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

viernes, 17 de febrero de 2017

Stumble

   Out of nowhere, I decided to grab my wallet, put on my pants and go to the street, to the nearest convenience store I could find. Only one was opened, some five blocks away from the hotel. I bought two packs of cigarettes, one pack of gum and a can of beer, just because I felt to. I paid and went back slowly to the room were I had done something I had never done before: I had told someone I would be with him always, for the rest of our mortal lives, forever.

 As I entered the room, I tried not to make a noise. Of course, I didn’t turn on any lights and only put down my small plastic bag once I had crossed the room and reached the balcony. I thanked God that it was such a big room in which he was staying, in one of the best and most beautiful hotels in the vicinity. He would never travel without getting to rest in a really good place, where everything was according to his very high standards. He had a reputation to look after.

 Thankfully, I didn’t have anything to look after. I had no reputation and there was no possibility for me to pay for such a room, not then or now. The balcony had a very nice view of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing gently against the rocks soothed my soul. Or maybe it was the fact that I smoked two or three cigarettes in a couple of minutes. I hadn’t done that in so long and now, suddenly, I had comeback to an old and nasty habit that I had been praised for leaving behind.

 As the soft warm wind made my hair move around, I regretted having bought only one can of beer. Then, I remembered that room had every kind of alcoholic beverage one would like to drink. The only problem was money but I guessed that he wouldn’t be very mad if I just drank one of them, as it could last me for the whole night. The can of beer went back to the plastic bag, empty after I drank it in a couple of minutes. I was decided to get myself drunk that night.

 I went inside, grabbed a bottle of vodka. Then, I decided to grab an orange juice bottle too, to make myself some nice little cocktails. I took both bottles to the balcony and used the empty beer can as a glass. I mixed both liquids there and started drinking, watching the apparent never-ending blackness that lived just above the ocean. It seemed so attractive, so beautiful somehow. I kept drinking, slowly, as I thought of the best way to get down to the beach in the next couple of hours. After all, I wasn’t going to be sleeping and he wasn’t going to wake up any time soon.

 I had gone to that hotel in hopes to find him but now, I realized I had done exactly what I shouldn’t have. He had been my only chance of happiness but now I didn’t want to see his face ever again. I had spent every single coin I had in my bank account to get there, to tell him I loved him and that I regretted not telling him that earlier. But hearing the waves, I realized I had done so because I was afraid of being alone, of being a failure at every single level a human male could be one.

 I had nothing to offer him, nothing at all. My so-called feelings were just angst and fear disguised in a week fabric of love and devotion. He would notice soon enough that I was empty, devoid of everything he thought he needed from someone else. Besides, I had no stability, no money, I did odd jobs to survive and I loved to look at the darkness and sleep during the day. I wasn’t what was expecting me to be, not even close. I had lied and lied and now there was no turning back.

 When we met, the first time, I was actually pretending to be someone’s friend in order to crash a party. I had done so with a friend that wanted to meet this girl, who ended up being his best friend. A strange coincidence that made us get acquainted. I remember clearly that, in those moments, he never seemed interested in me at all. I think he didn’t have any of the veils in front of him then, the ones that had clouded his judgment when he had decided to go out with me weeks later.

 Some may think I give myself to little credit but that’s not what’s happening here, not at all. What happens is that I don’t feel anything anymore, for him or for anyone. I actually doubt I ever felt anything for anyone ever. I guess I cared for some time and maybe I had an interest but my feelings were never involved in anything. I just played along and now that game has brought me to a place I have no idea how to get out of. What do I do now that I’m into so deep? Is it possible to go back to where we were before?

 I don’t think so, just hours ago I told him I would be with him forever and he cried and told me that’s what he had always wanted from me. But somehow, I feel that he knows what I really feel and think. I remember those first looks he gave in that party in which we met. He knew then who I was and that I couldn’t be trusted with something so important as his heart. Why does he think that has changed now, especially when we already tried and failed? Maybe he has a thing for failing, or maybe he’s one of those people that think they can fix other people.

 If that’s the reason, I think he means well but it would be an uphill battle. I have never changed anything about me. I have always failed or passed by without getting noticed. He cannot change that, not even if he wanted to do it with all of his energy and money. Not even power can change the fact that I am me, whoever that person may be. Yes, it’s sad for me to admit that there’s no chance for me anymore but I do believe it’s best if I don’t get my hopes without any good reason.

 I decided then to go down to the beach and walk on sand, which I guess feels nice on your body, unless you enter the water too. The people working in the hotel don’t see me walking down with my last can of cocktail, passing the swimming pools and walking into a small but nice little beach. I walk around, trying not to think anymore but that’s impossible. My brain cannot stop telling me things, almost yelling them at me as if I didn’t now them. It’s decided: I’m leaving him and never coming back.

 I have no idea how to get back home but I guess I can always steal some money from him and at least buy a bus ticket back to my city, back to my little and ugly apartment which I pay cleaning floors and serving people in awful little restaurants. That’s what a bachelor’s degree would do for you. Or maybe I could grab some more money and just leave for another city, a new place in which I can begin again. But the dream dies soon, because I’m incapable of really dreaming.

 I sit down just out of reach from the water. There’s no more alcohol in my can, which I throw to the ocean. I looked at the waves, angry with them because they refuse to take me away. I’m angry because this is not the way thing were suppose to go down like. This is not the life I should have had. Or I at least I don’t think anyone should have this life in any way shape or form. It is too cruel and empty, with no rewards and nothing to look forward to. Empty as the blackness of the sky.

 I noticed that I’m walking towards the water, slowly. It feels kind of warm, which is very nice. When it reaches my waist, I am tempted to look back to the hotel but I decided not to. There’s not for me there and there’s no way I’m going back,


 I keep on walking until the waves push me around, hitting me on the face several times, making me tumble and fall to my knees. Under the surface, my body attempts to swim upwards but my mind decides to make us swallow a good gulp of water. Better to end it here.

martes, 23 de agosto de 2016

End of a marriage

   The alarm of the oven rang right when it was expect. Linda wiped her tears out of her face and turned from the window to the oven. With her oven mints on, she took out a pretty big glass container in which a very thick lasagna was still bubbling in. The cheese had melted beautifully and the top was golden and just perfect. Through the glass, it was easy to see that the lasagna was made of several layers of vegetables and grinded beef and cheese. Linda was very proud of herself as she put the container on a wooden surface in order to let it cool down a bit while she served the rest of the dinner.

 Her husband entered the kitchen in silence. It was very obvious he didn’t know what to say. She didn’t really wanted to speak so she focused her attention on two medium sized plates, where she served a copious amount of salad made of a variety of green leaves, tomatoes, olives, cheese cubes and other small elements. She put the two plates on the table in front of the kitchen and her husband sat down immediately, without saying a word. He didn’t started eating or anything, he just waited there, turning around to see through the window every five seconds, as if he was afraid someone would appear out of nowhere to steal his food or something.

 Linda also turned around a lot while cooking, but she seemed to be better at ignoring whatever it was they were ignoring. She then started cutting the lasagna into pieces, placing two big squares on each of their plates. She put those two plates on the table too and then paused for a moment, to think what else she was supposed to do. It was her husband who stood up and ran towards a cabinet to take out a bottle of wine some friend of theirs had given them several months ago, after said person had returned from a trip to France.

 Linda remembered the bread. She took out of the cupboard, sliced some pieces and grated a lot of garlic into each piece. Then she put the bread in the microwave, as doing it in the oven would take much too long and she was seriously hungry now. Her husband Matt poured the wine into two glasses and put them on the table with the bottle, in case they wanted to have a bit more with their food.

 The sound of the microwave cooking the bread was the only thing they heard for a while. Matt sat down again, looking very tense. Linda looked at the floor as she waited for the sound. She just looked at a very small ant that was crossing the floor and she the imagined the life of that ant, all that that it had done in its short life. The microwave’s ring brought her out of her imagination. Linda put down the bread on the table, which smelled delicious, and finally sat down in front of her husband. They finally looked at each other.

 Both of their reactions were to cry. But they didn’t do it loudly or anything, they just had tears coming down their faces like a small river pouring out of their eyes. Their nose got congested and then each one of them had to stand up and run to the nearest bathroom to get some toilet paper. Once there, they just hugged. They hadn’t done that in a long time but it felt really good to finally do it, to finally feel they were together in this and that nothing could change that. They held hands and tried to tell each other how they felt but words seemed to be lacking power in those moments. Words were not important anymore.

 They went back to the table and decided to eat as if it was a normal dinner, although this one was much earlier. Outside, the sun was bright and even some birds sang. There was not a soul in sight but that was very understandable. Around there, only Linda and Matt had stayed behind in order to have one last beautiful romantic dinner and they did try to make it very nice and delicious. Actually, the first thing that Matt said when they came back from the bathroom was that it all smelled delicious and it definitely did.

 The first course was the salad. It had every single vegetable that they had left so there were pieces of onion, carrots, pepper, cucumber and several others of which there were only small pieces in the fridge. Linda had grabbed all those pieces and had cut them and put them together on a big bowl. She then had put on them some salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil to make it taste even better. Matt said it was the best salad he had ever eaten and maybe he was being honest because in all the years Linda had known him, he had never eaten a salad, not even a piece of tomato.

 As they ate, they remained in silence but it was Matt, uncomfortably clearing his voice, who asked Linda if she liked fruit in her salads. She thought it was a very strange question but the moment that they were living was much too weird and particular to ignore any questions. So she thought of her answer for a moment and then told her husband that she had eaten some salad with fruits on it and that she had liked them but that not all combinations worked. For example, she liked a Moroccan one that came with couscous and raisins, which were basically sweet as fruit, and she had loved that. But in a wedding when she was young, she was served a salad containing lettuce and other such common things on a salad but with strawberries, mango and apple. She almost vomited that salad.
 Matt laughed hard at her anecdote, as he hated salads with fruits on it too. So, while they ate their salads, they discussed how disgusting it was too find something too sweet on a plate that wasn’t supposed to be sweet. The ambiance got much more relaxed.

 Then came the lasagna and they were surprised to realize that they were very hungry. The two pieces Linda ad put on each plate were just the beginning for each one of them as they cut and served even more pieces as their conversation changed subjects once and again. They talked about Italy too and how its food was probably the best in the world. Then they chatted about spicy foods and how spicy they liked their food, if they actually like to feel that burn in their mouths.

 As they ate their pieces of lasagna, the couple became more like the people they had used to be all those years ago when they had first started dating. They were deeply in love but also very interested in each other, so much so that they had every single kind of question to make to the other person. It was so much like that that they switched their conversation from food to their teenage years. Matt wanted to know how young Linda was the first time she kissed a boy and she surprised him by saying that the first person she had kissed had actually been a girl in her class when she was around nine or ten years old. She explained that they were really good friends and that it had seemed natural at the moment. No one ever knew about it until then.

 Matt was surprised and even toasted to that anecdote as he found it very cute. He told his wife that his first kiss with a boy had happened very late in life, in college. She was amazed to know that because she had met him in college but he explained it had been in the first few years in a party. He never saw the guy again because he retired or something but he had kissed him out of a drunken stupor.

 Linda also toasted to that, happy to know more about her husband, even if at that moment that knowledge was going to be useless. They finished the lasagna and decided not to clean the dishes and, instead, they took the bottle of wine and one of champagne to the second floor of the house, where they had a nice little deck overlooking the street and the sunset. They drank the whole bottle of wine as they talked and talked and by the time they opened the champagne, they were able to hear a far away alarm.


Then, they saw it in the sky, as night had fallen. It could be seen clear and so close, much closer than they had thought it would be. They poured they champagne into their glasses and toasted to their life together and their love, just as the ball of fire passed above them making a very loud sound. They drank the whole glass and then kiss passionately for the first time in a very long while. The ball of fire touched down several kilometers to the south but the result of the impact was instantaneous: an very violent earthquake, a cloud of smoke and dirt and then, nothing.

martes, 14 de junio de 2016

Tests

   The first day, he went alone. He didn’t wanted to get anyone involved in his personal life and he wasn’t ready to share his fears with someone else. He was even unsure about the whole thing but finally decided to go because he had to now. At last, he was making some money and he was about to go and live by himself. He already had a new place, his first ever in which he would not be sharing space with his family or with other people. A tiny apartment just for him. He had made the calculations several times and he knew he was able to pull it off.

 When he arrived to the hospital, they made him wait in a small room where all chairs were empty. No one else came that early to get tested. It was better like that, because he had no intention of running into anyone he knew and, besides, it was the only time he could pay a visit to the doctor without leaving his job. There was no way he was going to loose money to do that. He found a way to do it anyway and, after some time waiting, a nurse came for him.

 She led him to an office were a doctor asked him several questions. They were all very personal questions but he understood why those questions needed to be asked. He wasn’t offended at all but he did feel a bit embarrassed because it was the first time he really discussed these things with someone. The silly conversations with his friends, didn’t really count because there was always a certain amount of lying involved in that.

 Next, he was left alone in the office for a couple of minutes, time he took to take a look at the paintings in the room. There weren’t many. Most of the frames concerned some diploma or a family picture. But there were two actual paintings: one was the image of a field, probably wheat. The image seemed to have no end. In one side, little in the big space, there seem to be a couple of peasants, working in the field. Probably cutting some of the wheat or maybe taking care of something else.

 The other painting was an abstract work. It had a few read lines and dot among a jungle of black geometrical figures. It was very tiring to watch because it was obvious the red in the picture was being overwhelmed by the black. He didn’t have to be a genius to know what the picture was about. He was about to get nearer to the painting when the doctor came back with all his equipment.

 One by one, the doctor filled three small flasks with his patient’s blood. The process didn’t really took that long although it did seem longer for the man being drained out of blood because he suddenly felt dizzy and very weak. The person on the phone had told him he had to come without having anything to eat or drink. And now the doctor said he should do the opposite.

 As he stepped out of the hospital, he had to walk very slowly. He didn’t feel good at all. Not only was his brain aching, his arm was in pain too. After all, the man had used a needle in it three times. He had no idea the amount of blood they needed for testing but he thought that, at least, he could assume the results were going to be accurate with the amount of blood they had to double check any findings.

 He grabbed a taxi, which he never did, and asked to be taken to his work. He had money to pay but that expense meant he couldn’t so other things that week. A taxi ride was too much for him to handle on his low income and now more than ever, with the new place coming and the bills for that place and everything related to it. He was very happy to move out of his parents’ home but he was also worried that he would fail as an adult. After all, it had taken him thirty years to leave the nest.

 Once he arrived at work, he was greeted by people who told him how bad he looked. He told them he had being at the hospital for a flu he was feeling coming, and that they had asked him to come without anything on his stomach. So he ran up to his desk, left his bag there and then ran to the kitchen where he poured himself some coffee and looked around for the messenger boy, who was normally around the office at that time.

 He finally found him flirting with a secretary. Interrupting the conversation, he asked the boy to please go for him to the nearest store and buy him some things to eat for breakfast with his coffee. He gave the boy a bill and told him exactly what to buy. He also told him that he could have the change, which made the boy stand up fast and run out of the office in a huff. He returned to his office, a cubicle in corner of that floor, and started working. Yet, he realized he couldn’t do any working.

 The boy returned soon and he was able to eat and feel a bit less weak but he didn’t do much that day at work. He felt very dizzy and even thought he was going to vomit at one point. He ran to the bathroom and, thankfully, no one saw him do that. He stayed in the bathroom for several minutes, drinking water and sprinkling his face too in order too cool down. It didn’t really work that much but he had no idea of what else to do.

 That night, at home, he fell asleep fast. He was very tired. He just left his clothes all over the place and didn’t bother to have any dinner. When he woke up, he realized he had bled out of his nose, his pillow stained with a big puddle of dried blood. He was surprised he hadn’t been awake by the bleeding; yet he had been so tired that even that accident wouldn’t be significant enough to wake him up.

 He threw away the pillow and washed the pillowcase. He threw that too after he realized the stain wouldn’t come off. He didn’t tell anything to his parents about it and they didn’t ask why he didn’t have a pillow in the following days. After all, he was about to move and maybe he was throwing the things he was going to replace once he was in his own environment.  It was only a couple of weeks later when it happened.

 His mother cried a lot, as if he was going away to the other side of the world. True, the apartment was not very close to his family’s place, but it was in the same city all the same. He asked them to visit once he was ready to receive visitors, in other words, once he would have furniture and glasses and plates and all that stuff that make some place a proper home. He moved out a Saturday and the following Sunday was a hard day to put everything in place and buy a lot of things, including a new pillow.

 Mom and dad had given him some money to start and he was grateful for that because there was no way, with his salary, that he was going to be able to buy everything he needed for the new place. With that small help, he was able to make that place something he could be proud of. However, the weekend ended very soon and he had to work as he finished putting everything where it belonged. But by the third week there, he decided he could have a small gathering of friends and then ask his parents to visit him.

 Those two couldn’t be done at the same time because of the size of the place, but he was thrilled to do it. He asked his friends to bring their own bottles of alcohol. There was no way he was paying for those. They had a very good time, joking around and even dancing in the small space. They had to end the party when a neighbor complained about the noise. Ironically, it was a neighbor that was always kind of drunk.

 It was the following day, a Saturday and more than a month after his blood had been taken out, that he received a letter in his house. It was the first letter that he received there and it was kind of awful it had to be one from the hospital. Once he saw it, he wanted to open it. But then he remembered his family was coming for lunch. And he didn’t want that on his mind while he ate with them. So he put it away for the day and enjoyed his family.

 He cooked that day. His mother tried to help every so often, but he wouldn’t let her. They had the best day ever, looking at old pictures, eating a lot and giving decoration ideas for the whole place. His parents wanted to be involved in some way and he wasn’t rejecting the idea at all. He needed them by his side.


 The following day, alone, he opened the letter. He had known what it said long before he ever got tested. But to know was exactly how he thought it would feel: like a hot knife piercing through the skin. His life had been on a path for a long time and now, his eyes had been opened. What to do next?

martes, 29 de marzo de 2016

From the gutter to the sky

   Grant Tower used to be a gigantic building located in the limit between downtown and the industrial districts. It had been abandoned for many years until it was bought by a mysterious person who recuperated its former splendor. In a city filled with strange things happening everyday, the destruction of Grant Tower did not go unnoticed. After all, it had been Captain Incredible the one to destroy it during his battle with his arch nemesis, Doctor Perdition.

 The battle had taken place all over the city. The superhero and the villain were able to fly, so they moved from one area to the other and the destruction was palpable all over the place. Captain Incredible had promised it would be the last battle to fight in the city as, according to him, every other gang and criminal organization had been dismantled. Only Doctor Perdition stood in the way of a pacified city. So every single person affected by the last battle, tried to understand what was as stake.

 Many inhabitants of the city fled beforehand, others just locked themselves home (if they had a basement). The battle took several hours and affected every single inhabitant in the same way. They knew what they would get in exchange, but many were already pissed at both the bad guy and the good one because for years and years, their battles against the other side had caused devastation once and again. People were tired of all of it and Captain Incredible knew he was risking a lot by saying that was going to be his last battle.

 Inspector Paulson was the first one to arrive to the site of the former Grant Tower. The battle was still going on but it had moved to the port, where they could be less damaging to the people. Pieces of the tower had fallen all over the neighboring streets and some of the neighbors were attempting to move the pieces by themselves. Others were looking for objects to recuperate from the destruction.

 Delia Paulson put on her gloves and entered the destroyed building. Only a couple floors were still standing. All the other seventy floors had disappeared. She used a mask to walk inside and join two men of her team who had gotten there before her. Neighbors had told them that a sound could be heard coming from the building, from below the ground. So they had to look where it was, probably a bomb made by Doctor Perdition.

 Inspector Paulson descended towards the lower levels of the building, that had received no damage, and encountered the noise was coming from a boiler room. The machine that used o heat up the water from the tower seemed to be about to explode. A rapid move by one of the policemen, helped to bring the pressure down.

 When he moved away from the boiler, with a face of triumph, the policemen pushed a pipeline that changed positions. But not only that, it also opened a door on the wall, just in front of the boiler. The inspector told everyone to be on the lookout and entered first; illuminating her path with a flashlight she took from her long coat.

 She walked slowly, covering her face because the air was charged with dust particles, probably because of the violent movement suffered by the building when it had been destroyed. It was a long corridor and then a path that seemed to descend in a spiral, down into the ground. Paulson ordered one policeman to stay at the entrance and was only joined by two of them, one being the one that had stopped the boiler from exploding.

 They walked slowly through the narrow passaged until finally they could see artificial light. They arrived at a massive room, carved into the natural rock. It was very humid but there wasn’t as much dust as there was above. They could breath at ease and not feel trapped anymore. The policemen were visibly scared because they remained just behind Paulson and she didn’t say anything because she was scared too. What was that place? Why was it there?

 On the wall, there were dozens, hundreds of screens showing different TV channels and also some footage from closed circuit cameras. Paulson saw the inside of the Central Bank, the security cameras from the police department building and the mayor’s office. It was all live. Someone had them all cornered and they hadn’t realized it.

 One of the policemen attracted her attention to one of the screens. It was a news channel reporting that the battle between the superhero and the villain had ended: good had one versus evil. The two men cheered but Paulson did not say anything. The existence of that room was proof that things did not stop with Doctor Perdition. She kept walking to find more clues and all she saw were plans of every building in the city, including Grant Tower, weapons of every kind and a diary hidden on the drawer of a work table.

 She started reading and, at first, it didn’t make much sense. It was all about a boy telling his sad high school stories. Apparently he was mocked because of the way he dressed and the way he looked. He hated people for laughing at him but would only find solace in one friend he had away from school, another kid. Paulson kept on reading as the policemen looked around, still happy that the last evil plaguing their city had finally been defeated and was dead for good.

 Paulson kept on reading and realized the diary belonged to no other than Doctor Perdition. She then raised her head and told her men to stop walking round and touching everything. She did so just in the moment were one of the weapons fired a set of arrows against a wall, piercing the wall with incredible strength. The men decided to get closer the inspector, who told them to bring their scientific team in order to bag every single thing in that lab.  She told them they had probably gotten the big prize of the night.

 The two men went back upstairs but Delia stayed behind to wait for the science team and in order to keep reading. She didn’t excuse Doctor Perdition for what he had done; after all he was a felon that had served time after killing people and doing the most unspeakable acts of violence. But she kind of felt sorry for him, as she read more and more of the diary. Apparently, he was the only son in a family of only women and he had been mistreated by his parents because he wasn’t the man they wanted him to be.

 He also hated his family. Paulson wondered if he had them killed at some point but the diary didn’t say. It only spoke about his childhood and the most beautiful pages, because they actually were, were dedicated to his encounters with a friend that shared his vision of the world. He was a bit younger but seemed older than him because of his convictions. He was a strong believer that people that did wrong should pay, no matter what is was that they had done.

 She stopped reading and looked for more diaries in the drawer but it was the only one. When the scientific team arrived, she ordered them to scan the room for hidden compartments and traps. They found a small hiding space beneath a huge metal table, which the inspector moved by herself. There, covered in dust, she found something else. There were no diaries but papers that assigned this property to the kid she had been reading about. If the kid was Doctor Perdition, the building must have been his. He was the one to renew it, all those years ago.

 There was also an electronic book, which could be turned on but had a password to protect it. A member of the scientific team helped Paulson bypass the password in order to read whatever it was she had on her hands. And when she was able to read it, she almost dropped it on the floor. Because what was in that book was not only a diary or some legal papers. There were pictures, and statements and videos and text that talked about that other kid, the one that had been Perdition’s friend when he had been bullied in school.

 That friend had helped him seek revenge, which had resulted in the death of at least two children and it had been Perdition who had put a stop to it.

 That kid… That kid was Frederick Edwards AKA Captain Incredible.