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

miércoles, 22 de noviembre de 2017

Thanksgiving

   She gave herself one last look in the mirror before grabbing her purse and her jacket. Jackie caressed her cat Milo before heading out into the night, where she would have to get into a cab and then wait inside before arriving and the Thanksgiving dinner she had been invited to only some days earlier. Paul had been kind enough to invite her and she knew they didn’t knew each other that well yet, so his gesture was all the more difficult to understand but welcomed. After all, she was very far from her own family.

Jackie’s new job as an assistant editor had forced her to move out of her small city to a bigger one, where she would have many more opportunities to grow. At first, she had been very reluctant to leave her home but it was her own parents that almost forced her to take that big new step in her life. They had never had the opportunity to do something like that and they wanted her to have everything they hadn’t been able to have in their respective youths. They were going to miss her deeply but it was necessary for her to leave.

 Starting somewhere else she had never being to was difficult the first few months but the amount of work had numbed her response to anything happening around her. Thanksgiving was the first time she was leaving her small rented apartment in order to actually have fun. She would leave everyday really early for work and then head back at night to sleep there. She would cook something as soon as she arrived and pack it for the next day. That was her routine and she was grateful for it because it didn’t require thinking.

 That party, however, did require a lot of it. She had to buy a proper dress, something she didn’t have in her wardrobe, and accessorize it with nice things and, of course, a great hairdo. She bought some fashion magazines to give her a good idea of what girls from the city liked to wear but she felt none of those styles actually fitted her. She was more the kind of staying at home and enjoy a new TV show, rather than going out to a club dancing or something like that. She had to go to several stores before finding a dress she liked.

 The woman that helped her was the one who advised her on which earrings and shoes she should wear with it. Thankfully, some of her own stuff was perfect for it, saving her a big amount of money she wouldn’t have being able to spend, unless she went in debt or something and that was something her parents had warned her against. She also borrowed a neighbor’s jacket, a girl named Olivia who had become her best friend in the city. That was something to say because they didn’t really know each other that well but Olivia had seen Jackie with her dress bag and sad expression and just knew she needed help.

 When she arrived at the venue, a very impressive restaurant on the twentieth floor of a very old and majestic building, Jackie felt she was entering some sort of book. The people tending to the guests were dressed like those butlers that you see on period dramas or something like that. She even smiled when one of them offered her a glass of champagne, which she accepted trying to fit in. She suddenly felt a little bit out of her element and tried to look for her friend all around. But the place was fairly big.

 The venue was like a palace inserted into a building. There were long and luxurious stairs that separated two floors, both of which had different rooms were people could stand up or sit down, have a drink or dance around if they wanted. No loud music thought. There was a live band playing some modern songs but in such a way it seemed the whole place had been transported magically back to the 1950’s. It was a very nice atmosphere but also a bit uncomfortable for Jackie, who wasn’t used to something like that.

 Her friend Leslie appeared from behind. He was a tall, very white and lanky man, who worked in the technical area of the magazine. He was the one who made it possible for the editor to make a digital edition to be on display for all of those women, and some men, who paid for the magazine online. He was one of the first people that invited Jackie to have lunch with him when she arrived, stating that he had always been the lonely kid in school and would have never wanted to have someone feel like that if he could do something about it.

 They laughed for a while before talking about the food and drinks and how fantastic the place was. Leslie explained that the place was owned by a very old club, which had been created by his grandmother many years ago. He didn’t say a word, but it was obvious his family was very wealthy. He tried to make it all seem like if it was something everyone could experience but Jackie soon realized that wasn’t the case at all. Elitist was maybe a very strong word but it would be appropriate for the situation.

 Leslie took her by the arm and carried hair up the stairs, to a room all decorated in gold and some red elements. There, she was presented to his family. Leslie’s mother Corinne was a very nice lady that was obviously not used to such luxury either. The young woman soon deduced it was her husband who had been born into wealth and not her. It was not only the way she spoke and moved but also the things that she didn’t do. Jackie liked her from the first moment and so did Corinne, who had never really liked any of her son’s friends because of their way of behaving in public.

 Helen, Leslie’s grandmother, was someone very different. She sat on a big chair and didn’t move too much. It wasn’t like she couldn’t walk or something like that. It was obvious that she wanted everyone to be around her and to be, to an extent, the center of everyone’s attention during her time in the event, which was actually short for being such a matriarch. The moment dinner was served in a very large table, she disappeared. Jackie asked about her whereabouts but no one answered. It was her thing.

 It wasn’t until much later in the evening when Jackie met Leslie’s father. He had just arrived from a very long flight, claiming he had taken a limousine straight from the airport to be able to share some time with his family. His wife was happy to see him but Leslie had a very different response. Jackie could tell he just stopped himself from joking around as he usually did and he became this stiff man that couldn’t almost speak a word. It was a very unsettling thing to see.

 And George, his father, was not at all an intimidating man. He was actually very charming; enchanting everyone present with some stories about his trip to Asia and the people he met there. He also told some jokes but many of them did not find an audience with Jackie. Maybe she was too oblivious or the content just went over her head. But the most likely reason was she was trying to make Leslie speak, with little to no success. He really seemed to have become a human icicle.

 Then, out of nowhere, a member of the staff came in rushing into the dining room, straight for Leslie’s father. He spoke in a very low register and fast enough no one could really understand what he was saying, not even Jackie who was fairly close. Whatever he was talking about, it was very serious because George’s expression went from utter joy to a very grim expression that drained all color from his face. The staff member left and George’s father stood up, trying to make people calm down.

 He announced, in a very deep voice, that his mother had just passed away in her apartment “upstairs”. He apologized for ending the evening, but the circumstances were very unique. Everyone stood up and headed to the lobby, to pick up their belongings.


 Leslie was still like a stone but he seemed to move his eyes, which was an improvement. Jackie wanted to stay with him but Corrine personally put Jackie’s neighbor’s jacket on her back and joined her outside where a cab was already waiting. She didn’t even have a moment to talk or think.

miércoles, 13 de septiembre de 2017

Claudia's new life

   Rain had fallen all night long, forming little ponds all around the house. As it was surrounded with dirt, the water had converted the landscape into a horrible mixture of mud and overgrown foliage. However, the weather had improved over the morning, which Claudia took as a permission to go outside and check on her beloved plants. Normally, she would have carried all the pots inside before the tempest but that storm had come in such a way, no one had predicted it to land just there, on Hownhall.

 The small town still preserved much of its architecture and every year one of them was chosen as the prettiest in the entire county. The contest was only a month away and Claudia had a lot to do to make her estate be at its most perfect. She had already won the prize for two consecutive years and she planned to do so for the remainder of her life. Being seventy six years of age, she knew that wasn’t much of a time window but it was something to put her mind into.

 Her husband Jim had died only two years prior and that same year she decided to enter the contest. She had loved the man for many years, but he wasn’t the type to like a lot of people in the house. They would spend entire days enclosed in there, reading and not talking. To Claudia, that was torture. She liked when the children visited and brought the kids but Jim had always dreaded those visits because he had never really being into children, which explained why their own had such a tense relationship with him.

 So when he died, Claudia decided to do something that made her feel alive and still willing to contribute something to society and to herself. She got the idea from the weekly newsletter written by several women of the county. They were a small group that gathered often in the town’s main square and discussed the many ways that they had at hand to improve their lives and the coziness of the region. They loved their part of the country and wanted everyone to know about it.

 So once she entered the contest, Claudia decided to simply be the best at it. She went out of her way to get the most beautiful flowers ever seen, which she bought from people that did walks on the remote mountains and in areas that were difficult to access. Practically no one else had all of that in front of their house, so it certainly gave her an edge. The other detail was that, when she was much younger, Claudia had learned a lot about design from her deceased brother Remus, who had been one of the top designers in the capital, a great artist in every way.

 As she prepared once again for the contest, stomping the mud and cleaning all the leaves and overgrown branches of the trees, Claudia heard some rumble in the house that was closest to her. As she lived in the outskirts of the small town, only one other house was close to hers and it hadn’t been inhabited since before Jim had died. An older couple had lived there for years but they had both died and no one had ever come to reclaim the property. However, that was about to change.

 Claudia continued to use her gardening tools but she moved slowly towards her fence, from where she could easily see the entrance of the other house. There was a moving van in front of the gate and two men dressed in couple carried boxes into the house. More voices came from there but Claudia couldn’t really hear much more than the typical noise people make when moving things around. Later, she was tired of not seeing anything and decided to leave work for the day.

 At night, the woman would always make herself a hot cup of chocolate, with some small marshmallows to enjoy in front of her favorite dramas. Jim had never really liked sweet foods or drinks, so now she enjoyed them continuously. Her doctor had told Claudia that she should measure her consumption of sugar a little bit but seeing she was and older person, he also told her it wouldn’t be wise to cut on any food. So she didn’t and decided to treat herself every night.

 A powerful revelation on her soap was obscured by a scream, a loud and powerful scream coming from the neighbor’s house. Claudia didn’t got up from her armchair. She clicked on the “mute” button of her remote and tried to hear something else. It was possible at her age to imagine noises, so it wasn’t really that scary. But then, a weaker scream was heard. She decided to stay still and think what the best response would be. Seconds later, she was calling the police.

 Granted, the police always took a while to arrive. Such a small town did not have a police force to help people in need. They came from another county, which made their trip around twenty minutes. Claudia did not hear another scream during that time. She didn’t stand up either. She didn’t want to get so involved in the matter. She just wanted to clarify what happened because maybe her neighbors were simply loud people and she wanted them to know early on that she was not going to stand up for that. She had learned to be like that from Jim.

 A young female officer and an older male officer arrived exactly twenty minutes after the call had been made. Apparently it was still raining in their part of the country because they were drenched. Claudia did not let them inside her house and simply repeated what she had heard that night. The officer looked at each other and they decided to investigate. She knew they had decided not to believe her but that didn’t matter. Anything to live at peace in her home.

 She entered the kitchen as they left, preparing them some tea. It was a nice custom to give a beverage to people that came to help. True, she wasn’t going to let them get the floor all wet, especially after seeing their boots live a trail of prints on her property. But she had to be gracious and look as if she was accepting of everyone. Claudia clearly wasn’t, as she had been prejudiced for a long time, in part because of her husband but also because of her very conservative upbringing.

 Actually, she had noticed that the policewoman was not from those parts, or at least her parents weren’t. According to what she saw on TV, she knew it was wrong to feel that way about people but she couldn’t help it. It was as if something manipulated her from inside her head. She tried to change her ways but, in the end, it didn’t work. So she simply did what she had done with her husband for so many years: she kept her mouth shut and didn’t get into “difficult” business.

 The police officers came back in a matter of minutes. However, the man ran to the police car, not saying a word to Claudia. The young woman entered the house without being properly invited, grabbed the phone on the living room and started dialing. As she waited for someone to answer, Claudia was livid: there was mud all over the entrance and on the beautiful white carpets. They were ruined. She looked outside and saw, in horror, that they had broken a pot with gorgeous roses when coming back to the house.

 Claudia did not hear when the policewoman alerted her precinct that a double murder had taken place. She didn’t hear the gruesome details, of how the wife had been decapitated and how the husband had been found without his genitalia.


 The older woman only cared about her contest, about her little world. And it was all thrown to the abyss because of that silly murder. She was so enraged at the matter that she decided to find out who had killed the couple by herself. It couldn’t be more difficult than her topsy-turvy life.

miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

That's who she is

   Ms. Maurier had always lived in the same neighborhood. She had been born almost seventy years ago in the local hospital and now she lived in one of the many high rises that had been built after the war. The idea was that people should live closer to the core of the cities, thus limiting how much a city could actually grow. Many of the sight that were around when she was a young girl, were nowhere to be seen anymore. The building in which she had lived with her husband had been recently demolished.

 With the money she had received from the city, Ms. Maurier was able to pay for her new home and some other things that she had always wanted to have but had not being able to buy because of her husband. She had loved him dearly but he could be a bit of a bore at times. He didn’t like loud music or a lot of noise in the movies. He just liked peace and quiet. She had no idea if it was because he had worked as a security inspector in a local warehouse, but now she was able to enjoy life a bit more.

 Of course, she felt guilty for the first few months. Then, she realized her husband would have loved her to be happy after he died, so she went to one of the largest stores in the area and bought all the latest appliances in video and sound. A group of very nice men and women came one morning to set it all up for her. She talked with them and made some fresh scones with tea for them, when they were done. Once they left, she started reading the instructions and enjoying her new space.

 In seconds, she had every single movie, TV series and documentary ever produced at hand. She started watching that same day and she laughed profusely once she realized the time for lunch had been quite a while ago. She decided to change things further by asking for something on her new devices. A pizza was her choice and it arrived just in time to watch the last episode of a soap opera she had followed years ago but had not seen the ending too because of their TV breaking down.

 She enjoyed her meal, even though she had never really liked pizza, and she went to bed rather late with a smile on her face. She thought of her Richard, her husband, when entering the bed. She never really understood why he was so uptight and dry in so many ways. He was a proper gentleman and had always been the best husband she could have ever wanted. He was good provider and a kind soul. But he was boring, every single day of his life. Always doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time. He was like a clock, always hitting the same marks.

 When she woke up the next day, Ms. Maurier decided it was time to broaden her world a little bit longer. Although her new experiences with appliances had gone great, she wanted to explore the world outside of her neighborhood.  She walked to the train station and waited for one going towards the beach, which was located far into the city’s suburbs. She smiled every second, waiting for the machine to arrive.

 It pulled over smoothly and Ms. Maurier stepped in carefully. She had always seen the trains filled up to the roof in TV and on the news, so she wanted to be prepared for the chaos. But what she found was a beautiful place, all clean and sparkly of how white it was. It had big windows that curved and gave a great view of what was outside. Even the voice announcing the stations sounded kind and much like a long forgotten friend. She sat down and enjoyed the ride, looking around, like a little girl.

 Most people were working. That was the reason she found for the train and the stations being so empty. She stepped outside on the last stop of the line and when she crossed into the boardwalk, a potent beam of light received her. It was the sun that was just poking his potent mass from behind a large cloud. It had been a strange moment but she had liked the fact that the weather seemed to be welcoming her into that new world she was visiting. It was scary so the light made it less so.

 The boardwalk was also very clean and from there the ocean could be see in its entire splendor. The waves were soft and small, no real wind blowing over the sand. Not many people were enjoying the weather, except from a woman and her children a few couples that seemed to be more interested in kissing their partners than in watching the majestic thing that was the sea. It’s color had never been seen by that older woman who was about to cry for it was much more than she had imagined.

 She immediately ran towards the sea and didn’t really care if she looked insane or not. She couldn’t care less about that. Ms. Maurier had never seen the ocean and it was an experience that had just changed her perception of life. It was too much to process but, even so, she wanted to enjoy every single second of her encounter with nature. She hadn’t put on a swimsuit or anything. She hadn’t even grabbed anything besides her purse and an umbrella. But she realized she didn’t need anything. She removed her coat and scarf and started enjoying the place she was in. It was perfect and she realized she would have loved someone to share that moment with.

 Richard had never wanted to go to the beach or anywhere else for the matter. They didn’t have a honeymoon because they knew a baby was coming home soon and they just wanted to provide the best for the little one. She had loved the baby so much, since her doctor had told her about him, that she didn’t even cared about not being able to travel or move a lot for months. She wanted to be a mother, to be the one to take care of that new life and just have a happy family with her husband.

Things went on as such for several months until Ms. Maurier fainted in the kitchen one morning, while making her husband his favorite dish for breakfast. He took her to the hospital right away, the same she had been born in. She was in a room for hours and hours, no one talking to him or telling him even two words. Finally, a doctor approached her and explained that his wife experienced a miscarriage. That morning, their baby had died right in their home.

 She thought of them while looking at the ocean and she thought that maybe, just maybe, Richard had always been rather cold because of the abortion. It’s not like he had been the life of the party before that but he did have traits of someone else in him, a rebellious and interesting soul that had things to say, even if they weren’t many. That person, who she had fallen in love with, disappeared right after she went back home from the hospital and he was never seen again.

 Cleaning a tear from her cheek, she thought that it was possible that her husband had lost his feelings for her after that event. She knew she had changed and it was fair to say she had changed too. She felt empty and a failure. Ms. Maurier never told anyone, doctors or family, about a couple of suicide attempts she had committed the year after she had lost her child. She had to endure it all by herself and now she was looking at the sea, trying to stop the tears from coming down her face.

 A young vendor appeared nearby and she bought a freshly squeezed lemonade from him. It had the right amount of sweetness and it was just enough to pull her spirits up. It brought a smile to her face again. She only stayed there for a bit longer.


 Back home, she went to bed early, with no dinner on her stomach. She just wanted to rest and not think for a few more hours. But her life decided to haunt her that evening. She couldn’t handle it. So she stepped out of bed, turned on the TV and put on a comedy movie. That was Ms. Maurier.

viernes, 12 de mayo de 2017

Singing

   She was in a city she had never been in before. But Claudia didn’t mind at all. She couldn’t pay attention to anything else. Her turn on stage was scheduled in about two hours and she was very nervous.  In the car, she looked at her hands frequently and sang her song in her head, repeating it over and over, in order to prevent any accident to happen. Her hands were already a little bit sweaty and she knew her makeup had to be retouched once they got to the arena, which would be in just some minutes.

 Her agent looked at her and told her she didn’t have any reason to be nervous. The contest she was in was crowded with first timers and Claudia was all but that. She had been singing since she was a little girl and hadn’t stop for a moment. Her first public appearance at a singer had been in a local state fair, back when she was only five years old. Even then, people fell in love with her voice and the magnificent range she had. Many people thought her voiced was tricked or something.

 But that wasn’t the case. That little detail made her instantly well known among the people of her town as well as some others in the vicinity. That was the beginning of her singing career and year and years of investment in a voice that was very particular but incredible subtle too. People just loved it and she made the effort, every single time, to make the best out of every single concert she had. But, somehow, this contest seemed to really make her nervous, beyond anything she had felt before.

 The day she entered the contest, she didn’t really feel she was going to get the spot. After all, many other young singers wanted to be there. The trials for the event were very harsh and it was the first time Claudia was authentically scared for her voice, the reason being she was using it almost everything, without any rest whatsoever. Thankfully, she was able to sing the day she was chosen to be in the contest. The very next day, she decided not to talk for a while in order to preserve her voice.

 The car finally arrived to the arena, entering an underground parking lot and stopping just in front a big door and a woman holding a notebook. She was the one verifying everything was all right. She checked their papers and then told them where to go next: the assigned changing room where Claudia would have the chance to dress up for her performance. She had brought a very nice dress that her mother and father had bought for her just after they received the news of their daughter participating in the festival. The dress was just perfect and so were her parents.

 She thought of them as she put on the dress, which was blue with many sparkles all around. The outfit came with a pair of earrings and a necklace, both made of silver. They had once being the property of her grandmother, another woman in her family that had been known for her amazing voice but did not have the chance to sing professionally. Partly because she decided to have a family before a career, but also because she had to suffer a lot and singing was not a priority.

 Claudia, on the other hand, realized she had never really suffered anything. The irony was in that her song was about exactly that. So she felt a little bit like a hypocrite. So bad she felt, that she decided to try and change the song chosen to be performed in the contest. But it was impossible to change her entry at that late point in the process. She had to sing what she had decided to sing in the beginning, no matter if she liked it or not. She had to look inside herself a connection to the song.

 Many people think that’s bullshit. They think that an artist can just speak about whatever subject they want and there won’t be any trouble and all. But that’s not true. If you don’t feel the subject that you’re going to be handling, there’s a big chance you won’t be able to deliver. An artist is supposed to shake you to the core, by making you realize things about yourself that you didn’t even know about. No matter what art for it is, people expect to be moved in one or the other.

That was the problem that Claudia had with the song and she had to really learn the lyrics and understand the meaning in order to find her unique connection to the song. It took her several weeks to connect to it but she finally made it. The improvement of her performance was notable. Before, it just seemed she was a very good singer, doing a nice job with a random song. But after properly exploring it, her voice and the lyrics appeared to turn in the whirlwind of emotions, pure heart.

 That’s why she always cried after each performance of the song. She did it all the rehearsals and she did it the night she was chosen to be in the contest. And she will probably do it there again because that was the connection that she had created to her song. She thought about all of this looking at the mirror, once she was fully dressed for her presentation. The first performer of the night was already singing and now she had to go and stand in line for her turn to come. It was nerve-cracking and every other singer there looked worried, none of them tried to hide it.

 Thankfully, she was in the middle of a thirty people group. So she didn’t have to wait a long time to sing but she wasn’t thrown into the stage too fast either. She just sang the song inside her head over and over and tried not to look at the other competitors. Claudia also tried to tune out the voice of the person singing at the moment, which was very difficult because only a thick curtain separated the singers on the line from the one performing on stage. It was a rush of energy.

 Finally, her turn came. She walked slowly towards the microphone, that way prevent herself to trip or step on her dress or something. She controlled her breathing and closed her eyes the moment she arrived on the spot she had to be in. She had to wait for her music to begin and that seemed to take years. Of course, they were only a few seconds but it seemed forever then. She even had time to think about her parents, the only people she really cared about in the whole world.

 The music began and her voice began flowing out of her body, filling every single part of the enormous stage and beyond. People looked at her ecstatic but she didn’t looked at the audience. She was singing to herself and to her parents, looking up, to a point far away into the bright lights that bathed her with a bluish light. Her arms moved, her legs were in tension and her chest was doing a lot of the work. But everything went perfect, even better than expect. When she finished, she cried once again.


 The cheers and screams and expressions of joy from the audience were just overwhelming. Everyone seemed to love her song, her voice and her performance. She had really managed to make the song her own and now, even if she wasn’t able to win the contest, it didn’t matter. She had proven to herself what she was capable of and that was something she had not expected to learn there. She had just come to sing and she pulled away from the stage having changed as a person and a singer.