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

lunes, 29 de enero de 2018

No idea

   For a moment, we held our foreheads one against the other. It was not a comfortable position but it was the one we somehow needed to hold for a moment. I felt his breathing near me and even his heart pumping blood all over his body. I could see his pores and even smell the chicken and egg sandwich he had eaten for lunch. His eyes were shut but mine were open, looking at him and him only, wondering if that moment was really happening or if I had been transported to another strange dimension.

 But it was not one thing or the other. It was just one of those moments in drawing class when the teacher asks two students to come forward and pose for the rest. Of course, we would all be having actual models later in our careers and in college, but for the time being it was best to use ourselves as pieces of art. My partner in the exercise, Alex, was a kid that never spoke too much and that used to carry a huge block all over the place. He would always draw when there was no class to go to.

 What I did in those empty spaces of time between classes was to hang out with other students or go to the library and try to pass the time reading magazines or sitting in one of the many computers available for investigation. I would invent something to do for myself and then spend the rest of the afternoon there. I had never been a very social person, which might have made Alex and me really close but we were still two very different people. He was, and always had been an artist. I wasn’t.

 My family was made up by my father who was an engineer, my mother who was an architect and a sister that had recently left to pursue her career as a publicist. She would write to my mother almost daily about all the exciting things she was doing for herself and I would have to listen to my mom talk about it over and over again, during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister too but sometimes it was a bit too much of the same damn subject. But then again, there wasn’t another.

 My decision to become an artist had been subject of the most passive resistance I had ever witnessed for my parents. Thank God, that had happened only for a month, the time between the first payment and the first actual day of college. And had decided that to be my route in the blink of an eye after coming out of high school. My parents were not only against the decision because of the career being Arts but because I had never really shown an interest in it or, to be fair, an actual talent for anything that someone might consider an art form.

 Nevertheless, I assured them I was certain that it was the career I needed to achieve my dreams and goals. So they paid for it. My parents would never be the kind of parents that would say “no” to their children. Not that we were spoiled or anything like that, but they always knew when was the moment to say “yes” and they had to intervene. Apparently, this life choice had to be respected, so I entered my first year with the goal to make it all work and make them see that I was right.

 However, my second year had begun and I still had no idea why I was there. To be honest, being weird and not social wasn’t the only reason why people wouldn’t really talk to me. You see, artist love to have other artists to talk about… Well, arts. They don’t really care that much for people with other interests. Just look at any tabloid: most actors or actresses marry other actors or actresses or maybe someone in the business anyway. Yes, they might be exceptions but that seems to be the rule.

 And in my second year, it was quite obvious. Some of my fellow classmates, most of them to be honest, had already discovered what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. The first year had been an introduction to the whole things, so after that, it was kind of expected by the teachers that every single person would have an interest that was more of a goal than any of the other things they would learn about. And the cool thing is that they could start choosing classes that suited those interests.

 That was the reason why my schedule for the year was all over the place. Contrary to most people, I was having a little bit of everything. I had music and pottery and then photography and drawing and writing. There was even a women studies class that I included solely because it gave me necessary credits to graduate. But I had no idea what people were discussing most of the times, except when the discussions got very heated. Then, I loved to see people fight for their causes, even if they were clearly wrong.

 The point is, I had no interests and I wasn’t good at anything. Yeah, my grades were fine. Not excellent or dreadful, just fine. I didn’t excel in anything and I wasn’t a total disaster either. I was one of those students, which always got asked their name, even if I had said it out loud in at least twenty different classrooms. I was sometimes tempted to lie about it but then all these issues and problems came to mind and I just decided either not to raise my hand ever in class or simple say my name always before answering any questions or stating my personal opinion.

The second year drew to a close fast. There were two more years and then we would have to choose what we would do for our finals. We didn’t really have many exams, like in other careers. We had to build a project and then just do it. I think that was the worst part of it all. I had no idea what to do and I started worrying about it the day that second year ended. Those holidays were not really relaxing at all. My back would hurt every single day and the number of nightmares was growing exponentially.

 It was so bad, that I decided to go to the shrink that the university had in campus to help students. Of course, he helped people with bigger issues than mine but I went there anyway because I actually thought he could be able to help me. The moment I saw the amount of people waiting for their slot of time, I was baffled at either how many people had so many issued in college or how bad this doctor was at what he did. You’re supposed to not go back if your problems were solved, right? Isn’t that the deal?

 I went there for about two weeks and then never came back because I had no idea why I was going at all. I realized the problems I had were becoming worse because that damn shrink wasn’t helping at all. He was actually trying to get to my deepest insecurities and private pains, and that would have been a box that I didn’t need to have open. The weirdest thing was, a month later, when I ran into him in an elevator and he looked at me the whole ride, clearly wanted some sort of an excuse from me.

 Surprisingly, I came up with my project’s idea one day, when Alex came into the library and just started talking about what he was going to with his own project. I listened to him for a while and then we had to leave because the librarian thought we were being too loud. He finished telling me his story sitting on a bench near the cafeteria. I remained silent until he asked me for my opinion and I had to be honest with him: I had no opinion because how would I dare to criticize someone who had already thought it all through?

 And then it hit me: I was going to be the subject of my own project. I would do something like a collage of various forms of art in which I would always be at the center. My struggle to know who I was would be my theme and the subject would be me.


 I had fun making it all, coming up with the ideas and telling all the professors about it. Yeah, they didn’t really get as excited as I was but at least I got a nice grade and Alex became some sort of friend. We even talk nowadays, when he’s not looking up at the ceiling. Oh, and I still don’t know who I am.

viernes, 3 de noviembre de 2017

You simply cannot please everyone

   Suddenly, Maxine felt guilty of everything she had ever done and also guilty of things she couldn’t have possibly done. For a single moment, she felt responsible for everything and anything that had ever happened around her. Of course, she was just being silly but that tiny fraction of time sunk itself deep into her core. For days, she felt badly about it all and thinking about not being sad made her even sadder. That unease even translated itself into a powerful aching of the whole body.

 She curled up in bed and stayed there for a whole week, deciding not to go out for her own well being but also for the well being of others. She felt she needed to fix too many things about herself and it wasn’t a good idea to expose others to the mess that was happening inside of her. That guilt was much too powerful and it had taken hold of her. Yet, the only way to get it out was or her to be strong enough and really deal with it instead of trying to shield herself from further harm.

 Maxine felt she had alienated everyone and that it was her fault that all relationships she had with other people had failed miserably in a matter of months. She had been too busy doing her things, trying to stay alive in a world filled with barriers and traps. The woman had expected people to understand her, to get why she couldn’t go out anymore or talk to them as often as they once did. She forgot she had never been a very talkative person, not a really “in touch” friend.

And yet, they blamed her and her decisions for the destruction of their friendships. She was to blame for a lack of communications. When she had heard these accusations, which had come in the form of text messages in her phone, she realized she couldn’t possibly fight the allegations. How in the hell could she make any sense by writing on a cellphone? She couldn’t possibly defend her position and made herself be understood by typing on a machine, waiting for an answer.

 Max asked for all of them to meet, her closest friends and her, in order to sort things out and clear the air. But they all suddenly said they were much too busy for that to happen. Maybe in the future but not right away, not when it mattered and when she could make the most sense. She felt awful because they made her feel she was the one to blame and it was that moment that send her down a spiral of guilt and internal pain that she couldn’t really handle by herself. Or that’s what she had taught. Because that woman, and everyone, is stronger than they think.

 After that awful week, she realized she had to accept that changes happen in life, that she hadn’t done anything badly or said anything that would make anyone part ways with her. She had lived her life in the way she thought she had to in order to achieve what she wanted. It would be very unfair to judge her because of that, to make her the one to blame just because she had decided to take care of herself completely. Maybe it hadn’t been the best thing to do but it was her choice.

 They told her they were also very taken aback by her failures in life, that it was exhausting to hear her complain every time about things that were or were not happening in her life. They told her they were tired of trying to help and they had decided it was not worth it anymore. That was the knife in the back, a big and sharpened knife that they plunged deep into her, an attack that was decisive on how she decided to proceed days later. Every word was branded on her mind.

 It was true she was a failure. She had accepted that as a part of herself, of her personality and of everything that she seemed to be up to that point in her life. It was also true that, once or twice, she had asked for advice. It was only natural to do so with friends. However, it wasn’t true she had been begging for advice or help, as they made it seem. She had only reached out to them, worried that so much time had passed since their last conversation, seeking to rekindle the connection.

 Well, those words had been more that knife, more than any weapon. None of the arms created by mankind could ever hurt as much as those words had. Because they were not only hurtful but they were also mixed with lies and a clear objective to destroy, they had been prepared in advance in order to be ready for the moment she spoke about their clear shortcomings, the same ones she had but that she had been the only one to recognize. Modesty be damned, it was Maxine who spoke!

 It is revolting to think about it now. She had talked about them about talking and trying to get things straight. She still wants to do that and has tried to get it done but they won’t have time for her, not for now at least. She decided to let them live their lives, just as done before. She’ll probably be blamed for that too but she doesn’t care anymore because, for once, she knows she was in the right. She knows now, in this precise moment in time, that she has done everything possible without being a bother to herself or them. That’s as much as she can do right now and, to be fair, she couldn’t say if she would do more.

 That’s one group, the largest one. The others are the kind that just wants her close in case they want something from Max. Maybe they want her body or her connections or her talent for a while, possibly for free. They don’t talk often either and they always seem ashamed when she talks to them and wonders why they don’t talk more often. In that case, she’s not the one to blame, almost the opposite. And that’s not a great position either because they make her feel just as bad, one way or the other.

 This group is manageable and most of them are mostly honest about how their relationship works with Maxine. They both know who they are in those connections and it mostly goes fine, without any annoying moments. They just happen to be people that know each other and that play the game of knowing each other well and liking each other’s lives. It requires a bit of acting but, as it doesn’t really happen that often, it isn’t really a big deal. It’s just one of those human things.

 The last group, being the least crowded one, is the made up by real friends. People that just don’t care what about or when you talked to them. They always have time and words of support. They say the truth, which can sometimes be hard, but they do it because they know that might be the best way to keep a friendship in its best shape possible. They don’t really care what shape their connection takes, they just want to be close to their friends, to Maxine in this case.

 Anyway, people are people and things always find a way to work out eventually. Maxine soon learned that worrying about everything didn’t really help at all and that making all of that take a toll on her could only be harmful to herself and destroy her own life in the long run. Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself, so Maxine decided to do things in her life as she saw fit. If others agreed with her or not, that was their decision to make and she would have to accept changes.


 You simply cannot please everyone. That’s just not possible.

miércoles, 11 de octubre de 2017

The day he wanted to be someone else

   Trying to sleep on that big room was an impossible task. Not only the windows had cracks that let the cold wind of the night in, the stone floor prevented anything to be very warm, even under the covers. It was a dreadful place to stay for a night and John had to stay there for, at least, a whole week. It had not been his choice to go on such a remote place for a vacation. If it had been for him, he would have stayed in his cozy tiny apartment, with his cat Michael.

 But a letter had come on the mail telling him to wait for its writer during that week. It didn’t specify a date and the only thing he could learn out of it was that, whoever had wrote the letter, he or she knew a lot about him and about his family. In three pages, he wrote things that only a family member would know. It was very eerie but John had a sister and a brother, so his first reaction was to think it was one of them, or maybe even his parents, who would be most likely to actually written a letter in paper.

 After finishing the letter he emailed his family and told them it was a very funny joke, especially with his birthday approaching, but they all responded that same day telling him they had nothing to do with a letter. They even joked that the world was too advanced for such thing and that they hadn’t touched a piece of paper or a ballpoint pen in years. And to be honest, John hadn’t done either of those things either in a long time. Paper and pens where only in banks. So who was behind all of it?

 He decided not to respond and just doing nothing. Maybe it had been mailed to him by mistake or maybe it was just a very bad joke. There are people in the world that don’t really have a good sense of humor. Many have a deviant kind of humor that only a few people understand and sometimes only them. But the letter was not even funny, on any level. Maybe it was just a random thing, someone hoping to get a reaction out of the blue. It was possible, John said to himself.

 However, as the dates in the letter grew closer, John received another letter. It had the same kind of calligraphy but this time it was way shorter, more concise and had a certain air of urgency. The person that had written knew that it was difficult to believed someone that knew him so well was written but it clarified that it was a matter of life and death. The letter begged for John to go to where it was indicated and wait there for more information. He had to trust his instinct. And then the letter finished with a simple but resonating phrase: “You have to come because you need to close that chapter for good”.

 That really scared John. He had never discussed his past with anyone else. Not even his family knew everything that had happened to him when he was younger, the things he did when he was out of the house. John had always been the kind of child to stay behind, to have a small amount of friends and prefer to play with toys or videogames at home instead of going outside. But he did try to be another kind of person and it was then when it all happened. The trip reminded him of everything.

 He arrived to that sad hotel the day the week indicated in the letter began. He had to ask for a special permit in his office, permit that was strangely granted very fast. It was not very common for him or anyone else there to get permission to leave for a whole week that easily. The whole situation felt really strange, as if someone else had had some sort of hand in the whole matter. It was a very scary situation but he decided to ignore those facts and just do what he felt he had to do.

 The hotel was the only one in that small town, located about three hours away by road. As he had decided a long time ago not to drive a car, he had to take the bus and that experience was worse than anything because of the delays and all of the walking he had to do. It wasn’t that he hated walking around or anything, more that he really didn’t wanted to move more than necessary for whoever had lured him to that far away place. The town was made of maybe twenty blocks, more or less.

 The hotel felt more like a cemetery than nothing else. The only difference was the fact that there was a roof over his had. Aside from that, you could really feel the same kind of cold weather; the same ripe smell all over and that very sad light that makes you feel unhappy about being alive. The second day there, he woke up rather early. After a cold shower, he decided to walk around town and hope he could find the person he was looking for right then. Or should that be the other way around?

 The cold wind was powerful, descending from a mountain range that seemed to be really close. A woman in the grocery store told him the temperature was always the same every single day of the year. No summer days, even if the sunny was high up above them. The rays of sunlight also felt cold in that part of the world. She also realized John was a visitor and she recommended him to go to the nearby hills for some fresh air. She assured him it was much less depressing than the small town. Hearing her say that, gave him a little bit of hope, which felt out of place.

 He went to the hills every single day, for the next few days. On day six, he decided to leave the following morning very early. All that time in such a small town was making him insane. He wanted to hear noise again, to hear babies complaining and people being awful to each other in the street. He wanted to hear the sound of cars and planes and trains and he wanted to have his cat Michael next to him to warm up his feet before going to bed. He didn’t belong there.

 That day, he walked all over the place and stayed in the hotel lobby for at least three hours after lunch in order for his so-called host to come and tell him what it was that he knew, what the hell he wanted to speak with him about. He waited and waited, hearing the sound of the clock and the snoring of the man that tended the front desk. He wanted that awful week to end and was furious to have been made to spend one of his legal holiday weeks in such a sad a depressing town.

 In the afternoon, he headed off to the hills again. He did like to see the landscape, the mountain and a river far away. Sometimes there were some sheep around and he loved to caress them. That day they came again and he wanted to touch them one last time but they left suddenly, as a figure wearing a large overcoat walked towards him. It was a man, a very frail looking man, maybe the same age as he was. When he was closer, John was able to see a scar above one of his eyebrows.

 Then, he gasped and walked back a bit, scared of this vision of the past. Even without saying a word, he knew who that person was. As a teenager trying to get people to like him and having friends, John had stolen the keys to one of his classmates’ parents’ car. It had been done on a dare. He had to steal the keys and drive the car down the road. It was a short trip, a crime without victim. Or so he thought. The man standing in front of him was the kid he had run over that day, so many years ago.

 He had always thought the kid was dead. He had left them there, on the pavement, to die. He had turned around the car and left it at that. He always thought the police would find him. But nothing ever happened and John eventually learned not to think about that day.


 And yet, there he was, the victim of his attempts to be a normal kid. John wanted to be someone else and all he could produce was a horrible accident. His victim had traced him down for a long time and had been watching, waiting for his moment to come forward.

lunes, 4 de septiembre de 2017

Singin' ain't so

   From her earliest youth, Jessica knew exactly who she wanted to be. She wanted to be a singer, to spend her days on top of a stage and just please millions of people with her voice and personality. She insisted so much to her parents that they finally accepted to pay for acting lessons and singing lessons. They didn’t really support her aside from the money aspect, so every single thing that happened afterwards was done only by that young idealist girl who wanted to eat the world.

 She spent every single weekend practicing in her singing school and at home. Her family didn’t really like it because her voice was not very good at the beginning. And even when she improved it, it was still very annoying for people that just wanted to relax at home after long days at school or at the office. Jessica sometimes left the house and sang outside, walking to the store or the park. In her mind, she had to keep using her voice until someone noticed her.

 In all the magazines, her favorite singers and stars told the stories of their discovery exactly in the same way: someone had seen them in a public space; sometimes it was the supermarket and others in an ice-cream parlor. The point was that they just saw them around and knew that they could be amazing artists. As she wanted to be a singer, she decided to sing in the park sometimes, hoping for people to stop by and just stay for a while, enchanted by her voice and talent.

 Jessica convinced her best friend Anna to play the guitar while she sang. Anna had been pressured by her parents from a young age, leading a very different life than the one her friend had. She had been told that by the age of ten she should know how to play at least three instruments, and one of those was the guitar. She accepted Jessica’s request after her friend said that it was the best way to be far from her mother, who was always telling her what to do, even in summer holidays.

 They started doing their small shows when they were around thirteen years old. They would sing five songs, chosen that same morning by the both of them. They had to do an act that would attract young people to the park but also adults that had connections to the artistic world in order for them to get noticed by a label. Anna was not as optimistic as Jessica, but she supported her nevertheless, mainly because it was such a fun time to have every so often. It didn’t happen every day, that would have been impossible, but they sat on the lawn of the park as often as they could.

Four years passed, very slowly for Jessica and very fast for Anna. They had only one more year of high school to go and then they would be sent to college. Their respective families had been saving for a long time and it would only be the right thing to do to keep studying and go on to live a life where they could be someone. But Jessica had already chosen who she wanted to be and nothing could ever change that. I her mind, she had a year to breakthrough and then, it would be undiscovered country.

 Anna was always checking universities on her laptop, even moments before their musical outgoings. She would tell all of the details to Jessica, who never really paid attention. She was too busy memorizing the lines of several songs or learning about her favorite artists. She had her room all decorated with several pictures of them as well as of other artists and bands that had come before. Her aim was to be in one of those posters in the future, inspiring other young girls to be the best they could be.

 However, life has a way of laughing at people’s dreams. One of those days, in which they sang on the park, Anna was late with her guitar, as her mother had decided to argue about the prospects of university. She wanted her daughter to study to be a chemist or a biologist. However, Anna wanted to learn something that required more creativity, more freedom. She had seen a lot of brochures about design schools, film schools and others like those. She wanted more than what she already had.

 As they fought with her mother, she forgot that time was passing and that Jessica was not the most patient human on Earth. Once before, Anna had been five minutes late and she had been received by a furious Jessica yelling at her a bunch of things about decency and manners that a person in the artistic world should have. She also said some hurtful things and it made Anna regret her decision to help her friend. Jessica apologized later but made her promised she was not going to be late ever again.

 But she was. Jessica had been waiting for a while. As winter was coming, the clouds and the sky turned darker sooner than before. It was the perfect moment for a criminal coming from outside of town to attack her right there, in the park. He covered her face and dragged her away from the lawn and into a wooded area, where he gagged her and raped her. A woman walking her dog found her the following day. Jessica had passed out the day prior and was still asleep when she was found. Not even the sound of more people around her and the paramedics woke her up.

  Jessica woke up in the hospital three days after having been found. Some of her bruises were already receding. Her mother was on the room when she woke up. It was obvious she had been crying for a long while. Her father came in later and he hugged her and cried, without saying a word. It was very strange but she didn’t even try to say anything. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk; it just seemed wiser to just listen and wait for the right moment to say the right amount of words.

 That night, the doctor told her what had happened, her parents had left only minutes prior. She cried in silence as the man told her that the police had captured the man the day before on a road. He had been cornered by them, trying to take advantage of another girl. He was so surprised to see the police that apparently let the girl go and shot himself on the mouth. The police didn’t even have a moment to properly respond or to save his life in order to get the criminal to jail.

 Jessica nodded. She wasn’t really hearing the doctor. She was thinking about her career, about her possibilities now that she had been through something that horrible. She felt physically ill, disgusted and just tired. But something in her brain made her think that it wasn’t the end or something like that. She felt that there was more to her story than just that. She made sure the doctor knew she was going to get out of that hospital bed soon in order to achiever her goals, by any means necessary.

 Sure enough, she started writing songs the moment she was able to leave the hospital. Jessica closed her room door and did not come out of there for a whole week. Her mother would bring her food and she would often tear up but not say a word. Her father stood by the doorframe and watched her, absolutely stunned that she could be that active after what had happened. It didn’t seem right, but at the same time, Jessica seemed to be in her element writing in silence.

 Three songs came out of those writing sessions. She grabbed her video camera and recorded three different videos, which she uploaded to YouTube on the same day. She sang on them about what had happened, about how she felt and about what was going through her head.


 Her music was a success. Millions of viewers saw the videos and shared them in less than a week. Soon enough, a recording label contacted her and an album was planned to be released within the year. And Anna… She never saw her again. She couldn’t forgive her.