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

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, 26 de julio de 2016

The Jones'

   The day the Jones family drove into the quiet neighborhood of Riverview, people of the street decided to greet them personally, as they had done before for every new family arriving to their community. It was a small town and they all believed a good relationship between neighbors was essential to improve the lives of everyone and even in order to prevent major catastrophes like someone disappearing from the face of the Earth or the kids being a little withdrawn.

 However, the Jones’ didn’t receive anyone on their first date. Every single person who went to their door was received by a little girl who told them they were really busy with moving and that they should get back once they had been done unpacking and setting their lives back together. Our of respect, people decided to come back later, although many housewives were insulted to be refused entry, especially if they had cooked something delicious.

 A whole week passed until the Jones’ themselves invited everyone o their home. They sent very nice invitations and tried to make every single family on the street feel they were sorry to make all children look around. Too many people thought that was something only strange folk did and they certainly didn’t wanted to live nearby anyone like that. But the invitations changed their minds, as they were never courted in such a nice way.

 It was a Friday night when everyone attended a dinner party organized by the Jones’. Children were admitted but had to leave the party at 10 in the evening. The Jones family was composed of several people: Lucy and Bert Jones were the mother and father of the family. And it had to be said they were very particular: they only wore black clothes and appeared to be as in love as a couple of teenagers, kissing around and barely showing people more than they needed to see.

 The kids were only too; there was Regina, the young girl that had opened the door for people when they had been moving and Jonathan, a teenager with baggy eyes that seemed to have never slept a day of his life. There was also a very skinny woman that spoke in another language, probably one of the adults mother. And finally, there was Brock. He was a very tall man, with a bit of a silly expression on his face. He seemed to be their employee or something.

 He spent the whole party in a cornet, as if he was verifying that everything was going smoothly. He made the glasses bang chilled again by the staff the Jones’ had brought for the event and he seemed to vanish every so often. A rumor saying they had one more member of their family started to grow after that and because of that strange employee.

 In any case, the party had been a real success. Now every single person knew who they were and, although they were called eccentric and other similar words, the Jones’ became an integral part of the community of Riverview. Yet, children would never go alone to that house, for example if they had lost a baseball or something like that. Children had invented that the woman was a witch that failed to be a proper one. They were scared of her because she was nothing like they were used to.

 In school, the Jones’ children were almost always alones, especially the teenager. He was obviously dressed much more conservatively than the rest of the children and seemed to be sensitive enough to make beautiful drawings and art in general. His teacher was impressed from day 1 because of the small masterpieces Jonathan had created for him in such a small amount of time.

 As for Regina, she did have a lot of friends but sometimes she said she felt alone and strange. She thought sometimes that her family was too uncommon and that because of that she failed to connect with anyone else. And when she did connect, she felt bad because she assumed that wasn’t what a Jones family member would do. They would talk about it and discuss it and see the options. They were very uncommon parents and it was often that the kids had to solve their problems by themselves.

 With the passing of time, the Jones’ house turned into the street every single kid avoid and also every adult ran in from of. It was like if their happiness was sucked away by the sole presence f the house. And then there was that monster, that enormous man that appeared no to be ale to talk. But he did talk but had decided years ago to limit the amount of things he said because he thought it was not necessary.

 Brock was not really a Jones but they had brought him to town and every single person wondered what did he do in that house. It wasn’t as if they had a mansion were help would be needed. Some people saw him in sometimes around the commercial area of town, buying groceries or running errands while the Jones’ were out. Everyone just stared at him because of his height.

 Every neighbor thought he was maybe the weirdest but the parents were not really the most normal people. No one actually knew what it was that Bert Jones did for work. The only true thing was that he left every single morning at the same time and he was the first husband to arrive to his home at night, something that most housewives around there thought was very curious, as they were used to their husbands arriving always late, with food already cold.

 But Bert was always there for dinner and kissing Lucy’s face every time he arrived into his home. It was something the neighbors also grew very curious about, the fact that they didn’t really hide the love they had for each other. No other couples in town were like that, maybe because it was such a conservative place. They were the only ones to actually show that they were in love and that their relationship seemed to work.

 Lucy also left in the mornings, after her husband, but returned very early in the afternoon, possibly to make dinner. Those were the assumptions the many eyes looking at them could make. Maybe she had some type of part-time job or she had something to do with family. Either way, she would always have her black hair in the same style and her clothes were always similar, very dark and kind of revealing for the taste of the community.

 Yet, as odd as they were, the Jones’ always attended the social gatherings. Whenever there was a meeting of the neighborhood patrol or some kind of reunion at the mayor’s office, they would always be there, husband and wife. They liked to help and were always very keen on making others feel happy. It was strange from them but that’s what they did and most of the time their attempts actually work. They were very beloved in that regard and many envied them for it.

 Of course, some people were actually scared and never really bothered to talk to them too much. There had been a small group of people who had refused to go to their welcoming party and had done it because they thought that they had been rude from the start, not receiving people into their home just because they were moving. They also thought they were strange because of their behavior and their looks.

 Jonathan was teased in school by the kids of those people. One day he was sent to the nurse’s office because one of the boys that thought he was weird had pushed him in the yard and he had fallen and hurt his chin. Both Lucy and Bert picked their son up from school that day and they seemed to be very surprised that such a thing had happened there with their son. It didn’t seem like something they understood.


 They lived there for a couple of more years until they felt they had enough of their reputation as “the weirdos” on Riverview. So one good day, a single moving truck took everything away and the neighbors only knew about them leaving when Brock was seeing driving the truck out of the city. The next day, the house was on sale and there was not a single Jones to see. They had tried and failed again. It wasn’t the first town they settled in and many more would come, as they had done for so many years now.

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.