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

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2018

La Vérriere


  The sound of a piano being played could be heard on the staircase that led to the each one of the seven floors that made up the building. In each floor, there were two doors: one for each apartment. Nevertheless, not all of the apartments in the Vérriere building were used as homes. Some of them were offices and others, like 7B in the upper most floor, had been in use for thirty years as a teaching hall of music. Some days you could hear a piano, some others a violin or even a flute.

 Below 7B lived an elderly couple, Ava and Michael. They had been living in Paris for almost seventy years, from the day they had visited as a recently married couple and had fallen in love almost instantly with the city. They loved the architecture and the vibrant artistic movements that you could see and feel all around. And the food, of course, was one of the big reasons for them to stay, as Michael had always wanted to become a professional pastry chef, and Paris was the perfect city to achieve that.

 They decided to move into the Vérriere less than a month after their marriage and announced their decision to family members and friends back home in England with a postcard of the city seen from the Eiffel Tower. Of course, everyone was surprised by their sudden decision. Yes, maybe Michael had always wanted to be a chef and he loved everything that had to do with pastries and bread, but they no one really thought he would follow the dream. And Ava… she was much too young.

 When they moved, Ava was seventeen years old and Michael was nineteen. They started working right away, Michael in a bakery and Ava in a bank. They didn’t ask for experience back then, just the language, which they had to learn bit by bit at nights. It was a hard life for a long time but they eventually moved up in their respective fields. Michael got enough money to enter school and become the chef he always wanted to be and Ava was able to be the accountant of a very prestigious chain of stores.

 Now, Ava and Michael are in their early eighties. They are still in love with each other and they rarely leave their apartment, for which they paid rent for many years but they were eventually able to buy it, as the owner had became a great friend of the both of them. They had two children; now living in the country they had both came from. Somehow, the love the couple had for the city had not being transmitted to their children. They rarely visited, the only foreign sound in the apartment coming from the music lessons above, which were an entertainment for them, more than a nuisance.

 In the middle of the building, in 4A, lived a young man that had recently moved from an eastern European country. It was almost a year ago that he had entered the building, only to check it out with a friend. But they hadn’t been looking for an apartment to live in. His friend ran a production company that produced pornographic content on the Internet and he was looking for a place that looked old and could be used to set various types of productions, somewhere versatile they could use.

 Both of them loved it but Karl, the boy with a thick accent, was truly enthralled with everything about the location. He liked every single little details like the door handles and the sink appliances, but he also loved the views from the windows and the fact that there were very well lit rooms and other one that seemed flooded with darkness. The high ceiling and beautiful wallpaper sold the deal for him. His friend, however, thought the place was a little pricey and that’s when Karl proposed a deal to him.

 Karl would give money to his friend, in order to cover the price of rent, but with the condition he would be able to live there, use it as his home. His friend was doubtful because he knew it could get annoying if someone lived there and a filming crew would suddenly need one of the rooms for a movie. But Karl assured him he was very used to the whole filming scene, being an actor himself, so he assured nothing would go wrong and no problems would show their ugly heads.

 Actually, he said that not being sure of anything, only knowing he just wanted to live there. But he eventually realized he had been correct: the place was not only perfect to live as it was huge and conveniently located, but it proved to be a great setting for lots of movies. Karl even participated in some of them. The incredible surprise was that the building was so sturdy, that people were not able to hear anything on the other floors. And the fact that there were offices around was even better for them.

 Eventually, Karl met a nice young man like himself during another location scouting. They talked and dated for several months until he asked him to move in with him. Karl’s friend eventually found other locations and he eventually stopped using the apartment in the Vérriere building for his films. The place turned into the home of Karl and his boyfriend, who would eventually become his husband. They made great friends in the building, including the elderly couple made by Ava and Michael but also the dozens of cats that Mrs. Laffite had taken in.

 She lived in the only apartment located on the ground floor. She was the person in charge of getting the building clean, on the outside and the inside. Mrs. Laffite was also the only person to have an actual garden in the building, complete with a small bench to sit down and several plants that made her home look like something of an anomaly for such a huge city. Nevertheless, she wasn’t the most sociable person ever, so most people didn’t even know about her beautiful apartment.

 Sometimes called Lala by other people living there, she had surrounded herself with dozens of cats. It was common to see her entering the building holding one or two cats on her hands, just as if she had came into the building with two bags of groceries or something. She always brought in new kitties, mostly strays that she found around the marketplace and other corners of the city she liked to walk around. Granted, she never went to far from the building and never spent more than two hours outside.

 The rest of the day was spent inside her house and sometimes standing in the frame of her door telling the cleaning lady how to do her job. There was always a different woman or man cleaning the place, as she grew impatient with them very fast. She never liked how they clean, how not thorough they were. She trembled when thinking about their homes, and how dust and dirt would be slowly accumulating in corners and under the furniture. Lala was a big germophobe, odd for such a cat lover.

 When someone talked to her, saying “Hi” or something, she always responded by nodding. If people started talking more, she continued answering with head movements and other gestures. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk but she simply didn’t like to interact with people. And those who had been living there for a few months already knew how to handle her situation. And they didn’t mind and she didn’t really mind any of them, she didn’t really care too much to be very honest.

 Her happiest moment was being in her garden, tending to her plants. She would sing to them and that was the only time some of her tenants were able to hear actual words coming out of her mouth. Her voice was beautiful, soothing and simply magnificent.

 La Vérriere was a building filled with so many people from different backgrounds, doing different things and having different thoughts. It was pretty much as any other building in the world. A place where everything and nothing meets at the same time.

viernes, 12 de mayo de 2017

Singing

   She was in a city she had never been in before. But Claudia didn’t mind at all. She couldn’t pay attention to anything else. Her turn on stage was scheduled in about two hours and she was very nervous.  In the car, she looked at her hands frequently and sang her song in her head, repeating it over and over, in order to prevent any accident to happen. Her hands were already a little bit sweaty and she knew her makeup had to be retouched once they got to the arena, which would be in just some minutes.

 Her agent looked at her and told her she didn’t have any reason to be nervous. The contest she was in was crowded with first timers and Claudia was all but that. She had been singing since she was a little girl and hadn’t stop for a moment. Her first public appearance at a singer had been in a local state fair, back when she was only five years old. Even then, people fell in love with her voice and the magnificent range she had. Many people thought her voiced was tricked or something.

 But that wasn’t the case. That little detail made her instantly well known among the people of her town as well as some others in the vicinity. That was the beginning of her singing career and year and years of investment in a voice that was very particular but incredible subtle too. People just loved it and she made the effort, every single time, to make the best out of every single concert she had. But, somehow, this contest seemed to really make her nervous, beyond anything she had felt before.

 The day she entered the contest, she didn’t really feel she was going to get the spot. After all, many other young singers wanted to be there. The trials for the event were very harsh and it was the first time Claudia was authentically scared for her voice, the reason being she was using it almost everything, without any rest whatsoever. Thankfully, she was able to sing the day she was chosen to be in the contest. The very next day, she decided not to talk for a while in order to preserve her voice.

 The car finally arrived to the arena, entering an underground parking lot and stopping just in front a big door and a woman holding a notebook. She was the one verifying everything was all right. She checked their papers and then told them where to go next: the assigned changing room where Claudia would have the chance to dress up for her performance. She had brought a very nice dress that her mother and father had bought for her just after they received the news of their daughter participating in the festival. The dress was just perfect and so were her parents.

 She thought of them as she put on the dress, which was blue with many sparkles all around. The outfit came with a pair of earrings and a necklace, both made of silver. They had once being the property of her grandmother, another woman in her family that had been known for her amazing voice but did not have the chance to sing professionally. Partly because she decided to have a family before a career, but also because she had to suffer a lot and singing was not a priority.

 Claudia, on the other hand, realized she had never really suffered anything. The irony was in that her song was about exactly that. So she felt a little bit like a hypocrite. So bad she felt, that she decided to try and change the song chosen to be performed in the contest. But it was impossible to change her entry at that late point in the process. She had to sing what she had decided to sing in the beginning, no matter if she liked it or not. She had to look inside herself a connection to the song.

 Many people think that’s bullshit. They think that an artist can just speak about whatever subject they want and there won’t be any trouble and all. But that’s not true. If you don’t feel the subject that you’re going to be handling, there’s a big chance you won’t be able to deliver. An artist is supposed to shake you to the core, by making you realize things about yourself that you didn’t even know about. No matter what art for it is, people expect to be moved in one or the other.

That was the problem that Claudia had with the song and she had to really learn the lyrics and understand the meaning in order to find her unique connection to the song. It took her several weeks to connect to it but she finally made it. The improvement of her performance was notable. Before, it just seemed she was a very good singer, doing a nice job with a random song. But after properly exploring it, her voice and the lyrics appeared to turn in the whirlwind of emotions, pure heart.

 That’s why she always cried after each performance of the song. She did it all the rehearsals and she did it the night she was chosen to be in the contest. And she will probably do it there again because that was the connection that she had created to her song. She thought about all of this looking at the mirror, once she was fully dressed for her presentation. The first performer of the night was already singing and now she had to go and stand in line for her turn to come. It was nerve-cracking and every other singer there looked worried, none of them tried to hide it.

 Thankfully, she was in the middle of a thirty people group. So she didn’t have to wait a long time to sing but she wasn’t thrown into the stage too fast either. She just sang the song inside her head over and over and tried not to look at the other competitors. Claudia also tried to tune out the voice of the person singing at the moment, which was very difficult because only a thick curtain separated the singers on the line from the one performing on stage. It was a rush of energy.

 Finally, her turn came. She walked slowly towards the microphone, that way prevent herself to trip or step on her dress or something. She controlled her breathing and closed her eyes the moment she arrived on the spot she had to be in. She had to wait for her music to begin and that seemed to take years. Of course, they were only a few seconds but it seemed forever then. She even had time to think about her parents, the only people she really cared about in the whole world.

 The music began and her voice began flowing out of her body, filling every single part of the enormous stage and beyond. People looked at her ecstatic but she didn’t looked at the audience. She was singing to herself and to her parents, looking up, to a point far away into the bright lights that bathed her with a bluish light. Her arms moved, her legs were in tension and her chest was doing a lot of the work. But everything went perfect, even better than expect. When she finished, she cried once again.


 The cheers and screams and expressions of joy from the audience were just overwhelming. Everyone seemed to love her song, her voice and her performance. She had really managed to make the song her own and now, even if she wasn’t able to win the contest, it didn’t matter. She had proven to herself what she was capable of and that was something she had not expected to learn there. She had just come to sing and she pulled away from the stage having changed as a person and a singer.

miércoles, 5 de abril de 2017

Experiment

   Suddenly, it was as if all the oxygen in the room had been extracted. David started coughing and then his knees made his body collapsed to the floor, unable to hold him any longer. He felt as if his weight was three times as much. The room around him, well lit only seconds before, suddenly became a dark place, more like a cave than a normal hotel bedroom. He tried to inhale through the nose but it didn’t work. He opened his mouth wide but that didn’t do anything either.

 If that was possible, his brain was hurting. It was as if someone was burning it inside of his skull. The coughing continued, with his hands against the floor, trying to breather once again. But nothing happened. That was what people in space must feel like when they have a bad space suit or when the ship is not working properly. His head started spinning and, in a matter of a few more seconds, David fell completely to one side, closing his eyes, stopping his attempts to breath.

 Hours later, he woke up. He wasn’t dead, which was good. He had a mask over his face, apparently supplying him all the oxygen he needed. His head was still spinning, but David tried to make sense of where he was. He looked to the right and saw nothing more than a table full of operating tools. The wall was made of metal and there didn’t seem to be any windows in the room. To the left, there was a door, also made of metal, in the middle of the wall. There was some sort of sound coming from the other side.

 In the right moment, David closed his eyes and tried to breath normally. The sounds he had heard were voices and they were apparently discussing him. As they entered the room, they commented on the health of the subject, that probably meaning him. For their tones, he could infer one of them was a woman and the other a man. They walked around him, probably staring at his body, sometimes saying something interesting and some other times just walking.

 One of them touched David in the head and it had required a lot from him in order not to scream. He didn’t really know why, but the touch of that person had triggered a horrible headache. It was as if he or she had fire on the tip of the chosen finger. They left after doing that, probably expecting to have an instant reaction and instead not getting anything. But as soon as they left, David opened his eyes, touched his head and realized it was still burning. Or at least that’s how it felt, as if he had been marked like cattle by however those people were.

 The point was, he didn’t want to know what else they had prepared for him. He stood up, got down the table he had been laid on and walked to the door. No sounds were coming from the other side so he opened it and ran out. There was a very long corridor but he just chose a direction in the moment and started running. Soon, he had to stop. All of a sudden, he felt very tired and the headache threatened to make a comeback, which wouldn’t help him at all right then.

 He was then more careful, walking along the hallway until he saw another door, which he opened. It was a closet. He was a about to close it when he realized there were several robes there, the kind doctors use. He hadn’t seen the people that had entered the room he was in, but they possibly had those robes on. So he entered the closet and put one over his body. He then realized that he wasn’t wearing his shirt, only his pants and shoes. It was very strange but he didn’t have an answer for that.

 David came out of the closet and started walking again, this time with a faster pace but without really running. He finally found a crossroads and it was there, from the distance, where he saw other people in robes, checking on some papers. The hallway they were standing on was much shorter, as on the other side there was a massive room, very white and bright. He would have wanted to know what that was all about but the real goal was to get out of there fast, before they noticed he had escaped.

 He checked at least five more doors along the way, finding only rooms just like the one he had been in and more closets. Finally, he ended up in a tiny open space, that had a very different door, this one made of glass, with one of those machines on the side were you put a card for the door to open. Obviously he had no card and he had no idea how to make the door open. His breathing started accelerating and, even as he tried to calm down, it didn’t work at all. It was as if something was inside of him.


 Suddenly, several men and women with robes surrounded David, as he collapsed on the floor completely. The headache was getting stronger. But instead of helping him to a bed or something, the people were just watching and using instruments to measure something over his body. They waved those things over him but then someone else appeared. Someone who’s voiced he recognized. But he couldn’t raise his head to look at the person, as the pain had grown too strong. David finally collapsed and the last thing he heard were the words “It was a success”.

martes, 16 de agosto de 2016

When in Rome...

   The first thing I heard was the automated voice indicating people if they had to stand on the doors on the left or the right. I heard the sound as if it was coming from a place very far from me but then it seemed to become clearer. That made me open my eyes and then I realized I was in one of the metro trains I had used years earlier to get to know the city of Rome. People were talking amongst themselves, some tourists were looking at a map above one of the doors and a small child looked at me straight in the eye.

  I decided to stand up and get out of the train as soon as possible. There was another audio automated service and then the train entered a station. I didn’t really see the name of the station I was in. I only wanted to run away from that underground location in order to check out something above ground and feel a little les intoxicated. When I finally got out to the street, I felt very dizzy, my legs had problems letting me stand up and every sound and image apparently adjust itself in a few seconds.

 There was a park bench near the exit of the station and I decided to use it because I wasn’t feeling good at all. I felt my head was spinning around. Besides, everyone around me spoke a language I didn’t know and I didn’t really felt safe speaking to them in English. I felt I had forgotten everything about myself. I tried to remember what I was doing before appearing on the subways but I couldn’t remember.

 A young nun then came up to me and said something in Italian. She spoke very slowly for me to understand what she was saying but it wasn’t good enough for me. Anything that involved thinking hurt too much. She decided to give her hand and I grabbed it without thinking it much. She made me walk around a beautiful but very lonely neighborhood until we arrived to a very typical Roman house with an inner patio. I didn’t know much about religious people but that must have been a convent.

 She fed me and gave me something to read as he washed my clothes on a very modern washing machine. I waited on my underwear in the kitchen and was very ashamed when a group of four nuns entered the kitchen and I was there naked, reading a magazine. The nun that had saved me, I think her name was Angela, appeared out of nowhere and explained the situation to the rest of the sisters.

 They decided to give me a room for the night, as the weather was not as sunny as before and the clothes may take a longer while to be ready. I couldn’t deny the offer, even if I had wanted too. But I didn’t because in that place I felt the peace I needed to organize who I was before appearing on that city and why that had happened.

 That night was very strange. I was assigned one of the cells in the upper floors, were formerly the new novices slept before they were fully accepted as nuns. Sister Angela explained to me that they hadn’t had a new girl in a long time, as she had been the last one. The woman looked in her late thirties and explained further, commenting that girls nowadays had no desire to get in contact with their religious roots and have a life of celibacy and dedicated to the Lord.

 Through the very small window in my room, I was able to see the moon. It looked so beautiful but at the same time a little bit false. I pinched my hand in order to know if I hadn’t been dreaming or something but it didn’t work. I was really in that small room and had to get used to the idea of not remembering anything about my past o at least not in a very obvious way. I was lost, technically, and had to wait and see what I could do to go back to wherever I was before.

 I slept strangely at peace. My eyes closed early and I woke up early too. Normally, I would require several hours to feel rested but in that moment I felt I could take on the whole world by myself. It was a very nice feeling that I had never really experimented before. Normally I woke up much more tired than I was before going to bed. I guessed it had something to do with the strict code the nuns had going on there but I also expected it to be something related to the fact that I was in blank, no memories inside.

 The next day, I put on my clean clothes and they all came to the door to bud farewell to me. They were all very kind people and I would have loved to see more of them, maybe take a picture. But somehow, I didn’t think of that then. It would have been the best proof to guarantee that what had happened had not been a dream or an illusion caused by my mind. I waved at them as I walk further away from the convent, until I didn’t see them anymore and realized how lonely I felt, again.

 After walking a little bit more, I arrived in a square: it was very beautiful and tourists were all over the place taking pictures and discussing the shapes and sizes of the figures in the fountains. I was trying to understand what a couple was saying near me when I heard a voice, a very strong male voice coming from somewhere. At first, I couldn’t tell what he was saying. Then, I understood he was saying my name.

 I looked around for the owner of the voice but there was no one that seemed to have that very deep register near where I was. Besides, no one seemed to be looking at me, ignoring the fact that I was there as if my existence bothered them so much that they had decided to ignore until I decided to disappear.

 That happened a few seconds later, when the voice called upon me again and I understood that it was calling me from very far. Walking rather slowly, I was able to follow the deep voice saying my name. I walked through deserted streets, packed avenues and beautiful gardens until I reached some long and white stairs. The bright sun above made them look as if they were from glass.

 The voice called upon me again, urging me to come to him fast. His message to me had changed so I knew I was very near. When I arrived at the top of the staircase, I realized there was a museum up there. There was a small square and on one side the entrance and on the other side, the exit of the museum. The voice appeared to be coming from the exit so I walked towards there.

 Beyond the machines that controlled the exit process of the museum, there was a fountain and I realized the voice was coming from there. But there was a security guard nearby and the only way I could’ve entered the museum was by jumping over the machines. I decided to pretend I was reading some pamphlets they had on a table by the door. The guard finally moved, in order to face towards the inner courtyard of the museum. I took my chance and jumped, landing silently on my feet.

 I wanted to scream in celebration because I had never done anything so cool in my life, but I realized it wasn’t really the place and the moment for that. So I turned around and walked towards a small garden they had by a room filled with sculptures. The faces of those objects seemed to be looking at me but I knew the voice was coming from a fountain in the garden. Sure enough, there was a huge figure of the God of the seas, Poseidon, on the fountain.

 The figure did not move but it did talk to me. He told me the Gods had decided to bring me to Rome in order to let me know everything was going to be all right. When I heard that, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or punch the statue or what. I got closer to the water and the figure told me that I was there by choice and that I could’ve left at any moment, if I had wanted to leave.


 As I heard that, I felt dizzy again and then the world became blurry for an instant. Then everything went dark, I felt my head hitting something and then my eyes opened once again. I had fallen from my bed, my insane dream having finished. I was covered in sweat and had to go to the bathroom to clean myself, ignoring the metro card that fell with me from the bed to the floor.