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

lunes, 30 de abril de 2018

You have a letter


Dear Richard,

 I write this letter hoping it will find its way to you in these moments of war and uncertainty. For a long time now, I have been thinking about you and about the moments we spent together two years ago on my European trip. I know father wanted me to open my eyes and be receptive of all the things I could learn abroad, but the truth is that I only had eyes for you during the whole time. They wanted me to get interested in sciences and arts, but all I wanted was to talk to you about anything. I just wanted to hear your voice.

 Hopefully, this confession letter won’t strike you as odd or coming from a strange place. After all, we did have a moment to speak and you dedicated some very kind words to my person, words that I haven’t forgotten and that have been stuck in my brain for all of this time. I write them over and over in my notebook and when we had class, just before things got worse, I would daydream about that moment over and over again. You could say, Richard that I fell in love with you right then and there.

 Apologies are something I have to ask of you because I know this comes as a surprise. You knew I liked you and I know, or at least I understood, that you thought I was at least interesting. I remember that we were having wine in Lisbon. My father and sister had gone with your aunt to a party in our honor. And I had stayed behind telling them I had lost my notebook, which I had hidden carefully in a drawer. You stayed on with me, pretending to look for the notebook, but you knew it was a lie.

 I have to be clear: I wanted for you to take me on your arms and just stay there with me forever. I remember that, through the window, I could see a cobblestone street lined with beautiful colorful buildings. And beyond that, there was the ocean and up there the sun, shining bright as if it was celebrating our moment. I should’ve asked you for that hug, even if it was for a split second. I just needed it then and I have to confess I still need it right now, in these difficult times.

 Every day we get word from men dying in the fields, men we knew because of father’s job or my mother’s family. My sister’s fiancé, as you certainly know, was killed rather recently. It was horrible and she had to go and pick up the body to give him a proper burial. He didn’t have any parents, so she now mourns as if they had been married. It’s tragic and it scares me because I have no idea who is going to be next.

 Father has been the best kind of parent during these times. I had decided, for a while, to enlist and go to war like all other young men, but he stopped me and told me that there was no way he would lose his son over a war he didn’t believe in. He vouched for me before the men that travel the land picking up young men to send them to die. He told them I had severe health issues that would disable me from playing any role, no matter the importance, in the many battles to be fought at war.

 He had several doctors write different kinds of reports informing military officials of my health. According to those papers, which I read one afternoon after helping mother selling some of her most beloved pieces of porcelain, I’m only a few meters away from death. I have contagious diseases, problems with my bones and muscles, as well as mental issues that would scare anyone from taking me anywhere, to any kind of job. It scares me for my future but, again, I appreciate my father for doing what he did.

 What about you? There’s no war there but I hear there’s a lot of unrest because of some political thing happening. I’m sorry, I haven’t been able to read a lot about the actual situation, this kind of life we are living now is quite exhausting and we find ourselves getting up very early and then staying up until very late. We haven’t gone to war but the city and the government always has something to ask father. We have been forced to entertain military officials and diplomats and even refugees from certain areas.

 I write you this letter in the middle of the night, during a time I should be using to sleep. But don’t worry; thinking of you reading all of this is even more comforting than sleeping. I tend to have a sore back when I wake up and my body feels like levitating, as if I wasn’t really here. I prefer to avoid all of that, at least for this night. Would you hug me right now, if you were here with me in the night? Would I be able to smell that gorgeous scent you wore during the trip? I loved that scent.

 I have tried to look for several ingredients to make a similar kind of aroma but I haven’t been able to find the perfect kind of wood. As you know, the house is surrounded by several trees and we have a small forest beyond the fields, but none of those trees has the right kind of smell I want. Nevertheless, I have found other components and have been creating them in the basement, with that old chemistry kit my father bought for me in Brussels. I never thought I’d use it but, when I have a bit of free time, I spent it down there trying to find my way to you, more or less.

 I promise that, if I find the right ingredients, I will send some of it to you in a small bottle for your personal use. My father has more connections than ever now and, with luck, this letter and the eventual scent would arrive in your hands in a short period of time. How I wish it could be me to give you that present and every other present by hand! I know it is impossible right now but something that makes me going is the hope to see your face once again before I die. And I hope that moment is not very soon.

 Finally, I wanted to tell you that my appreciation of you is not only physical but also of the mind. Of course I was astonished to see you swim that time in the South of France. I have to confess I had to pull myself together in order not to reveal what I felt to everyone that day. But you looked beautiful or even more than that. Maybe it was the light, or the food or just me. I have no idea what it was but I know how I felt… I just hope I can see you again someday, better sooner that later but I whatever life makes of it.

 Before bidding goodbye, I have to ask you to burn this letter after you read it. I cannot allow anyone besides you knowing about all of this. One never knows who lurks in the dark, which has picked up something that we might have left unattended for. My sister asked some questions after the trip and I had to dismiss all of it as her imagination acting up because of her fears about her fiancé and the war, all of which ended up happening. I felt horrible afterwards but she never asked anything again.

 Anyway, this is it. I have to sleep now and you have things to do too.

 If this letter confuses you in any way, please don’t respond. I’ll understand.


 All the best,


 Tom.

lunes, 16 de abril de 2018

Every day is a raining day


   Every day is a raining day. Or at least that’s what it seems like these days. A storm follows another storm, which follows one more after that. There are only a few hours each day for people to get from one place to the other without being drenched in water. The rest of the time is almost impossible to look beyond oneself. There’s this mist that accompanies the rain, a strange vapor that seems to set in whenever water comes down pouring and those are the things some people thrive in.

 Not most but some. Some like to live in the dark, in alleys and dimly lit corridors. They even fear the light and what it brings, the people it lets into their lives. They’d rater stay in the shade with the other creatures of the darkness, as it is more comfortable for them and for the dealings they do with others like them. We all know what happens in those places, in those corners of the world we never really see but that we can imagine, with the distorted help of media, such as movies and television shows.

 The truth is that the darkness is way darker and grittier than we think. It’s not just about ugly people doing ugly things. It’s about every single kind of person doing things that we cannot even imagine. It’s about their lives, taking a turn for the worse and having to head for those shadows in order to survive, probably doing things that we think we would never do. But we haven’t fallen to the darkness, not yet anyways. We don’t even fear that happening because we feel it will never happen to us.

 But it does, all the time and everywhere. There are people right now; doing things they have to do in order to survive the day, maybe even to get some money to have something to eat. It won’t be a nice meal, a complete set of vegetables and proteins. It will most likely be something not very sanitary but cheap enough to sustain a body and a soul for a little longer. It’s what they have and what they can afford. And most of the times, they don’t even care. They just need the fuel to keep going.

 Eating is not a priority in their lives. Some of them don’t even do it often and they have lost all taste for things that they may have loved in their past, their better past. Food is a luxury to think about and to have. They go seeking other stuff, harder stuff; in order to be able to stay up all day doing whatever it is they need to do. Some of them sell drugs, some others sell themselves. Some kill and some are escaping people that want them dead. It’s the lowest and grimiest circle of life, one that barely exists and its filled with the worst this world can produce, which happens to be more than one would think.

 Once they hear thunder in the distance, they run to their hiding spots. These creatures, these people if that’s how you want to call them, they don’t really have a home. They have places to stay and the most fortunate ones amongst the unfortunate have a room somewhere that they can call their own. But it never feels like a proper home because most of the things there are not really theirs, the place is not theirs and they can never stay there for long. It’s just a place to go if they need such a thing, and a storage room.

 Everything is different in the dark. Not only you have to be stronger than in most places, you also have to be a bit smarter than the rest or at least more intuitive than in the real world. People will want to deceive you and there’s not really someone to trust fully. There are no friends or family, they are just people that are ok in one moment and then enemies or strangers the next second. It changes that fast because it has to, because it is a world in a never-ending flux.

 They also feel, like us. That’s not really different. The thing is they have to mask those feelings and even make them harder to manifest. They will love someone if the proper situation arises, they will also hate them with ease. But feelings can be dangerous to have in such a place because they are a weakness others can exploit. So you have to be tough, you have to be a rock even if you do feel like any other human being. Because they’re also humans, just ones that have ran out of any luck.

 Luck is not only about being fortunate enough to have a loving family and the right set of opportunities in life. Luck is also that thing that always seems to help you in moments when nothing seems to be able to give you a proper hand. We are all lucky, up here. In one way or the other. But down there, there is no luck. You actively have to know how to survive; you have to think your every move. One misstep, and you are out. And when you are out in the darkness, the consequences are much more serious.

 The darkness feeds on those who inhabit it. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is very tense and can break in any moment. That’s why those who live in it have to be careful. They don’t have one second to stop and think about life and feelings and how everything around them happens or doesn’t happen. They don’t have that luxury. They have to keep moving, keep doing things in order for their head to stay above water level. Because if for only little moment they forget where they are or who they are, they will drowned in the deep darkness of the world.

 And there’s nothing or no one that can help after that. In this world you are on your own and that is even more of a reality down there. Things may hurt and be scary but the real trick is to adapt fast and use who you are to stay in the most advantageous position you can be in.

 It’s not always easy and many; actually most of those who live in the dark, die without anyone else in the world knowing what ever happened to them. And that’s sad but its also not surprising seeing the kind of species we have become, one that is more than carnivorous but does eat one piece of meat.

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

No end


   As everyone celebrated on the streets and in their homes, Veronica wandered through the rubble trying to feel as happy as most people around her were. But it wasn’t possible or at least it was very hard to do so. Even smiling felt like a chore, like something you would do only to please people but not because you really felt it inside. There was a feeling of incompletion around, as if all the sacrifices of the war had not been enough to end every single type of hostility that many people harbored against one another.

 As she walked the streets, some lit and others not so much, she realized that the world after the war would be in chaos. Yes, everyone was cheering and celebrating right now, probably drinking stolen articles and launching fireworks that had been banned for so long. But after all of that happiness, a moment of truth and reflection would have to come and the atrocities of war would have to be addressed. For example, not everyone was on the same side, the winning side. Some people were not celebrating.

 Well, some of them were but just because they had to survive and keep on living. It was widely assumed that trials, of sorts, would emerge from the victorious side, condemning the losing side to many years in jail, banishment from the country or even death. Even if the maximum penalty had ever been enforced legally in the country, many of the victors would want the vanquished to be treated just as them treated others during the war. There were lots of executions, on the streets even.

 Veronica was actually just passing a street she knew very well, not only because it used to be a prime shopping spot before the war, but because many people were forced to stand in front of the former storefronts in order to be killed with guns. It was horrible to think about those moments, the images that would never going to leave anyone’s mind. That could never be overlooked, the fact that a large amount of the people now alive had killed at least one person over the last seven years.

 Everyone’s hands were tainted with blood; there wasn’t a single innocent, not even the children. They were used so many times to lure the kindness out of people, that all of their innocence had vanished. Many children were now celebrating the end of the war, just like adults. And the ones that were too small were orphans or just dead. Every single person had done something horrible during the war and now they chose not to remember that because it was a clear image of how disgusting and vile a human could get. So many atrocities in such a relatively short period of time.

 Veronica reached the gates of the Compound just as the night was darkest. She had to use a pocket lantern she had found days earlier, in order to go inside and check out the place for herself. The prison or camp or however you may call it, had been liberated only a few months before the end of the war but it looked as if it had happened many years ago. The place was covered in ash and debris, and the gates, doors and windows had been torn apart or had simply disappeared from sight.

 She walked from the entrance to a large yard area were she knew people had been selected. You see, not everyone was imprisoned in the same place. They had categories and each category had their own building in the premises of the Compound. The differences between each building were in the treatment given by the jailers. For example, former members of state entities and such would receive a better treatment there than homosexuals or blacks. Just the same as it had happened so many years ago, elsewhere.

 The Compound had surprisingly not been built by the losing side, as one would think. It had been built by the so-called winners, by the so-called heroes of the war. In some parts of the country, people were already designing statues for them to be put in every single park, in every single town. They had been the ones fighting for justice and freedom but they clearly didn’t respect their enemies’ rights at all. They were just as vile and vengeful as all the other people. They were not different.

 Veronica walked through the large yard in order to get to the only building that had been kind of spared by the last bombs the “enemy” had dropped from the sky. That was how the prison got its freedom. It hadn’t been an act of kindness. It was just the result of the last desperate attack from the would-be losers of the war. They had sent the few planes they still had and just bombarded the jail were their family members and friends had been imprisoned. They believed it was better to be dead that a prisoner.

 So pride made them act on that last move. And they succeed in destroying the prison and liberating some of their people from it. But only days later they would realize their days were counted and that their fate had already been sealed, well before the attack on the Compound. Veronica saw on the floor of the building some bone fragments, as well as fabric that used to be made into uniforms for the prisoners. There were also several metal plates and bowls, and a large assortment of cutlery. Maybe the prisoners had staged a mutiny as the bombs lit everything on fire.

 After a short time, she decided to leave the Compound through “the back door”, which was actually a large gap in the tall wall of the complex. She didn’t want to stay there too long in case the “winners” were patrolling the premises looking for someone to practice shooting with. She adjusted her backpack and walked on, towards very dark park covered with grand beautiful trees. The place was covered in shadows but even that way it felt like somewhere one would feel at ease.

 The park was one of the largest in the city and it was used to process many of the prisoners of the Compound. But apparently cold heads prevailed and no one ever really destroyed it on purpose or tore the trees down. Some of them had received damage from the bombs that were dropped in the nearby prison, but the building between the two sites had prevented the fire to really destroy the last green place in the city. It had been a miracle that most people were ignoring in that precise moment.

 Veronica walked along the central path of the park, hearing her steps on the stone and the wind blowing through the tree leaves. Everything felt so peaceful, and she was very glad to be there but even then she felt all of that could not be forever. She knew things were going to be bad for a while and she was alone and no one could just come and be with her. Her family had died during the war and those were not times of real friendship, just of convenient relationships that no one knew how long they would last.

 The best thing to do, maybe, was to leave the country altogether. It was a difficult choice to make and also a hard thing to achieve, but Veronica had nothing else to loose. She was carrying everything she owned on the backpack: some pieces of clothing and a couple of objects she had rescued from her former house. She had also stolen some food from a ruined supermarket, but that was it. She could easily walk her way towards the border and attempt to cross it. Or maybe get into a boat and sail away.

 Whatever she did, she had to do it quietly and carefully, as she had no intent of driving attention onto herself. No one was looking for her specifically, but everything around there was going to become very unstable and she knew that’s when unlikely things tend to happen the most.

 She decided to leave the city that night, taking advantage of most people celebrating the end of the war. As they raised glasses, told jokes, remembered family and friends, Veronica would banish into the night and attempt to forever disappear from that other night, one that would never end.

miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2018

Life is strange


   His body felt warm and I liked that. I hugged him, tightening the grip with my arms, because I was actually afraid he might leave at any moment. But, for some reason I never asked, he stayed that night with me. We made love again and he told me he loved me as he kissed my neck and I caressed his thigh. It was so much, maybe too much, for just one night. But I decided not to ask anything, not to think about it all too much. I didn’t want to ruin the moment with a question that could be answered another time.

 Nowadays, our relationship has evolved greatly. That was three years ago. We are now married and his son lives with us. He had him with a woman he thought he loved, right out of high school but it wasn’t what he thought it was. However, from that weak union came a strong bond in the form of Nicholas, a bright kid that has made me rethink my role as a man. I’m not his father, not biologically and I haven’t adopted him yet, but he calls me Dad anyway, without thinking about it too much.

 We live in a house we were able to buy with both our salaries. The cost was high but we knew exactly what we wanted. It has a large main bedroom and two spar bedrooms for visitors. Thomas, my husband, decorated Nicholas’ room personally, putting on the walls every single thing the kid liked and making it removable in order to be adjusted as the years go by. He dedicated long hours to that project and refused my help, as he wanted to do something special for his kid after years of a difficult relationship.

 Thomas and the kid’s mother had been fighting for their rights for a long time until it was agreed she would have the kid for one month and then Thomas would get the kid for the following month and so on. I thought it was cruel to use a kid like that, as a thing to put on or off the counter. But I never said a word because that’s something for Thomas to fix and tend to. We even fought several times because he seemed too focused on his kid and his former girlfriend than in our life together.

 I have to confess I got to be a lot meaner than I ever was. For starters, I never liked the kid before he came in to live with us. I resented him in a way, seeing how Thomas loved to spend every waking moment with him and I just got some weekends and not even that. Our relationship had passed from one with a lot of romance and sex, to one where there was only a random kiss a week and some conversation that never went anywhere. Even after we got married, I felt he wasn’t mine yet and maybe he would never be. I neglected to see he was a father first, my husband later.

 The kid would come in some weekends, from time to time, but it would often be a very tense time for Thomas and for me as well. Not only because he would spend every single second with the kid but because he would spend the rest of his time talking about his former girlfriend and how he thought she should run his life. I heard so much about her for so long. The few chances I got to meet her; I avoided the opportunity at every turn. I didn’t want to feel even more threatened and unsure of myself.

 I even decided to attend a shrink once a week. I’ve never believed in those people but I thought it would be much better than just staying at home on the edge of screaming at Thomas or, God forbid, striking the kid. So I excused myself telling them I was going to meet my parents but I really spent an hour with Dr. Mendelsohn, who was as useless as I had thought before attending our appointments. The only good thing was that I wasn’t at home anymore. As I’m not made of money, I stopped going after one month.

 After that, I decided to really spend my days with my parents. After I had moved out of the house, I didn’t really got to speak with them that much, only over the cellphone or something. So I began cooking with my mom again and talking politics with dad. It was like back when I was younger and I found myself yearning for those years. It was hard because I was depressed often but at least I had them back then. They were always there for me to talk or at least just be there, to be present.

 Eventually, Thomas confronted me about going to my parents practically every single weekend. I confronted him too, telling him I had no interest in meddling into his affairs, into his life before I entered into it. He said he wanted me to be in his present fully, involving myself with his child and even with the woman that had brought him to life. But I told him the truth: I couldn’t make myself want something I didn’t. I had never wanted children or the past to come knocking on my door. I just wanted him.

 That was the moment our relationship took a deep dive. We didn’t yell or anything like that after that argument. We just fell silent and suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed a suitcase and started putting some of my clothes there. I told him it was temporary, because it was clear we needed space to think about what was happening. I reminded him he was my husband right before heading out. He grabbed me by the wrist and told me I was his husband too. I won’t lie: fear ran through my spine right then and there. I have no idea why but that’s what happened.

 I moved in with my parents and I asked them not to say a word about the whole thing. I would just continue to go to work and fulfill my responsibilities without any delay or doubt. I would just go on with my life because stop it altogether would be fatal. Of course, I cried every night thinking about him and how the man I used to know was no longer there. I trusted him to think about it all and come back to me with a proper response. He never did, at least not in the way I had always thought.

 He came to my place almost a year later. I had decided to rent a small apartment downtown, as I realized my parents already had a life between the two and me being there was not the life they had envisioned in their golden years. So I decided to move on, never minding anything else in my life. I even got a promotion, which was celebrated with a big party where I almost kissed another man but didn’t. I felt like shit after that but at least I stopped myself, despite the large amounts of alcohol in my blood.

 The day Thomas came, I was cleaning my place up. I stopped everything and we sat down in the living room, which consisted on a sofa against he wall, facing a flat screen TV. There was a moment of silence and then I told him I hated when silence feel between us. It seemed unnatural. He finally spoke, saying he had come to me to tell me the years of litigation were done and that he had finally gained a good amount of time with his son. I was happy for him, because he was finally ecstatic with the news.

 I thought that was it. He didn’t seem to have anything else to say, so I stood up and told him I needed to finish cleaning soon, as I had to leave later. It was a lie; I just wanted him out of my sight. But then he came close to me and hugged me as I had hugged me so many years ago. He told me he loved me and that he missed me every single day. He even kneeled and asked me to marry him, which was nice because I had been to one to do that the first time. I said yes, because I do love him.

 We then had the best sex I have ever had. It’s strange how you take some things for granted, like how much better it is when your partner is someone that knows your body thoroughly and has a very good idea about what you like, what it is that makes you feel in heaven.

 I have no idea how, but he transferred that knowledge to the other parts of our lives. That’s how I got to understand him better and to love his son, maybe as much as he did. Now I found myself packing lunches and preparing camping weekends. Life is so strange… But it’s life.