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

miércoles, 8 de noviembre de 2017

You reap what you sow

  Its name was Cotton and he had been a member of the Northam family for at least ten years. He had been given to a young teenager named Martha, the oldest of the Northam marriage. They were a very wealthy family from the coastline region, controlling most of the fishing industry in the part of the country. They named the cat Cotton because of the color of its fur but also because the family also owned several cotton plantations on near the ocean, which they exported with ease.

 Martha had never really wanted a cat. She was not the kind of kid to like animals or anything that was alive. To be fair, she had problems at school that had resulted in her removal from the education system. She was then educated at home by private teachers who would come for at least five hours a day and try to educate her a bit. But the girl wasn’t interested, only being moved by the love of her father and his tendency to give her what she wanted whenever she wanted.

 Her mother Nancy had never agreed to that behavior but Mr. Northam, as head of the family, made all the big choices around there and she couldn’t really protest any of the decisions he made. If he wanted something done at home or not, if he wanted the children to go to school or not and even what kind of food would be served at home, it was him who decided it all, even if it didn’t really affected him. Because, you see, Mr. Northam was never around in the house, too busy with his business.

 Many, for a long while, had guessed he could be one of those men that has several mistresses all around and even other families but that was proven to be false when Nancy, on a very rare glimpse of attitude, had decided to follow her husband one day in order to se what he did with his time. It had been the most boring experience for him and had just sealed in her mind that nothing would ever change in that house because there was nothing unpredictable about the things happening all around.

 Cotton was officially Martha’s, but the cat spend much more time in the kitchen, sitting on an old wooden stool, while the cook did her chores of the day. She was a big woman, much bigger than any in the family, and she would often give the cat bits and pieces of everything she made. Everyone always seemed to be astonished at how fat he became over the years. No one knew about where he went every day and only the old cook knew and never told a soul. After all, Cotton was a bit like a companion, even a partner in crime if you will. She never felt alone when he was there.

 For Alysia, the cook, Cotton was more human than the people she made the food for. She liked the cat because he seemed to listen to what she said, even if it was ridiculous to converse with a cat. However, that all changed when Martha discovered the cat coming out of the kitchen one day, when she was about to leave the house after finally ending her high school years. Her father had agreed to pay a very expensive university far away in order for her to become a clothes designer.

 Even so, she complained to her father about the cat not being with her, as he should even if she didn’t want him around, and being with the cook instead. The children had never seen the cook’s face but they had been raised to believe that was far a reason, something to do with them being better than others although with a different wording, in order not to seem heartless and insensitive. But the truth could never be masked by pretty and false phrases that meant nothing.

 Mr. Northam’s response was pretty straightforward: Alysia was fired and replaced with another older woman, as big as she was. The cat stopped going to the kitchen because the new cook would always try to scare it off with a broom or something. So Cotton, once again, became an object for everyone in the house, as useless and uninteresting as a lamp or the rugs that were all over the place. No one cared about him afterward, being the gardener the one in charge of filling the cat’s bowel with food and water.

 Alysia leaved in a small shed was forced to leave it once she had been fired, as all of the housing in the area was exclusive for people that worked for the Northam family. She was evicted along with her few belongings and at age seventy-six she was forced to leave the region and go to a big city in order to try to find a new job, because she didn’t have enough money saved to pay for anything. Suffice to say that working for years had not made her a candidate for a pension or even health insurance.

 Cotton escaped one night and went looking for Alysia but he never found her. Not only because he arrived at the shed she used to leave with and no one was there, but because he was an already very old cat and couldn’t properly use his natural talents to find anyone. He was confused and tired, so he decided to go back to the only place where he could rest for the rest of his days. At least the small boys were now bigger and didn’t bother him and the rest of the family was too submerged in their own businesses in order to care for what a cat would do or not do.

 In the city, Alysia eventually found a job knitting for a store that made baby clothes. They required her skills to be almost out of this world and she was just too tired to do it as fast as they wanted her to be. So they also fired her from that place. She would never find a job ever again and, in a very sad turn, she died in line while trying to get into the office that was supposed to help her sue the Northams for everything that they owed her for all the years of service. It wasn’t peaceful.

 No one attended her funeral and she was cremated because there was no determined place to put her body. Some nice person dissipated her ashes in a park in the city, but that was it for her. She had raised a family, had endured after losing her husband and had made everything possible for her children to have better lives than hers. She failed and succeeded but all of that never mattered in her golden years, that time you are supposed to be at peace and with no worries.

 As for the Northam family, they didn’t have the best of lucks either. Because of very poor business decisions, a competing company was able to outgrow them and eventually they were forced to sell to them. Everything went, even the palatial house that had been their refuge for so many years. Every employee defected fast and many other were only fired with no compensation. Some of the old sheds were demolished and everything that had been a reality for so long had been turned into dust.

 As for Martha, she never returned from abroad. However, it was known by everyone that she had never paid a single semester in that fancy university, instead blowing the money in alcohol and drugs. A couple of years after her family’s bankruptcy, she was found dead because of an overdose. It was the final nail in the coffin for her family, a very big coffin with a very large amount of nails. Her parents divorced and her brothers never spoke to any of them again, separating forever.

 Cotton was a witness in all of this. However, the cat was very old and tired when it all happened. However, the gardener decided to keep him when things were being sold. After all that time, he had also developed a fondness for the furry creature.

 The cat died only a year after that, not being able to fully enjoyed proper love in a much better, although smaller, house. Some called the whole thing a curse but there are no such things. It’s more the phrase that grandmothers say: “You reap what you sow”.

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?

martes, 10 de mayo de 2016


   Thousands of cameras flashed at the same time and then over and over again when Amy came out of the house. They al wanted to ask the same question: “How well do you think it’s going to go for you tonight?” And Amy wanted to answer but she just entered the car that was waiting her and drove away without saying a word. Her publicist praised her for not saying a word but she didn’t even heard her. She was too busy trying to answer the question the media was asking.

 Would she win the election? Maybe. There was a strong possibility that it might happen for her. It was no mystery that her campaign had been primarily focused on the fact that she was a woman and the she was not one of the political elite. She was just a councilwoman in the most populated city in the country and she had become an important part of politics in a single day.

 The party she was running for had chosen her over many other candidates because they had thought they could mold her into someone people would like and vote for, someone that did not look at all like all those older men that had dominated politics for so long. They wanted to restart with a fresh face, especially after failing to win the election for a third time in a row. They had to take advantage of the opportunity being offered by the fact that the current government was shaking.

 One scandal after the other had taken its toll on people’s opinion and, according to the latest polls; the two candidates were virtually tied. So everything could be decided by a handful of votes and that was very important. They had to ensure that they had every single possible vote in their pocket and that’s why Amy had travelled across the country, without a rest, for the last five months.

 She wasn’t an experienced politician but what the party liked about her was that she could be able to be close to people in a way most politicians just couldn’t. She didn’t look fake when talking to a mother or a person that had lost it all. They could take Amy to a prestigious country club or to a soup kitchen in the most horrible part of a city and in both cases she would be able to be sympathetic and relatable.

 By the time she entered that car, the truth was that she felt exhausted. She didn’t want to walk anymore. She just wanted a good night’s sleep but that wasn’t possible on Election Day. They had paraded her around all day and she hadn’t even been able to properly eat anything, only some fruit her assistant was able to pass to her before the day properly began. And she couldn’t even eat it all because someone took the box away from her to give her a speech she had to memorize.

 Amy Walker was almost forty years old and that apparently was something people liked. They also liked the fact that she looked modern and seemed to know everything about the world today. She had all the gadgets and even tried to run her own social media but that was difficult because of the amount of things she had to do in a day. So, normally, Amy would only write herself a message once a day and the rest were images and phrases posted by her team.

 To her, that seemed a little bit like cheating but she reminded herself that it was all part of being a public figure. Most of those people had no way of managing anything by themselves because of their schedules and priorities. She would have wanted to be more in touch with her voters, but she could only do that in some events and even then it was extremely hard to get really close to any of then.

 In the car, her assistant gave her a box of sushi. She was so hungry that she ate five pieces in less than five minutes. Someone was trying to explain to her something about how the election work and such, but she was to hungry to even care. She asked for a bottle of water and has some, drinking almost half of the bottle in one gulp. Amy not only felt hungry and thirsty but also desperate. She felt like the space she was in was too small. In a second, she had fainted.

 When she woke up, she was still in the car. They had apparently stopped because the doors were opened and, as soon as she opened her eyes, her assistant got closer and grabbed her hand. She helped her sit down properly, as she had been lying down in the back seat of the big car. In a strange moment of privacy, they hugged and her assistant told her she was sorry for not being able to give her more time to adjust to it all and to eat. She felt guilty somehow.

 But Amy didn’t say anything about that. Instead, she asked where they were. One of the bodyguards helped her out of the car and she realized they had arrived at the convention center but they were in a lonely part of the parking lot. Policemen had possibly closed it only for her. She was thankful for that. Amy told her assistant to walk her wherever she had to go and the poor assistant did exactly that, a bit scared she might not have recuperated fully.

 Indeed, Amy did not feel very good, but there was no point in turning back and laying in that car forever. It was her night and she had to be there to see if everything went as they thought it would go. It was the final step of the road and she couldn’t just miss it.

 They all entered a backroom and then descended some stairs to the place where she would get her makeup done and a new outfit. She asked her assistant to update her every time there was something big happening and the younger woman just nodded as the candidate entered her prep room. Inside, many more people were waiting for her, in order to turn her into one of the many images that people liked.

 One group washed her hair and the other retouched her nails and toes. She had undressed behind a curtain and taken off her dress and everything else and put on a white bathrobe to be more comfortable. As she had sat down in the chair, her assistant had told her that the polling centers had closed and that results would start coming in very soon.

 It was a tense moment for her but she tried to enjoy being pampered and taken care off. That always helped her get a bit more relax. Besides, she really needed to be refreshed because of all that she had done that day: visit a school, then greeting the military and visiting a factory. And all of that had happened before noon. Afterwards she had done so many things that she was sure she couldn’t even remember them all.

 The first state had been called within the next five minutes and it was for her rival. Then the second and the third, also for her rival. Her team reminded her that those territories did not make part of their plans, so it was a predictable thing that they hadn’t gone their way.

 Another two were called as they blow-dried her hair: another for her rival and one for her. They celebrated but the cheers were not precisely happy because of the disadvantage she was in. Amy thought to herself that, if she had to make a speech from a loser’s point of view, she could even pull it off in a better way than if she had won. Maybe all of that fancy politics stuff wasn’t just for her and she needed to go back to the city council and stay there.

 Two more states were called: both for her. As they finished preparing her and changing her into a new, more modern dress, the race became an almost tie. It was really going to be close and everyone in the room was as tense as they could be. When she was done, they all watch the TV screens together and waited until it came the time to go out to the stage.

 At least half of the votes had yet to enter the race and Amy realized she might become president. She might be the one to lead a whole country. And she knew that it would be difficult and hard on her. She didn’t know if she was the best for the job. But there she was. Only a few more votes…