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

domingo, 5 de julio de 2015


   I had always liked to stay at nice hotels and now I had the chance to do it often do to my job. I paraded around the globe trying to sell them these products and in exchange I got to stay in great cities and beautiful hotels every so often. Of course, there were not five star hotels and were rather aimed at pleasing businessmen and not film stars or something, but I really liked them.

 One time, for example, I was sent to a rather small town but they put me in a big hotel with all the amenities possible. It was five stories high, had a nice view of the airport and even had a pool. So the first thing I thought, even during my meetings with various people that day, was when and how to get into that pool. I had planned to get to the hotel by six in the afternoon and just run to the pool as it closed at seven o’clock.

However, when I was picking up my things n my room, a hotel towel and so on, I got a phone call. It was someone from work but I decided to pretend I was busy or a heavy sleeper and not answered. Actually, I deliberately left my phone in the room as I left it for the pool, which was amazing. The water’s temperature was perfect and I had all for myself. Possibly that was because the hotel was nowhere near top capacity but I didn’t really care. I just enjoyed the moment and swam across the pool multiple times until I decided it had being too much. Strangely, no one had come to tell me to get out of the pool and I was sure it was eight o’clock, at least.

 I went back to my room and the phone was ringing again. I decided to pick up and realized no one answered. The number that appeared on the screen was from one of my bosses but no one spoken when I answered. I hung up and just lay down in bed about to turn on the TV but somehow I got very sleepy in a second and I fell asleep right there. I had a dreamless night and when I woke up I was slightly startled. I thought I had overslept but it was still two hours until I had to wake up to leave for my flight back home. But I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to check on the news. Nothing interesting.

 I decided to shower and use all the little soaps and shampoos I could and those I couldn’t I would put them in my luggage. Again, the water was perfect and I spent more than enough time in the shower but because I suddenly felt sleepy again. I had to close the water and lean against the wall to recover. I grabbed a towel but when I did the world had started spinning and I just fell hard to the ground. I did not pass out instantly. My eyesight was blurry and I could feel a presence and some distorted sounds. Just before I feel into a deep slumber, again, I thought I saw something and smelled a very particular scent.

 When I woke up, I wasn’t in my hotel bedroom. I was in another hotel bedroom, more likely a motel. The walls had stains on them, there was a smell of rotten food or something and I realized it was pitch black outside. I concluded I had been kidnapped and, of course, I had missed my flight. People would already be looking for me, as they knew at what time I supposed to be home. I hoped they were looking because that place really felt off. Something was not right and then I smelled the same scent I smelled before I feel asleep naked on the ground of the hotel bathroom. I realized I was now wearing some kind of robe. I checked it and realized it had the emblem of the hotel I had been staying in. Then, the door of the room opened and that smell invaded the small space.

 The door was close and there he was. A tall man, wearing a black hat and a coat. I had never seen him before but he had this look, like what someone would look like after escaping a mental institution. I decided not to say a word and just wait for him to day or do something. But he stayed there, standing up by the door just looking at him. When I tried to move, I realized one of my wrists and one of my ankles, were tied tightly to the bed. I was tied to them with rope. And I was very week suddenly so I decided not to fight against anything. Was this a crazy guy that kidnapped people and killed them far away or was he going to torture me in some gruesome manner that I couldn’t even understand? The thought made me tremble.

 And it was then that he moved, towards me. I saw his eyes more clearly and they are very red, as if he had never been asleep in his life. He was older than I had thought at first and, to be honest; he didn’t seem as deranged as I had thought he was. Still, he didn’t say a word. However it was me who started asking for him to release. The time for waiting for him to act had passed and now I needed to make him understand that maybe I was the wrong target or maybe I could convince him not to kill me. But he didn’t seem to care about what I said. He just looked at me with those red eyes and it was uncomfortable and I just started to get very desperate. I was weak but I pulled and cried from impotence.

This seemed to work on him because he blinked a lot, as if he had been woken up from hypnosis or something. I took advantage of his apparent confusion and started to beg him. I asked him to release me and I swore I would never tell anyone what had happened in that room and what he looked like. I told him I didn’t know who he was or what he was trying to do but that I respected him and wanted him to know I wanted to be respectful of him. All of this came like a waterfall of ideas that just ran out of my mouth as I thought about them. I was desperate but said anything in a very controlled way in order not to seem as crazy as I thought he was. Then, he turned his head and walked towards a table I had not seen before.

 From the table, he took something and took his time doing something to it. I thought that he was going to start torturing me for sure but then he turned around and I realized he held a needle in his hand. Before I could even think anything, he jabbed it on my leg and, once again, I fell into a deep slumber and only felt him go away, maybe out of the room and the scent of rotten food fill the space in my mind. This time I did dream. It was about my childhood and the first boy I had ever kissed. My mind kept repeating the memory like a damaged DVD player or something. I felt anxious and then I woke up and I happened to be back but not in my hotel room but in my home. The first thing I did, after I realized I was still wearing the hotel robe, was to call the police.

 Sure enough, I had disappeared for a whole week. I almost fainted again when they told me. Apparently, I just remembered one day out of seven he had me in his custody. I told everything I could to the police, all bout the guy’s look, the smells, what I could remember about the motel and about the syringe he had jabbed in my leg. They made me go through several medical tests and so on in order to know more about he had injected in me. It apparently was a very strong liquid that made anyone go limp in a heartbeat. So they thought he might be a doctor of some kind, maybe even a veterinarian. But I had never met either, not close at least.

 My mind was just so full of things, of cut memories and of fear. Because I knew he could’ve done so much more to me than he did. He didn’t kill me, torture me and the rape tests came out negative. I had been kidnapped for some reason and the person responsible had done nothing to me. The police did their job, I can’t complain about that, and they found absolutely nothing. They just couldn’t get anywhere with what I knew and with the other few evidence they had. Not even security cameras had registered him into my room and no one anywhere had apparently seen such a man. I got fed up with it all when a psychologist insinuated that maybe I had imagined all of it. Never trusts shrinks, am I right?

 I decided to go back to my work, my home, my life. I was very scared to be alone at home so I bought a dog and a cat and just tried to get by, without ever thinking about what had happened that day. My trips are less frequent now and I just have fun the few times I leave for business. However, I never sleep well in hotels and I tend to spend a lot of time in the bar area. I drink so I can sleep faster and just make the night go more smoothly for me. Since what happened, I can’t stop thinking that maybe I knew him from something, maybe I had met him once and now I didn’t know. But a hypnotherapist didn’t help, as I thought. I’m just never going to know what exactly happened and why and maybe that’s the worst part of it.

lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Stranger tour

   I had just met him but I didn’t want to walk around a whole new city without someone to tell me what was what. You see, I had arrived in Barcelona only recently and I’m one those people that understands things better when someone else is explaining. I get lost easily when I’m all by myself but I learn rather fast, which has always helped me get through things. Anyhow, I was having my first cup of coffee today and this guy was just really nice and I just asked him if he could show me the city. I know, he could have been a serial killer or something. Actually, it would have been worst if he had just said no but he was very nice and gave me his number, asking me to send him a message at night to see what he could do for me and my request.

 I did write to him from my phone and he answered rather quickly. He explained that he wasn’t from Barcelona either and that he understood how nervous I was for being in a new city so he proposed to go out the following weekend and show me the places that he thought would help me get to know the city. The weekend was only two days away so the wait was very short. He came to my place, where I had recently moved. I offered him a cup of coffee but he said he would rather start right away. He seemed very serious and not in the mood to talk, so I didn’t say a word. We just walked a few blocks until we got to a subway station. There was a map where he explained me where everything was: downtown, Montjuic, the industrial areas, the beaches, the mountains and the bars and discos.

 We entered the station and he bought my ticket, in order to show me how it all worked. That part was fun because I knew how the system worked, I had traveled from the airport in the metro. But I decided not to say anything because he seemed a little bit fed up with the whole concept of explaining all these menial things to an idiot from another country. We sat down side by side in the train but wouldn’t even look at each other. Maybe it was best if I just let him go and be miserable alone, because I didn’t wanted my own weekend to be spoiled. I would just walk around and people would help me. I had noticed people were very nice so maybe that was my real thing. I had no idea when or how I had decided to ask that from a stranger.

 The train stopped and he got out so I did the same. He walked rather fast so it was difficult to keep up with his pace. When we came out of the station, I realized I had been there before: it was the main square of the city called Plaza Cataluña. There were lots and lots of people everywhere but I decided not to be still for too long because my companion had already started walking away. I followed him to the Rambla, trying to get to where he was but it was impossible. After a while, I didn’t see him anymore. Fe up with the attitude, I just stopped and went back to the square. The climate was getting a bit colder.

 About fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. It was a call, not a message or a text. And it was him because I could see the name “Coffee guy” on the screen. I smiled because I didn’t even know his name and decided not to answer. But he tried two more times so I finally decided to pick it up. He asked me where I was and why I hadn’t followed him. I told him he seemed too distracted and too pissed off at something or someone and that I didn’t have time to waste so I thanked him for his help and just hung up. But he called again and asked again where I was. I told him I was at a bar, drinking a beer. He got to the bar and, again, didn’t say a word when he sat down beside me. He didn’t ask anything for himself and I just wasn’t in the mood to ask some stranger what was up with his life.

 Then, he started saying he had had a tough week. Apparently, he had been into a number of interviews for jobs he would have wanted to get but he got none of them. I told him that maybe he had been just awful in the interviews but he replied that he had been relaxed and charming and had answered everything rapidly and kindly. He just didn’t got why they wouldn’t pick him. I didn’t say anything else. I just sipped my beer and looked at all the glasses and things the barman had behind him. The coffee guy then told me to go on with the tour but I told him I had decided not to tour anything with someone whose name I didn’t even know. He then told me his name was Evan and that he needed to walk around or he would keep thinking about the jobs that didn’t happen.

 I just gulped down the beer, closed my jacket and walked outside, not saying a word to him. Evan decided to be nicer and started talking as we walked, explaining the history he knew about the place and his impressions when he had first come to the city. At first, I wasn’t talking at all but he was trying so hard I decided to give in and have a decent Saturday. We walked through the Gothic neighborhood and the historic center, we went by the zoo and Evan promised to take me soon and then we got to the first and most popular beach in the city, la Barceloneta. Not many people were there, possibly because the wind was now colder but some were reading or just playing around in the sand.

 We got back into the city, walking along a big avenue and seeing old buildings. I took pictures with my phone and Evan decided to surprise me by getting into some of the shots. We decided to have lunch in a fast-food place and there I had one of the best moments since I had left my home. He was very kind and shared his frustration for not getting any of the jobs. He told me was still getting a masters degree but that he wanted to be able to earn money and just have a living. He told me he lived some blocks away fro me and that he had thought that by going out with me he could forget his frustration.

I just told him I understood what was happening and that I had gone through the same thing over and over in the past. But finally someone silly enough had hired me and now I was working in that beautiful city. He laughed, saying I didn’t even know if it was beautiful but I told him it was love at first sight. He just laughed and told me that wasn’t totally out of the question and that he wanted me to fall in love harder so he decided to take me to the other beaches after lunch. The wind was very cold and the ocean had turned into a grey puddle but we just stood in a pier and watched the weather happen for at least a half hour.

 During our time there, we didn’t talked very much. I noticed he was sad again, all of a sudden, so I decided to let it go for the moment. We walked towards the nearest subway station and then he started talking to me about how hard it had been for him the first weeks. That was not because of the city but because he had never left his house before and he had a hard time not seeing his mother and father whenever he wanted or not having his sibling to have fun with. He was all alone and he told me he had remembered the feeling as we walked down the pier. He talked to them every day but it was not the same. You always miss family, he said. And I knew he was right.

  After a transfer, I realized we where in a higher neighborhood. He told me that daylight was going to fade soon so he wanted my first tour day to end fantastically. So he just made me walk behind him through some steep streets until we got to a park. It was Park Güell and I had seen it in TV before. I had wanted to visit it and had no idea that’s where Evan was taking me. It was a nice walked inside the premises, taking a lot more pictures and now making Evan pose in some of them. We took very good pictures and he told me there was something else he could do for me. So we went up a road I had not seen before and he took my hand in order not to get lost, because the sun was setting and darkness was starting to settle.

 We finally got to the top where I was able to see the whole city in front of me. I could see downtown, I could see the neighborhood were I was living now and also some other features I hadn’t noticed before. The sunset’s light made it all look even more beautiful. We just stood there for several minutes until I noticed the artificial lights went on and the sun had totally disappeared. Then, as we came down the hill towards the park, I realized I was still holding Evan’s hand but he hadn’t noticed or maybe he didn’t care so we just kept it like that until we go to the subway station. He took me home and then I offered a cup of coffee again. He told me he was exhausted and wanted to rest his head but that maybe he would come for it soon enough.

 He left and I got in and I realize how good that day had been. I slept like a baby and was even more thrilled the next morning, when the doorbell woke me up early in the morning and it was him. He had decided he wanted coffee right then and I had decided I wanted him to come in too. That they, we held hand a lot. But that’s another story.

sábado, 7 de febrero de 2015

A small issue

   Amanda just laughed. She stopped fast but her answer to Melinda’s problem was not precisely the one she needed. Yes, she wanted to laugh too but she couldn’t as it concerned and it was a subject she considered deeply important. The waitress came with one big cup of ice cream and a glass of water, both for Melinda. She started eating right away, trying to avoid thinking in nothing else than in the different flavors of her sundae. Amanda just looked at her, worried but still with a smirk on her face.

-       Just tell me again, and let’s see what I can do for your. Really.

 Melinda just looked at her, still eating. After all, she had called Amanda to tell know her point of view of the matter and to see if she had some advice, although she didn’t know if advice had anything to do in this kind of situation. She raised her head and was about to talk but didn’t know where to begin. She had some water and then started, almost reciting was had happened days before.

 She had met the guy at a party made by one of her coworkers. It was a birthday. Melinda reminded Amanda that she had invited to go. Amanda nodded but did not say anything else, in order to let her friend tell all without interruptions. Melinda kept on, telling that she had some drinks at the party and eventually ended up meeting Dave, a friend of the guy they were having the party for.

 At first she didn’t really acknowledge his advances, because he was really been insisting, but after two more glasses of wine he began to be less annoying. They talked about work, about their favorite TV shows and the music they loved. When time come to leave the party, that had died out due to people being mostly drunk, Melinda left with Dave and then had a great night. They ate hotdogs, strolled through town remembering their past lovers and, finally, they arrived at her place. Without doubting, she asked Dave to come in with her.

 At this point, Melinda stopped talking and ate a big scoop of ice cream. Amanda just looked at her, now with what looked like pity, and waited for her friend to stop eating and keep talking. But Melinda has a second scoop of desert, as she found it difficult to keep talking. Finally, after a sip of water, she went on.

 She had been drinking too much and yes; they had sex on her bedroom. It was very strange because she did not have a huge hangover the day after but, somehow, she didn’t remember anything. She knew she had had sex with Dave but did not remember anything about it. When she woke up, thankfully, he was getting dressed up and told her he had to leave because he had something to do with his family. Half asleep, she said bye and went back to her pillow.

 This time Amanda decided to interrupt. She did this because she thought that first time was the only one Melinda had met Dave. She thought the story was about a one-night stand. But Melinda, after finishing her ice cream, told her friend that they had seen each other once more, about a week ago.

 It was him who called and asked her out on a date. Having nothing else to do that weekend, she had agreed to see him. Amanda asked why she had said yes but Melinda went on, remembering how she had dressed casually for their dinner. It was in a nice restaurant but she had no intention of dressing up for a guy she barely remembered. Nevertheless, she had to confess, they had a great time. The man was very charming and had many tales that were really interesting.

 They talked and talked for hours until it was late and, this time, it was him who asked her to go to his house to have something to drink and keep talking. She realized she hadn’t really gone out with anyone for a long time and Dave seemed like a very nice person. He was interesting and enjoyable and he wasn’t bad looking at all. So she agreed to go to his house. There, he had a very nice bottle of wine and she had one of the most funny and interesting conversations she had had in recent memory.

 Amanda then interrupted her friend, once more, to ask what Dave looked like. Melinda told her friend that he was about her size, so not very tall. He had blue eyes, which was largely uncommon in the guys she had liked, and he had nice short hair, not styled in stupid fashions like most men were using it today. That day he had wore very nice clothes, with a tie and everything. She had left a little guilty not to wear a nice dress.

 She asked for a glass of wine and went on with her story. They had been drinking and talking for several hours until he planted a kiss on her and she responded by pushing him and kissing him on the sofa, almost entirely on top of him. This was followed by both of them standing up, still kissing, and getting into his room. She landed first on the bed and then he leaned closer. It was very arousing, she confessed. But then it happened.

 She had never been one for touching or grabbing but that night she had felt especially bold. So she went for it and realized something was vey particular. She decided not to think about it and then proceeded to remove her blouse and he took off his shirt. It was very hot and they kept kissing until she unzipped his pants. It happened all so fast, she barely remembered everything accurately. The point was she was at home like thirty minutes later, not even waiting in the apartment for the taxi but choosing to wait for it in the building’s hall.

 Amanda was now smiling in a silly way again. Melinda hid her face behind her hands and said again what she had told her friend, almost upon arrival:

-       He had a small penis.

 It had the same effect on Amanda, who burst into laughter and even cried a bit because of her reaction. This time, however, even Melinda smiled a bit. She knew the situation was silly but she still felt betrayed, if that was the proper word. Days after, she remembered everything and she knew she hadn’t responded in the right way but, apparently, Melinda put too much attention to those details.

 Amanda then told her it wasn’t a bad thing, although her response had been just disastrous. She thought Dave was surely ashamed and affected by it all afterwards and men took really seriously the attempts against their manhood. She then proceed to ask how “bad” it was, and she said it just looked small, like… Amanda didn’t really know what she said, because she said it under her breath, but it wasn’t important.

-       Do you like him?
-       Well… Yeah, I guess.
-       No. Do you like him? Be sure!
-       Yeah, I do. His really nice.
-       And is his… - Amanda looked around – size, so important?

 Melinda didn’t answer right away. She didn’t wanted to sound shallow but it was true that most men she had dated had been well endowed and she know realized maybe that had been a conscious decision. But before she said anything, Amanda kept talking.

-       If it is, just call him and apologize. He doesn’t deserve what you did. And if it really isn’t, apologize too and try to give yourself a chance. Who know, he may be exactly who you need in your life.

 As it happens, Dave wasn’t the man of her dreams or nothing of the sort. She went up to his house and apologized in person. He was glad that she had come. They didn’t discussed anything of what happened but talked about other subject and realized hey could be very good friends.

 Maybe she was shallow after all or, maybe, sex was too important for her to be overlooked. Anyway, she promised herself never turn down anyone because of her personal preferences. It just wasn’t the decent thing to do.

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

The day of discoveries

Sandra Kazan had been working for years just to get a vague answer, a response that may give hope to future humans. She was 24 years old when she entered SETI as an intern and now she had the responsibility to process data from every single home computer that helped SETI process their information.

She was now almost forty and felt her life had amounted to nothing. Every single day looking at screens with numbers and numbers and, at the end of the day, they meant nothing. Her outlet was her teaching, the only place where she felt she was of use. When the classes where over, she felt useless, bored.

The woman went to her mother's home for the holidays. Seeing her mom felt great and weird at the same time. She had always wanted Sandra to be more an active scientist and not just a teacher. It wasn't that she disapproved of her but she felt her daughter was made of a stronger material. She had even encouraged her, years before, to submit her application to NASA in order to become an astronaut. She said it would make her very proud if her daughter became one of the few black women in space, as she would represent all the efforts made by her ascendants.

But that didn't happen. Sandra was captivated by the search for extraterrestrial life and that was her passion. Although going to space was a dream, she would rather be the one that announced the discovery of life in other planets to the rest of the world.

In her mother's home, she stayed in a small room. It wasn't the room of her childhood but the only other room in the small apartment. Her father had died five years ago, so her mom had bought a new place with her savings and money her husband had left.

The first day, they behave like strangers. The truth was that Sandra didn't visit her mother as much and, now that her brother had left the country for work, she had the task of checking on her mother's needs and the state of her life. She was an older woman, but she was strong still and much more active than others. She loved dancing so she visited a senior center often to dance with various partners that always enjoyed her presence.

Sadly for Sandra, she had not inherited that from her mother, that candor, her charm. She had always been more private, trying to keep things serious and grounded. She was like her father, a man that rarely laughed or encouraged jokes. But Sandra would have loved to be more like her mother, a bit careless but ultimately happy.

Days after getting home, the two women had a fight. The mother had reminded her daughter of her short lived marriage and Sandra just exploded, yelling and telling her mother not to mess with things she didn't know about.
It was no use to try to talk as there was no real confidence. Her parents had not raised her to trust them but to respect them, so she had no need or urge to explain anything to her mother.

She had married Matt Jackson around the time she turned thirty. At first, everything was perfect, ideal even. They got a house and she left her job at SETI. She was dedicated to make it work so she only kept her work as a teacher as it had flexible hours.

But things turned bad fast. Matt was violent and absent frequently. He never hit Sandra but could be even more violent with his mouth, saying what he said. It hurt bad. And then he left for work and acted as if nothing had happened. He was a scientist too and traveled often to Europe and Asia for conferences. He was a respected man in the community.

Just after the first year of marriage, he was selected to go to space, with a team of other scientist to test theories and make experiments in zero gravity. The Soyuz craft that transported him to the ISS exploded over Asia. She was officially a widow and was handed a flag and given money. But the truth was Sandra was relieved. She had never loved him for real and feared him every time he was close. She wasn't happy but not sad either.

It was still a hard subject to deal with, however. And she knew her mother blamed her for the bad relationship and for not being able to give her the grandson that her brother finally gave her. Sandra never remarried and was not interested in men any more, at least not as husbands.

On Christmas day, she tried to make it up to her mother by doing all the cooking. She loved to cook as it relaxed her, so she did some turkey with a delicious gravy and a meat pie, and two desserts and even a tasty lemonade. She also made corn bread, her mother's favorite, hoping to mend things after their argument.

It appeared to have worked as they enjoyed a very nice meal for the two of them. She gave her mother presents she had brought with her like clothes and a music CD she knew she would love. Her mother thanked her and told her she was happy to have her around for such a sensible time for her. Sandra's father had died days after Christmas day, so her mother was very sensitive.

The following week, they visited the cemetery, put flowers on Sandra's father grave and went into the church for mass. It had been years since Sandra had entered a church and she felt a bit guilty as she had been raised a catholic but faith had never really been something she had. It didn't mattered is she believed in God or not, the concept of faith for her was hard as she was rather blunt with her decisions and opinions.

Suddenly her phone rang and she had to excuse herself in order to answer the call outside the church. something amazing had happened at SETI and she was asked to come back and process some information to confirm a possible signal they had detected.

Sandra waited outside for her mother. When the woman got out, she told her the news but the older woman didn't really understand what was going on. On the way home, Sandra explained what her work was about and how urgent it was for them to decipher the data. But her mother was more sad than interested in her reasons for leaving.

As Sandra packed, she realized her mother had faded a bit, as a plant that begins to lose color, life. She asked her how she felt and the woman answered she was "fine". Sandra told her mom how sorry she was to leave but that it was necessary, as they needed her. The mother then told her she needed her too, as she felt alone and sad after visiting her husband's grave. She felt she had been left alone in the world and now she had nothing.

Of course, Sandra felt guilty and decided to take her mother home with her, at least for the remainder of the holidays. It took a lot of convincing but the older woman finally accepted. They got there that same night and Sandra drove directly to work. She settled her mother in her office with a big sofa, blankets and a TV, as she worked in a desk nearby, in silence.

When she saw her daughter's dedication, the mother realized she had never really known her daughter and that maybe it was time to really get to know each other.

In the morning, the woman was woken up by Sandra's cheering. She was really happy, throwing papers around and cheering loudly. Some people had already arrived and she finally explained she had gotten through the data and that the announcement could be made.

The woman was present when her daughter announced, on national television, the discovery of an extraterrestrial signal that repeated itself, like a beacon. They had proved it wasn't from a natural source and that it seemed almost like a call of some sorts.

But the mother didn't really understood all of that. She shed a tear because, after years of years of her own neglect, she realized her daughter was a brilliant woman, capable and exemplary. And Sandra saw her tears and smiled.