‘Wanna sit with me while I finish smoking this?’
‘Are you really gonna smoke it?’
‘My mom died of cancer and I swore I wouldn’t touch a smoke after that. I owe it to my unborn kids’
‘Talking like a true Brian Adams song’, she smiled gently.
‘Some use it as inspiration, or an intellectual outlet, a faucet for thought, you know? I look at it get tugged by the wind. It’s my sacrifice. It’s actually a sort of antique countdown timer for me. Sitting here, in nature, on this swing, dark everywhere except in my head, where images align…’
‘Your neighbors seem to be awake’
‘I sometimes imagine a world where all people have the opportunity to turn a hello into a conversational event worth writing down; that wisdom that can mesmerize you and send you wailing to a piece of paper or a journal. But we’d need school to teach us the same book, you know? We’d all share something’
‘I’d hate to ruin your ideal, but wouldn’t that be awful?’
‘Nah, think of the outcome’
‘Nobody talks about the books we all share because we haven’t read them properly in school, homework went amiss, and now we avoid talking about that which brings us shame’
‘What books, Little Red Riding Hood and the sort?’
‘Yeah, why not? All I’m saying is those people that you called my neighbors might have been my friends if they studied, if they would have learned to be nicer, if they wouldn’t have crept into our house at night and stolen from my grandma. Those are the kind of things that turn people away from each other, but see, nights like these I wonder if their infamy wouldn’t have been interesting to me; if amidst their ranks I wouldn’t have learnt an inner truth, something that would have had the power to send my life adrift completely’
She sat there, beautiful, blonde, tall, contemplating, boats fighting heavy waters in that blazing head of hers and a Greek mélopée calling her – the Aegean beckoning her, asleep in my arms on the barely lit far-far-away shores of Patmos Island, where the biblical apocalypse was written.
‘One little thing hindered the possibility of any relationship… I think it’s all for the best. People need to be told what they did wrong, they choose their own degree of solitude based on how gruesome their actions turn out to be’, she said, head down, recounting – as if – some analogous tale from her past. ‘Hey, what happened to us?’, her head lifted.
‘Do you wanna know my input?’
‘Yeah, I’m asking’
‘We got unfulfilled. We waited too long, and the world just fucked us in the meantime. I wanted our relationship to be perfect, not tainted by sex and what we would crave after having sex’
‘Those cravings could have been met with our care and planning. We had a good head when it came to the future. We knew what was what’
‘I fucked up, I let life carry me away. It was all a mess surrounding what happened to you, you didn’t really let me in and I vanished’
‘I bet you wanna know what happened’
‘I think I know. I’ve read the reports’
‘I think you know I weigh causality and guilt for what happened differently. Not as a high court, at least.’ She was shivering…
‘Should I get you a blanket or something?’
‘No, you absolute fuck up, I’m opening up to you’
‘Don’t if you don’t want to’
‘I want to! I blame myself… those boys, you see, were my friends, my group. They’re all in jail, all 9 of them, and we’re here and we still haven’t made love, just like you wanted… like we wanted, for us to remain pure. I couldn’t even tell the judge what happened, that’s how ashamed and disappointed I was. I often think of Irréversible, the movie. I know you remember it, because we saw it together. Le temps détruit tout. There are times when we need to make a stance, because of this goddamned butterfly effect, you leave something like don’t do drugs unsaid at a dinner party where you catch a bunch of kids passing a spliff around and one of them might turn out a junky, you know? I did my part with those boys and I failed to educate them. We were all friends and they knew you and I were together, but back when me and Joey and Mike and Paul and Tony and the rest of the happy 10, how we called our group, back when we were cool and… I had told them I loved them. And in my head I did, every one of them. I loved them because I was a 16 year old moulded by music and that crappy love everyone anthem that they attributed to Jesus and art, and happy fappy, god fucking shit…’
‘One time we were a bit buzzed, all 10 reunited, and Tony was talking about sex, and they kinda laughed at me for still being a virgin, and I laughed, and then they saw how I blushed and they started being all apologetic, wait, sorry, what we meant was it’s a beautiful thing and we wish we all shared that, and of course they meant it like we wish you had also experienced love with someone so we could share stories and bond, but I thought of it as in I wish we all shared that, and they laughed, and I laughed, and I made a promise, stupid, you know?, 16, I said, look, guys, after I’ve lost my virginity to someone I promise I’ll make love to each and every one of you… they all stopped talking and they were eyeing each other… no, I mean it, I love you guys and I think we’d share a lot more if that happened’. She was almost crying at this point. I could feel it in her voice, trembling, ashamed of the imprecations of what followed.
‘Amber, my god… baby, it wasn’t you…’
‘No, it was me! We were together, I loved you, what the fuck was I doing in a group with 9 boys?! The gang. The Happy 10. Fuck that! They raped me, I know. When the rumor came out that I had lost my virginity, which I hadn’t, they all pressed and pressed and after the first slap spirits were on fire. They all wanted the profit off that promise, their capital, their investment in the whole 10 stakeholding. What an avalanche of hands, they ripped off my clothes and I was out of it the whole time. You wanna know why thinking you can ever bond with your neighbors is a goddamned idealistic sophism?! Because an idea can stand in the way of a whole river of feelings and cravings and flood the whole edifice of one’s mind, divert or impound consciousness the way it likes with a single word! You couldn’t stand those people, and all that stood in your way was the word theft, whereas for me it was rape. I was still a virgin and I wasn’t in love with you when I said that stupid shit about having sex with all of them. You didn’t exist for me. I had never known love, I never knew how beautiful you are, how caring, how you can turn my whole life into shit with a Stephanie Meyer quote. Remember that week you wanted to stay away from me, like in Twilight, because you felt as if I wasn’t as glued to you as you were to me, so you wanted to prove to me that you can stay away, make me suffer in the process, so you just looked at my messages for a week, ignored me almost completely, withheld the deepest cravings of meeting me and holding me in your arms and kissing me just to prove a point. I died. I died on the inside, you total prick, and I loved you all the same. Nothing more, nothing less. You were still the one. I wanted you to be the first so badly… it meant the world for us to make love, together, alone, again and again and again, and I dreamt of being yours every single night, for the rest of our lives, and get bored of each other 100 times, and then you’d come up with some crazy idea from a book, I’m sure, let’s read and memorize 1001 Arabic Nights, one story each night, and at 22:01 each night we tell the story we learned by heart to the other one, and who’d fuck it up would have to go down on the other one, or some fucked up shit like that, but at least it would have been us…’
‘I can’t… I’m frustrated as fuck! I lost it all in one night… you, me, my virginity, my so called friends, and…’
‘What?’ She wiped away her tears, curious of what I had meant.
‘You know, it’s like this cigarette. They put ammonia in it to turn the nicotine into free-nicotine, and now if you light it, without you smoking it, it burns down within 2-3 minutes. It used to be that they got put out immediately if you didn’t tug on it. That’s us, though. We had the first drag and then we didn’t smoke it anymore. It kept burning. We didn’t smoke the whole thing and so here we are.’
‘That’s the stupidest thing you’ve said, asshole’
‘I’m pouring my heart out and you’re…’
‘Oh, you’re pouring! You’d prefer a Johnny Walker analogy?’
‘I’d prefer if you’d…’ she didn’t get to the end of that sentence.
‘You kissed me…’
‘I’m so glad you said yes to my invitation. It’s been 10 years, and I never stopped dreaming of you. Maybe things turned out this way, but fuck it. I would love nothing more than to hold you in my arms tonight and to take it slow again.’
‘Let’s go inside’, she said. She was still smiling. Blonde, tall, boats resting on shallow waters in that blazing head of hers and a Greek mélopée whispering ‘rejoice’ in her ear, ‘it was all a bad case of biblical apocalypse’.