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

miércoles, 30 de agosto de 2017

The ways of the mind

Day and night, he went to the gym. And when he wasn’t there, it wasn’t strange to see him on a swimming pool, playing tennis, kicking footballs on a park or just jogging around the neighborhood. Jason had been a chubby kid fro ma very young age and the bullying he suffered in primary school and then high school, made him start his training. He finished high school from home and once he entered university, he was an entirely new person. Many of those who had mocked him, were now envious of him.

 Of course, Jason loved that. He really liked to see the face on the people that had pushed him into lockers or shamed him in the changing rooms after gym class. He had seen a number of them in his university and it was always a pleasure to see their faces when they realized who they were looking at or, even better, who they were talking too. Even the many girls that mocked him in school were now falling for him left and right, forgetting their past words directed at him.

 He had been called a “pig”, a “hog” and a “chubby little fag”. Children can be mean, that’s true. And it’s always blamed on the parents, rightfully so. But Jason had discovered, with time, that all those people that had mocked him earlier in his life had always been that horrible. Yes, maybe they learned at home or they picked it up from the television, but the fact was that they hadn’t outgrown their bullying ways. Even in university, Jason saw how many were made fun of.

 For a while, he tried to help those people that had been left out by society at large, either because they were fat or maybe because they were gay. There wasn’t a single minority that was out of range for those that mocked them. He went to several meetings of college groups, he held rallies and supported the so-called liberals to help improve the situation on campus and he even experimented on a private level to fully realize he was as open and really free as he thought he was.

 The first year in college was good but then he grew annoyed by the crowds, by those who wanted everything to change. They wanted the world to see itself through their eyes, instead of trying to be part of the community. He met very angry people and extremists, where he would have never thought to see any of those. He stopped going to the meeting, supporting political candidates and even helping shamed people to stand for themselves. It had become a burden on him and he felt it wasn’t fair to carry someone’s load when he had so much to process by himself.

 He focused in only two things: his studies and his workout regime. A year before he got his degree, he was able to pay the rent for a small apartment not so far from home. He had gotten a job at the gym he worked out and that had given him enough money to get where he wanted to go. He was to become a real state agent and he would try to be the best at it. Jason had always loved many of the things related to that job and he was certain he could get his license in a heartbeat.

 He started as a part-time intern in a real state agency. There, he could get all the necessary experience to get his license and maybe even get noticed by some of the bigger agencies to get hired for a full-time job, hopefully being the person that shows people houses and apartments. That’s what he wanted to do, for a long time. Jason was even willing to leave the gym regime in order to get his dream job, although he would still try to workout as much as he could on nights and weekends.

 One day, Jason had left for his job from his tiny apartment. It wasn’t a perfect life, but the liked it a lot. He really loved to go and learn a little bit everyday. He had learned some architectural terms, as well as many things an engineer should know about how houses work. He had even been taught how to properly accommodate furniture in order to secure a sale. He was really in love with it all, with every single detail. And it showed. People would often tell him they thought he looked better, somehow more energetic.

 That morning, when he felt on top of the world, an SUV came roaring through his street. Jason woke up really early, so he knew it was uncommon for that to happen. Nevertheless, he didn’t looked back to the noise, as one would have. He was busy thinking about his day, he was busy being too happy about himself and his achievement. He was to busy to notice the SUV had veered towards the building and that it was going at full speed on the pedestrian side of the road.

 A neighbor called the ambulance, several others watched from their windows or from their doors. No one else helped, no one else said a word. The woman that had found him had lost a husband recently, so she knew exactly how it felt to lose someone like that, in the blink of an eye. So she decided to call and help another family not being torn apart. The ambulance took a bit too long to get there. When he got to the hospital, Jason had lost a large amount of blood and the doctors where not optimistic. It was nothing short of a miracle how he recuperated, in a way.

  The hardest moment was when he woke up. Jason knew immediately what had happened. He didn’t have a hazy memory; he didn’t pretend he didn’t know what was going on. The moment his eyes opened, that young man knew his legs weren’t working and they might never work again.  He touched them softly and, when the nurses weren’t there, he pounded the hard, in rage. He wanted to die several times during the course of the next few weeks. Aside from his legs, the rest of his body was fine.

 Well, except for his brain. Because he was pissed with the world, with life and with everyone that owned a fucking SUV. He couldn’t understand how people drove drunk. That was what the police had told him, that a drunken man had being the one that had put him on that hospital bed. But they could not really prove it because the SUV had never been found as no surveillance cameras had ever being installed on that street. No neighbor had seen anything, or so they said.

 Jason grew to hate everyone, especially the days his mother and father came to his house to take him out for some fresh air. After being the most admired man in his gym, he was no a ghost of his past. In a way, he was that “chubby fag” again. He hated everyone for being able to walk and he preferred to be inside, away from others, sheltered from their laughs and their lives. His was over, so he didn’t really mind about anything else. As far as he knew, his life had come to an end.

 However, a young policewoman had entered the force recently. She was called Susannah and had freckles all over her face. She had being bullied at school and now she was a real police office. She investigated Jason’s accident and, with resilience and intelligence, she was able to discover that the person that had run over Jason had not being drunk. Furthermore, he was a former student in the same high school as Jason and also in the same university. He was called for questioning shortly after.

 Months later, he was sent to jail for attempted murder, as he confessed he had hated Jason from day one in high school. He hated that people that he deemed “less” could become successful when others like him, so successful in early life, were now facing the hard reality of life.

 Susannah explained it all to Jason and he thanked her for giving him back his life. Inspired by her, he went back to the gym to try and recover his legs. Nothing was lost forever, not his real estate license, not his legs, nor his will to live. Jason would never again let go.

viernes, 25 de agosto de 2017

Recurrent dream

   I like lying on my bed every morning for a while, after I wake up. I clean my eyes and walk around naked for a while around my room, trying to decide what to do next. And what I always do is just lying there, watching the rood or staring at the window. Not that I’m actually using my eyes right there, I instead imagine another world, another place. I do that because, every single morning, I feel this is not my life. I feel my real self is somewhere else, living through something very difficult.

 It often happens that when I dream, I see this man in one room. It’s always the same room. I can see a bridge through the window and there are two beds, very neatly made. Everything is clean and there are also plushies everywhere. The man that I see sitting on one of the beds, the one nearest to the window, is not really the age one would think someone would have if you saw all those plushies and toys and several other stuff. It seems he’s stuck there, in that place, who knows for how long.

 I stared at him for so many nights. The dream was always the same and it would dissolve into my usual slumber after only a few minutes. It never lasted long so I couldn’t really pick up many details. After a while, I trained myself to be more aware of the dreams and try to really look around. The first thing I discovered was a teddy bear and that image stayed with me for long. Last Christmas, I even made the mistake of remembering the bear as if it had been mine, only I never had a bear.

 Oddly enough, my mother told me I almost had one. My grandfather had plans to buy one the day I was born, in order for him to be the first person to ever give me a gift. He wanted to have a strong presence in my life and he had decided a bear, carefully made and wearing a red shirt, would be the way to do it. Sadly, my grandfather had a heart attack some days before my birth, so he never got to buy the bear and I never got to meet him. That was the first time I had heard the story and it gave me chills.

 So, of course, I kept trying to figure out the recurring dream I had been having. But, for months, I was stuck in the same place every time. I saw the bear and then, when I turned my head towards the man, I instantly blacked out and then moved on to another dream. Well, to be honest, the first few times it happened I would wake up in terror, sweating and just too scared to go back to sleep any time soon. Those nightmares gave me dark marks under my eyes but I countered those by choosing to jog at night around my neighborhood, a very quiet place to think.

 I would come back sweaty and tired, ready to go to bed without any disturbance in my head or in my life. But the nuisance was there nevertheless. The dream returned a few days after and I just managed to handle it the best I could. I tried hard to discover anything new but it didn’t go anywhere. So I just decided to play a layback role every time, hoping my unconscious mind would get bored of playing the same dream over and over again. But it didn’t. It kept insisting.

 My parents entrusted me with a very large company, the main one in their corporation. It was started many years before by my grandparents and I just try to keep it going forward. We manage various companies dealing with trade and that makes my job very challenging but very fulfilling at the same time. I have been able to visit half of the world and I have learned so many things, even more than the ones I learned back in college, where I graduated with honors. I had always excelled.

 In my family, every single person trusts me with their lives, their secrets and their money. Every time there’s a problem somewhere, they call me to fix it or at least to call someone else to fix it. Since my high school days I have been connecting with various people around the globe and I have now an enormous network of friends and family in every single corner of the planet. Everywhere my jet lands, I have someone doing a party for me or at least treating me to dinner.

 Maybe it’s the dream, but I have found myself thinking what would my life be like if I hadn’t let this life. I think I would be fine. Maybe not rich but I would like to think that I would be as driven and smart as I am right now. I even think I would be just as much as attractive physically and socially as I am now. I have learned not to be ashamed of myself or of my various assets. I have made efforts in my life so I think it’s ok to let people now I’m very proud of everything I am and what I’ve done.

 That man in the dream seems worried. He’s not very well dressed and, to be honest, he looks bored to death. I cannot really make up his face entirely. I mostly see his body, like a shape, sitting there on the bed. It was a long time after I started having the dreams when I realized the man was actually moving the whole time. He seems to be writing, typing something on a laptop computer in front of him. The night I discover that fact I woke up tremendously excited because there had finally been a breakthrough. Whatever that was, it was going somewhere.

 You may not understand this, but I need to feel I’m always in control. I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak or something that crazy. The thing is I like to understand everything that happens around me, even if I’m not very familiar with whatever it might be. That’s why, when I travel, I try to meet locals and I ask them many questions in order to better understand their culture and their states of mind. It’s a unique way to understand a whole country, in order to do proper business.

 That’s why I cannot stand that I have the same dream every night and I cannot see or get what’s happening. I even got to a psychiatrist in order for him to explain what’s up with my head but he told me it was a pretty normal thing and that, once it resolves itself, it will simply go away as if nothing had ever happened. Normally, I would never doubt a professional but something tells me this is something else, this is maybe something much more powerful and convoluted than I thought.

 Then, Camilla came to my apartment. She does that frequently. Sometimes I go to her place and sometimes she comes to mine. My family has been pushing me to ask her to marry me but I cannot seem to find the time to do it. She’s very beautiful and entertaining, she has even heard every single detail about my dreams and has tried to help me find a solution. But something tells me I shouldn’t make that big step until I solve whatever is going around my head. It feels important.

 The last time she came, however, something changed. The dream happened as always but, when I was supposed to wake up, I finally got to see him. The man actually raised his face towards me and looked at my eyes with his, which were sad, kind of red. Then I woke up. I was sweating again. I got up as silently as I could, walked to the kitchen, and had some water. I was trembling a bit and my breathing was off. I tried to calm myself, trying to remind my mind it had been just a dream.

 I just realized the man I had been seeing in my dreams, for so long, was me. Those eyes were mine, that face was mine. Every detail was a copy of my real self. He looked sad, despaired and hopeless. I felt all of that inside me and I guess that’s what made me shake so much.

 However, what scared me the most was the fact that I got to see, through his eyes, what he was doing on the laptop. It happens he was writing. It was a short story and it was how, every so often, he had a dream about being someone else, having a much better life than the one he had.

lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

Leap of the mind

   Breathing was not easy. For one moment, less than five seconds, no oxygen had reached Louise’s brain. She was going to hear this a few hours later from Yakuto, the onboard physician. But, somehow, her whole body felt shaken by what had just happened to her. As the hatch closed, telling her she was safe inside the station, she curved into a fetal position and started crying for no apparent reason, or at leas that’s what she thought of it at the moment. She would understand more later on.

 What was on her mind, the most present idea, was the fact that she had just survived a space walk that should have killed her. She had risked too much out there and she knew very well she was going to be scolded by the captain, but she had to make a choice right there, right on the spot, and he didn’t have the balls to take the next step. She, however, did have the balls to do the move that was necessary and she simply did. She took one leap forward and did what she had always trained for.

 Inside the ship, everything was silence. They had advised her not to do what she was going to do, multiple times, once and again and again. Female and male voices coming in trying to shut down her brain but they weren’t enough to shut her up. Her brain, her being was much stronger than the will of others and it was then that she made the choice, the right one, the one that almost killed her but that had also save several lives that now kept on existing thanks to her decision.

 As the machine regulated the pressure and the oxygen levels, Louise took small breaths in and out in order to get her body aligned with the environment. She couldn’t deny she had a massive headache and that she just wanted every single sound to be shutdown immediately. But she tried to relax as much as she could because she was no superhero and she had to accept that some physical malaise had to come with such a risky move. She heard her companions on the door, but she didn’t acknowledge them.

 She closed her eyes and tried to calm her body down and then her brain. But when she tried the latter, she discovered there was something new inside of her head. It was an idea… No, it was more than that. It was something that felt real, as if she could touch it. She tried to clear her mind a little bit more and it was then when the image became clear and she saw the face of a woman. She was a bit blurry still but Louise could easily say she was a very beautiful woman, or maybe just a girl. It was too hard to guess her age but her presence was comforting.

 More banging on the door made her open her eyes and lose the image she had been so concentrated on. She realized she had a couple of tears rolling down her face and there was no way she could clean them because the helmet was still on. When the alarm finally stopped, she removed it and cleaned her face, as the other hatch opened and her friends greeted her, all very happy that she was alive, except maybe the captain who had a very stern look on his face, like a very mad father.

 However, they let her be for a while. They decided not to pester her with questions and doubts. They just helped her to the medical area and there she was injected with a special serum to sleep two Earth hours in a row, without sleeping. The doctor told her it was very necessary for her to take the drug as her body had been pushed too hard and it needed time to fix itself up. She accepted, not because of the pain she felt on her body but because of the image she had seen.

 Every time someone talked to her or she was moved from one side to the other, she remembered the image and the woman on it. She wondered wy her brain would go to someone she didn’t recognize right away just as she was dying. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to know that person. Maybe it was just a random face in the huge amount of faces that had been stocked up insider her memory for so many years. Maybe she was thinking about it too much and she was just being silly.

 The doctor waited a few test results to be fully at ease with the idea of getting her to sleep. In the meantime, several of her teammates visited her and thanked her for her bravery. They explained that some final reparations were being done but that the trip back home was a fact. In hours, they would head to Earth once again and they would all be taken back to their families, to their homes. It was all very exciting for them but not so much for Louise, as she didn’t have anyone to go back to.

 Shortly before she had been accepted into the project, her husband and daughter had been killed in a traffic accident, after a massive truck had slipped on water in the highway. Several people were killed that they but for Louise the only important names were the ones of her husband and child. She had no parents, so she had to bury them alone, practically alone. She had been training that day and felt guilty, as everyone does when something of that caliber just destroys so many lives. She had the option to stay but she just didn’t because that wouldn’t have been her.

 The moment then came when Yokuta injected her with the serum. Her arm felt weird, and then her face and then her torso and other arm. And to her whole body. It felt as if many bugs, thousands of them, had decided to throw a parade on top of her body. And she didn’t mind at all because she was suddenly extremely sleepy. It was a very nice feeling. All her teammates came to see her before she fell asleep but they were there too late: she knew that they were there but couldn’t say a word.

 Her sleep was good. Very calm and beautiful at the start. She had many of those dreams one normally has when in preschool or something. Many beautiful creatures and colors and absolutely magnificent rooms. It was all so perfect that she cried in every single dream she had and she didn’t care at all because it was all made for her. She knew that those worlds were inside of her head, so she took advantage of that and decided to enjoy every single part of the ride.

 However, the woman of her death appeared again. But this time, she wasn’t an image. She moved and spoke. Louise couldn’t really interact with her, but somehow that felt just as good. She heard her sing and then cut some vegetables into boiling water. She was making some kind of big dish. It was obvious she was very happy. The place they were in was very bright so it was difficult to see what it was like. But Louise didn’t mind if it was awful, she was at peace.

 Then, another voice came from somewhere. She knew it was from a man but there was no one to be seen around. Only that woman, that beautiful creature, cooking and laughing and singing. It was so strange and, at the same time, it felt just like something she had seen so many times, lived in even. Louise felt that moment to be just hers and it was then when she realized that only she could have memories about that moment. Because she was an only child and those were her parents.

 They had died so long ago. She had never remembered their faces or their voices. Their home was a memory that had probably died but they were there, incomplete but trying to reach her innermost feelings. It was nice and unsettling at the same time.

 She didn’t need them anymore. She never did. But she thanked space for bringing them back to her. It was because of her brave attitude that she had been given that gift. It assured her that the decision she had made after her tragedy had been the right one. It had been made for all of them.

lunes, 26 de junio de 2017

Camilla's aunt

   The man closest to the window started screaming, slamming the table with his fists, launching to the floor every single piece of the chess game he was playing with a younger man. That one looked like a younger and saner version of the person that was being carried away to his room by two big men in blue uniforms. The kid looked on in disbelief and fear, as his father kicked the air and screamed nonsense. A minute late, it was as if nothing had happened on the room.

 Camilla turned around and looked at her aunt Matilda. She had always had the most beautiful hair in her family: it was long and silky, jet black like the night sky. Her mother told Camilla that she had gotten her hair color from her aunt but that was everything she had that was similar to her aunt. That poor woman was now on a wheelchair and she drooled often, her mother having to clean it from her mouth and lap every few lines of a conversation that was one sided, as Matilda couldn’t talk.

 Her mother had always told Camilla that no one really understood why her aunt had fallen ill like that. As far as she knew, it had happened overnight or after a night fever or something like that. Camilla’s mother liked to invent new realities every time a subject so touchy came up. It was not as if she didn’t wanted to talk about it but rather, her subconscious had created different versions of what had happened to protect her. Her story kept changing every time she was asked about it.

 They stayed in the hospital for ten more minutes, then a nurse came around to tell everyone to leave as visiting hours had finished. Camilla kissed her aunt on the cheek and it was then, in a second, when she saw a flicker of something, probably life, deep inside her aunt’s eyes. Camilla didn’t have any time to respond or to say a word. Her mother took her hand and Camilla just walked until they reached the parking lot. Once inside the car, on the passenger seat, she wondered looking at the sky.

 Once they got home, rain began to fall from the sky, first kindly and then harder. Camilla sat down in front of her computer and started reading about psychiatric disorders and then about the places people like her aunt were put into when no doctors could point out what was wrong. She saw horrible pictures and read awful essays and articles from all over the place and was only interrupted when her nine-year-old brother came to show her that he had caught a toad outside the house. He had spent his day with their father, playing ball in some park.

 Camille humored her brother for a while but then she started thinking about her aunt again. She wondered if Matilda was curious still about the world around her. Would she be interested on a toad if she saw one through her room window or would she just stare, looking at nothing in particular? Then again, she had no idea if her aunt had a window in her bedroom. It was very likely but the place did look old and people never seemed to care a lot about mental health.

 She came up to this conclusion when one her classmates, a girl called Anna, committed suicide back in high school. They still had two more years to go and the poor girl couldn’t take any of it anymore. Camilla felt awful when it happened, as she felt she had never really cared about that particular girl. She knew she couldn’t be friends with every single person but anyway, guilt is like that. Unexplainable and painful. All the girls went to the burial and they all seemed concerned.

 However, the school never really addressed what had happened. They did tell everyone for a couple of days that, if they needed help, they could always go to the school therapist and tell him whatever they needed to say. A couple of girls did go but their problems were much easier to solve than the one that Anna must have had. Camilla tried hard to learn more about her deceased classmate, but she stopped when the mother yelled at her over the phone, calling her a pervert.

 There were all sorts of rumors: Anna was a closeted lesbian or she was a nihilistic teenager that wanted the world to end. Others said she was always on drugs while others blamed alcohol. Camilla even heard a teacher once saying that the girl must have had a secret pregnancy or, even worse, an abortion. But there was nothing to proof any of those theories. They only knew that a girl had died and all of a sudden a world of stories was born, about someone they had never bothered to really know.

 Camilla wondered all night if Anna and Matilda had anything that connected them, besides probable mental issues. She wanted to know more about the subject and she decided, very late at night, that she had to learn about it, no matter what. So the next day, before class, she decided to spend a couple of hours in the university’s library, where a towering amount of scientific book awaited her. She chose three of the ones that seemed less hard to understand and she started reading. About the brain, about the nervous system and about all kinds of psychological theories.

 By the time she came out of the library, her head felt full of information. A headache haunted her for the rest of the day, at class and even after having a generous launch. Her friend Bastian asked her about what was wrong with her but she decided not to tell anyone about her hunt for answers. She didn’t want everyone to look at her as if she was crazy. Because that’s something recurring she learned from the books: people trying to get answers are always labeled as crazy themselves.

 She blamed the headache for her attitude that day and decided to skip the last class, which was always very boring anyway. She did think about going home but, instead, Camilla decided to walk around a little bit. That way, she could avoid answering annoying questions at home about why she was so early at home. She wandered through some parks, a mall and several streets. She never got lost because she knew her way but aunt Matilda was always in her mind. Then, she knew what to do.

 Some twenty minutes later, she was waiting in the same room she had been the day before with her mother. But this time she was by herself, waiting for a male nurse to come with her aunt. She knew her mother was not going to like this visit but she didn’t care. Somehow, she knew that the answers that she was looking for where there, enclosed in one of the many rooms that had been built specially for people like her aunt, absent almost completely from all reality and sense.

 When the male nurse rolled her aunt in and left, Camilla looked straight to Matilda’s eyes and waited. She wanted to know if that glimmer had being something of one day or if signs of inner life could be seen again. Nothing happened. Camilla grab each of her aunt’s hands with her own and then smile at her. Matilda’s skin was a bit rough but she somehow knew she had being stunningly beautiful when she was younger. Her mother had failed to show her pictures of their past.

 Pushed by something, some strange feeling, Camilla went closer to her aunt. Her lips were a few centimeters away from one of her aunt’s ear. She doubted for a second but then asked the question she wanted answered, or at least one of them: “What happened to you?”

 She pulled back and waited. Her aunt’s eyes seemed dead for a moment, but then she saw that flicker again, a spark of life inside her aunt. Then, one word was spoken by Matilda. Camilla had to get closer to hear properly. And when she did, her world was turned upside down.