”Are you happy with your life? ” this is what Anna hears every time she visit her step mother Matilda; she ignores her question by asking about her new paintings and pretending to be interested with, she taught Anna everything about art but they don have the same taste, Matildas paintings are sad and dark but Annas has more life in it, because she has less experience in life according to Matildas opinion. After her father died when she was 11 years old, she had no one left but her, she seems to be a dry woman, but she looked after her well and beyond it all they have a hidden love for each other in a way they don understand, that is what kept their relationship bound through time. At the end of the day Anna takes the bus back to the town where she lives, the road from countryside to city is like travelling from the past to the future and this is what most attracted Anna it was the beauty that no one noticed but her. The bus stops and also her daydreams, in the bus station youll see those kids running with baskets of flowers making the place filed with life, although life has never being nice to them but their innocent smiley faces wipes away the misery presented on their dirty old clothes and their little bare feet; as Anna approaches the gate she saw two kids running towards her, ”Anna! Its my turn today to sell you flowers ” said little Antonio as he holds a bucket of tulip;

”No its my turn ” said Marcus with anger, Anna promised them that every weak she buy a bucket from one of them, so she listed their names in my block not,

”So today is the 24th day since we started our deal, and it is Antonios turn. Sorry dear Marcus next weak prepare for me the best bucket you have ” Anna replied; It is a lovely thing to see them compete with each other and remain friends at the end of the end, theres lot of kids like them in the country and she wishes to change their present to the best but now this is all she can do for them. At 4:00pm she visits Nana her neighbor to share coffee time with her like every day, Nana lives alone with her cat and her granddaughter Linda who visits her every weekend; ”How is your mother dear Anna? ” Nana asks as she put the flowers on the pot, she knows that she visited her when she bring flowers, but she doesn know shes not her mother or she forgets because of her disease. Linda graduated this summer from the high school and shes so excited to start her college life as she asks Anna who graduated from college last year, about her experience, and the time flies as they chat and the coffee time reaches the dinner time. After a lovely ladies night Anna back to her small empty apartment, as she walk around you can see her lifestyle and feel the atmosphere she likes from the books scattered neatly all over the place and gives it a classic look as if it was a Victorian palace library, following her to the kitchen we discover another feature of her life from the colorful paintings on the walls and the sketch papers on the fridge door, she took snacks and drinks and put it on the desk in her bedroom where she continues the sketches she work on.

In the early morning, the pure light of the sun lights her small room making its path through paper stacks, slowly reaching her desk and warmly touching her cheeks to let her know that its a new day and again she didn feel the night passing while finishing the 11th volume of the weekly comics; no one reads the comics in this city except kids in previous times, but now the type of stories that Anna made, makes even the adults wait the next issue of the comic magazine with passion. She wear her clothes randomly and left in a hurry when she almost forgets the sketches behind, on her way she run behind the bus to reach the book shop where she works and which is located two stops away, in 20 minutes she enters the shop saluting her boss, ”good morning Diego! I arrive in time as I promised ” Anna said,

”Welcome dear Anna! Didn expect you this early, I can tell from your eyes that you didn sleep AGAIN! ”Diego replied,

”What can I do? But the ideas come only in the last minutes ” Anna said while rearranging book shelves,

”Also sleeping helps your ideas flow smoothly through your brain cells ” Diego replied,

”Ok thanks for the science lesson; may I ask you something? ” Anna asked, but Diego refuses her request,

”But Diego please I need to sleep and I just finished the most exciting volume that will make lots of earnings, don I deserve a small vacation? ” Anna insists

”Ok, you
e free these two days but you
e closing on the release day ” Diego replied

”Thank you, you are the best ” Anna happily replied and went toward the door, ”wait! You
e free after that guy of the edition house takes the sketches ” Diego interrupted her.

”I hope he doesn get late ” Anna said and back to her daily tasks.

The day is Friday the heaviest day of the week, everyone waits for it to arrive and can wait for it to finish so they can rest for the weekend and share the joy with their families, but for Anna all days are the same, while everyone waits for the weekend, she can choose the day she wants as a weekend. Diego went out for some works outside and left her alone, the time passes slowly as if the time is frozen and again Anna fell in her daydreams, her stepmother used to shout on her every time she lost conscious and drawn into her dream world saying that she will lose her life if she doesn keep focusing all the time, but now her dreams are making her path to the future she always dreamed of, and all of a sudden a voice brings her to reality: ”Im talking to you miss ”, said a tall man with burgundy skin in an average fitness body with tough face emotions, not that handsome one that attract eyes by the first glance but oddly handsome, standing in front of Anna.

”Excuse me sir! What you want to buy? ” Anna replied nervously,

”It looks like you were in a different realm; I was asking if there is a hotel around this area ” The men replied with a nice laughter. She stared in his eyes for a few seconds then answered ”Im sorry sir but your question confused me, as you see this is not a touristic city so we don expect tourists ”

The man looked directly in her eyes and wiped away the smile that he showed minutes ago, ”I am not a tourist miss; please answer my question ” he said in cold tune,

Anna shook her head and said: ”Im sorry sir! Yes, I mean no we don have a hotel near but there is a small motel in the exit of the city, follow this national road for 20 minutes and youll see a sign holding its name ”

”And whats its name? ” he asked,

”Yes! I forget, sorry for that; its Caesar ” Anna replied,

The man looked on his watch, lifts a corner of his lips with a hidden smile and said before he leaves: ”You need to sleep miss ”

”Is that obvious?! ” Anna said while shes looking in the mirror checking her eyes; meanwhile the guy from the edition house enters and asked: ”Whats the obvious? ”

Anna took the sketches of the new version and gave it to him ”Nothing I was talking to myself; tell me Armand do I look like I need to sleep? ” she asked,

”I can tell from your eyes that the new volume is going to be a trend; where is Diego? ” Armand answered with laughter,

”He left for some minutes hell come back soon ” she replied,

”I need to leave now can you sign for him? ” Armand asked,

”Yes sure ” she said as she sign the delivery

Once Diego enters she took her bag to leave when that stranger man appears again:

”Sir you
e back, did you find the motel? ” Anna said,

”Yes, but its full; can you help me to find a place for rent? ” he asked,

”Yes sure, the place where I live offers small apartment for rent I can show you the way, Im going there anyway; its two stations away ” Anna replied

He took a long look on the street before he asks her to have lunch with him saying: ”Don you think its lunch time now?! ”

”I don mean to waste your time sir, I can give you the address and you came later ” Anna replied nervously, ”Im asking you to have lunch together miss; shall we? ” he interrupted,

”Well this was the strangest way to ask but ____ ”,

”Im new here and I need someone to help me, consider it as a gift to thank you ” He interrupted her again when he felt that she will refuse. His words make her blush and she couldn refuse his offer so she accepted with a shy tune; and because the city is new to him he asked her to show him the best restaurant.

”Bonne appétit ” from its French name you can tell that the type of meals they serve is so delicious, while they were waiting for their order Anna broke the silence that prevailed for a moment and she started explaining the history of this restaurant: ”This place is three generations old, the first founder came from France during the world war, he started his job selling the French bread that he bake and his special recipe helped him grow and little by little he found this restaurant, although he misses his home town but he never felt as if he was a stranger, people here loved him so he loved to settle here ”, he smiled to her and seamed to be enjoying talking with her so he couldn take his eyes off of her; ”I couldn ask you about your name earlier sir ” Anna asked, ” please don use the formal way to speak call me Martin, and you young lady? ” he replied;

”My name is Anna, Im 20 years old and I work in the book shop ”

”Well, nice to meat you Anna from the book shop; whats your story Anna? ”

”Im sorry what? I didn understand ”

”What keeps a young girl awake so many nights? ”

”It is so obvious then; wait you didn tell me what your job is and how old are you ”

Martin laughs than said: ”You didn ask…. why all women answer a question by a question? ”

”I didn notice that, well shall we play the Question by Question game? You asked first my turn now ”

”I can disagree, you go first ”

”Ok! How old are you? ”

”I am 35 years old, my turn, why you skip your nights? ”

”I don know why you
e interested with it, but if you insist its ok; so I write comic stories and drawing takes a long time. ”

”So you
e a writer? ”

”Not really and you just toke my turn to ask; tell me, what is your job? ”

”Military, what kind of stories you write? ”

”Im not a writer, it is comics, it talks about a sailor who loves the sea but hes poor and that prevents him from sailing to far oceans, so he meets new friends and they decide to sail together for trading and discovering new lands and in their journey they face so many troubles; its full of adventures ”

”It looks so fun to read; I assume that you write it because you love to sail ”

”Well, yes I love adventures and I never have the chance to live one so I made my own one and share it with people ”

”I saw an ad for comics in the bus station, I saw people reading it too, congrats for that success you made adults enjoy their childhood again, Im sure you
e famous among them. ”

”No! Im not; I kept my identity a secret and if not, kids will never let me free, they will change the whole story ”

”Your life is loaded with fun ”

Anna: ”I was saying the same about yours, you want the truth, I envy you; I always wanted to join the military service ”

”Youll choose the marines if you have the chance to I guess, and if you have an undergraduate degree youll promote in short period ”

”Do you have an undergraduate degree? ”

”I can share my personal information ” he said that with a confident language

”You see! This makes me retract and stop thinking about it ”

”Because you do not have a degree? ” he asks,

”No! Not that, I graduated last year ____ ” she stopped for a second as she remembered something before she continues, ”I can share my information too; and I see what you
e doing, you are dragging me into a trap to reveal my secrets ”;

Martin let out a long laughter and said: ”You
e so amusing; there is no need to hide such thing from me I can know it in a single call, hiding military information is for protection, youll know it when you become one; I wonder! Since you have a degree why you don have a real job? ”

”Real job?! ” she said that in amazement and continued ”I do have a job ”

”I mean like a career, if you graduated from college so you have the right to apply for one, isn that the purpose of your study anyway? ”

”No! Not necessary I graduated and I never applied for that type of jobs, I saw how people change, they became slaves, and all of them will follow the same rhythm and they will not have a time to do what they love, sorry I prefer to die rather than living this life ”;

Martin smiled for a while and said: ”Youll be perfect in military ”.

The time passes while they talk and laugh, after the lunch they walk the streets together and the long boring road turns out to be more fun, and for the first time she notices the beautiful spots that she usually misses when she walks alone, thanks to the nice company that makes us all notice the beauty that we ignore ; who sees them thinks that they know each other for so long, but once in the life of all of us, we met that one who comfort us and share the same vibe, it is not necessary to have the same culture or ideas but it is just enough to except our differences that will make us discover the similarities that we share.

When they arrive to the residential pool Anna meets the owner and asked her to rent an apartment for her guest Martin; meanwhile his place get cleaned Anna invited him for coffee at hers. ”Im sorry for the mess I left in a hurry this morning I don usually leave before cleaning ” Anna said in a shy tune when she put hot coffee and butter biscuits,

”You mean this paper stacks? You should see my dogs when I leave them alone ” Martin replied trying to comfort her,

”So here where your ideas bright ideas made the magical stories ”

”Yes, I call it my cave of wonders, because it is small like a cave ”

”You are too young to live alone, where is your family? ”

”They live away from here; I stayed here for my study, now my job has my whole time, tell me more about you, what makes you come to this isolated city? ”

Before he answers her question he get interrupted by his phone, he asks permission to answer an important call and went to the kitchen, when he back she already went in a deep sleep leaning her head to the side of the sofa, slightly holding the hot cup of coffee and before it falls and burn her he reached it in fast and quiet moves; He couldn hide his glances towards her thinking to himself ”What a funny spirit she has ”, he stood watching her for minutes then covered her with a blanket before he leaves quietly.

The next day Anna woke up late not remembering last events of yesterday, she went to the shower cleaned herself then she prepared her breakfast, while she waits for the coffee she noticed the cups in the leaving room and remembered the guy who came with her ”Oh no! I bring a man to my place ” she said to her holding her head in chock, ”what if Matilda knows? ” she said with fear, ”I have to know what happened last night ”, went out running down stairs to the owners apartment; ”Good morning Mrs. Rosa, sorry I know you said last time you don want me to knock your door only if its important but I want to ask about my friend ” Anna asked the owner, she was a fat short old lady with angry looks, she replied to Anna in a harsh tone ”What about him? I think I was clear about the rules of not to bring accompany if you are not married ”

”But he didn sleep at my place, right? ”

”You don know who spends the night with you? Are all this generations youth as careless as you? ”

”I was hoping to know from you ”

Rosa scoffed her then said: ”No, he slept at his place then left so early, next time if I saw a man with you, you better find another place for you to live ”

”But I didn break your rules, he didn sleep over ” Anna said confidently,

Rosa hesitated and did not find a suitable answer for and said angrily: ”You have to pay your rent this week and I want it on time ”

”Yes Rosa… I will ”, after she knows the truth she felt relief and sad at the same time for he left without saying goodbye. At her place she sat thinking about Martin the mysterious man, will she meet him again or he was just a passing cloud, who knows, ”It is better for me now to start the next chapter.

Her fondness for adventure stories makes her imprison herself in her house creating her own adventures especially that she lives in a peaceful town; the only big and most interesting events are weddings and funerals or traffic accidents; when she holds pencils she start making magic that enchants minds and send them to a magical land where they live a fantastic adventure with the heroes of the story in the middle ages, you can feel the passion of the sailor Nova, the poor fisherman who dreams to witness the wonders of the seven seas; You can learn wisdom and intelligence from Ulf the surgeon apothecary and you can share the brotherhood bound between Kite the blacksmith swordsman and his young brother Colt; all along the story you smell the sea, feel the wind on your face and hear seagulls racing the ship, from her drawings you get stunned with wonder creatures and magical treasures. This is the magic she creates. ”I must sleep early or I will have eye-bags tomorrow ” Anna said talking to herself when the alarm clock rings for the time of sleep, she put a sleep mask and prepared her outfit for the release day where the comic fans crowds in the book shop to buy the last issue, although they don know that she is the author but she loves to see the reaction of each one and the happiness she feels is preciousness.

”Good morning Diego, ready for the day? I say we will record a new selling number this time ” Anna said,

”Hello Anna, well it depends on the quality of your art work, anyway we will see at the end of the day; don forget you
e closing today ” Diego replied, he stopped for a minute before he continues, ” Who is the guy you went with him yesterday? ” Diego said while reading the newspaper acting not interested,

”No one, he was on a job ride and passed to our town, he was looking for a place to spend the night, why you asked? ” Anna replied,

”Nothing interesting, he looked as a stranger and we don expect tourist in here thats all ” Diego replied.

At the middle of the day the crowd of funs starts coming more and more, and the book shelves are being refilled so many times, ”I can never get enough of these happy faces and the smiles that beautify it knowing that I am the reason for this happiness ” Anna think to herself while selling her work.

By the end of the day Diego took his belongings prepared to leave leaving Anna to complete the remaining work,

”… 232, 233, 234, that is the number of sells today, I guess you win again, we didn reach the old record ” she said while counting sells, ”Wait! You forgot a copy for your son ” she said,

”Thank you dear, if I went back without it he will be sad till the next issue, Bye Anna take care ” then he went out, after a moment three little kids enter the shop,

”Hello my friends ” Anna saluted them.

”Hi Anna ” they replied then the oldest said ”Anna we want our free copy as you promised ”

”Ok, but first you have to show me your commitment to the deal ” she replied,

”Yes we did and make our part of the deal, we learned five new words, first one is biology and it is the science that studies all living organisms, Solar system which represent the nine planets and moons which turn around the sun, the third one is Amazon, it is the largest forest in the world and it is located in Brazil ” the boy stopped to remember the other words than continued ”Yes I remembered, Austria and Australia, those are two countries the first one is in Europe and the other is the fifth continent ” the boy said happily waiting for the price,

”Great work kids you surprised me, you will soon be better than me I know that, now here is your free copy take it and read it with all your friends and don forget to learn five new words every week and you will have your free copy of the comic magazine as promised ”

She gave them the comic magazine before the second boy said ”Do you know that the sun is a big star? And it was blazed in fire for billions of years ”

Anna replied: ”Really? I didn know that thank you for the new information you deserve a present for this ” she took an astronomy tutorial book from the shelves and gave it to him, the boy was so happy with his gift and couldn wait to share it with his friends,

”If all teachers treat students like this they will all be high educated ” she thought to herself. There are many kids with no education around the country and the world and Anna always thinks of any way to help them.

Thursday arrives and it is the time to visit Matilda, how meter she tries to hide it but she can , the fear she has every time she goes to her, maybe the way she treated her since her childhood or it is her cold attitude that makes her unpredictable, but no meter what, she has to visit her and this trip is necessary. On her way she bought a cake because she learned from her to never go empty hands when visiting others, although she doesn know what kind of cake she likes or what the things she likes are.

Annas old house is a wooden small one with two rooms and a big leaving room shares space with the kitchen. The past years they used to own a wheat field but the drought make them lost it and by her fathers death they couldn restore it, Matilda found herself in a hard situation, she has no money or a job and she has to take care of the child left to her by her husband, she had no other option but selling the land, and she kept a small grove to use for living, they sell some of its goods and eat the other half. But life gets harder and harder to the point they had to economize the electricity by using reusable candles and wear used outfits, when Anna reached the legal age for work she start working as a café barista, sometimes in restaurants and even in gas stations only to provide college fees to make her dream of being an educated person and to use that advantage to travel the world and live her own adventure.

”It brings bad memories to me ” Anna talks to herself as she stood in the entrance of the farm, ”What a dark place, how I managed to live in that house for years, it is not just the appearance that make it look like a horror movie house, but it is cold with no love and it suffocates me every time put my feet on its floor ”

Anna enters the house and salutes her step mother and she replied in cold words as always; ”I brought you a cake, I hope you like it ” Anna said

Matilda pointed to the kitchen table and said: ”Put it there ” then she sat on her chair completing the crochet crafts on her hand ignoring Annas presence;

”It is a lovely weather today; would you like to visit the town with me? ” Anna said while preparing tea trying to break the cold atmosphere between them both but Matilda remains silent. Every time she visits her she hopelessly tries to make conversations between them in intense to break the ice wall in between but Matilda makes this wall thicker and thicker and the only subjects she replies about it is when someone talks about her paintings.

”Should I tell her about Martin? Maybe she will talk to me this time ” Anna thought to herself before she said: ”I met someone this week ”

Matilda stopped and looked directly to her eyes and said: ”Why do you think I would be interested about whom you meet every day, you live in a crowded town I wouldn be thrilled to know everyone says good morning to you ”

”No, it is not what I meant, I want to say I met a man, he was new to the town and he asked me to accompany him, we had lunch and walked around then I invited him for coffee at my place ” Anna replied nervously.

She was right this subject makes Matilda react with her but not as she expected. She stands up and walked slowly toward her with furry and anger blazed from her eyes then she said angrily: ”You ignorant stupid girl! ”; and other harsh words that she have to hear from Matilda every time she tells her about something stupid that she did, and this time she was right but she just overreacted;

”How could you let a stranger sleep at your place? Are you dumb? Where are your manners, is this what I gave my life for? ”

”He didn sleep at my place I told you I invited him for coffee and I fall asleep, when I woke up he was gone, I asked the owner and she told me he slept in his place then he left in the early morning; why you like to hear what you want ” Anna replied with tears in her eyes,

”In your house or his, why you invited him in the first place why you talk to strangers? You didn think of what he could do to you? You didn think of your name what would they say about it, at least think of your father ”

In this moments she can argue with her and all she did is just starring to the bottom of her tea-cup sobbing and drinking her falling tears to the tea, listening to her till she calm down, but this time they both know that she will not calm herself; it isn like the old times when she scolds her for soiling her clothes in dirt, or when she forgets her homework, get in troubles at school or fighting with naughty boys, back then she was teaching her manners and she doesn scold her anymore because she learned, but now its completely different! She will keep searching for any mistake to start a fight and shot on Anna and every time she remain silent; in the last year their relationship got worst and tangled because of the unspeakable thing; the one thing that they both keep silent about for they both fear the results that they surly know; the first time Anna thought that she won an argue with her was when she decided to go to college, she refused at first but Anna managed to convince her, that was what she thought but Matilda was waiting for her to return home when she graduated, because she thought that the diploma is all what Anna wanted; but she didn and instead she started her independent life, thats what kept her angry all of the time because she feels that her grip is no longer around Anna and if she talks, she will lose her forever; Anna never understand her behaviors and kept wondering if she wants her to stay in act of love or just to share the misery that her father left for them both, this is the only question remains with no answer. When Matilda get tired of yelling she went to her room leaving Anna alone crying; when the sun sets she wished a good night for her knowing that she will not respond, took her bag and left as usually, taking the same road and meeting the same kids, buying the same bouquet of flowers and put it in the same vase.

”What making you sad dear Anna ” Nana said when she noticed her red eyes and continued: ”You are silent since you came in; tell me dear, what is hurting your heart? ”

”Nothing Nana; it is just the lack of sleep don think about it, it is me who should ask about you, tell me how are you today ” Anna replied faking a smile.

”I am old and sick but not a full dear Anna, I know when someone is hurt, believe me I have more experience in life that makes me read eyes, and yours are telling a sad story ”

”Well it seems I cannot hide anything from you ” Anna holds Nanas hands, took a deep breath then said: ”What is your opinion on a person who hides his feelings from every one, a person who treats all people like a trash; you never know his real intents, a person who breaks all bridges that others build trying to reach for him; what makes this person act so cold like this? ”

”Well you know that no one was born evil, but life and bad events could turn the soft heart into a hard black stone; you know charcoal was a green pretty tree filled with life and spread it around, but fire turned it into a lifeless cracked inanimate, no one can put blame on it for why did it change, the same thing is for people, life treats them so bad until they shrink into their shell cutting all ties between them and the outer world ”

”You mean that those people behave harshly just because they have fears? ” Anna asked,

”No one can know the real reason behind their actions but yes, they fear something, they fear to get hurt again like the same thing before ”

”Believe me, Matilda has nothing to fear of, she is so cruel and dull, she is the strongest person I knew in my life ” Anna stand up from the chair and starts walking back and forth and tension evident in her face as she talks about her: ”Tell me who can treat a little girl severely to a point to despise an innocent gift by throwing in it to the trash, do you know, she forced me to do pregnancy tests several times when I was a teenager, do you know how I felt back then? I was walking down streets with fear of just talking to boys and men in general; if she has fears I don see what innocent kids could do to her, I understand her fears but nothing or no one can give the right for anyone to hurt others, only if they were evil by nature ”

”Let me tell you a story of my mother and her father, I was a little girl oblivious to whats around me, I was living with my mother on her parent house when my father went to the war, my grandmother was as pure as an angle, she protects me from my mother every time I get in trouble, I learned that from her and I do the same to my grandsons, but my grandfather was a cruel man I never remembered him smiling, every one fears and hates him except my mother she was serving him with love even when he scolds her she never felt bad and always was showing him respect, I remember once he turned the table because he didn like the food she cooked, do you know what I did? ” Nana laughed as she remembers then continued: ”I started crying and yelling at him saying why you throw my mothers food? She spent a long time to make it, you are a bad person I hate you and hate your house, you don deserve to have a daughter like my mother I knew he would hit me for what I did but I wasn afraid of him all I wanted is to protect my mother, but he didn even raise his voice and left the room, in fact I felt that moment that he agreed with what I said; I didn understand him back then, his actions were incomprehensible but nothing remains a mystery forever, it was the day I lost my mother when I discovered the truth, the image of my grandfather holding my mothers body so tight and crying as if he was the one who lost his mother, would never leave my mind, that day he couldn hide his emotions no more, he moan next to her grave for the rest of the days he has left until he died and buried next to her ”

”But why he was mistreating her? ” Anna asked;

”I had an uncle that I never saw, no one told me about him before, and he was the eldest, back then, parents used to treat boys batter then girls, teaching them, buying them all what they wish and even give them food more than girls and if there is less food they give it to the boy and leave the girl starving, and my grandfather did the same to my uncle and for my mother he married her when she was so young just so he can spend more money and attention on his son; and one day my uncle stole all the money from his father and left forever with no trace, the chock that he felt makes him sick and weak he fall into depression and sorrow, my mother felt sad when she heard what happened to her father and went immediately to see him but he refused to open the door for her but she insisted to see him, she served him with love and unconditionally even when he treats her harshly because she knew the reason behind his actions, he remembered what he did for her and regretted how he preferred her brother over her but she still loving him, so he was punishing himself by pushing her away for that he don deserve her kindness, he wanted to make it up for her in any way but the time was too short and death took her from us, My precious one, my precious pearl this how he called her every day after she died; this my dear Anna was the mysterious story of my grandfather, sometimes people push away others just so they wouldn be the ones who hurt others ”

”Im sorry Nana I didn know your childhood was hard ” Anna said then continued: ”but I don see that Matilda is trying to don hurt others, because, she is hurting people for no reason ”

”Ah! Yes Anna we can know what others hide in their hearts but there are ways to discover it, just like face features are a reflect of the hidden emotion, anger is a reflect of what people hide inside of them, if you want to know the truth of what a person hides inside you need to know what makes him angry ” Nana said

Anna laughed then said: ”Believe me everything makes her angry, she hates everything and everyone maybe herself too ”

”Then you don know her, you didn try to watch her and observing her, if you want to fix your relationship with her this is your task, it is hard but you need to try ” Nana said then started coughing so hard;

”Nana dear do you feel bad? Do you want medicines? ” Anna said anxiously

”No my child Im fine, it is just temporary ” Nana replied;

”Im really sorry, its my fault I made you sick because of me and my problems; do you want me to spend the night with you? ” Anna said in regret;

”No Anna no need for that and don blame you for that, old people always get sick, now go to have rest in your house Ill be fine my dear ” Nana replied nicely;

”Ok Nana Ill leave you to rest and please if you feel sick again call me, I really love you and I can imagine my life without you, I wish you were in Matildas place then life would be so nice for us ” Anna said,

”But I am here for you forever my dear ”

”I know and I love you for that, goodnight Nana Ill see you tomorrow ”

”Goodnight Anna ”

Anna left her to sleep and went toward her apartment carrying her worries and sorrows that burdened her and made her unable to stand on her feet, she leaned her back to the wall and sat in her dark thoughts and overwhelming sorrows, in the middle of this blues a low voice and a dim light came out from her room calling her to join them, it was the story and its characters that Anna gave her all time to, she can hear their voices and see them in her heart because it was the world she created for herself to save her from drowning in sadness, immediately she went there setting on her desk thinking of how to get the story heroes out of the trouble that she put them in last time and hearing their voices blaming her, the story supposed to be a funny adventure one but the last episodes are getting tangled more and more and now the heroes need a hero to save them; not just the characters but even readers start noticing that the story gets darker every volume, Anna know what her funs think about her work from the page they create for funs of the comic, she reads every good and bad comment but only one attracted her, it looks like he or she are reading Annas emotions through the story; it said: ”I think that the author needs our support more than throwing scolds on him; his sadness appear through his words ”

And its true; Anna created the comics to run away from reality when she should face it. In the middle of this storm a new character appear from the darkness looking like the hero who will lead them to safety, a tall man in an average fitness body with tough face emotions, not that handsome one that attract eyes by the first glance but oddly handsome, and his name was Mercury, why Mercury, because he is as fickle as the mercury. This man wasn just a character from her imagination, he was the one who will change Annas life and turn it upside down and take this story to other levels away from just a sweet love story; this is the silence before the storm, or in proper words a hurricane.

The next day Diego arrived to the book shop early as always but he is stunned by something he never view before and it was Anna waiting next the door holding the sketches and wearing a creepy smile on her face;

”Am I late? ” Diego asked;

”No sir you
e on time ” Anna replied;

Diego said as he unlocks the door: ”Then you spend your night in front of the shop ”;

Anna laughed and said: ”Is it because I came too early? I finished the next volume and couldn wait to publish it; people will be choked when they read it and will be cheering for more ”

Diego gave her a sharp look then said: ”You said that last time and you just ruined it, half of them don want to read it again ”

”Trust me this time I know they will love it ”

”Didn you read whats writing in social media? They
e disappointed, and some of them ask for refunds ”

”Ok say what you want I can make you trust me, but I signed a contract with the edition house and they will decide when to stop it and till that moment I will keep writing it ”

”Im just saying my opinion about what I see; it is your work after all ”

”And Im asking you to trust me Diego, you supported me since the start don let me down now ”

”I do, but Im concerned thats all, I don want you to be sad in the end; by the way you will work your full time today ”

”Don worry Diego my happiness motivated me today ”

Diego is a middle aged man and like most of them he didn get used to network and social media yet, he reads and replies to each comment, sometimes he gets really upset so that once he broke his smart phone; he wishes the success for Annas art work, not just because it makes a profit for his book shop but also for her happiness so that Anna always works with his advice; theres Armand too who is the second one who reads it before audience, Anna made him one of the main characters so he loves to see what she made him like in the two dimension world and she loves to see his reaction. Do you remember the kids from the bus station? Anna made their daily routine life an essential part of the story too, she do all she can to help them, their hard life make them skip school lessens so this is the way to encourage them to advance their reading through this comics, a tricky way but effective.

Anna asked to work for addition hours for the two days before the release day to reorganize the place before they receive costumers, that will leave a good impression for them and Diego finds himself accepting her request, he land her the keys in condition to open early. Anna was fooling herself but deep inside she is thinking about Martin and his face never left her thoughts and working for extras hours is just an excuse to keep her busy and prevent her from thinking about him.

The weekend arrives so as the release day which is always crowded with readers of different ages waiting impatiently to buy the new issue, the shop always open early so they can satisfy all of the customers. She slept early so she won have eye bags and wore her best outfit to serve her funs in proper ways, she goes early as planned, happy and filled with energy waiting to see their reaction when they discover the new events of the story, but she couldn hide her mixed emotions when they reached the end of the day with just seventeen sold comics instead of more than two hundred that they used to sell at the first day; for a moment Anna felt the earth shaking beneath her feet knowing that she was living in her dreams, Diego was right and thats what Anna hates when someone warns her about something and she ignores it, hes always right and Anna was acting selfish and arrogantly; Diego approaches her as she was sweeping the floor lost in her dark thoughts and through his eyes she can see so many talk hidden underneath his tongue, he took the broom from her and sent her home. The road from the shop to her place is long and boring, and for the first time she wished to have a nice company with her to share her feelings and light the dark road shes taking but shes alone this time; she went to the garden where she used to go every time she faces a bad day but it was darker and empty so she had no choice but going back home, all the way long her eyes was glued to the floor until she entered the apartment and unconsciously falls asleep not remembering how she reached the bed, she simply hand it to her feet while her mind was lost in thoughts.

Anna used to spend her nights awake and the comics she writes are just an excuse when people ask her about the eye-bags she had sometimes, she hides the reality for fear that others would see her odd when they know she sits in the dark by the window enjoying the silent atmosphere and when its rainy she take a walk in the empty dark garden enjoying herself alone, normal people fear the night and all dark places but Anna finds her shelter in the dark, but the dark emotions and sorrow she had this night makes her run from her shelter.

”What is that noisy voice … Is it my phone… Thats odd I didn get used to receive calls so late at night ” Anna said when her phone rings waking her from sleep;

”It is Armand, what could make him call me, he never calls unless he asks about sketches ” Anna wonders about this strange call:

”Yes Armand! Did something happen? ” Anna answered;

”Girl you
e really asleep? ” Armand replied;

”Yes! Normal people sleep at night ”

”No silly, the comic blog is blowed up; people are talking about it in most social media groups, you need to check it now ”

What Armand said makes her jump from the bed rushing to the laptop to check the comic blog, the screen before her eyes was sparkling with comments and overviews, everyone love it and yes she was right when she said people will love it, Anna was so happy that she wanted to tell someone about this success, she took her phone and passionately searched for Martins number and theres when she realized that she doesn have his number but whats more important is realizing that she has feelings for him,

”When and how? We met only one time and I didn get to know him well, I don even have his number, why him? ” Anna asks herself,

This is the strange equation of love, we meet so many people in our life but we only fell for the ones we met once and leave us counting days to see them again, the one who is hard to see every day, the one whoever sees them even once is like witnessing the beauty of the rarest diamonds, in simple words THE HARD ONE TO REACH. This night she skips it again but what for? When her new issue succeeds, or when she discovers her emotions for Martin? She doesn know yet but at least she is happy now.

The second day she went early to the shop with her smiling face that she couldn hide thinking of the reaction of Diegos face when he sees the overviews but when she arrived to the shop she was the one who gets surprised by the long line of costumers waiting their turn to buy the last volume

”It can get any better ” she thought to herself as she counts the number of sales that passes three hundred and they didn reach the end of the day yet:

”You see that Diego? I was right, they
e cheering for more ” Anna said,

”Yes you were young lady, I guess we can record a new number of weekly sales and this time you win ” Diego replied

”What do you say if we celebrate our success today, I am inviting you and Armand to ”Le Bonne Appétit ” this evening; we shall go back to work now so we can leave early ” Anna said

Diego let out a long sight before he accepts Annas invitation: ”whatever you say young lady ”.

Two months later, in a Saturday morning Anna heard knocking on her door while she was on her room immersed in her work, drawing and writing;

”Who is it? ” she asks after she opened the door and she get surprised by seeing Martin at her door, wearing a nice outfit of dark blue jeans, a grey round neck shirt and a leather jacket in a classic cut, just as handsome as before,

”Martin! It is you ” she said happily,

”Who opens the door before asking who is knocking? ” Martin said laughing to her,

”Really, I did that? Never mind, come inside, I invite you for coffee or tea or whatever you want ” she said then suddenly grabbed him by the hand as she remembered Rosas warning: ”No, you can enter lets go outside ” she said while grabbing him and running downstairs,

”Why are we running, and from whom we are running? ” Martin said felling confused,

”Tell me did you meet the owner when you entered? ” Anna asked,

”No, I didn saw her, why? ” he asked,

”Oh, thank god for that, last time when you come she warned me if you enter my place again she will kick me out the building; she is a scary woman, even more than Matilda ”

”Who is Matilda? ” he asked as he didn understand what she is talking about,

She hesitated a little before answering: ”No one, did you have breakfast? Let me invite you to my favorite place but wait me here I will change and bring my bag, don go anywhere, I will back soon ”

”Ok, I won move from my place ” he answered smiling.

Few minutes later she went back wearing her best cute rosy semi short dress with a short blue jeans jacket and a white wedge straw high-heels, but she was shocked for a moment and felt uncomfortable when she saw Martin talking to Rosa,

”Oh no, Im in trouble now ” she said to herself, ”Good morning Rosa, I see that you met my friend ”

”Hello dear Anna, you didn tell me you have a cute friend like him ” Rosa said

Anna was stunned by Rosas unexpected reaction and said; ”You are not mad at me? ” she asked her in amazement,

Rosa laughed to her saying; ”Ah, you are funny dear, why would I be mad ” then she grabbed her to a corner away from Martin and said; ”Are you trying to ruin my reputation in front of him? The warning is still there if he enters your place you
e out ”

”Shall we go now? ” Martin said nicely,

”Yes, sorry for that, she is a crazy lady ” Anna replied, ”Do you love drinking coffee at the garden where it is a peaceful place? ” she continued,

”You invited me to your favorite place and I can wait to discover it ” he replied.

The garden café is where they went, a real peaceful place where you enjoy the natural greenery and pure air will make your coffee taste differently, Anna used to work here in the past but she still love to visit it every now and then;

”Do you like my favorite place? It is not that fancy but I love it ” Anna said,

”I went so many places and I love to discover new ones ” he replied,

”So this is new to you? You never go to a place like this? ”

”Actually, I did, there is so many like this one ”

”Oh no, for a moment I thought I know a unique place ”

”It is unique because of your presence ”

His words made her blush and she stammered in her conversation with him,

”You know that you surprised me? ” he said

”Did I? How? I mean I am the one whos surprised by your sudden appearance ” she replied,

”Exactly, thats what stunned me, if it was another person they will not act like you did, they would refuse talking assuming that Im up to something or scold me for my unexplained absence ” he said,

”Why did you come back Martin ” she asked,

”You want the truth, I don know, I just wanted to see you again ”

”Why me exactly, I mean for sure you know lot of people whom you can have more fun with and we met only once, I thought you forget about me but you are here even after a long time, I would forget about me if I were you ”

”I just wanted to have a good time with you ” he replied,

”This is the answer I seek, and so am I, I just want to have a good time with you like the last time, so why would I ruin this beautiful moment by scolding, you are a person who makes me smile, today, tomorrow or a year after you will be this person no matter how long your absence last, I will treat you like you never was absent ” Anna said gently,

He couldn take his eyes off of her when she talks, ”Then tell me how we will have fun this time? ” he said,

”I will show how I love to spend my time around, you can refuse because you are my guest today ” she replied,

”I will not but please don take me again to that restaurant, I hate French food ”

”What? Everyone loves French food ” she was stunned by what he said,

”But I don like it ” he laughed,

”That makes you the first ” she replied, ”so because you don love the best place in the town, I will take you to my second best place, but well have to walk or you will miss the beauty historical places ” she continued,

”You can take the lead my lady ” he said

Ainsa, it is a historical village dating back to 11th century, it was the capital of the old kingdom of Sobrabe, and was later incorporated into the kingdom of Aragon, it constitutes the truth example of medieval urban development. The most famous archaeological landmark is the historic quarter, formed by a group of houses that are packed together in the most harmonious and uniform of ways, among which the tower of the collegiate church stands out and the massive premises of the castle, almost as big as the town. And the masterpiece wouldn be completed without the surrounding walls that remain almost intact today centuries ago, holding the town together, and its richness in historical monuments bring you back to the middle ages. Next to the square, with porches lining it on both sides, there is the Romanesque church of Santa Maria, from the first half of the 11th century. We cannot finish the trip without visiting the Citadel in the north-east of the city center, its origins date back to a pentagonal tower from the 11th century, which was incorporated into the defensive system, in the face of the Islamic expansions. In the end of the 16th century, this fortress was renewed by the construction of the present citadel as part of the defensive system at the French border.

They were walking side by side into the old stoned valleys, decorated with Jasmines and lilacs hanging on balconies, as they were heading to the church tower,

”Do you know that each year, a street play with the theme of Moors and Christians is staged to commemorate the Reconquest of the town ” Anna said,

”I believe its name is La Morisma, am I right? ” he replied

”Waah, you know history? Thats nerdy ” she replied and she was stunned by his culture,

”I don know if I should take it as a complement or an insult, but it is not about that I am literate, but I saw this play when I was a kid and I liked it ” he replied as he looked around as if he remembered something from his past,

Anna stared at him curiously with her wide pretty brown eyes and asked: ”What did you like most about it? ”

He stopped walking and stared at her with looks that shows sadness despite his permanent smile; ”That it was my first time I did something I love ” he replied,

His words made her more attached to him, and her curiosity about him increased; ”You know what? You just made me want to know more about you; it seems to me that you are living a very interesting life not boring as mine ” she said as she puts her hair behind her ear and looks at the ground shyly;

”Interesting? Yes, but not the one that everyone wants ” he replied;

”Well, I don want my life too, no one wants it, but we don have the power to change our destiny, all we can do is changing our present ” she said,

”How can we? ” he asked,

”Like this moment, the two of us, we both are not satisfied about our lives, but we love this moment that brings us together, we can end it or make it last ” she replied;

He approaches her until his eyes met hers and said: ”And what you want to do for this moment? ”

She was confused and blushed at his words and she replied shyly: ”I want it to last ”;

”Then, let us continue our tour, shall we? ” he said;

”Yes, we shall ” she replied;

He looked toward the tower, covered his eyes with his hand from the sun and said: ”I believe this tower was used as an alert back in the wars ”;

”Well I don know, but I know that the bells are used to announce a funeral ” she replied;

”Lets enter it and discover what it was made for ” he said,

The tower was built from long stairs leading to one opened chamber for the bells, the roof was made as a dome to make echoes when the bells are rung, when you look through the opened balconies you see the second tower just opposite it, and these towers are called the twins.

”This tower is overlooking a beautiful view, I can see the whole town from here ” he said;

”I know, I told you this is one of my favorite places, I love watching the town from here I can see the architectural design that reflect the civilization type at that time; you see, that nowadays we are very developed in everything but we can never reach the beauty of the ancients ” Anna said while watching the view before her;

He smiled to her than something attracted him on the bell, ”Look, there is something writing on the bell ” he said,

He wiped the dust and a special sentence appeared, ”What it said? ” Anna asked,

”In honor of the spirit of Saint Louis, the one that sacrificed his life to spread light in darkened minds and hearts. It seems to be famous back then ” Martin replied;

”Aren you hungry? It is your last chance to change your mind about Le bone Appétit because I really love it ”

”No, I will not change it ”, he replied in a strict way;

When he answered her, Anna rung the church bell;

”Why did you ring it ” he asked;

”Its a funeral ” she replied,

Martin laughed so hard and said: ”Whose funeral? ”

”My dignity, it just died when you refused my request ” she replied joking;

”You said that I am your guest, it is your duty to treat me well ”

”Yes, you are right about that, but you cannot refuse my suggestions ” she said;

”I can promise, but I will try ” he replied;

After a historical tour around the church and the old castle they went to the popular avenues, they are known with the different delicious street food. Anna made him try all the types as a punishment for not letting her go to her favorite restaurant;

”When you said don refuse my suggestions I didn know that you will force me to eat all that food ” Martin said;

”But you like it, you can refuse what you like, also don blame me for forcing you to eat, you are the one who ate like you came out of a prison ” Anna said laughing;

He laughed so hard that water came out of his mouth, ”You don have to be honest that much girl ” he said;

”Then you have to get used to it, I am always honest, but you
e not, because you refuse to admit that you liked the food I suggest for you ” she said;

”I am not trying to hide anything, yes I like it and I never ate like this before, you
e happy now? ” he replied;

”Happy? Not yet, theres still one place we have to visit ”

”Is there food at it? ” he asked;

She put her hand on her mouth while laughing at him, ”Are you that full? Don worry I will not force you to eat anymore ” she replied;

”Thank you, really, I will not eat for days ” he said laughing, ”So, what is that place you are taking me to? ” he continued;

”It may look odd, but don judge me until we arrive, ok ” she replied;

”In one condition, you tell me the story of the adventure you are righting ”

”Ok, I love to talk about my work and to share my passion with people who are interested in my work ”; she replied with eyes sparkling in passion;

The final destination for this day was the square of the town center where people love to gather, some of them play music and little girls craft flower tiaras; it was built in the old Andalusia style, each corner of this building has a special story, the simplicity of the design depicts the life that people was living at that time, and makes you imagine yourself living among theme and share their daily routine; you imagine yourself waking up with the early hours of dawn and inhaling the pure morning breeze scented with the scent of jasmines, you go down to the street and find it filled with life, greet your neighbor who waters her flowers and buy your groceries from the cheerful old man who sells you words of honey with it, simply you cannot hate living in this colorful place. They sat on the stairs of an old house that still retains the beauty and accuracy of the design despite the years that have passed; Martin wonders why she choose this place, but she asks him to wait because words fail to explain what he will witness in the coming minutes,

”Is there something special about this place ” Martin asks,

”Yes there is, but I can describe it even if I used all languages, you need to see it yourself ” Anna answered,

”I meant saying, what you have in this place, like memories or something because as far as I know that people get attached to a place if they have a special memory related to that place ” he said,

”No, not necessary, I always come to this place alone; I love it just for the beauty I saw in it every time, its indescribable ” she replied,

He looked into her eyes for a long time, as if hes swimming in them, and then said: ”Tell me Anna, why I feel loneliness in your words each time you speak? ”

She gets confused by his words and put her hand on her face shyly and then said: ”You make me feel like Im a weird person, its not that Im lonely its just I love to spend time with myself and enjoy the things I love, and I do have friends by the records, they
e just busy when Im free ”

”You mean Diego the old man? ” he asked,

”Do you know Diego? ” she gets surprised by him, ”But hes not an old man, he wouldn like it if he hears you, and how do you know him? ” she asked;

”At the shop, you forget? Last time when we met he was there and his name is writing on the badge he was wearing ” he replied;

Anna was left with jaw dropped by his words, ”You remembered what you saw in just one minute and you still remembering it even after all that period? You really have sharp eyes and so as your memory, did you get that from your experience in the military? ” she asked;

He dodged her question saying: ”You didn answer my question ”,

”You always do that when I ask about your life ” she frowned like a baby then continued: ”Yes he is one of my friends, whats about it? ”

”One of your friends? ” he asks her disapprovingly than continued: ”Don lie, he is your only friend ” he said,

”How did you conclude that I have just one friend? ” she asked,

”When a young girl is a friend with old people that means she has no friends, am I right? ” he answered,

”I don know what to say but yes I like to make friends with old people but I have a young friend too, and he is a boy ” she said laughing,

”And he is younger then you, right? ”

She laughed in chock and said: ”Waah… did you made researches on me before you came; you started freaking me out man ”

Martin laughed out loud before answering: ”You don have to be afraid, its just that I have more experience in life than you, you see, I traveled a lot and had the chance to discover many societies and how they think, this is how I can know what type of the person I met is, and by this experience I know that a girl who likes old people is not famous among her environment and forgive me to say that boys her age don like her either because they think shes not interesting and by that, the only boys who have crash on her would be younger; Teenage boys love to brag about dating older girls, thats a fact ” he said,

”Well senior expert, you are wrong about some details, Armand is a just friend, and hes like my brother, plus how you know that I didn date cool boys? You are not a mind reader ” she said,

”First, I bet you that he told his friends that hes dating you, and second, I know you never dated any one in your life ” he replied,

Her face blushed and she lowered her voice when she said: ”What is your proof? ”

”When you go on a date, you don eat a spicy food ” he jokingly answered her,

”But we are not on a date, and I can say the same about you that you never dated girls; you don embarrass a girl on her date ” she said,

He answered her with the same argument saying: ”But we are not on a date ”.

”You see, you keep on embarrassing me ____ ”, she stopped talking when a young boy holding a basket of flowers interrupted them, ”Martin, buy one bouquet for me ” she said,

Martin asked the boy to decorate a nice and special bouquet for her,

”Is it your way to embarrass me? Are you avenging me? ” he said laughing,

”Yes I am trying to embarrass you like you did to me but not with flowers, those are for Nana, my other friend, she is an old woman too ” she said, ”Now look, its time ”

”Time for what? ” he asked, but Anna beckoned him to watch the sky, then he witnessed what she wanted him to see, and indeed she was right that it was indescribable. The fabulous sunset, whose red curtain falls on the White Mountain, looks like a wall of fire from which lava descends toward the town, and with the complete disappearance of sunlight, traditional lamps light up in the corners of the streets changing their color until you think that they are not the same streets that they are in the morning. A perfect view which makes you feels like you are inside those paintings made by medieval artists.

In front of that divine beauty Anna rested her head on her knees and started telling her story: ”Three years ago, I was drowning in despair until I discovered this place by chance, as if it was waiting for me, so it painted this painting before my eyes to inspire me to create my story, or the story of Nova the fisherman who was searching for magic that his father used to tell him stories about when he was a child, and for that purpose Nova dedicated his life to serve the sea, for his who father lost his life in the sea searching for magic. Nova was a poor person he couldn provide a fine ship to sale after his fathers path, but this didn break his will and he make his way among the greedy rivals who prevented him from collecting the precious coral or pearls, monopolizing that craft for themselves and for decades they were amassing fortunes through the labor of the simple. He didn accept this injustice and was able to break their laws, as he found the rarest types of pearls, The Black Pearl, its worth a fortune, but he couldn sell it in his town or they will take it by force and punish him for breaking the law, he didn have any choice but to go somewhere they don reach him, so he set out for the Treasure Hunters island, where do thieves, treasure hunters and fugitives from the law gather from all over the distant lands. Over there no one bought the pearl because some of them did not believe that it was real and others refused to even look at it, thinking that it brings evil, but only one person offered him a deal to exchange that pearl for becoming a member of the crew of ship, whose members intend to sail towards the Seven Seas on a mission to search for lost treasures, for Nova, that was the opportunity he had been dreaming of, but he was curious about knowing what this persons intention was in using the pearl, especially since he did not appear to have the characteristics of a very wealthy person, but the man assured that he would show him what hes using it for later, as he is also one of the crew and they will sail together. Ulf was his name and he was a surgeon apothecary, when they arrived at the ship, he was surprised by its appearance, which seemed to have fought a war, and it became even more strange when he met the crew of a man and his little brother, Where is the rest of the crew Nova asked in amazement, its when Ulf introduced him saying: This is Colt the youngest among as and his brother Kite his a sword man and he is the captain then Kite continued: Do not be surprised by the situation, you will get used to it soon. As for the rest of the crew, they ran away because they were not used to the situation, so you are also free if you want to escape, we will not force you to stay and he asked him what made him worthy to join his crew, I found a black pearl Nova answered, Kite took the pearl and examined it carefully, and when he was sure that it was real, he told him that he had the gift of discovering treasures and that he would play an important role in their journey. All along the story, they encounter many adventures, which make them discover aspects of themselves that they have not seen before, and their relationship solidifies to became a family; and you will discover their personalities too, like Nova who was honest and passionate, never giving up; Ulf wise and intelligent, he acts quickly in critical situations; Kite calm and demure, he seems insensitive, but his heart can hold the oceans in its depth, he shows his true feelings whenever he wants to console a friend; and Colt his cheerful childish spirit always keeps the atmosphere cheerful, his eyes are a reference to them whenever they feel helpless, as they always carry the torch of their common dream. And this is the adventure that I invented and locked myself in the middle of its events, it is true that it remains just ink on paper, but it took me wherever I wanted, I had kept it only for myself for a while, but when I decided to share it with others, I realized that I am not the only one who sees it as a real world; I realized that I am not the only one who sees it as a real world. It made me happy when I saw many people living its events together and my passion for this kind of stories increased. Whenever I felt frustrated, I went to my desk and drew everything that makes me happy and I don get up unless I find that I forgot my worries ”

Martin was completely immersed in the story Anna told him, not paying attention to the darkness around them, ”I am amazed by your wonderful imagination, honestly; how can you arrange these events and describe such wonderful places, even though you have seen nothing of this wide world but this town? ” Martin said complimenting her;

”Maybe because of my constant longing to see the world made me imagine it this way, but also makes me afraid, I fear that the truth is not what I imagined, then I will feel that I was lying to myself ” she replied;

”In this life, nothing will be as we imagined Anna, yes we will be frustrated but at least we can see the truth, but if you let the truth discourage you, then you will lose yourself, and instead of wailing over it, we can change it ”

At that moment they both were harmonious, and words no longer have an emotional presence, at this moment their souls converge in a dimension in which time stops, canceling the laws of the universe; the viewer could see their pure feelings brighten in their eyes, in a scene like a movie where the song of Frank Sinatra I can take my eyes off of you plays softly in the background. But their story is not a movie and this scene has to come to an end although we want it to last even more, but this is not a love story. On the threshold of her door they parted, and inside them they yearned for another whose date is unknown, leaving their hops in the hands of fate,

”Thank you for the day, I didn spend a good one for a while ” Anna said while standing in the building entrance,

”I am the one who should thank you, have a good night Anna, it was fun spending the day with you ” he said,

”Are you staying around? I mean … I wonder if we shall have the chance to meet again ” she asked as playing with her hair shyly,

”Who knows what will happen in the coming hours, lets leave that to chance; now go inside before that crazy lady spots us again ” he replied with his charming smile, he says goodbye to her then he left, and Anna kept watching him walking away until he disappeared from view at the end of the road. She entered her apartment with a gentle smile on her lips, emitting a light shining from her eyes, and her mind wandering in a rosy imagination, and for the first time she felt a strange feeling yet warm enough to make her heart pound fast yet gentle, she laughed to herself and said audibly: I think Im in love.

Who can remember the first morning, when you woke up after you first realized the feeling of love? As soon as you open your eyes your heart pounds powerfully resonating throughout your body, it is when you feel that your presence makes sense, and your loneliness suddenly is shattered, thats what Anna felt this morning, she wander around in her empty apartment yet feels it full, she opens the windows not feeling the cold that creeps out of it, because this feeling is warmer, and when she prepares her breakfast her hands shiver neither with fear nor with happiness, but for some incomprehensible reason. This feeling is beautiful yet contradictory, as it lifts you high to the heavens whenever you remember your beloved one, and then brings you back to the bottom of the earth when you realize that hes far from your reach. ”What a strange thing, so is this love? I will not put blame on anyone who acts strange anymore, because now I know the reason. ” Anna said talking to herself before the phone interrupted her thoughts, it was Diego the caller:

”Hola Diego! Is there what you want me to bring before I come? ” she answered,

”What are you talking about? Where are you now? ” he replied and his voice sounded annoyed,

”Im home Diego, why, is there something urgent? ” she said,

”What are you doing there? You are two hours late girl. ” He answered her in a loud and angry voice,

When she saw the clock pointing to ten in the morning, she jumped from her place running randomly searching for her work clothes and her tools; she was confused so much she left without an umbrella but she was late to go back for it,

”Good job Anna, you choose the very wrong day to be late, the shop will be crowded by now I can even dry myself ” she said reproaching herself, while she was running in the pouring rain. She arrived to the shop and the water was dripping from her head to the toe, she apologized to Diego for being late, when he saw her condition he asked her to change her clothes with one he has in reserve, even though it was bigger than her size, but that was better than getting sick,

”What took you so long to come? ” Diego asked,

”Im really sorry for that I didn pay attention to the time, I promise you it will never happen again ” she replied, feeling sorry,

”Never mind, I know you are a strict and committed worker and I am also sorry for yelling at you earlier, but you look uncomfortable, what is the matter with you today? ” he replied her wondering about her unfamiliar behavior, trying to hide his concern,

”Don worry about it, Im just staying up late because of the comics, its really nothing important; no lets get back to work people are still coming, you know that the weblog is getting popular, people from out of the town will come to buy it from this shop, ” she answered,

”Yes, I read their comments, they love your work and this should motivate you to do more ” he replied complimenting her,

Although the weather was cold and rain was heavy, the costumers did not stop coming to the shop, their number was not the same as usual, but their love for her art did not change. Among them, a teenage dark-haired boy with pale complexion, tall and slightly emaciated came up to Anna talking to her,

”Are you Anna? ” he asked,

”Yes I am, did someone send you to me? ” she replied,

”You are really beautiful and smart as they told me about you ” he said flirting with her,

”Listen young boy, I am really busy and Im not interested with your jokes, so be nice and leave ” she said in annoyance,

He was frightened by her look and tried to improve the situation saying: ”Relax girl, I was trying to be nice to you, thats all ”, but his words made her angrier, she called up on Diego to deal with this annoying boy, then he felt real fear when Diego grabbed him by the collar forcefully to kick him out and by then he started screaming like a girl asking forgiveness and he revealed that he is a friend with Armand:

”I am sorry please let me go, Armand send me to you, I have a letter from the edition house to Anna, he was busy so he asked me to bring it ” he said with fear,

”Why you didn say that in the very beginning, see what you earned for yourself? Next time speak in a way that suits your appearance, boy ” Anna said sarcastically,

He apologized to them then delivered the latter and left the shop quickly, Diego asked her about the content of the letter but Anna didn know what could it be, because she haven received any letter from them before, she opened it and they read it together and its content was a request for her to come to the editors office within a maximum period of three days,

”Strange, they never asked that before, do you think they want to stop my comics? ” she said in fear,

”I don know dear Anna, but be positive maybe its a good thing who knows ”

”Yes you are right, Ive been getting rally pessimistic lately, I will go tomorrow, but I can come to work, if I go ” she replied and her voice sounded tired,

”Don worry about it, I can run the place alone, but you don look well Anna, and your face is feverish, I think you caught a cold ”, he was worried about her and sent her home to rest, he told her that he would take care of the rest of the work, especially since it was raining and there would not be many customers. He ordered a taxi to take her, she thanked him and got in the car but she asked the rider to take her to an old neighborhood known to be inhabited by the homeless, it was that place she used to go to see her little friends, she wanted to keep her promise to them as she does every week.

The place was damaged, and it gets worst then the last time, old and ruined houses dating back to the world war era; they were taken by the homeless and orphans as a refuge and a haven, they slept on the cold ground and covered their bodies with wood that protects them from the rain. People here are from deferent places, most of them are illegal immigrants lot of them do not know the local language and use French in their dealing, Anna got to know one of them, his name was Ali, he told her his story and how they deceived him, they were an organization of gangs that trafficked in people, they delude the youth that they will send them across the sea to European countries, and there they will find members of the organization who will receive them and provide them with housing and work all this for a significant amount or a small but dangerous service, often drug or weapons smuggling. ”I was young and foolish, and they had convinced me with their words about the future and that I had no opportunity to build my future here in my country. I started to be a thieve and I sell drugs, I caused my family problems with the police, because I was a minor, and the law protected me from going to prison, but the penalties were falling on my father, and yet I persisted in my stubbornness until my father kicked me out of the house, I will not forget my mothers tears and the heartbreak on her face, that was the last time I saw them, but I came back stealthily and stole my mothers jewelry that she inherited from my grandmother, I sold it for less than its value and I headed happy with my action, telling myself that I would finally go to heaven, to the place I belong to, but the moment I got on the boat and found myself in the middle of a wide ocean, I felt a fear that I did not know before, and I began to imagine that we will drown at any moment, especially since we were about forty people, two hours did not pass until some of them were already in the depths of the sea, most of them died from the sun, and the others lost consciousness due to dizziness, I could not control myself and started crying screaming and calling for my mother. I couldn believe I arrived alive until I touched the land, then one of the passengers came up to me and asked me if I know who would take us as they promised, but none of us knew, we turned to ask the person who dropped us off but he has already escaped, we were confused until we heard the sound of police cars coming to arrest us, everyone ran in deferent directions and police managed to arrest some of them but I was lucky again, I managed from escaping, I kept wandering in the streets, I don know what to do, I don know any language, then I regretted not hearing my fathers words when he was urging me to learn languages so that I could rely on myself one day if I had a chance to go abroad, but I was stupid, since then I am wandering in the streets, I was dreaming of going to heaven but I entered hell with my feet, those who died at sea and those who were arrested at the beach are the lucky ones not me ” it was the story that Ali told it to Anna, and since then she sends him and his fellows the help they need whenever she could. The night has fall and the winter weather gets colder than before, it enters their weak, emaciated bodies and makes them tremble, the cold made the number of people living in this place decrease, some of them has found a warm place to spend his nights in, and others are in the hospital due to their illness or may be dead. With heavy steps, she walks between the dilapidated alleys looking for her friends the orphaned children until she arrived to the place they take shelter, it was piles of stones and junkyards, they light a fire and sit around it to warm themselves, but this time their number was few and some of the kids that she knows are not among them, ”Where is Alfredo? He didn come to me as usual, ” Anna asked them about the oldest boy of them, but they answered her that he has been involved in theft in the big city, and the police has arrested him; some of the kids had followed him to the police station where they took him, but the Childrens Right Association had taken them to put them up for adoption. Anna felt sorry for those poor kids, because now there is no one who will look after them in Alfredo absence, their innocent angelic faces stares towards her with fear and their bodies trembles of cold, she felt that they were not comfortable with her presence, because they had not seen her before, so she took the comic magazine out of her bag and gave it to them, as soon as they saw it they rush to her happily, this comics were their only entertaining tool, for it embodies the imagination of every child and makes them forget their bitter reality, every time they read it they return to their childish spirit and forget for a moment that they live the roles of men and carry worries that mountains could not bear. ”I see that you all love this story, so I will leave it for you to enjoy it and I will bring you the new issue every week ” Anna said and was about to leave when their sad looks stopped her, ”Why you don seem to be happy with it ” she asked intently, then they told her that because of Alfredos absence, there was no one to read for them, she couldn resist the sadness she felt when she heard their words, and she couldn hold her tears from dropping, she quickly wiped her face and offered to stay for longer time to read for them, they were so happy to hear that from her and they bring all the old copies they have and she didn refuse to read it all, they prepared for her a clean place, from the cardboard pieces, and brought her pieces of dry cake and cheese to show her their hospitality, and they called the rest of their friends to listen to her, after a few minutes the place became crowded with children of different ages, sitting around her eagerly listening, and she was reading for them with all vitality, once she was acting and once telling the stories adding some details that she did not write and kept it for herself, but she did not prevent herself from recounting all the hidden details. The place around them turned into a living theater and it reverberated to all the children who were hiding in the hearts of old men who could not resist their desire to sit with them and share the imagination that Anna narrates, as she travels with them to the land of dreams, making them forgetting the cold and sorrow. As soon as she finished telling the story, everyone clapped for her with great joy, that moment, Anna knew that she was the luckiest person in existence, she had obtained unconditional love, despite her illness and weakness at that moment, but she forgot her pain as they forgot their sadness. Ali accompanied her and refused to let her walk alone at this late hour, when they arrived to the street of her residence, she thanked him for his favor, and then they walked apart. But she was alone again and returned to thinking of Martin and she felt that he is the one she needs most to be with her at the moment, because a sick person always likes to have someone next to him. She climbed the stairs towards her apartment, and her steps were heavy with the sadness that filled her heart, knowing that she would return to the same usual empty place and lay her head on the same pillow that was filled with her fallen tears for years, to sleep drowned in her loneliness. But this time was different, the moment she opened the door, she was surprised to see Martin sitting in the middle of the apartment, examining her drawings under a dim light, moments after she stood on the doorstep, stunned by what she saw in front of her, Martin turned to her and asked sarcastically why she left the apartment door open;

”Oh, you are back silly girl, why did you left the door open? Thieves will robe you easily ” Martin said, when he stand up and walked toward her slowly;

”Why you are here when did you come? ” she asked as she was stunned by his presence,

”Are you going to stand there for the night, come in inside its your home. Don judge me please, I felt so boring alone so I wanted to see you, when I come I found the door open, I thought that it was a robbery, but when I checked the place it was clear ” he replied,

”Yes, I think I forget to lock it this morning when I left in hurry, but that doesn give you the right to stay with no permission ” she said angrily,

”Forgive me for being rude, I know I made a mistake and I am sorry for that, please forgive me ” he apologized to her,

”And you were messing with my belongings too, thats so rude, you know that my work should be a secret, no one should check it before publishing except the edition house, I may got in trouble for that ” she replied anxiously, rubbing her hands nervously.

He holds her shoulders with his hands trying to comfort her, but he noticed her wet hair and clothes, ”What is that? You were walking around with no umbrella? Come sit here I will bring a towel to dry your hair ” he said, feeling worried about her;

”I told you before that I left in a hurry this morning, I forgot it too, don worry Ill be fine ” she replied,

He brought a towel from the bath room and rubbed her hair with it, then he noticed that she was feverish, he hold her face gently with both hand and felt her temperature,

”You have fever, didn you notice it all that time? And why you were out till that hour and you
e sick, why you didn go to the hospital? ”

”It is not a big deal Ill be fine by tomorrow, no need for the hospital, ” she replied him and her voice sound sick,

”No, thats not right, I can leave you like that, go change your clothes and I will prepare a ginger soup for you, it will make you feel better ” he said while he go to the kitchen searching for the ingredients.

At that specific moment Anna felt a forgotten feeling, a feeling that bring her nostalgic memories to the time she was happier, when she was the princess of her father and her life was simple although it wasn easy, but it was filled with warm affection of the family. She changed her clothes and sat on the leaving room watching him cooking in the kitchen like her father used to do for her; she didn take his eyes off of him as she saw her fathers silhouette in him, remembering the days when she used to play around him with joy at seeing him in front of her cooking her favorite dish, hugging him and kissing him with joy, or the days when she sits in front of the oven waiting for the cookies he made especially for her.

”Here is the ginger soup for the little sick girl, you need to eat it warm otherwise it will go to waste ”, he put the bowl on the table next to her and holds her hair while she eats, she took the first spoon then she stopped eating,

”You don like it? ” he asked,

She put the bowl back on the table and stared to him sadly, ”Yes, I don like it ” she answered,

”Maybe I put more salt on it, I will make another one for you ” he replied,

”No, you don have to, it is good… No, it is perfect, and I don like it for that, actually I hate it and I hate your presence ” she replied and bused in tears,

Martin get confused and tried to calm her: ”Anna, Im sorry because I entered your place like that; I didn know that will hurt you badly, but don cry please ”,

”No, you are an idiot… I hate your presence yet I love it… I love this soup, yet I hate it … I didn eat it for so long time yet I didn forget how it tastes, I was my fathers princess and he made this soup when I get sick, he told me I can stay at home and don go to school, and he spend the day with me too, laying in my bed, he reads me stories that he wrote for me, it wasn the soup or medicines that heals me, it was his hugs and kisses that did, his love was enough for me, he was my world, and I hate that you remind me of him, I was trying hard to continue my life without his memories … I was fooling myself that I can live without him … but you brought me back to reality… reality that I was running from … I hate you Martin … I want my father ”, she couldn hide her sadness neither her tears, and she couldn hide her weakness behind the strong personality, with which she deceived herself. Martin couldn leave her in that state, yet he couldn find words to comfort her, so he took her in his arms so that she would weep between his ribs, perhaps he can make her feel that her father is still with her, if she sees his picture in him, she will surely feel his embrace in his arms. In times like these, silence becomes more eloquent than words, as hearts have their own language, communicating between arms to follow one rhythm.

After a long cry, she fell asleep from fatigue in his arms and he remained fixed in his place watching the details of her innocent childish face as she lay in a quiet sleep, he felt calm with her as if he was the one who needed her presence with him, feeling calm just to see her and maybe this was the reason for his attraction to her and back to look for her, just to have a good time by her side.

After a while of sitting still, he left her to rest on the sofa, then sat on the floor next to her thinking deeply and then started talking to her while she was sleeping, as if he wanted to reveal his truth to her, but without her knowing: ”Anna, I know what Im saying is going to hurt you, so you won hear it, I hate lying but I have to… I love seeing you and staying with you, but my existence will hurt you, Im a bad person, Ive done things Im ashamed to say, Ive done the worst things imaginable, I didn expect for myself this dark future that has become my bitter reality and will become my painful past, but when I saw you I remembered my innocent self before the blackness … I remembered myself that I had forgotten, actually I forgot that it existed in the first place, but your pure soul revived me again and brought out that innocent child that I had perished with my hands. It was such a warm feeling that I felt with you, so I wanted to come back to feel it again. Tell me how you do it? How you maintain your innocence and happiness despite the sadness that you hide inside you, this is the only mystery that I could not solve. I know you think Im a cold, mysterious person, I know you
e wondering if Im a serious person in relationships or not, or maybe you think Im someone who sneaks into hearts like a thief into homes to steal the most valuable thing in them, maybe you
e right about me, I won get angry if you tell me that … you … You are afraid of discovering that Im a bad person. Yes, you are right and I am not right, you will not know my truth, and I will not let you know, I made a mistake when I returned to you, but my need for that joy that I lost years ago brought me back running to you, I am trying hard to prevent myself from clinging to you but I failed, forgive me for what I did, I am trying protecting you, or maybe Im protecting myself, I don know what Im doing anymore. But yes, I protect myself from harming others, I am not as free as you, but I envy you for your freedom, I became a puppet in the hands of people I used to see as heroes, until I became one of them and saw what they did, but I helped them to do so. So I protect myself … everyone I come close to burns, and it makes me more miserable. Forgive me, my dear. Forgive me if I hurt you ”, then he leaned gently towards her and kissed her slowly between her eyes, wiped her face and then left quietly.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like