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

jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2016

He was a friend

   The problem with having people over was that Tom’s place was always a mess. He tried to keep it clean; to make it look like someone responsible lived there, but it was impossible for him to keep that façade up. He had to confront the fact that he was not the most organized person in the world and that he shouldn’t have said “Yes” when asked if he could have his friends over for their weekly gathering. They had that tradition since they started having their own places. It was an excuse for seeing each other more often because if it weren’t for that dinner, they wouldn’t know anything.

 Marina had almost always hosted the dinner. She had the most beautiful apartment of the group and her husband was very relaxed about them meeting up so often. Sometimes they only met every two weeks because she had something else to do or her husband needed his space so they just didn’t get together. If it wasn’t her house, they sometimes used Greg’s place but the problem with his house was the fact that it was too far away from anyone else’s and that he had a baby so they had to keep it silent and very short.

 So Tom had a lot to do before his friends came over. By his request, the dinner was changed fro mthe usual Friday to Saturday. He knew that if he needed time to plan the whole thing and it was going to be an important meeting because the New Year holidays had just ended and it hadn’t seen each other in weeks. They would normally call for a pizza or something like that but he really wanted to impress them as he had always been the loser of the group, the one that never did anything too impressive, the one that was still single and working a menial job.

 Yes, Tom wanted them to see another side of him, a side that he would hopefully actually have. As he started planning, he realized he was really as dull and simple as anyone would think. His job was really not interesting so they never spoke about that but he always got so tired from it that he had almost no time to actually read or hear about other things in the world. He didn’t have any real knowledge about the interesting things of life. He only knew about the boring corner he occupied in the world and that was it. So he really had to make an effort.

 The first thing was actually planning the dinner. Even in the New Year’s Eve dinner with his family, he had his old timey notepad and a pencil with which he would write ideas for things to eat. His brother insisted he should just order a pizza and garlic bread but they always did that and he wanted to impress them with something they couldn’t see coming. The garlic bread was a nice idea, so he wrote it down and his mother told him a good salad is always welcome so he wrote that down too. The idea was to have many simple things around.

 The days before the meeting, he decided to buy most of the things he needed for his dinner in order to do them first and see if he could do it all by himself or if it really was a better idea to just ask for a pizza. He used the oven and borrowed a bunch of kitchen equipment from his mother, as he didn’t have anything to do proper things at his place. He didn’t even have a blender, just a couple of pans, a cooking pot and the microwave. Tom had to borrow his father’s car too to be able to take all of that back to his place. They thought he was going crazy.

 The first thing he decided to do was the salad, which he thought was the simplest of the dishes he had wrote down. He decided to do one mixing vegetables and fruits. It was supposed to be something refreshing and filled with flavors. He did everything the recipe called for but at the end, he doubted the result was the same as in the recipe. Apparently, the fruits and veggies he had chosen weren’t in their best moment. Some of them were too “green” and others were too ripe. It wasn’t to be surprised, as he had never picked up so many things from the supermarket.

 He put the salad on the side and decided it would be nice if he kept it on the refrigerator. Then, Tom decided to make the garlic bread. It was a rather simple thing to do. His trial test was going to be with cheap bread he had found in the supermarket. Again, he had made the wrong choice, as the bread was much too hard, like a rock. It was almost impossible to cut it. But once he did, he smeared some garlic paste on it and put it in the oven. The thing was he forgot about it when doing another recipe, so the bread got burned and his second attempt another disaster.

 What he was doing in the meantime was mixing the ingredients to make nice thick waffles. He had found a website that advised against the mix they sold in a box and encouraged people to do the mix themselves. The whole kitchen got covered in flour and a couple of eggshells ended up in the mix. He let it harden a bit when he got the garlic bread out of the oven so when he mixed it again, it had a very rough texture, not very similar to the one in the pictures of the website. When he tried it in the pan, it just got stuck there and burned like the bread.

 And all of that happened in a single day, the Monday previous to his gathering with friends. He wasn’t ready at all and he was even more of a disaster than he had thought. Tom had never cooked anything for himself and had no idea about entertaining people. He was a shy person, the kind that would always be asked last about a subject, if asked at all. He knew they had put that burden on him because no one else could do it and that thought made him realized he didn’t want to be that person.

 So early Tuesday, he grabbed the phone and called every single was one of his so-called friends and told them that he had decided against organizing their little event. He didn’t explain why or anything like that. He thought it was best not to say anything that they could use against him, although he knew they were going to talk anyway. After making all the appropriate calls, he decided to go to bed and rest because he hadn’t been able to sleep properly just because of that stupid meeting being in his brain for weeks and weeks.

 A surprise came in Wednesday, after having been able to sleep for ten straight hours. A girl from college called Alicia had come to his door to visit, out of the blue. When he buzzed her in, he didn’t really realize what he had done. But then he did and he started picking up the trash from the floor but then stopped and realized that didn’t make any sense. If Alicia was there, it was because the others had told her about the cancelled reunion. She wanted to know more and he shouldn’t just fake that everything was perfect when it wasn’t.

At the end of the day, that mess in his house was what made him Tom. He was that mess and it was the most original version of his own self. Nothing more could be as perfect to describe him as that pile of things all around, ranging from papers and notebooks to all the ingredients that he hadn’t used and wasn’t going to use for anything, never again. He even had some clothes on the floor, mainly the ones he would pick up and put in bag to take to washing machines in the basement of the building. It was one of those places.

 When Alicia arrived, he greeted her on the door and didn’t ask her to come in. He just wanted to know what she was doing there. She said that a bunch of people, including her, were worried about him because he had cancelled out of the blue. She reminded him that he was always so worried about arriving on time to their other meetings and often gave money for more pizza, so it was weird that he would just cancel the gathering that he was in charge of. So Alicia was just there to receive an explanation and she really got one.

 Tom said he was tired of being the last person they always thought of, except when they needed money or some idiot to do shit for them. He told Alicia to told every other person in their so-called “friend group” that he wasn’t going to be the same idiot that he had been since college. Maybe he wasn’t brilliant or successful or anything, but he still deserved some respect. He closed the door on her face and decided it was a nice time to order a pizza, all for himself.

jueves, 30 de junio de 2016


   First, they packed everything in the living room. The lamps, the vases, all the little objects around the house, even the chairs and the big furniture. All of that could be covered in plastic and then put in a truck in order to move. It was the biggest thing Joan had ever done and she felt very nervous about it. Packing all of her house, the things that she had gathered through the years, was not easy. Every time she decided to help with the small objects, she started telling a long story about it, recalling where she had bought it or found it or who had given it to her.

 It was all because of her husband, Martin, who had accepted a surprise job offer around the world. They have never really been that far, always enjoying their holidays pretty close to home. That’s how they had lived for the past ten years. But then, Martin had come to the house with that information, the fact that they could choose to go if they wanted to. Her husband was kind enough to consult her before accepting the job. The thing was, she had no idea what to say.

 Joan had never really wanted to travel the world or nothing like that. She had never been an adventurous person. Her personal life dreams had already come to happen: she was married, had a beautiful home and had two young kids. She knew may of her friends thought she wasn’t aiming high or that she was very unusual for a woman in this day an age, but that was all she wanted. She didn’t want to see Paris or London, Joan was happy with their summer holidays when they used the car to get where they wanted.

 However, Martin would receive a very generous raise and the truth was they really needed it. They had always thought of getting a bigger place, improving their life a little bit more. He had always wanted to own a new car, a brand new SVU or something like that. They weren’t big objectives or anything but it was their idea to make their children have a better quality of life.

 The kids were unaware of what was happening but they did notice something was different about their parents. They were always talking about something they didn’t really understand and then they seemed to be thinking of something else all day. They didn’t really seem happy or sad, more like confused and oblivious.

 For the sake of change, she supported Martin in accepting the job. Things changed then because they had to begun moving everything and it was costly. First they had to throw away whatever they didn’t want to keep or give away several things, mostly minor objects around the house. They also planned on selling some of the kitchen items but they would do that at the end of their remaining time at home.

  Some family members came by to help with some of the stud, choosing what they should keep or what they wanted for themselves. It took forever to do all of that, as everyone wanted something. They all wanted to take something or the kids would fight for a thing they had not seen in ages or they would reminisce for hours without really getting much done. So they decided to tell their family and friends it was best for them to be away while they organized everything.

 The day the moving people took away everything in the living room, Joan almost died. She felt very sad that her home seemed to have been robbed or as if anyone lived there. She was exaggerating of course, because all other rooms remained the same. But there was something about seeing nothing in that living room that really affected her. Somehow, change wasn’t something she welcomed with open arms or anything like that. She was afraid of it.

 Joan tried to talk about it to her family, her mother specifically, but she shut her down by saying it was normal to feel strange when moving but that Joan needed to understand that life is best when nothing stands still. She even told her that death was good precisely because of that, as well as children births or accidents or promotions. They changed the game in order to make you learn more and be creative and imaginative.

 But Joan didn’t care for all of that. She cried at night sometimes, after Martin had fallen asleep, as she was scared even more change would come her way. What if her husband changed too much in that other country? What if her children resented her for moving somewhere everything was so different. What if she was the one who changed, really transforming in to someone she had never wanted to be?

 The next room to be cleared was the studio. Lots of books in boxers, an old desktop computer that was sold for parts and some more little objects they had bought in their holidays and such. She couldn’t contain her tears when the truck came and took all those boxers away. She didn’t say a word to the men who came, who had been the same than before. Joan didn’t know what to say or what to ask. She felt they were taking everything from her.

 She was normally very active all around the house and outside of it. She would participate in various school activities or in the community center nearby, she would buy new thing for her house or change the decoration a bit, doing a lot of things by herself. But now, she couldn’t do any of that as it made no sense to keep doing them. No more baking, no more cute decoration in the kids rooms.

 Her children were actually the ones that noticed she had changed somehow. Her youngest, which was nine years old, approached one day in her room and asked if everything was ok. She was now suffering because her kids’ rooms were next. They were sleeping in the sleeping bags they used to go to camp. Their actual beds had been sold and new ones would be bought for their new homes. They had decided that themselves. Children were always looking forward to change, or so she thought.

 Plushies and toys and all other stuff had been selected by them: some were on boxes while others were in bags in order to be given away as donations to the community center.  They didn’t seem to mind. She thought they were going to be very upset once the asked them to do such a thing but there was no outburst or bad reaction. They just did what they had to do and seemed only mildly worried about sleeping in those sleeping bags. They had never really like those.

 The moving men came again and took everything away form those rooms. The following day they came for things of the master bedroom, which was the second to last to be scrapped of its objects. Joan asked Martin to take care of that, as it was a Saturday. He was very fast in deciding what he wanted to keep and what not and she let him handle it all except her clothes. She had to pack those herself, which was also a nightmare. Throwing the old and keeping what she liked in big traveling bags.

 Soon, they were also sleeping on the floor like their children. Two days after that, they were going to come for the remaining objects in the house, particularly some stuff in the kitchen, and that would be it. Their flight was on Tuesday so they had planned it all perfectly. Joan became more and more anxious, unable to stay inside the house for too long. She would often go to the backyard but it was difficult to be there too, as it brought too many memories to her mind.

 On Monday, she decided not to be there when the men came. Martin could handle it. She decided to go to a spa with a friend, to get a full treatment. She enjoyed herself a lot, almost forgetting why she had chosen to do that. Afterwards, they had lunch in their favorite restaurant and talked about the elephant in the room. Joan had no other choice than to tell her friend how she really felt about it all.

 Her friend told her she understood how she felt a lot, because she had lived all of her life travelling. But she assured Joan she didn’t have anything to fear as, maybe, she could discover many more things about herself in a different environment. She could try to get out of her comfort zone.

 That phrase made Joan think all the rest of the day and even the day after, when they were driving to the airport. Once they reached the security area, she realized it was all for real and that it was happening. The moment they sat down on the plane, Martin on one side and her children on the other, Joan realized she had nothing to fear. A few deep breaths and then she was ready to dive into her next big adventure.

domingo, 15 de noviembre de 2015

Sweet dream

   Anna was deeply devoted to her confectionery business. She did the most beautiful food that also happened to be delicious- Her store was small but people came from all over the city and nearby towns to eat some of her signature products such as the strawberry shortcake with extra flavor and the home-made candy bars that could have any flavor that people wanted. They could be personalized at the request of the client. The strangest flavor she had ever been asked was a mix between curry and lemon, which actually tasted pretty goof. Business was great and she handled everything by herself, having no need of a partner or someone else to take advantage of an idea she had while in high school. Back then, she already knew she wanted to cook the best desserts possible and she even tried new recipes with her family every Thursday night.

 Life was good to Anna. She was happy with her business and had recently moved to a small but nice apartment in order to be more independent from her family. She was also considering an offer that would make her candy bat available at a major supermarket chain, which would make her products even more well known and the amount of money she would make was going to be huge. But she wasn’t really sure if to accept the proposal or not. She was afraid of, with time, losing control of her business and finally selling to a large company that didn’t have any love for the art or respect for her creations. It was something she thought every single night before going to bed and it made her a bit crazy. She wanted an answer fast, to know what to do.

 She asked the advice of every member of her family and some of her friends and most of them agreed that of her small store could handle the amount of work, they should definitely sign the contract with the supermarket chain. After all, it wouldn’t be an industrial sized agreement and her products would only be sold there. It wasn’t like she was going to lose entire control of everything. So in her next meeting with the guy from the supermarket chain, she accepted and signed the contract. According to it, her store had to provide a thousand hand-made candy bars of several flavors. As they were normally personalized, they just asked her to make her top five flavors, whichever they were. She accepted and started hiring extra hands.

 They had to work on weekends and the amount of ingredients that had to be bought was simply huge. Only her employees, the three that had been with her since the beginning, would be in charge of the store as such, cooking what people had learned to expect from it. Once a month there was a new product, proposed either by Anna or by some member of her staff. In the other hand, six people worked on weekends to produce candy bars for the supermarket. She had only two weeks before having to surrender her products so everything had to be very calculated and controlled.

 The flavors chosen were orange yogurt, spicy lemon, raspberries in dark chocolate, pineapple and mango and, finally, their classic passion fruit flavor. Those were the ones people had learned to love in her store since its opening only two years earlier and she was proud her clients proved to be such innovative people. They were always really open about the new sweets and were always very kind when submitting their opinions. Anna had created, with help from a friend, a web page where clients could see all of her products and also comment about every single one of them. She would normally use one night per week to read the new comment and use whatever she may find useful from them. Normally, she just laughed or felt proud but sometimes people had interesting ideas and she credited them for the ones that became successful products.

 However, things began to decline after the second months of her contract with the supermarket chain. It all started when her weekend workers started to demand a higher salary. They thought they were exploited by Anna at their current salary, working like mad from dusk till dawn every Saturday and Sunday and even some Mondays. They argued that her store made enough money to pay everyone fairly. Apparently, they resented the fact that her store staff made more money than them, which she had explained once as been simply because of seniority. The thing was they didn’t want to hear none of that. They just wanted more money or they would stop coming and that would be the perfect way to destroy Anna’s creation, and pride, for good.

 On the other hand, the supermarket chain had begun complaining about the quality of the candy bars that were sent to them the third week of contract. Apparently, they lacked the flavor and they accused Anna of sing less ingredients to make more bars which was ridiculous because her order was always the same. She didn’t even fake to be offended and stormed out of the office of one of the executives of the supermarket chain. Anna knew very well it hadn’t been her brightest moment but she couldn’t stand to be accused of doing something she would never do. Seeking a lawyer, she finally found a good one thanks to a friend. She had a meeting with him and asked about the possibilities of ending the contract with the supermarket chain.

 The lawyer, a very serious and older man, browsed through the contract and finally advised her not to end it as the repercussions to her would be simply too difficult to bare. She would have to pay a lot of money and her company would be bankrupt even before paying all of what she had to pay, if she decided to walk away from the contract. Again, Anna had trouble sleeping at night with so much to think about. She finally decided to raise the salary of her workers but not as much as they had hoped. It was clear to them by her words that no more raises would be granted before the end of the contract. Some workers left but she hired new ones and the quality of the chocolate began to improve.

 Anna also had a conversation with the supermarket chain, in which she announced her intentions of not renewing her contract with them but meeting their quotas and demands for the current contract. They really did not have anything to say because they couldn’t really pressure her into signing for one more year or even more time. The work relationship was tense there and they even threatened to sue if the quality of the candy bars was ever too low for their standards. But as she begun to closely watch the production of the candy for that damn contract, they had no base from which to keep annoying her. The candy bars where as tasty as always and her employees were finally happy or at least not aggressive. That was already an improvement.

 However, she never expected one of her trusted workers in the store to go away. Her name was Linda and she had been by Anna for many years, as they knew each other from high school. Linda announced her intentions to leave but not for any salary reasons or because she had grown to dislike the whole thing. It was more like the opposite: she had learned to love making sweets so much that she had decided to became a professional. She wanted to study a full four-year career in order to learn everything there was to know and become the best candy maker ever. Linda had always been pretty ambitious but Anna had failed to see that because of her own ambitions. When Linda announced her departure, she asked her for forgiveness and hugged her tight. Anna also told her she had a place in the store any time she wanted to come back, even if she became world renowned.

 Anna celebrated with everyone on her staff, both from the weekends and from the store, the end of the contract with the supermarket chain. There were rumors they had copied the recipes and now they were going to produce the candy themselves or that maybe rival stores would provide them with the candy that Anna had refused to give them ever more. One or the other, Anna was glad all of that ordeal had ended because she had realized that her dream was a place where she could do her own thing and experiment and be close to her clients. That contract had crushed the soul of her idea and now she needed it back in order to make it beautiful and bright again.

 The following month, she released a whole new set of products, all with exotic fruits and ingredients that would surprise everyone. She had been doing research for weeks and cooking at home to finally come up with some sort of prize to her devoted store clients who hadn’t left her in the year she had been busy doing candy bar for a corporation. The flavors and the candy were loved by everyone and she even had to ask three of her weekend workers to stay and help in the store. Her family grew that way and she realized that her life was better than ever because now she knew what she really wanted to do and what really made her happy. Her heart was always sweet and, now, more than ever.