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

miércoles, 20 de junio de 2018

Survival


   Fire blurred my vision every single time I leaned over my right leg to run. It hurt like nothing else had ever hurt me, but I had no choice. Running required me to be agile, not minding what was happening with the rest of my body. Those legs that had carried me around all my life had to work at the top of their game, never minding anything else. I felt the taste of iron in my mouth and my mind seemed to leave my body for a couple of moments, but somehow I moved on through the night, like a wraith between rocks and chopped trees.

 When light finally broke the darkness of the night, there was not much to look at anyway. The fields had been almost carbonized and smoke filled every single corner of the once green and lush environment. I stopped and tried to hear the world around me. My ears were buzzing and my head was turning like crazy but I tried anyway but I couldn’t hear a thing. It was then when I noticed that my leg was in a horrible state, a large part opened and spilling blood all over. However, the pain was not as bad as it was supposed to be.

 I tasted iron again and realized I had bitten my tongue while running. There was blood on my head too but I didn’t touch myself to know where it was coming from. It was urgent to find a place to get the proper help I need because, after all that had happened, I was still alive. They had sent troops after me, I had been strapped to a torture table for days and yet there I was, in the middle of a field that they had apparently abandoned. I started walking once more, trying to find a proper exit to that horrible place.

 I might have wondered through the smoke for several hours. I knew it was still day because there was light but it was very hard to see where the Sun was exactly. I tried to identify it a couple of times but it was absolutely useless. So I moved on, walking through the scorched plains, hoping to find a place to rest for a while. I have to confess I never thought of anyone else during that time, I had only myself in mind. What would I be good for if I died? The only way to help others was if I made it alive to the other side.

 When light began to wane, I found the first untouched trees that I had seen in several days, maybe more. I had no idea how much time had passed since everything had started. But there they were, smelling like smoke, with the tips of their leaves burned, but alive nevertheless. I walked into the forest, with a frankly good mood. No one would enter the forest to only look for me. There was a lot more to do in the world than to go after one person that got away. Maybe they thought nature, or what remained of it, would finish the job and make my bones be food for the ground.

 In the dark, I eventually found something of use. It was a small village, made of about a dozen little houses. It looked like one of those places were people gather when they expect to be mining for something, one of those temporal towns that were built back in the day, when retrieving the remaining minerals was of outmost importance for the world. Now, all those miners and their families worked in the big factories in the cities. The old villages had been left to rot under the sun and the rain and everything else.

 Plants had overrun the place, flowers growing everywhere. The smoke around there was much less dense. I was able to breathe a little bit easier. I walked around and eventually found the little hut that had worked as the doctor’s office. Maybe they hadn’t been able to attract a proper doctor to that remote place, only a nurse or maybe someone that came once every two or three weeks to help as much as they could. As I expected, there wasn’t a lot to use around there but almost nothing was better than nothing at all.

 I cured my wounds with whatever there was around and I was lucky enough to discover a linen closet filled with clean sheets and other fabrics. I cut a large one in order to use as bandages for my wounds. My body felt a little better, especially when I lay down in a cot. There was only the light of the moon, which happened to be almost getting to its fullest state. The beautiful pearl color of its surface, visible past the sheet of smoke, made me think of the past, of simpler times that I had been lucky enough to live.

 I fell asleep, dreaming about things that I remembered but mostly about things I had no idea how to understand. It was obvious that I had begun to forget things. Their attempts to make me less of a human had actually worked, as I didn’t feel like my old self anymore. My dream did not make any sense and everyone in it, or most of them at least, felt as a fabrication of my mind or maybe even someone else’s. It was so disturbing, that I woke up very suddenly, sweating profusely and damning my humanity.

 I realized I had slept much more than I had thought. It was morning already and the sound of birds reached me. For a moment, it seemed very normal. But then I realized there was no way. The plain had been destroyed or at least most of it. It was improbable that wildlife would have found a way to survive the destruction of the war and all other things that had happened. I stood up and went running outside, realizing I was not dreaming at all. There was a bird singing somewhere close, and I wanted to see it. I wanted to remember what a bird looked like, one that was real.

 I walked, slowly, out of the smoky cloud that had covered me for hours, maybe even more time. I seemed to be walking on the edge of the forest. The bird was chirping away, probably flying away slowly. I eventually arrived to a place where the trees began to be shorter and there were more rocks and reddish soil. It was then when I saw the little bird making the noise. It was small, brown in color and a little bit puffy. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was happy and talented and free. That was the most important: free.

 I wanted to go closer, to touch him, at least for a moment. But another sound cut me off from desire. The bird seemed to notice it too because it suddenly stopped singing. It stayed on its branch, silently staring right into a group of trees. Then, suddenly and very fast, a bullet rushed through the air and blew up the bird into oblivion. I saw its feathers fall slowly to the ground. I saw beauty being destroyed just because it was there. I felt enraged but also very much confused. I really didn’t like that at all.

 A group of two men and a woman came from the trees. I had walked back a bit just before, hiding behind the thickest tree I had been able to find. I trembled when I realized who they were: Ravagers. They were mercenaries that captured rebels in order to surrender them in exchange for money or food. Sometimes even more ammo for their guns. They didn’t care at all for the rights of others to live or to think differently. That was all done a long time ago. They had sold their souls for a cheap price.

 The woman grabbed the bird from the ground and did something I only heard, because I couldn’t make myself watch any of it. I only heard the crackling of bones and then laughter. I knew of their sadistic ways, identical to those of the people in power. There was no real difference between them. They had all been complacent in what had happened in the country. In the world, even. I only waited for them to go and they eventually did, walking back into the trees, their voices unable to hurt my ears anymore.

 When I felt better, I decided to go back to the village and grab everything I could find that might be useful. I used an old rag to make a sort of bag and put everything I could inside. I put that ball of stuff almost at the end of a thick stick I had found in the forest, getting ready for my next move.

 That night, I decided to walk in the opposite direction of everything that I had seen the day before. They had been the ones to almost kill me. My legs and feet walked on, hoping to move away from everything that had happened. Nevertheless, deep down, I knew that wasn’t at all possible.

viernes, 1 de junio de 2018

He was me


   For a split second, I had been unable to recognize him. But then, as I drew closer, I realized that I had known him my entire life. The only thing was that, I hadn’t seen him in a long while. He was still inside my head but only as a fading memory, as something that wasn’t real anymore but does not want to die and disappear. I looked at him and started crying in silence. Suddenly, the past came rushing in like a flood, filling every corner of my being. Because he was me, only much younger and way more innocent than I am now.

 I hadn’t been able to see myself like that in a long time and I seemed to have changed. Well, it was expected to be that way because many years had passed, more than a decade in fact. Not only had my physical appearance changed a bit but also what I had inside my head. It was like seeing a mirage in the middle of the desert and just standing away from it, hoping it won’t vanish. Because if it does then it doesn’t exist anymore and it fails to become something real, something that I can point to when trying to explain who I am.

 That was one of those damn questions I wanted to answer so bad back then. I really wanted to know who the hell I was and how I had become who I was and how I could move forward. The need to know myself was first and foremost in my mind, so much that it was shortly after when I started stepping outside of my comfort zone, making it easier for others to take advantage of me without me actually realizing it. I was so much younger in mind and body, and so silly and plain. But I guess I was also brave, beyond my wildest dreams.

 I know that because I can see myself now, what I do and what I’ve done and all of that can only be the result of someone having the balls to run away from his or her life and just go for it, whatever “it” is. I never realized the dangers I had faced and that many of the moments I had forgotten were forgotten for a reason. Because it was then, and not before, when I realized that life is not so simple and so easy as many make it seem. Life can be horrible and tiring and just too much for a young person to handle. Just too much sometimes.

 I had no idea before that, of all the things that awaited me. And I know many think that it’s precisely that what gives life its meaning. That mystery and the unknown are supposed to be what living is all about. But they never tell us how frightening it is or how horrible it can be sometimes. You do things and then you realized you have crossed several lines created by mankind in order to controls us and you freak out because you’re not that innocent little boy anymore. You’re a grown man doing things, left and right, and they could be a deal breaker in life with many people or even yourself.

 A movie was the one that made me think all about this. A beautiful simple movie rocked my brain and made me remember moments and facts that I had completely forgotten. Moments populated with actions and thoughts and people, all of them part of that big dream we all call the past. And that dream keeps getting larger and larger and I have no idea if I should keep believing in that dream. Maybe that was the reason why, all of a sudden, everything exploded inside my head. Maybe I have to make a choice.

 But I don’t want to. Because choices in this world are never permanent, they are never something you take to your grave. Choices always get mutated and manipulated, whether you do it or others do it. Nothing is permanent, so why should I do something that makes anything seem forever when, I know for a fact, that forever doesn’t really exist? It’s a thing in our heads that makes us think about our legacy or how capable we are to survive our own lives but the truth is that we don’t. We die and that’s it for us. Nothing more.

 Watching the “me” from the past makes me feel very bad, it hurts me very deep. I disappointed him, so I try to avoid looking directly into his eyes. Because I know that even that figment of my imagination, of that past we keep recalling, can understand that my life did not get to be what we always thought it would be. The paths I walked on are not the ones we always thought we would walk on. And my life is not the life of someone in a movie, but the life a lonely boy who doesn’t really matter in this world.

 None of us really matter, by the way. I don’t want to sound as if everything had happened to me and only me. It is the world that doesn’t give a shit about any of us and that’s why our pasts or presents or futures are not important. Even if we become the worst person on the planet tomorrow, nature has an expiration date on all of us, and that will never change. So the mistakes we’ve done and will do, are never really important in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that we think too much about ourselves as a species.

 Thinking condemns us every single day or at least it should. Most people are drones who live their lives from one side to the other, never really thinking about themselves in a profound way. They fill their lives with things in order to fill holes that they don’t even know if they have or not.  They have friendships and relationships and try to be as similar as the norm says, because if you step out of the line traced by people before you, then you’re on your own and no one will help you survive. You will have to learn how to navigate life by yourself and that’s scary, so few people actually go down that way.

 The only thing I can do now is to wait for my memories to go back to sleep, deep inside my head. They will fall in a deep slumber because they know I have no use for them right now. But they will always be there, waiting in the dark for me to need them or for them to teach me a lesson about myself, again.

 As for the movie, it’s something that happened and now it’s gone. I will probably reflect on it some more but, as I have no one to talk to about it, the need to have that on my mind will also die down. And he will go back deep inside my soul and not comeback for a very long while.

 However, I’m sure I’ll see him again. At least once more before the end.

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.