sábado, 22 de febrero de 2014

While it is dark outside (Chapter Three)

Chapter three: damaged and incomplete. 

(To read chapter one, and two, just scroll down).

Chaos is everywhere. Jaime is looking at me, waiting for me to react, to do something. To help, to yell, to cry or to crawl into a ball and zone out. Something. Anything. But I just stand there. Taking it all in. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.

"Thomas?". Her voice is distant.
"We have to help him" I say.
"The man, in that seat". I stare at him, he is unaware of everything around him, he is screaming as he tries to free himself of the pressure of the seatbelt, completely unaware that is he does that, he will fall.

I don't say anything else to Jaime. I just start running toward the plane. I stumble into a body, but I don't stay to look at it, I just continue running until I am in front of the crash. I look up.
"Sir!.... Sir!" I scream. "Stop that". He takes no notice of my voice, he just continues to struggle. "Sir!" I scream again. I look at the broken plane. I can make my way to him, climb trough the broken seats.

"SIR!" Jaime's voice is right behind me, "We are gonna help you, but you have to stay still".
The man hears her voice and stares at us terrified.
"Don't move!" I tell him.

I start to climb, adrenaline pumping my whole body. I'm not sure how I mange to do it. When I finally reach him I manage to stabilize my legs between two seats. I finally look at him closely. He is around 45 years old, he is a handsome man, in a very expensive suit. He sorts of reminds me of my father. The last time I saw him.

"It´s stuck" he says to me. His voice is rough. There is blood in his hands, but I can't figure out where it is coming from. I look at the seatbelt and notice that it is stuck in his own belt. "I can't breathe" he says to me "it's too tight". I have to get him out. Now.

"Ok" I say to him. "You have to try to hold on into this" I say to him and point the seat to his right. "And put your left foot here, so you don't fall when the seatbelt is no longer supporting you, ¿ok?".
"I don't think I can do it".
"Yes, you can" I say to him.
"No, I can't. I can't.... I can't feel my legs". He stares at me waiting for some sort of confort from my part, like "oh that's normal", "no, that doesn't mean anything", "I'm sure you will walk again". But I can't.

"Ok, then" I say to him. I asses the situation. I look around me and I see a pink scarf in the seat next to where I stand. I take it, move slowly and put it carefully behind his back.

"Jaime!" I scream.
"Yes" she screams back.
"Do you see a policeman, or firefighter, or anyone that could help us here?"
She looks around her. It isn't until this moment that I notice that something is missing in this hell. A sound. A very common, scary, but at the same time conforming, sound. A siren. An ambulance, the police, someone. There is only screaming.
"I don't see... I can´t, there is just... NO!" She screams.

I sight heavily. Ok.
"So, this is what we are going to do, the moment you are free, I'm going to pull you with this towards me, but I need you to help me, use all the strength you have in your arms so you can reach this seat, and then we will find a way to get you down. Are you in?" I ask.

He just nods. His breathing is slowing down. He is so pale. I can't wait any longer. I wrap the ends of the scarf around my hands.

"The seat belt is stuck to your belt" I say to the man. "Try to release the lock in your belt. Carefully" I say. With trembling hands the man stars to unbuckle his expensive accessory.
"There" he says with relief.
"Now, grab the seat with one arm, and with the other your gonna open the seatbelt. And I'm going to pull you toward me. At the count of three". He grabs the seat, his knuckles are white.

"One, two..." I steady myself for the next move, ready to pull him.
"Three" I say. The seat belt clicks, I pull with all my strength.

I hear Jaime screaming. I look down, still holding the man. And I see something is missing, something very important. His legs. I am holding tightly to the upper body of the man. I stare at his face, searching for something. But he is pale. Not breathing. Gone. Like the rest of his body.

He was cut in two, how did I not notice that? How was he still alive, and breathing... and talking to me? The strength of my arms give up and I release what is left of him. I see him fall, the rest of his body following his other half.  How? How? How? I keep asking myself. How was he cut in two? How was he kept together? How?

I don't want to stay here any longer. Carefully, I start to climb back down. I don't trust my legs and arms to function the way they should. When I am in the ground, I see his body. Jaime is kneeling beside him. Her hands in her face.

I walk towards her.
"We should have waited for help" she says. "You should have waited for help. You killed him".

What? I feel something familiar rising inside of me. "You killed him" she says again.
Anger, that is what is building inside of me. I was trying to help the man. No one was coming. And he was cut in two. How was I supposed to know that?

She stands up. "We should have waited for help!" She screams at me. "It´s all your fault. You let him die!" She slaps me hard.
I feel so angry. Something is taking over me.
"You useless bastard! You are just like your father!" She says and she slaps me again. "You are a mistake! A mistake!"

My arms and hands jump right in front of me, towards her throat. They start choking her. But she is still spitting words filled with venom. I put more pressure and I close my eyes.

"Thomas" she chokes out. "Stop" she says. "I can´t.... breathe". Something hits me in the back. I open my eyes and I see her, below me, her head resting in the pillow. I recognize that pillow, how did we get here? Her lips are turning blue.

We are home. I am home. I release my grip and jump backwards. Jaime starts coughing, filling her lungs with air. I look around me. We are at our room. What just happened?

It hits me. It was dream, I was dreaming. It wasn't real. There was no plane crash. No severed man. It was dream. Except, expect the part where I chocked Jaime. Her hair is in her face, she is touching her throat, her breathing is slowing down.

I was chocking her. I almost killed her.
I. Almost. Killed. Her.

To be continued....


domingo, 2 de febrero de 2014

While It Is Dark Outside (Chapter Two)

Chapter two: laughs and dust. 

You never know how things are going to work out or how people are going to react. You may expect them to do something and then bam!, they surprise you by doing the opposite thing you expected. For example, Jaime and I love chinese food; we eat it at least twice a week. One day I ate the last egg roll, I didn’t even thought about it, I just grabbed it and moved it into my mouth. Jesus Christ, it would seem that that simple action started the apocalypse. Jaime started screaming at me. Why did I do it? Why didn’t I ask her if she wanted the last egg roll? Why did I just assume things? Why was I so selfish? Why didn’t I take her feelings in consideration?  The resulting effect of the egg roll incident was something I did not expect.

After that fight, Jaime moved out. Ok, yes, probably the egg roll wasn’t the real issue, but I guess that simple act brought her over the edge. We were separated for six months and then we found a way to each other again. And let me tell you it was better than the first time. I started being a more considerate man. And she stopped bitching about everything (well, no everything, but she did change significantly).

Here I was, standing in front of my boss. Who is known for being a short temper man. He just sat there, staring at me like I was crazy. I was expecting the blow, the screaming, the “GET OUT OFF MY OFFICE YOU ASSHOLE. YOU ARE FIRED”. Or something like that. But what happened next really surprised me. He started laughing. Really laughing. And I joined him. We laughed for at least 10 minutes. It was ridiculous, every time we tried to stop, we just started all over again. I felt like a little girl, giggling because her BFF farted in her sleep.

Our laughs started to fade away, until by boss stood up and pated me in the back. Actually patted me, like when a coach pats the back of his softball player when he hits a homerun. “You are crazy, Thomas”. He said to me. “I have to go, I have a meeting with the board. Stupid stuck up bunch of people”. He chuckled again. 
“Oh, man, I haven’t laughed like that in years”. He motioned me out of his office and closed the door.
I don’t know how, but I just entered the major leagues. My boss not only patted me in the back, but he talked to me like a friend, with curse words and all. So you see. You never know how things are going to roll out. It seems, that for me, today was my lucky day.

I am happy when I get home. I tell the story to Jaime. Again, laughing like a little girl as I recalled the event. She laughs a little, but when I finish the story she just stares blankly at the wall.

“What’s wrong” I ask.
“Aren’t you a little curious of why did your outrage happened?” she asks. Oh, man, here we go.
“I don’t know Jaime, it just did, does it really matter? I'm having a great day, please don't ruin it” I say, as I get up and walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.  
“It matters, Thomas” she says, still in the couch, her voice small. “That is just not normal behavior”.
“I was tired, that’s it”, I answer as I take a drink from my glass.
“So, you don’t want to talk about it” she says very softly, I can barely hear her.
“Huh?” I say. I did hear what she said; I just like to play stupid. Most men do this in this sort of situation.
“I said, so you don’t want to talk about it” she repeats. She is not going to let this go.
“Not really” I answer.
“Well I do”. Shit.

“Listen” I say, and I approach her carefully. I sit down next to her and I hold her hands. “I know it’s weird, and yes, it probably has something to do with my lack of sleep. But I don’t want to think about it too much. What’s the point? It’s not like I can do something about it.”

Before she can answer a big soaring sounds fills the room. In a matter of seconds it gets louder and louder. Jaime jumps from the couch and stares at me in confusion. She puts her hands in her ears and screams “WHAT IS GOING?” at the top of her lungs.

I don’t know what to do, so I also stand up. Before I can do something else, there is a loud crash. The windows in the condo fly into a million pieces. The world around me shifts and an invisible force throws me into the wall; knocking the air out of me. My ears are ringing, and I cannot move.

Dust blinds me, I try to ajust my world. What used to be the left wall of our apartment is now gone. Jaime is no longer there, next to the couch. I scream her name, but I can’t even hear my own voice. The air is filled with filth. I cough. The ringing starts to diminish. “Jamie” I scream again. I manage to sit up and rest my back into the wall. I stare into my arm. There is a big glass stuck into it. Blood is pouring out. I can’t stand up, so I start to crawl when I see her. She is spread across the floor. I move more quickly until I am by her side.

“Jaime, Jaime” I say, desperately. Her eyes are closed, but I see her chest moving. She is breathing. I place my hand in her hair and she opens her eyes. She looks disoriented. She finds my face and tries to speak. “Shh” I tell her.

I study her body in search for wounds. I see blood in my left hand and realize that it came from her head. She has a big open wound in the right side. Her hair soaked in blood. She lifts her hand and places it where the wound is. “Ouch” she says.

She tries to move. “No, no, don’t move, baby” I say to her and force her to stay in the ground. I hear screams coming from the outside.
“What happened?” she asks.
“I have no idea I say”. I look up trying to find a reason for this chaos. “I think something must have exploded”.
“I need to sit” she says.
“Ok, gently” I say and help her into a sitting position. She stares at her bloody hands and I can see her panicking.
“Don’t” I say to her. “You are fine, it’s just an external wound. You will be fine”.
She then sees the big glass in my arms. “Thomas, you are bleeding” she says.
“I know”. 

I have to act. “We have to stabilize these wounds” I say to her. “I need the first aid kit”.
“It’s in the bathroom” She says. I have recovered some of my strength, so I manage to get up. I walk slowly into the bathroom. My hip hurts with every step that I take. My breathing is extremely loud. I find the kit and make my way back to Jaime. She is staring at the floor, her eyes lost.

“Here” I say. “Let’s get this cleaned up.” I open the kit and examine her wound. Thank god, it actually is only superficial. I pour some alcohol into a cotton. “I’m sorry, this is going to hurt”. She just nods. I start cleaning the wound. She flinches. I know this is hurting her more that she is letting me know. When I finish, I cover the wound with a bandage. When I am done, she sighs in relief.

“Now you” she says. I stare at the glass. “You do it” I tell her. She just nods. She preps a bandage and the alcohol.
“One, two…” she says.
“No, no, don’t count” I tell her. “Just do it”.

She stares at my wound and quickly takes the glass out. I am surprised that it doesn’t hurt that much. But then she immediately pours alcohol in it and I start screaming. She holds my arm, as I try to escape the pain. She cleans the wound and starts to bandage it. My whole arm feels like it’s in fire. When she is done, she looks exhausted.

“Thanks” I tell her.
“We should go outside, see what is going on” I say. I help her on her feet. Her face indicates she is in pain, but she doesn’t say anything. We slowly walk toward the left side of the apartment, where the screaming seems to be coming from. Everything is a mess. The wall is completely gone.

I am not prepared for what I see next. Right outside of our beautiful condo is and airplane. Or what it used to be an airplane. There are people running on the streets. The top of the plane is gone. And I can see the interior. There are people hanging from the seats. Most of them are motionless, parts of their bodies gone, probably dead. There is this guy, squirming in his seat, upside down, trying to free himself.

Could all of this really be happening? My heart is pounding in my chest. I look at Jaime. Her face is blank.

“We have to do something” she says. 

To be continued...
Things don't always go the way you think they will... right?