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

lunes, 12 de junio de 2017

Rainfall

Rain falls. That's what it does. But it doesn't do it always in the same way. Sometimes, rain feels almost extraterrestrial, as it fell not from the sky, but from some awful place, far in space. Other times, you would think it comes from a land made of candy, created for children or for people that love a nice piece of heaven in their mouths. Wherever it comes from, rain is one of those things that makes us feel truly alive, specially when it rolls down our faces and bodies.
Rain is water but it can also burn when the body it touches is not pure, full of guilt and all those pathetic human feelings that fester inside brain and heart. Water cannot wash way all of our evil. It's not acid, even when it feels like it. Some cannot feel all of its properties. There are people that could swim for hours and never feel clean, not truly. Hot or cold, the liquid is not enough to wash away everything that is wrong with the human soul, and humankind in general. People won't be saved.
Rain won't do It and nothing else will. On other worlds, it rains gasoline and diamonds. So we all have that in common: things will Jeep falling on our heads, no matter what we think about the universe. The brain might have an understanding of how mostly everything works but when we're all dead, that won't matter. Water will still be water and gasoline will keep falling from the sky unto someone else's head. And it won't matter if we were here, if we attempted to understand this place or not.
Rain won't care. Nothing will. Because we don't want to understand that se are all here for a little while. We were given some seconds on the clock of existence and that time will run out. No matter how much we try, we won't be here forever and our existence will leave no trace. No wonder or creation made by our hands will remain to tell our story. This scares us more than we want to admit, but that's how it works, no Gods in question. One moment we are here, the next we're not.
Rain, however, will stay. Until the very end.

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

The rocks

   Every single woman in the town visited the rocks at least once a weak. It was the perfect place to do laundry by the river, but also a place for encounter. They would discuss the latest news, as well as sharing some of their most personal things. Not every woman went there at the same time, so small groups of them visited the rocks every few hours. It was never crowded because they all knew at what time they should be visiting in order to find the people they communicated best with.

 The ones that arrived at the earliest were mostly older. For some reason, experienced women tended to do their chores as early as they could. It was kind of an irony because they were the ones with the least amount of work at home and there in the rocks. After washing a couple of undergarments from their husbands, they were finished and did not know what else to do. They usually stayed on until the last woman had finished. That means they only stayed about an hour in the morning.

 The biggest group visited the rocks after midday. It was the time when most women had finished cooking for their families, so they all decided to process their meal by doing some exercise, and washing laundry was exactly that. Some women spent up to three hours there. It wasn’t very surprising considering the amount of dirty clothes accumulated by one husband and at least three young children. It was a lot of clothes to clean and they did it as fast as they could, as they talked and laughed.

 Then, there was a small group of women that visited the rocks an hour before sunlight disappeared. They normally visited that late because they really didn’t want to confront other woman during the day. They just wanted to do their thing and then leave as soon as possible. Women that visited at that time were often widows or single, having never married. They were just a handful in town but enough to make people talk about them. That’s why they preferred a certain darkness.

  What they all had in common, and rarely realized, was that every single one of them loved to visit the rocks because it gave them an outlet, it was something different from seeing men every single day and then having to do what they said. There, in the rocks, no man was in charge. Actually, they practically never went there, as they knew they would encounter a large number of women and men always felt a bit scared when outnumbered by anyone. The rocks were only for women and, as such, it was a safe space where they could discuss anything.

 It wasn’t uncommon to hear women curse and talk about their families in a not so kind way. A person hearing them out of context would never understand how much these women actually cared for their families. But they would sometimes need to vent their dissatisfaction with some of the thing that happened at home, because they needed to tell someone. In the household, the men were not supposed to be bothered with those issues and children were too immature to understand.

 So they only had each other to talk about those things that only women went through. Of course, they didn’t all got along as adults are complicated and there’s always some kind of animosity against someone because they did something you may think is wrong. That’s why the single women had their own scheduled to clean. Because they didn’t wanted married woman to ridicule them in their own time, when they needed to feel they could breath for at least a second.

 The point was that life for women was very difficult in town and they were grateful to have a space of their own to talk and have a little bit of fun once a week. There was no fun in anything else they did and their little town, so out of the way of the world, was sometimes too slow and boring for any of them to feel they were living the best life possible. Granted, some of them stated often they could never have a big city life as the change would be too much and they thought of urbanites as sinners.

 Religion, as expected, had always been a very important part of the town’s life. Every single person, or at least most of the people, would go every Sunday to the mass. There, Father McGregor would tell them once and again that their ways were wrong and that it was time to correct them in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes he softened his words but it wasn’t something that happened often. It was clear that religion wanted people to be scared and they were effective at that.

 So much so, that women sometimes felt guilty of whom they were just because they were women. They discussed it sometimes on the rocks, but it was a very complicated subject that some of them didn’t want to talk about because they felt heir beliefs were above anything else. These women had been raised to believe that they were inferior, by nature, to men and most had assimilated that and thought it was true. Changing that was very complicated so that’s why it wasn’t a very popular subject to bring to the table. Something more entertaining was always better.

 On the rocks, they laugh, they cried and they shared thoughts and words and what little knowledge came their way. Sometimes they could stop talking and other times, there was a silence that settled in and made them fell protected somehow. It was strange but after so many time there, they knew exactly how they should behave there and how they should do it at home and how it was better to never mix both worlds, because doing that could be dangerous to anyone.

 A woman once remembered a funny anecdote she had heard on the rocks and laughed out loud. That happened in her home but in front of her husband and children, while they were having supper. She tried to explain what she had remembered but the only thing that happened was that the husband stood up in silence, walked towards her and then slapped her as hard as he possibly could. The pain on her cheek was enough to understand that she could never mix the rocks with her daily life.

 Every women had a story like that, sometimes more tragic, sometimes less surprising. But they had all experienced what it felt to be something like a domesticated animal working for a master. They were like the bulls that helped in the fields or the horses that carried people from one place to the other. There were not that many differences between the two and that made them angry and hopeless. So they discussed it sometimes and they always ended up with a sour taste in their mouths.


 However, the rocks existed. And as long as the women had them to go and have a chat, they would feel empowered to keep going, to keep living day after day even if it felt difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2016

Hidden

   As the doors of the club opened, Hosni stumbled out flanked by two other guys, not one looking as lost as he was. He had to lean against a wall next to the club and just wait there. The two guys that had come out with him did not ask him if he was ok or if he wants some kind of help. Actually, they only looked at him glaringly and started talking on their phones almost immediately. His head felt very dizzy, he felt it turn and turn and not stopping but his body had no reaction further than that. He wasn’t going to vomit, so he just stayed there, looking wasted.

 The guys finally asked him if he was going with them. Hosni shook his head. He didn’t feel up to any task right now and just wanted to get home as soon as possible. As the guys left, he put his hands on the pockets of his jacket and checked everything that needed to be there was indeed there: the wallet, home keys, his socks and a candy. He even opened up the wallet to see how much money he had and realized he was obliged to walk back home, as he hadn’t enough money for a bus or the subway. And even if he had, he wasn’t in the best state to know where to walk to take any of those transportation options.

 So he started walking, at seven in the morning on a Sunday, through a neighborhood that he knew well as he had identified it as a go-to place since he had arrived in town five years ago. He remembered his excitement when seeing the order and the cleanliness and the coldness of people. It was very different from his home country, in both good and bad ways. The nice thing here is that his parents became a bit less religious and were not as tough with rules as hey had been before. The proof was that he was there, stumbling around corners at that time of day.

 Then he realized he hadn’t felt his cellphone in his jacket. He stopped right in front of a disco and people smoking outside watched as he furiously looked all over himself for the cellphone, only to find it in pocket close to the knee. He was wearing the cargo pants that his dad had felt would make a great worker, being able to carry all sorts of things everywhere. Even as he had studied to be a psychologist, his parents were still looking forward for Hosni to come to the family business, which was fixing all sorts of things, like a plumber.

 The walk was resumed, with Hosni checking out a map on the phone and rectifying his route. The small scare of not finding his cellphone had helped him being a little less wasted, he could see things little bit clearer. Yet, he wasn’t walking faster at all. He thought it would have been funny to go back to the club and make the owner or some guy turn on the lights to look for the cellphone. But then he remembered that couldn’t have been possible because electronic devices were not allowed in. He laughed stupidly, alone.

 After stumbling around for around thirty minutes, he finally got home safe and sound. It took him a while to open the main door of the building and he helped himself by holding the cellphone towards the door when opening the door of the apartment, in order not to wake up his family. He was very silent and when he got into his room he took every single piece of clothe of and just entered the cold bed stark naked, falling fast asleep in a matter of seconds.

 The following morning, the voice of his mother woke him up. She wasn’t calling for him but he could hear her in the kitchen, talking to his sister and father. They were probably having breakfast. He could smell the eggs and his stomach practically belched at the presence of the aroma. He would have wanted to eat but, again, his head was spinning. He was not wasted anymore, sleeping had taken care of most of the damage, but his head hurt and he just tried to fall asleep again but couldn’t.

 Besides, as he closed his eyes, he remembered various scenes from the previous night including many that he thought were not real. So he stayed with his eyes wide open looking at the ceiling, deciding which memories were real and which ones were fake. He knew he had a lot of beer and also some drugs, which weren’t allowed in the club but people still had them inside, when employees weren’t around and that was pretty often. The scent of the eggs felt stronger, so he got up.

 His family celebrated that he joined them and he was served a plate. Then, minutes later, he had to unfold the lie that he had been preparing since the day before. He said he had been in a friend’s house, drinking and having a small party with some of his friends that had recently arrived from his home country. All his parents could ask was what news they brought from home and how they were adapting to the city. They didn’t really care for anything else. It was his sister that asked at what time he had arrived and he had planned to lie about that too: he said he arrived around four in the morning, after helping a couple of his friends get home.

 The truth was he had arrived much later than that, even remembering seeing a bit of sunlight as he entered the building. He wasn’t asked much else, and he was thankful because remembering every single lie that he had planned before that night was difficult and made his head hurt even more. He just ate and enjoyed a time with his family and then went back to his room and tried to sleep some more but couldn’t. Again, he stared at the ceiling and just wandered about every single aspect of last night and how everyone had no idea of his real night.

 Later that Sunday, he took something for his headache and by night he was feeling better. He helped his dad around at the hardware store the family owned, as it opened every day, and just tried not to think about that night anymore. Now that he was better, he felt guilty and kind of scared that someone would be able to really now what he had been doing that night and so many other nights, because that one had not certainly being the only night he had gone out in order to be closer to what he thought was being his own real self.

 Since arriving to the city, he had been going out to places his parents had no idea he went and the thought of them knowing was enough to make the headache come back. He was afraid of the response, not only from his father but from his mother too. Even his sister’s response would be very hard to take in. He loved his family and wouldn’t want them to disappoint them or make them feel like he had betrayed them. But the fact was that he couldn’t tell any of them the truth. Because he knew how they would respond and he wasn’t ready for that yet.

 As if his thoughts had been heard in heaven, his father rolled out his prayer mat and felt in one very specific part of the store. Hosni did the same, just next to his father and prayed for a while with him. The amount of guilt that was piling up in his mind was too great and he seriously thought that his mind would explode one day. But it didn’t, because he was much stronger than he realized. After all, he had kept them out of the truth for many years and was ready to do it for many more.

 A couple of friends told him to be real, to live a more honest life and to lift that weight from his shoulders. But they didn’t understand how his family worked, how his religion and traditions really set a standard in which he didn’t fit in at all. Sometimes he had to go to his room when his parents had discussions over news in the TV that were “immoral” to them. He just couldn’t bear to hear them argue over something he felt they didn’t understand. He was just trapped between the life he had while a kid and the life he had now, after being able to go to college and have a real education.

 So, as always, for the following week, he was the Hosni everyone knew. He worked in the store and then he applied for jobs, some very far away, trying to get into the work world and into his profession, which he actually loved. He was charming with people all around him and loving with his parents and friends. He was just a young man full of dreams as anyone else, ready to take on life and just try to get the best out of it. He really wanted to be happy and thought that lying was part of that idea. It was unavoidable and he didn’t really mind.


 H was back in the club the following Saturday night. He had bought a year pass many months before so they knew him well. They gave him a token for a complimentary beverage and then he moved on the locker area, where he proceeded to strip down and only keep on his sneakers and his underwear. Then, he crossed a curtain to the bar where he drank vodka straight. Five minutes afterwards, Hosni was walking downstairs, to the dark room below, where his dreams did not live and he could be as close as he thought he could to the person he thought he was.

sábado, 27 de junio de 2015

The Land of Always Sun

   The tribe of the Jaqqaras had one principal concept, one that governed their entire idea of religion, society and politics. It was a simple notion that, against all odds, had helped them survive wars, harsh weather and even almost total extinction. The tribe believed that a land nicknamed by them the Land of Always Sun, laid beyond the horizon and that it was a perfect place, where everything was just and possible. They had adored this place for centuries and would honor it at least once a day. It was the cornerstone of their belief system and many viewed it more important than their god, who was very similar to all the other gods of all other religions. The place was the one who got all the temples and all praising and the one people thought before going to bed.

 The Jaqqaras lived in a steep valley, not far from the ocean where they sailed to catch fish for the community. The thing was that the Jaqqaras where very territorial, even between themselves. Envy was always present and no one could give someone else a gift without upsetting someone in the village. This sounds like a very dire, even dangerous situation, but it was exactly like that. The tribe was not confrontational but rather passive, choosing the words before actually hurting someone physically. They just thought their world was flawed and that there was no point in trying to fix it because that proved impossible. They rather lived as they could and at night they would praise the Land of Always Sun, often by prayer but also with drawings and cultural demonstrations.

 People would gather once a week, often on Sundays, to celebrate what was traditionally called the Forever festival. It wasn’t a big thing because the Jaqqaras were not many and lacked manual skills but they would all gather in their main town’s square and would perform different pieces in honor of the Land of Always Sun. There were dances and poetry and reading of beautiful literature. The children showed their drawings and the elderly shared their experiences, often-incredible tales about how when they were young they thought they had seen the Promised Land. The elderly were actually very respected as it was thought that when a Jaqqara died, his soul would travel across the sea to the Land of Always Sun and live free and happy for the rest of Time.

 The Festival was actually the only happy time or uniting time in the life of the Jaqqara people. Nothing else made them feel fulfilled as human beings, not even love or any other feeling. If a person from another part of the world would visit them, they would think that the Jaqqara were just lazy people who would rather believe in a perfect world than make their own And there had been some that had tried to change their community for the better but all those attempts failed because they were seen as disrespectful towards the Land of Always Sun and that was practically heresy.

 Those who believed that perfect world could be achieved in their actual lifetimes were often expelled from the community, thrown out of the main valley and every possession linking them to the tribe would be taken away from them. It hadn’t been unheard of that someone had been expelled and it was always the worst for their families, because they had to stay behind with the shame of having someone in their family that did not believe in the most essential piece of their beliefs. It was always hard for them at first, both the family and the expelled, but the wounds always healed fast. The person outside would find what they were looking for and the family would forget about said person.

 It had to be noted that the Jaqqara people were practical and never complicated themselves with nonsense. They didn’t like their lives to be disturbed because they preferred to be thinking about how perfect to World Beyond was. Most of them believed every person had a chance there. They all had beautiful grand houses and beauty was the norm. In the Land of Always Sun, everyone always had enough food for the day and they didn’t have to struggle with fishing or hunting. Food would just be there for the taking. They would also have money to trade stuff and stuff to trade and every single thing they could ever want would be just there, waiting for them to grab them.

 Beauty was actually a big deal in the tribe and people who were considered beautiful were the ones who often had more power than the rest. As in any other tribe, there were chieftains but the Jaqqara didn’t think their god chose them or anything like that. They actually chose them in a voting based on their looks. Of course, not everyone had the same criteria when choosing who was the most beautiful man or woman but they were always happy with the results and no one had ever contested any of the winners. They chose a man and a woman that would rule together. They would have to marry and would have to end any prior marriages to rule the tribe. People viewed this as an honor and if someone had to separate because of it, they would do it gladly and without resentment.

 Another big belief of the Jaqqara was that there was no use in doing any big things in the world, meaning that exploring of their region or of the sea was pointless. They would build houses in the place they needed and that was it. Some were healers and learned that trade but there was not other thing people could actually decide to learn or to pursue. They were all villagers who went fishing in the morning and that took care of some crops in the afternoon. They had reserves in land to eat when the fish was bad or to accompany fish when the Festival came, when they would eat more and make a little less boring.

 That was all their life and most of them were happy about it. But one thing that always happened was suicide. Seeing their belief system, it came as no surprise that many people just killed themselves in order to get to the Land of Always Sun faster. They would do it because they thought it was just stupid to live this silly life if they could be having a grandiose one with all the food they could have and beauty and all the fun and happiness in the world. For those who did it, often in the woods or in a boat in the middle of the water, it made perfect sense and it felt to them that that was the real meaning of their belief. And the rest of the tribe had nothing to say about it because, for them, suicide was not something bad at all.

 Most agreed that it was a natural means of control of the population, so they didn’t really say much about it. What they did say was that people who killed themselves to get to the Land of Always Sun, were just taking a shortcut and that their god, and this was the only real function he had, would most likely decide to put them in a special part of the land where they would be less happy than other. Actually, a full life of living in this flawed world would give a person all validity to have every single thing they wanted in the other life. In few words, they had earned it. A person that committed suicide hadn’t earned it yet so they wouldn’t really get the same treatment. Nevertheless, it kept happening.

 The Jaqqara lived in such a remote region that hey were never discovered by anyone else and that also meant that no other person had contaminated their conception of the world. Although some believed the first people of the tribe had come in canoes from the southern part of the world, no one knew for sure and that most have been at least a thousand years ago so it didn’t make any difference to them. They had decided to believe in that land and many even thought it was all a lie. But it was their lie and it kept them going, it kept them from destroying everyone else and everything in their sight. Those beliefs made them feel less alone and less small in a word that seemed enormous, especially when they were fishing.


 They were not pacifists or warmongers. They had just decided to live together and do what was necessary to survive and just live like that, with no other worries or problems. They thought it was unnecessary to complicate things because the best life one could live was one that could be honored when they died and their god decided what kind of life they would have in the Land of Always Sun. Because that was their beacon, that was the lighthouse that lit their lives and made them who they were. The thought of a place where they could be with whoever they wanted, where they could eat as much and whatever they wanted and where they could be who they were, was just to powerful and too beautiful to ignore.