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

viernes, 8 de septiembre de 2017

Liz

   The album filled with pictures from her childhood had to be somewhere handy. She would always bring it out when her children visited and now it was nowhere to be seen. She looked for it beneath the sofa, inside very shelf and drawer and even on the small and cramped space above the house that people called an attic but it was not as big as she thought an attic should be. She had to bring out a stick to bring down the stairs and at her age it was not an easy thing to do.

 Liz was her name and she had never been too fond of her name. Her mother had named her after Queen Elizabeth and her father had agreed. She would always ask her dad why he had let that happened and he never thought she was speaking seriously. The truth was that Liz didn’t feel anything like a queen, specially living in such a secluded place, when most people didn’t even care about such things. She would have wanted a simpler name, a more normal one in a way.

 Finally, she found the album behind a big chair near the curtain. It was right then when the wind broke the glass and she was forced to duck down, scared a big piece would cut her face or any part of her body. After all, Liz was all alone in that house and the only way to get to a shelter was to go down the road towards the town, where a big sports venue had been built more to shelter people when hurricanes happened than for hosting sporting events, rare in the island.

 When she realized the glass had fallen far from her body, Liz stood up and decided it was time to get into the car. The keys were on the dining table, next to her jacket. It was a bright yellow jacket, which came with a hat of the same color. Her niece had bought it for her in a big fancy store in New York and she had to accept it in order not to make her sad. The truth was that Liz had never liked yellow but with that rain, the jacket had finally become pertinent in her small world.

 Before heading outside, she stood up in the middle of her living room, looking around, trying to remember if she had left something. There was a backpack with some clothes in the car, along with Jim, an orange cat that had accompanied her for the last three years. Besides that, she had her album beneath the jacket, to protect it from the water, and she was closing her right hand around the car keys. She then realized that, maybe; she would never see her home ever again. That realization sunk her heart a bit but her feet suddenly moved.

 Moments later, she was shaking her gray her in the car and Jim was meowing like crazy. He was sitting in the copilot’s seat and he seemed to be a bit scared of the storm. Honestly, it was much stronger that what Liz had predicted. The wind was moving the car, so it felt as if she was in the middle of an earthquake. On the windshield, lots of water was pouring down. It was impossible to see beyond the car’s hood. The lights of the town were nowhere to be seen and the sun had been lost.

 Nevertheless, Liz turned on the ignition and started moving her car very slowly down the road. It had been a great idea by her son Richard to pave the road all the way down to the village. They had made a big garage sale and with the money they had managed to fix the access to the house. It was one of those things George had always hated about living right there, far from his beloved ocean. But the properties down there could only be afford by the wealthy and they weren’t any of that.

 It had been George who had discovered the island, in a way. He had been there while doing business and he had fallen in love with birds and the ocean and the lush green soft hills all over the place. When he visited, the island only had a couple hundred people living in it. His insurance business could do great with things like hurricanes. Liz laughed when remembering that, she thought the irony of him never seen such a storm living there having insured the whole island was just too funny.

 Maybe too funny indeed because it was right then when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator and the car when downhill fast for a few meters before she could react properly and hit the breaks. When the car stopped, Liz was very scared and Jim was meowing even more than before. But she wasn’t afraid of the storm. She had lived through others after her husband had died. The thing was that she was certain to have seen a man outside, through the windshield, before pushing the brakes.

 It was getting darker outside and Liz didn’t dare to step outside the car and check if everything was right, if it was her eyes that were creating mirages in front of her or if something had actually happened. Jim fell silent and that for Liz was louder than an alarm. She put on her hat again and opened the door, letting in lots of water and wind into the car. Jim didn’t say anything; he seemed to be too preoccupied for that. Liz was about to close the car door when she felt something on the pavement. She screamed the moment a hand grabbed her left ankle.

 But it wasn’t a zombie or anything of the sort. It was a man, a black skinned man, much younger than her. He was very weak and his hand soon fell to the floor from her ankle. Liz kneeled in front of him and touched his face. He was very cold and it was obvious he had been outside for too long. Maybe he was extremely sick. There was no one near and screaming didn’t help at all. The wind was howling much too hard for anyone to notice her, even if they were close.

 Liz grabbed the man’s face again and she gently patted her cheeks. Seeing nothing happened, she slapped him harder. The man opened his eyes and he started mumbling but nothing made sense. There was no reason for him been there, unless he had gotten lost in the storm. Maybe he had left his house after the rest of his family and then he had just lost track of them in the storm. No one, not even the youngest person, could ever see a thing or two with all that rain, haze and wind.

 The older woman decided to do the only thing that made sense. She opened one of the back doors or her car and then grabbed the man by the armpits. She pulled as much as she could. It took her a while to get him close to the door. Then she slapped him again and managed to make him help her, by raising his waist a little bit. That was enough to get him in the car. She pushed his body gently by closing the door and then she hopped on the vehicle, all wet. Liz had lost her hat and she hadn’t realized.

 It was easier to go up that road backwards, than moving down. She knows that at full speed, she would be back home in less than a minute. Liz stopped the car right before she hit her house. Jim had jumped to the back seat and had helped by keeping the man awake, although he kept trying to talk, as if he was in the middle of a very deep dream. Urged by the situation, Liz grabbed the man by an arm and took him to the house. Jim followed, unbothered by the rain. The car had been left open.

 Liz left the man in the small room beneath the stairs. He would be safe there. She would hide in a tiny cellar that her husband had built beneath the kitchen to keep his wine bottles cold. She took the bottles out and snuggled with Jim in the cramped space.


 Few minutes had passed when she heard a horrible noise, as if a tree had been pulled out of the ground. It was awful. She closed her eyes in horror. But instead of remembering something comforting, she reminded herself of the album she had left in the car. Her memories were gone.

lunes, 8 de mayo de 2017

Inside

   Of the first night, I only remember when one of the nurses looked at me and she had this weird expression on her face. It wasn’t really fear but something else. Maybe it was pity or something similar. Anyways, I will always remember her face over mine, looking down on me. I felt I was already on the hole to be buried. You tend to get very dramatic when you’re sick. And that was the first time I was really sick. Doctors would tell me, months later, that I could have died.

 It was the fever that prevented me from remembering anything from that first day. But as time went by, I started remembering more and more things. For example, I know for a fact that on the second day, a male nurse came and stared at me for several minutes. I think he thought I was asleep or in a coma or something. I knew he was there because of his reflection on the window. It was very creepy. Maybe he did something to patients or something. I would know about it later.

 They gave me actual food only a week after I had entered the hospital. Before that everything had to get in me through an IV. I felt miserable, weak and fearful that so many things could happen. I was scared they would discover something in me that might mean then end of my life. I thought that stay in the hospital would be the death o f me and, again,  I don’t think you can blame someone for being overdramatic in a hospital. Awful things happen in those places every day.

 Luckily, with time, I was able to recuperate. It wasn’t fast at all but at least not every single bone in my body was aching. The pain started to go away and I was just so grateful that it was all coming to an end. I felt it was going to be going on for many more weeks but thankfully it didn’t. They did not discover anything strange, rather the opposite. What they did tell me was that I wasn’t eating well and that I should be trying to eat more regularly and more types of food.

 True, I had been neglecting my meals before getting sick. I had lost any interest in food or in anything that wasn’t going to give me what I really needed in life. I became obsessed with achieving one goal and it was then when I became ill and couldn’t even continue achieving that goal. I wanted to be successful and finally prove myself and others that I was worth something. That drive lasted shortly, as my stay in the hospital just changed everything for me. I didn’t do what to do, again. I was confused and relieved at the same time, it was pretty confusing.

 One month after leaving the hospital, I had to go back for a check up. They wanted to verify everything was ok. I had all the time needed because my ambition had been cut short and now I had no idea what to do, how to proceed. Unfortunately, I fainted in the waiting room, just as the doctor was preparing to receive me. They laid my body on a stretcher and gave me something so I could sleep for a couple of hours. Somehow, they knew I hadn’t been able to do it by myself for weeks.

 That time, they did found out that I had some sort of disease, a condition as they said. It’s very difficult to explain what it is and the name is even stranger but the point is that thing makes me weaker as time goes by. It has been inside me for a long time and now it will live in me forever until my death, which might be caused by it. Not directly but the weaknesses my body have will enable diseases and other awful stuff to just come through and attack my body in the easiest way.

 I was put in a room again and stayed in the hospital for a couple of days. I remember I cried a lot that time, because I felt I finally knew when and where I was going to die. Of course, I didn’t know for sure but it was pretty obvious that I would have to deal with something that most people have no idea about. If I had ever wanted to go back and try again l my failed attempts to be successful, with those news it seemed my world had ended and there was no way to turn it back on.

 I didn’t know what to do. When I saw my parents checking the prices of the pills I would have to take for life, I felt even more like a leech, useless and pathetic. I can recognize that I thought about killing myself but my body or something else wouldn’t let me. I found myself to feel not only weak but empty. I had nothing left inside and couldn’t even fathom the possibility of feeling anything ever again. I was in my lowest point ever and only a miracle could save me.

And it did. As it happens, I had been taking pictures and putting them online, for several years actually. I had many followers but they rarely commented. One of them was the male nurse that stood by my bed that time I got sick. I ran into him this one time, when I went for another check up. He reunited the courage to tell me he was a huge fan of mine and that he would love if I accepted to have coffee or something with him. Feeling so down, I said yes only to keep walking and reach my doctor’s office. I even gave him my cellphone number.

 Days later, he called and told me he could go near my house if I preferred. The point is, he is the most charming person in the world. We have been talking for a few months now and I think his interest and original take on everything that is happening to me, helps a lot in making me feel less sick of myself and more proud of the few things I’ve done. He makes me feel good when we’re together and that’s the best. He likes to hold my hands a lot and hugging me is a apparently a hobby for him.


 My disease is still there though and sometimes I can almost feel it moving through me. I feel like a bomb about to go off but no one knows exactly when, not me, not the doctors, not my family. But one day. The important thing is, it’s now right now and that’s something.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.


 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.

martes, 3 de mayo de 2016

Teacher and student

   His breathing was paced, rhythmically following the movement of his body and his partner’s body too. John had always wanted this; he had had a crush for Dean since the first week of class. But it was only now, during the first break of spring that they had come into real contact with each other and everything had unfolded in a matter of days. Dean watched John in the dark and John felt Dean’s face, as they both exhaled and inhaled in almost the same way.

 They shared a kiss and continued, John having his hands on Dean’s chest, moving slowly. Dean grabbed John’s face with one of his hands and he realized he could cover almost the young man’s entire face with it. He didn’t try to do it because it would have been distracting, but he realized he had never been with a man he could do that too. John was, after all, one of his students in college. He had never really paid much attention to him until an incident occurred in recent days.

 John had been caught cheating on a test and Dean, who had gone through that before, told him he wouldn’t get the administrative offices know about the mishap if he repeated the test another day. John, of course, agreed. The day of the repeat test, Dean was prepared to wait for John to finish but summer had started and he noticed how nice John looked in shorts and in a tank top. He began a conversation with him right when the test happened and the next thing he knew, they were having some coffee not far from college.

 Suddenly, Dean moved a little and John made a grimace out of pain. Dean asked if that had hurt but John shook his head and launched himself at him, kissing Dean passionately as if they were about to be separated. Dean kissed the student but decided to change places. He wanted to be on top now. John understood at once and positioned himself like John wanted to. They continued like that, John grabbing Dean’s hands strongly and Dean kissing his neck as they had sex.

 It was not the first time for Dean, being with a student that is. He knew it was a mistake and that it was dangerous but, somehow, he had also being lured into it by that other guy. He had been a year older than John and had been a really bad student for almost all year and he practically offered himself to Dean in order to pass the class. It wasn’t ethical but he wasn’t able to resist.

 The first time they did it was right in his office, just five minutes away from any person with the power to expel the kid or send Dean to jail. But they did exactly that for several other times, until there wasn’t any need for it to continue. The kid moved on with better grades and Dean just stayed there.

 He had being in a relationship with other men his age too. But he could never really work it out with them. They always wanted so much more: someone with a better body, someone that felt younger, someone that could go with them to crazy adventures every once in a while. And although Dean played with risky things, he really didn’t like to go hiking or diving with sharks or anything like that. He was over forty but he hadn’t been through his mid-life crisis. He just wanted to share a moment with someone and just lived through that. He wasn’t interested in anything more.

 That’s why John was so perfect. He would come in his shorts and Converse shoes almost every weekend, to his house, and they would have sex for several hours. He had lost the ability to know if that was right or wrong. He always reminded himself of John’s age: 21. That wasn’t illegal and they couldn’t do anything with that argument. It’s not like he was a high school teacher. But, nevertheless, he knew he could have problems.

 John finished first but gave Dean some time to finish too. They kissed afterwards and rested for some minutes, before John put on his clothes and announced he had to leave because he had to go help his mother with some arrangement for a barbecue party they were going to have for the whole family. Dean thought that was very sweet but he didn’t say anything. He just gave John one last kiss at the door.

 As he showered, moments later, he realized that when John left, he had wanted to go after him or asked him to stay. It was the first time he felt that. He had never had that issue with the other boy. He had been such a business transaction, that even the sex was not even exciting or interesting. It had been just something to do, and that was it. No pleasure or interest in anything from any side.

 Dean massaged his skin with liquid body gel, John closed his eyes and decided to remember John’s body, centimeter by centimeter. He knew his legs perfectly, his buttocks, his back and his chest. He loved his lips and his hair, cut in the way many young kid cut their hair, shorter in the sides and longer in the middle. He liked that and had even thought about getting that in the barbershop but he realized he would look weird in class.

 After all, college began again in only a week and he had to go back to been, or at least pretending to be, a very old man. Every single student thought that just because he had some grey hairs and was over forty, he was automatically an old man. But he didn’t felt like one. Yet, no one wanted one of those teachers that looks older and behaves like a youngster. That’s simply wrong.

 He opened his eyes again; once he was done thinking about John and about every other sexual experience he had lived in recent years. They weren’t that many although he had tried several new things to bring some spice to his life. Dean had tried saunas and discos and sex clubs, all very fun but definitely not for him. In every single one of those places, he had felt he was an invisible person waiting for something impossible to happen. It was pathetic how, when younger men came in any of those places, every guy looked like a hungry tiger. It was pathetic.

 After opening the windows and pulling up the shades, Dean walked around his house naked, looking for his cellphone. The apartment was not very big, so he got really annoyed when something was missing. He finally saw it on the kitchen counter and remembered that the day had begun with him offering some dark chocolate to John. It had been something very cheesy to do, but he really thought the kid would enjoy it.

 Back in his bedroom, he checked his phone and thought about what was always in his mind: did John really liked him or was it just because he was his teacher or because he needed better grades or maybe even just because he was an older available guy? He always asked himself that and the answers that he came up with were always torture. It didn’t make any sense to be thinking about that. It was something that happened and that was it.

 Then, he heard a knock on the door. He put on some boxers to go an answer. As he went to open, he realized they had not been buzzed in. Behind the door were a man and a woman. The woman presented her badge: she was with the police. She told Dean he had to come with them to the police station. Dean tried to ask what it was all about but the woman insisted on him getting dressed and joining them fast.

 He did so and some minutes later he was been interrogated in a small room. Everything got to his brain in waved the size of a tsunami: apparently, John’s parents had hired a private detective to follow their son, as they realized he was never home. They were apparently a paranoid couple. The detective had taken several pictures of them going up to John’s apartment and they were even infrared pictures and audios.

 Dean reminded them that John was twenty-one. The two officers looked at each other and told him that wasn’t true. They had John’s birth certificate and it confirmed he was actually seventeen. He had finished high school with honors with a very young age and decided to enter college right away. After all, it was his first year.


 Dean realized John himself had lied to him. But why? What would he get from that? Was it because he was afraid? The police formally arrested John and, soon, he had no job to go back too. A horrible chapter of his life had just begun and all because of a seemingly innocent lie.