My emptiness

It just happened again. I said goodbye to them. Different city, different weather, different year. Same faces, same mood, same agony. Yes, agony. Intense pain only sweetened by truthful and meaningful hugs. I have been cursed, or blessed -it’s the same thing anyway- to search the world for my friends. It’s funny because in searching for them I am finding myself. I learn about me: how strong I am becoming for instance, after forcing myself into walking in the opposite direction to them. I learn to need less material things, every year traveling lighter. I learn to close my eyes and listen to the orchestra, so I don’t distract my mind with the other senses. I learn to be quiet and listen, since their voices bring me a knowledge so different to mine. I learn so I can teach, because one day I won’t be here. The world will be run by younger people that will have looked up to me. And because the most clear thing is that I won’t be here one day, I need my time on Earth to be valuable.

I search for them despite every time I greet them I have to let them go, don’t matter how much it hurts. I welcome… no… it’s much more than that; I embrace those wounds. It feels like an overwhelming power slits my arteries, all of them, all my body is ripped and then I bleed my love. I am walking through the city, a different city every time, and I feel like I am dying inside, bleeding all the good inside me, just because I was able to say goodbye to those faces mixing smiles and tears to the fact that I was leaving them. I really need their smiles and tears, I need to see those shy round tears run down until they are scrubbed by the back of a hand after reaching their painfully looking smiles. There is not pleasure without pain.

We are all going to be gone one day, and that is why I need my wounds: those who don’t suffer will die without wounds. How stupid that is? When I am gone, my body and my soul will be covered in scars. I can imagine the day I will be gone: everyone, every single one of my friends will smile and cry, not because I leave them once more -for the last time-, but because before that moment I will have crossed the planet more times that they will be able to count, just to see them. I will have faced any pain for them. And for me, and for the children that I teach, so many brilliant minds that need a strong role model so they can do something good. I need to be strong for so many people, because my choice is to do something good with my time on Earth.

I call them friends, but some of those important people didn’t even talk to me, some of them simply shared a couple words, or smiled as we crossed our paths on a street or a hostel. Some may have even wondered about my persona or exchanged a few nice words. However, very few will remember me, the rest will remain completely oblivious to the fact that their existence was important to me; the vast majority will be ignorant of how much strength I needed in avoiding letting them know that I cared about them; they wouldn’t have understood this.

This is my emptiness. When I look into the infinite for a minute remembering nice words, when I feel lonely as I walk to the airport, when life forces me not to act, when I look through the window wishing them strangers to be fine, when they say we will meet soon and I wonder if we won’t meet again, when they cry and I cannot do anything at all, when a day passes by and I have not helped someone. I am empty inside more than I should.

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Love is

Once I was told that romantics were selfish. I didn’t want to believe it. Romanticism means to dedicate yourself to another person because of love, how can that be individualist?

At the beginning I believed I loved, and I believed because I wanted to love. However, I was just deceiving myself because of my immaturity. It was all a lack of life, of experience. What I cared about was that I could feel love, and of course, that was selfish.

Later I loved, and I lost. Pain left me wounded, so wounded that I understood that only the other person matters, not me. The one who actually loves, does it in an altruistic way, in a sacrifice for the beloved person. That’s love.

Though when the wounds healed at last, I could see that love concerned only one person: me. Not because the other person wasn’t as important as I was, but because only my love was real, not theirs. The only important thing was that since I would always end hurt, the only possible goal for me was to see what I was capable of doing for my beloved one.

That’s it, true love is a challenge of all united against me. It all depends on what I was willing to do for her. I just need a woman who can wake all that unmeasurable strength inside me. I need someone who can make me fight my inner hell, someone who is more valuable than all the other human beings combined. I just need to find her, just that, and finally being able to prove myself of what I am able to do. Love is selfish.

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She’s My Song Lyrics

She’s My Song

Producers:
A wedding
A bunch of castles
A dark, peaceful cliff with a lighthouse

Writer:
Javier Córdoba

[Spanish guitar intro]

I didn’t want to hear it,
don’t let the song get in my head
Ignore the song, not want to hum

I didn’t want to listen,
had had songs stuck in my head before
She’s the song I didn’t want

Nothing I can do, she’s that tune I can’t help (I can’t help it)

Chorus:
There’s the tune, the giggle
There’s the beat, her eyes and smile
Beats me to close mine, and only see hers

This song is not mine, this song won’t last much
This song that I just want to replay
until my ears bleed

This song was heard before, this song that makes me nod
This song that is well known
has never been played like that before

Chorus

Let me play this song again
I know it will be the same
but that’s what I want
Please let me play this song again

Let me play this song again
I know it will be the same
but it’s the song that makes me smile
Please let me play this song again

Chorus

Its tune     –     Her giggle
Its riff     –     Her style
Its lyrics     –     Her intelligence
Its rhythm     –     Her sweetness
Its silences     –     Her strength

Let me play this song again
Let me play this song again
Let me play this song again
Let me play this song again

[Fade]

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Reach the exit

It wasn’t his fault. He was in the wrong place, the wrong time… and maybe -just maybe- at the wrong speed. So it might had been a nice tribute to his life, that it all happened very quickly. Sort of “why is that car doing that? Shit”. Suddenly everything was spinning, his body flying, not bound to gravity any more; and he would still wonder for some time what came first, if the pain, or the blackness.

That wondering was long, and without a point of reference. Time was fluid, he was changing lanes dynamically in a fantasy highway of a hundred lanes without road signs or cars. Blackness and pain and voices and sirens and beeps. And sometimes some hands grabbed him, but he was still changing lanes in his mind, trying to find an exit to the biggest highway. He then remembered the tunnel, didn’t want to reach the tunnel, had to find an exit first.

-Stupid boy, you were so happy that you had a hundred lanes and no traffic, you forgot why you were here. You are too far from the right end lane, where the exit is. Life is passing by, like the highway: fast beneath your feet. You can see it move below you but you can’t step down. Will you reach the exit? Will you? The tunnel is coming.

The tunnel!

-Sorry boy, I lied, the tunnel is not coming; you are the one going towards the tunnel, and you’re too far from waking up. But don’t be sorry for yourself, you’re going to have your eternal ride. You will never get down of your dream bike.

But then he found the exit, and he was upset, that everything was still dark and painful, and a bit cold too. There were also some faint voices somewhere. Something was different, though. He felt his body, and reached in front of him and felt. He felt with his hands! He pushed, and light hit his eyes, which was a sweeter pain than the one in his legs and chest.

Once his eyes got used to light, he sat up, and saw familiar faces. All silent, surprised, scared, big-eyed faces. Mom, dad, little sis, his buddies, grandma, the cute neighbor… He remembered what had happened. That stupid car got in his way. Last time he was riding his motorcycle, now he was inside a coffin. He felt imprisoned inside it. In a certain way, he thought it would be pointless to ask why he had been given up for dead, he was the only one with the answer: he had found the exit before the tunnel. But indeed, he also had a question. The most important one:

-Is my bike okay?

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Just chillin’

“Just chillin’”, said the message. Mr. Strauss read the private message on Facebook. He liked Katie’s commitment with the job, but he wasn’t 100% happy with her way of working.

The air was nice, a soft Caribbean breeze that made the warm environment even more pleasant. There were thirty swimming pools gathered in groups of five, each five pools around a bar; all six groups forming a perfect hexagon with the luxury hotel in the center.

Their CEO worked non-stop to have the whole complex clean and perfect, and the board of directors would do anything their workers asked them for: from preparing margaritas to highly elaborate meals. There were only six bars, but they had nine directors and they would work extra hours for free just to enjoy being there serving better their poor workers.

Among the thirty base workers with high salaries and all the benefits imagined by a grad school stoner, there were ten departmental bosses making sure that the company was doing well.

Mr. Strauss hated doing something like that, but it was his responsibility and he was barely earning twenty grand a year, so he had to do it. He walked from his tiny booth without air conditioning to the comfy pool.

“Katie, Katie”

She was probably too relaxed to pay attention, or maybe she was only faking it. Strauss walked into the pool, not diving so he wouldn’t bother the worker. He walked with much effort and talked very quietly next to Katie’s ear. She was lying down on a pink floater, on her yellow bikini and sunglasses. Her company phone simply lying on her belly.

“Katie, Katie!”

“Yeah, boss?”

“You see, I’m very sorry for bothering you now, I know it’s so nice there…”

“But?” she asked showing apathy and discomfort.

“Buuuuut…” you just send reports too often. And you used a private message! That’s too formal. So don’t send so many texts, and if you do, please, do it on my wall or add a picture or something fun. Why don’t you have a san francisco or a sex on the beach? Maybe then you could post on my wall how much fun you’re having…”

“Gotcha”

“Yes? Good. We like you very much, we don’t want to lose you, you’ll understand”

“Yes, boss”

“Thank you, Katie, carry on”

“Yes, Mr. Strauss”

Strauss was walking back to his booth when she sat up and looked at her boss’ back. Then she looked at the bar, the marketing director was making french fries and hot dogs for her coworkers Steve and Lisa, maybe even for Lucía too; they sometimes met in a pool and chill together, it was much more efficient.

“Sun of a beach… you just want to become a director, hell! You wouldn’t doubt in giving any of us a massage just to become the CEO!” Strauss turned around to show he had heard it, he looked ashamed.

Katie started playing some relaxing music on her phone and lied down again. The sun felt so good, especially combined with the fresh breeze. She had also had a magnificent lunch of Turkish Kebab, some chicken nuggets accompanied of sixteen different sauces, watermelon, tangerines and a few cups of sangría. She lived in the hotel, with the best sunrises and sunsets over the ocean. After work she could only choose to go horseback riding, scuba diving with dolphins, play videogames alone, go dancing or bowling or ride the mechanical bull. There was also the option of playing billiards, darts, air hockey, table tennis or movies. Something was really wrong in her life.

Katie was making plans in her head; she was literally deciding what she would do after work. There was no limit for minimum or maximum of work per day, but she had a weird tendency to doing a minimum of eight hours, and only from Monday to Friday. Working involved doing literally nothing, but she just wanted to get a computer and type until she broke the keyboard. Suddenly she remembered when she made some graphics and charts of random stuff, then Strauss came and made her remove them before any director saw them, claiming that it was absolutely inappropriate.

She forced herself into going back to work, she cleared her mind and focused in pleasant feelings, she needed some booze. She got her phone and pressed 2 for a while to get a direct line with the bar.

“Mr. Jenkins, Marketing bar. How can I help you?”

Katie forced her most informal slang:

“Hey boy, it’s me, Katie”

“Hi Katie, what can I do for you?”

“Hit me really hard, what can you gimme?”

“Anything you ask”

“What’s your recommendation?”

“Long island is pretty popular”

“Is it long enough?”

“Yeah, it’s very long”

“That’s what she said!!!”, she said!

She waited for him to stop laughing, while she was wondering why all the hot shots on black suits and ties loved those jokes. Then she continued:

“Okay, bring me a long island ASAP, got it?”

“Yeah sweetie”

“Thanks dude, you’re awesome!”

She tried to relax and stop analyzing things in her mind, but it was hard (that’s what she said). The phone had unstressed her a lot, but not enough. She lacked an inspiration, a reason to do her job. Katie then wondered if she had achieved what she wanted in her life. She found herself in the wrong place, her job was not good at all, and revised all the decisions in her life that had taken her there in that same spot in that same moment. When she had all those moments in her mind, she analyzed all the options she had rejected.

She was frowning, and Mr. Strauss was passing by her pool.

“Katie?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you chillin’?”

“Yeah, sure boss!”

“You seemed to be thinking…”

“Oh my! Why would I?”

“I don’t care why, only matters what you do, and you were thinking!”

“No! I wasn’t!”

“Well, stop thinking and relax!”

“I can’t –she thought of an excuse-… there are some tree leaves in my pool!”

She went down from her floater and walked to the pool’s curb right between the waterfall and the stairway.

“What the hell are you doing, Katie?”

“I’m cleaning the Goddamn swimming pool, Mister Boss!”

“Stop! Call the fuckin’ CEO and make him clean it!”

Strauss had his hands on his waist, looking down to Katie, who was taking the leaves with her own hands.

“Katie! Stop!!!”

Mr. Jenkings then came with a very elegant white suit, a tray and a huge tube glass of bright colors and an umbrella. He was puzzled of seeing Katie not sun tanning and listening to music:

“What’s going on here, Strauss?”

“Katie is cleaning her swimming pool by her own!”

Jenkings was freaking out, he had never seen a subordinate doing any manual task at all. After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence he just crouched and extended the long island to Katie.

“Okay Katie, let’s do this. You take this delicious beverage, you go back to your floater or to that hammock over there… or even go to someone else’s pool and chat a bit about shoes or sports or anything you want, okay?”

Silence.

“Are we cool here? Are you going to do your job, Katie?” asked Strauss. Katie simply smiled, looked at both at their eyes, grabbed the glass with her left hand, and then, with her right she took the little umbrella from her drink.

The bosses were happy with that. Katie brought the umbrella to her mouth and tasted the liquor from it without stopping smiling. Suddenly her face turned red and her expression showed unlimited rage and like an Amazon warrior she screamed loud and long and stabbed Strauss’ leg with the little umbrella.

Both men were frozen before such a horror scene. While they were looking at Strauss’ wound Katie had time to walk out of the pool and then pushed both to the water.

***

Katie was in her room when she received the call from the Human Resources director. They asked her to meet the board of directors at the bowling area. They all dressed and acted informally due to the extraordinariness of the situation. She of course, had a bikini and flip flops to dress appropriately. Mrs. Smith, HR director started:

“Dear Katie, we have agreed that you should take some vacation. We know you’ve been under so much relaxation and it’s no good for anyone. We’ll give you a month, you get analytical, rational, logical… just go play some chess or write a review of Ulysses. We can give you some fliers of stressing things to do”

“We like you –intervened Mr. Sushima, from Research and Development -, we really want you to stay with us, but if you prefer to quit, we’ll understand”

“Also –added Smith-, Mister Strauss is very sorry and humbly asks you not to sue him for stressing you out. You’ll understand that he was trying to do his job the best he can according to the company’s policies”

“Right” answered Katie.

Two days later Katie was landing in London Heathrow, happy to finally take a vacation and forget about her job. A man with a sign with her name was waiting for her. She introduced herself and he drove her to the office. As soon as she left her things in her cubicle, she asked the receptionist for a pile of paperwork. They gave her a foot and a half high pile of papers, a stapler and the password for the intranet. The sound of the printers and phones, the flashes of the copier, the smell of coffee and the touch of the office chair finally made her smile. Then her phone rang.

“Johnson talking” answered Katie.

“This is Adams, I want the sales report for yesterday”

“Aye sir”, she hanged and closed her eyes, enjoying a river of endorphins running through her body.

Javier Córdoba

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A penny for your thoughts

The milkshake went up the straw to her mouth. It was delicious, but not that enjoyable when she was angry at someone; especially when she was angry at herself. Why would she rely on him again? It was completely her fault. Well, it was his fault first, but he was just being the same one he had been during their relationship. After he dumped her, Aitana decided she wouldn’t trust him anymore; but she realized as she was waiting for him at the ice cream parlor that it was her mistake.

“I shouldn’t think bad of him –she thought-, probably there’s a good reason he’s not here yet.”

A part of her mind needed Jordi very desperately; she was still in love with him but she would never admit it to anyone. She wouldn’t even admit it to herself, actually. The bad thing for Aitana is that he had been one of those bastards that earn their fame; he even got a star with his name and handprints in the Walk of the Greatest Sons of a Bitch, red carpet included.

“I cannot trust a man who hits on my sister in front of me, or who cheats on me with his friends, or mine. Actually I don’t remember how many times he cheated on me; okay, I don’t remember how many times he confessed me or I caught him cheating on me; there should be like a 30% more cheating undercover, I guess.” She was trying to rationalize her thoughts, trying not to be stupid.

“He’s such a jerk that he cannot be like that forever; he must have changed.” An alarm was sounding in her mind, she didn’t want to think that, but she was. “He has used me in the past, but I had patience and persistence, and I shall be rewarded.”

In her mind full of naïve and happily-ever-after thoughts there was still resistance: a little piece of rationality with a red bandana and a machine gun was fighting to be heard. The last chance for freedom, the only threat to the tyranny of her ex-boyfriend… was that thought:

“I guess there’s no karma or God, it all depends on what he thinks of me.”

She had finished her strawberry milkshake and looked around to see if Jordi was coming yet or not. No sight of him. She looked at her phone and wondered what she could do: call him? Not enough credit, as usual. Play a solitaire? Too lame. Erase old text messages? Temporary solution. She wanted Jordi to arrive. Sighed.

“I miss him. I love him. I can be happy with him if he has changed. If he’s still the same old one I know, I can kick his ass back to douchebagland. I only need to know what he’s intending with me. Why would he call me to meet after three months?”

She needed to figure out what were his intentions, but how the hell would she understand what was going on in a man’s mind? Everything in a man’s mind was so simple that made no sense, she was not ready to read his mind, but it was her only solution. She got her phone again and checked her remaining credit. One penny, yay!

She didn’t like to use those new applications for the phone, felt like she was depending too much on technology. The phone asked her for the number she wanted to interfere. She copied it from the phone list and pasted it on the app’s box. One penny would allow her to hear his thoughts for maybe three seconds. She had to choose the right moment to spend that penny, if he was thinking in something else, she wouldn’t have an idea of what his intentions were.

“Dear left hemisphere, give me some patience. Yours sincerely, Aitana.”

She waited there, asked for another milkshake and checked her phone was still asking her to start Thinker App. Something in her mind was telling her that the enemy was approaching, she could feel it in the air. It was like drums in the dark, some sort of orcs bringing a cave troll to the ice cream parlor.

“Bring him! There’re rational thoughts alive!”

No orcs, no cave troll, no feeling like Rambo, just cars passing by and old ladies with ugly dogs. She got her new milkshake and the endorphins she got from it helped her with the patience. She started feeling like a soldier, just waiting the enemy to activate the land mines at the entrance. Her finger was waiting action, was looking forward to spot Jordi and release all the anger.

“If you dare to think anything else rather than that you missed me or that you love me, I’ll make sure you regret having called me.”

She really loved Jordi, and loving him made her think of him all the time she waited. Unfortunately for the one that shall not be named, all he did to her was bad, and her memories were full of embarrassment, arguments, pain, shame and a very bad risotto that he cooked and she couldn’t stand. Waiting lead her to feel anger for him.

Suddenly she saw Jordi at the other side of the window. Aitana pressed the button and her phone started the application that was getting the waves from his brain and through his phone.

He saw her and smiled, and in that moment she received those thoughts:

“Wow, she’s still hot, I know of someone who’s going to get laid tonight, yeahhh.”

She smiled back; different smile, though. Her mind was clear, her intention was empowering, her anxiety towards the future, missing. She could only think of what she felt, and she felt great.

“A penny for your thoughts, you’re not worth more than a penny, asshole.”

She stood up and got closer to him, smiling, and smiling even more with each step. He leaned towards her and prepared to hug or kiss her, depending on what she’d do. She closed her eyes, hugged him and launched her knee at neutrino’s speed, slightly faster than light; probably opening a black hole in his crotch.

She left the place without looking back, realizing that her rational thoughts were way worthier than a penny. She was then in love with herself, and not with Captain Moron, the leader of the Cheating Squad, Idiot Company from the First Battalion of the Retarded Corps.

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