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

viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

The other son

   Lady Rosamund was seated in one of the top balconies, just in front of the stage. She was tired, as half of the show had already passed. At age seventy-five, she was too tired to watch a whole opera, even if it was her dear Anthony that did the music. Only for him she had walked out of her house, she would never do that for anyone else. The last time she had been really out was the time of her husband’s death, over ten years ago. Actually, it had been that moment in her life that made her decide to stay at home and just take care of things there.

 After all, she had many things to do still, for a woman her age and status. Her husband had left their son John the biggest company called Alesia, which imported tobacco from the Americas. Her son was living there, in a plantation in Cuba where he got to manage the business first hand. Lady Rosamund had received the management of other parts of the enterprise and smaller business around town such as a grocery store and two stalls in the market. She was in charge of asking for that rent and talking to her tenants, making sure everything was ok.

 She had been happy for a while, so she didn’t really mind staying at home and getting things done from there. Moomoo the dog would keep her company and she had a whole garden to take care of, as she had decided not to pay a gardener anymore as she felt she could do a much better job. That turned out to be not exactly true, but she didn’t care. She liked all of those mornings, when the sun wasn’t too bright, when she would sing to her roses and tulips and just be there by herself.

 Her daughter Josephine visited her every other day and read her the letters that John sent from the other side of the world. They learned that way that he had gotten married and that he was also expecting his first child. Josephine had two of her own already, which she sometimes brought to her mother but not every time because she saw how rowdy they would get and how old her mother was getting. She didn’t want her to feel ill so she decided not to do it too often.

 It was almost always a subject of them to talk about Anthony. He was always somewhere in Europe or even elsewhere, taking his music to every kind of people. They also read his letters and they both loved that because he had always had the best sense of humor. He could transform even the direst of circumstances into the funniest event he had ever witnessed. They would laugh reading the letters and, when he visited, they would ask him to tell the anecdotes himself and they certainly didn’t change at all from the written versions. Anthony was not blood but he was more than family, something that couldn’t be explained.

  In her youth, recently married, Lady Rosamund convinced her husband to adopt a kid from the streets. As a young bride, she was almost forced to do charity work, a thing many of the ladies where doing to look good in the public eye. But Rosamund had learned to like it, going to many of the hospices around town and reading to the sick or giving away old clothes to the needy. The children especially touched her because she felt they were all innocent of the lives they had been forced to live in. She cried often when she saw them dying of hunger or begging in the streets.

 One day, she started working in the darkest of allies with other women, tending to the women that not even the church recognized as part of the community. Those women sold their bodies and Rosamund never found one that had to do it because she liked it. They all needed money to survive, they needed to live day by day, paying high prices for smelly rooms in awful places and often raising children that way. It wasn’t the life a child should have.

 It was one of those days that she met Alice. Her face was very slim, her cheekbones very prominent due to the lack of food. Her skin had lost all natural silkiness and looked almost green in color. Rosamund was almost certain that women was not much older than her but from her face it was difficult to see that as she looked almost ancient in that alley. She had been beaten by her clients multiple times and hadn’t enjoyed a warm meal for many nights. So when the ladies invited her to a soup kitchen they had arranged for the people of the streets, she went gladly.

 Alice ate very fast; almost as if she was afraid the bread and the soup would run out in any second. When she finished, a man guarding the door detained her as she was trying to smuggle out two pieces of bread. The man shamed her in front of everyone and stepped on the bread, Alice crying in horror. Her noise was heard by the ladies who came at once and saw what had happened. They expelled the man from the premises and asked Alice why she was taking food outside the dining hall. And she explained she had a son, a baby that was very ill because she had nothing to give him to eat.

 Rosamund was shocked when she saw the baby, as green as his mother, not doing one sound. She felt sick and sad and decided to help Alice. She would try to get them both food every night and she did do that, even when she couldn’t be there in person. Alice thanked her for her support and then she had an idea that she had to confess when it was obvious she looked too much at the rich and beautiful woman. She asked Rosamund to take her baby as her son and give her the opportunities she could never give him. She knew the lady loved the baby, the way she played with him and looked at his little face.

 Although her first thought was to say “No”, Rosamund knew that Alice was right. That baby was going to die soon if he didn’t get the help he needed. So she decided to ask her husband and the answer was a resounding “No”. He opposed the idea because he wanted their first son to be theirs and not and adopted kid from somewhere. She thought he was cruel and vile for not thinking about others, about the possible life that they could be saving if they took that baby in. Rosamund had to convince him for several days, even going to the length of seducing him and having intercourse with him.

 She thought it was a message from God when she learned from her doctor that she was pregnant. She told her husband and begged, once again, to take in the baby. They could hide him until after their own son was born and then reveal him as a twin or a cousin or whatever. She just wanted that kid to have a chance. Her husband, already in love with their first child, finally accepted the proposal.

 The separation of Anthony and her mother was fast but tragic: only a kiss in the forehead and some hushed words as he slept. Then Alice gave him to Rosamund and she left, not before giving her some money to try to make her life better, even if she wouldn’t have her son with her. She didn’t wanted the money at first, but the young woman, whose belly was beginning to grow, convinced her to do the best for herself and just invest that money in getting out of the streets. Sadly, that never happened. Rosamund would learn years later that Alice was victim of a crime in one of those dark allies and had died alone.

 The babies grew at the same pace, Anthony always a bit bigger but weaker. As he didn’t move much when he was a kid, she decided to relate him to music, even hiring a piano teacher for both of her children. But John would rather play in the garden or in the park, with other kids. By the time Josephine was born, Anthony was already admired by the men in the Academy of Music. In a matter of a few years he became a sensation, even writing his own material. Rosamund would always go and see him play and kiss him dearly in the forehead, as Alice had done.

 In time, she told him the truth and he just loved her more because of that. Inspired by the rough streets where he had been born and by the tragic story of his birth mother, he wrote of the best and most passionate operas that have ever been written. It was that piece that Rosamund hear from the balcony, very tired but still proud of the son who wasn’t her son and of his strength of character. It was the best way to honor both his mothers and the proof that all life is precious.

viernes, 8 de enero de 2016


   The place was full of steam and very humid. The columns that divided one part of the baths from the others appeared to be sweating, as everyone else in that place. There were mostly men, as the women baths were located separately but some women came in, naked of course, and served the high-ranking men. Prostitution was forbidden in the baths but business in that field was done there anyway and the act would be performed somewhere else, so that way the owner of the baths wouldn’t have any problem with the authorities.

 Many military loved the baths; especially after the long campaigns the emperor sent them too. The ones that came back, successful or not, were considered better than normal men so they received every single kind of gift and appreciation possible by the general public. For example, there was this general in one of the pools, enjoying the hot water, but also caressing a young man he had taken an interest for and eating with that boy many tropical fruits that were only accessible to the most important people in the empire.

 The fruits were served cut and ripe in a large plate. This was all done by men as women were believed not to be “good enough” to serve such powerful and important people. Women were always entertainment or responsibility, never anything else. Some of them resented that and claimed that women should also be treated like gods and so on, but the response was always that women did not go to war, so they had no idea what real sacrifice was or how loyalties and strategy worked.

 The baths were a men’s world.

 The hand of the general went up and down the young men’s leg and the only thing he could do was to smile. His family had been the one to send him against his will to the baths. He didn’t wanted to be there but had to as the general promised a very large sum to his family in exchange for his company. This meant that the poor boy had to be around the general every single day, at every time and everywhere until the older men just decided he liked someone else or until he verbally declared the boy was not suitable anymore.

 The boy knew it was cruel to think that way but he wanted another boy to appear soon and be more of the liking of the general. He didn’t cared what happened to that other boy, he just wanted to be replaced in order to go home and become a scientist as his parents had once promised him. He had only attended a few lessons with a known master of the city when he was picked up by the general in a crowded street. He had gotten lost going to class and that had been his downfall.     
 But not all were anxious to be rejected. In another pool, a younger man was been honored with the most delicious wine and a nice ration of roasted boar. He was the young son of a general that had become an official too in Northern Africa. He had combatted a tribe there that had tried to liberate some slaves. The man had won, making his father and the empire very proud of him. So he had chosen a boy too to accompany him but the difference was they had agreed on all of it before.

 The boy was not from Rome. He wasn’t a kid with a family or with any prospects. No one really knew this, but he had been one of the many people captured in Africa to become slaves. His skin was dark but not as dark as to draw looks from everyone he encountered. He was beautiful and that was an advantage in a society were beauty was so important. The young military had seen that and liberated him with the condition that he should remain on his side as long as he desired.

 Strangely but not uncommon in these exchanges, the two men formed a very tight and deep relationship. They travelled together from those far lands to the capital and in the process got to know each other and taught one another things about themselves and about their worlds. The father of the young military man was not thrilled by his company but decided not to do anything about it because he was too proud at the moment to spoil his boy’s happiness. But he felt something had to be done in the long run.

 In the baths, the boy and the young military were side by side, holding hands and telling stories to the group that was around them. Everyone listened and laughed and sobbed in the right moments, asking questions and being curious in the most charming way possible. Of course, many of them were spies and others were poor trying to infiltrate the higher levels of society. But no one really cared because even there, with everyone naked in hot steamy water, people were still not fully themselves; they still hid some of their secrets and real feelings.

 No one would ever see any of those men do more with the boy than touching. That was all that was permitted in the bathhouse, by law. It was in their homes, their private dwellings, were every lie was shed and only the truth remained with all these gods that dressed like soldiers. And they did believe they were gods, or almost at least. They knew that they were better than others, smarter and much more valiant. They didn’t have the necessity to do anything else than be. That way people honored them everywhere they went and applauded their every thought, word or act, just because of they were. And their companions, boys or girls or women or other military men, were glad to be there to see it all.

 But not everyone was happy. In another pool, three military men cared only for the warm water and the food. They had no one tending to their needs or asking them to tell stories. That was because they had yelled away anyone who got close to them from the first day they had came back from the field. These men were a group that battled barbarians in the northern borders and had been together for many years. They knew each other from their first training and, although one could not see it, they were glad to be together and alive.

 However, there was no real happiness as many of their men had been killed by the savages. It has to be understood that in that group there was a head, a men with grey eyes called Decimus, but every decision was agreed on by every single member of the group. When they left the capital, they were seven men from the best families in the empire, ready to do what was needed to defend their land. But in the process of defending that land, four had died in the hands of the enemy. Their deaths had been atrocious and laid inside the brains of the three many that steam tried to relax.

 The women that brought the fruit often let some skin be seen by the men so they would initiate business with them. But the group of three man didn’t care at all about breasts or legs or anything else than their troubled memories. They weren’t seeking young boys like the others and had no mind to be thinking in romance or sexual pleasure. They just wanted to be left alone with their sore bodies and their ghosts, who were all there with them, reminding them of every single moment of the battle, again and again and again.

 They had refused real medical attention and also the presence of healers that would care for their wounds right there in the bathhouse. They just didn’t want to talk to anyone. They were voluntarily sinking in their own nightmares, feeling that they did not deserve a better luck that their friends that had died in battle. They felt that real justice by the Gods would have been to kill them all on the field, leaving all with the honor of having defended the empire and all that it stood for.

 Yet, they were soaking in a bathhouse, feeling the pain of something that would never happen. The pain was stronger because the bond between those seven men was too strong. It was friendship but it was also love that linked one to the other. Forever they would feel the presence of the others and the ominous feeling that something else should have happened and that their lives should have ended in a different way.

 The steam of the bathhouse had that peculiarity, of making everything possible and impossible at the same time.

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015

A character

   She sat down on the edge of the bed, naked, and just stayed there for several minutes. She then glances at the man that was sleeping in the bed and she realized she found him repulsive. There was no real reason but she felt very uncomfortable around him and decided to dress up and leave. The woman picked up her things from the floor and put them on fast and in silence. Anyway, she could have been loud and the man wouldn’t have woken up. He was snoring and drooled, making her think what was she thinking. Once the woman had everything, she grabbed her purse, which she had left on a chair, and walked out the room. She didn’t really take a look at the guy’s apartment, she knew it would be filthy and tasteless, a mirror of his own personality.

 Once she arrived on the street, she felt more free. Her name was Marina, or at least that was the name she used to sign her paintings. She was a proper artist, painting and sculpting professionally for some years now and been very recognized by it. The man she had just been with probably had no idea what the artistic world was like or how famous she was to other people. But he hadn’t been with him to be recognized, so she couldn’t really blame him for that. She had found him in a bar and had decided she needed to have sex and just went for it with him. He seemed like the kind of guy that would pick up any girl after been offered a drink, so it wasn’t difficult to convince him. She was now regretting her choice as the guy lived very far and now she had to take a bus home. Calling someone to pick her up wasn’t really an option.

lunes, 1 de junio de 2015

Twenty seven

   No, this is not a tale of fiction. What I’m going to be saying in the next paragraphs is all real and why shouldn’t it be? It’s not all about having wild different ideas everyday. Today I decided to try something different because it’s my birthday. No, congratulations are not demanded or needed but they are appreciated. What I want to talk about is the effect this day had over be, what I think about turning a certain age, about the day, about all the fuss around it and how I feel about everything related to turning twenty seven years old today.

 Yes, I’m not that old and maybe you’ll think that I have nothing to complain about or valuable to say but I do. Because I’m only three years away from a limit that separates me between adulthood and been a young man. Of course, adulthood may begin before turning thirty. Many say the body stops growing at twenty five years old, so maybe that’s the real limit. Who cares? It’s not only a biological boundary but also one that, in this society at least, confronts us with who we are and how we do what we do. And to be honest I haven’t done anything worth stating in my thirtieth birthday as a great achievement.

 I personally don’t count education as an achievement. Why? Because I do not live in difficult conditions or at the edge of society. I have a relatively easy access to education from where my parents put me in society and there’s no real challenge in me entering or coming out with a diploma out of a academic facility. I’m not saying at all that I’m smart. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not, and certainly I cannot tell for myself. But the truth is that anyone who pays an education will receive a prize for it after a while. It’s not a prize because of what you learned but because of what you paid. And that may be a hard reality so let’s move on.

 I have a school diploma, a college diploma and a postgraduate diploma. So, I’m set right? In this society, according to my educational stats, I should have a great job and a nice seat from where to look at life from. Well, I don’t. What I have today is not a product of anything I’ve done but of the efforts made by my parents. Being my birthday and all, I think it’s appropriate to thank them for all of that big effort, for everything they’ve done over the years to make sure my life is the best they can give to me. I have clothing, food, a bed and I have never worked in my life. I think it’s fair to say they did a great job.

 However, every person must be capable to sustain itself without any outer help, right? In this society, in any society to be accurate, people are required to start making money as soon as possible, first learning a skill or doing whatever there is to do to have money and then going up the ladder that leads to a better life, a better job and son on. Well, I haven’t got that. I ‘ve never had the need or the yearning to work. Maybe most people won’t get that but I just haven’t had to work. That’s it. If I could I wouldn’t do anything for life but after my last diploma was shipped to my house, I had to start looking for a job and that has been the story of my life for the last two years. And no one has given me a chance to do anything, at least not for a pay, and I’m too old to be bullied into working for nothing. So there you have it.

 I don’t really like to talk about it because I know what people think when I tell them I don’t have a job. People think that if someone isn’t paying you to do something, anything, it’s because you’re just not good for anything. People that have jobs tend to think they are superior to others just because of that and it’s always more obvious when you are this age. People like to feel they have power because they have money: they pay trips, they have a car (which I’m not interested in having, but that’s another story), they move out of their parents home, they have social lives and so on.

 I have nothing of that. Do I want to? I guess. I don’t really know. There are many think I don’t know and all I do to avoid getting crazy is writing. Because I don’t write only because I feel good doing it, because it’s the only thing I feel I can do right, but because it avoids entering into territories I prefer to live alone in myself. In the past, I have been known to hating myself so much, so deeply, so violently, and I don’t want anything to have with all of that again. I want to be far away from that black pit in which all of those hurtful feelings are. The last time I fell, it was awful. And… I always walk by it. Maybe one day I’ll finally for good.

 On a more cheerful note, I don’t really like birthdays. Surprised? I bet you’re not. I think it’s just one of the many ways to control time, to be ashamed of things that you can’t control and ashamed of the things that you can actually do something about, like that job we were talking earlier. Because I know very well it’s pointless to blame others for my failures. I am my problem and, possibly, I am my answer. But how to answer when the question is not all that clear?

 Birthdays to me are very personal, moments that I prefer to spend almost alone, only with my family close by. I don’t like big celebrations because, to be honest once again, I don’t think there’s something to celebrate. Being alive is not good enough for me, not to celebrate at least. And going old is really not something that I like to think about. Because it reminds me of what I haven’t accomplished and who I’m not and that, obviously, unsettles me. I just like to have a piece of cake, something to drink and to eat and that’s all. I don’t like big gifts or parties or going out because of that. I don’t see the point in all of it.

 I would love for someone to really read this because I feel it’s the most personal thing that I’ve written on this blog. I know most hits are just people that open the page and then close it when they see they have to read a lot. Or maybe that’s not interesting at all but it’s kind of a big deal for me because this blog is all about my writing, my fiction creations, not about me as an individual. Actually, I don’t think I can call myself a writer because I write. There is a weight, a universe to the words and I don’t think I have what it takes to be considered an actual writer. Will I get there? I have no idea. I don’t think I can answer that because I don’t like to pretend I know things that are impossible to predict. Optimism isn’t really my thing and reality doesn’t care about what you desire, about how cute you think the world is.

 Besides all of this, there is the “relationship” side of turning a year older. Of course, we don’t get old only on our birthday but every single day. The birthday is only there to mark the change of a number, that’s it. So what have I achieved, relationship wise, in twenty seven years? Shit. That’s it. I haven’t done shit in all that time. Maybe there’s no surprise here either, but I don’t really believe in love as everyone imagines it to be. That beautiful romance full of stupid little phrases and words and corny moments. That love is bullshit. Same for the one that lasts forever, another piece of bullshit. Love may exist but it’s something beyond we can express in words and not only purely romantic, romance is just the stupid part of it. But I don’t really give a shit to be honest.

 I do think seeing is believing, so I have no way to think that love exists if I have never felt it. And I haven’t. I’ve had close relationships; I wouldn’t go as far to say they were deeply committed relationships, in no way profound or enriching. That is the truth. Sex? Sure, like a hundred years ago but sure. But sex is just biological, we are designed to have sex, to enjoy it, to just do it and that’s amazing. But I grew tired of it once I realized people didn’t see me as me when we had sex. They saw me as something else. Yeah, something and not someone. That didn’t feel go and with my personal issues, it wasn’t the best combo. So I just stopped.

 Anyway, this is my twenty seventh birthday, meaning that I have three more years to be a proper adult in the eyes of the public. Of course, to me, the public can go and fuck themselves, unless they start paying me for something. Because let’s face it, that’s all we are about: money and how to live through it. If you don’t think so, you’re in denial. And fuck, I want that money to stop feeling I’m a failure so fuck it. But who knows, maybe things will change a lot in the following year. My experience tells me nothing will change but who knows.

 To finish, I have to state that I’m not being ungrateful. As I said before, I thank my parents every day for what they did for me. I will always be grateful for that. But I’m not like others, I do not parade myself around people and tell them how proud I am for doing things everyone does or at least everyone I know does. Because, of course, I can only care for my micro cosmos and not for the whole world, at least not now. I just think I haven’t done shit yet and that’s it really. Will I ever do something that makes me proud? Who knows? Certainly not me. But hey, I’m turning twenty seven so fuck what anyone thinks. For today, and for many days to be exact, I just don’t care.