Thought of the day: Greatest regret

July 15, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.


There are two regrets in life: A thing that you should have never done, but you did it and a thing that you had to do, but you didn’t do it. The second one is your greatest regret and, above all, it is what really hurts the most.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.


Someone is looking at you…always (last part)

July 12, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)

“And how about you. Who are you?” The young woman calmly asked him. “We share one thing in common and differ in everything else. I carry my grief within. You, however, like your sumptuous black attire, carry it outside. That means that you keep more things back from people than I do.”

“I don’t have anything to hide.” The violinist simpered.

“Really? Let’s see… It is said that medicine and art complement each other. Some colleagues of mine paint or play the piano or the harp. You play quite well the violin. I wonder if you didn’t get passionate about medicine to get complacent later.”

“The violinist did not say anything.”

“I guess your silence means yes because your aching heart doesn’t let you say no.” She said. “Why didn’t you become a doctor, artist? Perhaps you are one of those people who flinch at the sight of blood or there’s a lot more to it than that. Maybe you can’t get along well with people. It is probably the latter, and that’s why you decided to take refuge in you violin, so that you don’t have to deal with anyone because an instrument always obeys without complaining and it will do whatever you ask when you play it.”

“Why don’t you shut up once and for all?” The violinist yelled at her as if he were about to lose control of himself sooner than later and shatter into pieces.

“You were right. It seems that love is not for me. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t get the love I needed, the love I wanted. Well, maybe that’s why I’m a doctor, because I love people and want to help them. You didn’t get what you wanted most in life either. However, very different from me, instead of helping people as I do, you spend as much time as possible to watch them from a distance and hate them in silence first to attack them later in public. As you know, I love math: I don’t owe you anything. On the contrary, it is you who owes me money. Is not that true, Derek?”

The last question of the young woman astounded the violinist. He quickly looked at all the people around him and ran out of the bar without saying a word or taking the 700 dollars that Mr. Lawrence had left on the table while they were whispering about him without understanding what happened.

“Who’s that man?”

“Another sick person who goes from town to town.” The young woman answered to her friend.

“And how do you know all those things about him? Is he your friend?”

“Of course not. It’s just like he said: Wherever you are, from a distance, somebody is looking at you…always.”

Shortly after midnight, all customers had left the bar. The waiter picked up the glasses from the table and, of course, the 700 dollars that were waiting for an owner too. He wiped the tables and did the washing-up. It is said that there truly is an art to popping open a bottle of beer, but that does not apply to a waiter after his workday is done, so he did it quickly and looked towards the corner where the violinist had played and left his violin.

“Another artist who leaves the bar and another instrument that remains with us.” He said and, because of one of those inscrutable impulses of the heart, he went to the place where the violin case was, near a big black bag that also belonged to the violinist.

“There is no room for all theses things here.” He said and opened the bag out of curiosity. Then, he was stunned and stuck for a moment, looking at what was inside and shaking his head in disbelief.

“Oh, my God!” He could barely say. That was the moment when he remembered the words that the young woman said: “From a distance, someone is looking at you…always.

The waiter put the violin behind the old piano and guitar, increasing the number of instruments left at that corner. Then, he went back to the counter, drank his beer down in one go and hurried home, taking with him that black bag with its content: another instrument, but far from being used to play music. He had a strange feeling of pleasure and happiness at the thought of what he could do with it, which drowned immediately his utter astonishment. From that day, or rather, from that night, the waiter began to do the same thing that millions of people have been doing since the dawn of time: To snoop.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Someone is looking at you…always (penultimate part)

July 8, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)

“Don’t you keep it inside some briefcase at home or office under lock and key?”

When Mr. Lawrence heard that, he only took 100 dollars and, of course, his credit card.

“Let’s get out of here quickly!” He said to his employees, and before walking out of the door, he emphatically told them:

“If tomorrow someone at office knows what happened here tonight, I’ll kick you out! Is that clear?”

Wherever there is an extremely pleasant waiter, there is also an extremely big-mouthed person. For that reasons and others more complex, all people knew already about the bet and, above all, about the other mysterious talent of the violinist.

“Would you take a bet with me?” A clean, but slovenly funny man wearing a short T-shirt that unveiled his non-desirable and prominent belly asked him.

“You can’t even pay the rent money for this month, let alone make a bet like the man who left.”

“I’m drinking beer like anyone else here. Who knows?”

“I know what I’m saying and your friends too. You make them laugh by clowning around all night and they give you some drinks in return. But just for some mental exercise, judging by the look of your underpants, up out of your trousers and, by the way, you get them on inside-out, it’s no wonder that you get up every day around midday and spend the first hours in the afternoon scratching your tummy with one hand and your armpit with the other one while walking from here to there inside your apartment in your underpants.”

“Wow! I got myself into a fine mess!” The man said, smiling without being angry at all.

“Well, I’ll leave you exactly where you are!” The violinist told him and the good laugh that came after his words was the end of the matter.

“The person I’d like to talk to now is this beautiful young lady.” The violinist said, giving her a peremptory look.

“Are you crazy or something?” One of the women who were sitting at the same table with the young lady yelled at him with anger. That kind of bet is for men, not for wome…” and before she could finish the sentence, the young lady silenced her by covering her mouth with the right hand.

“And what kind of person do you think she is inside?” The violinist told her.

Life is a mixture of good and bad things that always come like alternate success and failure. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. If this is true, then, those who thought that it was the time for the violinist to lose were right since the young lady was not the younger female in the bar, but the most beautiful one. Her hair had subtle highlights that brought charming and enigma to her face. She was not tall, but she had lovely and soft eyes that matched perfectly her baby-faced look. Then, why on earth did he call her a man? However, nobody dared to challenge the violinist; nobody, of course, except for the young lady herself.

“She is as methodical and analytical as they come. While her friends crumpled their napkin into a little ball after using it, look at hers, perfectly folded in four parts. I guess she is a doctor or a professor of physics who loves numbers.”

“I’m a doctor.” She said.

“Needless to say, she is fluent in two or three languages.”

“French, Spanish and German. I started to learn Japanese last month.”

“The violinist’s right answers and the succinct confirmation she gave drew the attention of all people in the bar, including the waiter, of course. They seemed to witness a metal battle, something like the Match of the Century between Fischer and Spassky.

“Yes. I’m sure she is like that…A person who has a lot of plants in her balcony to make sure that no one can invade her privacy, a person who hangs systematically the clothes out, following a precise order. But you know what? Behind her successful life, other feelings are hidden. There are days, especially at night, when she feels empty, sad and lonely because the prototype of the perfect man she forged in her mind to share her life never came and, even though she’s still young, she knows now that he will never be there, in her empty house, in her empty bed, and that’s why she mourns that unsatisfied part of her life by wearing almost always black underwear.

“Not almost, but always”. She said, and her words, coupled with the glasses of beer that the men near her had taken, gave free rein to their imagination in a way that does not need to be told.

“Now you can understand”, the violinist said, “why she probably goes to her balcony from time to time in the evenings and puts her arms over the fence and her head over her arms while gazing up at the sky, looking for an irrational explanation to her own situation. That is you.” (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Someone is looking at you…always (Part II)

July 6, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)

“Bet on the table and a few laughs. Start using your crystal ball, if it’s not on the fritz.” Mr. Lawrence told him, which drew the attention of all people near them and made his two employees laugh unnaturally.

“You are wearing a lovely and distinctive perfume. It’s Eternity. Isn’t it? Its fragrance is well-balanced to a point that some women wear it too, very different from the virile Sauvage that your employee is wearing tonight, as if he wanted to say to all women at the bar that there is a real man in him, a man who doesn’t need money to attract a woman.”

The employee rubbed his hands, looked at the waiter and ordered quickly a beer while pretending that he didn’t hear what the violinist said.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Lawrence. What I told you, even though it’s true, is not enough to demand the payment of our bet. However, the startling revelation of the woman who ignites your passion, that girl sitting over there, changes the whole picture.”

“Now you are playing with fire, kid, and believe me, you will be in real trouble if you are not in a position to prove what you said because…”

“…because she is my neighbor and a little friend.” The violinist said to complete the phrase as if he were reading his mind.

Mr. Lawrence’s sardonic smile faded from his lips and he began to show on his face the same look and feeling of constriction as a sinner in front of his confessor for something that was intended to be done for fun and ended up putting him in a tight spot. His long cigar burned out in his hand, as he couldn’t take his eyes off the violinist.

“Poets, sensitive people and the indecisive prefer a woman’s breast to any other part of her body and it is precisely her cleavage where you have been staring at almost all night. You don’t belong to the first two groups, hence the truth of my words”.

“Didn’t you know that I’m married?”

“You’re legally married and emotionally divorced. Under the pretext of your job, perhaps, you are sleeping in separate beds, I guess, and you both only go out together when she wants to do the weekly shopping or go to the beauty parlour. That explains why you are here with your two employees as a shield, to keep up appearances, and why she is also there with her friends because doubts can be easily covered when the number of people increases. Your longed-for moment will come after leaving this place, by the way, in a place so close yours that nobody could ever imagine something like that. As you called me several times, Mr. Lawrence, I am an artist, a violinist and you are a successful businessman. I’m not good at math at all. Therefore, could you tell how much money you owe me, please?”

“How can you prove all those nonsenses and slanderous remarks you have said tonight?” Mr. Lawrence asked after giving him a short and derisive laugh for the last time.

“Can I ask the girl to join us here?” The violinist said.

The eyes of all those present at the table and close to it were fixed on Mr. Lawrence’s face, above all, on his forehead from where beads of sweat began to break out suddenly. He stirred the small ice cubes that were left in his glass of whiskey, passed his credit card to the waiter to pay the bill and put 700 dollars on the table, leaving everybody baffled.

“Give me back 200 dollars.” He said to the violinist after showing him his wallet with no trace of her picture or something similar.

“A bet is over when the payment is made. However, here are your 200 dollars.”

And, when Mr. Lawrence set out to take the money with the small satisfaction coming from the fact that he did not win the war, but at least a battle, he got petrified, staring at the violinist in stunned silence after listening from his lips this question: (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Someone is looking at you… always (Part I)

July 4, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)

It happened early on a Tuesday night. Despite the early hour, the bar was full of customers, thirsty patrons whose different lives were reflected in their conversations. Some of them were drinking because they had finished their work; others, because the next day they had to work and there was a lonely man who did not even know why he was doing that, a man who, in the absence of real and good company, seemed to make love with his drinks by caressing tenderly and lovely the rim of his glass with his index finger.

They were chatting about a lot of things and exchanging smiles, looking for the same thing. At the rear of the bar, there was a small place in semidarkness labeled by the waiter as “the corner of the forgotten artist” where some people started their dreams of becoming a famous singer, pianist or something similar and, some time later, that was the place from where they left when they woke up to face the truth. As if they were witnesses and conclusive proof of the waiter’s stories, an old piano and guitar remained at the corner, whose owners, divorced from their dreams already and without the slightest shadow of hesitation, threw them away.

Life can be very mysterious sometimes, because it was precisely from that lugubrious place that the sound of the music came from, a melody that covered sadness with armor-plate and evoked memories of an unrequited love to customers. That feeling flooded first through those who were close to him and it spread gradually to others until all customers in the bar were listening to him, trying to see the graceful movements of his fingers over the strings and how his bow seemed to woo the violin. That man was far away from being a new Niccolo Paganini or any other violin virtuoso, but he managed to get from his old instrument an indescribable seam of nostalgia as only the greatest can do, a seam that fitted perfectly into the customer’s hearts.

“Man, what are you doing here?” A person said, emulating the lyric of Piano Man.

The applause went on for several minutes and people were wondering who this violinist was.

“This is the man I told you about, Mr. Lawrence”. The waiter said to a middle-aged man, sitting at a table with two people who worked for him.

“I can’t believe it!”

“Well, if you think that he’s good at playing the violin, you should wait until he talks to you and you will see that I’m by no means exaggerating here. Believe me, Mr. Lawrence, if Freud were alive, he would be a psychoanalyst’s apprentice at his side.”

The waiter beckoned him to come and join them. The violinist put carefully his instrument into its case first and approached the table walking slowly and deliberately. He was dressed in black as he always did when he played his violin. His inscrutable expression was similar to the feeling that emanated from his music.

“Is it true what the waiter is saying about you?” Mr. Lawrence asked him.

“You don’t have to dress your question up, Mr. Lawrence, especially when your real interest is how much I can know and say about you.”

“To know my name doesn’t surprise me at all. Any person here could have told you that, starting with Robert.” He lit a large cigar and began to smoke it, exhaling the cigar smoke as slow as possible as if he wanted that moment to last forever.

“I have not opened my mouth.” The waiter answered quickly.

“That’s true. But nobody could have told me how naturally indecisive you are despite your image of strong man.” The violinist said.

“How can you prove that?”

“Well, Mr. Lawrence, we live in an age of information. Information means power and, therefore, it costs money.”

“And what is the price for your information, artist?”

“I get 100 dollars for each correct guess and you receive the double for each mistake on my part”. (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Lessons of life: The lesson of the shoe

June 30, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

When I saw this shoe at a street today, the first thing that came to my mind was to add some humor to the situation. “To walk with one shoe only is fashion, perhaps” or “I wish him/her a fresh asphalt to walk!” And later, those jokes led me to a serious reflection: A shoe is useless if we do not have the other one to complete the pair. Considering the way a lot of people live their lives these days, it is no exaggeration to say that they look like this shoe: They build tall walls around their houses as if they were sending the message of “do not steal me and do not bother me either!” Besides, relationships with neighbours are reduced to a mere greeting from time to time and they move around a small circle of people despite having hundreds of their photos on social networking sites! Things like that are very often in those places traditionally called “the developed and rich countries”.

Human beings are not like bears, jaguars or ocelots, that is, solitary animals doomed by nature to live alone, but we are supposed to be gregarious thanks to the gift of reason and our capacity to feel deep emotions. Then, every time we take the wrong direction by trying to live alone as much as possible instead of looking for living together in companionship and fraternity, we are running the risk of ending up as sad and lonely as this shoe.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Curiosities: What are those strings on the bananas that we see when we peel them?

June 28, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Imagine that you are very hungry and see a sweet banana on the table. What do you do? You peel it quickly and when you are going to eat it, you meet those strings on the fruit that are not usually welcoming for being seen as a “delayed-action” between your hunger and the banana. This is the moment when you wish bananas come without them. A lot of things that we hate are in fact truly important things that are absolutely necessary to live, like your job for your life and the strings for bananas.

Those strings are called phloem, a tissue whose function is to carry the food from the leaves (during the photosynthesis) to other parts of the plant. That means that, thanks to those strings (phloem), bananas can receive the water and nutrition they need to grow, so that we can eat them later. Finally, those strings are not unique to bananas, but they can be found in other fruits, like mandarin oranges, for example.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.