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

lunes, 4 de septiembre de 2017

Singin' ain't so

   From her earliest youth, Jessica knew exactly who she wanted to be. She wanted to be a singer, to spend her days on top of a stage and just please millions of people with her voice and personality. She insisted so much to her parents that they finally accepted to pay for acting lessons and singing lessons. They didn’t really support her aside from the money aspect, so every single thing that happened afterwards was done only by that young idealist girl who wanted to eat the world.

 She spent every single weekend practicing in her singing school and at home. Her family didn’t really like it because her voice was not very good at the beginning. And even when she improved it, it was still very annoying for people that just wanted to relax at home after long days at school or at the office. Jessica sometimes left the house and sang outside, walking to the store or the park. In her mind, she had to keep using her voice until someone noticed her.

 In all the magazines, her favorite singers and stars told the stories of their discovery exactly in the same way: someone had seen them in a public space; sometimes it was the supermarket and others in an ice-cream parlor. The point was that they just saw them around and knew that they could be amazing artists. As she wanted to be a singer, she decided to sing in the park sometimes, hoping for people to stop by and just stay for a while, enchanted by her voice and talent.

 Jessica convinced her best friend Anna to play the guitar while she sang. Anna had been pressured by her parents from a young age, leading a very different life than the one her friend had. She had been told that by the age of ten she should know how to play at least three instruments, and one of those was the guitar. She accepted Jessica’s request after her friend said that it was the best way to be far from her mother, who was always telling her what to do, even in summer holidays.

 They started doing their small shows when they were around thirteen years old. They would sing five songs, chosen that same morning by the both of them. They had to do an act that would attract young people to the park but also adults that had connections to the artistic world in order for them to get noticed by a label. Anna was not as optimistic as Jessica, but she supported her nevertheless, mainly because it was such a fun time to have every so often. It didn’t happen every day, that would have been impossible, but they sat on the lawn of the park as often as they could.

Four years passed, very slowly for Jessica and very fast for Anna. They had only one more year of high school to go and then they would be sent to college. Their respective families had been saving for a long time and it would only be the right thing to do to keep studying and go on to live a life where they could be someone. But Jessica had already chosen who she wanted to be and nothing could ever change that. I her mind, she had a year to breakthrough and then, it would be undiscovered country.

 Anna was always checking universities on her laptop, even moments before their musical outgoings. She would tell all of the details to Jessica, who never really paid attention. She was too busy memorizing the lines of several songs or learning about her favorite artists. She had her room all decorated with several pictures of them as well as of other artists and bands that had come before. Her aim was to be in one of those posters in the future, inspiring other young girls to be the best they could be.

 However, life has a way of laughing at people’s dreams. One of those days, in which they sang on the park, Anna was late with her guitar, as her mother had decided to argue about the prospects of university. She wanted her daughter to study to be a chemist or a biologist. However, Anna wanted to learn something that required more creativity, more freedom. She had seen a lot of brochures about design schools, film schools and others like those. She wanted more than what she already had.

 As they fought with her mother, she forgot that time was passing and that Jessica was not the most patient human on Earth. Once before, Anna had been five minutes late and she had been received by a furious Jessica yelling at her a bunch of things about decency and manners that a person in the artistic world should have. She also said some hurtful things and it made Anna regret her decision to help her friend. Jessica apologized later but made her promised she was not going to be late ever again.

 But she was. Jessica had been waiting for a while. As winter was coming, the clouds and the sky turned darker sooner than before. It was the perfect moment for a criminal coming from outside of town to attack her right there, in the park. He covered her face and dragged her away from the lawn and into a wooded area, where he gagged her and raped her. A woman walking her dog found her the following day. Jessica had passed out the day prior and was still asleep when she was found. Not even the sound of more people around her and the paramedics woke her up.

  Jessica woke up in the hospital three days after having been found. Some of her bruises were already receding. Her mother was on the room when she woke up. It was obvious she had been crying for a long while. Her father came in later and he hugged her and cried, without saying a word. It was very strange but she didn’t even try to say anything. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk; it just seemed wiser to just listen and wait for the right moment to say the right amount of words.

 That night, the doctor told her what had happened, her parents had left only minutes prior. She cried in silence as the man told her that the police had captured the man the day before on a road. He had been cornered by them, trying to take advantage of another girl. He was so surprised to see the police that apparently let the girl go and shot himself on the mouth. The police didn’t even have a moment to properly respond or to save his life in order to get the criminal to jail.

 Jessica nodded. She wasn’t really hearing the doctor. She was thinking about her career, about her possibilities now that she had been through something that horrible. She felt physically ill, disgusted and just tired. But something in her brain made her think that it wasn’t the end or something like that. She felt that there was more to her story than just that. She made sure the doctor knew she was going to get out of that hospital bed soon in order to achiever her goals, by any means necessary.

 Sure enough, she started writing songs the moment she was able to leave the hospital. Jessica closed her room door and did not come out of there for a whole week. Her mother would bring her food and she would often tear up but not say a word. Her father stood by the doorframe and watched her, absolutely stunned that she could be that active after what had happened. It didn’t seem right, but at the same time, Jessica seemed to be in her element writing in silence.

 Three songs came out of those writing sessions. She grabbed her video camera and recorded three different videos, which she uploaded to YouTube on the same day. She sang on them about what had happened, about how she felt and about what was going through her head.


 Her music was a success. Millions of viewers saw the videos and shared them in less than a week. Soon enough, a recording label contacted her and an album was planned to be released within the year. And Anna… She never saw her again. She couldn’t forgive her.

miércoles, 30 de agosto de 2017

The ways of the mind

Day and night, he went to the gym. And when he wasn’t there, it wasn’t strange to see him on a swimming pool, playing tennis, kicking footballs on a park or just jogging around the neighborhood. Jason had been a chubby kid fro ma very young age and the bullying he suffered in primary school and then high school, made him start his training. He finished high school from home and once he entered university, he was an entirely new person. Many of those who had mocked him, were now envious of him.

 Of course, Jason loved that. He really liked to see the face on the people that had pushed him into lockers or shamed him in the changing rooms after gym class. He had seen a number of them in his university and it was always a pleasure to see their faces when they realized who they were looking at or, even better, who they were talking too. Even the many girls that mocked him in school were now falling for him left and right, forgetting their past words directed at him.

 He had been called a “pig”, a “hog” and a “chubby little fag”. Children can be mean, that’s true. And it’s always blamed on the parents, rightfully so. But Jason had discovered, with time, that all those people that had mocked him earlier in his life had always been that horrible. Yes, maybe they learned at home or they picked it up from the television, but the fact was that they hadn’t outgrown their bullying ways. Even in university, Jason saw how many were made fun of.

 For a while, he tried to help those people that had been left out by society at large, either because they were fat or maybe because they were gay. There wasn’t a single minority that was out of range for those that mocked them. He went to several meetings of college groups, he held rallies and supported the so-called liberals to help improve the situation on campus and he even experimented on a private level to fully realize he was as open and really free as he thought he was.

 The first year in college was good but then he grew annoyed by the crowds, by those who wanted everything to change. They wanted the world to see itself through their eyes, instead of trying to be part of the community. He met very angry people and extremists, where he would have never thought to see any of those. He stopped going to the meeting, supporting political candidates and even helping shamed people to stand for themselves. It had become a burden on him and he felt it wasn’t fair to carry someone’s load when he had so much to process by himself.

 He focused in only two things: his studies and his workout regime. A year before he got his degree, he was able to pay the rent for a small apartment not so far from home. He had gotten a job at the gym he worked out and that had given him enough money to get where he wanted to go. He was to become a real state agent and he would try to be the best at it. Jason had always loved many of the things related to that job and he was certain he could get his license in a heartbeat.

 He started as a part-time intern in a real state agency. There, he could get all the necessary experience to get his license and maybe even get noticed by some of the bigger agencies to get hired for a full-time job, hopefully being the person that shows people houses and apartments. That’s what he wanted to do, for a long time. Jason was even willing to leave the gym regime in order to get his dream job, although he would still try to workout as much as he could on nights and weekends.

 One day, Jason had left for his job from his tiny apartment. It wasn’t a perfect life, but the liked it a lot. He really loved to go and learn a little bit everyday. He had learned some architectural terms, as well as many things an engineer should know about how houses work. He had even been taught how to properly accommodate furniture in order to secure a sale. He was really in love with it all, with every single detail. And it showed. People would often tell him they thought he looked better, somehow more energetic.

 That morning, when he felt on top of the world, an SUV came roaring through his street. Jason woke up really early, so he knew it was uncommon for that to happen. Nevertheless, he didn’t looked back to the noise, as one would have. He was busy thinking about his day, he was busy being too happy about himself and his achievement. He was to busy to notice the SUV had veered towards the building and that it was going at full speed on the pedestrian side of the road.

 A neighbor called the ambulance, several others watched from their windows or from their doors. No one else helped, no one else said a word. The woman that had found him had lost a husband recently, so she knew exactly how it felt to lose someone like that, in the blink of an eye. So she decided to call and help another family not being torn apart. The ambulance took a bit too long to get there. When he got to the hospital, Jason had lost a large amount of blood and the doctors where not optimistic. It was nothing short of a miracle how he recuperated, in a way.

  The hardest moment was when he woke up. Jason knew immediately what had happened. He didn’t have a hazy memory; he didn’t pretend he didn’t know what was going on. The moment his eyes opened, that young man knew his legs weren’t working and they might never work again.  He touched them softly and, when the nurses weren’t there, he pounded the hard, in rage. He wanted to die several times during the course of the next few weeks. Aside from his legs, the rest of his body was fine.

 Well, except for his brain. Because he was pissed with the world, with life and with everyone that owned a fucking SUV. He couldn’t understand how people drove drunk. That was what the police had told him, that a drunken man had being the one that had put him on that hospital bed. But they could not really prove it because the SUV had never been found as no surveillance cameras had ever being installed on that street. No neighbor had seen anything, or so they said.

 Jason grew to hate everyone, especially the days his mother and father came to his house to take him out for some fresh air. After being the most admired man in his gym, he was no a ghost of his past. In a way, he was that “chubby fag” again. He hated everyone for being able to walk and he preferred to be inside, away from others, sheltered from their laughs and their lives. His was over, so he didn’t really mind about anything else. As far as he knew, his life had come to an end.

 However, a young policewoman had entered the force recently. She was called Susannah and had freckles all over her face. She had being bullied at school and now she was a real police office. She investigated Jason’s accident and, with resilience and intelligence, she was able to discover that the person that had run over Jason had not being drunk. Furthermore, he was a former student in the same high school as Jason and also in the same university. He was called for questioning shortly after.

 Months later, he was sent to jail for attempted murder, as he confessed he had hated Jason from day one in high school. He hated that people that he deemed “less” could become successful when others like him, so successful in early life, were now facing the hard reality of life.


 Susannah explained it all to Jason and he thanked her for giving him back his life. Inspired by her, he went back to the gym to try and recover his legs. Nothing was lost forever, not his real estate license, not his legs, nor his will to live. Jason would never again let go.

lunes, 26 de junio de 2017

Camilla's aunt

   The man closest to the window started screaming, slamming the table with his fists, launching to the floor every single piece of the chess game he was playing with a younger man. That one looked like a younger and saner version of the person that was being carried away to his room by two big men in blue uniforms. The kid looked on in disbelief and fear, as his father kicked the air and screamed nonsense. A minute late, it was as if nothing had happened on the room.

 Camilla turned around and looked at her aunt Matilda. She had always had the most beautiful hair in her family: it was long and silky, jet black like the night sky. Her mother told Camilla that she had gotten her hair color from her aunt but that was everything she had that was similar to her aunt. That poor woman was now on a wheelchair and she drooled often, her mother having to clean it from her mouth and lap every few lines of a conversation that was one sided, as Matilda couldn’t talk.

 Her mother had always told Camilla that no one really understood why her aunt had fallen ill like that. As far as she knew, it had happened overnight or after a night fever or something like that. Camilla’s mother liked to invent new realities every time a subject so touchy came up. It was not as if she didn’t wanted to talk about it but rather, her subconscious had created different versions of what had happened to protect her. Her story kept changing every time she was asked about it.

 They stayed in the hospital for ten more minutes, then a nurse came around to tell everyone to leave as visiting hours had finished. Camilla kissed her aunt on the cheek and it was then, in a second, when she saw a flicker of something, probably life, deep inside her aunt’s eyes. Camilla didn’t have any time to respond or to say a word. Her mother took her hand and Camilla just walked until they reached the parking lot. Once inside the car, on the passenger seat, she wondered looking at the sky.

 Once they got home, rain began to fall from the sky, first kindly and then harder. Camilla sat down in front of her computer and started reading about psychiatric disorders and then about the places people like her aunt were put into when no doctors could point out what was wrong. She saw horrible pictures and read awful essays and articles from all over the place and was only interrupted when her nine-year-old brother came to show her that he had caught a toad outside the house. He had spent his day with their father, playing ball in some park.

 Camille humored her brother for a while but then she started thinking about her aunt again. She wondered if Matilda was curious still about the world around her. Would she be interested on a toad if she saw one through her room window or would she just stare, looking at nothing in particular? Then again, she had no idea if her aunt had a window in her bedroom. It was very likely but the place did look old and people never seemed to care a lot about mental health.

 She came up to this conclusion when one her classmates, a girl called Anna, committed suicide back in high school. They still had two more years to go and the poor girl couldn’t take any of it anymore. Camilla felt awful when it happened, as she felt she had never really cared about that particular girl. She knew she couldn’t be friends with every single person but anyway, guilt is like that. Unexplainable and painful. All the girls went to the burial and they all seemed concerned.

 However, the school never really addressed what had happened. They did tell everyone for a couple of days that, if they needed help, they could always go to the school therapist and tell him whatever they needed to say. A couple of girls did go but their problems were much easier to solve than the one that Anna must have had. Camilla tried hard to learn more about her deceased classmate, but she stopped when the mother yelled at her over the phone, calling her a pervert.

 There were all sorts of rumors: Anna was a closeted lesbian or she was a nihilistic teenager that wanted the world to end. Others said she was always on drugs while others blamed alcohol. Camilla even heard a teacher once saying that the girl must have had a secret pregnancy or, even worse, an abortion. But there was nothing to proof any of those theories. They only knew that a girl had died and all of a sudden a world of stories was born, about someone they had never bothered to really know.

 Camilla wondered all night if Anna and Matilda had anything that connected them, besides probable mental issues. She wanted to know more about the subject and she decided, very late at night, that she had to learn about it, no matter what. So the next day, before class, she decided to spend a couple of hours in the university’s library, where a towering amount of scientific book awaited her. She chose three of the ones that seemed less hard to understand and she started reading. About the brain, about the nervous system and about all kinds of psychological theories.

 By the time she came out of the library, her head felt full of information. A headache haunted her for the rest of the day, at class and even after having a generous launch. Her friend Bastian asked her about what was wrong with her but she decided not to tell anyone about her hunt for answers. She didn’t want everyone to look at her as if she was crazy. Because that’s something recurring she learned from the books: people trying to get answers are always labeled as crazy themselves.

 She blamed the headache for her attitude that day and decided to skip the last class, which was always very boring anyway. She did think about going home but, instead, Camilla decided to walk around a little bit. That way, she could avoid answering annoying questions at home about why she was so early at home. She wandered through some parks, a mall and several streets. She never got lost because she knew her way but aunt Matilda was always in her mind. Then, she knew what to do.

 Some twenty minutes later, she was waiting in the same room she had been the day before with her mother. But this time she was by herself, waiting for a male nurse to come with her aunt. She knew her mother was not going to like this visit but she didn’t care. Somehow, she knew that the answers that she was looking for where there, enclosed in one of the many rooms that had been built specially for people like her aunt, absent almost completely from all reality and sense.

 When the male nurse rolled her aunt in and left, Camilla looked straight to Matilda’s eyes and waited. She wanted to know if that glimmer had being something of one day or if signs of inner life could be seen again. Nothing happened. Camilla grab each of her aunt’s hands with her own and then smile at her. Matilda’s skin was a bit rough but she somehow knew she had being stunningly beautiful when she was younger. Her mother had failed to show her pictures of their past.

 Pushed by something, some strange feeling, Camilla went closer to her aunt. Her lips were a few centimeters away from one of her aunt’s ear. She doubted for a second but then asked the question she wanted answered, or at least one of them: “What happened to you?”


 She pulled back and waited. Her aunt’s eyes seemed dead for a moment, but then she saw that flicker again, a spark of life inside her aunt. Then, one word was spoken by Matilda. Camilla had to get closer to hear properly. And when she did, her world was turned upside down.

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2016

Home

   Some people refused to understand. They had an idea of family in their heads and they couldn’t be bothered to change it, even if the city they lived in was one of the most progressive in the world. They stared and sometimes even laughed. But the trick was not caring at all about what they said or did. Moving forward and just doing your thing was paramount in order to survive the horrible feast that was living in a suburban neighborhood like White Pines. There were things people had to do and one of them was having a thick skin.

 Diego and Liam had moved from another city two years ago and even after that time people still looked at them as if hey were the weirdest people in the world. Yes, they were married to each other and yes, they had a son called Duncan, but they often felt it that what people saw was so much more than that. Actually, it was Diego who had to endure most of the social pressure of the neighborhood because he was the one that stayed at home. Liam saw some of those things but he refused to acknowledge it was serious in any way.

 Mothers specially, were vicious against Diego. Well, at least most of them. From the first day he brought Duncan to school, he was a topic of conversation of the group of mothers that helped with several matters like organizing parties or fundraisers. After all, the school that Duncan went to was a very high achieving one and it was paramount that all the children and most of the parents got involved in some of the social crusades that parents loved to be involved with such as feeding the poor and organizing lavish parties to give a few bucks to a charity.

 Diego wasn’t used to that. In the city they lived in before, his life was kind of different. He had always tried to be a writer but never really realized how hard it was. Liam tried to help him but nothing ever worked. Then, they had the idea to adopt a child, so they did and that was how Duncan became a part of the family. Now, the boy was nine years old and Diego was what you would call a “house husband”, completely dedicated to Duncan and to the new house they lived in, which was substantially larger than their former apartment.

 They were all happy, in a general way. But Diego soon became frustrated with all the parents thing. He thought it was quite an old fashioned idea that only women would leave their kids at school and be the ones who helped for all the things that they needed there. He was the only man to do so and he had done it after Liam and him argued about the school and him not having a job and so on. He didn’t like to go to those meeting but he felt he had to because of his responsibilities towards his son and his husband. But even so, it was very annoying.

 Most of the meetings lasted for more than an hour and, for Diego that was excruciating. Not only because the women rarely stayed on topic (whatever it was that they were planning in the school) but because they always stared and asked the silliest question, just as if the last hundred years of social progress had never reached their homes. He got asked who was the woman in the relationship or if he felt emasculated for not having a job. They also looked at him constantly, as if he was some kind of strange creature walking around the downtown area.

 Sometimes he skipped sessions and he had to come up with excuses. There were times when he actually did have true excuses and other times he just came up with something. But that didn’t matter because they always would look at him as if he was lying and, even more annoying, as if they pitied him for some reason. It was as if they thought he was just a poor soul that they were helping, kind of one of those charities they loved to donate. One day he had enough of their nonsense and just stormed out of one of the meetings, with no explanation.

 When he arrived to the house, he realized two things: that he had to come back in a few hours for his son and that the place they were living in was too damn big. The house looked like one of those in which people live in commercials or something. It had a big backyard and a front garden too. The kitchen was enormous, as was every other room in that place. Diego didn’t like to say it but he missed his apartment from before. Not only because it had been something his family had passed on to him but because he felt really at home there.

 In that cavernous house, he only felt at home when Liam and Duncan were there. But Liam was always at work or busy doing something else and Duncan was at school or at some friend’s house on Saturdays. Only on Sundays they behave like an actual family and even then Liam was distracted by his phone every minute and Duncan was exactly the same thing. Diego didn’t really have any friends to distract him. He only had a couple and rarely spoke to them because their relationship was a bit different than normal.

 When he was alone at home, which was for several hours a day, he would clean the house by himself. He even refused to hire a maid because he argued that it would make him turn alcoholic in five days. So he scrubbed the floors, the toilets and trimmed the grass all by himself. It was very hard work but he enjoyed it because at least that way he was distracted doing something productive that maybe his family would acknowledge. They never really did.

 He decided not to return to the meetings. However, he was surprised to realize, one day, that they had called Liam and told him about that. And the fight that ensued was just ridiculous. He said it was his obligation to go to those meetings and help and Diego replied he wasn’t going to be their animal to look at anymore. He would rather feed the poor himself than helping in those ridiculous parties. Liam said the husbands of those women were the one doing business with them and Diego said he didn’t care. It wasn’t his problem.

 Liam said he would never understand how working and living a good life really worked, al the thing you had to do to make it work. Then the fight got uglier, with Diego telling Liam he knew he never really approved of his choice of not having a job but at least he was there every day of the week and not having meetings that took hours and not even looking at his eyes for several days. Liam couldn’t respond to that and Diego just turned around and left the house. He jumped into the car and drove off without much thinking about his destination.

 He used the car to think, to try and get an idea of what it was Liam wanted from him. But he just couldn’t be that submissive person he obviously wanted to have by his side. He wanted him to be like all those other women and there was no way Diego would go down that road. The fact that he wasn’t a working guy did not mean he had no integrity. When he realized it, he was driving to the city they lived in before. It was only three hours away so he pressed on, thinking it could be a nice idea to go back to his real roots in a place he loved.

 He arrived in the morning. Thank God, they kept the keys in the glove box of the car. When he opened the door, a cloud of dust escaped the apartment. They hadn’t been able to rent it, partly because of the chaos they had left in there. So, out of the blue, Diego started cleaning, opening windows and buying products to get the place in perfect condition. When he went to the supermarket, people greeted him. They remembered who he was from childhood and from living there with Liam. They asked for him but he didn’t say too much.


 After a week, the place was perfect. He let Liam know he was there and he announced to him he was going to stay there. He actually told him that if custody were not his, he would fight for his right to Duncan. And so it happened, months after. He got his son to live in his former house and he noticed how much better it was for both of them. As for Liam, he had been seeing some woman for many months, so he stayed with her in the other town. Diego didn’t mind. He had returned home and he would never leave again.