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

lunes, 13 de noviembre de 2017

In fashion

   Every single night, Maddie Compton would fix every single piece of clothing she had been able to find in the second hand stores she visited that week. Sometimes they weren’t even fashion stores but places where she could buy the fabric she liked the most and modify it enough to create something no one had ever wore before. She had the advantage of having a great eye for design and a great taste in clothing. After all, she read all the magazines she could get her hands on, for free of course.

 Maddie was not a wealthy woman but she pretended to be, going to the most prestigious parties with the elite of the city. Many loved her designs and praised her for it. She even got some friends during those parties but the truth was that she had accepted the fact she couldn’t’ really get too close to anyone. Realizing that she was not who she said she was wouldn’t have been too hard for someone close to her, so she tried hard not to overstay her welcome in such events.

 She had made some mistakes in the past, as going out after with a guy she had met at the party. It would normally be a one-night stand, as she would escape the room as silently as she could and then leave to her life far away from the skyscrapers and lovely apartments those people had. Sometimes it was really hard for her, because she really wanted to be like them. She wanted that life which was certainly much easier than her own. She wanted to feel people cared about who she was.

 Of course, Maddie knew many of the people she met in those parties were not fully honest with her but it wasn’t possible that among so many people there wasn’t at least one person that actually liked what she did. One of her ideas at first had been to find someone willing to give her money to design dresses for some brand, at least as a test. They were certainly the type to do that but it came to be much more difficult than what she had anticipated. Rich people were too in love with themselves.

 To be fair, she was too. Maddie was the kind of woman that always looks at her own reflection on the mirror in the morning and then several more times during the day. She couldn’t avoid taking pictures of herself and it wasn’t even to share with friends or family, it was just to take a look at herself and try to reinforce some weird acceptance of her own being in her brain. She knew she needed people’s approval to feel she had made it and that’s why she had gone after the opinions of people who mattered, the ones that had money and could take decisions.

 The young woman had made several dresses and then she would sell them in the same stores she bought the ones that she modified and turned into sensations. Many store owners were very grateful for what she did because many of her designs sold very well with younger women that wanted something different to wear at an affordable price. It was the only way for her to make some money, besides working some days in a call center, helping with pizza deliveries from around the world.

 Maddies wanted to live of her designs. That or get one of those rich men to make her a rich woman through marriage but that was a lot trickier because she would began their life together by lying at that was never the best way to initiate a new relationship. Luckily, none of the guys she had dated had ever asked too much about her. Most men her age were too focused on themselves and their own achievements to even ask about what she really wanted out of life.

 It wasn’t the life she would have wanted for herself but it was the one she had and the one that made sense. She needed to insist on her only talent and if making clothes were the way to go, she would try it as long as she could. She made a very small amount of money out of it but it was the only activity that clamed her down and made her feel the world is not as awful as one would think it is, at least sometimes. The sound of her machine was the perfect way to distract her brain.

 It was the exact opposite of the parties she attended where most people were vicious and just loved to tear others apart, especially the women. Maybe it was because they had always been under appreciated, even when they were such wealthy people, but the ladies could be savage with newcomers and when the tastes of others didn’t match what was generally accepted. Maddie had to check all that out before going out to one of those events, in order to be praised but never mocked.

 She was very successful that way. She even decided to learn a bit more about make up and how to achieve a complete look that would fool anyone. She would imitate looks from magazines or inspire herself from those, with her cheap fabrics and dresses and accessories she practically remade herself. She always laughed alone in her apartment, thinking that if a policeman found her there he would think she was managing the least successful pirating ring ever. She did it all perfectly but always in a very small scale, in order not to attract the wrong attention.

 After a very long time trying to make it, Maddie finally attracted the right person for what she wanted to do. Her name was Emilia Gobstone and she was one of the wealthiest women in the city. She had an amazing apartment where many parties were held, having appeared in numerous occasions in many magazines. She fell in love with Maddie and one of her dresses and asked the young woman to make her and her daughters the same dress for a special party in a country club.

 Maddie did as asked and Mrs. Gobstone could not have been happier. The fabric Maddie had used was one of the best she had ever worked with, spending a very large sum to get it. But she knew she needed the best to be successful with that particular request. She was right. The wealthy woman was so happy, that she paid double what they had agreed on in the first place and asked Maddie to make her clothes for every event in the fall season that was getting nearer by the minute.

 With such a success, she decided to retire from going to parties and such and focus more on her dresses and their quality. From the point of view of her craft, she had made the best choice. However, many people wondered where she had left to and it was then when they found out who she really was. Everyone made fun of her in social media, posting pictures they had with her and telling the most awful stories about her. Some were based on things she had said, but they all twisted her words and some were only lies.

 She finished her work on Mrs. Gobstone’s dresses and wrote her a letter apologizing for everything. She sent her creations and the letter one afternoon and then decided to leave the city for a while, needing some fresh air, something she wouldn’t be able to get in such a city, which felt a little bit too crowded sometimes. She grabbed a suitcase, put some of her clothes and just left, trying not to think too much about everything that had happened in the last few years. 

 To her surprise, Mrs. Gobstone’s personal butler found her in her parent’s home, many kilometers away from the city. He told her his mistress needed her urgently and that it couldn’t wait. Maddie accepted the ride and, a few hours later, she was in the woman’s apartment.


 There, the socialite gave her a check to pay for her dresses and told her she wouldn’t be able to hire her again. However, she could do something else for her, as a personal way to thank her for her work. The following week, an specialized magazine called Maddie, in order to arrange an interview.

miércoles, 8 de noviembre de 2017

You reap what you sow

  Its name was Cotton and he had been a member of the Northam family for at least ten years. He had been given to a young teenager named Martha, the oldest of the Northam marriage. They were a very wealthy family from the coastline region, controlling most of the fishing industry in the part of the country. They named the cat Cotton because of the color of its fur but also because the family also owned several cotton plantations on near the ocean, which they exported with ease.

 Martha had never really wanted a cat. She was not the kind of kid to like animals or anything that was alive. To be fair, she had problems at school that had resulted in her removal from the education system. She was then educated at home by private teachers who would come for at least five hours a day and try to educate her a bit. But the girl wasn’t interested, only being moved by the love of her father and his tendency to give her what she wanted whenever she wanted.

 Her mother Nancy had never agreed to that behavior but Mr. Northam, as head of the family, made all the big choices around there and she couldn’t really protest any of the decisions he made. If he wanted something done at home or not, if he wanted the children to go to school or not and even what kind of food would be served at home, it was him who decided it all, even if it didn’t really affected him. Because, you see, Mr. Northam was never around in the house, too busy with his business.

 Many, for a long while, had guessed he could be one of those men that has several mistresses all around and even other families but that was proven to be false when Nancy, on a very rare glimpse of attitude, had decided to follow her husband one day in order to se what he did with his time. It had been the most boring experience for him and had just sealed in her mind that nothing would ever change in that house because there was nothing unpredictable about the things happening all around.

 Cotton was officially Martha’s, but the cat spend much more time in the kitchen, sitting on an old wooden stool, while the cook did her chores of the day. She was a big woman, much bigger than any in the family, and she would often give the cat bits and pieces of everything she made. Everyone always seemed to be astonished at how fat he became over the years. No one knew about where he went every day and only the old cook knew and never told a soul. After all, Cotton was a bit like a companion, even a partner in crime if you will. She never felt alone when he was there.

 For Alysia, the cook, Cotton was more human than the people she made the food for. She liked the cat because he seemed to listen to what she said, even if it was ridiculous to converse with a cat. However, that all changed when Martha discovered the cat coming out of the kitchen one day, when she was about to leave the house after finally ending her high school years. Her father had agreed to pay a very expensive university far away in order for her to become a clothes designer.

 Even so, she complained to her father about the cat not being with her, as he should even if she didn’t want him around, and being with the cook instead. The children had never seen the cook’s face but they had been raised to believe that was far a reason, something to do with them being better than others although with a different wording, in order not to seem heartless and insensitive. But the truth could never be masked by pretty and false phrases that meant nothing.

 Mr. Northam’s response was pretty straightforward: Alysia was fired and replaced with another older woman, as big as she was. The cat stopped going to the kitchen because the new cook would always try to scare it off with a broom or something. So Cotton, once again, became an object for everyone in the house, as useless and uninteresting as a lamp or the rugs that were all over the place. No one cared about him afterward, being the gardener the one in charge of filling the cat’s bowel with food and water.

 Alysia leaved in a small shed was forced to leave it once she had been fired, as all of the housing in the area was exclusive for people that worked for the Northam family. She was evicted along with her few belongings and at age seventy-six she was forced to leave the region and go to a big city in order to try to find a new job, because she didn’t have enough money saved to pay for anything. Suffice to say that working for years had not made her a candidate for a pension or even health insurance.

 Cotton escaped one night and went looking for Alysia but he never found her. Not only because he arrived at the shed she used to leave with and no one was there, but because he was an already very old cat and couldn’t properly use his natural talents to find anyone. He was confused and tired, so he decided to go back to the only place where he could rest for the rest of his days. At least the small boys were now bigger and didn’t bother him and the rest of the family was too submerged in their own businesses in order to care for what a cat would do or not do.

 In the city, Alysia eventually found a job knitting for a store that made baby clothes. They required her skills to be almost out of this world and she was just too tired to do it as fast as they wanted her to be. So they also fired her from that place. She would never find a job ever again and, in a very sad turn, she died in line while trying to get into the office that was supposed to help her sue the Northams for everything that they owed her for all the years of service. It wasn’t peaceful.

 No one attended her funeral and she was cremated because there was no determined place to put her body. Some nice person dissipated her ashes in a park in the city, but that was it for her. She had raised a family, had endured after losing her husband and had made everything possible for her children to have better lives than hers. She failed and succeeded but all of that never mattered in her golden years, that time you are supposed to be at peace and with no worries.

 As for the Northam family, they didn’t have the best of lucks either. Because of very poor business decisions, a competing company was able to outgrow them and eventually they were forced to sell to them. Everything went, even the palatial house that had been their refuge for so many years. Every employee defected fast and many other were only fired with no compensation. Some of the old sheds were demolished and everything that had been a reality for so long had been turned into dust.

 As for Martha, she never returned from abroad. However, it was known by everyone that she had never paid a single semester in that fancy university, instead blowing the money in alcohol and drugs. A couple of years after her family’s bankruptcy, she was found dead because of an overdose. It was the final nail in the coffin for her family, a very big coffin with a very large amount of nails. Her parents divorced and her brothers never spoke to any of them again, separating forever.

 Cotton was a witness in all of this. However, the cat was very old and tired when it all happened. However, the gardener decided to keep him when things were being sold. After all that time, he had also developed a fondness for the furry creature.


 The cat died only a year after that, not being able to fully enjoyed proper love in a much better, although smaller, house. Some called the whole thing a curse but there are no such things. It’s more the phrase that grandmothers say: “You reap what you sow”.

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.