Story #1

A story starts, as no one can even see it starting. Because, as any other story, this story starts on what you call a normal day. Because, as any other story, its prologue is something so simple, so 'normal', so unknown to those around.
A story starts, as any other story, with a word.

'You sure you're going to be alright?' she asks with her evermore concerned face. No one in the world cares about me more than she does, which is something I highly appreciate but never knew how to express. That's why I hug her for a second time, hoping maybe, this will show how much I love her. I'm not much of a hugger, that, she knows, and she understands my inner meanings, as she always does.
'It's one of those now or never moments,' I say 'though not a right moment for a cliché I suppose.'
'Is there? A right time for a cliché?' she says and smiles, trying as hard as she can to hide her concern.
'I know I'll be okay. I'll send postcards, promise.'
'Can't you just take your phone with you?'
'It's in the trash, and, you know it will ruin the whole idea of adventure.'
'Since when has this became an adventure?'
'When has ever life stopped being an adventure? You're in one, with your beer-bellied lovely man and those two teethless monsters of yours.' I know this last remark will certainly get a laughter off her, and it does, and she beams at the word of her lovely, lovely kids. 'And this is mine.'
'I know,' she says, and gives out a sigh, 'just take care, will you?'
'Okay, "mom"' I say, which makes her snort and hit me on the arm.
Then comes my train, and I get in, find my seat next to the window seeing the station, and I wave good-bye to my best friend. I breathe upon the window and draw a heart onto the steam I made, which makes her burst into laugh so cheerfully, I can hear it inside the train.
Then the train starts to move.
I look at her until we leave the station, and start making our way through the empty fields of where I had spent my whole life, my home.
'Goodbye, home' I say out loud, but in a voice only I can hear, not that anybody is listening, not that there's anybody else in the compartment where I am. Because nobody is, and I'm all alone.

The House
I reach the two store house after six hours of travelling. I feel my eyes are tired from all the gazing-into-the-scenery and my legs numb from all the sitting. My one and only suitcase is resting on the sidewalk, and I am resting my head on it, because nobody is answering the door and I don't know anybody to ask anything. So I lay myself on the sidewalk, waiting. The weather is funny, but as far as I remember this place, it has always been like this. Sun is always bright enough to blind the eyes, but there's also this subtle breeze, which takes away any feeling of warmth.
I think about home, and I instantly feel the need to call Anna, and tell her that I am okay, that I miss her, but I feel okay. But the need is instant, and the next thing I know the sun is no longer blinding my eyes. That's when I realize there's a shadow over me, and that there is someone that shadow belongs to. I open my eyes to see an old lady staring in my face, slightly bent over, probably not on purpose but because she is a little humpback. 'Hello,' she says, 'are you Elizabeth?' I answer 'Yes' but see that she has already started for the front door and hear her calling 'Well then, what are you waiting for? Come in.'
I follow her into the old house with my suitcase in my hand. The house smells of lavender and the air is dusty, as it always is where old people live. She leads me upstairs and opens a walnut door, as she announces that this will be my room. 'The bathroom at the end of the hall, and you can have a daily shower if you want' she says 'but don't you use up all my hot water.' I assure her no such thing will happen, and thank her once again for the room. 'We'll discuss the rent later on,' she says as she goes down the stairs 'leave your stuff and come down for lunch.'
I put my suitcase down next to the door and take a moment to take in the room. It's a very small room with walls painted pale blue and two small windows with a view of the empty street where I had just been laying. There is a single bed covered with what looks like fresh blue sheets, a small wooden desk with its wooden chair, an empty wardrobe and an old wooden chest in which I later found ancient pictures of what looked like a happy crowded family. I intended to ask the old lady about the pictures, but it was better if I waited for a few weeks to pass until we could actually get on with each other. As I was shuffling through the photograps, she called out again and so I stuck the pictures in the chest and went downstairs.

The Other One
'What happened to.. What was her name? Georgia? Gina?'
Jordan, mom. Her name was Jordan. We broke up, remember. She lied to me. She was a stripper.'
Well, I was a stripper once.'
That's the truth honey. Med schools were never cheap. And that's how I met your father, I'm sure I told you the story, it was a Sunday night and I was just entering the stage--'
'YES. Mom, yes, I know. You told me. A hundred and one times now. Please. Just. Gosh.'
'Okay, well don't you get all smart with me. I taught you to be respectful, haven't I?'
'Yes, mom, you did.'
'Okay. Well, I just wanted to see if you were doing all right. And your father asks if you need any money.'
I look around the empty flat. Besides the floor mattress, my old Mac, the empty kitchen cupboards, a bag of clean-but-maybe-not-so-clean clothes and all sizes of delivery boxes laying around; there wasn't much stuff in the flat. I liked to call it a simplistic way of living. The truth was that I still couldn't find a job and I was broke. Then again, who could find a proper job these days?
'No, mom, no need. Tell him I say hi... I think I'll better go now.'
'Well, alright. Bye bye Peternut, kiss kiss!'
'Bye, mom.'
I had been living on my own, like this, for twelve years now. I lived in dozens of different flats all over the world by now, and was probably still on the move, because I hadn't paid last months rent. Straight out of high school I moved out my parent's house and never returned home. I guess I had a more severe case of seeking-freedom then most people did. It wasn't because I had a bad childhood or anything; I had fairly nice parents: a crazy but loving mother and a very formal father, a kind of father who would wear dark grey suits to be casual. Life was never too hard on me, but never seemed to please me either. I had always been this lost, incomplete child, and I spent my whole life searching for something.
When you're a teenager, this all sounds very inspirational and dramatic. But when you're a 32 year-old like me it is kind of embarrassing.
Embarrassement, however, is nothing new to me; and my life is.. Well, it's the same life I always had and I learned in time to be content.

It must have been around 1 pm when mom called and now it was 4 pm and after four weeks of denial and indolence, I decided it was time to do laundry. I shuffled through my stuff in the bag in a vain hope of finding something that wasn't looking and smelling so horrible, and then decided what I had on was probably the best combination, since everything in the bag had this weird smell. I would try and name it, but heck, who needs more visuals than a bag of moisty sweatpants and sweathirts and boxers and balls of socks?
After putting each piece of clothing I owned in the bag, I hit the road for the launderette a few blocks away. The air in this place was thick and the air conditioning never worked but I couldn't care less. It had large comfortable couches, way more comfortable than my bedless mattress, and nobody minded me taking a nap as long as I was using the machines, and I never minded picking the longest washing program for my clothes. Hygiene, in the end, was very important.
I had been dreaming about... I can't really remember but, I had been dreaming when I was woken by a familiar voice:
'Darling, I think your clothes are ready,' and indeed they were. It was Mrs. Green, with a grand smile on her face. I never understood how young she managed to look with all the wrinkles in her face and her grey hair tied loosely at the back. She and her three friends, whom I liked to call the Golden Girls, were living around this block and were my only source of income. They were all living alone, except for playing canasta together everyday, and whenever something broke or simply refused to work in their ancient houses, they called me to fix it. I recieved my payement in a decent amount of cash or a homecooked meal of my own choosing. So I was happy to see this woman, not only because she made the best apple pies I've ever had, but because she was very nice.
'Thanks Mrs. Green.'
'You know, you are gonna get yourself a stiff back for sleeping on these couches, darling.'
'No no, don't you worry. They are more comfy than they look. How are the girls?'
'Oh they are all just fine. Carol had a new haircut, and don't tell her that I told you this but Marie told me that it looked awful. I think it looks wonderful! But what does Marie know about haircuts anyway? She hadn't had one for ten years now! She's lucky she still has a head full of 'em. And Aileene was expecting a guest sometime soon. I haven't seen her this morning, I was too busy preparing for the roast we're having tonight. You sure you don't want to come?'
A homecooked roast beef, fresh out of the oven. I could even hear the smell of it. I had been feeding on store-bought noodles and pizza deliveries for the last few weeks. Of course I wanted to go.
'Yes Mrs. Green, I am sure.'
But I was too lazy, and too unwilling to hear about the symptoms of deathly ilnesses for the night. I was planning to rent a movie on the way home and watch that on my Mac while eating a pizza.
Or noodles.
That would be a surprise for me as well.

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