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

viernes, 19 de enero de 2018

In the dark

   Adam just let it all out. In that tiny bathroom, with the blue light and the very crammed stalls, he knew he had too much to drink. Normally, he would have known that before having to head for the bathroom in a huff, but this time he had been too distracted by the deceiving amounts of alcohol in each drink and the beautiful looks of the bartender. Besides, the whole atmosphere invited anyone there to forget about the world outside and just focus on pleasure and fun in that moment.

 He was lucky there was a roll of toilet paper in the stall. He flushed the water down and then proceeded to clean the edges of his mouth. He felt more than dirty but decided the place wasn’t the proper place to feel like that. After all, people went there to loose themselves and not the other way around. As he threw the toilet paper into the basket, a man appeared from above, startling him. Adam recognized him as the owner of the establishment, who was the only one dressed differently.

 You see, that place was what they call a sex club in many places in the world. It was a mix between a bar and a hotel but without the burden of having to take an elevator and close the door. People would just have sex anywhere, except for the bar area which was strictly used to drink, smoke and have a little chat if that’s what you wanted. And it’s also important to note that Adam was in one that only accepted men inside, so there wasn’t a woman to be seen. Only a lot of male clientele.

 The owner asked Adam if he was ok and Adam told him he was and that he was craving something to eat. The owner disappeared, so Adam opened the stall, washed his mouth in one of the sinks and then head off to the bar again, where he would ask for a soda or something with no alcohol. As he put his arms on the bar, the bartender smiled at him again, as he had done many times before during the night, and that was more than enough for Adam to forget his short trip to the bathroom.

 As he sipped his soda, he look around and realized the amount of people in the club had doubled in the last thirty minutes, which made sense as it was peak time, the moment of the night when most men would seek that kind of place. It wasn’t expensive, or cheap. It was just the right price and that’s why some came in for some time and then just left, having received or given what they wanted. Some people would think it was a dirty and awful place but the truth was it was pretty much the contrary, considering people were having sex practically all over the place.

 The owner of the establishment appeared again at the bar. He was carried two big bowls: one contained popcorn and the other had potato chips. He told the bartender that he would be coming back with more in a minute. The young man working on the other side of the bar nodded and then looked at Adam, winking an eye to him. On the street, Adam would have never known what to do in such a circumstance, but in that place, not only did he smile openly but he also winked back to the bartender.

 For the next hour or so, he didn’t leave the bar area. He just looked around at the people that came and went and even engaged in conversation with many of them. It was funny how far those conversations were from sex or anything related to it. In an area closer to a big open window, some older men were discussing about politics and next to Adam, two younger men were gossiping about some of the people they knew in college. Apparently, one of their teachers was on one of the other rooms.

 Hearing that conversation, Adam realized he had been standing at the bar too long and that he had to go and check out the other rooms, at least once. It wasn’t like he only attended such places because of the drinks and ambiance, he also engaged in sex with strangers. But sometimes he didn’t felt like it as much as he would have wanted to. He didn’t feel the need to go and just do it. But he decided it was best to look around, especially because his legs hurt from not moving for such a long time.

 There were two floors: the lower level was where the bar and the reception area were located. The reception was not only a front desk, very similar to a hotel, but also a large room with lots of square shaped lockers all around. They were all adorned with a number and different colors and in the center of that room there were several benches, where the men could take off their clothes without any rush. Funny enough, almost no one looked at others there. It was something like an unspoken rule.

 Besides the locker room, the front desk and the bar, the lower level of the structure also house two rooms. The light was lacking there but that was compensated by the fact every single visitor to that place was given a colored bracelet at the entrance. The bracelet was there for purposes of lighting rooms and also giving a code to other people about your intentions in that place. It was a great achievement of homosexual men to have coded every single part of their behavior in order to avoid interference from other parties and unwanted attention.

The rooms in the lower level were almost empty. They were destined to certain tastes that only a handful in a large group would enjoy. But sure enough, there were enough people there to use everything they had at their disposal in those rooms. By the sounds, it was clear people were having fun and Adam decided he wouldn’t want anyone to spoil something like that for him. So he went back to the stairs he had seen before and started to walk up slowly, as some people were coming down and the spiral case was a bit narrow.

 When he got to the upper level, he saw the familiar doorways; he felt the weight of the air and the scent of it too. He had been in that place several times before, many more than he would even confess. He knew how the rooms were distributed and how much it all looked like a regular apartment, with different rooms for different purposes. There were bedrooms with large beds but also a couple of living rooms with large sofas and even a terrace, which was not very popular due to the freezing cold climate outside.

 People on the street couldn’t see up there because there were several small pine trees blocking the view by the edge of the terrace. The same thing happened with the windows, which had all been painted black in order to avoid any complaints by neighbors or passersby. It was a very large but also discreet place were men could just gather and do whatever they felt like doing, as long as they respected each other. No one said it but that was a huge part of a place like that: you had to respect everyone.

 Not everyone looked like a model and the truth was that most people liked that. Because the reality of it all is that people look like people and that’s it. So men went there to see other men, to find themselves in others. They went there to have sex, yes, but also to free themselves from the shackles they wore every single day at work or at home. Some had hurt others without wanting to and that place was one where they wouldn’t do that because honesty and respect were the norm there.

 Many people would not understand all of that. And that was ok, or so Adam thought. If everyone did the same thing, there wouldn’t be any special places or people or anything. We would just be copies of the same boring thing and, who wants that?

 In one of the rooms, Adam was grabbed by the waist and he suddenly felt someone’s lips on his lips and a couple of hands touching his back. His bracelet helped him identifying the bartender, who had apparently escaped his duties and had followed him into the darkness.

miércoles, 10 de enero de 2018

Sitting there

   Sitting there, with so many people worrying about their own business, was kind of soothing to me. It’s an awful thing to say, but I’d rather have that than a place where everyone is clearly waiting to hear what’s up with you. In other contexts, where nothing is really happening, every single ear in the vicinity would hear a bomb like that. There too but no one would really care because they are waiting themselves for some words they hope they might be hearing and other they don’t want to hear at all.

 I woke up very early that day and I have to say it was very strange to just stare at my own feet for several minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed, before I realized I wasn’t really doing anything and I needed to get going. I slowly dragged myself to the bathroom and had a shower, longer than those that I had daily. I wanted to make time feel longer, but when I put on my clothes and grabbed a glass of orange juice in the kitchen, I realized I hadn’t really spent much time and I would be getting early to work.

 It has to be said: I hate my job and the people I talk to in it. I hate my boss and the girl who’s supposed to greet people in the reception. I really hate them all. It’s not just that I don’t like them but I actually hate them, because they always seem to want more information about me than what they tell me about them. They clearly just want to gossip and my boss only wants me as a mule, as a beast to use for work and nothing else. I don’t thank him for this job at all, none of them.

  However, I need the money and no one else would hire me. So I go every single day to work, by bus, standing up and very rarely finding a seat before I reach my stop. That day I walked especially slowly in order to take my time to work. I managed to get there a little later than expected but still at least one hour before I was supposed to begin my work. I didn’t care. I turned on my computer as soon as I got in and started working right then, as I needed to make my lunchtime valuable.

 I was happy when my stomach started growling, towards the middle of the day. It meant I was hungry, of course, but also that I hadn’t been interrupted by anyone all morning. Not a single stupid question or a greeting that had no real intention of being kind. Nothing at all for almost five hours and that was simply the best time I had ever had in that place. I was able to reach some clients, fixing some documents I had to correct and even do a couple of things ahead of time to free my schedule even more. Other would not appreciate that but I didn’t really care.

 The moment people around me started talking louder and stood up to walk towards the elevators, I realized it was my time to run. I went down by foot, through the relative darkness of the stairs and I reached the main gate in a very short time. Luckily, the place I had to go to was nearby, only a couple of blocks away, so my time would be spent in the best way possible. My stomach growled the whole walk towards the clinic, but I ignored it by smiling at the beautiful weather.

 The sun was very high up in the sky and there were a couple of fluffy white clouds there but nothing to prevent the sun from reaching all the people below that wanted that beautiful day to last forever. I was a bit sad to get to the clinic, a place that should’ve been a lot less dark than it was, but I decided to just grab my number and sit down as I waited. The place was not a real hospital or something like that. It was more like a center to get help, something much more informal.

 That was a good thing because I had always hated the smell and the sounds of hospitals. They make my skin crawl. Maybe it’s because every time you’re in a hospital it’s because something wrong is happening with you or someone else. Not even the food is decent in a place like that. So I really don’t like those places. Burt that one was a lot warmer, both physically and in the décor. It wasn’t blue and white but orange and red and green and all sorts of other colors.

 Maybe that’s because people with children tend to go there. I saw at least three very young mothers with their babies, waiting for their turn to speak with a counselor. It has to be said there were not that many doctors there. People were not waiting to have a checkup or something like that. It was more of a social thing in general. I looked at those girls for a long time, and I realized many of them seemed ashamed to be there but they didn’t go anywhere until their names were called.

 I, on the other hand, was there for something between a medical procedure and a psychosocial thing. It’s hard to talk about it but at least I went there. The point of it all is I waited for about twenty minutes until a nurse, a very tall one, called my name and asked me to follow her. She asked me to wait in a very small room. She came back shortly with what she needed. A syringe and a small plastic bag. She asked for my arm and in seconds she extracted a whole syringe of blood from me. The nurse asked me to wait there, as someone would be with me shortly.

 Another woman came in and talked to me about all those things I knew about but I had ignored. She was very nice and kind and even tried to make me asked her questions. Just to be kind, I did ask a couple of things, of which I already knew the answer to. When I stepped out of the clinic, I still had a half an hour to have something to eat. Luckily, there was a fried chicken place in the way to work. I sat there and ate several pieces, with fries and a large soda. I was going to be late but I didn’t care at all.

 I sat on the restaurant’s terrace, where my face could feel the scorching rays of the sun. I didn’t mind at all. I was just so happy eating my chicken, getting all greasy and having such a blast eating and enjoying the sun. It was one of those short moments in life when you actually feel happy, truly happy. I did not feel my happiness then was artificial or the cause of something someone else had done. It was all about me and how good I felt for making a good decision and pairing it up with fried chicken.

 When I got to the office, the boss called me to his office to basically yell at me for being fifteen minutes late. Other people were still talking about the gossip they had heard at lunch, no one was really working, but I was the one being called to the boss’ office in order to be yelled at. I let him do that for a couple of minutes, not really paying attention, just nodding and saying, “yes” every so often. But then, he said something I cannot remember but that phrase somehow struck a chord deep inside me.

 I told him to "fuck off" and then went back to my desk. I did expect to be fired but nothing happened.  Actually, nothing has happened since then, almost two months ago. And now I’m in that waiting room again, waiting for them to tell me if there’s something wrong with me or not. I’m very nervous, of course, but somehow I feel as free as that day eating fried chicken. Because I defended myself once and I did something for me on the same day. I’m kind of proud of those things.

 The nurse calls my name. She’s the same very tall woman. She has such a kind and beautiful smile on her face. It’s so soothing to see someone greeting you like that. She asks me to follow her and we end up in a different room than the one the time before. She asks me to wait for the counselor.

 As I wait, I notice the pictures around the room. They are personal photos and items, collected through the counselor’s lifetime. She really does feel that place, that tiny office, to be her place. I hope I feel that way about a place too, someday. Or something else.

miércoles, 5 de abril de 2017


   Suddenly, it was as if all the oxygen in the room had been extracted. David started coughing and then his knees made his body collapsed to the floor, unable to hold him any longer. He felt as if his weight was three times as much. The room around him, well lit only seconds before, suddenly became a dark place, more like a cave than a normal hotel bedroom. He tried to inhale through the nose but it didn’t work. He opened his mouth wide but that didn’t do anything either.

 If that was possible, his brain was hurting. It was as if someone was burning it inside of his skull. The coughing continued, with his hands against the floor, trying to breather once again. But nothing happened. That was what people in space must feel like when they have a bad space suit or when the ship is not working properly. His head started spinning and, in a matter of a few more seconds, David fell completely to one side, closing his eyes, stopping his attempts to breath.

 Hours later, he woke up. He wasn’t dead, which was good. He had a mask over his face, apparently supplying him all the oxygen he needed. His head was still spinning, but David tried to make sense of where he was. He looked to the right and saw nothing more than a table full of operating tools. The wall was made of metal and there didn’t seem to be any windows in the room. To the left, there was a door, also made of metal, in the middle of the wall. There was some sort of sound coming from the other side.

 In the right moment, David closed his eyes and tried to breath normally. The sounds he had heard were voices and they were apparently discussing him. As they entered the room, they commented on the health of the subject, that probably meaning him. For their tones, he could infer one of them was a woman and the other a man. They walked around him, probably staring at his body, sometimes saying something interesting and some other times just walking.

 One of them touched David in the head and it had required a lot from him in order not to scream. He didn’t really know why, but the touch of that person had triggered a horrible headache. It was as if he or she had fire on the tip of the chosen finger. They left after doing that, probably expecting to have an instant reaction and instead not getting anything. But as soon as they left, David opened his eyes, touched his head and realized it was still burning. Or at least that’s how it felt, as if he had been marked like cattle by however those people were.

 The point was, he didn’t want to know what else they had prepared for him. He stood up, got down the table he had been laid on and walked to the door. No sounds were coming from the other side so he opened it and ran out. There was a very long corridor but he just chose a direction in the moment and started running. Soon, he had to stop. All of a sudden, he felt very tired and the headache threatened to make a comeback, which wouldn’t help him at all right then.

 He was then more careful, walking along the hallway until he saw another door, which he opened. It was a closet. He was a about to close it when he realized there were several robes there, the kind doctors use. He hadn’t seen the people that had entered the room he was in, but they possibly had those robes on. So he entered the closet and put one over his body. He then realized that he wasn’t wearing his shirt, only his pants and shoes. It was very strange but he didn’t have an answer for that.

 David came out of the closet and started walking again, this time with a faster pace but without really running. He finally found a crossroads and it was there, from the distance, where he saw other people in robes, checking on some papers. The hallway they were standing on was much shorter, as on the other side there was a massive room, very white and bright. He would have wanted to know what that was all about but the real goal was to get out of there fast, before they noticed he had escaped.

 He checked at least five more doors along the way, finding only rooms just like the one he had been in and more closets. Finally, he ended up in a tiny open space, that had a very different door, this one made of glass, with one of those machines on the side were you put a card for the door to open. Obviously he had no card and he had no idea how to make the door open. His breathing started accelerating and, even as he tried to calm down, it didn’t work at all. It was as if something was inside of him.

 Suddenly, several men and women with robes surrounded David, as he collapsed on the floor completely. The headache was getting stronger. But instead of helping him to a bed or something, the people were just watching and using instruments to measure something over his body. They waved those things over him but then someone else appeared. Someone who’s voiced he recognized. But he couldn’t raise his head to look at the person, as the pain had grown too strong. David finally collapsed and the last thing he heard were the words “It was a success”.

sábado, 7 de enero de 2017

Accidents happen

   The pain in my legs was, for lack of a better word, horrible. Any movement caused me awful pain, so I had to learn to be still or to move only from the waist up, twirling that part of my body like a gummy candy. The bed they had assigned for me was, thankfully, larger than myself and very comfortable. It even had a sweet scent that I couldn't point to but that I found really interesting and soothing. I think it may have been vanilla or something very similar because it reminded me of my past. For some reason, that smell help me calm down whenever my legs would start to make me feel as if I was in front of the devil in the depths of hell. It was that bad and, looking back, I can easily say it was one of the worst moments in my life.

 The accident had caused me to stay in that bed for months, in that hospital located in the middle of nowhere. The number of patients changed dramatically during my time there. At one point, I could swear we were not more than twenty people. Later on, it felt like a filled up prison holding more than a thousand inmates. And I talk about prison because that's how it felt like sometimes and the building really did help to that effect. It was one of those relics from some war long ago and they had tried, without much success, to convert it completely to a hospital. Apparently it had also been a mental house, a school, an orphanage and even a place where alcohol would be hidden from the local authorities.

 The history of the place, without a doubt, was very interesting. But during my stay I could only think about when I was going to be released. The doctors told me, through a translator they had called only for my case, that my recovery was going to be so difficult that it was best if I stayed there for several months. All in all, I stayed there for around five months until I was finally released. The doctors and the nurses were not the most loving or soft people in the world but they were very good at what they did. Maybe I didn't see them smile very often but I know that they did the best they could with my case and thanks to them I was able to recover. Of course, my legs still have some moments of "weird behavior", but I have learned to live with that.

 After all, only centimeters and seconds had separated me from being dead. Everytime I think about the accident, I understand everything a little bit less, if that's even possible. Because I have no idea how I got to be fighting for my life, my legs covered in blood and my body just aching with pain. I have no idea how I endured after all of that but here I am, I guess. It happens often after I shower that I sit down on a chair in my bedroom and I look down to them and I see some of the scars, still visible below a not so thick layer of hair. I am thankful to be alive and walking around because I have no idea how the hell they did it, how they made my legs work as if nothing had ever happen to them. It's just amazing.

 I am not a religious person and doubt I will ever be but, during my stay in the hospital and even recently, I have found myself praying somewhere in my house. I had never done that before but I guess that when death has been so close, you just want to cover your bases. And besides that, I really think it was a miracle that I could walk again. I don't think it was the Lord or anything like that that helped me recover, but I cannot find a proper way to understand how it all came up to this. to me writing about this, here and now, as if had been nothing. It just amazes me every day and I think many people that know me and that know about what happened to me, are just as amazed by all of it as I am.

 Even the stay in that dreadful place is something I will keep forever in my heart. Because in that place I learned to love myself for who I am and not for anything else. I learned to settle down, to calm down even and let things fall into place before I rush into anything. I had many sleepless nights, many moments of reflection during days in which I didn't do much. I even met some great people and, towards the end, I also had a temporary lover who helped me in more ways than one to pull it off, to survive what I was going through. It wasn't easy and I won't, ever, forget that it happened because it is one of those pivotal moments in someone's life. It had to be that bad to get a slightly better with time.

miércoles, 27 de enero de 2016


   The place had been abandoned for a long time, or at least that’s what could be inferred by the state of the house as a whole. Some glasses had broken, due to the wind or objects hitting them with strong force, moss and fungi had grown in the most humid places and every single object was covered by a very thick layer of dust, except the things near the terrace, through which the rain and the wind of many days had entered and sort of cleaned the space a bit. It didn’t look better as there was a lot of sand from the beach below and fragments of plants and other things. The place was a mess but there was some magic to it even like that.

 Formerly, that house had been part of condominium where only the richest people had houses by the beach, places where they could escape if they needed so. Maybe they had very busy lives in the city or maybe they just wanted to change views from time to time. There were even houses that were visited only once. But the one described was the last one of them all. The others were in ruins: they had been affected by the cliff crumbling into the beach or had just had less luck than the house that still stood there, almost defiantly.

 There were pictures of the people that used to live there or at least own the place: most of the photos showed a couple in their fifties, smiling or hugging and one where they kissed in some sort of celebration. There was only one picture of other people, most likely their children but it could be anyone as humidity had taken its toll on the picture and faces could not really be compared to the others. The point was that it seemed to be the house of people that were probably retired and had decided to have a place far from the chaos of the cities.

 The largest room was the living room, with the dining table just adjacent to it in a sort of platform that made way to the balcony, that had gone unaffected by the disaster that had claimed so many of the other houses. If a person could have been there, they would have seen a fiery ocean outside, a possible storm forming in the horizon and little to no wildlife in the vicinity. In the house, there were some small rodents and insects but no big animals, something had scared them off, or maybe the lack of people was unappealing, maybe they had learned to deal with us.

 Everything in this room was obviously expensive and that was obvious because of how it had stood against the wind and the humidity. The wood used all over the place was obviously of high quality as was the steel by the fireplace and even the fabrics in the furniture. The couple had probably spent lots of days planning what to buy and how to install it inside, how would it look best.

 But now, no one was there. Same for the bedrooms, which the house had three. The biggest one, of course, was the master bedroom that also had a balcony but smaller. The couple probably loved to look at the ocean every morning and talked about that view often. Or maybe, as many humans do, they never acknowledged their privilege, because when people already have something they’ve yearned for long, they decided to move on to some other things and the magic that used to exist is just lost. People are very hard to please.

 The bed and linen smelled awful but that was caused by the broken windows and the fact that rain had somehow created a giant puddle beneath the bed. It was almost a death trap because beneath that puddle laid all the pieces of broken glass from the windows. A human would have to be very careful walking around that room, as large as it was. There was a sofa there and a TV that had stopped working some time ago (there was no electricity) and a very large bathroom inside.

 It had a circular bathtub by the window overlooking the ocean and a lot of space for clothes and to be naked around. It should have been a really nice place to hang out as a couple or even alone. The glasses here had not been shattered yet so the room seemed less chaotic than the rest. The drawers were still filled with things the woman that lived there had bought but rarely used: many types of creams and lotions, bath salts for the bathtub, soaps in every shape, form and odor and several other things that would make a hotel manager blush out of embarrassment.

 The other two rooms were smaller. The one across the master bedroom was a bit larger and its windows were also shattered. It looked towards the entrance, were the cars would have been parked. It didn’t really have anything personal around except a teddy bear that was still sitting on the bed. It was impossible to know who had been the owner of that bear: there were no pictures in the bedroom and there were no other objects to relate it to. And the whole place was done in white, so one it was probably not a child’s toy but who knows, maybe it was.

 The last bedroom was smaller, also overlooking the parking area. That room’s particularity was the fact that it had a rather old computer on a table on the opposite side of the bed. There was a calendar besides it and a small cactus that was the only living thing in the room. It was strange to see that patch of green next to all the rather dull colors of the rooms. It was, without a doubt, a sign of life. But no one was really there to appreciate it anymore. There was even a small pink flower on top of it, but no one would ever see that. No way to know if they did before.

 Suddenly, the room shook as if another tremor had occurred but the force that was shaking the house did not come from below but from above. From the small bedroom, something could be seen in the sky, sort of a shadow slowly moving among the clouds but making the ground shake a lot. It was very high up and its shape or trajectory was very difficult to pin down. After a few moments the vibrations stop and only the sound of one of the paintings in the living room falling to the ground broke the silence. It had held on to the wall as long as it had been able to but the forces of nature had finally won.

 The last space in the house was the kitchen, which appeared to have been frozen in time. Everything there was just as if someone had come and clean it everyday since the couple had left the house. The pans and pots were very still in their places, also the glasses of wine and the entire silverware. It looked ready to be used but no one would ever use any of it again. It was nice to imagine what they had cooked in such a great place, such a clean and white space. Maybe they had thrown parties with lots of canapés and alcohol. Maybe they had been more intimate, and had just cooked meals for the two of them.

 It was weird not to see any grease of any part of the kitchen and the fact that there was no fungus in there but other parts of the house were just invaded by it. Maybe one of them was very into cleaning or had a special love for cooking. That was also interesting. Imagining who they actually were, what had made them laugh in that kitchen, what shows they liked to watch on TV, if they had eaten many times only the two of us in that dining table or if they had spent many nights feeling the night air in their faces and just looking at the ocean.

 The same ocean that now seemed a bit gray and that, strangely, was slowly pulling back. The few birds that remained it the bitch went away and there was only the house to face the destiny that had been set for the world. That house had known love, hope and laughter but also sadness and anger. It had been a house were some humans had decided to live and enjoy their time together but they had been made to leave and cut short what was going to be a long stay. They probably planned a proper life there.

 The ocean was coming back, tall and monstrous. The house, and many other houses inland and far from there, where going to disappear. And with them the memories of thousands, maybe millions of people which only dream was to have a place to go back to when things got unbearable, where they could be with the people they loved and just enjoy the simplicity of human life. But that was no more. That time in that place, came to an end in a moment.