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miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2018

Life is strange


   His body felt warm and I liked that. I hugged him, tightening the grip with my arms, because I was actually afraid he might leave at any moment. But, for some reason I never asked, he stayed that night with me. We made love again and he told me he loved me as he kissed my neck and I caressed his thigh. It was so much, maybe too much, for just one night. But I decided not to ask anything, not to think about it all too much. I didn’t want to ruin the moment with a question that could be answered another time.

 Nowadays, our relationship has evolved greatly. That was three years ago. We are now married and his son lives with us. He had him with a woman he thought he loved, right out of high school but it wasn’t what he thought it was. However, from that weak union came a strong bond in the form of Nicholas, a bright kid that has made me rethink my role as a man. I’m not his father, not biologically and I haven’t adopted him yet, but he calls me Dad anyway, without thinking about it too much.

 We live in a house we were able to buy with both our salaries. The cost was high but we knew exactly what we wanted. It has a large main bedroom and two spar bedrooms for visitors. Thomas, my husband, decorated Nicholas’ room personally, putting on the walls every single thing the kid liked and making it removable in order to be adjusted as the years go by. He dedicated long hours to that project and refused my help, as he wanted to do something special for his kid after years of a difficult relationship.

 Thomas and the kid’s mother had been fighting for their rights for a long time until it was agreed she would have the kid for one month and then Thomas would get the kid for the following month and so on. I thought it was cruel to use a kid like that, as a thing to put on or off the counter. But I never said a word because that’s something for Thomas to fix and tend to. We even fought several times because he seemed too focused on his kid and his former girlfriend than in our life together.

 I have to confess I got to be a lot meaner than I ever was. For starters, I never liked the kid before he came in to live with us. I resented him in a way, seeing how Thomas loved to spend every waking moment with him and I just got some weekends and not even that. Our relationship had passed from one with a lot of romance and sex, to one where there was only a random kiss a week and some conversation that never went anywhere. Even after we got married, I felt he wasn’t mine yet and maybe he would never be. I neglected to see he was a father first, my husband later.

 The kid would come in some weekends, from time to time, but it would often be a very tense time for Thomas and for me as well. Not only because he would spend every single second with the kid but because he would spend the rest of his time talking about his former girlfriend and how he thought she should run his life. I heard so much about her for so long. The few chances I got to meet her; I avoided the opportunity at every turn. I didn’t want to feel even more threatened and unsure of myself.

 I even decided to attend a shrink once a week. I’ve never believed in those people but I thought it would be much better than just staying at home on the edge of screaming at Thomas or, God forbid, striking the kid. So I excused myself telling them I was going to meet my parents but I really spent an hour with Dr. Mendelsohn, who was as useless as I had thought before attending our appointments. The only good thing was that I wasn’t at home anymore. As I’m not made of money, I stopped going after one month.

 After that, I decided to really spend my days with my parents. After I had moved out of the house, I didn’t really got to speak with them that much, only over the cellphone or something. So I began cooking with my mom again and talking politics with dad. It was like back when I was younger and I found myself yearning for those years. It was hard because I was depressed often but at least I had them back then. They were always there for me to talk or at least just be there, to be present.

 Eventually, Thomas confronted me about going to my parents practically every single weekend. I confronted him too, telling him I had no interest in meddling into his affairs, into his life before I entered into it. He said he wanted me to be in his present fully, involving myself with his child and even with the woman that had brought him to life. But I told him the truth: I couldn’t make myself want something I didn’t. I had never wanted children or the past to come knocking on my door. I just wanted him.

 That was the moment our relationship took a deep dive. We didn’t yell or anything like that after that argument. We just fell silent and suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed a suitcase and started putting some of my clothes there. I told him it was temporary, because it was clear we needed space to think about what was happening. I reminded him he was my husband right before heading out. He grabbed me by the wrist and told me I was his husband too. I won’t lie: fear ran through my spine right then and there. I have no idea why but that’s what happened.

 I moved in with my parents and I asked them not to say a word about the whole thing. I would just continue to go to work and fulfill my responsibilities without any delay or doubt. I would just go on with my life because stop it altogether would be fatal. Of course, I cried every night thinking about him and how the man I used to know was no longer there. I trusted him to think about it all and come back to me with a proper response. He never did, at least not in the way I had always thought.

 He came to my place almost a year later. I had decided to rent a small apartment downtown, as I realized my parents already had a life between the two and me being there was not the life they had envisioned in their golden years. So I decided to move on, never minding anything else in my life. I even got a promotion, which was celebrated with a big party where I almost kissed another man but didn’t. I felt like shit after that but at least I stopped myself, despite the large amounts of alcohol in my blood.

 The day Thomas came, I was cleaning my place up. I stopped everything and we sat down in the living room, which consisted on a sofa against he wall, facing a flat screen TV. There was a moment of silence and then I told him I hated when silence feel between us. It seemed unnatural. He finally spoke, saying he had come to me to tell me the years of litigation were done and that he had finally gained a good amount of time with his son. I was happy for him, because he was finally ecstatic with the news.

 I thought that was it. He didn’t seem to have anything else to say, so I stood up and told him I needed to finish cleaning soon, as I had to leave later. It was a lie; I just wanted him out of my sight. But then he came close to me and hugged me as I had hugged me so many years ago. He told me he loved me and that he missed me every single day. He even kneeled and asked me to marry him, which was nice because I had been to one to do that the first time. I said yes, because I do love him.

 We then had the best sex I have ever had. It’s strange how you take some things for granted, like how much better it is when your partner is someone that knows your body thoroughly and has a very good idea about what you like, what it is that makes you feel in heaven.

 I have no idea how, but he transferred that knowledge to the other parts of our lives. That’s how I got to understand him better and to love his son, maybe as much as he did. Now I found myself packing lunches and preparing camping weekends. Life is so strange… But it’s life.

viernes, 16 de febrero de 2018

Case closed


INT. DAY – POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM

The rain hits the only window in the room with ferocity. Nothing can be seen outside because of a heavy haze.

The camera moves away from the window and settles on a corner, watching the center of the room. There’s a large table and two chairs, a pasty white guy is seating in one of them. No one sits in the other chair.

The man lays his head on the table, apparently crying but there are no tears on his face. The door to the outside opens. It’s a policeman. He’s very tall, black and carries a gun on his belt.

DETECTIVE MARKO
You sure were difficult to pick up, Vince.

 The detective sits on the empty chair. He grabs a pack of cigarettes from his chest pocket, pulls one out and offers it to Vince.

DETECTIVE MARKO
Wake up, man.

 Vince raises his head. His eyes are red. He looks pale and desperate. He grabs the cigarette. Marko pulls out a lighter from the cigarette pack and lights Vince’s smoke. He inhales once and clearly enjoys the taste of it.

DETECTIVE MARKO
Now, where’s the girl?
Her dad’s here, Vince.

Vince looks at the door, nervous. Marko sits back on his chair, crossing his arms and looking straight at Vince, who looks like a trapped mouse.

DETECTIVE MARKO
We know everything, Vince. We know what you did to them.
To her. We just need you to help us find her.

But Vince doesn’t seem to mind the presence of the detective. He suddenly stands up and walks towards the window. He stays there, looking at the rain, not saying a word.

Marko’s fingers start playing with the cigarette pack.

DETECTIVE MARKO
Did you know her dad is congressman Walters?
The one whose face is all over town, seeking reelection?
(For a second, he waits for an answer)
He’s calm right now. If he gets mad, you’re fried.

But Vince keeps looking out the window. The drops of water hit the glass hard but the man doesn’t seem startled or annoyed. He just looks at the rain in the most peaceful way.

Then, he starts mumbling.

DETECTIVE MARKO
What’s that?

Marko stands up from his chair and walks towards Vince, who’s still talking under his breath.

The men are separated then by a few meters but Marko does not understand what Vince is saying. He mumbles as if he was repeating things to himself, not to really talk with anyone.

DETECTIVE MARKO
Hey! Stop it! You’re dyin’, dumbass!
Don’t you wanna save your ass?

 Vince remains unresponsive. He keeps repeating, mumbling. His cigarette is consuming itself on his hand.

Detective Marko closes his fists, ready to be harder on Vince than he was authorized to. But he refrains. A muted sound enters the room from outside.

DETECTIVE MARKO
I can make them see you’re not well.
You don’t have to die, Vince.

Vince then turns around and looks at Marko straight in the eye. He smiles softly. He walks one step towards the detective. He then reaches out with one hand, caressing Marko on the cheek.

VINCE
But I do have to die. You know that.

 Marko looks scared. He cannot move away from Vince. He stares at the criminal, but does not seem to know what to do next.

VINCE
And she will have to die too.
You also know that.

 His hand caresses Marko further, feeling his three-day stubble. His smile grows, making his face look weirdly deformed. If he looked pale and lanky before, he now looks insane.

VINCE
Tell the congressman to make the arrangements.

Vince pulls back his hand. Marko seems to be able to move now. He turns around suddenly towards the door but it opens before he can reach it. A woman stands there, dripping water.

OFFICER GARCIA
Sorry to interrupt, sir.

DETECTIVE MARKO
(Looking back at Vince)
It’s ok. What is it?

OFFICER GARCIA
Sir, it’s the congressman.

Marko turns his attention to her, his eyes wide open.

OFFICER GARCIA
He said he was going for a coffee.
But some officers saw him running towards the street,
without his coat.

Vince chuckles. Marko looks at him again but his face goes back to Garcia in a second.
DETECTIVE MARKO
What happened?

OFFICER GARCIA
(Nervous)
We went after him. He seemed out of his mind.
He didn’t look before crossing and…

Marko understands. Vince starts laughing, first slowly but then faster and louder. The detective seems to be losing his patience.

OFFICER GARCIA
We found this on him.
(She pulls out a cellphone from her coat)
It’s…

Marko takes the cellphone without asking. He looks at it and sees something he would have wanted not to see.

On the screen, a live feed is still ongoing. The camera is apparently under water and, for a moment, you cannot see much.

Then, a head tilts forward and it becomes noticeable. It’s the face of a young woman. She’s clearly dead, having turned purple already.

Garcia takes the cellphone back, saying something about evidence. Marko’s head turns. He walks towards the chair and drops there. He grabs his head, it hurts. Vince’s laughter is loud.

VINCE
I had to do it Marko.
You knew. You always knew.

Marko looks at him, his eyes a bit watery. He looks at Vince laughing but doesn’t seem to have the same power and stability than before. He looks lost, confused even.

Two policemen enter the room and pull Vince out of it. Marko looks how the man is dragged out, how he’s still laughing. Finally, a tear runs down Marko’s face. The men leave and he’s alone with that tear.

The rain punches hard on the glass.

viernes, 19 de enero de 2018

In the dark

   Adam just let it all out. In that tiny bathroom, with the blue light and the very crammed stalls, he knew he had too much to drink. Normally, he would have known that before having to head for the bathroom in a huff, but this time he had been too distracted by the deceiving amounts of alcohol in each drink and the beautiful looks of the bartender. Besides, the whole atmosphere invited anyone there to forget about the world outside and just focus on pleasure and fun in that moment.

 He was lucky there was a roll of toilet paper in the stall. He flushed the water down and then proceeded to clean the edges of his mouth. He felt more than dirty but decided the place wasn’t the proper place to feel like that. After all, people went there to loose themselves and not the other way around. As he threw the toilet paper into the basket, a man appeared from above, startling him. Adam recognized him as the owner of the establishment, who was the only one dressed differently.

 You see, that place was what they call a sex club in many places in the world. It was a mix between a bar and a hotel but without the burden of having to take an elevator and close the door. People would just have sex anywhere, except for the bar area which was strictly used to drink, smoke and have a little chat if that’s what you wanted. And it’s also important to note that Adam was in one that only accepted men inside, so there wasn’t a woman to be seen. Only a lot of male clientele.

 The owner asked Adam if he was ok and Adam told him he was and that he was craving something to eat. The owner disappeared, so Adam opened the stall, washed his mouth in one of the sinks and then head off to the bar again, where he would ask for a soda or something with no alcohol. As he put his arms on the bar, the bartender smiled at him again, as he had done many times before during the night, and that was more than enough for Adam to forget his short trip to the bathroom.

 As he sipped his soda, he look around and realized the amount of people in the club had doubled in the last thirty minutes, which made sense as it was peak time, the moment of the night when most men would seek that kind of place. It wasn’t expensive, or cheap. It was just the right price and that’s why some came in for some time and then just left, having received or given what they wanted. Some people would think it was a dirty and awful place but the truth was it was pretty much the contrary, considering people were having sex practically all over the place.

 The owner of the establishment appeared again at the bar. He was carried two big bowls: one contained popcorn and the other had potato chips. He told the bartender that he would be coming back with more in a minute. The young man working on the other side of the bar nodded and then looked at Adam, winking an eye to him. On the street, Adam would have never known what to do in such a circumstance, but in that place, not only did he smile openly but he also winked back to the bartender.

 For the next hour or so, he didn’t leave the bar area. He just looked around at the people that came and went and even engaged in conversation with many of them. It was funny how far those conversations were from sex or anything related to it. In an area closer to a big open window, some older men were discussing about politics and next to Adam, two younger men were gossiping about some of the people they knew in college. Apparently, one of their teachers was on one of the other rooms.

 Hearing that conversation, Adam realized he had been standing at the bar too long and that he had to go and check out the other rooms, at least once. It wasn’t like he only attended such places because of the drinks and ambiance, he also engaged in sex with strangers. But sometimes he didn’t felt like it as much as he would have wanted to. He didn’t feel the need to go and just do it. But he decided it was best to look around, especially because his legs hurt from not moving for such a long time.

 There were two floors: the lower level was where the bar and the reception area were located. The reception was not only a front desk, very similar to a hotel, but also a large room with lots of square shaped lockers all around. They were all adorned with a number and different colors and in the center of that room there were several benches, where the men could take off their clothes without any rush. Funny enough, almost no one looked at others there. It was something like an unspoken rule.

 Besides the locker room, the front desk and the bar, the lower level of the structure also house two rooms. The light was lacking there but that was compensated by the fact every single visitor to that place was given a colored bracelet at the entrance. The bracelet was there for purposes of lighting rooms and also giving a code to other people about your intentions in that place. It was a great achievement of homosexual men to have coded every single part of their behavior in order to avoid interference from other parties and unwanted attention.

The rooms in the lower level were almost empty. They were destined to certain tastes that only a handful in a large group would enjoy. But sure enough, there were enough people there to use everything they had at their disposal in those rooms. By the sounds, it was clear people were having fun and Adam decided he wouldn’t want anyone to spoil something like that for him. So he went back to the stairs he had seen before and started to walk up slowly, as some people were coming down and the spiral case was a bit narrow.

 When he got to the upper level, he saw the familiar doorways; he felt the weight of the air and the scent of it too. He had been in that place several times before, many more than he would even confess. He knew how the rooms were distributed and how much it all looked like a regular apartment, with different rooms for different purposes. There were bedrooms with large beds but also a couple of living rooms with large sofas and even a terrace, which was not very popular due to the freezing cold climate outside.

 People on the street couldn’t see up there because there were several small pine trees blocking the view by the edge of the terrace. The same thing happened with the windows, which had all been painted black in order to avoid any complaints by neighbors or passersby. It was a very large but also discreet place were men could just gather and do whatever they felt like doing, as long as they respected each other. No one said it but that was a huge part of a place like that: you had to respect everyone.

 Not everyone looked like a model and the truth was that most people liked that. Because the reality of it all is that people look like people and that’s it. So men went there to see other men, to find themselves in others. They went there to have sex, yes, but also to free themselves from the shackles they wore every single day at work or at home. Some had hurt others without wanting to and that place was one where they wouldn’t do that because honesty and respect were the norm there.

 Many people would not understand all of that. And that was ok, or so Adam thought. If everyone did the same thing, there wouldn’t be any special places or people or anything. We would just be copies of the same boring thing and, who wants that?


 In one of the rooms, Adam was grabbed by the waist and he suddenly felt someone’s lips on his lips and a couple of hands touching his back. His bracelet helped him identifying the bartender, who had apparently escaped his duties and had followed him into the darkness.