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

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.

miércoles, 3 de mayo de 2017

My sister's visit

   We did not expect her. There was no reason to do that, especially after we had buried her only a couple years back. When she rang, the doorbell did that strange repetition, the way it sounded back when she was alive. When our mother opened the door, she stood in front of her for a long time. Then, almost in slow motion, she fainted. I ran towards her and checked for bruises, trying to wake her up and the same time. I had neglected to look at the door and at the person standing right there.

 She came in as my mother recovered her senses and started crying for no apparent reason. I told her to relax and, as I could, I helped her to the couch, where she could be much more comfortable. Then, I realize the door was still open, so I walked towards it and closed it. When I turned around, it was as if I had a vision. I saw my father, by the window, holding my sister’s hand. He looked at her as if it was the very first time he was looking at her brown eyes and long hair.

 The vision was special, as they were both standing against what little light entered the apartment. It was raining a lot outside and we hadn’t turned on the lights inside the house. The vision was so special; that I absolutely forgot about my mother in the couch or that my sister couldn’t be there because she was dead. But it was my mother who dragged me to the real world when she asked, almost in a whisper, what my sister was doing there. Strange enough, my sister laughed.

 It was a very particular laugh. Not a loud one at all. To be honest, the sound seemed to be coming from a place much farther than the living room next to the window. I walked towards her and then I saw her body very next to mine. My response came in without intention, just from deep within my soul: I started crying profusely. Think tears ran down my face and landed on the floor making a very particular sound. I noticed my father was also crying and my mother had fallen silent.

 It was her, walking slowly from the couch to the window, who looked at my sister and asked her if she was doing fine. The question was exceedingly strange but my sister had no problem answering it. She told us she was perfect, had never been better, but that she had been granted a special permission to visit us. Apparently, after you die, you get to come back once, wherever and whenever you choose. She had decided that was the perfect time to come and visit us. We asked her why and she explained it had seem like the best moment to her.

 That answer confused me a lot but it didn’t seem to mind my parents. Their faces denoted happiness beyond anything they had felt in a long time. It was sad to realize, but I hadn’t been enough for them to be happy about. To be fair, I didn’t really bring a spark of joy into the house. My sister, on the contrary, had always been full of life and that was apparently still true, even if the statement was particularly strange at the moment. She had always been their baby girl.

 Of course, it did help that she was their first one. Her death had been very hard on everyone. She was a very young woman still and no one had ever predicted she would die so soon. It was all because of a car crash, a horrible event that lived in their memories as a scar that won’t go away. She had been the only victim of that accident, which made everything feel even more unfair and horrible that it already was. She had been pronounced dead right on the spot, before anyone could see her.

 We decided, or rather, my parents decided they wanted to have a small funeral for her. They did not want a huge amount of people to be there only to gossip and to cry like crazy when they had never really liked her or known her as they had known her. So we had a very private ceremony, a really silent one. I wanted to ask her about it but it felt wrong not to enjoy her presence instead of asking things that didn’t made a difference anymore. I decided to put the teapot on the stove.

 My parents sat down with her on the couch. They touched her hair and her hands and fondled her face.  They didn’t talk much and the only thing they said was that she was beautiful and smart and the best daughter they could ever have. Her face was very white and her expressions were a little bit… dead. It was as if her attitude reminded them that she was actually dead and she was only there for a while. But they didn’t care because it was an opportunity they never knew they had.

 They talked about the past while drinking tea. She had some and loved it, it was the only authentic expression of joy she showed. They spent a long while in silence and then my mother realized she could do something for her right there. She decided to cook my sister her favorite meal, so both of them stood up and almost ran to the kitchen. In minutes, they were pots on the fire and chopped vegetables, as well as meat cuts waiting to be put on very hot pans. It was a beautiful sight, one of warmth and happiness, never minding the storm outside.

 My father was very silent the whole time and he just looked at them while they cooked. Tears went down his face every so often, in complete silence. He was obviously beside himself to have his daughter for a while. But I knew he was asking himself the same questions I was asking: for how long was she going to stay? And, what will happen when she leaves? Remembering her visit would be a privilege but it honestly didn’t seem to be something mortals would be allowed to have.

 Some time later, I helped them serve and we had a very tasty lunch at the dining table, as we used to when we were younger. As back then, we laughed and told different stories. We also ate all of the food, which was delicious and made me realized I wasn’t dreaming or at least it didn’t seem like it. We didn’t turn on the lights for lunch and it was clear my sister didn’t care for light at all, as the sight of thunder outside made her appearance much less beautiful that minutes before.

 We continued talking, remembering the past, even after we finished the food. Mom served coffee and cookies, the ones my sister used to love. She drank it all and ate several cookies. My mother was absolutely happy and it was clear she didn’t want the day to end. It was clear none of us had veer wanted something like this to happen, but now that it had we didn’t want this beautiful dream to end. We wanted my sister, their daughter, back from where she was, forever.

 But that wasn’t possible. A few hours later, my sister asked to go to her room. My parents hadn’t changed anything there, going to the extent of closing the room since her death and never opening it again. Apparently, she wanted to have a nap, feeling exceedingly tired. We all looked at each other, knowing that it was probably the sign that indicated she had to leave very soon. We all helped her into bed and sat besides her, my mother even singing a lullaby from our childhood.

 My sister fell fast asleep in seconds. For some reason, we all started crying in silence, as we realized that her body had disappeared in the glimpse of an eye. She wasn’t there anymore, we couldn’t feel her anymore and it was horribly devastating.


 It was in that moment, when I felt that pain in my heart, when I woke up from that dream. The first thing I felt, beside my heart in pain, was a single tear running down my face and landing on my pillow. I almost couldn’t breath, as I had seen her one more time.

martes, 13 de septiembre de 2016

Anne Cheevers and the mystery at Caltot

   The sound of the train passing over the tracks had been enough for her to fall asleep. But now that she was waking up, the sound seemed to be louder, much less calming. Anne had decided to visit her aunt Sylvia once in the spring, as her mother had asked her so many years ago, way before she had died in that horrible accident with her father. It was a tragedy the family didn’t discuss openly but that had carved deep scars between all of them. The deepest one had to do with the Cheever girls, Anne and her sister Marissa, having to run the business her father had owned. Her aunt and uncles had wanted that for themselves but her father had been very clear now in his will.

As Anne watched the trees pass by her the window beside her, she felt suddenly annoyed. Even with the shiny sun outside and the beautiful scenery of the region, she couldn’t forget the reason she was there: her sister Marissa, who was older and supposedly wiser, had realized running a store such as her fathers was a very difficult task that needed the hand of a strong man. After all, the times they lived in weren’t precisely easy for young women like them and not one or the other had chosen a bachelor yet. The fact that they were orphans made the deal even harder to achieve, as most parents would be quite disturbed to have to arrange everything with the bride instead that with her parents. Traditions were not something people threw away often in that corner of the world.

 Aunt Sylvia had married Octavius Potter, a businessman who owned a very well known chain of new restaurants called Norma’s. Those places were supposed to bring the charm of country cuisine into the big cities and towns of the country and, by whatever rumors Marissa had been listening to, apparently Potter was hitting the jackpot with such an invention. People hadn’t heard about anything like that in this side of the ocean and, naturally, they were all eager to try out something new and exciting that everyone just wanted to experience. Even Anne had been to a Norma’s restaurant with Marissa but their experience had left a lot to be desired.

 As she contemplated a small town of beautiful small red houses, Anne remembered the dreadful deserts and sour tea she had tasted with her sister in that restaurant. And the comments from their friends who had visited were not much better. Maybe it was that branch in particular that wasn’t really working up to Mr. Potter’s expectations but Marissa soon forgot all about that when she heard about the money. It was what they needed. The small convenience store managed by the Cheevers was going through a very rough season and, if they couldn’t find a solution, they would have to close down the store that their father had inherited from their grandpa, who had established it himself at a very young age. It would be the disgrace of their name and the final nail in the marriage coffins.

 As the train started to hit the brakes, Anne felt she was sweating. Of course, she was very nervous about seeing her aunt again. They hadn’t talked since her parent’s funeral and after that not even a letter had been exchanged. She knew everything was going to be tense and Marissa had had the stupid idea to make her stay there for a whole week. As she stood up to grab her suitcase from the upper compartment, Anne realized that she was there and there was no turning back. She owed it to her parents to try to make the best sales pitch ever to her aunt and her husband in order for their lives not to be ruined for good.

 However, as she stepped on the platform of the station, she couldn’t see her aunt Sylvia or Octavius Potter anywhere in the vicinity. Many people descended along with her, so the platform got very crowded and she decided it was better to stand outside and wait for them to arrive there. But nothing happened either. Everyone who had come for a passenger, or had been a passenger themselves, had already left. There was no one else there except an old man who appeared to manage schedules and helped people in need although it wasn’t very clear who would need any help in such a small station. It had to be said that Mr. Potter, although managing a successful business, had decided to leave rather away from the spotlight, in a small town called Caltot. So Anne was not very surprised to not see a single soul near her for the following hour.

 Yes, Anne had to wait for up to an hour in the shade, trying to keep her hair from curling further and her skin from being exposed to the damaging sunlight. She was about to lose it when a young man, about her age, appeared on a bicycle. He stopped in front of her and talked as if they had been acquainted for quite some time. The truth was that Anne was so shocked at this behavior that she didn’t even acknowledge what the man was saying. Out of nowhere, she turned around, grabbed her suitcase from the floor and entered the station again. She had decided to go back home.

 The young man rapidly crossed her path and talked to her again, slowly and looking straight into her eyes to make sure she was listening this time. He didn’t grab her, yelled or did anything inappropriate. He just said he had been sent by Mr. Potter to pick her up at the station, as they knew she would be arriving momentarily. They apologized for not being able to pick her up themselves, but apparently everyone was too busy in their house and couldn’t be bothered to just go to the station and pick their relative. Anne calmed down and the man waited until she seemed less furious. Then he suggested she jumped onto the bike and rode with him but that made Anne even more furious so the boy realized he should stop talking and just decided to walk back to the house.

 As they walked over the narrow streets of the town, he told Anne he was Mr. Potter’s assistant. He was in charge of getting everything his boss needed in order to be comfortable in any given day. Normally, he would only do things related to work but often Mr. Potter had other demands that had nothing to do with work. Out of nowhere, Anne said that was appalling. As she lived in the city, she knew how horrible it could be to work without a proper pay. Granted, she was a woman and there was no real way she could know anything for a fact, but she assured the young man she wouldn’t rest until she got a fair pay.

 Then she stopped and went all red. Not only because she talked so candidly to that man but also because she hadn’t been a proper lady. She did not know her name. He said his name with a big smile on his face, as he was proud of something he hadn’t chosen for himself. Frederick March. He was called March by Mr. Potter but everyone else in town called him Fred. They shook hands, as Anne presented herself to him in a manner that made him smile even further. She stopped short when she realized she was being mocked. As headstrong as she was, Anne decided not to talk anymore with Fred, instead leading him into the town and towards the Potter’s house but that ended shortly because, of course, she had no idea where to go. Fred was kind enough not to laugh anymore although Anne felt he smiled behind her back.

 Once they arrived at the house, Anne realized all the rumors were true: the house was enormous and occupied a large portion of the side of the main square of town. The church was directly across it and the city hall was just on the side. It was beautifully decorated. So magnificent were the paintings on the wood on the outside, that Anne had to step away from the building to appreciate it better. Fred told her that the house had been restored completely by Mr. Potter, just a couple of months after him moving here with Anne’s aunt. Fred also said the lady of the house could be very strong in character but she made her voice be heard and her opinion be respected.

 Anne wanted to know more about Fred’s perception of her aunt as he said this, because the hard truth was that she didn’t know anything about her own relative. They had been apart for so long that the girl even doubted she actually knew what her aunt looked like. Two seconds afterwards, the front door of the house burst open: her aunt was there, breathing heavily, her hands and face covered in blood. She was hysterical, crying and yelling and saying something. Both Fred and Anne ran to help but the scene they saw through the threshold of the house was enough to freeze them solid: Octavius Potter had his intestines out and about, leaning against a piece of furniture.


 As Anne tried not to keep watching the horrible scene, she heard her aunt say: “I didn’t do it!” She sobbed so hard everyone in town was attracted to the square and, in no time, Anne saw herself submerged in a mystery she could have never seen coming, or the people of Caltot, which she would be able to get to know very well in the upcoming days.

jueves, 31 de marzo de 2016

True image

  Julie’s walk was very confident and full of energy. Every step she took towards the pool area in the cruise, made her noticeable to every single person on the boat. She was wearing a blue bikini with a large hat and sandals with quite a heel and she was pulling it off in the best way possible. All men had their eyes on her and all women wanted to be as confident as she was.

 Following Julie, however, was her brother Kevin. It was an absolute contrast because Kevin wasn’t dressed at all for a swimming pool; he just looked like one of those people that go to awesome place but don’t do that much. Well, that precisely was Kevin because he didn’t even wanted to come at first but he had being pressured by his parents to accompany his sister. The trip was her gift for finishing high school with great marks and she had been joined by some friends in the cruise. So the suffering was double for Kevin.

 Which was silly because he was older than him. He should have gotten over the whole high school thing but he actually hadn’t.. His experiences there had been so traumatic that he didn’t even liked to be around Julia when her friends were with her. He quietly went away, most likely to his room or he just wandered around the ship, which was large enough.

 For the swimming pool, he was wearing these big, long, baggy trunks that looked two sizes larger than him, not flip flops but actual shoes and big white t-shirt. Besides, his face was covered in white, like a ghost. When they got to some free chairs by the pool, Julia removed her sunglasses and look at her brother, a bit disappointed. He was covering himself with his towel and looking at everyone a bit scared.

 She told him to come near and helped him with the mask of sunscreen he had put on his face,. She made him look a little bit more normal. Julia told him she should enjoy the pool and the sun for once and that nothing was never as bad as he imagined it. “Everything is in your head”, she often told him.

 Kevin always ignored that phrase because he thought it was a very silly thing to say. His fears, for him, were extremely real and they weren’t only in his head. He could hear and see people mocking him all around, always, and he wasn’t as strong as Julia to take it all and just don’t mind or to be able to fight it back. Kevin had always been very shy and had even been bullied in school, so it was normal that even as an adult he was still afraid. But the thing was he had never attempted to defeat his demons and that’s what worried Julia.

 She took a last look at him and then removed sandals, glasses and a nice watch a friend had given her as a present for her most recent birthday. Then she walked to the other side of the pool, were several people her age greeted her. There were boys and girls and Kevin could recognize most of them from the first two days of the cruise. She had gone out almost every night to the disco they had there and he had been falling asleep really early as there were no TV sets in any of the rooms, for some reason.

 Maybe the people that had built the cruise ship thought that it was enough to put all these fun things to do for people to be happy and not need a TV but Kevin certainly disagreed with that. He really felt miserable and wished the week was over faster.

 Some girl passed in front of him and looked at him for a second. Her look was the one of someone who sees something gross by the road or something like that. Very affected by it, he decided to stand up, check for the room keys in his pocket and go back there. Julia wouldn’t mind and he certainly didn’t want to stay there. So he just left.

 When he arrived in his room, he was sweating heavily because of the clothes he was wearing and decided to shower in order to refresh a bit. He left the clothes all over the floor and just entered the bathroom and tried not to think about anything as he felt the cold water running over his body. He didn’t use soap or anything like that, he just enjoyed the cool shower that seemed like sitting on the rain. It was one of the few things he liked about the cruise.

 When he got closed the water, he remembered he had left the towel on the bed and the cleaning lady hadn’t come in yet. So he shook off some of the water and stepped out naked. For a moment, he didn’t realize it but he was looking at his own body naked. Then he remembered the bathroom door had a full body mirror behind it and he was surprised by it.

 Kevin had always hated mirrors. He had never liked mirrors because they made him look at him and he had passed years trying not to do that. He had been called so many names because of his ears, his body, the way he was smarter than other in school… And besides all of that, he had always thought he was fat and ugly and just didn’t wanted to be made to look at himself.

 But when he stepped out of the shower, he just froze there and saw his own body, after a long time.  Somehow, it was different that he remembered it. He got nearer and, unconsciously, started examining his skin, his face, his chest, his arms, his penis, his legs and feet. Everything.

 He took a long time watching his own body and he was fascinated because he realized he had never done that. Then, feeling like awakening from a strange dream, he opened the door and grabbed the trunks he had been wearing. He put them over his body in front of the mirror and realized how ridiculous it was to wear something so big on him. He was skinny but he certainly wasn’t an XL man.

 Kevin dropped the trunks on the ground and just kept looking at himself. He finally shed a single tear and said, in very hushed voice, “If only someone…” But didn’t finish the phrase because he had no idea how to finish it. He thought about how he wanted to be like his sister, who was strong and didn’t care what people said about her. She was strong and he felt so weak. But he also realized he wanted to do something about it. The mirror had helped him see that.

 So he grabbed some of the money his parents had given him, got dressed with the clothes he had before and went to one of the many stores on board. He didn’t like to try on clothes or to be around people that loved fashion but it was necessary for him to do it. So he approached a saleswoman and asked where he could find some trunks. She directed her to the right spot and even joined him. He was embarrassed to have her next to him but just took a deep breath and pretended she wasn’t there. He looked for a color he liked and then a size he thought would work and just bought it, without trying it on.

 He went back to his room almost running, got naked in the bathroom and put on the new trunks. The difference was huge. On the mirror, he could even see his butt and a pair of legs that weren’t so bad. He just needed a bit more sun because he looked pale and sick. But the trunks worked great and he smiled at his own image when he saw himself on the mirror.

 Some minutes later, he was sweating heavily again. But it wasn’t because of the sun but because of how nervous he was. He had decided to get out of his room in only his flip-flops and his new trunks. He had his towel on one hand and the room keys in the other and nothing else. He was shaking a bit but kept walking looking at his feet or very high in front of him. He did so slowly not to stumble against anyone.

 He found an empty deck chair not so close to the poll and decided to sit there. He had put on some sunscreen before leaving the room so he just laid there, a bit nervous and tensioned but certain that would help. He fell asleep for a while until his sister came and woke him up. She was angry at him because he had left her things unattended but a friend had noticed so nothing had happened. She asked his brother what was he doing.


 ¿What does it look like?

 And she just smiled. She kissed him on the cheek and told him to be careful with the sun. She was going to leave for the games area but she would look for him later. He told her he needed to get more tanned, so he would be there for a while. Amused, she left with her friends.


 Kevin saw her walk away and realized he had taken a huge step out of his shell. Right then though, he saw two guys with ridiculously chiseled bodies but instead of feeling less, he laughed. And he just closed his eyes again and turn around, to do the back.