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

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.

miércoles, 19 de abril de 2017

My choice

   Everything had to be done properly and n the most orderly fashion possible. No loose ends of any type. The first thing was to be sure that I wanted to do it and that was a resounding “yes”, from the very start. The normal thing would be for one to be scared or not sure that that’s the way to go. But I had been thinking about it for so long, that it made o sense to me to do anything else than that. So the first thing was off the table and that made me feel a little bit better about the whole thing.

 Then, planning had to start. Again, I didn’t want to make it messy, I wanted it to be done right, to make people think about what I was thinking and how I felt the moment I did it. It’s not that I wanted anyone to get hurt, but I did want to make them think. You cannot do these things and suddenly forget all of the symbolism such an event had all over it. So I needed to plan everything to the second, even if that meant thinking about it all the time. It was a test to my resolve.

 The supermarket was my first destination. I bought so many things; the cashier girl thought I was a little bit insane. The final tally was very expensive, but I didn’t mind at all, Money had stopped having any importance for me and the plan was all that matter. It was important to make it all as I had imagined so I couldn’t shy away from doing things just because they were expensive or almost impossible in the eyes of most people. I needed to do what I had to do, right then.

 When I came back home with all the things I had bought, I moved on to the second part of my plan: had to cancel everything with my name on it: every credit card, every bank account, every subscription to a magazine or to some email newsletters. Everything had to go. Of course, I couldn’t do all of this in one day but it was very important to just start and get it going. I think that was one of the most difficult things to do in the whole process, before talking to my family of course.

 Friends were very few and a couple of phone calls would be easy to make. But calling my family or talking to them in person was going to be very difficult. I didn’t know if I would be able to stare at them as I talked. Maybe it was better to just stare at the ground and hope for the best. I guess that’s why I kept postponing doing that. It wasn’t really necessary to be honest, but I had always felt hat I owe my family for every single thing they had ever given to me. So the natural thing, specially in this case, was for me to speak to them frankly and without shame,

 Anyway, I left that for the last week. The next few days, I just enjoyed myself thoroughly. I did a number of things I had never done. That was a huge rush, a feeling that made me think that my decision was the right one. I never doubted it for a second and I think many people, in retrospective, think that I was crazy because of that way to react. They thought I should’ve been in the bottom of a well or something like that, nor running around as happy as I had never been before.

 Yes, it was disturbing to me too, but that doesn’t mean it was an improper way to feel. It just meant that I was certain of my decision and that is a very powerful thing. How many people are really certain of the choices they make? How many people doubt once they have decided on something that will undoubtedly change the course of their lives forever? It’s an obvious thing, to doubt and to feel the need to correct oneself. But I never felt that and I’m not ashamed.

 Those days, about two weeks to be exact, were one of the best times in my life and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. Talking to my friends was not as hard as I thought, maybe because they weren’t many. Of course, they first opposed my decision; they cried and even quarreled with me for a while. But after venting everything, they realized it made sense. Every single part of my plan made sense to them and that made them realize I was right, even if they didn’t agree with everything.

 We had a long good time together, in my house. I invited them offer for a sleepover. We watched lots of movies, ate everything we wanted, talked trash about people we all knew and analyzed our past in the funniest ways. We did avoid talking about the main subject but eventually we just held each other and they supported me. It was obviously very difficult for them but they decided to accept my decision because they understood the reasoning behind it and they couldn’t really defy it.

 There were some moments during those days in which I felt extremely alone. Of course, my determination didn’t really change because of that, on the contrary. But for some silly reason,  I thought that because of my decision, all those strange feelings would go away. I actually thought that fear would go away and just stop harassing me. But I guess fear is too strong of a feeling and there’s no real way of stopping it. After all, it’s the feeling that commands you to do so many things that you would otherwise never do. I found it all very interesting.

 When the day came, I was actually very calm about it. I ran my last errands, disconnected by phone and threw away my cellphone. Then, I drove my car to the most beautiful spot I knew, one that overlook the city and there I waited for the sun to go down. It was strange to me how not even birds interrupted my moment. It seemed that the universe had agreed that my decision was correct and that nothing should interrupt what I had decided to do. It was very beautiful, in way.

 I spent all night there, in the pitch-black night, hearing the sounds of the forest and of the city that was just below. During that time, I decided to reminisce about all the things that I had loved about myself and others. I could choose some of those memories rather easily, others were a little bit harder to find. But I spent all night thinking about them and about me and I think that was the perfect thing to do right then. Nothing would have been better, that’s what I feel at least.

 Then, just before the break of dawn, I pulled out a little bottle out of my jacket, opened it, and drank all of its content without hesitating for a second. The taste was very bitter at the start and very sweet at the end. I threw the bottle far way and then just laid down over the hood of my car, watching the last few stars of the night being chased by sunlight. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life and, probably, one of the last things I would ever see with my own two eyes.

 I think it took my body about ten more minutes to die after that. It was as if every single machine working inside me was shutting down. Every single factory inside, the stomach, the liver, the lungs, they were all turning off their machines, ending production for good. I didn’t get scared in the last moment; I didn’t feel remorse or anything like that. If anything, I thought that I had finally gotten what I needed. It had been my choice and it had been the right one, I knew it.

 I died fast. My body was found later that day. I asked for them, my family, to cremate my body and throw the ashes away somewhere nice. They did exactly that and I’m grateful to them even now. They were my rock all along, my reason to live.


 Some said afterwards that I was very young and that I had no right to die like I did, by choice. But I think they have only live their lives. So they don’t know what it’s like for other people, they forget life is more than just one thing. And one thing it isn’t, is fair.

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

Big versus small

   Amanda hated that big departments store, the one that had being opened just a few months ago by the highway. It was mainly because every time she drove past it, it was packed with people and everyone from every corner of town had at least been there looking around. Besides the crow factor, she really disliked all those big brands that didn’t really specialize in anything, instead selling every single thing under the sun. It seemed greedy to her, from a business point of view.

 Everyone else loved it, even her own family. The day they had the idea to go to buy some of the Christmas supplies to decorate the tree; she was adamant in buying them in the Christmas store she had always gone to in the neighborhood. It was owned by a very nice woman who brought all of the objects from her town, where many of her family members helped in the process of making the ornaments. But now the number of people going there was diminishing a lot due to the new big store opening so close by.

 She decided to due that shopping herself in the small store from the neighborhood and found everything she needed right there. It was appalling it see that there was not one other person buying anything in the store and it was the precise season to do it. The owner of the store was so grateful, so gave Amanda one extra box of silver handmade balls for the tree. She didn’t wanted to accept them but looking straight in the eye of the woman, she decided it was best not to argue.

 When she returned home, she discovered her family was not there. Amanda was very angry because it was clear they had gone against what she had said. Of course, she hadn’t forbidden them to go to the big store but she was very disappointed that her own family was not supportive of the people they had known their entire lives. When they arrived with bags full of stuff, she ignored them and had an early night.

 Her husband even attempted to have sex with her but she refused, turning all the lights off and giving her back to him. There was no way she was going to have sex with someone that didn’t respect her convictions and everything she stood for. So she just closed her eyes and tried very hard to go asleep fast. She took several hours to do so, whereas he fell asleep in a second.

 The following morning, she discovered the fridge and the cupboard had been filled with products from that big store. Every single thing from there was twice as big as a normal product: the cans of beans left no room in their space, the soda had to be displaced next to the fruit to fit into the fridge. And the ice cream occupied almost the whole freezer compartment. To Amanda, it was obscene.

 Every time in the following days and weeks leading to Christmas, it was really hard to pass by the small store and seeing how no one was entering. One day, she decided to do something about it. She stopped by and looked for the owner. She spoke to her briefly about wanting to help her make the store the preferred Christmas store once again. The old woman was not convinced as she thought the big store was too attractive for people to stop going there.

 She confessed Amanda to have been there and told her hat the boxes of decorated balls and other ornaments for trees had many more product inside and the cost was ridiculously cheap. It was practically impossible to sell something cheaper; it would be like giving it away for free. She seemed very sad about her discovery; maybe even to the point she wanted to cry. But Amanda told her they could make something about it.

 The first step of her plan was doing what Fanny, the owner of the small Christmas store, had done before her: Amanda had to go to the big store and see for herself what it was that people bought there and why they all went there instead of shopping for nicer things in the small family store. It was difficult for her to confess that she had to go there and that’s why she waited for everyone to be busy to do it. Her husband and kids were in their final weeks of work and school, respectively, so it was perfect timing.

 The day she went to the big store, she was able to find a parking space in no time, even with most of them being already occupied. For a moment she felt please but then remembered what her mission was there. Inside, she decided not to ask anyone where to go because she thought it would look kind of strange if she ask for Christmas decorations and days later the other store got new things.

 So she wandered around, looking at the frozen foods section, which consisted of five very long aisles, the pet area that was like a small city and the automobile department, which had a very strong smell of new car, an aroma she had always loved. It was something very difficult to ignore but she was able to do it once she finally got to the Christmas ornaments area, which was packed with people looking for stuff.

First, she took pictures with her cellphone of what they had on display. Then, he paid close attention to the items that people seemed to be buying more. She pretended to be curious about some teddy bears to hang on the tree every time a worker went by her. She knew they wouldn’t appreciate her corporate spying at all. After an hour or so, she decided to go back home and analyze the situation.

 The very next day, she visited Fanny to have a talk about the ideas she had for the store and its products. The first thing was to give it a new look, inside and out. So she did a whole presentation, kind of a proposal to Fanny, of what to do and how to it. Fanny was so moved by the passion Amanda had put into it that she decided to go along and let her try to make her store an important part of the Christmas tradition again.

 Amanda’s family began to wonder where she went every single morning and afternoon. Her and her car disappeared so often that her children began to miss her mother’s presence, even if it was only to complain about something or if they needed her to take them somewhere in the car. Those duties were passed on to the father, which was definitely not very pleased to be the new chauffeur of the house.

 Back in the store, Amanda and Fanny had bought supplies in order to start the remodeling. They weren’t going to do something very deep because there was no time to hire professional to do any profound work. Besides, Christmas was not very far away and they had to take advantage of every single day they had. The idea was to have the store ready by December the 1st, in order for Fanny to get at least three weeks of good sales. Amanda felt they could do it easily.

 The first thing was to ask Fanny’s family in her hometown to change the design on the balls. They had to make new designs, more modern but still hand made. They decided to go with new colors and themes for each of the boxes. The idea was to make every single box of ornaments a very unique one. Fanny’s family was very happy with the idea and they got to work immediately.

 The second part of the remodeling was decoration. They spent a whole afternoon looking for the right paper with the perfect colors to do the decorating inside and outside. They also bought a 3D projector, which illuminated a wall in the outside and gave nice images of Santa Claus and other Christmas characters. That was the most expensive thing but she assured Fanny that it was going to be a great investment.


 They worked together intensely for the remainder of November and when December the 1st came, they held a big inauguration party where they invited every single person in the neighborhood. The new ornaments arrived just in time and they flew off the shelves, having to order a second bigger batch the next day. The store was a success and it was Amanda who had made it possible. She felt really proud of her work. She had proven everyone, including herself, that she had a very good head above her shoulders.

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2016

Helena's wake

   Roger and Helena had never been best friends or anything of the sorts. They had been the type of people that are kind to each other in high school and just say “Hello” and “Thank you” when it was needed. However, Helena had done something else that made her kind of special to Roger: she had been the only one to know he’s secret and had kept it for herself through the last four years of school. She had realized he was gay because Roger had been careless once speaking on his cell phone just after school and she had been the only one to hear him. They never spoke, they never agreed on anything but she never said a word and he was thankful for it.

 Now, many years later, Helena was dead. Roger had known of her tragic fate also by mistake, by chance, when reading the newspaper online one morning. The world is so plague with bad things that happen like terrorism and wars and so on, that sometimes road accidents pass unnoticed. The news of her accident was just a very small article, a few lines, but her name was there clear as day and he remembered it. At first, he thought it had been some other woman called Helena too but it the evening news they put on her picture and he confirmed that it was her. Roger wasn’t devastated when he realized it but he felt very sorry for her family and friends. It was a very tragic way to go and he then recalled the fact she had been a good person where most people wouldn’t have been.

 So, the following day, he decided to attend the wake as well as her funeral. Through the paper too he learned when the wake was going to take place and it was just after work hours in small mortuary not very far from his home. He tried to dress up as sober as he could, trying not to put on some colourful shoes or socks, which he loved, and stepped in the mortuary feeling very strange.

 The reason for this was because he felt he had stepped in high school again. Many people from back then had come to pay their respects and many were reunited in small groups talking about her but also talking about what they have been doing in the last few years. Many of them were still friends, at least on Facebook, so they knew exactly what the others were up to even if they pretended they didn’t know. But Roger was the only one that had not kept any contact.

 He had never had any real friends in school. His best friends had always been kids from his neighbourhood and friends he had made along the years. People at school were for him stupid and full of themselves, always trying to fake who they were and trying to know things that didn’t concern them. They were arrogant and very cynical and he just hated all of that so he never really tried to be friends with any of them. Not that they would have let him be a friend of theirs.

 He crossed that hall when they were all chatting as if they were in a school reunion and entered the room were the body and the family probably were. The ambiance there was very different. The family was crying and very close to the casket, which was closed. Roger instantly remembered what he had read about the accident and understood exactly why the casket was closed. He felt a bit dizzy but then someone came and held his arm. He was about to scream but the didn’t do it because he saw Helena’s mother broke into tears and also because he realized the person who had done that was someone he remembered from back then. It was a girl called Linda and she had always had a crush of him.

 Roger greeted her and she looked at him with those big annoying eyes of hers and talked in a sweetened voice that was just sickening. It was as if she was still trying to get him after all these years and it was just annoying. So, in a moment of genius, he told her he wanted to give his condolences to the family, which was effective: Linda let him go and he was able to walk towards the mother, who was still crying.

 Approaching someone that is such a state is always the worst but he had no choice as Linda was looking at him from the other side of the room. He followed an older woman who also came to pay her respects and the mother broke into tears and held her, even when they didn’t really seem to know each other that well. Apparently the poor woman was so socked by her daughter’s death that any person was a good person to cry with or on. Roger helped she didn’t do that to him, because he really didn’t liked to be touched by strangers but when she did he didn’t really mind. After all, she was a mother who had lost a child. And that’s something we can all agree is heartbreaking.

 He shook the father’s hand too and greeted Helena’s brothers, two big guys who he remembered from the rugby team back in high school. He instantly blushed when looking at the older one, whose name was Finn. Roger had had a big crush on Finn when he was about sixteen years old and he remembered going to rugby games only to watch him play and, more importantly, look at his butt. So it was really strange when, after shaking hands, Finn winked at him. For a moment, he thought that hadn’t happened. But it had.

 The former classmate stood there, by the casket, for several minutes. He wasn’t a religious person but he wanted Helena to know he was thankful for her being the person she was, for not telling anyone about his secret as he wouldn’t have been ready at that moment to face people about his sexuality. These days, however, he didn’t really mind.

 When he saw Linda coming to him, he decided to be honest so he asked her if they could go to the hall. She grabbed by he arm, again, and went along with what he said. Roger forced a conversation about life and what they had been up to. He wasn’t interested at all in Linda’s life but just wanted to be clear and get rid of her arm that felt more like a very annoying claw hanging off him. She talked about some boring job in engineering and he just nodded and when they were in the middle of the people outside he asked her about his relationships. Silly as she was, she giggled and said she had had some boyfriends but that she was available at the moment. And then she giggled again and put her hand on his shoulder.

 His moment had come and he was so happy to do this. It was like going back to high school, back then, and then just flip them off, as he would have liked to do. So he smiled and said the truth, which was the best way to discourage anyone, he said that it was a funny story because Helena had been the only one in high school to know he was a gay man. And that now, as a married man, he looked back at school as something so far away in his memory that he just smiled when he seldom thought about it.

 Linda was obviously shocked as she removed her hand and looked as if some horrible news had been announced via speaker. It was really like being back in high school and he enjoyed it thoroughly. What he had not realized was that people were not talking as loud as he did so every single person had heard what he had said. That was why the room had gone silent and then he looked at all the stupid faces around him and just smiled and couldn’t help laughing. When he did, no one laughed along but the sound miraculously returned to the hall.

 He kissed Linda on the cheek and told her he hoped she had a nice life. Then he marched out and he felt, very accurately, that many eyes were fixated on him. But he didn’t care at all. He decided to keep walking until he was outside and there he went to the nearest store and bought a pack of cigarettes. The storeowner lit up the first one for him and he went out to smoke in peace, happy about he had done, amused by the whole sad event.

 Then someone greeted him and he saw the large figure of Finn coming closer. They shook hands again and Finn said he had no idea he smoked and Roger said he didn’t but he had felt like it a few minutes ago. Finn laughed and then asked if it was true that he was gay and was married. Now it was Roger who smiled and nodded. Finn told him he had always known and not because of Helena but because he had noticed Roger looking at him often around school. And he said it was funny because he had always liked him too.


 It was an awkward moment but Finn proceeded to tell Roger he was about to get married to and he just wanted to invite him, that’s why he had come after him. Roger smiled again and promised to go with Jake, his husband. Then they started chatting about life, likes and so on. And when the conversation finished and he went home to Jake, Roger realized he had made a new friend, which was a very odd thing to get on a wake. He wondered if something weirder would happen at the funeral.