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

miércoles, 20 de diciembre de 2017

The model and the artist

   Cecil had always been his favorite model. Because of some strange characteristic in him, Cecil was able to stand or sit or lay down for hours, looking at a certain part of the room, with his eyes closed or slightly moving if that was needed. He could be naked or dressed; he could be pretending to do something or just be there, being himself. He was one of the best models an artist could ever wish for and Claude had been fortunate enough to meet him in one of the artistic gatherings.

 If he remembered correctly, it had been his friend Anya who had introduced the young man to him. They had all been drinking that night and the house that they were in was filled with the scent of smoke and marihuana. And those two smells were there because of the softest members of the community. Others enjoyed other pleasures that left no scent or at least not in a very notorious way. So it was strange to see Cecil, a boy of around nineteen years old, to be walking around there holding a glass of whisky.

  The first thing Claude asked him was about the whisky itself. He wanted to know if that was Cecil’s favorite drink. However, the young man took a while to answer. He seemed to be kind of gone, maybe distracted or bored by everyone and everything in that house, that night. But he eventually said that the drink wasn’t his and that he didn’t like to drink any alcohol because that way the only thing that happened was that he would get disconnected from reality around him.

 His answer was so strange and particular that Claude instantly liked him. That and because Claude adored the sight of younger men. He was not that old himself. He wouldn’t be considered somewhat of a father figure to anyone or anything like that. But he was older than Cecil, for sure and he loved younger men because they made him feel alive and in touch with everything around him. That’s why Cecil’s phrase hit so close to home for Claude, who decided he had to make Cecil a part of his life.

 They would see each other a couple of other times, in other houses, in order for them to actually talk about their interests. It was clear that Cecil had no skill as an artist but he did wanted to work with them, to be able to understand their process and they ways they did their work. So when Claude decided to ask him to be his model, Cecil agreed, even adding a smile to his approval of the agreement. That smile, with soft pink lips and beautiful teeth, was the seal of approval Claude needed. After all, he hadn’t had a proper model for a while and he was certainly interesting in getting to know Cecil better.

 The first time they met in Claude’s studio, Cecil was as silent as he had ever been. He wanted to be professional and Claude was very appreciative of that. It wasn’t often for a young man to respect the work of others and wanted to be part of the whole artistic experience. Claude decided to be bold and asked him to remove all of his clothes at once. He said it almost as if it was an order, something Cecil had to do in order to remain in that world. And he did, in silence, removing every garment with care.

 The moment he was entirely naked, Claude asked him to pose in the simplest way possible: sitting on a high stool, imitating one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Cecil did not say a word and exhibit his body exactly in the way the artist wanted. The painter started his work, first outlining the whole picture and then putting colors. It was something of a rough sketch, a different take on the way he used to do portraits. They were in that studio for several hours, without speaking or eating.

 Claude finished his work when the sun began to set. Cecil moved and stretched a bit, obviously feeling a lot of pain all over his body. But he didn’t outright complain or say a word. He didn’t even ask to see the painting. He did not say anything besides a soft “Thank you” before heading towards the door and running down the stairs. Claude had some bills prepared for him but he had no opportunity to give them to him. He put them away and started smoking a cigarette, as he thought of that beautiful young man.

 They saw each other the following week and Claude was decided on making their second time a better moment for both of them. The moment Cecil entered the studio; he asked if he had to undress once again. He seemed ready to do it. However, Claude asked him to sit on the tall stool and tell him about his life. Cecil seemed surprised, for the first time since Claude had met him. His eyes looked larger and much more beautiful. His face was pale as he tried to find the proper words to begin his story.

 He was a student. His parents had always wanted a doctor in the family, so they sent him to the best university there was. They did not live in the city but in the countryside, where they had a very prosperous milk business. He didn’t say it, but it was clear that he came from a wealthy family. His parents obviously owned a very large company but he phrased it in a way none of that could be put against him. He also said he had a younger sister and a big dog named Larry, who he missed a lot. That last part, made him shake a bit and clean the corner of his eye.

 Claude only smiled at him when he finished telling his story. A moment later, he asked Cecil to wear a large sweater he had seen in a store recently. He would only wear that for some pictures Claude was going to take with an old camera he had borrowed from a friend. As he undressed and put on the sweater, Cecil confessed he had no idea about Claude being a photographer and also a painter. The artist smiled and asked his model of he had been asking about him to his friend in the business. Cecil did not answer back.

 They spent several hours taking pictures. A camera was much less restrictive, so they were able to move around the place and play with objects. Better for Cecil, he was able to avoid any uncomfortable poses and even got to propose some of his ideas for some pictures. Claude would normally never take advice or comment for anyone but himself, but something from Cecil’s story made him agree to at least take some of his ideas into account. It was a nice afternoon of creating art.

 When the time came for Cecil to leave, Claude stopped him at the door and gave him his pay, including the money he had prepared for him the last time they had met. Cecil told him he wanted to be part of their world but he did not want to take any money of them. He confessed he wasn’t there to hop from bed to bed or from one artist to the other. He wanted no mixing of feelings and work, he only wanted to be part of the experience of creating art and money would only make problems.

 Claude extended his arm, with the money on his hand, and explained to Cecil that what he did was a job. He was a beautiful man with a natural ability to pose and to look the way artists wanted, whether it was for paintings or pictures. Claude even confessed Cecil could be great in audiovisual media; the kind artists did sometimes in order to show something in artistic light but with all the new media available for them. He said money was just a reward for being that amazing person that he was.

 But Cecil did not accept the money. He did, however, kiss Claude on the cheek. He did not say a word after that, only running away once more, down the stairs. He left a very confused artist in that small studio where light entered in droves.


 Claude went on to have an amazing relationship with Cecil that was always on the verge of something else. They both knew there was some kind of tension in the air but they had both decided to ignore it or at least pretend it wasn’t there. Something prevented them from being fully honest.

viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Too late

   Rain would fall for hours and hours. It seemed it would never end. The storm had been lashing out against the land for many days now and only from time to time it would feel like it stopped being so harsh. But then it seemed to restart again, twice as strong, relentless against anything living in the land. Even the oceans and lakes were in turmoil. Everything was upside down and people had begun to suffer serious shortages and problems, mostly related to food and general supplies.

 What families did was to ration food and try to consume as little as they could. They hardest hit groups were the ones where grandparents and small children shared a household. No one had the capacity to feed such a large amount of people and it wasn’t unheard of that so many people lived under one roof in that region. After all, it was very far away any big cities and that was the way people had lived for generations. Rain had never changed that before and this storm was no exception.

 So they had to make what they could with what they had, which wasn’t a lot but they made it last as long as they could. Fish, chicken and beef were kept like treasures and mostly vegetables were eaten because people could still try to recover some of those from beneath the mud. Some were pretty resistant like celery or carrots. So they consumed that first with maybe a little piece of actual animal fat every day. Pieces were slightly larger for children but that was not enough.

 Many children lived in those mountains and they were seriously affected by the rain. The poor quality of water to make their food and the amount of nutrients from what their parents could give them was simply not enough for them to be correctly nourished. After the first week, many children started feeling bad and many parents did the trip beneath the rain towards the small town nearby, where the only doctor in the region lived. He always had bad news for the concerned parents.

 They had malnourishing problems, very serious cases of infections and lack of proper hygiene because of the water being contaminated by damages to water pipes and so on. Many children died instantly, the others filled the few rooms the doctor had available on his small practice. He asked for help from other parts of the country but the roads were under water or severely damaged and no trains or planes could reach the remote location. They had been driven out of the world by the storm and had been let to die or starve for who know how long.

 When the elders started feeling as bad or worse than the young, people were in a general state of panic. It didn’t felt real that it was happening all at once. Some thought of the storm as a punishment from the Gods but others thought it was simply the chaotic weather changes happening all over the world. They might have not been the most well connected people in the world but many had television sets and they knew very well about climate change and what it had done in other parts of the world.

 After three weeks, an emergency team was able to reach them through the forest and then taking a very long path that made them penetrate a nature preserve. It was the only way to reach the small town and that was only because they studied several maps of the region in order to find that hidden way in. When they reached the only settlement in the mountains, they were able to tell people that a couple of helicopters had been sent before they left for their mission, but they had never called back.

 People were only shocked to hear this but only for a few minutes, because their families were suffering and it was too much to start caring for others at the moment. They needed the help the group brought them and that was the only way they could think of to change the state of things. So the volunteers, a group of fifteen men and women, got installed at the doctor’s house and started helping with vaccines and other treatments they had brought on big crates that had been carried by mules and themselves.

 Sadly, all they did was not enough to really ensure that everything was going to be fine. The rain wouldn’t stop and sick people from the most remote areas of the mountain range would come in at all time, very wet and sicker than they had left. It was a really sad thing to see for the volunteers and it was difficult for them not to be sick as well just by looking at all the despair and the human condition that was in display on that small community. It was hard and a test to their abilities.

 After a couple of days, it was decided that most of the group would go back to civilization. Only five people would remain with the doctor, in order to help with all the patients arriving and leaving every day. Besides, the townspeople needed hands to bury the people that had died and they also needed appropriate bags to do that because contamination of the water had to be avoided at all costs. The group also had to bring more people and medicines, a whole lot more than before. They left early one morning and expect to reach their destination in two days.

 And they did. However, they also encountered the crash site of one of the helicopters. The scene was gruesome and some of the helpers had to vomit right besides the wreckage because of the stench and the sight of things. They had to mark the place on a map, on their electronic devices, in order to go back there in future in order to collect the corpses and any valuables that could shed a light on the cause of the accident. But thunders above them reminded the group that the storm was the culprit, no matter the details.

 Meanwhile, in town, another tragedy happened at night and there had been no way to escape it: the mountain itself collapsed and carried several homes from almost the summit to the foot of the hill were the most densely populated part of the region was located. So bad it was, that the patients at the doctor’s house felt the rumble in the middle of the night and they alerted others in order to evacuate. But that didn’t happen because there was no other place to go besides there.

 The volunteers that had been left there had the very difficult task to find survivors. However, they soon realized that was not going to happen. They started finding bodies, after some of the mud and dirt had been washed away by the rain. It was gruesome to see their faces covered in brown or grey and their expressions of fear forever imprinted on their faces. That had been their last thing to do and it looked horrible. The volunteers, however, did what they had to do.

 People from town helped with blankets and also tablecloths and the dead were covered with those and then lined up in front of the doctor’s office. Then, one body at a time, they were carried to a clearing in the woods where the ground was firm. They had to spend several hours digging for a hole, but they did so anyways, in order to provide a dignified place to rest for the many people that had died at night, never expect nature would turn against them after so many years living there.

 It took one more week for more help to arrive. The condition of the trail they had used had decreased and the amount of things they brought was not easy to transport. Besides, many people on the outside world wanted to help, to do something for those poor souls.


 The storm ended two weeks after than, suddenly one afternoon. Clouds slowly floated away and the sun came back. But the lives of that community had changed forever. Death had covered them with its veil and now they couldn’t see a proper future in what had been their home for such a long time.

viernes, 16 de junio de 2017

That old house

   In the neighbourhood of Cedar Hills, the people were kind and very friendly. The houses, built many years ago by people wanting to have their personal paradises not too far from everything good in the city, were established in a very perfect order, each different from the next but still seeming like a family. Not one house seemed out of touch, except for the one at then end of Maple road, just by the tall trees that belonged to the park. That house was the odd one out.

People were extremely nice. They would have all these parties and gatherings, to eat food or watch a movie. Sometimes they did this inside of their houses and other times they would occupy the street and do a nice night outside or something like that. The children were all specially close, having a group that headed every morning to school together, in bicycles. However, in that one ugly house, there were no children. No one ever heard much out of it, least of all a laugh.

Once a month, every single person in the neighbourhood, made out of about two hundred people, got reunited in another of their gatherings in order to talk about the most pressing things involving their community. If one of the lampposts of the street failed, it was there they decided how to proceed with the local council. Of course, the woman that lived in the run down house was never in those meetings. Actually, many people had never ever seen her face while others had already forgotten.

 But the meetings were mostly about people talking to others and sharing their love for each other by singing some music, showing their talents and even sharing personal news that wouldn’t normally be in public record. They loved their community and trusted everyone in it. They were close, so close in fact that when something bad happened, everyone was there for the person in need. Again, except the old lady from Maple street, who people had already learned to forget about.

 Bad things rarely happened in the neighbourhood. In the recent years, the most awful thing to happen was when a storm ravaged through the city and many trees fell because of the potency of the wind. Many houses had minor damages but the neighbours helped in a very short time to have it all looked as it had always looked: perfect. However, a large tree destroyed the garage area of the house no one ever talked about. It was the first time in years they ever talked about it, as if it had become real only because of the wood scattered all over the place.

 Reparations on that house were done only several weeks after the storm had passed. The people, concerned by how their neighbourhood would look which such a horrible stain on it, decided to write letters and then sliding them under the door. No one ever tried to talk in person to the woman that lived inside. They just wrote letter after letter until they got tired of it. And when they did, they decided to forget the house was there, again. They just didn’t want to know anything about it.

 Children, however, were not as “kind” as their parents. They couldn’t block out the house so easily, particularly because it stood by the entrance to the forest, a place where they liked to play and explore. The fact that they had to pass by the house every time they wanted to enter the forest, made it impossible to just forget about its existence. They couldn’t do what their parents do and often even stopped in front of the house and talked quite loudly in front of it, about the person living in there.

 Kids are mean. They used awful words to describe the woman, the house and everything they could come up with about the two of them. They insisted the old lady inside was probably dead. And even if she wasn’t, she was clearly a witch or some kind of sorceress. They also all agreed that the house was haunted, probably because of the woman’s tendency to kill every single man that became her husband. She was kind of like a black widow but in a human form and even deadlier than any animal.

 None of them could know for sure whom she was or why she didn’t seem to mind about the state of her house. The children often asked their parents about it but they never really received answers. Parents liked to pretend the one thing that made their neighbourhood out of the norm was just not real, not even there. One day, the people from the city council decided to remove the tree that had destroyed the garage. Weeks later, the garage was repaired, looking as if nothing had happened.

 Of course, children attributed this to the woman’s powers. They could have realized that the materials used in the repairs were not very good or that it was obvious the garage could collapse again by being hit hard by a gust of wind. But the fact that there was such mystery around the house, made it clear that they preferred to answer all questions about it from a supernatural point of view. But when kids grew older, they forgot about those thoughts and the words they used to mock the woman and the house, and they became just like their parents.

 But no matter what the neighbours thought, including their children, the woman inside still lived and had no plans to go anywhere else. She was called Sara and she had lived in the house more than any other person in the neighbourhood. The reason her house seemed like the odd one out was that it had stood there long before plans to build other houses and streets had been laid out. Her home was ultimately included in the plans, in an effort to have a certain harmony.

 Of course, that wasn’t what happened at the end because everyone disliked her house even more than they disliked her. She remembered clearly that her last day outside was when the first families decided to move into the other houses. You see, there was a reason why Sara lived so far from other people and it was that, her father had built her a home because of a psychological condition she had, where she couldn’t stand too many noises or constant contact with other people.

 She didn’t interact with her neighbours, not because she thought she was better or because she hated them, it was because she naturally feared them. She felt it every time she saw one of them out the window. She hated when they spoke loudly in her front lawn or when they held parties on that street. She would close doors and windows in her bedroom and then sleep inside her bathtub, where another door would protect her from the people outside and their words and hands.

Sara had been raped when she was just a teenager and her father had always felt responsible for what had happened. He felt he could have done so much more to save her, to put her away from danger. But when it happened, he decided he would do what he thought was best for her. As she became more and more aggressive to other people after her recovery, he decided to build on a land he had acquired long ago and that was how the house came to be, made only for her.

 He had been dead for many years and she wasn’t going to last much longer. Although still agile and sharp, she was an older woman that depended on family she had never seen to deliver her food at night, through her backyard. She only ate things she could stock for a long time.


 Sara never felt she needed other people to survive. She had learned to think those boxes of food just appeared there, out of the blue. It was better that way. Inside of the house, it was her own worlds with her own rules and that’s how she lived, in almost exile.

jueves, 11 de agosto de 2016

Inheritance

   When Katherine opened the door, a very strong smell came out of gymnasium, which hadn’t opened in a while. She grabbed her flashlight and went straight for the electricity box where she activated the breakers needed to let the lights back on. They turned on slowly, as if the whole building was waking its time waking up in the morning. As the lights turned one by one, Kath walked to the cafeteria and checked the refrigerators. As she had suspected, someone hade left some franks in one of the fridges and when they rotted, the smell settled in the gym.

 When she came out of the kitchen, every single light was on. She turned off the flashlight and walked through the machines as if she had never been in a gym before. The whole place smelled like humidity and it was very dusty. So much, that every step she took in any direction formed a cloud in overt he floor that took a rather long time settling in. The place hadn’t been visited for almost a year and it was already like not any human had been there ever.

 Katherine walked all over the place, checking the state of the building as such and of some of the machine. The walking ones still worked and many of the weight in the weightlifting part had not suffered the passing of time or at least the didn’t seem to. It was difficult to appreciate such a place with so much going on against it. And yet, it had a different feel than many other places.

 Katherine had inherited the gym from her boyfriend. Her story was very tragic: she had been married for about six months, until her boyfriend was diagnoses with cancer of the blood, also called leukemia. She had tried to make his last days the best of his life and had no idea if she had succeeded or not. Most of the time she spent it in the bathroom crying and tryng to be strong for him, which wasn’t easy at all.

 The moment she saw him without any hair, was the moment she realized he wasn’t going to make it. It’s difficult to explain but she just knew it. So what Kath did was making everything fun, no matter what it was. It was a very tiring task for her but she couldn’t stop thinking of the many people that had such a disease and died alone in a hospital. She did no want that for the love of her life.

 His father was a world-renowned boxer. He had even participated in some Olympic Games but hadn’t won any medals. That’s why there was such a large boxing ring in the middle of the gym. It was him who left it to his son and that son gave it to Katherine as he though t he could be helping her by giving her something she could use to win some money by selling on a very high price.

 The gymnasium was actually that expensive, not only for the very good location it had, but for all the machines inside, which were very last generation. Or at least the last generation in the times they had been opened. It was tragic to think that her boyfriend’s dad had died and only months after his own son had suffered the same faith. And between all of that, there was her. She had no idea what to do but she knew fro moment one that she wanted to check the place out and maybe then she could come up with a clear idea of what to do.

 That night, she couldn’t asleep. The memories of her husband always invaded her mind late in the afternoon. Besides, the gym certainly made her feel strange because it was something that was supposed to be his but he never got to properly enjoyed it. Jay, that was his name, had always loved to go to the gym and workout a lot. She told him that he shouldn’t force himself so much but he still did anyway.

 Katherine did not have a very long time to think about the future of the place. That was because the bills had also been inherited and they became coming in rather fast. For a closed place, the consumption of energy was pretty high and also of water. She would have to make repairs before selling if that was her plan. So she looked for the best people and paid them to fix whatever was wrong with the place.

 Thankfully, Jay had also left some money to actually do the repairs. He actually remembered about the repairs and had taken it all out into consideration. So some weeks later, several workers moved around the machines trying to make the electric network work properly and cleaning ever single part of the park. They also had to fix several water pipes and even the air conditioning, which hadn’t been working for a very ling time.

 As an accountant, Katherine’s job was one of those that required a certain amount of dedication. She couldn’t stop doing it for a moment because then all of her calculations and proceedings would become meaningless and she would have to start all over again. But the gym started to grow on her slowly and she often wondered what would happen if she decided to keep it, instead of following her husband’s desires to make someone else make it work.

 She had been reading a lot and thought she new what the place needed and how she could manage it. Besides, the place was already a very costly spot in the city, so giving it up just like that would prove a little bit stupid from the real estate point of view. It was an easy decision. After all, she still needed to earn a living in order no to depend on the gym in any case, whether she sold it or kept it.

 Katherine visited the workers who were about to finish the repairs. The foul smell had left the building and, although the dust was already there, the overall ambiance of the place had become quite nice. As she wondered through the boxing area, a man of about fifty years old came in out of nowhere and stood like a statue, watching the ring as if he was watching something rather incredible. His eyes seemed to become watery but he didn’t cleaned them with anything.

 Kath walked towards him and asked who he was. He presented himself as Mr. Burke, a trainer for boxers that had retired not so long ago. He was a friend of Jay’s father and had worked in the gym as a trainer for the young kids that wanted to learn how to box in order to become world champions. For many, it was an actual dream to become an important athlete and be recognized around the globe. After all, the neighborhood was very different several years ago.

 The young woman listened to the man’s stories and realized there were lots of people that really love a space like that one where they could become whatever they wanted to be. She didn’t like the idea of having people telling you what to do but it was nice to have people that could help you if you asked them. And then she realized she had already decided to make the gym come back to life, once more.

 The amount of money she spent was astronomical. She had to work twice as hard, pay a lot of people for more repairs and creating a safer environment respecting all the rules that had to be respected. She was able to sell many of the older machines for good prices in order to buy some more that were more modern. The cafeteria area was improved but she decided to eliminate the enormous kitchen and instead use some of that space for a nutritionist office, which she thought was very necessary.

 Every single Sunday, when no one was there, she loved to come by and check how things are coming. The works would still take some more time but she was already seeing the future before her eyes. It was exciting to possibly give back to the community something they had lost such a long time go, a place where not only they could come to exercise but also to find like minded people and grow in various ways.


 Every night she thought of the many things she still had to do in order to make the gym work and be able to properly run it. But when she was done thinking about numbers and possibilities, Katherine would close her eyes and try to imagine her husband right there, caressing her hair, telling her everything was going to work out fine. She cried and fell asleep every night.