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

viernes, 18 de mayo de 2018

Reflection


   Once I got out of the shower, I looked at the mirror and realized no one was looking back to me. I hadn’t become a vampire or anything, it was just the steam that had rendered the mirror blurry and nothing could be seen. For a few seconds, however, I tried to look at myself on there. I pierced the glass, the fog and the humidity, but there was no one on the other side. It was better that way, I thought. I had never really liked mirrors but now I felt almost compelled to look at my face whenever I crossed paths with one.

 You see, I had accident a few months back and I got a very bad injury on my face. A piece of glass flew from the broken car window and slashed part of my right cheek. It was a deep cut and I lost a lot of blood because of it. Luckily, that was the most serious injury anyone received that day. No one died but I felt I was dying while they took me to the hospital and tried to save my face. And they did, they were really skillful at making my face look as if nothing had happened. A couple of days later, I was going home.

 However, I had seen myself in a mirror as they pushed my stretcher through the hospital. For a moment, they left me by an office and inside; I was able to look at my face and how bad the injury was. At first, I was too distraught to even make a sound. But then, not even a minute later, I started screaming and crying. I tried to get off the stretcher but a male nurse grabbed me and held me against the moving bed while a female nurse came in with a syringe and injected me with something that made me fall asleep.

 Hours later, I woke up in a dark bedroom. Everything had being done and I had no idea how many hours they had spent trying to save my face. I also had no idea they had been successful, so when I got off the bed and went into the bathroom to check on my face and so the bandages, the blood and the swelling, I never thought I would be the same ever again. I cried a little bit and then went back to bed. This time, I had no strength to scream or yell or do anything besides curl beneath the covers and let time pass.

 The day they released me, the doctor took off the bandages and let me see myself on a small mirror. There was a lot of swelling still and some dried up blood but my face actually looked normal. I mean, it didn’t seem anything had happened, although I told him that I still felt the sting of the glass slashing my face. He told me it was a normal feeling to have and that I could go to the hospital’s psychologist if I needed any help with coping. I told my mother right there to take me home, as I had a greater urge to get to my bedroom than talking to some stranger about my feelings.

 When I got there, I told my family I was going to sleep and asked them to not bother me for the rest of the day. I wasn’t hungry at all and just wanted to lie in bed for a long while. They had nothing to say against it, because who would? No one would ever go against the wishes of a person that has just been released from a hospital. So I went into my room, locked the door and just sat on my bed for a long time. I stared at different things, thinking about what had happened and what effect it had in me.

 Once in a while, I remembered I was supposed to take off my clothes and put on pajamas or something. So I would take off one shoe and then stare at something for a while. And then take off the other shoe and stare for a while at something else. It took me hours to wake up from my daydreaming and get naked. When I realized I could see my feet, my penis, my chest and my hands, I realized what had been bothering me about all that had happened. Again, I stood up and walked to the closet.

 On the door, on the inside part of the closet, I had a full-length mirror. I stood up in front of it, my bedroom a bit dark. I was tempted to turn on the lights or open up the curtains, by I didn’t. I pierced through that glass until I saw myself. I saw what I had seen for so long: a body I had always been at odds with. The body I had been born with and had tried to mold to no avail. I moved a little but my opinion of it didn’t change. It brought tears to my eyes, because I realized I was still that young boy from many years ago.

 I had tried exercising in all sorts of ways. I had tried poses in pictures, different kinds of outlets. I had tried all sorts of things and now I was almost thirty years old and I had realized that all my fears and insecurities were still there. I could hear people talk and laugh and then the scar on my face would get larger and more visible, like a red crater on my face. My stretch marks looked brighter and my penis looked smaller. And then I grabbed a shoe from the floor and threw at the mirror, shattering in several pieces.

 They found me on the floor, crying in silence with a piece of glass in my hand. My fingers were all bloody and my eyes were lost, far from that bedroom. They rushed me to the hospital naked, as they had found me, trying to prevent more blood to leave my body. I had used that piece of glass on myself.

 I spent years in therapy, months in a special facility and countless hours trying to get over all of it. I’ve never been able to completely but at least I get to breath now, as never before. However, I now always stop at mirrors and pierce them with my eyes.

 I do it in defiance of what they had done to so many others and to me.  Of what I had done to myself because of the world, because of all the pressures coming from places I cannot even explain. I still feel it but I can now fight it. And I will keep on fighting as long as I can.

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

No end


   As everyone celebrated on the streets and in their homes, Veronica wandered through the rubble trying to feel as happy as most people around her were. But it wasn’t possible or at least it was very hard to do so. Even smiling felt like a chore, like something you would do only to please people but not because you really felt it inside. There was a feeling of incompletion around, as if all the sacrifices of the war had not been enough to end every single type of hostility that many people harbored against one another.

 As she walked the streets, some lit and others not so much, she realized that the world after the war would be in chaos. Yes, everyone was cheering and celebrating right now, probably drinking stolen articles and launching fireworks that had been banned for so long. But after all of that happiness, a moment of truth and reflection would have to come and the atrocities of war would have to be addressed. For example, not everyone was on the same side, the winning side. Some people were not celebrating.

 Well, some of them were but just because they had to survive and keep on living. It was widely assumed that trials, of sorts, would emerge from the victorious side, condemning the losing side to many years in jail, banishment from the country or even death. Even if the maximum penalty had ever been enforced legally in the country, many of the victors would want the vanquished to be treated just as them treated others during the war. There were lots of executions, on the streets even.

 Veronica was actually just passing a street she knew very well, not only because it used to be a prime shopping spot before the war, but because many people were forced to stand in front of the former storefronts in order to be killed with guns. It was horrible to think about those moments, the images that would never going to leave anyone’s mind. That could never be overlooked, the fact that a large amount of the people now alive had killed at least one person over the last seven years.

 Everyone’s hands were tainted with blood; there wasn’t a single innocent, not even the children. They were used so many times to lure the kindness out of people, that all of their innocence had vanished. Many children were now celebrating the end of the war, just like adults. And the ones that were too small were orphans or just dead. Every single person had done something horrible during the war and now they chose not to remember that because it was a clear image of how disgusting and vile a human could get. So many atrocities in such a relatively short period of time.

 Veronica reached the gates of the Compound just as the night was darkest. She had to use a pocket lantern she had found days earlier, in order to go inside and check out the place for herself. The prison or camp or however you may call it, had been liberated only a few months before the end of the war but it looked as if it had happened many years ago. The place was covered in ash and debris, and the gates, doors and windows had been torn apart or had simply disappeared from sight.

 She walked from the entrance to a large yard area were she knew people had been selected. You see, not everyone was imprisoned in the same place. They had categories and each category had their own building in the premises of the Compound. The differences between each building were in the treatment given by the jailers. For example, former members of state entities and such would receive a better treatment there than homosexuals or blacks. Just the same as it had happened so many years ago, elsewhere.

 The Compound had surprisingly not been built by the losing side, as one would think. It had been built by the so-called winners, by the so-called heroes of the war. In some parts of the country, people were already designing statues for them to be put in every single park, in every single town. They had been the ones fighting for justice and freedom but they clearly didn’t respect their enemies’ rights at all. They were just as vile and vengeful as all the other people. They were not different.

 Veronica walked through the large yard in order to get to the only building that had been kind of spared by the last bombs the “enemy” had dropped from the sky. That was how the prison got its freedom. It hadn’t been an act of kindness. It was just the result of the last desperate attack from the would-be losers of the war. They had sent the few planes they still had and just bombarded the jail were their family members and friends had been imprisoned. They believed it was better to be dead that a prisoner.

 So pride made them act on that last move. And they succeed in destroying the prison and liberating some of their people from it. But only days later they would realize their days were counted and that their fate had already been sealed, well before the attack on the Compound. Veronica saw on the floor of the building some bone fragments, as well as fabric that used to be made into uniforms for the prisoners. There were also several metal plates and bowls, and a large assortment of cutlery. Maybe the prisoners had staged a mutiny as the bombs lit everything on fire.

 After a short time, she decided to leave the Compound through “the back door”, which was actually a large gap in the tall wall of the complex. She didn’t want to stay there too long in case the “winners” were patrolling the premises looking for someone to practice shooting with. She adjusted her backpack and walked on, towards very dark park covered with grand beautiful trees. The place was covered in shadows but even that way it felt like somewhere one would feel at ease.

 The park was one of the largest in the city and it was used to process many of the prisoners of the Compound. But apparently cold heads prevailed and no one ever really destroyed it on purpose or tore the trees down. Some of them had received damage from the bombs that were dropped in the nearby prison, but the building between the two sites had prevented the fire to really destroy the last green place in the city. It had been a miracle that most people were ignoring in that precise moment.

 Veronica walked along the central path of the park, hearing her steps on the stone and the wind blowing through the tree leaves. Everything felt so peaceful, and she was very glad to be there but even then she felt all of that could not be forever. She knew things were going to be bad for a while and she was alone and no one could just come and be with her. Her family had died during the war and those were not times of real friendship, just of convenient relationships that no one knew how long they would last.

 The best thing to do, maybe, was to leave the country altogether. It was a difficult choice to make and also a hard thing to achieve, but Veronica had nothing else to loose. She was carrying everything she owned on the backpack: some pieces of clothing and a couple of objects she had rescued from her former house. She had also stolen some food from a ruined supermarket, but that was it. She could easily walk her way towards the border and attempt to cross it. Or maybe get into a boat and sail away.

 Whatever she did, she had to do it quietly and carefully, as she had no intent of driving attention onto herself. No one was looking for her specifically, but everything around there was going to become very unstable and she knew that’s when unlikely things tend to happen the most.

 She decided to leave the city that night, taking advantage of most people celebrating the end of the war. As they raised glasses, told jokes, remembered family and friends, Veronica would banish into the night and attempt to forever disappear from that other night, one that would never end.

viernes, 3 de noviembre de 2017

You simply cannot please everyone

   Suddenly, Maxine felt guilty of everything she had ever done and also guilty of things she couldn’t have possibly done. For a single moment, she felt responsible for everything and anything that had ever happened around her. Of course, she was just being silly but that tiny fraction of time sunk itself deep into her core. For days, she felt badly about it all and thinking about not being sad made her even sadder. That unease even translated itself into a powerful aching of the whole body.

 She curled up in bed and stayed there for a whole week, deciding not to go out for her own well being but also for the well being of others. She felt she needed to fix too many things about herself and it wasn’t a good idea to expose others to the mess that was happening inside of her. That guilt was much too powerful and it had taken hold of her. Yet, the only way to get it out was or her to be strong enough and really deal with it instead of trying to shield herself from further harm.

 Maxine felt she had alienated everyone and that it was her fault that all relationships she had with other people had failed miserably in a matter of months. She had been too busy doing her things, trying to stay alive in a world filled with barriers and traps. The woman had expected people to understand her, to get why she couldn’t go out anymore or talk to them as often as they once did. She forgot she had never been a very talkative person, not a really “in touch” friend.

And yet, they blamed her and her decisions for the destruction of their friendships. She was to blame for a lack of communications. When she had heard these accusations, which had come in the form of text messages in her phone, she realized she couldn’t possibly fight the allegations. How in the hell could she make any sense by writing on a cellphone? She couldn’t possibly defend her position and made herself be understood by typing on a machine, waiting for an answer.

 Max asked for all of them to meet, her closest friends and her, in order to sort things out and clear the air. But they all suddenly said they were much too busy for that to happen. Maybe in the future but not right away, not when it mattered and when she could make the most sense. She felt awful because they made her feel she was the one to blame and it was that moment that send her down a spiral of guilt and internal pain that she couldn’t really handle by herself. Or that’s what she had taught. Because that woman, and everyone, is stronger than they think.

 After that awful week, she realized she had to accept that changes happen in life, that she hadn’t done anything badly or said anything that would make anyone part ways with her. She had lived her life in the way she thought she had to in order to achieve what she wanted. It would be very unfair to judge her because of that, to make her the one to blame just because she had decided to take care of herself completely. Maybe it hadn’t been the best thing to do but it was her choice.

 They told her they were also very taken aback by her failures in life, that it was exhausting to hear her complain every time about things that were or were not happening in her life. They told her they were tired of trying to help and they had decided it was not worth it anymore. That was the knife in the back, a big and sharpened knife that they plunged deep into her, an attack that was decisive on how she decided to proceed days later. Every word was branded on her mind.

 It was true she was a failure. She had accepted that as a part of herself, of her personality and of everything that she seemed to be up to that point in her life. It was also true that, once or twice, she had asked for advice. It was only natural to do so with friends. However, it wasn’t true she had been begging for advice or help, as they made it seem. She had only reached out to them, worried that so much time had passed since their last conversation, seeking to rekindle the connection.

 Well, those words had been more that knife, more than any weapon. None of the arms created by mankind could ever hurt as much as those words had. Because they were not only hurtful but they were also mixed with lies and a clear objective to destroy, they had been prepared in advance in order to be ready for the moment she spoke about their clear shortcomings, the same ones she had but that she had been the only one to recognize. Modesty be damned, it was Maxine who spoke!

 It is revolting to think about it now. She had talked about them about talking and trying to get things straight. She still wants to do that and has tried to get it done but they won’t have time for her, not for now at least. She decided to let them live their lives, just as done before. She’ll probably be blamed for that too but she doesn’t care anymore because, for once, she knows she was in the right. She knows now, in this precise moment in time, that she has done everything possible without being a bother to herself or them. That’s as much as she can do right now and, to be fair, she couldn’t say if she would do more.

 That’s one group, the largest one. The others are the kind that just wants her close in case they want something from Max. Maybe they want her body or her connections or her talent for a while, possibly for free. They don’t talk often either and they always seem ashamed when she talks to them and wonders why they don’t talk more often. In that case, she’s not the one to blame, almost the opposite. And that’s not a great position either because they make her feel just as bad, one way or the other.

 This group is manageable and most of them are mostly honest about how their relationship works with Maxine. They both know who they are in those connections and it mostly goes fine, without any annoying moments. They just happen to be people that know each other and that play the game of knowing each other well and liking each other’s lives. It requires a bit of acting but, as it doesn’t really happen that often, it isn’t really a big deal. It’s just one of those human things.

 The last group, being the least crowded one, is the made up by real friends. People that just don’t care what about or when you talked to them. They always have time and words of support. They say the truth, which can sometimes be hard, but they do it because they know that might be the best way to keep a friendship in its best shape possible. They don’t really care what shape their connection takes, they just want to be close to their friends, to Maxine in this case.

 Anyway, people are people and things always find a way to work out eventually. Maxine soon learned that worrying about everything didn’t really help at all and that making all of that take a toll on her could only be harmful to herself and destroy her own life in the long run. Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself, so Maxine decided to do things in her life as she saw fit. If others agreed with her or not, that was their decision to make and she would have to accept changes.


 You simply cannot please everyone. That’s just not possible.

miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2017

Waste of space

   Every day was almost exactly the same. He would wake up, have something to eat, then shower, look for a job and then lunch. After that, it would be hours and hours of basically nothing until dinner. At night and in the morning he would exercise a bit and before going to bed he would watch something, like a movie or whatever was available. That was life like for him, even after he had decided it would be different. His decisions in life had amounted to nothing and he didn’t know what to do.

 He had been living there for almost a year and nothing had happened, nothing at all. Not a single change since his arrival. He tried to keep it different by distracting himself with movie or by going out to walk around the city, but that didn’t change anything either. It was a perpetual movement he was trapped in, a series of actions he repeated every single day, every week and every single month, no matter the little differences like weather or things like that. Things didn’t change.

 He had tried to change them. He had really tried but he soon realized that one person couldn’t really change the world. Whoever had said that in the past was wrong. A single lonely human couldn’t change a thing in this world. Every major shift had to involve lots of people with a common goal and a certain organization. And he didn’t have that at all. He was alone and he depended on his parents for survival. They weren’t happy for him or anything, but they felt they couldn’t refuse him help.

 The money he received as an allowance was used very carefully to pay for the apartment, the bills and the food. Those were the normal expenses. He sometimes used the money for distractions, going out and that sort of thing. In those instances he would have to remember that he was taking money away for his food. He never minded. Besides, it wasn’t something he did often; on the contrary, he managed his money in the most careful way because it was just enough to survive.

 But that was the thing: he had been thinking for a long time if it was worth it to keep on living as he was. He was draining money from his parents every month, he was sitting on his ass doing nothing, except getting older and older people have a harder time getting a job. But no one was giving him a job, not now or before. Not when he was recently graduated or after his various years of studies all over the place. They had never acknowledged him as a nothing more than a man that could pick up a phone or move boxes from one place to the other.

 The money he earned for such jobs disappeared very fast. Most of it was taken away by the health service they provided, which he never used. And the rest was used to pay debts or bills. Nothing remained. Those times, whoever, he could grab a little more from his parents money in order to have fun, even for a short period of time. He would get drunk, go out and party and just forget about everything in his life and who he was. He lost himself every time or at least he tried.

 He loved going out to dark places with loud music, wherever they could have alcohol. He even tried drugs a couple of times but it wasn’t his thing. The point of it all was forgetting his life, which was pathetic and sad. He was a leech and a waste of space. He remembered that expression once and it had gotten stuck on his head since then because it described so well what he thought of his place in life. He did feel as if he was a waste of space and would have loved it to be different.

 But it wasn’t things are as they are and one’s blind optimism cannot change that. People want every single person in the world to think blindly that everything is going to be ok but the reality of life is that probably nothing will be ok. The world itself is more and more violent, not a hospitable place for actual life to develop. So why should people be blind to that? Why should be people avoid the truth, instead of embracing it and maybe then find a solution for whatever the problem is?

 Many times, he looked around his house and carefully planned his last day on Earth. It was kind of like a game he played with himself when things where a its lowest. He would imagine cutting his wrists on the tub and having one of those almost artistic deaths, with the blood tainting the water slowly and also spilling gently to the floor. It looked almost like a romantic thing inside his head. But it would take too long and that wasn’t something he was very eager about.

 He imagined many other outcomes for his life. Some more admittedly violent and graphic but others were even more subtle that the one in the tub. He had a great imagination, which he used laying on his bed, waiting for someone to respond to his calls looking for one of the many menial jobs the world had to offer. He had realized a while ago that no one was going to give him a good job where he could feel like a real person. He was apparently built to be a slave and he had decided he didn’t mind at all, it was his destiny all along and that was settled.

 Sure enough, he had two jobs latter on: one as part of the cleaning crew in a hospital and another one in a supermarket, doing basically the same thing. He would break his back for a pay that was laughable but there was nothing else to do. However, he decided one day to ask his parents not to send him any more money. They did ask him “why” but he never answered, so they just did as they were told and the subject never came up again, in telephone conversations or when he visited, which was rare.

He had decided he would survive with whatever he had. His meals were greatly reduced and he had to move to another apartment, one even smaller in a much uglier part of the city. He sold some of his belongings too, in order to pay for the first couple of months. He tried to set aside something every month for pleasure, such as alcohol or whatever he would be in the mood for. Those small moments were not of joy but of quiet and a certain peace, which he still enjoyed.

 After some months living his new life, he got very sick with the flu. He stopped earning money for almost three weeks. When the disease didn’t kill him, the lack of food almost did. He actually had to be rushed into the hospital but he escaped it as soon as he could because he didn’t have the money to pay for a hospital bed. He just bought bread and medicine and hoped for the best. He was fired from the hospital he worked in but kept the supermarket job, where they raised his salary a bit in order to make him do more stuff.

 As always, he didn’t really mind. He got better, or just about, and start working harder every day. The hours were longer than before and this time he had to work every single day of the week but at least he was distracted by something. He didn’t have time to ponder or think about what could have been or what the future may hold for him. Those were empty questions now and no one care about the answers. He had lost the will to rebel in any way. He just lived, if that’s what it’s called.


 He was eventually fired from that job too. Not long after that, he decided to jump off a bridge that passed over a highway. His parents had nothing to keep from him anymore, as he had sold almost everything except and old notebook he had kept from when he was young, Inside, he had written a number of stories and he had also drawn lots of characters and abstract figures. They took one look at it and then stored it away somewhere. The man became a memory and, after his parents died, it was as if he had never existed on this Earth.