Collective stories: ‘South Beach Bathers’

That 17th of July, like every day since it was hot again, and like every year, Catherine and Allan went sunbathing in Barcelona. After a while, when they had had enough, they grabbed their umbrella and a pack of card: they set up the former and played with the latter. After noon they put away the card and unwrapped their sandwiches, as usual.

However, that time was different. A group of five quite loud but fun-looking guys laid their towels close to them. After eating, Kate and Allan considered asking the group to watch their belongings while they swam.

South Beach Bathers [picture: John French Sloan]

South Beach Bathers [picture: John French Sloan]

That’s how they became friends with the newcomers. Sparrow and Wayne, the two boys and the most talkative in the group, were amazed at how well prepared those two were against the sun, boredom and hunger. Next time they met, they also had an umbrella, cards and sandwiches. The seven boys spread under the two umbrellas together and a bunch of them could go to the water without worrying about the bags and, after that, they’d play cards; the couple taught the quintet new games and vice versa.

In spite of having a great time, as days passed and they got comfortable, Sparrow and Wayne tried to claim the alpha male role they possessed in their group because the girls were too lazy or too naive to be bothered. Catherine and Allan realized that and told the boys it wasn’t fair for them to get upset whenever they played a different game from their choice.

Sparrow and Wayne, knew their girls well enough to have them join for a swim or to avoid them joining the other couple. And they used their followers to impose the game they wanted. Moreover, they took more and more space to the point of leaving Catherine and Allan half out of the shade. After all, was the reasoning, the other were five and had just one umbrella. And they didn’t even consider bringing another one or overlapping towels.

The first couple tried to reason seriously with the two boys, but they wouldn’t listen. There was no problem, or it was just theirs since they were the only two complaining. Catherine and Allan were quite fond of the three girls, who were not to blame, and waited for a couple of weeks.

However, on the 14th of September, when the five set up their umbrella, Catherine and Allan said things had got uncomfortable and they’d rather go back to a reduced friendly couple. Three months playing someone else’s games was too much. They were still accused of being selfish for not wanting to share the shade and arrogant for thinking their games better.

That hostile environment with no place for reasoning forced Catherina and Allan to pick up their cards, their umbrella and their self-respect and to split up from Sparrow and Wayne.

Collective stories: ‘Promenade in the rain’

He was walking along the stands in Passeig de Gràcia when he saw her from afar. He remembered that 23rd of April of 2008 when his Catalan girlfriend told him about the book and the rose tradition for Saint George’s day. Unfortunately, that year they weren’t in Catalonia, and they didn’t make it to April of the next.

Should he say something? It wouldn’t make much sense to elbow his way through that crowd to say hi after that long. But was it just hi what he wanted to say? He bought a rose; a rose was worth the effort.

He stopped halfway. He wondered what that rose meant. Did he love her? Well, in a way he did. But in what way? And was he allowed to after that ending? What would he do with the rose anyway?

He went straight to her recalling that if one of them knew how to manage weird situations, it was her. He approached her; no music, no slow motion.

She saw him. She saw the rose. They both holding their breath for three seconds. He wasn’t saying a word. She rolled her eyes and walked away.

Orange leaves in April... [picture: Leonid Afremov]

Orange leaves in April… [picture: Leonid Afremov]

Collective stories: ‘The Art of Painting’

Here they are. (Johannes Vermeer)

Here they are. (Johannes Vermeer)

—How is it going?
—It looks nice; but hold the trumpet up, it’s going down.
—What did you expect? I’ve been like this for almost forty minutes. You can be glad I’ve got the book on my breasts. It’d be on the floor now otherwise.
—Support as many things as you can on them while you’re young. They’ll be the ones on the floor when you grow old.
—What an uncouth thing to say.
—Uncouth? As a painter I pay attention to geometry and the physics that affects it. There’s no uncouthness in acknowledging the power of gravity.
—I acknowledge the gravity of you analysing my beauties whenever you paint me. I guess your missus is still not willing to play with you.
—Don’t mock me. I once had plenty of women, women to spare.
—No, you didn’t…
—Well, not that many; however, I held regular and satisfying intercourse with them. But look at me now. I’ve done nothing since the boy was born. That’s almost two years. I’m close to virginity again.
—That’s awful. If that’s what being a mother is, I’m never having children.
—Sure. I can tell you’re a cheeky and playful girl. How long has it been since your last time?
—I’d have to count it. Let’s see; what time is it?

Collective stories: ‘Ruins’

[Collective stories (Relats conjunts) is a Catalan blog that provides bloggers with a monthly picture to inspire a short story to share.]

“Dear Prince,

I am grateful indeed for your beating the dragon and freeing me from that tower where those bandits held me prisoner. Your heroic and selfless gesture of rescuing a plebeian maiden and offer her a present and a future and all your love was most moving.

It’s understandable that the current conflict with the neighbour kingdom about your future lands keeps you worried and that you have been a bit tense lately. It’s also understandable that you have gone to war to protect these lands.

However, and because I understand the nature of the happenings, I cannot bear them. You are avaricious and just willing to own. News have reached the castle that the fights ended weeks ago and that you have embarked on several campaigns to annex new territories.

I guess that all your love is not that much, that I probably was yet another acquisition and you were not saving me, but you needed me to feed your ego.

All this taken in account, I have decided to wait no more for you. I would rather be the most precious treasure of some bandits than the worthless toy of a noble who just turns to it when he has nothing better.

Do not misunderstand me, I still love you; you are the one who does not love me.

Best wishes for your conquests,

The Woman You Failed To Love.”

This is all what is awaiting you. (source: Relats conjunts)

This is all what is awaiting you. (source: Relats conjunts)