lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

Leap of the mind

   Breathing was not easy. For one moment, less than five seconds, no oxygen had reached Louise’s brain. She was going to hear this a few hours later from Yakuto, the onboard physician. But, somehow, her whole body felt shaken by what had just happened to her. As the hatch closed, telling her she was safe inside the station, she curved into a fetal position and started crying for no apparent reason, or at leas that’s what she thought of it at the moment. She would understand more later on.

 What was on her mind, the most present idea, was the fact that she had just survived a space walk that should have killed her. She had risked too much out there and she knew very well she was going to be scolded by the captain, but she had to make a choice right there, right on the spot, and he didn’t have the balls to take the next step. She, however, did have the balls to do the move that was necessary and she simply did. She took one leap forward and did what she had always trained for.

 Inside the ship, everything was silence. They had advised her not to do what she was going to do, multiple times, once and again and again. Female and male voices coming in trying to shut down her brain but they weren’t enough to shut her up. Her brain, her being was much stronger than the will of others and it was then that she made the choice, the right one, the one that almost killed her but that had also save several lives that now kept on existing thanks to her decision.

 As the machine regulated the pressure and the oxygen levels, Louise took small breaths in and out in order to get her body aligned with the environment. She couldn’t deny she had a massive headache and that she just wanted every single sound to be shutdown immediately. But she tried to relax as much as she could because she was no superhero and she had to accept that some physical malaise had to come with such a risky move. She heard her companions on the door, but she didn’t acknowledge them.

 She closed her eyes and tried to calm her body down and then her brain. But when she tried the latter, she discovered there was something new inside of her head. It was an idea… No, it was more than that. It was something that felt real, as if she could touch it. She tried to clear her mind a little bit more and it was then when the image became clear and she saw the face of a woman. She was a bit blurry still but Louise could easily say she was a very beautiful woman, or maybe just a girl. It was too hard to guess her age but her presence was comforting.

 More banging on the door made her open her eyes and lose the image she had been so concentrated on. She realized she had a couple of tears rolling down her face and there was no way she could clean them because the helmet was still on. When the alarm finally stopped, she removed it and cleaned her face, as the other hatch opened and her friends greeted her, all very happy that she was alive, except maybe the captain who had a very stern look on his face, like a very mad father.

 However, they let her be for a while. They decided not to pester her with questions and doubts. They just helped her to the medical area and there she was injected with a special serum to sleep two Earth hours in a row, without sleeping. The doctor told her it was very necessary for her to take the drug as her body had been pushed too hard and it needed time to fix itself up. She accepted, not because of the pain she felt on her body but because of the image she had seen.

 Every time someone talked to her or she was moved from one side to the other, she remembered the image and the woman on it. She wondered wy her brain would go to someone she didn’t recognize right away just as she was dying. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to know that person. Maybe it was just a random face in the huge amount of faces that had been stocked up insider her memory for so many years. Maybe she was thinking about it too much and she was just being silly.

 The doctor waited a few test results to be fully at ease with the idea of getting her to sleep. In the meantime, several of her teammates visited her and thanked her for her bravery. They explained that some final reparations were being done but that the trip back home was a fact. In hours, they would head to Earth once again and they would all be taken back to their families, to their homes. It was all very exciting for them but not so much for Louise, as she didn’t have anyone to go back to.

 Shortly before she had been accepted into the project, her husband and daughter had been killed in a traffic accident, after a massive truck had slipped on water in the highway. Several people were killed that they but for Louise the only important names were the ones of her husband and child. She had no parents, so she had to bury them alone, practically alone. She had been training that day and felt guilty, as everyone does when something of that caliber just destroys so many lives. She had the option to stay but she just didn’t because that wouldn’t have been her.

 The moment then came when Yokuta injected her with the serum. Her arm felt weird, and then her face and then her torso and other arm. And to her whole body. It felt as if many bugs, thousands of them, had decided to throw a parade on top of her body. And she didn’t mind at all because she was suddenly extremely sleepy. It was a very nice feeling. All her teammates came to see her before she fell asleep but they were there too late: she knew that they were there but couldn’t say a word.

 Her sleep was good. Very calm and beautiful at the start. She had many of those dreams one normally has when in preschool or something. Many beautiful creatures and colors and absolutely magnificent rooms. It was all so perfect that she cried in every single dream she had and she didn’t care at all because it was all made for her. She knew that those worlds were inside of her head, so she took advantage of that and decided to enjoy every single part of the ride.

 However, the woman of her death appeared again. But this time, she wasn’t an image. She moved and spoke. Louise couldn’t really interact with her, but somehow that felt just as good. She heard her sing and then cut some vegetables into boiling water. She was making some kind of big dish. It was obvious she was very happy. The place they were in was very bright so it was difficult to see what it was like. But Louise didn’t mind if it was awful, she was at peace.

 Then, another voice came from somewhere. She knew it was from a man but there was no one to be seen around. Only that woman, that beautiful creature, cooking and laughing and singing. It was so strange and, at the same time, it felt just like something she had seen so many times, lived in even. Louise felt that moment to be just hers and it was then when she realized that only she could have memories about that moment. Because she was an only child and those were her parents.

 They had died so long ago. She had never remembered their faces or their voices. Their home was a memory that had probably died but they were there, incomplete but trying to reach her innermost feelings. It was nice and unsettling at the same time.

 She didn’t need them anymore. She never did. But she thanked space for bringing them back to her. It was because of her brave attitude that she had been given that gift. It assured her that the decision she had made after her tragedy had been the right one. It had been made for all of them.

viernes, 18 de agosto de 2017

Es algo difícil

   Cuando empecé a ir a la sicóloga, tengo que confesarlo, pensé que ya no había vuelta atrás. El hecho de tener que ir dos veces por semana a un lugar donde todos piensan que estoy loco o que estoy al borde del suicidio, era para mí la garantía de que mi vida jamás volvería a ser la misma y que lo que había pasado marcaría un antes y un después en todo lo que ha ocurrido desde el momento en que nací. Y es cierto, así ha sido. Pero también han pasado otras cosas que han cambiado mi visión de todo.

 La mujer de la que les hablo se llama Verónica. Es una de esas señoras de más de cincuenta años que cree que tiene veinte o algo por el estilo. Las faldas y tacones que se pone se le ven ridículos, pero supongo que si le gustan no importa. Sin embargo, siempre que la veo por primera vez, pienso en lo tonto que parece el hecho de que algo que ciertamente tiene algún problema sicológico me hable a mi de mis problemas mentales. Hay algo que no está bien en ese intercambio.

 Sin embargo, a juzgar por los títulos en su oficinas y por lo que el doctor Peña me dijo, es una mujer muy inteligente y brillante en su campo. Ha dado conferencias y ha escrito libros. Después de la primera cita que tuvimos me fui corriendo a una gran tienda departamental y en efecto sus libros de autoayuda están por todas partes. Pero no compré ninguno porque no tendría sentido teniendo a la persona misma frente a mí, martes y viernes de todas las semanas, anotando y escuchando.

 Eso es algo que no me gusta para nada. Ella asiente y mueve la cabeza, me indica que siga, me hace preguntas vagas y no mucho más. A veces siento que no estoy allí para mejorar sino para que me hagan algún tipo de pruebas. Pienso que soy solo un conejillo de Indias en uno de esos exámenes masivos que hacen para probar algo en la gente. No dudo que sea una mujer muy cualificada pero simplemente creo que un paciente necesita algo más que solo movimientos de cabeza.

 Lo más fastidioso no fue el hecho de contar lo que me había pasado. Es raro, pero ya se lo he contado a tanta gente en tantos contextos distintos, que me da un poco lo mismo. Solo lo hago de manera automática, sin cambiar nunca la historia. Hay cosas que ya no recuerdo y otras que vuelven en la noche, en forma de pesadillas. Pero lo que sale de mi boca es siempre lo mismo, como si lo hubiese ensayado por años. A veces me siento como un actor teatral, que ha memorizado las líneas de su personaje desde que se dio cuenta de que estar en un escenario era lo suyo.

 Solo hace poco conté una versión distinta de la historia.  Tal vez fue la manera en que abordamos el tema, tal vez fue la hermosa sonrisa de Martín la que me hizo armar las frases de otra manera. No tengo ni idea. El caso es que empecé a contarle mi historia un día y la terminé muchos días después. En ambos momentos tenía una cerveza cerca y por eso un día le dije a Verónica que me iba a volver alcohólico. Era una broma tonta pero ella se la tomó en serio y no me dejó de molestar con el tema durante toda la sesión.

 A Martín lo conocí de una forma muy rara. Él trabaja en una tienda de ropa para hombre que hay cerca de mi casa. Nunca había entrado hasta que un día de calor decidí echar un ojo a la ropa de baño que tenían allí. No me gusta meterme al mar pero si acostarme en la arena y leer algo mientras el sol me quema la piel. Fue allí donde hablamos por primera vez y me encantó que lo primero que me dijera es que le gustaba mucho mi cuerpo. Eso lo dijo cuando me probé uno de los bañadores.

 Me pareció inapropiado al comienzo y me sentí un poco demasiado consciente de mi mismo. Pero a los pocos minutos, me di cuenta de que esa era una cualidad que me gustaba en las personas. Esa honestidad brusca, esa manera tosca pero realista y considerada de preguntar las cosas y decir lo que se tiene en la mente. Desde ese momento supe que él era eso y después me enteré de que era mucho más. No demoró mucho puesto que, en la bolsa con la que salí de la tienda, dejó una tarjeta con su nombre y número de teléfono.

 Al otro día lo saludó por una de esas aplicaciones para conversar y estuvimos así varias horas. Es una suerte que mi trabajo no precise mucha concentración porque la verdad no hice más sino reírme de lo que decía y de las fotos que me enviaba. Estaba arreglando la ropa en los anaqueles y me decía cosas graciosas de algunas prendas. Al final de esa tarde, me preguntó si querría verlo para tomar algo y le dije que sí, sin dudarlo. Sobra decir que esa cita fue todo un éxito.

 Fue el viernes siguiente a esa cita cuando me di cuenta que no había pensando en Martín como algo más que un hombre muy especial. No sé como fue que Verónica lo percibió, pero me pidió imaginar como hablaría con una eventual pareja de lo que me había pasado. Me preguntó si mentiría o si diría la verdad o si mezclaría las dos cosas para hacer que todo fuese un poco menos raro. No supe que decir y la sesión terminó con un sermón largo y aburrido. No entiendo como me pueden decir como sentirme cuando nunca han pasado por lo que yo pasé.

 Sí, estaba borracho. Por eso el chiste le cayó tan mal a Verónica. Estaba ebrio y salí del bar en el que estaba con amigos sin despedirme de ellos. Mi casa era relativamente cerca pero no conté con que toda una calle estuviera sin luz y que un hombre aprovechara esa circunstancia para drogarme con un pañuelo. Me llevó a algún lado y allí hizo lo que quiso conmigo. Mi ser estaba dentro de mi cuerpo pero solo podía ver y sentir pero no reaccionar. No podía gritar y así hubiera querido, no hubiese podido.

 Me desperté al otro día, muy tarde, tirado en un callejón horrible de un barrio al que nunca quiero volver. Busqué a un policía y le conté lo que había pasado. Se burló de mí. Me miró como si fuese un niño hablando de monstruos y príncipes y simplemente me amenazó con meterme a la cárcel si seguía gritando en la calle. Pero grite más, asustando a la gente que pasaba por el lugar. No me importó nada. No sé de donde salió eso de mi, supongo que del instinto de supervivencia.

 Eventualmente alguien me ayudó, fui al hospital y el mundo supo lo que me había pasado. Hubo notas de prensa con mi nombre durante muchos días y me pidieron un sin número de entrevistas. Yo solo quería morirme y trata de suicidarme una vez, cortándome las venas de la manera menos mortal posible. Por eso me obligaron a ir a las citas con Verónica. Ya ha pasado un año y mi vida está mucho mejor que en ese momento. Incluso creo que está mejor que antes.

 Martín supo de lo que me había pasado porque nos tomamos una foto y el la subió a alguna red social. Allí una amiga de él me reconoció y básicamente le contó mi historia. En ese momento me sentí hundido de nuevo, humillado. No solo porque él supiera lo ocurrido sino porque yo no había tomado la decisión de decirle. Quería que fuese algo mío, una decisión tomada con cabeza fría. Pero no, de nuevo a la fuerza. Por eso él me preguntó sobre lo ocurrido y yo tan solo le conté todo.

 Le hablé de cada cosa, de cada detalle que recordaba. Ni con la policía fui tan detallado. Ellos me habían considerado un mentiroso y simplemente no creía en su falso sentido del deber. No me importaba la persona que me había hecho eso y no me importaban ellos. No me importaba nada.

 Cuando terminé de contar la historia, Martín me abrazó y me dijo que podríamos ir a la velocidad que yo deseara, que él esperaría porque estaba enamorado. Yo lloré, nos abrazamos y nos besamos. Mañana me va a acompañar adonde Verónica. Va a ser divertido porque no le he dicho nada de él. Deséenme suerte.

miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

That's who she is

   Ms. Maurier had always lived in the same neighborhood. She had been born almost seventy years ago in the local hospital and now she lived in one of the many high rises that had been built after the war. The idea was that people should live closer to the core of the cities, thus limiting how much a city could actually grow. Many of the sight that were around when she was a young girl, were nowhere to be seen anymore. The building in which she had lived with her husband had been recently demolished.

 With the money she had received from the city, Ms. Maurier was able to pay for her new home and some other things that she had always wanted to have but had not being able to buy because of her husband. She had loved him dearly but he could be a bit of a bore at times. He didn’t like loud music or a lot of noise in the movies. He just liked peace and quiet. She had no idea if it was because he had worked as a security inspector in a local warehouse, but now she was able to enjoy life a bit more.

 Of course, she felt guilty for the first few months. Then, she realized her husband would have loved her to be happy after he died, so she went to one of the largest stores in the area and bought all the latest appliances in video and sound. A group of very nice men and women came one morning to set it all up for her. She talked with them and made some fresh scones with tea for them, when they were done. Once they left, she started reading the instructions and enjoying her new space.

 In seconds, she had every single movie, TV series and documentary ever produced at hand. She started watching that same day and she laughed profusely once she realized the time for lunch had been quite a while ago. She decided to change things further by asking for something on her new devices. A pizza was her choice and it arrived just in time to watch the last episode of a soap opera she had followed years ago but had not seen the ending too because of their TV breaking down.

 She enjoyed her meal, even though she had never really liked pizza, and she went to bed rather late with a smile on her face. She thought of her Richard, her husband, when entering the bed. She never really understood why he was so uptight and dry in so many ways. He was a proper gentleman and had always been the best husband she could have ever wanted. He was good provider and a kind soul. But he was boring, every single day of his life. Always doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time. He was like a clock, always hitting the same marks.

 When she woke up the next day, Ms. Maurier decided it was time to broaden her world a little bit longer. Although her new experiences with appliances had gone great, she wanted to explore the world outside of her neighborhood.  She walked to the train station and waited for one going towards the beach, which was located far into the city’s suburbs. She smiled every second, waiting for the machine to arrive.

 It pulled over smoothly and Ms. Maurier stepped in carefully. She had always seen the trains filled up to the roof in TV and on the news, so she wanted to be prepared for the chaos. But what she found was a beautiful place, all clean and sparkly of how white it was. It had big windows that curved and gave a great view of what was outside. Even the voice announcing the stations sounded kind and much like a long forgotten friend. She sat down and enjoyed the ride, looking around, like a little girl.

 Most people were working. That was the reason she found for the train and the stations being so empty. She stepped outside on the last stop of the line and when she crossed into the boardwalk, a potent beam of light received her. It was the sun that was just poking his potent mass from behind a large cloud. It had been a strange moment but she had liked the fact that the weather seemed to be welcoming her into that new world she was visiting. It was scary so the light made it less so.

 The boardwalk was also very clean and from there the ocean could be see in its entire splendor. The waves were soft and small, no real wind blowing over the sand. Not many people were enjoying the weather, except from a woman and her children a few couples that seemed to be more interested in kissing their partners than in watching the majestic thing that was the sea. It’s color had never been seen by that older woman who was about to cry for it was much more than she had imagined.

 She immediately ran towards the sea and didn’t really care if she looked insane or not. She couldn’t care less about that. Ms. Maurier had never seen the ocean and it was an experience that had just changed her perception of life. It was too much to process but, even so, she wanted to enjoy every single second of her encounter with nature. She hadn’t put on a swimsuit or anything. She hadn’t even grabbed anything besides her purse and an umbrella. But she realized she didn’t need anything. She removed her coat and scarf and started enjoying the place she was in. It was perfect and she realized she would have loved someone to share that moment with.

 Richard had never wanted to go to the beach or anywhere else for the matter. They didn’t have a honeymoon because they knew a baby was coming home soon and they just wanted to provide the best for the little one. She had loved the baby so much, since her doctor had told her about him, that she didn’t even cared about not being able to travel or move a lot for months. She wanted to be a mother, to be the one to take care of that new life and just have a happy family with her husband.

Things went on as such for several months until Ms. Maurier fainted in the kitchen one morning, while making her husband his favorite dish for breakfast. He took her to the hospital right away, the same she had been born in. She was in a room for hours and hours, no one talking to him or telling him even two words. Finally, a doctor approached her and explained that his wife experienced a miscarriage. That morning, their baby had died right in their home.

 She thought of them while looking at the ocean and she thought that maybe, just maybe, Richard had always been rather cold because of the abortion. It’s not like he had been the life of the party before that but he did have traits of someone else in him, a rebellious and interesting soul that had things to say, even if they weren’t many. That person, who she had fallen in love with, disappeared right after she went back home from the hospital and he was never seen again.

 Cleaning a tear from her cheek, she thought that it was possible that her husband had lost his feelings for her after that event. She knew she had changed and it was fair to say she had changed too. She felt empty and a failure. Ms. Maurier never told anyone, doctors or family, about a couple of suicide attempts she had committed the year after she had lost her child. She had to endure it all by herself and now she was looking at the sea, trying to stop the tears from coming down her face.

 A young vendor appeared nearby and she bought a freshly squeezed lemonade from him. It had the right amount of sweetness and it was just enough to pull her spirits up. It brought a smile to her face again. She only stayed there for a bit longer.

 Back home, she went to bed early, with no dinner on her stomach. She just wanted to rest and not think for a few more hours. But her life decided to haunt her that evening. She couldn’t handle it. So she stepped out of bed, turned on the TV and put on a comedy movie. That was Ms. Maurier.

lunes, 14 de agosto de 2017

Triste y felicidad

   En un momento todos estábamos juntos. Al siguiente, cada uno había retomado el camino que había estado recorriendo por un buen tiempo. Es difícil de procesar cuando las cosas pasan así, tan rápido, pero supongo que eso es mejor que nada. Eso es mejor que seguir y seguir y seguir sin saber muy bien adonde es que se está yendo. Cuando las cosas cambian, al menos un poco, se gana una nueva perspectiva. Es como verte a ti mismo en un espejo. Lo cambia todo.

 Es complicado cuando esos cambios momentáneos son de felicidad y no de tristeza. Está claro que la tristeza se quiere evitar, se quiere mantener lejos de uno mismo. Lo ideal es una vida en la que no haya sino alegrías. Pero esa no es una vida que tenga mucho sentido pues, cuando el ser humano fue adquiriendo conocimiento, también adquirió un montón de equipaje emocional que no había tenido nunca en cuenta. Nos hicimos más inteligentes pero, a la vez, mucho más vulnerables.

 Por eso nos duele cuando alguien se va y cuando alguien muere. Son dos cosas parecidas pero, al mismo tiempo, sustancialmente distintas. A la base, se trata de un cambio de lo que vemos, de lo que percibimos. Sin embargo, con los poderes de la tecnología actual, la gente que se va de nuestro rango de visión ya no es como si se hubiera muerto y luego resucitara cuando vuelven. Los podemos ver todos los días, si eso deseamos. Podemos hablar de cosas sin importancia, pueden estar allí.

 Los muertos siguen tan muertos como siempre lo han estado. La inteligencia no ha cambiado eso porque ese es el único estado en el que entramos que es inalterable, hasta donde sabemos. Podemos estar enfermos de graves enfermedades, pero hasta eso puede cambiar de un día a otro. En cambio la muerte es un final, un final abrupto y horrible que nos hace pensar que todos en algún momento llegaron a ese inevitable final. Es difícil pero somos humanos y ese es nuestro camino.

 La felicidad es diferente. La felicidad no es como la tristeza, que parece alargarse mientras más la sentimos. No importa la razón, ella se incrusta en nuestra alma y parece drenar toda la energía que puede. Es por eso que lloramos, para tratar de contrarrestar el dolor de la tristeza, que no nos coma vivos. En cambio, la felicidad es algo de un momento, nunca dura demasiado. Por eso el amor es un concepto tan idílico y tan absurdo. ¿Como va la felicidad a extenderse por años, así nada más, como si nada? Requiere trabajo duro y apoyo de muchas otras cosas.

 Todos los tipos de amor tienen un fin, como la vida humana. La diferencia es que podemos sostener el sentimiento como muchos otros empáticos. La felicidad y la tristeza son la base para ese intercambio que hacemos todos los días, con todas las personas que nos importan. Nos hacen sentir tristes y felices y eso es bueno. Si no nos hicieran sentir nada, simplemente no estarían en nuestras vidas. No hay nada más triste que alguien que intenta meterse en una vida sin ser invitado.

 En conclusión, hay que aprovechar todos los momentos que se tienen en la vida, sean tristes o felices. Lo tenemos que hacer porque son esos momentos los que nos mantienen a flote y los que nos dan la energía para seguir adelante y para poder ver todos los giros del camino que estamos recorriendo.  Esos momentos nos hacen ver más allá de nuestra corta visión humana y debemos estar agradecidos por poder sentir, por poder expresar todo lo que tenemos adentro. Somos seres atormentados, en general, pero también capaces de cosas que, hasta donde sabemos, nadie más es capaz.