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

lunes, 16 de octubre de 2017

Two Theresa's

   Theresa had just come out of the asylum. She wasn’t supposed to call it that but she found it was better to call things by their name. She had been there for five months, after suffering a very serious mental breakdown in her office. Thing had been thrown, insults had been hurled and the police had to be called to stop her from hurting more people. Things had really gone badly that day and she had to accept, in front of a judge, the condition of getting help in the insane asylum.

 Her stay there had been largely uneventful, except for the screams she had to hear every single night, that prevented her from sleeping like a normal person. Besides that, she had to go to the shrink every single day, for an hour, and also to group therapy once a week. It was a lot of talking, of listening and of showing others how she felt and looking at people hurting from their pasts or presents. It was kind of tiring at the beginning, but it eventually became part of the routine.

 Same happened with the meds. Her doctor had assigned a certain prescription to her at first, but then it was change several times during her stay in the asylum. The things she had to take, with a little sip of water, kept getting stronger. She had begun losing grip of reality. After having a crisis in her cell, she decided to leave the meds and just pretend she was taking them. It wasn’t easy because they checked everyone afterwards, but she was able to make one of her new friends take them.

 The first week she spent outside of the asylum, she realized how mean that had been. Making someone unstable taker her meds could have been potentially destructive for said person and maybe even for herself. However, she knew that those chemicals would have never helped her at all. She just needed to get away from everything, she needed silence and calm, as well as some time away from everything that bothered her, starting with her job and her family. In short, she needed some sort of holiday.

 That’s why she liked to tell people that her stay in the asylum had been uneventful, just something he had to do in order to please the society that had deemed her unfit to be in society. She tried to fake her hatred of the system and decided to get a job that wouldn’t be as stressful as the one she had before. Over two months after her release, Theresa was able to get employed in a flower shop, taking care of the plants and also attending costumers when the owner wasn’t around. It was a very calm environment, perfect for her. Free of stress and fear.

 However, her family was still around maybe even more than before. Theresa had tried hard to make them understand she needed time for herself, in order to get well again. But they didn’t care about that at all. They were too busy thinking about how others would perceive them. Her mother had many friends all over the city and she had even received some gossip about her own daughter that Theresa just refused to discuss. She had no need or urge to comment on any of it with her mother.

 Her father had been dead for a couple of years and her mother and siblings would always say, when she was around, that it was better that way in order for her not to shame the family name and her father’s prestige in front of the rest of the community. They behaved as if they were kings and queens or something very similar. It was a relief when Donna, the owner of the flower shop, asked her to go for a short period of time to the small town from where she received the flower shipments.

 Apparently, they had been having problems with some of the plants and they needed to get them in line because Valentine’s Day was coming soon and that was their big day of the year for sales. Theresa had shown so much interest in the business and in the plants as themselves, that Donna thought it would be perfect to send her to represent the company. She would have to visit several plantations and tell them exactly what they were looking for, in order to improve sales and wealth for everyone involved.

 She accepted the moment Donna proposed her plan to her. She left a week later, without telling her family or anyone else. She just grabbed a suitcase and hopped on the bus. She arrived there and discovered how beautiful real nature was, how calm really looked and how people lived without so much tension from urban life. She hadn’t realized how her rough lifestyle had been an important factor in the development of her emotional crisis. City life almost killed her.

 When she arrived, Theresa was supposed to stay up to three weeks in the town, travelling to other parts of the region every day. However, she ended up staying more than two months. She only came back to help Donna with all the craziness of Valentine’s Day. Once the season ended, she went back to the countryside. No one ever knew what she did there but the truth was that she had been hired to do the same thing she did in the flower shop. The only difference was that she did it in the open; with real sunlight caressing her skin and that was priceless.

 Her family looked for her through email, mobile and telephone, but they never got to her because she had taken a step back from most of the things the modern world could offer. She visited an Internet café once a week to read some news and chat with Donna and other friends, but that was mostly it for her technological life. Most days were spent in the fields, sweating from early morning to sundown. It was hard work but she loved feeling so tired that no thoughts ran through her mind.

 She would be the first person to wake up, feed the chickens and pigs and then help in the field, doing whatever they asked her to do. She loved tending to roses, sunflowers and dahlias, but she would also work on a potato plantation and picking strawberries and grapes. It was always changing but it was good money for only one person. She eventually got to save enough to have her own little house, from were she could travel by foot to any of her jobs, no matter what she had to do.

 Before her breakdown she had been one of those women that never touched anything without a real necessity. She had a chauffeur to pick her up from her meetings and then take her back home or to the office. She had a maid to cook for her and two assistants that helped her much more than she would admit to. She would be very cold to all of them. Cold wouldn’t be the word as she was never outright mean, she just wasn’t one of those people that liked to hang out with others.

 Looking back at her past, she thought that woman in her memories was someone she couldn’t really recognize. That woman, through some sort of creep psychological magic, had been locked away in the asylum, with all the other crazy people. She was a danger to herself and others and it had been quite a difficult task to get rid of her. Because, before anything else, Theresa had to realize how bad everything was before taking the road to a better life, which is exactly what she did.

 Eventually, she met someone she was able to fall in love with. He was the first person there, in the countryside, to know who she had been and how much she had changed. He praised her for that and acknowledged her might every day of their life together.

 As for her mother and siblings, they kept trying to reach her but she never went back to the city. She just wrote them a letter telling them how her life was now much better than before and she had no need to go back to a place so toxic for her.

martes, 12 de julio de 2016

The tribe

   Once outside the darkness of he cave, the two men collapsed to the ground, exhausted. They had been lost for day, wondering in the dark, putting their hands on the foulest places. They had to be intelligent with their very small rations and their use of light. They had to flashlights that work on kinetic energy and one more that ran on normal batteries. That last one had depleted its energy in a single day. The others two had been of great help, even if the two men were not really strong at the moment.

 A couple of days latter, they woke up in a hut. They felt a strong smell near their noses and realized it was and indigenous woman, much older that they were, putting a bowl with some green paste inside beneath their nose. They didn’t want to be rude, but their reaction was to throw the bowl to the wall and crawl to the wall. It was then when they realized they had various cuts on the skin, plus many other bruises.

 Of course, they didn’t understand what she said but, somehow, she did seem to understand what they said. Maybe it was some kind of magic or maybe it was just an impression but in the following days, the two men regained their health and felt even better than before. They spent their days doing nothing until a man and a woman, also native to the jungle, came for them. Apparently, from what they could make of it, their nurse thought it was time for them to leave her and go back to civilization.

 The process was not immediate. They stayed with the tribe of the man and the woman for what seemed like a month. They didn’t speak their language wither, but that wasn’t necessary. Hands and body language was enough to communicate the most basic ideas so, in a matter of days, they were able to understand one another.

 Richard, who was the oldest of the two lost men, began to be interested in the ways of the jungle people, believing it to be very interesting how they use scorpion and spider venom to dip their arrows in and then hunt all of their meals. Apparently, the venom could be washed away from the flesh of the fallen animals and it wouldn’t affect one bite of a meal. He was very impressed by their agility and cunning too, as they seem no to be scared, in any moment.

 Lucas, the young one of the couple of rescued men, was not as interested in the hunting techniques as he was interested in the woman that had came for them to the old woman’s house. He had no idea of what her name was but he knew he loved her curves, her bright black hair, her big brown eyes and her full lips the color of strawberries. He couldn’t stop watching her everyday, even when she was doing her other chores such as cooking or helping the children of the tribe.

 Richard learned fast about their ways of hunting and in no time he was doing it himself, being able to bring a full-grown wild boar for dinner. Apparently, such a kill was a very uncommon occurrence as they tribe decided to hold a feast in their honor for their bravery and exemplary behavior. The natives had never seen foreign men before but they rather thought that Richard and Lucas had been sent by their gods to help them in times of need. That boar was not special. What was special was the fact that they hadn’t had anything decent to eat for a while.

 Every woman, man and child thanked the two of them and they rapidly learn some words that night, after they had heard them being repeated once and again and again. The celebration was topped off by the taking of a very powerful alcoholic beverage made from a mx of fruits the indigenous people picked up from all over the jungle. Richard was unsure about drinking it but Lucas did it in order to impress the woman he liked. It worked, as she thought he was brave for doing it.

 They both paid their bravery with three full days of chronic diarrhea and hallucinations. Richard had taken less than Lucas, but he too started seeing things once he got away of the village in order not to bother the others with his awful state. He would see his wife, his son and his parents. He had forgotten about them and maybe they had forgotten about him too. There, kneeling on the ground, he saw the image of his wife hugging and making love to another man. He also saw his little boy all grown up, turned into a man that was the opposite of what he had been. And his parents, dead for a long time.

 Lucas had it worse. He vomited and soiled himself several times. The woman he loved attended to him as his nurse and she feared the worst because he had really taken a lot of the beverage and she believed the messengers of the gods probably weren’t as tough in the stomach as the natives were. She did her best to keep him with them, helping him with cold water and prayer.

 He saw his family too. He didn’t have a wife and children but he did have friends, all of whom were giving him their back. He saw them saying how horrible of a person eh was and how disappointed they were of him. They also said that they had always thought he was a fake, always pretending to be something he wasn’t, always trying to be one step ahead of everyone to seem cool or whatever but he wasn’t. He heard the laughter louder and louder and he wanted to scream and pull off his skin to stop feeling the pain all over his body.

 After a while, their condition disappeared. The day Richard woke up from his visions, he was taken to a nearby river with freezing water. The shaman of the tribe made him swim in that water and when he was out, everyone cheered. Apparently, he had achieved another level in his status among them and he was proud of himself. However, he now had his family on his mind, calling for him from a distance. They were probably thinking he had died by now but he needed them to know he was a changed man, man that could make their family so much better now.

 He waited until Lucas came out of his sickness. He helped him out of the cold water in the river and then spoke to him alone, in a hut they had built only for them. It was the first time in a while that they were alone and that they spoke their language. Richard wanted Lucas to know he appreciated having a companion through this ordeal but that he had realized, thanks to the beverage, that he had responsibilities and that he had to fulfill them.

 Even being younger, Lucas understood what Richard was telling him but he also announced something: thanks to the visions, he had realized he needed to stay there with the tribe. He had seen his present and his past but also a glimpse of the future and he knew that the only real happiness that he could take away in this world was there, with the natives in the jungle. Even more, he had already decided to ask for the hand of his nurse in marriage, as he loved her deeply.

 The next day, Richard wanted to announce his intentions to the tribe but here was no need. They all knew what he was going to do and they had prepared a feast for him, to send him on his way. There was no psychotropic beverage this time, rather plenty of meat and some provisions he could take for his long way home. On a leaf, the shaman explained to him how to get to the nearest town from where he could possibly reach civilization.

 He thanked all of them and bid farewell to all of them, both in his language and in theirs. They were moved by this kindness and by the fact he hugged Lucas as a son, even if he wasn’t. He was thankful for his help and his support in the most difficult times, both in the jungle and in the cave. There were things that were a secret between them and Richard knew he could trust Lucas with all those revealed secrets.

 As he went away, the native nurse came to Lucas and said a few words by his ear. Somehow, he understood. That same night, they got married in the most beautiful ceremony the tribe had seen in a while. Everyone was happy, well-fed and very good health. The gods had really sent them. But for Lucas it was them, the tribe, that were the real saviors, making him realize what his life was and how to make it into something better, for him and the world.

jueves, 5 de marzo de 2015

The Other One

   I just couldn’t confront what I had done. The morning I woke up there, I felt wrong, guilty and even filthy. I wanted to leave that place so fast and never return again. How should I have know that only days later I would have to go back there, practically against my will.

 There was no need to say “goodbye” to him. After all, we didn’t really know each other that well or, at least, that’s what I prefer to think. I never let anyone too close and I have my reasons for that. No, I have no idea who he really is and I’m not interested in finding out more than I already know, more than I have too.

 You see, we were celebrating our promotions with other people of the office. We went to his place because it seemed cheaper to buy some bottles from the store and go there and have a great time. And we did. I hadn’t been that happy for a long time and I fucking deserved that promotion. I had worked hard and so had he and Laura, my best friend there. The three of us had been in charge of a certain project and we had done so great that our boss decided to grant us a very well deserved promotion. We would make more money and we would have nice new offices.

 Almost everyone was happy for us because they knew how hard it had been for us to have the job and then to be good and make such a project a big reality. We were admired and that’s why many people came to Joe’s place. Of course, it was free booze and we ordered some pizzas and I even made some cookies, already a bit tipsy. Lots of cinnamon in them... We had a blast but something that I hadn’t realized happened in a second, in blinking of an eye.

 I had gone to clean my hands after spilling some vodka on the floor and cleaning it. I had been looking at the mirror, any trace of alcohol apparently retreating, when I realized the door was half open and there he was. Joe I mean. He asked me if I was ok and I nodded and told him I was having a great time and that I felt sorry for spilling vodka. He seemed shy or distant, jus strange because he had never really been shy during our work together. And we had stayed up late in the office. He even took me home sometimes.

 But then, in that bathroom, there was a tension only broken by a girl who entered in haste and decided to vomit too close to my shoes. I jumped back just in time to retire from the “splash zone” and decided to rejoin the party, forgetting about my encounter with Joe. Well, until the party ended that is. Laura, her boyfriend and I stayed behind to help Joe clean up the place. When there were only glasses to throw and small things to put in place, Laura and her boyfriend left.

 As I cleaned up with Joe, there was this awful silence. It was even more ominous because there was no sound from the street, being three o’clock of the morning. Not a single soul walked the street below and I started talking to him about that, how empty and lonely the city looked when you stayed up until late. He agreed, saying it was worse in the suburbs, whereas in downtown or other commercial areas people were still roaming around. We talked about different things and decided to have one last drink. We both consumed it fast and, as I recuperated from the strength of the beverage, I realized he had his hands on my waist.

 Needless to say that we kissed and I didn’t resist. I hadn’t had any physical contact of that kind with anyone for years and I wasn’t going to refuse any act of kindness towards my body. Some minutes later we were in his room and we had sex. I was about to say we made love but that’s impossible, because I wasn’t in love with him. As I said before, I barely knew him. What I can say is I had a great time with him in that room because, never mind the alcohol, I can still remember every thing that happened.

 I felt guilty the following morning, very early, because I realized something I had forgotten the night before: Joe was engaged. She worked in the company but in another department. I had seen her a couple of times: stunning body, nice face, very kind and joyful. Joyful is not my kind of thing but it looked good on her. She was a knockout and I had heard many guys in the office had tried to date her prior to Joe but that was long before I had begun my work there.

 My pants were on the floor, my underwear on a chair, my socks in my shoes… Once I had everything on and my cellphone and backpack, I just left trying to be as silent as a mouse. I couldn’t look, for some reason, to the doorman to the face. He greeted me but I felt he knew, somehow. I felt the same thing all the way home, on the bus and on the sidewalk, just walking before finally entering my place, where my cat awaited me because he was very hungry.

 I fed him and decided to sleep properly after that. Sleep came fast and so did dreams in which I met Joe again and kissed him passionately in front of his girlfriend. In the dream, she just accepted it and left without saying a word. I woke up even more tired that I had been at arrival. Thank God it’s Saturday, I thought. I decided to stay in my home and just eat and watch TV. No one interrupted me, except Laura that called me to know if I had gotten home all right. Laura had been my friend of many years and the one that got me the job. I owe honesty to her.

 She was surprised at me but even more surprised at Joe. Everyone knew the news that he was going to marry the gorgeous girl of the office and the fact that Laura reminded me of that was awful. She then questioned Joe harshly, stating that if he was sleeping with others, it surely meant he had done it before with other girlfriends and that he was not “husband” material, despite what everyone thought.

 I let her speak. She didn’t stop for a long time and I didn’t say a word. She’s right about it all. But then I recall the way he touched and kissed me. I have had one-night stands before and I know how they go down. People are just sexual in those moments, like animals. But Joe had not been like that with me. Or so I felt… Maybe I was just trying to think about it in a good light instead of really remembering it for what it was. Maybe I’m just too eager to be the one they stay with instead being the one they sleep with.

After hanging up with Laura, I recalled my history of casual sex and concluded that, without a doubt, there was something unique about this time. I had never stayed behind to sleep, which had been a first. Although the alcohol might have knocked me out before I could even think about leaving. But that wasn’t a fair statement because almost every time I had had casual sex, I had done it with alcohol involved. It was making me crazy, for sure. Thinking about him and about his perfect girlfriend. I decided, for the sake of my mind, to stop thinking about it. Or at least, I tried.

 The next Monday was a nightmare. I felt all eyes on me, even when people were just coming to me to congratulate me about the new job. Even my boss thought I hadn’t liked the new office, my face all sad and dreary. I really tried to fake happiness a bit during lunch but that was a tremendous failure and even Laura was looking at me every time, like checking if I was going to screw up.

The hardest part was meeting Joe in a conference room and talking to him for an hour about our next project. If he had any worries, he was very good at faking them because he looked very relaxed all the time, even laughing, telling some jokes and looking at me directly into my eyes, which felt awful. It was the guilt, for sure, that grew even larger when his girlfriend opened the door at the end of the meeting and kissed him on the lips.

 Suddenly I felt so jealous of her. I hated her right there. I could have put my hand around her neck and choke her or at least grab that beautiful glossy hair and pull it hard all around the room. But all that only happened in my head. I left with Laura and she grabbed my hand. Visibly, she knew that he hadn’t gotten to me. Or maybe it wasn’t him as such but the fact that someone had being so nice to me, even if it had been only sexually, and know that possibility vanished.

 I decided not to let that get the best of me. The next day I decided to focus on my career and in honoring my new post in the office. From day one, I was on top of everything and people noticed it and suddenly I stopped thinking about Joe. I even dated a couple of guys after that, none successful relationships but nice people so I didn’t care. It was a surprise however when, the day Joe and the girl were suppose to get married, he called me and acknowledged all that had happened that night. And then he said the most hurtful word I’ve ever heard.

-       I still think about you.