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

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

State visit

   Everyone at the airport was ready. The staff had put on their best clothes and every single corner of the small terminal building had been cleaned to the last millimeter. From very early in the morning, people had arrived to help organize every single part of this impromptu visit. After all, it was the president of the most powerful country in the world. And theirs was one of the poorest and most isolated ones on the whole planet. However, the presidential plane had to refuel somewhere, so the small nation had received the honor of hosting the president for a few hours.

 From the moment they had been warned about the impending arrival of the plane, hundreds of people were put to work. Not only those in the airport, people who only really worked on weekdays and even then only in certain time frames, but also every single operator and technician available. They wanted not only the people to feel welcomed but also to make the best work possible with the plane. They got fuel from the city’s reserves, as the amount they had on the airport was not enough to refill a plane the size of the one they were going to see in a few hours.

 The process required almost every person in the capital, a city of about a thousand people, to wake up and also help by cleaning the streets of the city and the authorities enabling the movement of fuel reserves from where they stored it to the airport, which was fairly close to the city. People took to the streets with brooms and mops and every single cleaning help they could get, but the truth was no one really knew if the president was going to land and stay on the plane or walk around a little bit. Many people were curious like that.

 The president of the tiny nation was the one that was moving all over his house, calling the right people and asking everything from food to more cleaning products. He wanted to send a message through TV but the people of the studios were helping around so he decided to send it through the radio. It was much simpler and more effective; as it was the medium of communication that people listened to while they were preparing the city for the big arrival. Every single person in the country heard it and everyone understood the importance of the visit.

 To the eyes of the world, it was practically a miracle that their country actually existed. To be honest, it had been a thing of luck and one of those strange coincidences that happen out of nowhere. They were too isolated and unimportant. Practically everything they had came from their neighbor to the east. So they had known starvation and real poverty because when that neighbor didn’t have enough for themselves, they suffered too. But the world in general never really knew anything because they weren’t watching, until now.

 The country had no army but its people did behave like one once the president’s message had reached every single person. They knew they had around six hours to have everything ready. With luck, the weather up in the clouds would delay the plane a bit more to give them more time but they constantly checked with the aircraft and that didn’t seem to be the case. Everyone had to do their best in the time given. Only an hour after the president’s announcement, everything was coming up nicely and all citizens were helping, even elders and children.

 A huge amount of people arrived at the terminal in order to use the old kitchens that some rundown businesses had not used in several years. The idea was to cook a good amount of their national food for the people arriving, as well as other dishes that they might like. It wasn’t crazy to think that they would be very hungry, even at that early hour of the day. After all, this was all going on in the darkness of the night. The president was scheduled to arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, so they had to wake up or not even sleep.

 The cooking team was led by the nation president’s chef, his own wife. It wasn’t like in other countries were the president has everything and the people below him have nothing. In that nation, everyone was basically the same. People hadn’t starved in some years but they weren’t rich or even close to that. So the president’s wife decided it was best if someone close to the government like her supervised the food. It was the best way to guarantee that it would be perfect for someone with such a high profile as the ruler of the richest country in the world.

 They acknowledge that all those people in that plane, around two hundred according to the information they had shared with them, had been and eaten in places much better than their small country. That was obvious and they didn’t feel bad about it. But they wanted them to leave knowing a little bit more of their culture and about what they loved to eat and drink in those lands. The menu had been defined by the president’s wife and she was very confident that it was going to be one of the best feasts in the recorded history of their nation.

 It consisted of a special recipe for meatballs using a kind of cheese that was made from goat milk, which also happened to be used in their national beverage, which was kind of like a milkshake but less thick and richer in flavor. They also cooked the goats in various ways and were very proud about their vegetables and mushrooms, of which they had a very large variety. Various dishes were cooked with all those ingredients and some spices too.

 The small country’s president arrived in the airport only two hours before the arrival of the plane, to check everything out. The terminal had been painted in record time by volunteers and the control tower was bursting with life when, in normal days, it would only have one person and not even all day. He thanked everyone there and then went to the terminal’s commercial area where his wife and helpers were giving the final touches to the food. The smell had flooded the building and it was very delicious, so much that many stomachs growled loudly.

 Then, he went outside and did a walk around the tarmac and the runway. There wasn’t a single spec of dust anywhere, which he thought was absolutely magnificent, especially for such a windy part of the country. It seemed as if the weather was also helping them achieve their goal. The red carpet in the tarmac was the same one that the president had stepped on when he was inaugurated for his term, more than three years ago. A president’s term was five years and he couldn’t be reelected, which he personally thought was a good idea.

 He decided to check the band that had been practicing for hour in the cold and congratulated them for the amount of love they were showing the country. He stayed a bit to hear them play and, to be fair, they were not as prepared as he would have like, but there was no way of getting better musicians with only an hour to go. They would have to do. What made them special, at the end of the day, was that they played their instruments with real passion and the idea of making their country proud. And that was more than enough.

 The president decided to wait for the plane in the control tower. There, he would be able to know every detail about the upcoming visit. When he stepped in, the plane had crossed into their airspace. It would be only thirty minutes until they touched down in the runway. The atmosphere was really special. Every single person in the tower, in the terminal, in the tarmac and even in the city was ecstatic. This was, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen in their country. And they had all worked together to make it the best day possible.


 The plane came out of the clouds and landed, in a very soft and elegant manner. Everyone applauded and greeted the people inside through the radio. The president ran outside, getting ready with all others. Many people from the city had come out of curiosity and they had been allowed to stay a bit further away. The plane parked exactly where they had determined it should go. For some minutes, nothing happened. Then, the door opened and everyone stopped breathing for a second. Their moment had come.

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, 7 de abril de 2016

Realization

   Norman had never really had any dreams, no real aspirations for life. He had gone through high school with pain, due to his lack of interest for most subjects, and went on to take six months off to decide what he was doing next. His parents agreed but only because he had really made an effort in his last year to get the best scores possible to get into a good college. They weren’t magnificent scores but they were certainly much better anyone had hoped him to have.

 He loved animals so he thought of becoming a veterinarian. But decided not to when he realized he would have to operate and see wounds and things like that. He wasn’t the best person in the presence of blood or any substances like that.

 Then he analyzed the possibility of becoming an architect. But he really sucked at mathematics and at drawing so it didn’t make much sense. Engineering was also out of the question as well as anything to do with math.

 He turned to the arts and put aside at once anything very plastic. He had never been good with his hands. Literature seemed interesting but he didn’t very much mind reading and cinema required him to work in a group. Which was very hard because he tended to like being alone.

 There was also law school, which he found very boring, and psychology, which he thought was garbage wrapped in trash. Philosophy never ended up anywhere and there wasn’t really anything else he could choose in the available colleges.

 The only thing he was good at was typing, like the secretaries in the fifties. He was really good and was capable of writing really fast although he had no idea what he was writing about. So he looked it up and decided it would be interesting to become a translator. It seemed easy, it was something everyone needed in due time, they got to travel and it just seemed right for him. Besides, he had learned two languages in school besides his own so at least he had already begun his studies, in a way.

 After two years of the career, Norman met Drake. He was a stunning man who happened to be very well known in the small world of high schools that compete against each other. When they first met in college, Norman was sure he had met Drake before. The thing was, he hadn’t but he had seen him several times when he and his classmates would attend football matches to support their school team.

 Drake was the star of one of the other high schools and everyone knew him because of his slight accent and his popularity with women. Norman had checked him out a lot back in the games but never really thought of anything. Later on, through a mutual acquaintance, they met in college and hit it off right away.

 They would speak for hours about their time in high school, their personal experiences there and also about their lives as college students. Drake was studying to become an architect and Norman soon saw with his own eyes that he was really good at drawing. When he did it, he was always very focused, as if he was alone somewhere. It was something really nice to see.

 They labeled their relationship as friendship. Norman went to Drake’s house often and vice versa. Sometimes Norman would judge Drake’s drawings and designs and would help him find things to make his ideas more appealing to the teachers. Drake also helped Norman by learning all the verbs and their forms for the frequent exams that he had. He also timed his typing skills and they always had fun with that.

 Although Drake had two girlfriends during their time in college, Norman barely saw any of them. They didn’t really talked about it. It wasn’t really a surprise when, in their last semester, Drake confessed he thought he was n love with Norman. And Norman realized he had been in love from the first moment they had begun their friendship.

 So shortly after they were done with college, they moved in together and promised each other to make it work. They found a small apartment midway between each other’s jobs and just lived a nice life for a long time until Drake proposed. He was one of those guys that like all the classic stuff. He wanted his life to have it all and Norman accepted because he was happy and wanted Drake to be as happy as he could. 

 They got married in a beautiful retreat by the mountains with friends and family and celebrated it by travelling to a faraway island where they were treated like gods. Besides, their relationship grew stronger and they felt they really had someone to trust and talk to whenever they wanted to. It was one of their shared dreams and they had achieved it.

 But then, some years later, Drake asked Norman if he would like to get a child, through adoption or insemination. Drake had entered those years in which men have a desire to leave their mark in the world and the ideal way to do that is to have a child. Norman had to think about it for a while because it wasn’t an easy decision. It was the life of some poor kid they were talking about and he didn’t wanted to make a mistake with that.

 Months later, they decided to go to an agency where they would offer a woman willing to carry their baby for the duration of the pregnancy. It had been Norman that made the decision, as he decided that if they were going to have a child, it was best of it looked like one of them. He felt bad for all the children up for adoption but he just thought it was the best choice for them.

 The pregnancy months were difficult because one of them had to help the woman they had chosen with all her pregnancy related issues and the one who was less busy was Norman. He took her to the doctor and to the dentist and to those classes were pregnant women learning how to breathe and how to stay strong. She was a very nice woman that just needed money and had already been a mother so she knew what it was all about. She was a single mom and her parents were not very happy with their decision but she didn’t care about that.

 Norman had some time to work, mainly online, with official documents but had to stop travelling to take care of the pregnancy. When the baby was born, the woman disappeared after being paid and they had new responsibilities. Drake tried to get some months off but due to fact that they were two men; they only gave him half the normal time. They sued but nothing came out of that. They enjoyed their time together, now three, and when he went back to work it was Norman who had to put almost everything about his career on hold.

 He got a break when the child was bigger and they had people they trusted to leave him off with like their parents or sisters or brothers who already had children. Being a baby, they didn’t feel good doing it but now that little Kevin as older; it didn’t seem much of a problem.

 One day, it the supermarket, Norman realized he was looking for a different cereal box for each one of them as well as their favorite snacks and meals. He knew how to cook the best burgers with mushrooms and he created Kevin’s favorite juice, a combination of three tropical fruits. In front of the freezers filled with frozen fish, he realized he had become a “house husband”. He had never really intended to and now he was doing all the things that the house needed to get done in order to work.

 He loved dressing Kevin up in Halloween and kissing Drake every morning and having sex in the most unexpected times.

 Then, Kevin was in school, Drake was successful in his job and now had a company of his own and he traveled from time to time to act as translator for some government officials or in other events. When he did that, it was fun but he had much more fun at home, when he was cooking or making the house look good. He had finally found what he loved.


 Maybe it wasn’t the most popular job of them all but he loved the look on his family when they appreciated his hard work. They didn’t teach any of that in college and he certainly had no use for those damn high scores and grades.

domingo, 4 de enero de 2015

A funeral

It’s always hard when someone dies, even if it’s your mother in law. In this case, she was a very special lady. From the moment we met until her death, I felt she didn’t like me. And I’m sure I was right.

She had always resented my hairstyle, then the way I dressed and, specially, my line of work. As it happens, I write for many magazines and newspapers about all of those starlets and music sensations you hear about everywhere. I do those bios about the kids that are beginning, discovered by the Internet somewhere in the middle of the world.

The woman didn’t like that. She thought it was a shallow job, unstable and not enough for her fragile daughter. The reality could not be further away from the truth. Amanda, my wife, wasn’t fragile or dependent of a man. When I met her, she was already working her ass off in a publicity agency and now she had created her own enterprise and was doing really well.

Amanda did not resent my job. She actually found it thrilling, as she was the first person to hear about the newest celebrity gossip. She always saw the most compromising pictures first and enjoyed, even more than I, when I had to meet some star to do an interview for some publication.

We had to travel in order to go to the old woman’s funeral. What was really special about that day was not the event as such. I mean, it was a funeral; they are all pretty similar except for some slight differences. This one’s different aspect was that I met Matthew. I saw him standing behind a tree, watching another funeral.

I saw Amanda talking to her sister and her cousins so I told her I had to go to the bathroom and then I went back to the tree, where I saw the young man staring at all those people in black. As I got near, I realized most of the assistants to that funeral were very clean cut, looking kind of military.

With care, I walked towards the young man and put a hand on his shoulder. He got scared but when he realized he didn’t know me, he pulled me aside and told me, with a sign, to shut up.

He gazed towards the funeral, again, as saw it all. I just stood there, watching with him. There was something really strange about the scene, a young person watching someone’s funeral from afar. Was he maybe a lover or even his murderer? Maybe I should have not gone after him but there I was. Amanda was probably missing me.

The ceremony we were looking at was finished. The guy was in tears, that he cleaned softly.

Who are you?
I write.

He nodded, as if he understood but I did not know what it was that he understood. He then asked for my phone, which I gave him for some reason, and then dialed a number. He saved it in and gave it back to me. He didn’t say anything else; he just left.

I went back to Amanda who asked me where I had been. I told her I would explain later, not really thinking about the lunch we were going to have at her sister’s house. I didn’t really pay attention to anything else that afternoon, nothing other than the number on my phone and the name of the guy.

I had always wanted to do something else with my career. Far from me to give my dead mother in law any reason to be right: I loved my job, it was fun, simple and easy to research. I also took pictures and did interviews. All was great and easy. But there was also a part of me that was a real journalist, interested in things that happened daily.

But when I took those chances, they would always be denied to me. So I kept to my celebs and music sensations of the moment. Until now.

The next day, I decided to call Matthew and meet him in a coffee shop. He told me he preferred it that way as crowded places made him more comfortable, less suspicious of anything. From our phone conversation, which was short, I noticed he was still sad. To be honest, I was scared he wouldn’t even show up.

But he did. It was difficult to start talking. We just asked for some coffee and stared, as if it was a date of sorts. I had experience with interviews but he seemed so sad and exhausted, that I had no idea how to start, so I just went for the only thing I knew about him.

What were you doing in the cemetery?

He started crying in silence and then he told me his reason to be watching a funeral. As it happens, it was not some unknown person’s funeral. They were burying a man that day, a man with whom he had lived the last five years.

He then asked what I thought about homosexuality and their rights and so on.  I felt the interview had changed its course but though it was better to answer, as it would make him trust me. So I told him I had no trouble with gay people. I told him about these two older ladies that lived in my building. They were very nice people, feeding my dog cookies every time we crossed them in the park.

He smiled with my silly anecdote, so I understood he was ok with me interviewing him. I asked him then to tell me more about the man that had died; he was besides his life partner.

He corrected me there: the man was not his “partner” but his husband. And his name was Paul. They had been married in Massachusetts, in a small affair than only involved his some friends, no family member for either side though. I asked him if the families opposed and he smiled again but this time it was a sarcastic way to say, “of course they didn’t”. Although his parents knew and were not firmly opposed, they didn’t really care. They didn’t speak that frequently so there was no reason for him to know if they were ok with it.

Paul’s family, on the other side, were more extreme and had no problem calling them every so often to insult them or recite some extract of the Bible. They had to change their phone number several times in order to stop the insults for a while.

I asked more about their life together and then he went back to his real smile, the one that felt authentic and heartfelt. He told me they had met in a party given by a common friend. They just met there and, initially, did not like each other. Matt confessed he thought Paul was too full of himself, attracting attention to him much too often.

But then they kept seeing each other in other parties and on the street, as they discovered they were practically neighbors. So, with time, they began really knowing each other. After five months or so, they formally began dating. Drying his tears, he told me it was the best time in his life. They did everything together but not in the senses of being annoying or intense but really like friends who happened to be in love.

Many people stopped talking to them, as they didn’t knew their friends were gay. They got new ones and stronger ties bounded them with old acquaintances. It was the day they moved in together when the harassing and insulting began. But they moved on together and started to live life like the couple they would become years later.

In a trip to China, Paul proposed to him, with a ring with a special message for him. Having being in a military school, Paul knew all about codes and signs so the engraving could only be read by someone knowing about the codes and he taught Matt how to read it. They married six months later, in a private ceremony, after which they traveled to Iceland for their honeymoon. It was just the best moment in both their lives.

Only two years after their marriage, Paul had a surfing accident. He was with friends as Matt had been unable to join them because of his work. He was the first person to get to the hospital but was asked to leave when family members started to arrive. They yelled at him and he wouldn’t do anything. Finally a nurse told him that it was best if he left. She promised to call him if something happened.

That wasn’t the case. It was only through the call of one of the guy’s that had been surfing with Paul that he learned of his death. He was devastated but was prevented to go to the hospital. The family was already doing the paperwork to do take the body so there was no need to go and fight endlessly. He was theirs now, in flesh at least.

Matt told he that had happened a week ago. He had not been invited to the funeral or the wake, and had no infiltrate the cemetery without anyone noticing him. He was planning to go back soon. When I heard this, I told him I could drive him. It was not likely that any family members would be there so it was the perfect time.

So later that afternoon we were standing in front of Paul’s grave and Matthew just kneeled and cried. He didn’t say anything, just cried and touched the tombstone. I put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it as his story had touched me deeply.

I thought of Amanda, the woman I loved. What if someone had tried to stop me from being with her? What if her mother had forbidden our relationship? She hated me but she let her daughter do what she wanted and, ultimately, she was happy for her.

So when I got home, I started writing an article about Matt and Paul. I was sure it would be of everyone’s interest because; don’t we always say love is always first? That love always conquers and is the goal in our lives? I was sure that was the case and when I kissed Amanda that night; I got sure she realized how happy she made me.