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

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.

sábado, 3 de octubre de 2015

Your so-called "freedom"

   I don’t get it. I simply don’t get why people transform into humans with traces of swine characteristics once they move out of their homes, far away from the eyes and supervision of their family. It’s beyond me why people, many times, simply choose not to learn anything and decide to do things as they please, as if that had ever worked. Maybe I am obsessed with order and with everything being spotless and clean but I’d rather be obsessed that way than not caring about anything, not even your own hygiene. If these people don’t even know how to clean their own room, how are they taking care of their own bodies every day, if they are that is? It disgusts me a bit to even think about it because to me being clean is not a trace of character but a basic human instinct that you should know to survive.

 Apparently, it is not as I thought. I have lived with my parents for a long time and that has formed a certain image in my head of how people usually live. I have gone to other houses, of course, but always of people I’m related to or friends who also live with their parents, so it’s not really a clear picture. I have even dated people that live alone but I have to be honest and say I never pay attention to details in those moments so, maybe they were clean and maybe they were not. That certainly something to think about because if I decided to date someone permanently, I would certainly decide such a thing based on the amount of order and cleanliness he has with himself and everything he owns.

Is that an exaggeration? I don’t think so. I mean, it’s not the worst thing to prefer dating someone that is clean and knows how to behave like a human being. I have to confess I hate people that eat and live all their plates in the sink. And they pile up and the smell keeps getting worse and its like they’re waiting for someone else do clean them for them and it’s simply pathetic. I just don’t like that because I think it shows what kind of person you are and that’s certainly not the kind of person I would like to be involved with. Is it insane that I’m the opposite kind of person? The kind of person that cleans his mess just seconds after creating it and the kind of person that gets sick if they happen to find lots of hairs from strangers when cleaning the floors? Is that so bad?

 I don’t think so, of course, but people will always exist that happen to love living in a certain degree of anarchy because it makes them feels free. I have no idea why freedom is always related to a mess, to chaos, because freedom is not chaos but respect. Or that’s what I think. When you are free, you can do what you want, that’s true. But the only way to properly use freedom is if you combine it with respect and use it wisely instead of taking advantage of it as if you were a child, as if everything that has the capacity to worry you doesn’t exist any more. Freedom is not dirt. I refuse to even think about it like that.

 However, people still think that living alone, the “big liberation”, is al about doing whatever you want to do without any excuses. So waking up late, showering becomes optional, eating whatever you want whenever you want it, having no responsibilities or respect for anything beyond your own body and not even thinking about any consequence because that is just not cool. All of that is implanted in our minds when education at home has been all but good or even remotely decent. People whose parents have explained things to them have a tendency to be better socially simply because they know why doing certain things is socially unacceptable or should simply be avoided.

 But let’s say all of that is ok, all of that is perfect if you leave by yourself. You can be a pig if you want, when you leave alone. But the truth is that when most people leave their homes, they leave it to live with others. No one has the money to live really alone until they have a proper job and so on. And seeing many students depend on their parents to live away from home, the obvious answer is to live with roommates. And that’s when everything we have been talking about comes back and acquires importance. Because when you share a space with others, it’s not all about you. You share a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and maybe other common areas. True, your room is your own but that’s it.

 So most people have filthy rooms and live like pigs when being students but they try to behave like decent human beings outside of it. Right? Well, wrong. Because many people, all of those we have been talking about, they simply think that the world and the people in it that are their same age are just as filthy as them. So the plates and pans start to pile up, and so does the laundry and everything begins to become as filthy as if they were living alone. Why? Because freedom means chaos for them and not respect. They have no respect for themselves or for others, so they do thinks as they think everyone in their situation does.

 Of course, in order to have a nice life living with roommates, people simply do not say a word. Maybe they like living like that or maybe they simply do not want to quarrel with anyone about anything. I personally do not know which one of those solutions is the worst. Not saying anything and submitting yourself to the lives of others is beyond me, it’s something I simply cannot understand. Especially when you have a stake your own health because, at the end of the day, that’s what we are talking about. It’s about our life and having a nice space to share with other people and not simply about living and going forward like a mule. If we do that, we might reach a point when there are no more roads to keep walking on.

 All of this, some might think, is an exaggeration. And maybe it is, maybe we won’t die if we clean our bodies in a filthy shower or if we use the greasy pans that who knows how many others have used in the past. Maybe those are not lethal things and we can survive a small mess. But what that would entail would be a world where everything is a mess because people have stopped caring about the fact that we always live in community, we rarely live truly alone and there is no correct way to ignore that. What if bus drivers stopped doing their routes as they are supposed to? Would that be tolerable? What if airlines only had flights whenever they wanted or felt like it? I bet many people wouldn’t be exactly happy about it or the world would be a lazy ball of filthy and disgusting people.

 To my knowledge, we haven’t reached that stage and I personally hope we never do. Because this world is ours, for every single one of us and we cannot live thinking it’s all about us because it isn’t. Each person in this world is not important and that a truth we are never told or reminded enough. Each one of us, in our own, is simply not important enough. But as a group, as communities and as a species, we are important because of the simplicity of numbers and the importance those numbers have when affecting other numbers like the amount of trees, of drinkable water, of animals in the world and so on. When we live together, we share and respect others as we consider them equals; we gain more than we lose. And that’s the best for our growth as human beings.

 It is because we learn that by helping others we are actually helping ourselves. Those dishes that are left in the kitchen for hours or days, if we clean them just after we’re finished, we are letting someone else use them and that person would likely do the same so at dinner there will be clean plates to eat properly. If you clean the bathroom after you use it, people will eventually notice and, no matter if it is because of guilt or because they have learned, they will begin to clean everything too and the chances to have an infection or something nasty get into you will be as low as they can be. Of course, that’s the optimal way of living.


 So why not living like we care about others and ourselves? Why not living alone as if we were still living with our families? The world doesn’t just get different because our personal situation changes. The world does not care about a single organism but about the group, the communities. So let’s live, let’s enjoy ourselves and let’s do that by respecting others and letting them know how much we care about them and about the world as such. You will forgive my rant, my incessant way of pushing these truths down everyone’s throat but I do believe in the importance of respect, because it brings and order to our lives than lives for far longer that any of us would ever live. Because respect is freedom.