals rights.

 Funny enough, that was the way she met Neil. He was a veterinarian in a small town and had come to the city for one of the many rallies that were held in order to get the government to make laws punishing openly acts of violence against animals, including many events that were considered “tradition” by many. The first time Christina saw him, she honestly didn’t think much of him. She always said it was because she was very focused on the rally but Neil thought it was because she just didn’t like him right away.

 In a meeting for another rally, they were seated one next to the other and started talking casually about their pets. Being a veterinarian, Neil owned a farm and had lots of animals, inherited to him by his father who had recently passed away. Christina thought that was amazing, as she has always wanted to be around lots of different animals. She told him about her dream of becoming a zookeeper but how it was such a pointless fantasy for her, as she was never deemed “zoo material”.

 Neil laughed at this and told her that he had always wanted to be a marine biologist but that his father really wanted someone to keep the farm going and he was his only son. For some reason, his parents had never wanted to have more children and now the responsibility of the farm had just been passed onto him. His dream of becoming a marine biologist died quickly but, seeing Christina’s face, he said he had fallen in love with life at the farm and with the animals and people he interacted with.

 That day, they exchanged numbers and texted each other constantly. They didn’t date or anything. They just chatted about their passion for life and whatever was happening on their lives. This way of doing things lasted for one whole year. She always mentioned Neil to her friends but they didn’t believe he existed and the same happened with Neil. Many people that knew him thought he had invented Christina because he didn’t have any romantic prospects around him, even if many girls came up to him and asked him for a date or a kiss.

 Their texting relationship was cut short when Neil announced he had been granted a scholarship to go and study in China. They had a very interesting program where he could learn a lot to keep helping farmers so he had decided to go. Christina was very sad by this but he assured her they would continue to text and so on, and it was true. One of the first things he did when arriving in Beijing, was getting a new phone and a data plan to chat with Christina every day.

 One more year passed during which they both dated other people. Neil met Li Fa, a beautiful young woman that worked with horses in a farm owned by the university where he was studying. They dated and had a strong romantic and sexual relationship over the course of many months, practically until the day he had to come back home. Li Fa assured Neil that she really liked him but that she understood he had to go back and that, in any case, she would always be there for him. They stayed friends for the rest of their lives.

 Christina dated two men, both very different guys in every single aspect of their being. Mark, the first one, was the gym kind. He loved himself a lot, which was good until it became annoying. Christina thought the relationship would only be about sex but, who would’ve known, the guy was a romantic and the few times he wasn’t training (God knows what for) or looking at himself in the mirror, he would buy her beautiful flowers, and cards and chocolates of every flavor.

 To be honest, Christina never knew what he did for a living and she didn’t care much about it. Things ended because he wanted much more from her that she could give and she was a very career oriented woman. Having a boyfriend or anything like that was extremely high maintenance at the moment and she wasn’t into that.

 The second one was Joe. Despite his name, he was a skinny guy whom she met on a cosmetics conference she had been sent to. They hit it off and dated for a couple months until she decided to end it. Not only it was becoming annoying that he only spoke about work, which he loved to do very often, but also she had noticed that he wasn’t as interested in her as he pretended to be. At the end, she just told him to get real and be who he was. Months later, she saw him kissing another guy on a street. Good for him.

 When Neil came back, he decided to visit Christina and they had the best weekend to very good friends could have: they ate a lot, they went to a party, drank a lot of alcohol, then spoke about every single subject they could think of and, most importantly, they made each other laugh constantly. It was obvious for them something had awoken at the moment. Neil went back to his farm and Christina to her work, but what had begun had no way to stop. He would come back to the city every weekend to visit her and in a few months he asked her to marry him. She didn’t even say the word; she just kissed and hugged him.

 The holiday in Hawaii was meant to celebrate their first year together and it was a success. They had walked together on a volcano slope; they had swum with the marine life and where now looking at the most beautiful sunset any of them had seen. They held hands watching the orange sun casting the last shadows of the day on their faces. When it was gone, they decided to go back to the hotel and just spent time there, talking, as they loved to do and eating to because they were both food lovers.


 Christina and Neil were just in love, as people say. But they felt it was a lot more than just that. They felt connected, like actual partners in life and not just linked by romance or sex. They loved the term “twin souls” as it was not something uniquely romantic, also deeply social and emotional.  But no matter how people called it, they sure liked it a lot.

sábado, 4 de abril de 2015

Smoke and Cards

   She spread the cards on the table, forming three columns and three rows from left to right. A total of nine cards were there, all facing down. The woman, wearing a wine red shawl and several rings and bracelets on her arms, passed both hands over the cards and seemed to be talking in a strange language. Her clients were two girls, around twenty years old, who looked at her with eyes open and an expression of fear but also looking forward to her next words.

 The woman then did a sudden movement and asked one of them which card to flip over. The young woman indicated one and she complied, revealing the card of death. The woman then did a speech, explaining the deep meaning of this card. She asked several questions too, ranging from past relationships to dead family members. In less than twenty minutes, she flipped over all the cards and told the girl it all meant she was going to have an unexpected surprise very soon but that she should be weary as someone may be there to betray her. The girls looked at each other and, after paying, they went out giggling, discussing their results.

 The reader waited for them to be far and then called for her assistant, a young woman that looked a lot like her, in order to ask her if more people were waiting. The young girl told her that no and that her lunch would be done in just a few minutes so she could use the time to eat something. The card reader’s name was actually Suzanne and she had been a pharmacist for some time but that job had made her unstable, cranky and bored with life. She had always wanted so much more from everyone and everything and a pharmacy would never fulfill her dreams of grandeur.

 So one day, she overheard some women talking about going to a woman that read the crystal ball in a fair and she decided to go. The woman was a big sham but she learned that people would decide to believe in anything if it’s well presented to them. Before becoming a card reader, Suzanne had been a very practical and skeptic person. In one second, she could debunk any stupid thing people believed in and that had earned her a friendless life and a difficult interaction with men and even with her parents.

 So after seeing all the glitz and mystery of the crystal ball reader, she decided to become Madame Zelda, a mysterious seer that had come all the way from Romania to help souls in need to find their way by reading the cards of their life and other things. Her business, located in a small store in the city’s downtown, was very successful from day one. She had hired her niece Amanda to be her assistant and to give away fliers to every nearby college. Suzanne knew that the younger people were especially prone to believing anything so she knew that was the way to start.

 Six months had passed since that and her strategy had worked. Lots of giggling girls came in and decided to get their cards, their coffee and even their cigarettes read. Suzanne did everything and anything and people would buy what she said and even if they didn’t, she knew very few would tell anything to her face. People were strangely polite when referring to something as plain and simple as the arts of divination. But the point was that they always came.

 A she ate a bowl of pasta with meatballs with her niece, Suzanne realized they looked very much alike: their hand were both skinny, their skin the color of olives, big bushy hair and big brown eyes. She asked her niece what would she like to be when out of school and she told her that she had a dram of becoming a nurse. She wanted to help people and thought the best way was to care for people’s health. In the long run, she might even become a doctor but that wasn’t going to be decided just yet.

 Suzanne then asked her about her sister, her niece’s mother. She was not the best mother in the world, that’s for sure. She had the traces of all the women of the family: beautiful heavy smokers but convulsed souls inside. After all, they had a recurrence of mental issues in the family and Suzanne’s sister Amelia apparently was the prime example. She was always thinking of things that helped no one and had never really cared for her daughter. In part, that was why Suzanne had decided to accept Melanie in her home for her last year of school. She didn’t regret her decision so far.

 Melanie proved to be different than her fellow female family members: for such a young girl she knew very well what to do and what not to do and how to do the things she wanted for herself. After all, she was only sixteen and about to step out of school. Suzanne had already spoken with her sister about Melanie’s education but Amelia had assured her that there was more than enough money for that. The girl was the daughter of a very rich man that wanted nothing to do with them and paid handsomely every month in order to keep them away. And it worked perfectly for all of them so there was more than enough money to pay for her nurse education.

 Suzanne often liked to go out with her, shop around or to the movies. They were both lonely girls, no real friends around and Amelia had never grown fond of her own daughter, always seeing her as only her source of money. It was true and obvious that Melanie felt much more at home with Suzanne than with her own mother. They had fun together and they both learned a lot about each other in only the first few months of living together. They would share magazines and talk about boys, and fashion, and the future. And they both loved to finally have someone to hear them.

 Suzanne’s life as a young woman had been exactly the same, if not worst. She had very few friends because she wanted so much more from life. She was not happy with the crumbs she received from both her family and her present, she had always wanted more. She left home after refusing her father’s orders to study in order to be secretary. He thought there were roles and jobs for women and other for men and that she had nothing to do in a hospital, even if most nurses were actually women. He said he knew that she wanted to become a doctor and he didn’t agreed. So she left and never went back.

 Years later, she attended her father’s funeral and her mother refused to speak to her. After ten years, she still wasn’t speaking to her as if it had been her that had been harsh to her daughter. But that was the way it was. She was one of those women that live for the man they marry and in that moment, she was lost. She nothing and she felt empty and alone. It would take a few more years for her to become closer to her daughters and when she finally did, death came for her too. Now, it was only Suzanne and Amelia and even if they didn’t agreed on their life choices, they called each other every so often to ask how the other was doing and if they could be of any help.

 When she finished eating, Suzanne grabbed a metal box and organized what was inside. Melanie, who hadn’t finished eating, stared at her, looking all the types of cards she had inside, the cigarettes, the guides of how to read the cups of tea and coffee and also the hands. She had everything in that little box and then Melanie realized her aunt’s life was all inside that small object. It all summed up to that.

-          - Aunt?
-          - Yeah?
-          - Are you ever sorry?

 Suzanne looked at her, confused.

-          - What do you mean?
-          - With people that come here.
-          - hat should I feel sorry?
-          - You’re not a real seer. You lie to them.

 The woman was frozen right there on her chair. She had never discussed her business with anyone but Melanie was the person he loved most and she knew they had to talk about it. So she just answered that was the way she had found to feel she was receiving what she deserved from life. The girl then asked if she didn’t feel bad to tell lies to every person that entered the store. Suzanne took one of her niece’s hands and held it. She then looked at her in he eye and told her that people chose to believe what she said and that that was their decision. She knew she was lying to them and she knew it was wrong but her way of living was honest as she was true to herself. Then she took everything out of the box and showed the bottom to Melanie.


 There were two transparent bags and both had money inside. Then Suzanne told her she was saving for both of them, so they could live better and she could put up another kind of store, something better and that she could be proud of. The girl smiled and right then a bell rang. It was the next costumer. Suzanne straightened her shawl and went down to her smoky, cinnamon scented room as Melanie followed her in order to get the door.