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

jueves, 1 de septiembre de 2016

Chance, the dog

   Chance had been their first dog. He had been living in the house for a long time now, he had no idea how much, but he was very happy with everything he had: the food, the toys, his owners and everything else. At first, he remembered vaguely, Chance had been owned by one of the two people that lived in the house. His name was Philip and he worked a lot or so it seemed. Apparently, and Chance had no proof of this, Philip had been convinced to have a pet after he had a couple of crisis related to his work.

 Chance was only a puppy back then. He didn’t remember how his mother looked or how his brothers and sisters looked. His first memory was always Philips face, looking down at him with a strange expression in his face. He wasn’t happy or sad. He seemed more confused than anything else. To be fair, Chance was also very confused but that was because his memory did not work very well.

 The first bonding experiences he had with Philip had to do with the park. As young as he was, Chance would go to the park and meet other dogs and even other animals. As he met them, he remembered Philip was always sitting close by, watching or checking a strange rectangular black rock that he had with him every single time Chance wanted to play or have a moment with him. Once, he had attempted to grab the black rock but Philip had made it clear that it wasn’t something for him to play.

 So Chance learned not to bother his master whenever he was on it. But that didn’t prevent him from noticing that, often when he used the rock, he would become very sad. Chance didn’t like that so he always tried to distract him, trying to make him play by getting the ball or rolling on the ground or whatever that could work.

 Surprisingly, the ruse worked quite often. He made his master smile and even laugh several times and he understood that his job as a dog was to make Philip happy, no matter what. It was a rather simple job but a very important one. In a short space of time, Chance was able to make his master a little bit happier, more of an enjoyable person to be around. Chance noticed this when he saw other people around and they seemed to enjoy themselves more with Philip around.

 That was nice because it meant that those people would bring treats for Chance. Sometimes they brought food and other times they brought toys. Some of them even gave him other things but he wasn’t as excited about those as he was for the treats and so on. The best part was that Philip got out of his house more, although not always with Chance which made him think that maybe his plan had not worked to perfection.

 However, Philip always came back smiling from those nights outside the house. At first, Chance had been worried that maybe he was being sad outside of the house. That would have been a tragedy, so he tried again to be nice and cute to his master in order for him not to o fall into depression again. But when he saw his face, when he felt his mood, he realized Philip was not sad, not at all. Philip was not happy either. It was strange.

 The first couple of nights he left for a long time were just torture for Chance. He would spend his whole evening just pacing around the house, waiting for his master. It was a very annoying thing not to have light in the house when he was alone and he tried to have it a couple of times until he finally was able to turn on the living room light by himself. Chance was so proud of himself that he thought Philip would congratulate him. But nothing of the sort happened.

 Most of those times, when the man went out for many hours at night, he came back smelling very strongly to something Chance didn’t like. He didn’t know what it was but he was certain it wasn’t something good because his master would often vomit on the floor or on the bathroom. Neither smell would disappear for weeks. That was always tougher on Chance because of his ability to smell things better than any of the humans. Something was very wrong with his master but he kept behaving like a happy person the rest of the time so it was very confusing too.

 This happened for what humans call a year. Chance got used to it to happening at least once a week and those nights, he knew it was better to rest than to wait for his master because when he came home he was too busy vomiting and falling asleep to take care of his pet. So he started sleeping earlier and would wake up before Philip on what humans called Saturdays. It was the best because his owner was very nice during that time. They didn’t go to the park or anything, but they had good times.

 The other thing Chance had noticed during that time was that, after he decided to fall asleep instead of waiting for Philip, he would sometimes smell the scent of another human in the house. Sometimes he would see them and sometimes he wouldn’t but out of nowhere, other humans were sharing Philip’s bed. And he knew, because of his nose, that it wasn’t always the same person.

 That was a very confusing thing to happen but Chance had no way to ask Philip about it. And he was clearly not very good at understanding human behaviour as he thought he was. So he decided to be the best dog to his owner and that was it. After all, humans are rather smart and he trusted Philip to get better on his own.

 He had been right about it. For some time, Philip stopped his weekly escapades and he would stay at home with Chance watching what humans called movies, which was basically staring at other humans who were apparently funny or very depressing. Sometimes Philip would cry or laugh hysterically but that was better than him vomiting in front of the door or on the couch. Besides, he now loved to have Chance by him to hug him and stroke behind his ears so that was always great.

 Philip never again went out so late as before but he did go out some other times and Chance wouldn’t worry because he would always return very much tired and alone, so things were improving or at least that seemed to be the case. After all, Chance knew that understanding human behaviour was extremely difficult. They were all so different and liked so many things at the same time. Sometimes he thought to himself that humans were very complicated animals.

 Then, something changed again: a new human started coming often to the apartment. At first, Chance was very reluctant to let that person touch him. He would roar and bark if the hands came too close and he would stay in the kitchen if the situation became too stressful. But what turned him around was Philip actually asking him to like that person. Apparently, it was very important for him that Chance could give that new human a proper opportunity, so the dig decided to try.

 That human’s name is David. David is one of the best strokers Chance has ever met. He just knows were are the best spots in a dog’s fur and its thoroughly enjoyable when he uses his fingers to massage any part of his body. David started coming rather often and Chance got used to him pretty fast, specially because he brought in gifts and that was always better than not bringing anything.

 Chance liked to join David and Philip for what they called movie night, when they had round human food and seemed to be really nice to each other. Philip would often send Chance to his bed early those nights and he obeyed because he knew the very sad times were in the past. He could feel Philip was now a really happy human being and that had been Chance’s goal for a long time.

 Now he had another human to make happy, although David seemed to be happy already. He eventually moved in permanently with them and Chance had the best time of his life during that period. It’s always nice to remember, even when you’re a dog. People think you don’t understand but you do. You understand it all very well.

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2015

The massage

   My back hurt a lot. It started to get on my nerves that every single morning, without fail, I woke up with every bone in my body aching as if I had been practicing some gymnastics routine while sleeping. I didn’t know if it was the mattress or if my sleep routine had somehow been disrupted. Whatever it was, I had to find a solution fast or my spine would be gravely affected and I would have to sleep on the floor. I would have wanted to change the mattress but that wasn’t really an option: I lived in a rented room and the owner might have an opinion about it. Besides, even if I could do it, I didn’t have the amount of money to allow myself to do such an investment. So the mattress, even if it was the wrong one, was not the answer to my problems.

 So I decided to do something for myself. My body was in pain and I needed to make it better, to be able to walk in the morning without feeling hundreds of knives penetrating my skin. So I decided to try some exercises before and after sleeping time but that wasn’t a very good idea. Not only because I had never done any exercise whatsoever, but also because they didn’t seem to be affecting my sleep. Sometimes I moved less during the night but I had the same back pain as always. I was grateful that hadn’t worked because it could be quite an annoyance to workout just before and after you sleep. I mean, those are the two worst moments of the day to do any physical activity, even if I had been willing to do so. There had to be a better idea, more suited to me.

 It came to my attention one day, while I was taking a walk around the neighborhood. I was new to the area so I wanted to know about all the restaurants, supermarkets and stores in general that operated around my building. Two streets over, I discovered a spa. The entrance was quite small and, thank God, there was a list of prices and procedures on the window, so I didn’t have to go in. They specialized in massaged, have all kinds of them. Maybe that was what I needed: someone to undo all the knots on my back so I could sleep better during the nights. And the price was not too high so if I started feeling in pain again, I could come back in a month or two. I was about to go in but something made me think it twice.

 I went back home and, like an obsessive person, I decided to know about all the types of massages so to know the best one for me. Many were Asian and I had read stories about massage parlors there. I doubted the spa I passed by was a place like that. Anyway, they were very complete and did want something that was rather aggressive. I wanted them to “rearrange”, if that’s possible, all my muscles and bones and make me be able to walk again without having to complain bout something. I then stopped obsessing about it and just assured myself I would go to the spa the next day.

 And I did. It was a Saturday so this time around there were two people in the waiting room, a very small space with two chairs. I had to wait standing up, which was kind of funny considering I had come because my body ached. Anyway, it was not a long wait. Each one of us was directed to different rooms and was asked to undress and put on a gown similar to the ones used in hospitals. Not that I had ever used one but I had seen those many times. The woman that had led me there also told me to lay down on the table, face down of course, and wait there for the masseuse. I did as I was told, leaving all my clothes in a neat pile ad tightening my gown a bit. I lay down in the table and just waited there for five, then ten minutes. I was a bit sleepy when, finally, the door flung open and a man’s voice greeted me.

 I said “Hi”, in almost inaudible register. I couldn’t see more than his legs, as I was on the table with my face on a hole, but I could see his yellow Crocs, moving from one side to the other. He was apparently feeling some form and stretching or so it seemed. He asked me how I felt. I told him my story with the bed and my sleeping “disorder”. He was listening carefully, his feet still all the time. He resumed his walking when I finished and just asked me which scent I liked better: cinnamon or oranges? I chose cinnamon, so he walked out of sight but by the sound I realized he used a lighter and suddenly the room smelled like my favorite type of cappuccino. He also put on some music and I had the weird feeling of being in a really strange blind date.

 Then he started, rather predictably, on my back. I could feel he had big hands or maybe they were just very well suited for this work. I have to say I relaxed immediately. He was using my flesh as clay and it felt really good. Besides, the music and the scent really helped to make the room feel less like a doctor’s office and more like a nice room in one’s house. I closed my eyes for a good while, as he worked on my whole back, moving up and own, and possibly helping himself with some oil. I could smell almonds. Then I realized I had thought I was going to have a woman massage therapist but maybe a man was more suited in my case because of the great pain I was in.

 Then he spoke and I just opened my eyes, as if I had slept with him. What an odd feeling… He asked me if the pain was only concentrated on my back or if the rest of the body hurt as well. I told him the pain was all over but that it was stronger on my back. I saw his Crocs moving and his ankles going up and down, as if he was exercising right there. Maybe he thought I was with my eyes closed. He then told me he was going to do a full massage, trying to liberate the tension from every muscle he thought might have been affected by many nights of bad sleep. He said it just like if he knew me and, frankly, I loved that. I closed my eyes and stood still again, waiting for him to continue.

 I gasped when he grabbed the knot I had made behind my back and released it easily, relieving my whole backside to him. For a moment I thought about standing up and going straight to the front desk to accuse him of sexual assault but then he started massaging my thighs and I realized he had needed to do that to continue the work. Anyway, been touched there wasn’t very common for me so it felt very strange but also very good. Apparently, there was a lot of tension there too. He did bot thighs, then calves and feet. He finished by ding my back and my shoulders and spraying some scent I couldn’t identify all over my body. I guessed it was something to do with aromatherapy. When he was finished, he just walked out and I didn’t have the chance to thank him.

 The following days were perfect. My back felt like new and the rest of my body too. I was even able to do some exercise without suffering and had learned how great it was to give myself a foot massage every so often, specially as I walked around so much. Sometimes I found myself trying to picture how my masseuse looked like but it was a very hard thing to do. I just had his voice, a little deep but not to much, his yellow Crocs and his small exercises while at work. It was almost impossible to create an accurate depiction of him in my mind and I just let it go when I realized he had done a great job and that had to be enough for my brain. Maybe if I went back there, I would see him.

 I eventually did come back but this time it was a woman who did the massage and I was too ashamed to ask for the man that had done the massage the last time. Maybe they would think I was obsessed or that I had a complaint of some kind. So I just kept it for myself. To be honest, the woman did a good job but I still felt the man’s hands and thought they had been created for the job. I was thinking about it too much. So just after the massage I decided to go to the market and just relax buying fruit. The place was very big but not really crowded. I decided to buy some apples and oranges. I committed the stupidity of grabbing an orange in the base of the pile, so others fell to the floor. I caught all except one.

 I went after the orange, walking slowly and crouching to see where it had gone. I finally saw it beneath a vegetable stand selling organic products so I just crawled and took it. When I did, I felt relieved. But soon, I felt a mix of emotions I still have no idea how to explain. There, just a meter away, there were two yellow Crocs, moving exactly like that time in the spa. I got out   of there and saw the man working in the organics products stand. Somehow, I felt I knew him so I just waved at him and said “Hi”. He turned to look at me and, surprisingly, he smiled. He waved back and walked towards me. Something happened there and I wanted to know what.

jueves, 14 de mayo de 2015

Citrus fruits

   The fields of oranges were huge, covering many square kilometers. The best part though, was the smell of the whole place: it felt like it opened the nostrils and entered strongly into the body, making you feel more alive than ever. Here and there, workers picked up the oranges from the trees and let the ones that were in the ground for the eventual animals that came and ate them. Many machines existed to pick up the fruit but this farm kept with the usual method of using people, which were more careful. They had even go one more step further by hiring only women.

 It was funny to be at the gates of the farm in the afternoon, when the shifts ended, and seeing all those women come out, like a horde of soldiers coming back from a particularly tough battle. And it was exactly that as many times, the climate was particularly harsh. The sun was always a bother but they also had to deal with various animals such as bees and wasps, that every so often tried to make a hive in the area. The women had learned how to deal with them long ago and they rarely sent someone to the main house to ask for help. They could deal with it themselves.

 In the house there was only a first processing plant for the oranges, which selected the best of the best. But the curious thing was that rarely any oranges were thrown out because of their state. Those that were, however, were transformed into compost to feed the plants that existed all over the farm. The owner of the emporium was called Archibald Kostas. He was an English but with a Greek father and a German mother, an uncommon but effective combination as he had inherited all the good traces of both cultures.

 Archibald had been born in London. His family lived there because of his father’s work and they were happy it was that way because they way all of this differences would make him a better person and a more intelligent one. His mother was always very strict but loving and his father was the kind of man that always brought a gift for their children when coming back from work. Archibald had a sister called Athena, who was also an English citizen. His father worked in a company that owned many shipyards across Europe and that’s why they always moved and why they loved the sea. They had always lived close to it and they wouldn’t change that for anything.

 When he was a bit older, just before college, Arbchibald traveled Europe with friends and discovered how much he really loved the sea and what nice warm climates made for his body and normal behavior. When he visited the Alps or the cities along the Danube, he was miserable. Not only because of the lack of ocean but because the environment didn’t made him feel good. Some people said it was the altitude and other that he was too used to the same thing that he had lived all of his life but it didn’t mattered. He discovered what he loved and decided to pursue it. In the end, most people had no idea what they liked so young in life, so he guessed it was good it happened to him.

 Archie, as his parents and friends lovingly called him, received his degree in agronomy and decided, when he was only twenty-two years old, to fly down to Greece and settle there. Because it was the birthplace of his father, he knew the country very well and how the people were and what they liked. So with help from his dad he bought a good piece of terrain north of Athens and began exploring what would be the ideal crop to plant there.

 There were a lot of options but Archie wanted one that would employ many people of the region and also be good for them. He wanted the farm to be completely ridden of any chemical agents or strange artifacts that were used in the huge farm of Europe and North America. He wanted something big but more relatable, close to the people. Citrus fruits were a great option and most of them were cultivated the same way so if the farm got really big he could mix things up by having many kinds in one same place.

 He started with the basic citrus fruit, the one that everyone loved and that he knew would sell beautifully in the region: oranges. It took some time to have all the trees giving fruit but, when they did, he decided to hire workers from the region to help with the harvest. It was like that that it all began, with just a bunch of trees and some hands. Today, the farm spanned various hectares of not only orange trees but also other citrus fruits like lemons, tangerines, grapefruits, limes and many others.

 At first, the farm sold only the raw fruit but when his father visited the farm for the first time, some months prior to his death, he advised his son to also process the fruits in another plant and turn them in to juice. People love all those natural flavors, rid of the chemicals that most brands put on their liquids and it was time people had another option. They could start by selling some bottles on the local market and then see if people actually like it. If they did, they could began expanding to bigger cities and then the whole country.

 Archibald had achieved exactly that some five years after his father’s passing and, in his honor, had put a plaque next to the main gate of the farm to inform people that his father had always been a visionary, although frequently in the shipyard business. He had also been a great father and Archie would always thank him for being such a great guy, so relatable and supportive. Eventually, the juices that he sold all over Greece got the name of his fathers, Kostas. Every person in the region loved driving past the Kostas farm because of the smell that invaded the body and refreshed the environment nicely.

 Archie, however, had not inherited his dad’s ability to form a loving and caring family. The owner of such a great enterprise was also a lonely man after three divorces and the death of one wife that surprisingly showed no signs of wanting to leave him until she died in a car crash not very far from the farm. From those relationships, he had gotten two sons and one daughter but they rarely visited him, after living with their respective mothers for a long time. Those women hated him too much to tell anything good about him to their children and it was clear they all resented Archie, for no apparent reason.

 He invited them every summer, to the farm; in order to try to connect with them one more time but it was all a waste of time. They just didn’t like anything that he did, anything that he said. The only time he felt they were a bit sympathetic was when his mother died after a long and painful disease. He was broken and more alone than ever and seeing them in the funeral and staying some time in his house was comforting and he even go to think it would last but it didn’t. They were just being “nice” but they couldn’t keep up forever so they left and rarely came back.

When turning sixty, Archie had decided to stop looking for love. It had brought him nothing but trouble and preferred to live in peace in his farm, surrounded by helpers and workers that liked his company and that sometimes talked to him about the problems they had or about general issued that everyone had on their mind. Of course, he still liked to look at women but he had no intention of taking any of them as a bride. Anyway, he thought his looks had passed, being a thing of his early days so even if he wanted; looking for a companion would be very difficult.

 The thing that made him happier than anything else was walking his farm, seeing the workers do their job and feeling the scent of so many fruits. He would take a small bag with him and walk to the edge of the farm, which now reached a cliff overlooking the sea. He would sit there and take out of his bag a bottle of orange juice and picture of his parents. He always remembered the first time they came here and knew how proud they both were of what he had done with his life. The way they looked all over was like seeing children in a candy store, in a really huge candy store.

 He realized that precisely was the greatest achievement of his life. Not the farm itself, not his children or the millions of dollars won with the fruits and the juices, not even all that he owned. It was the fact that he made his parents proud and happy. It should be every son or daughter’s goal to make their parents smile and he knew he had achieved that. Unfortunately, he would never get to be proud of his children, as he didn’t even know them. He regretted it for a long time but then, he just didn’t care.