jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2016

The president

   In the kitchen, everyone was working at full capacity. There was not a single person standing by, doing nothing. Every single worker was doing something, even if they were just apprentices or the chef himself. All hands were needed for the banquet to go exactly as planned and one of the most important parts of the whole experience was, of course, the food. It wasn’t possible to do a proper banquet without a great menu and the one for that event had been checked at least a hundred times and by a diverse group of people, all with different tastes.

 Of course, the most important person in the whole gala was the president, as he had been the one to organize the event. It wasn’t one of those planned things that took place every single year but an impromptu kind of thing that had arisen from the fact that the president wanted to do a benefit for a cause he thought had not been helped enough in recent years. Public opinion was really divided on the subject but most people admired what he had done and how he had done it. After all, it was very uncommon for a president to stop his work to do something else.

 Some papers were criticizing every single aspect of the event, from the price of the food and the flower arrangements, to the list of guests. Some said it was too big and others too small. Some said he had invited people from the wrong countries and organizations and others praised him exactly for that. It wasn’t new that the press was not in agreement completely; they had always been very divided on the presidency from day one, which had taken place a little more than a year ago, after a very uncommon period of transition.

 Awkward was the better word because the new president had asked the old one to give him an office in the presidential headquarters, as he wanted to check on everything as it happened. Such a thing had never been attempted and a certain distance was thought to be the wisest thing when dealing with such a moment. But from the first moment of him been the president elect of the country, it was very clear he wasn’t going to be like any other president, in the country’s past or in other countries. He was, for lack of a better word, uncommon.

 Very uncommon indeed as he had won in the most unexpected way, when many people had decided it was the best to make a change at the very last minute. Polls had never granted him the presidency and he thought, the morning of the election itself, that he was going to lose for sure but he wanted to go away gracefully so he did something unexpected: he shared the day with people around his city, visiting tourist spots and taking random pictures. Apparently people loved that because in the afternoon, polling stations were filled with voters.

 By the end of the night, he had been declared the winner with over five percent of the vote over the other candidate; a woman everyone had predicted would be the next president. She was the very opposite of him, someone who seemed to have fire in her eyes, always talking with an amount of passion that seemed to much for such a small woman. Millions adored her and, of course, by the big conglomerates that actually controlled the country. She loved to speak about economics and foreign affairs and all such things.

 However, the new president had never really been passionate for anything. To be perfectly honest, he had been chosen out of nowhere by the third most important party in the country. It was predicted that the two most voted parties in the last election would hold the same spots in the new election but that didn’t happen. People were tired of the game between those two parties that, at the end of the day, were exactly the same party if you were to compare their policies on several key elements of people’s lives. They just had slight differences.

 Studies on those elections would last for years, as never had predicted that surge of a third option. And now that third option was organizing an impromptu dinner in honor of a cause many thought wasn’t “attractive” enough. In this day and age, people still thought some subjects were best not spoken out loud, in the open, much less in a fancy dinner table with expensive Champaign and a band playing music from eighty years ago. The president was known by now for his odd choices and that was also reflected on his choice of food.

 The people in the kitchen had elaborated a menu that mixed very high cuisine with foods that everyone loved. The dishes were particularly successful among the special guests of the evening. In other words, the people that were directly affected by the charity they were raising money form. After all, they were all normal people that did not really have experience in fancy dinners and strange food, so the combination of high cuisine experiments with almost fast food, was a success among them and many presidential supporters.

 Of course, the richest people in the event weren’t very thrilled to be eating what were basically hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken, in a very old hall that had a long history of elegant banquets to celebrate the riches of the rich, instead of charitable efforts. However, the rich were never shy when it came to donating, as it was the perfect way to pay fewer taxes and to be seen as some kind of savior by the people that were benefitted by that money they didn’t need.

 It was incredible to see how the people, the same that had voted for the president, supported him again on that decision and thought the choices overall were just excellent. Some thought they were funny enough but everyone agreed that it was the necessary shake up that needed to happen in such a stiff political environment. Everyone took things too seriously sometimes and it was nice to see that the president had a sense of humor or at least the capacity to be different. People admired him for that, long before he was a president.

 It was never really clear if he did those things on purpose or if everything was kind of a “happy accident”. Whatever it was, it always seemed to work. It was the same thing when he worked for a large software conglomerate where most of the workers were younger than him and he wasn’t even that old. At first they mistrusted him because they didn’t thought it was possible he would even know about what they did in the company, but after a while he showed everyone how interested and invested he was on the company, surprising them in many ways.

 Of course, he was always nervous. He had even joked that he would love to have a first lady by his side to have someone to hold hands with in the most tense and difficult moments. He even joked he would settle for a first gentleman and some of the journalists laughed out loud that day. He was something very unexpected and was attacked because he wasn’t the same kind of politician everyone had seen once and again for the last hundred years. But that’s exactly why so many people supported him; he was very different from them all.

 Some of his supporters had even organized meetings to help him with some subjects and to get him to talk about things that people felt were important in that moment. And he was gracious enough to hear them, after the meetings he had to attend about the economy or foreign trade or who knows what. He always had time for everyone and he seemed to be happier when talking and sharing with actual people. That’s why some said he was the best president in the world and others said he was a disaster waiting to happen.

 After the gala, he sent the millions won for the charity to the proper people and many were able to find some kind of solace in the fact that he had remembered them as victims. Rumors of a second term were already in the air. But when asked about it, he always laughed loudly and said he would rather end the one he was in first to see if he was successful enough to deserve more time. Of course, three years later, he won by a landslide, another unexpected win.

miércoles, 14 de diciembre de 2016


   Con mucha paciencia, lo fue preparando todo. Arregló sus cuentas pendientes, sus deudas, habló con quien había que hablar y trató de disfrutar lo mejor que pudo del poco dinero que tenía. Era más que suficiente para darse algunos gustos durante ese último mes, como ir a comer a los mejores restaurantes y viajar un poco. Con cada día que pasaba, su determinación no se veía afectada en lo más mínimo. Pensaba igual que en el día en el que se le había ocurrido todo y no creía que hubiese manera para que las cosas se echaran de para atrás.

 El día indicado, inició su día como siempre, excepto que salió muy temprano y su apartamento parecía listo para una mudanza. Se puso su mejor ropa, aunque no sabía muy bien si eso tenía sentido, y salió de su casa caminando con seguridad. De camino al punto elegido, pensó en todo lo que dejaba atrás, en todas las personas y en todos lo que nunca tendría la oportunidad de experimentar. No era que se estuviese echando para atrás sino que era casi imposible no tener un pequeño momento de reflexión momentos antes.

 Al llegar al lugar, lo hizo sin miramientos, sin dudarlo un segundo. No había cambiado de parecer, sus razones seguían siendo para él demasiado fuertes para no hacer las cosas como terminó haciéndolas. Trepó la barrera del puente con agilidad y algunos ocupantes de automóviles que pasaban por allí se dieron cuenta cuando estaba y de pronto ya no era así. Incluso hubo uno que frenó y salió del carro, corrió a la baranda metálica y miró hacia abajo como esperando un milagro. Pero nada parecido podía haber pasado. El hombre estaba muerto.

 El cuerpo fue recuperado del agua varias horas después de que el conductor llamara a la policía. Si hubiesen llegado al instante, tal vez lo hubiesen salvado aunque eso hubiese significado una vida de esas que no es una vida de verdad. Suena raro pero era mejor que estuviese muerto, como lo estaba. Pronto notificaron a la familia y todos sufrieron lo que debían sufrir pues así sucede siempre cuando alguien decide que este mundo es demasiado o muy poco para ellos. La familia organizó todo de forma rápida y muy privada de modo que muchos solo supieron de la muerte meses después.

 La policía tenía la obligación de hacer una investigación pero fue cerrada meses después porque jamás se encontró nada. No había nota suicida ni ningún indicio en redes sociales ni nada por el estilo que indicase que el hombre iba a cometer semejante cosa. Lo único era el pequeño apartamento listo para mudanza. La razón real para eso es que había dejado todo, legalmente, a su hermano menor. Nadie nunca lo había sabido pero eso tenía muchas razones, la principal siendo que él no quería tener nada que no fuera suyo.

 El apartamento había sido propiedad de sus padres pero ellos se lo habían dado un año atrás, para que viviera solo y así tratara de conseguir un trabajo. Ellos se encargarían de los gastos del lugar mientras él lograba ganar dinero, luego lo haría él como pasa con cualquiera. Pero el problema fue que nunca consiguió un trabajo. Iba a todas las entrevistas que podían existir pero jamás lo elegían para nada ni lo volvían a llamar. Era como si estuviese maldito o algo por el estilo. El caso es que el apartamento nunca se sintió como suyo y por eso quiso cederlo.

 La verdad era que él no sentí que se hubiese ganado nada en la vida. Había logros que había alcanzado, claro, como cualquier otro ser humano. Pero habían sido logros alcanzados por medio del dinero y no por su calidad como profesional ni nada por el estilo. Nunca había sido reconocido por su talento ni por su personalidad y, de un tiempo para acá, se dio cuenta de que ya no quería vivir a punta de mendigarle a sus padres o a cualquier otra persona. Simplemente no quería una vida en la que siempre fuera un fracaso evidente.

 Por eso había hecho lo que había hecho. Y estuvo seguro hasta el último instante. La policía cerró el caso sin mayores razones que asegurar por el lugar del hecho que había sido un suicidio. Pruebas como tal no existían pero, para ellos, no eran necesarias. Lo que había ocurrido era bastante evidente y era común no insistir demasiado en los suicidios pues la familia siempre estaba con mucho dolor y prolongar la investigación solo hacía que ese dolor fuese mucho más intenso de lo normal. Así que lo mejor era dejarlo así.

 Nunca le dijo a sus padres, ni a nadie en realidad, que él no sentía que fuese capaz de trabajar. No podía hacer nada que requiriera un contrato con un salario y reglas de juego establecidas. Mucho menos si el trabajo requería de su presencia en oficinas mejor construidas para gallinas que para seres humanos. Nunca sintió que su lugar estuviese en ninguno de los trabajos para los que se postulaba. Solo lo hacía porque sentía que esa era su responsabilidad como ser humano. Pero jamás estuvo ni ligeramente interesado por ninguno de esos puestos.

 Eso lo habían notado todas las personas que lo habían entrevistado en ese año durante el cual estuvo intentando ser contratado: a veces era demasiado sincero y a veces abiertamente hipócrita. A veces era muy tímido y otra intentaba tanto ser extrovertido que pasaba por alguien con serios problemas mentales. Además estaba su aspecto que jamás iba a ser ni remotamente parecido al de todos los demás hombres que tienen un trabajo estable como esos para los que se presentaba.

 Para cualquiera que hubiese querido ver las señales, allí estaban. Pero la verdad fue que nadie se interesó porque tenían sus propias vidas y porque pensaban que las cosas no podían ponerse peor. Ese siempre ha sido el error de muchos, al creer que todo es estable y siempre seguirá igual hasta el fin de los tiempos y obviamente las cosas no son así. Siempre hay señales o indicios, siempre hay alguna palabra o actitud o incluso la falta de ciertas cosas. No se trata de culpar a nadie sino de darse cuenta que siempre se puede prevenir.

 Pero de seguro el jamás se lo hubiese perdonado a nadie si lo hubiese “salvado” de ese destino. Como se ha dicho en varias ocasiones, él estaba muy seguro de lo que iba a hacer. Ese día caminó con determinación y no dudo ni por un segundo. ¿Como se hace para detener a alguien que no tiene ninguna duda de lo que está a punto de hacer? Tal vez sea algo posible pero no hay certeza acerca de si se puede detener y mucho menos de si se debe hacerlo. Porque siempre pensamos desde nuestro punto de vista pero jamás desde el de la persona que se suicida.

 No es algo simple, al contrario, es algo complicado que siempre será difícil de entender para la gente que está viva. Pero si en verdad se conoce a la persona, al difunto mejor dicho, de seguro se sabrá llegar al mismo lugar en el que estuvo esa persona para decidir lo que decidió, para vivir su vida en sus últimos días como él lo hizo. No es algo complicado ni supremamente imposible de entender. Se podría incluso decir que es uno de esos hechos de la vida, que suceden y simplemente no hay control sobre ello porque solo somos seres humanos.

 Él quería escapar del dolor, de la vergüenza, del cansancio y de muchas otras cosas que lo estaban presionando. Los ignorantes dirán que no tuvo la fuerza ni el empuje necesarios, dirán que fue débil y que escogió el camino de los cobardes. Muchos dirán que no hizo lo suficiente y que debió ser más fuerte de lo que era, entrenarse incluso para ser una persona diferente, si es que se había dado cuenta que ser él mismo no servía de nada. Algunos cambian así para evitar un desenlace igual al de él pero la verdad es que no saben nada.

 A veces hay personas que no pueden ser nadie más sino ellos mismos. A veces hay personas que simplemente no pueden lidiar con el mundo como es y no pueden ponerse un velo frente a los ojos como para que no duela tanto. Hay personas que no tienen la habilidad de mentirse a sí mismos, no pueden pelear cuando saben perfectamente que van a perder. Algunos toman el camino más difícil porque morir es de todos pero elegir la muerte jamás será de débiles sino, tal vez, todo lo contrario.

martes, 13 de diciembre de 2016

Louis's party

It had not been love at first sight. That would have been impossible, as they had met in a place were no one could actually see the other person’s face. Of course, that party was a very secret one and only people that knew other people could have been invited. But the point is that both Rémy and Luc had been invited that night and they had both participated in one of the largest secret parties to take place in all of France and probably all of Europe too. No one knew for sure how big the whole thing was, as one of the most powerful people in the country had organized it.

 The party took place in an actual palace, where other such parties had taken place, maybe three hundred years ago or more. Of course, in those times people did things like crazy, like animals, and they had no rules to make everyone feel their best and leave without any concern. This modern party had many rules and one of the most important ones, the first one in fact, was that it was forbidden for anyone to remove the mask they had been provided by the organized via mail. All masks were identical and there laid one of the key features of the party.

 Technically, every single person was the same. And, according to the rules, they were all the same to the eyes of the organizer and also each other. Of course, they were women and men but, as large as the palace was, there were lots of smaller parties within the big one. Some of those were gender exclusive, some others completely forbid clothes and there was even one where clothes were actually mandatory. It could be said that there was something for everyone and the statement would be true because Louis had made that happen.

 Louis was not his real name but it was the name he liked to be called. He was obsessed by everything that had to do with the reign of Louis the XIVth, so he had chosen that name as his secret identity for everyone to know in order to organize those parties. Of course, no one in the country knew that those gatherings actually existed but there were many rumors and people all around thought it wasn’t that farfetched as rich people tend to have things that no one thinks anyone would need. And a lot of something is always in the mix.

 The location of the party changed every year and after it had happened everything was returned in the most perfect of conditions, in the case the place was rented which happened a lot. Louis was smart enough not to use his own estates, although he was always tempted to do so. He was obsessed with everything being perfect and interior designing was one of his many obsessions. He had houses and flats all over the place and he loved to make them look their best. So he did exactly that with the rentals for his parties, everything had to be perfect.

 Luc was not as rich as Louis but one could say they ran the same circuit. It wasn’t difficult to see him in all “must” parties in the cities, always showing his face in all kinds of events. Luc’s parents had died ten years ago and had left him with a very large fortune. Now his uncle managed the company that his father had built and he let his nephew do whatever he wanted to do. Having been rich from such an early age, Luc had gone crazy in all sorts of predictable ways. His uncle had done a lot to avoid the press trying to destroy him with pictures and other “evidence”.

 He had done a lot of drugs when he was around sixteen years old. He had dated publicly both men and women. He was one of those jetsetters that travel around the world just showing their money to anyone who was willing to watch him. But the interesting thing about him was that he was the most charming young man ever to be found. He never seemed to be showing off and he even had a very caring heart that made him make big donations to many charities and institutions that really help people around the globe.

 Luc was a very weird mix and that’s why some loved him and others loathed him. Of course that happened because of how rich he was and we all know people love to hate people that are out of their reach. But even so that was the case, he didn’t care at all about how people perceived him. He really knew how to live a life where the first thing was to be himself, his original self. That’s how he met Louis, at a party where Luc was being exactly the same guy he always was. And that was very interesting to Louis who loved authentic people.

 Right away, having met him only minutes before, Louis invited Luc to his party and Luc accepted. Of course, he had been to many other parties like that one before, but never one so exclusive and lavish. His normal parties were much raunchier and he didn’t even care if it wasn’t as private as it could be. Of course, that had been a headache for his uncle for many years but now it was him that knew how to handle the press and all other people that the only thing they wanted was a big piece of his wealth or a fragment of his fame.

 It was there, in the annual party thrown by Louis, where Luc met the first person in the world that made him feel something he had never felt before. He wasn’t ready for it, not at all. He had never thought that he would actually fall in love one day. But he did. Not at the party of course, or right away, but it happened in the following months and he suffered, as he had never felt something like it before. It was almost torture but bearable and worth the pain.

 Rémy was the son of a baker and a housewife. He had been raised in one of the more modest neighborhoods in all of Paris. From a very young age, he had realized he liked other men. The day he realized it was one of the few anecdotes he liked to tell his lovers right after having sex and he didn’t really know the reason for it. He just liked to tell them how he looked at all the other boys in his class when he was fourteen years old, in the classroom, in the yard and in the bathroom. He stared and was very attentive of everything they did.

 Some lovers lasted for a few days, even one night. Others lasted much more, even as long as two years. That one was the hardest thing for him because he became numb after that relationship ended. It had been both toxic and ideal, beautiful and a disaster. He never wanted to go through that again so that’s why, every single Friday and Saturday after work, he would go to his small flat, change clothes and then leave for many hours, to visit his favorite places in the city. Some were sex clubs, some were dancing clubs, and some were bars.

 The choice of the day depended on how his week had gone for him. He worked two jobs: one in a magazine were he was practically a delivery boy, even if his parents had sacrificed themselves to give him the best education ever, including an university degree, and another job working as a barista in of the many cafés in the city. He left the second job late at night and he had two hours to prepare for his night out. It was then, in the dark, when he could finally be himself. In time, he heard about Louis’s parties and he really wanted in.

 However, money was needed to enter one of those. Not that the actual entry had a fee but that only people with lots of money could enter one of those meetings. So he did something he had never done before and that was using his sexuality to convince another man to get him invited. Of course, the trick work because, as Remy said himself, there’s nothing easier than convincing a man of doing anything when you have him by the balls, sometimes literally. So he got to the annual party and was surprised to see how others lived a life like his own.

 There, he met Luc. At first it was all about sex, which was fun even with those white masks. But then Luc found him in the “real world” and they began to talk between more sexual encounters. After some time, they stopped with the sex but kept seeing each other, getting to know one another in a way none of the two had ever thought possible. Rémy was very scared of it all as he had never felt like he could be loved, he felt himself too ugly and awful for that. He didn’t know, but Luc felt exactly the same.