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

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.

martes, 8 de marzo de 2016

Natalia on a date

   Natalia was trying to listen to every single word that came out of Robert’s mouth. But it was impossible. He talked so fast, so much; that she didn’t even had time to process any of what he had said. The fun thing was that he had just arrived to the restaurant, after she had been waiting for him for about twenty minutes. He hadn’t said “Sorry”, or anything like that. He had just laughed at some stupid thing he had said and started talking and talking like a mad man.

 The restaurant was a very nice place for a date between two people that loved each other. Many couples were sharing some time around them. But as Natalia noticed, all of them were having a much better time than her. Even those who were by themselves, with friends or family, seemed to be having much more of a good time than her. She only looked around and put on butter on those tiny breads they give you before properly beginning dinner. She realized, after several minutes, that she had already eaten about five of ten, after having filled every single one of them with butter. She was supposed to be on a diet, but the hell with that.

 Finally, the waiter was bold enough to speak and Robert had to shut up for the first time in a while. Natalia took this precious moment to stand up, stretch her legs and go to the bathroom. He asked if he could order for the both of them and she said yes, anything to have a couple of minutes away from him. Walking slowly to the bathroom, she reminded herself never to date relatives of their friends again. Robert was a cousin of her best friend Laura and had nothing to do with her. Laura was a funny gal, full of life and color. Robert was just full of life but because he wouldn’t shut his mouth.

 In the bathroom, she washed her face to be a little more awake, and then she applied a new layer of makeup and also peed for much too long. She loved to count something that took long when she was in there, like how many Pokémon she knew or how many colors she could name. Sometimes she would get so caught up in her own game that she would pull out a small notebook out of her purse and start write the names down. Natalia was not really and obsessed person but she was distracted easily and preferred rapid, intelligent exchanges than long and tiring conversations.

 After what felt like forever but ended up to be something like twenty minutes, she went back to the table where the waiter was putting down their food. Apparently Robert thought she loved salad because she could only see green leaves on her plate. As she sat down, she reminded herself that if she didn’t have any meat, she would have to call to the burger place she loved by her house and order the one with the double patty. She was really hungry and that salad wasn0t going to do the trick.

 Moroccan. That’s what he said the salad was. It was on a big plate and had a number of things in it but she didn’t really care. She had already decided on her burger and was already looking forward to it.

 Again, Robert started talking and talking and she began counting Pokémon on her mind again and then trying to remember what she had to buy in the supermarket the next day. She had promised her mother to invite her home for lunch and she had to do something nice. Maybe pasta was the best choice but it seemed so simple, or maybe some kind of steak. But if she ate steak, she couldn’t really eat a burger the night before, it would be too much and, after all, she could only break her diet once. Well, she could exercise more and not do any diet. She wasn’t that fat. Natalia thought she had a nice body, curvy but not like a porn star or anything like that. Just good enough for any use. She laughed at her own joke.

 Robert smiled. She looked at him and smiled kindly, not knowing what he had been saying. Thankfully, he broadened his smile and just told him he loved her laughter and how she listened so attentively to every little thing he said. He told her she was the most beautiful girl he had met and that he would be honored if she could date him again. Natalia’s smile turned into coughing. At first, even she thought it was because she had no intention of answering that question. But then, she touched her neck and knew something was wrong.

 She felt she was drowning, as if some unknown force was choking her. Then she saw her fingers and they were getting swollen. Robert called the waiter and asked for an ambulance. Natalia didn’t want that, but as she couldn’t even breathe, it was not really a time to refuse any kind of help. The paramedics arrived some moments later and they immediately gave her a shot, something to counter the allergy of whatever it was that she had suffered. The paramedics decided it was best for her to go to the hospital and spend at least one night there, under surveillance.

 It all happened so fast, even Robert had no words. He just grabbed her purse and gave the waiter some bills to pay up the meal. He was scared, livid, as he jumped into the ambulance that rushed through the city’s crowded streets. Natalia seemed to be getting sleepy in the ambulance and she couldn’t really hear or say anything. The paramedics gave her another shot and started asking questions but she couldn’t heat them. For some reason, she only wanted Robert to take her hand, to feel someone was with her in that trying moment, to feel some friend was taking care of her. But Robert didn’t do anything. Just as she closed her eyes, Robert turned his body towards the back doors of the ambulance.

 Natalia woke up early the next morning. Her nurse, a very nice young woman, told her that she had had an allergic reaction to something she had eaten. Natalia smiled and the girl looked confused. She explained to her all about Robert and how he talked like mad and how she didn’t even know what she was eating. The nurse understood, with that face that means “Men!” and told Natalia that they would check what the ingredients of the salad were but that it would help if she made them a list with all of her allergies. But she only knew about her allergy to cat hair and she doubted that was one of the ingredients.

 The doctor that walked in laughed and Natalia was thrilled he did because he was very handsome and his teeth were all so perfect and white. She had the best time talking to him; about what had happened the night before and about what she had been through overnight. He was a very nice person and explained to hear that they wanted her in for one more night to check everything was good and to identify her allergy. He also told her that her mother was there and that she had brought all the paperwork from her insurance and all that annoying stuff one has to do to get sick.

 Natalia laughed and that was how the doctor decided to leave, on a high note. Her mother would come some time afterwards. She was really good friends with her and explained the situation at dinner with Robert. Her mother understood exactly what she was saying and advised her never to allow that to happen again. She said life was to short and too wonderful to be listening at idiots talking stupid stuff. It was best to stop things right on time if you realize the person in front of you is just not that interesting. Natalia nodded and agreed.

 The allergy was determined to be related to a certain type of pepper, not the common one used in most dishes (black pepper) but a rare kind only found in North African cuisine. Natalia laughed, as she thought it was at least nice of Robert to take her to a restaurant that served the real cuisine of the country that the dish was from. Even Laura, her friend, laughed like crazy the day Natalia was allowed to go back home. She pushed her friend’s wheelchair to the main entrance and all the way there they laughed at poor Robert, Laura even confessing she knew he was annoying but not at that level.


 Natalia asked Laura If she knew why he hadn’t come to visit her. After all, he had been with her when it happened and it seemed only natural. But Laura told her friend that Robert was one of those men that like to show off in front of women but when they fuck up, they are afraid forever of the person that sees them being real humans. Natalia thought that was very weird but moved on. She had had much worst dates than one!

viernes, 4 de marzo de 2016

Locked

   I woke up very late at night, practically in the morning but it was still very dark. Out of instinct, I headed to the kitchen and drank some water, somehow exhausted after sleeping for a couple of hours. Some of the water spilled onto the floor but I didn’t clean any of it. I was too tired to do it, maybe too lazy.

 Walking towards my room, I found myself looking out the window on the living room. The rain was pounding the glass with an extraordinary force, not stopping for a second. Outside it was still pitch black and nothing could be seen except the light of a couple of streetlights covered in the haze. Somehow, that sight proved fascinating but not because it was extraordinary or something like that. It just reminded of something a long time ago, somewhere else.

  He had been removing rocks and dirt until he found it, a shoebox that didn’t look like much but had a small treasure inside. The directions he had received had been correct and now he could finally complete his mission, a very strange one that had been commended by someone he loved deeply. He put the box on a bag to protect it from the rain and ran towards his car. At first, the machine wouldn’t start but it finally did and he was en route to his lover, prepared to see the look on his face when he received the box.

 He called the man and arranged for them to meet on a restaurant. After all, they didn’t really want their families to know and it was going to be much more fun to do it in a public place, with a some eyes looking at them and not even knowing what was going on. He arrived at the restaurant first; a little too wet, and decided to ask for a tea to warm up. The bag with the box was next to him and he had decided not to open it to see its content. He wanted to see Lee’s face when he showed it to him.

 Time went by fast. He ordered another tea and then something to eat and finally the check. He had been waiting for three hours and Lee had never arrived. He felt sad, a little bit betrayed, and knew that all his effort and, a very probable flu, had not being enough for him to show how much love he had for Lee. When he got home, his mother asked him where he had been all day but he didn’t really answer, only grunting and heading straight to his room. He even put on the lock and turn off the lights.

 There was no way he was going to sleep well that night. He hadn’t received a call or a message or anything from Lee and he was determined not to do anything because he was the one who had made a great effort to make Lee happy so at least he deserved to receive a call explaining why he had alone at the restaurant all night.

 The next day, Lee went to work and there he did receive a first message. It was an audio message so he had to put on the headphones he kept in his backpack and try to listen to the message fast, before someone came in to annoy him. At first he didn’t really understood anything. He raised the volume and tried to hear but then someone came and scared him, making him drop his cellphone, which got disconnected from the headphones and started yelling the message for everyone to hear. He was very fast, grabbing it and turning it off, but not fast enough as everyone in the room was watching towards his cubicle. The person that had come to ask him something, left without any more words.

 The message was short. It was Lee crying and telling him that he loved him and that his parents had discovered their pictures kissing on the computer. He didn’t explain how that had happened but he was crying a lot and that was why the message couldn’t be understood in a lower volume.

 He was sad to hear that Lee was sad and even thought of visiting him but he knew his family would not allow that. After all, they were the kind to go to church every Sunday without fail and they celebrated every single day of the Holly Week and Easter and the days leading to Christmas. They were really obsessed with their children having a religious education and strong background. They believe that it gave them a strong moral compass. So that’s why discovering those pictures had been such an awful thing for them. It mean they were failing.

 So there was no way to see Lee. And, ironically or not, he missed his kisses and his hands and his body. He missed the fact that he was a little more sensitive than he was but also much wittier and he didn’t even know it. He was the kind of person that would be ashamed if someone else called them “smart” or “funny”. He didn’t like to be in the spotlight at all, preferring to be the one behind the scenes.

 That phrase is actually pretty accurate because that’s how he met Lee, behind the scenes. He had gone to see this play a friend had recommended and he had never been a big fan of theatre. It bored him deeply every single time so in the intermission he decided to explore around and just look for something fun to do. The exploration served him well as he found a very busy Lee trying to fix some problem with a prop that wouldn’t stand up. He helped him put of boredom and at the end he was already enthralled.

 He had liked his kind face, his voice that was very soft but not acute and the fact that he was there, on the background, all alone. He knew only someone really interesting would be there. They exchanged phone numbers and that was it.

 They only talked many days after that, when he found Lee’s number again and decided it would be nice to have someone to go to an exhibition on a museum he had to attend because of his work. The idea was to have someone to have fun in a place where he knew he would get bored. But Lee was a box full of surprises. He was actually very interested in the subject matter of the exhibition and explained him how everything worked and what it all meant. So it was much more interesting that he had thought before hand and he was able to know more about the guy that kept entering his brain when he wasn’t aware.

 They met several times in the following months and then he asked Lee If he wanted to be his boyfriend. Lee accepted but explained his family situation to him, which didn’t made any difference at all, not back then in any case. They had been together for some months until the parents found four innocent pictures of the two guys kissing and then they treated their own son like a prisoner, not letting him out. He worked from home, writing for a magazine, so he kept his work and they kept paying him but they didn’t know what was happening with him.

 Lee did not have many friends but those few he had tried to enter his house several times and they succeeded on some of them. They were able to tell him what had been going on outside and ask him if he wanted something from the outside. His parents had removed any device from his room so he took the chance to write a letter to him and give to his friend for her to take it to him. It was the only way.

 She was a very kind person who he did not know very well but one day she called him and arranged a meeting. She told him everything about Lee and what he was going through and, after some hesitation; he gave the letter to him. After he read it, he was crying profusely, not knowing what to do or where to go. He felt very lost and insecure. He felt nothing made sense anymore. He wanted to fight everyone himself and let them see what he was capable of but the letter had been very clear: nothing would work.

 The relationship ended and Lee transformed into a faceless god that I see every single time this kind of storm unleashes all its strength against the world. I remember wanting to be like the storm, going against everything in order to get what I wanted. But Lee is a part of my past. Almost a year has gone by and I don’t know anything about him and I think its better that way. Maybe he hasn’t been freed or maybe he was sent somewhere else. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s now free and doesn’t want me to see him ever again.


 I don’t care. He had a special place in my heart. And his treasure is still there, in the top shelf of my closet, waiting to be opened.

sábado, 23 de enero de 2016

Alone in the desert

   There was no wind. Only the heat and the sand that was very soft and in which her feet sunk deep, making every step very difficult to make. She had been holding her shoes on one hand but suddenly decided to drop them and let the sand claim them. She might never return to that beautiful hotel she had been staying in and even if she did, she had more shoes there, where they could actually be used.

 She stopped walking sometimes and tried to compose herself, looking in every direction; desperate to get any sign of life or of the person she had been following. Suddenly, she saw a scorpion come out of the sand and just ran the opposite way, not minding the heat, the sand and the fact that she had to climb a really big sand dune to escape the small creature.

 It was on top of that sand structure that she saw the oasis that the woman she had encountered in the market had told her about. Or at least it seemed to be it, because all of those water springs in the desert looked the same and she couldn’t forget that she might be imagining the whole thing, her mind already being affected by the heat and by having walked around a very still desert for at least an hour now.

 Once she made it to the oasis, she realized it was real and just when straight for the water. The small pool of liquid that was there was no good for swimming but good enough for her feet to relax and have a well deserved rest. She also took some water in her hands and drank, feeling how her body thanked her for it. As she drank, she looked around. Besides that small pond, there were only three palm trees, a few rocks and that was it. It was a very small island of life in the immensity of the desert.

 She started thinking that maybe she needed to go back but then she realized she had no idea what “back” meant as her senses of direction was not precisely on point. She had her cellphone with her but, obviously, it had no signal and the map feature wasn’t working. So she just there, here a soft breeze that brushed through those parts and moved the leaves of the palm trees.

 But the sound also moved something the woman had failed to see. Just in front of her there was the pond, and after that one of the palm trees but the wind made her notice some sort of fabric that was caught behind the palm tree. She stood up slowly and then realized she really needed to open her eyes better because what lay in front of her was not just fabric, it was a women dressed in a black gown, barefoot, apparently passed out, just there in the sand as if it was the most normal thing of Earth. She thought the woman looked beautiful but also a bit scary.

 Her body was very still. The other woman came closer and noticed she had a beautiful bracelet on her right arm and a necklace made also from gold. The bracelet had a name on it: Desi. She concluded that her companion’s name was Desi and that someone had left her there, because she was so perfectly put on the ground that it wouldn’t be possible that she had fainted and just assumed that very calm position.

 Desperate for human communication, the woman touched Desi’s face and caressed it a little bit too hard in order to wake her up but it didn’t work. She also tried shaking him by the elbow and the shoulder, even going to the extent of doing it really strongly, but without success. The last thing she tried was tickling her sleeping companion’s feet with her fingertips but the body didn’t even move a millimeter.

 So the woman just sat there besides her sleeping, or maybe dead, companion and just stared at the pond and the palm trees, secretly begging for an answer to this ridiculous situation. She even attempted to remember what it was that had drawn her out of her suite into the desert but the only thing she could remember was the voice of the woman in the market, telling her to find that oasis she was in right now, and wait for a revelation to occur. Maybe that was the place where she was destined to know a great truth but, being honest to herself, she didn’t want to know any truths if it meant being in the middle with nowhere with a dead body.

 She shook Desi violently this time but the body wouldn’t budge so she decided she didn’t care. Also, she decided to go back to her hotel and just hope that the same voice that brought her there was capable to get her back into a nice bed and a continental breakfast. She had been out of bed before dawn and she felt dusk was about to take place and she certainly didn’t want to spend a night in a place filled with scorpions.

 So she just stood up and started walking the way she thought her hotel was located in. Her steps were more secure now and the sand didn’t engulf her feet as it had been doing before. She almost floated over the sand and walked with much more grace than anyone else could in such an awful place. She reached a high dune and decided to look back; in order to give a last look to dead Desi but the oasis wasn’t there anymore. There was only sand.

 It was the first time that she felt scared and that feeling was accentuated by the fact that the sun was less and less bright, and she could already see the moon in the sky, very bright and all of her features visible. The moon seemed massive in the desert and she found herself looking at it for a long time before she remembered her wish to go back to the hotel.

 She walked and walked. But couldn’t reach any place. She was now thirsty and no oasis awaited her in the route she had chosen. She just had to keep on walking but she wasn’t walking as secure as she had been walking before. Her feet were starting to sink again and she felt very insecure about every single step she took. It was very sudden when fear took over her mind: she was sure she was going to die there, all alone, cold and with a thousand scorpions and other creatures of the desert poking her lifeless body, Her mouth would fill with sand before her whole body was to be covered by the desert, forgotten by the world there.

 It was a bright light that made these thoughts go away. But the light had been just a flash, just a moment in time that she never saw again. She kept walking and decided to travel only on the crests of the tall dunes in order to have a vantage point and not be surprised by death, if it came from beneath her. But it was there, the moon almost in the highest part of the sky, that she saw her again.

 She recognized the dress and her face and ever her feet, there in the dark. The moon illuminated Desi and that beautiful blue light bathed her in a strange aura that made the woman feel scared but also very calm. It was as if her mind was screaming but her body was incapable of acting on that fear. She was kind of paralyzed, also fascinated by the fact that the woman she had seen earlier was there, looking at her.

 But none of them moved. Not until Desi took off her necklace and let it fall into the sand. Then, a gust of gust covered her body and she was never seen again. She had been an illusion or maybe a dead person. That was why the lost woman had not been able to wake her up. She walked to the spot where she had been standing and grabbed the necklace from the sand. Just like the bracelet, it had a charm with a name. And the name was Florence.

 It was right then that she opened her eyes and realized the desert was there, just beyond the windows in her room. Her grandiose bedroom was there, all the complimentary beverages, the fruit basket that had been given to her as a gift and all of her clothes and shoes. Florence just touched her face and the rest of her body, trying to understand what had just happened. She stood up and went to the bathroom. She checked her eyes and her mouth. And then she just looked at her reflection.

 And as it happens often, she forgot Desi’s name, and the scorpions, and the body in the oasis. But she didn’t forget the fact that she had dropped some shoes in the desert, that she had found a necklace with her name on it or that a voice had called from beyond.


 She cleaned her face with cold water and decided to get some breakfast but, just as she walked in the space between the window and the bed, Florence stepped on a small mound of desert sand.