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

viernes, 2 de febrero de 2018

Broken home

   Shaving had always been one of those things to do when things were about to change. For many people, it wasn’t like that. Most people would never do something like a ceremony to move from one place to the other. But Phillip was not like every person. He had always felt different from others even when he was certain there was nothing really special about him. Nothing at all. However, he felt he needed to shave before leaving his parents home for good. It felt like the right thing to do.

 As he was doing it, he realized he hadn’t shaved in a long time. The last time he had, another change had come to his life. He had done it after formally entering a relationship that didn’t last very long. Phillip found it funny that people talked about one, two or even five-year relationships. He had no idea what that was like or if it was even a real thing. Being together for that long wasn’t the difficult part, but being interested in the other person for that period of time seemed excessive to him.

 Then again, he really didn’t know any better. When thinking about his parents home, it has to be clarified he was talking about a place were both his parents lived but had decided to do it in separate rooms, with their lives almost completely apart except for the obvious part of living together. But he had seen, for the last two years, how they had transferred from being a couple that was always fighting, to a pair of people that would rarely even speak to each other, let alone fight.

 They had decided to divorce a long time ago, but the process had become stalled do to several complications with many documents that they had to fix with the law, one by one. Any time now, they would be divorced for good and his father would leave the house to finally start a new life on his own. At least that was what he told Phillip in numerous times, as if his son had any interest in what he was going to do next. Frankly, the kid only wanted to get away form all that madness.

 He had achieved that by sending documents and filling forms for every single university he could find on the Internet. Not only colleges in his country but also abroad and with programs longer than four years. He really wanted to go away, to experience something new and different. Who knows? Maybe he would be able to find some really needed stability away from his crazy parents and from the person he had always been. Because he was also one of the problems he faces in life. Phillip had an issue with his lack of passion for anything other than getting away from his parents.

 He had tried though, a lot. In his last two years of school, Phillip had decided to try lots of new things and, thankfully, his school was a very good place to do that. He could include at least two classes each year that had nothing to do with the mandatory assignments. So he still had to go to math and physics class, but he was also able to attend some cooking classes, karate, football and even the woodwork workshop. He attended every single class until the end but the real results were very mixed.

 In cooking class, he had a tough time with the amounts of every ingredient he had to put into each concoction. He followed the recipe word by word but that didn’t seem like a good strategy because his creations would always taste awful or burn in the oven or something would happen. Phillip had to apologize to the teacher several times until he grew tired of doing that and he just tried to fix every single one of his failed attempts at making something edible. The teacher realized he tried, at least.

 In karate, he had the most fun out of all the classes. It came as a surprise to him that he was very strong in all the right ways for such a sport. The bad thing was that he wasn’t really able to channel that strength like he was supposed to. That meant that, although he could do all the exercises the trainer demanded from him, Phillip was the culprit of about five broken noses and several kicks that had left his opponents without any air and wanting to go urgently to the nurse’s office.

 In football, he realized he was out of his element the moment he put on the uniform. He felt strange and clumsy, which was kind of a premonition of his performance in every training session that season. He was so awful at even walking around the field, that the team’s coach decided to assign him as water boy for the remainder of the year. He was teased a lot because of that but at least that guaranteed him a good grade, which was all he really needed at the end of the day.

 Finally, it has to be said that Phillip really liked the woodshop. He was in his element when using the machines, because he was doing it all on his own. Unlike in the kitchen, he felt being alone there was relaxing and really a good way to spend the time. The only thing was his creations were never what the teacher wanted. He never really knew if he was bad at it or if it was all about that bald man not liking what he did just because. He got an average grade again and also the sense that people don’t really give a shit about how you do anything in this world.

 When the acceptance letters began to arrive, Phillip wasn’t surprised that the first two had been rejection letters. They all began in the same way, praising the idiot that had spend hours filling forms, only to say at the end that he wasn’t what they were looking for. Reading those letters, he wondered why would anyone spend so much paper only to say “no”. It would a lot easier to just send an email with the word “NO” and the words “rejection from this college” in the subject section.

 The third one was an acceptance, which was kind of exciting, but it was a college he didn’t even remembered reading about. Letters poured in for about two weeks. After that, he had received sixteen rejection letters and four acceptance ones. Three of the acceptance ones came from schools fairly close to home. Only one was from a university abroad that offered various programs but nothing that he was really interested about. He looked at their website for our but couldn’t make up his mind.

 That was until his birthday, the day his parents had agreed to behave like normal human beings. Or at least that was what was supposed to happen. Instead, it became the first time in two years that they engaged in fighting, this time over the size of the portions they should serve of the birthday cake. Phillip had so many feeling trapped up inside of him, that he just spouted out that he was about to leave them for good and that he was very happy he would probably never see either of them again.

 You see, Phillip’s parents had given him as a present a bank account with years of savings on his name. They had planned that since he was a baby, in order to give him the best education they could. It amazed him that they were able to do it, knowing how much they hated each other. The point was that he had the money to do with it whatever he wanted and, right then and there, he only wanted to run away from their crazy ways and every single thing that reminded him of them.

 For months, he prepared everything to leave the country. He finally decided on some career, not even knowing if it was the right choice. He made all the payments, got a place to live in and even tried to get a job at his destination, soon to be his home.


 The day he left, his parents agreed to take him together to the airport. Right before crossing the security checks, he apologized to them and told them he wanted to say “Thank you” for their efforts and also that they were finally free. And so was him.

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.

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

The Jones'

   The day the Jones family drove into the quiet neighborhood of Riverview, people of the street decided to greet them personally, as they had done before for every new family arriving to their community. It was a small town and they all believed a good relationship between neighbors was essential to improve the lives of everyone and even in order to prevent major catastrophes like someone disappearing from the face of the Earth or the kids being a little withdrawn.

 However, the Jones’ didn’t receive anyone on their first date. Every single person who went to their door was received by a little girl who told them they were really busy with moving and that they should get back once they had been done unpacking and setting their lives back together. Our of respect, people decided to come back later, although many housewives were insulted to be refused entry, especially if they had cooked something delicious.

 A whole week passed until the Jones’ themselves invited everyone o their home. They sent very nice invitations and tried to make every single family on the street feel they were sorry to make all children look around. Too many people thought that was something only strange folk did and they certainly didn’t wanted to live nearby anyone like that. But the invitations changed their minds, as they were never courted in such a nice way.

 It was a Friday night when everyone attended a dinner party organized by the Jones’. Children were admitted but had to leave the party at 10 in the evening. The Jones family was composed of several people: Lucy and Bert Jones were the mother and father of the family. And it had to be said they were very particular: they only wore black clothes and appeared to be as in love as a couple of teenagers, kissing around and barely showing people more than they needed to see.

 The kids were only too; there was Regina, the young girl that had opened the door for people when they had been moving and Jonathan, a teenager with baggy eyes that seemed to have never slept a day of his life. There was also a very skinny woman that spoke in another language, probably one of the adults mother. And finally, there was Brock. He was a very tall man, with a bit of a silly expression on his face. He seemed to be their employee or something.

 He spent the whole party in a cornet, as if he was verifying that everything was going smoothly. He made the glasses bang chilled again by the staff the Jones’ had brought for the event and he seemed to vanish every so often. A rumor saying they had one more member of their family started to grow after that and because of that strange employee.

 In any case, the party had been a real success. Now every single person knew who they were and, although they were called eccentric and other similar words, the Jones’ became an integral part of the community of Riverview. Yet, children would never go alone to that house, for example if they had lost a baseball or something like that. Children had invented that the woman was a witch that failed to be a proper one. They were scared of her because she was nothing like they were used to.

 In school, the Jones’ children were almost always alones, especially the teenager. He was obviously dressed much more conservatively than the rest of the children and seemed to be sensitive enough to make beautiful drawings and art in general. His teacher was impressed from day 1 because of the small masterpieces Jonathan had created for him in such a small amount of time.

 As for Regina, she did have a lot of friends but sometimes she said she felt alone and strange. She thought sometimes that her family was too uncommon and that because of that she failed to connect with anyone else. And when she did connect, she felt bad because she assumed that wasn’t what a Jones family member would do. They would talk about it and discuss it and see the options. They were very uncommon parents and it was often that the kids had to solve their problems by themselves.

 With the passing of time, the Jones’ house turned into the street every single kid avoid and also every adult ran in from of. It was like if their happiness was sucked away by the sole presence f the house. And then there was that monster, that enormous man that appeared no to be ale to talk. But he did talk but had decided years ago to limit the amount of things he said because he thought it was not necessary.

 Brock was not really a Jones but they had brought him to town and every single person wondered what did he do in that house. It wasn’t as if they had a mansion were help would be needed. Some people saw him in sometimes around the commercial area of town, buying groceries or running errands while the Jones’ were out. Everyone just stared at him because of his height.

 Every neighbor thought he was maybe the weirdest but the parents were not really the most normal people. No one actually knew what it was that Bert Jones did for work. The only true thing was that he left every single morning at the same time and he was the first husband to arrive to his home at night, something that most housewives around there thought was very curious, as they were used to their husbands arriving always late, with food already cold.

 But Bert was always there for dinner and kissing Lucy’s face every time he arrived into his home. It was something the neighbors also grew very curious about, the fact that they didn’t really hide the love they had for each other. No other couples in town were like that, maybe because it was such a conservative place. They were the only ones to actually show that they were in love and that their relationship seemed to work.

 Lucy also left in the mornings, after her husband, but returned very early in the afternoon, possibly to make dinner. Those were the assumptions the many eyes looking at them could make. Maybe she had some type of part-time job or she had something to do with family. Either way, she would always have her black hair in the same style and her clothes were always similar, very dark and kind of revealing for the taste of the community.

 Yet, as odd as they were, the Jones’ always attended the social gatherings. Whenever there was a meeting of the neighborhood patrol or some kind of reunion at the mayor’s office, they would always be there, husband and wife. They liked to help and were always very keen on making others feel happy. It was strange from them but that’s what they did and most of the time their attempts actually work. They were very beloved in that regard and many envied them for it.

 Of course, some people were actually scared and never really bothered to talk to them too much. There had been a small group of people who had refused to go to their welcoming party and had done it because they thought that they had been rude from the start, not receiving people into their home just because they were moving. They also thought they were strange because of their behavior and their looks.

 Jonathan was teased in school by the kids of those people. One day he was sent to the nurse’s office because one of the boys that thought he was weird had pushed him in the yard and he had fallen and hurt his chin. Both Lucy and Bert picked their son up from school that day and they seemed to be very surprised that such a thing had happened there with their son. It didn’t seem like something they understood.


 They lived there for a couple of more years until they felt they had enough of their reputation as “the weirdos” on Riverview. So one good day, a single moving truck took everything away and the neighbors only knew about them leaving when Brock was seeing driving the truck out of the city. The next day, the house was on sale and there was not a single Jones to see. They had tried and failed again. It wasn’t the first town they settled in and many more would come, as they had done for so many years now.

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

Visiting hours

   The large male nurse walked as if it was the most normal place in the world. Esther followed closely, looking sometimes at the windows to sea the weather outside but also to the side, where she could see some other windows but these gave views into the room of several of the residents of the psychiatric hospital. Some of them were apparently silent but when she passed other rooms, it was easy to hear strange sounds like bumping or slapping or strange mouth noises.

 The weather outside had turned worse in the last few minutes. The sky had been dark all day but the first drops of rain had finally begun to drop. Esther thought it was maybe the best weather for such a day, for such a visit. The reached another gate, where she had to show some ID and a guard checked her for anything that couldn’t be allowed inside. She didn’t really know what those objects were, but she didn’t mind at all.

 Her purse had stayed behind, at the first gate. Also her car keys, her house keys, her cellphone and a knitting kit she carried everywhere because it made her feel a lot calmer. The only thing she was able to carry inside was a plastic bag with some chocolate bars inside as well as banana muffins and a bottle of iced tea. They had wanted to open the bottles to check it was really iced tea, but an officer had stated she trusted Esther. Apparently she understood what a mother would feel in such a circumstance.

 When they were done checking her bag again, they walked through another corridor but this one was short and ended up in a large room that was filled with people. The place was very warm and she noticed it was because of the amount of people there. Immediately, she could tell all of them were patients of the hospital. Some of them were blankly staring at nothing in particular. Others were playing by themselves or watching the TV, where a man was explaining to the audience how butterflies mated.

 The male nurse told Esther to wait inside a small room besides the recreation area. It was a small space with a table and two chairs. She sat down in one of the chairs and realized the table had two metallic hooks of some kind, small, possibly to tied down the patients in order for them no to attack or anything. She thought that was awful and decided not to think about it because the image in her mind was horrible.

 The room also had a small window and she decided to stand up, leaving the bag on the table, in order to look out the window and not think about the horrible things that maybe happened in that room, or for the matter, in that hospital. She already felt guilty and imagining situations she didn’t know about, was really not necessary.

 Her son entered the room, followed by the male nurse. She turned around when she heard his voice saying “Mama”. Esther walked to him and huge him as strong as she could and he did the same. They hadn’t seen each other in two weeks, since he had been interned in the hospital by order of a court that had decided that Kevin, Esther’s son, had to undergo psychiatric evaluation and, if necessary, rehabilitation in a psychiatric facility. And that was exactly what had happened.

 They let go of each other and sat down in the two chairs. The male nurse stayed there, by the door, leaning against the wall and pretending he wasn’t hearing anything but it was obvious he was. He had no option. Nevertheless, he had done exactly that for so many years already, that he had learned when he had to be listening and when he could just wander into his brain and imagine what he was going to have for dinner at home or what kind of car he wanted to have.

 Esther told Kevin his hands were very cold and asked him if he was eating properly. The boy, around seventeen years old, told her the food there was pretty okay and that she shouldn’t worry about it. She didn’t really listened to him. She just turned her bag upside down and showed her son all the treats she had brought him. Esther smiled to Kevin and he smiled back but it was obvious he was sad or at least not as happy as she was pretending to be.

 They decided to eat the big banana muffins first and the nurse’s stomach growled because of the delicious smell. Esther offered him a bite but he just raised his hand and moved his face, so she didn’t insisted. She asked Kevin if everything was okay with him, if he felt good there, if there was anything he wanted to tell her about it all. He took his time to answer, preferring to eat his banana muffin, which had been his favorite since he was very little.

 Kevin said to her mother that everyone in the hospital was very nice and that the only bad thing so far was that his room was a bit cold but he slept well with some two blankets and a thick quilt of top of them. She said she could bring more if he wanted it but he just said no and went on to finish his muffin. She ate too but she was more worried about her son. She didn’t know what to ask or how to ask.

 But she had to. She had no choice but ask things. Esther’s next question was about the medication they were giving him. Kevin told her he took a couple of pills everyday to control his anxiety issues and that he took others for physical problems like his blood pressure and such, because it was always very elevated. She nodded when he said that, as she tried to build in her head what that meant for him. Was he getting worse or better?

 Kevin took the chocolate bar next and smiled. It was a weird smile, as he didn’t even know how to do it. And it lasted only a few seconds. He felt the deep scent of the chocolate and took a bite. It was also filled with oranges, which he loved. He thanked his mother and kept eating it, until he reached half of the bar. His mother told him he could have some for later but then he looked at her and, out of the blue, laughed at her. His eyes appeared to transform and his laugh was so exaggerated, she felt bad to say what she had said.

 The male nurse looked at Kevin first and then stated that the patients couldn’t keep anything from the outside in their rooms, no even food. Kevin pointed at the nurse and nodded, indicating he was telling the truth. He told his mother that she should have known that, if she had come earlier to visit him. Esther felt hurt by that but explained to him that they wouldn’t let her in because his treatment had not being properly initiated so they didn’t want her to spoil it.

 Kevin just nodded and it was obvious he didn’t care one bit about what his mother was saying. He didn’t believe her and told her that the first week had been horrible, with all the people there crazier than anyone else in the world and the doctors pinching and poking and asking and everything going on and on every single day. He felt tired every night and in the morning it would begin again and the cycle would repeat, of course, with the horrible therapy that he went through.

 Esther was horrified because he had transformed before her very eyes. He asked her if she knew what the therapy was all about. Before she could deny that she knew, he explained to her that they put him on a chair, with restraints, and made him answers questions and look at pictures and videos and tried to understand what hade being going on at the time he had killed the children in playground. They wanted to know why he had killed three of them.

 The nurse got nearer but didn’t intervene. This time, he was listening carefully. Esther was on the edge of tears, trying to ask for forgiveness about him being there and also asking her son not to say anything else about he did.

 And then he punched the table and told her that was him that’s who he really was and that she had to accept that she had a son who was a murderer and that had enjoyed it. He was hysteric, not laughing or crying, just yelling to make his point be seen. Kevin told his mother that even now, he thought back about it all and even then he enjoyed it. He had taken pleasure out of it and he had no remorse.

 He stood up fast and the nurse was going to grab him but he had no need to do that, as Kevin went through the door by himself, and on to his room. The nurse told Esther to go back to the gate and tell the guard there that her visit was over. But when the nurse went away, she couldn’t stand up. She looked at the food there on the table and then repeated her son’s words in her brain and she just couldn’t understand, she couldn’t.


 What had ever happened to her baby boy?