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

lunes, 30 de enero de 2017

Early hours

   For some reason, he wasn’t able to sleep properly, as he would have wanted. Ever since he could remember, his eyes opened automatically very early, always around seven o’clock in the morning. Every single time he tried to keep sleeping, staying in bed and covering himself up with his bed sheets, he failed miserably as his eyes wouldn’t close for anything, no matter how much and how long he tried. When he had something to do late some day, he just woke up that early and then waited.

 If he ever had to wake up earlier than that, then there was no problem. It was over sleeping that was the problem and not the other way around. Certainly, it was a very uncommon thing, but very real nevertheless. Craig, that was his name, had become an expert in handling all those hours that he normally had to spare on days he didn’t have to work or on weekends. He tried to use them for exercising or doing some of the things he never got to do when he was busy like his taxes and stuff like that.

 It was this early, once he went cycling around his neighbourhood, when he met someone that had a problem with his bike. His name was Rick and he his bicycle on the lawn of a park, trying to figure out what was wrong with it. As Craig had gathered a considerable amount of expertise related to cycling, he decided to stop and help the guy, carrying the bike to a near gas station where they could check the tires for any problems. Indeed, the issue was that something had cut through one of them.

 Rick felt really silly and blamed his accident to the fact that he hadn’t been sleeping much. That small phrase caught Craig’s attention, who rapidly responded by smiling and confessing he rarely slept too much, instead doing things like cycling to spend the time. Rick was very intrigued by that, so he asked Craig if he would like to join him for some lemonade while walking towards his house. There was a place nearby that made an excellent, sweet, lemonade.

 They each bought one and talked about everything as they sipped lemonade and walked with their bicycles on the side. Craig realized, once he got home, that he had practically neglected to actually exercise that day. But he didn’t mind because of two reasons. The first was because he didn’t cycle to exercise as such but to get distracted and spend time he didn’t want to waste. And the other reason was because he had enjoyed Rick’s company too much and would have wanted to spend even more time with him. It had been a nice thing to ask for his phone number.

 He had to wait a week, until next Saturday, to receive a text message on his phone. Rick wanted to know if he was going to go out on his bicycle again, as he had already fixed his bike’s tires and he was looking forward doing it correctly this time. Craig wrote him that he was indeed coming out with his bicycle and that he would love to meet to exercise together. Sure enough, Rick was on the front door of Craig’s building very early on Sunday, yawning a lot but with a smile.

 That day, they both really exercised a lot. They went very far, some ten kilometres away. There they looked for some place to have something to drink and then they came back to Craig’s apartment. As the only thing to drink they had found was a store they had bought some water bags from, Craig decided to invite Rick to his apartment, for a proper breakfast. Rick refused at first, saying he still had to go to his house, but as Craig knew it wasn’t very far, he accepted the invitation.

 The bikes stayed on the basement, behind Craig’s car. On the elevator going up to the apartment, the two men realized they didn’t know what to talk about. They were tired but at the same time they both felt it was necessary to speak, as they were going to spend some more time together that day. But not a word was said in the elevator. On the fifth floor, Craig grabbed his keys from his pocket opened the door. Rick was visibly uncomfortable, as Craig walked stretching his arms into the air.

 They both entered the kitchen and then decided to make omelettes for breakfast. Realizing how tense Rick appeared to be, Craig decided to make the moment very interactive: he would ask the other guy fro every single ingredient for breakfast and Rick would have to look around for it. Surprisingly enough, he was very fast with everything, finding all necessary items in just a few seconds. The game was a very smart way to break the ice and initiate a proper conversation.

 As the eggs cooked, Craig explained Rick everything about his rare condition, where he couldn’t sleep past seven o’clock, how he blamed his childhood for it and some funny things that had happened as the years had gone by, during those early hours. Then, it was Rick’s time to talk about himself. He chose to acknowledge the fact that he was very shy but that he was always trying to push himself forward, in order to meet new people. He confessed that was the first time his experiments had actually been successful. Craig proposed a toast with orange juice.

 They spend the morning eating and talking, until they realized the moment was becoming very awkward again. Thankfully, Rick’s phone rang and broke an uncomfortable silence that had settled in. They didn’t write or called each other during the week. But, at least Craig, certainly thought about Rick when his mind wasn’t busy doing something else. He realized he felt something but he didn’t know what it was and it bothered him. So he tried not to think about it too much.

 The next weekend, nothing. Rick didn’t call or sent a text. Nothing at all. That was the first Sunday in a long time that Craig spent in his bed. He decided he was tired of exercising and instead chose to watch an animated movie he had never paid attention to. He surprised himself by doing that, as he wasn’t the type of guy to watch cartoons but he thoroughly enjoyed his morning, complete with a big bowl of cereal and sliced bananas. He felt like a younger self again, for some time.

 That afternoon he decided to go to the supermarket, as his refrigerator was becoming more and more empty. He normally didn’t worry too much about it, as he normally ate outside of the house, but an urge to eat better thing took over him, so Craig decided he wanted to start cooking more. He was on the pasta aisle when he heard a familiar voice. At first, he thought he was imagining it and got very embarrassed with himself because of that, but then he realized it was really happening.

 Slowly, he moved his shopping cart around the corner into the next aisle. There he was: Rick was talking to a small girl. Apparently she was deciding which cereal she was going to buy. The decision was down to a pink box with princess related stuff painted on it, or a red box with a big panda on the front, eating something that looked like tiny chocolate cylinders. The girl grabbed the pink box and hugged it. Rick smiled and then his eyes moved up, to see Craig standing there like a lamp.


 There was no way of pretending he hadn’t been looking so he only waved and smiled. He didn’t come closer; somehow his legs wouldn’t move his body forward. There was a tense moment, in which the only noise was the girl trying to make Rick move from his spot. They didn’t say anything. Craig was the one who moved first, turning around, almost sprinting to the nearest paying point. Once he was at home, he decided that his early hours would never be used to do any exercise again, or at least not one that involved meeting strangers, as if that had anything to do with his embarrassment at the moment.

jueves, 4 de agosto de 2016

Condoms

   When Jake entered the pharmacy, he went to grab every single item he had forgotten to get in the supermarket. Of course, everyone at home was mad at him because he hadn’t gotten every single thing they had been waiting for. Granted, he had been in charge of groceries and so on that week but he was too busy with the presentation of his next book coming so fast. The only thing on his mind was how not to feel overwhelmed again when telling people to buy their book.

 As he walked through the dental aisle, he remembered how he had started as a writer. The truth was that he had never really considerer writing as an option to win a living. After school, he had fallen in love with the idea of becoming a news presenter in television. For some strange reason, he had always thought those men and women were always the peak of the journalism profession as the used their faces and knowledge to make people learn about daily events.

 So he went to college and outdid himself in order to become a proper journalist. From the first moment, he knew he wanted to do an internship at the end of his career, one in a television channel in order to start climbing steps right there. He would become a sensation and people would discover him there and everything would be perfect for him. Each semester, he convinced himself his path to success had absolutely no floss and that he was in it to win it.

 Unfortunately, life is not about what we want but about what we get and do with it. The only internship available when he had to get one was in a editorial company involving books by the most boring authors he had ever heard. They published a lot of self-help books and guides to do things like learning yoga or how to make your dog a nice little cape. It was the only thing he could get and was obliged to stay there for a whole year.

 Suffice to say, the experience was a nightmare. Not only did his boss take her job a bit too seriously, the people he worked with were too sensitive about everything. Apparently one of the conditions to properly work there was to believe in all the crap they sold and he certainly did not buy any of that. However, he got his first writing gig there when his boss asked him to write something about anything, as long as they could fill their obligations of that period.

 Jake was annoyed by this obligation at first but then he realized he could use it to make something good. He had wanted to make something very focused on journalism but rather ended up writing the story of a disgruntled man who failed once and again when trying to become a real journalist. The small short story was a huge hit.

 As they really didn’t publish literature there, his boss was king enough to send his work to other places and he got a call from a company called Walrus Publishing when he was asked to come on board as an editor. Mind you, this was only months after graduating from college. The rest of his classmates had barely had a couple of job interviews. He was very lucky.

 He already had a large amount stuff in his basket at the pharmacy when he entered another aisle and laughed so hard some people turned around and looked at him as if he was mad. He had laughed because he had seen all the condoms on display and every time he saw those small packages, he remembered his first book.

 Work on it had started about two years after he had started working as an editor on Walrus. People were much nicer there than in his previous job and he really enjoyed everything that he did. However, he realized he wanted to keep writing so he did it on his spare time and planned to show his boss once he finished the whole story.

 It was going to be a science fiction dystopian novel about an invasion. He pictured everything in a serious note and had planned every single aspect of it. So much so that he had even made drawings about the protagonist and of the planets he talked about in the story.

 However, when time came to show his boss, he really hated it. He thought the story thought too much of itself, it aimed at being too serious and it really wasn’t that much of a deal. Of course, Jake was very upset by this and had a long period of time when he realized he wasn’t really a creative person but rather that guy that gets it right once and that’s it. He then decided not to try again and just deliver himself to everything in life that may help him be less sad.

 In other words, he started to drink more, to smoke and to have sec with almost complete strangers. It wasn’t like him to do that but, now that he lived by himself and was so depressed about his talent, it really felt like the moment to lose himself to all of that. So he attended a lot of parties, where he would always be smoking and he would disappear in weird moments at the same time that someone else.

 It was in such a state when he got a very awful virus that made him say in bed for two straight weeks. He had a sore throat, his eyes were always bloody and his whole body hurt. He never went to the doctor but this time he was scared the flu wouldn’t leave him. The doctor told him, very alarmingly, that he should get and HIV test, just in case.

 If he was pale already, Jake turned into a piece of paper when the doctor said those words. He drank the medication he gave him and he postponed several times going to get the test. But realizing his former crazy life could not go on just like that with that on his mind, he decided to go on a Saturday, as they had consultations every single day.

 In the small waiting room there were few people other than him: a young boy and girl couple, a pregnant woman and a guy about his age that couldn’t keep moving his leg. He seemed very agitated and looked at the ground as if he was attempting to make a whole in it with his sight. Jake tried to ignore the people around him to be lees worried but actually the opposite worked better: when the guy stood up, he stepped on himself and almost hit the counter where the nurse that called him waited.

 People got up, as to help him, but he stood up fast but instead of grabbing the counter to straighten himself up, he grabbed a big fish bowl full of condoms which made him fall into the ground, showered by a rainbow of colors corresponding to many small packages of condoms that had rained on his head.  The worst thing was there were also small packs of lube in the bowl, so when he tried to stand up fast, he just went back down as he had stepped on some of those and the jelly like substance had made him fall over again.

During all of this, Jake tried not to laugh but it had been impossible by the end. As everyone helped the guy, he just laughed. The nurse asked him to walk to his test and he was so relaxed he didn’t even think too much about it. Not until he met the guy again when coming out of his consultation. He was outside, on the phone and hung up at the same time Jake came outside. He seemed very bummed out, about to cry.

 Something on his face, his body language, attracted Jake to talk to him and ask what was wrong. The guy, instead of telling him, started crying. And as he cried, Jake could see the guy had a condom pack right on his shoe. He grabbed it, laughed again and that’s how they decided nothing was that bad. They went out for a coffee and got to know each other better.


 As Jake went back home after buying everything he had missed in the supermarket, he entered home and found Greg, the condom guy, with little Grace and Mark sleeping on his lap as they watched TV. He kissed him softly on the mouth and, out of nowhere, threw him a pack of condoms. Greg laughed so hard he woke up his son and daughter and the two of them had to carry the kids to bed, as they remembered that one time when a condom had made such a difference, again.

jueves, 14 de julio de 2016

The flood

   It was raining as if the end of time had come. For a full day now, dark clouds and water had been all that people had seen outside and it didn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Every single person in the city had decided to stay home and not go out unless it was strictly necessary. Buying food was not considered essential, or going around looking for someone who was lost or anything like that. The truth was that everyone was scared of going out of their homes, fearing the rain would take them.

 It seemed like a dumb fear to have but that was what people thought because it had already happened. In every building, where people now were obliged to talk to their neighbors in order to pass the time and in case of an emergency, they begun to realize that some of the inhabitants of the city had recently disappeared. Since the rain had started, no one had seen anything of them. The police wasn’t doing anything, or the fire department or anyone else.

 Those who were not with their families, were considered lost. No one bothered in having any other thought than the one of death. It was as if, with the rain, a strange wave of negativity had fallen upon the people of the city. Every fear they had, every single worry about life and concern about their well being was now very active in their brain, being the number one thing when they thought about anything, whether it was getting out of their homes or their loved ones.

 Yet, there were always exceptions. By the third day of the downpour, a man called Jim, from one of the tallest building in the city, attempted to do something no one had done yet: he was going to grab his kayak, the one he used when camping, and navigate the flooded streets to the nearest supermarket. His family and him had rationed food but they realize it wouldn’t last that much. They needed baby food as well as dog food and clean water.

 So Jim had the idea of navigating the dangerous waters towards the nearest supermarket and probably just steal whatever he needed. He didn’t thought it would matter if someone committed a crime because no one was really there to ensure it wasn’t being done. The police was not as daring as him and would never notice. And it was to have food for his family, not to steal a bank so he was decided to do it.

 He got to the second floor of his building and threw the kayak through a window. It fell softly into the water in the other side. The storm made the water feel very unstable but once Jim jumped into his transport, he felt safer than when he stayed at home, fearing of everything that might happen if they never got out of there.

As he took out the paddle to start moving around, he realized the rain was strong but more in the amount of water that fell and not so much in the intensity of the storm as it was. There was no lighting or an awful lot of movement in the water. He was very wet, probably about to catch a cold, but he felt strangely at ease as he cruised through the street adjacent to his building. The worries that had plagued him inside his apartment seemed to be far away. He couldn’t appreciate the rain as something beautiful, even if it was that destructive.

 He did a sharp turned thanks to a lamppost and continued for two blocks until he reached the supermarket. There he realized he hadn’t thought about everything: the water level covered the entrance of the market and it was likely to be flooded inside, so every food, except maybe the one in cans, would already be spoiled. He grabbed another lamppost tight and thought for a moment about what to do.

 He could continue rowing along the street until he came about a “dry” supermarket but that was not a very likely ting, seeing how much the water level had risen in just three days. The best plan was to enter the flooded supermarket and try to dive around to find some of the food that hadn’t been spoiled yet by the storm. So he pulled out a string of one of his pockets, which he used to tie his bike on the top of his car, and used it to tie down the kayak to the lamppost.

 Once it was safe to leave, he took off his wet clothes and jumped out of the kayak. The water was cold but he was already wet so it didn’t really matter. Not losing time, he swam towards the entrance of the supermarket and dove in just right in front of the door. Of course, it was closed and apparently damaged, as it was one of those automatic doors. He went up to the surface and tried to think what to use to break the glass.

 There was nothing around to use so he dove in again and tried to pull the door open but it wouldn’t budge. He tried once and twice until he had to go up to have some air and then try again. After resurfacing for the third time, he realized he was just losing time and that he had to go back home before nightfall. It was well known already that the storm was always worse at night.

 So he dove down again but this time to the pavement, looking for something. He found a cane, just by a small yellow car. Someone must have dropped it when the rain started it. Jim grabbed it and used it as a spear to attack the glasses of the door. At his second try, the glass shattered and he cleaned his path with the cane, in order to cut himself.

 The first thing he did inside the supermarket was grabbing a basket to put everything on it. He came back to the surface in order to remember how the distribution was, to find everything faster. He remembered it vaguely because he had always being one of those people that don’t really like going to the supermarket. His wife was always the one to go with the children. Jim preferred to stay home watching a game on TV or reading the news on his computer.

 He decided to swim along every aisle and try to be fast; grabbing whatever he thought was essential. As predicted, the fruits and vegetables were floating in the water, probably rotten already. The air did smell a bit weird. He grabbed all the baby food he could find and also every canned food he could see around there. There were tomatoes and beans and also full meals like ravioli inside.

 Jim felt like a treasure hunter filling his basket with the best things the bottom of the river could offer. Once his basket was too heavy, even underwater, he decided it was best to go back to the kayak and maybe come back the next day if they needed more. No one seemed to be interested in coming out of their houses so they really didn’t need to worry about facing any competition when grabbing food from the supermarket.

 Once outside, he had trouble putting the full basket inside the kayak. He dropped a few cans into the water but most things were still there. Because of the weight now, he had to be extra careful when moving around. He untied the kayak from the lamppost and started paddling as soon as he was able. He didn’t put on any clothes or put away the rope he had used. Jim knew the first thing was getting him safe with every single thing he had gotten.

 He reached the street in which he had to turn and had to it carefully in order for the kayak not to turn around. If that happened, he would loose everything and all of his efforts would have been in vain. He had to be very patient but he was able to turn and head home in no time. Once he got to the window, he decided tie his kayak to the nearest lamppost and just jumped out of the kayak with the basket on his hands.


 His family had a really nice dinner that night and his wife decided to go with him the next day, to find more food and maybe even some other things they could use, as electricity had already failed and now they had to live their nights in the dark. The children were calm and saw it all as an adventure but Jim’s worries came back to him. He feared the future more than anything now. He didn’t know how to live to avoid a catastrophe.

jueves, 7 de abril de 2016

Realization

   Norman had never really had any dreams, no real aspirations for life. He had gone through high school with pain, due to his lack of interest for most subjects, and went on to take six months off to decide what he was doing next. His parents agreed but only because he had really made an effort in his last year to get the best scores possible to get into a good college. They weren’t magnificent scores but they were certainly much better anyone had hoped him to have.

 He loved animals so he thought of becoming a veterinarian. But decided not to when he realized he would have to operate and see wounds and things like that. He wasn’t the best person in the presence of blood or any substances like that.

 Then he analyzed the possibility of becoming an architect. But he really sucked at mathematics and at drawing so it didn’t make much sense. Engineering was also out of the question as well as anything to do with math.

 He turned to the arts and put aside at once anything very plastic. He had never been good with his hands. Literature seemed interesting but he didn’t very much mind reading and cinema required him to work in a group. Which was very hard because he tended to like being alone.

 There was also law school, which he found very boring, and psychology, which he thought was garbage wrapped in trash. Philosophy never ended up anywhere and there wasn’t really anything else he could choose in the available colleges.

 The only thing he was good at was typing, like the secretaries in the fifties. He was really good and was capable of writing really fast although he had no idea what he was writing about. So he looked it up and decided it would be interesting to become a translator. It seemed easy, it was something everyone needed in due time, they got to travel and it just seemed right for him. Besides, he had learned two languages in school besides his own so at least he had already begun his studies, in a way.

 After two years of the career, Norman met Drake. He was a stunning man who happened to be very well known in the small world of high schools that compete against each other. When they first met in college, Norman was sure he had met Drake before. The thing was, he hadn’t but he had seen him several times when he and his classmates would attend football matches to support their school team.

 Drake was the star of one of the other high schools and everyone knew him because of his slight accent and his popularity with women. Norman had checked him out a lot back in the games but never really thought of anything. Later on, through a mutual acquaintance, they met in college and hit it off right away.

 They would speak for hours about their time in high school, their personal experiences there and also about their lives as college students. Drake was studying to become an architect and Norman soon saw with his own eyes that he was really good at drawing. When he did it, he was always very focused, as if he was alone somewhere. It was something really nice to see.

 They labeled their relationship as friendship. Norman went to Drake’s house often and vice versa. Sometimes Norman would judge Drake’s drawings and designs and would help him find things to make his ideas more appealing to the teachers. Drake also helped Norman by learning all the verbs and their forms for the frequent exams that he had. He also timed his typing skills and they always had fun with that.

 Although Drake had two girlfriends during their time in college, Norman barely saw any of them. They didn’t really talked about it. It wasn’t really a surprise when, in their last semester, Drake confessed he thought he was n love with Norman. And Norman realized he had been in love from the first moment they had begun their friendship.

 So shortly after they were done with college, they moved in together and promised each other to make it work. They found a small apartment midway between each other’s jobs and just lived a nice life for a long time until Drake proposed. He was one of those guys that like all the classic stuff. He wanted his life to have it all and Norman accepted because he was happy and wanted Drake to be as happy as he could. 

 They got married in a beautiful retreat by the mountains with friends and family and celebrated it by travelling to a faraway island where they were treated like gods. Besides, their relationship grew stronger and they felt they really had someone to trust and talk to whenever they wanted to. It was one of their shared dreams and they had achieved it.

 But then, some years later, Drake asked Norman if he would like to get a child, through adoption or insemination. Drake had entered those years in which men have a desire to leave their mark in the world and the ideal way to do that is to have a child. Norman had to think about it for a while because it wasn’t an easy decision. It was the life of some poor kid they were talking about and he didn’t wanted to make a mistake with that.

 Months later, they decided to go to an agency where they would offer a woman willing to carry their baby for the duration of the pregnancy. It had been Norman that made the decision, as he decided that if they were going to have a child, it was best of it looked like one of them. He felt bad for all the children up for adoption but he just thought it was the best choice for them.

 The pregnancy months were difficult because one of them had to help the woman they had chosen with all her pregnancy related issues and the one who was less busy was Norman. He took her to the doctor and to the dentist and to those classes were pregnant women learning how to breathe and how to stay strong. She was a very nice woman that just needed money and had already been a mother so she knew what it was all about. She was a single mom and her parents were not very happy with their decision but she didn’t care about that.

 Norman had some time to work, mainly online, with official documents but had to stop travelling to take care of the pregnancy. When the baby was born, the woman disappeared after being paid and they had new responsibilities. Drake tried to get some months off but due to fact that they were two men; they only gave him half the normal time. They sued but nothing came out of that. They enjoyed their time together, now three, and when he went back to work it was Norman who had to put almost everything about his career on hold.

 He got a break when the child was bigger and they had people they trusted to leave him off with like their parents or sisters or brothers who already had children. Being a baby, they didn’t feel good doing it but now that little Kevin as older; it didn’t seem much of a problem.

 One day, it the supermarket, Norman realized he was looking for a different cereal box for each one of them as well as their favorite snacks and meals. He knew how to cook the best burgers with mushrooms and he created Kevin’s favorite juice, a combination of three tropical fruits. In front of the freezers filled with frozen fish, he realized he had become a “house husband”. He had never really intended to and now he was doing all the things that the house needed to get done in order to work.

 He loved dressing Kevin up in Halloween and kissing Drake every morning and having sex in the most unexpected times.

 Then, Kevin was in school, Drake was successful in his job and now had a company of his own and he traveled from time to time to act as translator for some government officials or in other events. When he did that, it was fun but he had much more fun at home, when he was cooking or making the house look good. He had finally found what he loved.


 Maybe it wasn’t the most popular job of them all but he loved the look on his family when they appreciated his hard work. They didn’t teach any of that in college and he certainly had no use for those damn high scores and grades.