Trespasser

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The apartment is upstairs, a classic building from the 1920’s. The tenants are away for most of the day and night. They come to sleep, to wake up, and to have breakfast, arguably to shower and to leave. Nothing happens past the kitchen. The living room is unused; the sofa is dusted, as most the furniture in the room. Who watches TV nowadays? Who has time for enjoying a relaxing day in the house when there’s so much to live outside? What kind of living creatures lounges under the sofa? Outside is cleaner. The kitchen hasn’t been used as well, maybe a bowl of cereal, a fried egg pan, a couple of cups. They were barely hand washed and left it on the counter, used the next day, and the next day, and the day after that; they are left at the same place. The coffee mug is black, a smart idea preventing from the extreme stains as the last white one. At least, the kitchen is used. Something is being done there from time to time. There’s mold in the fridge, a jar of water, a half-empty bottle of white wine, and an old piece of lemon. There’s mold in the bathroom as well, it’s safe to say that besides that it’s clean. The yellow spot in the corner of the shower is still small, just a little reminder that things are growing rotten inside. It has been rotten for a while; things are beginning to be visible. There’s no love in the bedroom. The bed sheets are picked up at night the same way they are left in the morning. A small pile of dirty clothes on the floor complete the apartment charm. That same t-shirt left on the floor on Tuesday morning is washed on Sunday to be worn Monday all day. It will be joined by the jeans (worn Monday to Friday), second pairs of jeans are kept for special events. Shirts are worn to cover the stained t-shirts. When those are stained, new shirts are bought at any fast-fashion store to replace them; quickly, they are added to the pile. No life except the infectious kind can survive living there. Life has been taken from them, and they continue to live. They are just trespasser of their own life.

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15

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“Why can’t I wear shorts? It’s just a stupid party”, I loudly replied. “You’re not a child anymore. Men wear pants.” My mom tried to convince me to wear pants by saying “men wear pants.” I didn’t want to go to the party. But I was 15 years old; it was the first time I was going out with my parents to one of those small city country club events. The whole society would be present, my parents noticing my dissociation with everything and everyone related to the environment I was part of, convinced me to go. I kept arguing about why I had to wear pants.

At the party, some men were wearing shorts. Obviously, I didn’t say anything, I looked at my mom with a “what do you have to say now?” attitude. The same people I had seen every day in my life was there. The same I had gone to school with, I had been to the gym with, I had been forced to see them at the church as well, on the streets, the same people I learned how to not care about or not want to have any relationship with. Still, with my parents at my side, I was there smiling, being the polite personage I also learned to be. I sat at the table looking at the characters for the most of the night. I would dance, but not there, not with them, not with that music. I would drink, and my parents permitted me to drink, but I felt stupid being an inconsequent teenager drinking for the sake of being stupid. I had to repeatedly answer “no” to my dad who constantly kept asking me if I wanted a beer. “What are you going to say now, that I’m a man, so I have to drink beer?” I didn’t say that, but I wanted to. I left the table after seen some of my school friends there. They were looking at the girls; lying about the ones they had a kiss with or something else. I kind of wanted to dance with the girls, yet men weren’t supposed to dance back then. They were drinking; I went back to my parent’s table. One of my mom’s friends, one that always left a red lipstick mark on my face, asked me to dance with her. I happily did; one of those 70s disco music that I loved. I was a good dancer, but it wasn’t worth the moves; those people didn’t have a clue about the disco liberation movement. I didn’t have a clue on how to be myself. At the end of the night, I was having fun just observing the party, allegedly a remarkable one. Some girls were kissing the older guys hiding from their parents, the ones no one wanted were dancing, waiting for someone to pick them up. The guys my age were still talking at the corner of the salon; they were visibly drunk at this point, with no girls wanting them. I kept looking at everyone; I wanted to leave as soon as possible. In the car, my mom asked me if I had fun, I said I would rather wear short.

Honey Honey

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They wait for the movie to start, and there’s no better time to watch a movie than on a Monday afternoon; a semi-empty private session.

“Do you like ABBA?”

“I don’t care about them, and I don’t like musicals, so this is better be good. I agreed to come because I wanted to see you.”

(Laughs)“Grumpy and lovely.”

“What’s your situation with your ex?”

“The situation is I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to be sad. (Pause) I certainly didn’t expect to be here with you. Technically, I’m on a break. (Pause) Like Ross on Friends.” (Laughs)

“I never liked that show.”

“That’s because you’re grumpy.”

“No, I’m just really smart.”

(Laughs) “Well, I don’t think we will be back together.”

“We are not together yet. (Laughs) you’re dumb.”

“Why?”

“Because you keep longing for something to happen between the two of you, but let me tell you, it won’t. So basically, you keep suffering for nothing.”

“I don’t know any other way; to love is to suffer. It’s a family tradition.”

“Well, that’s dumb. But here’s the problem, you’re not suffering for love, you’re victimizing yourself because you don’t have what you want.”

“Ouch, that hurts.”

“Exactly, BOOM. You can’t have the way you want, so you cry like a spoiled kid. Somehow, and I barely know you, I don’t think you are like that.”

“No, I am not. I don’t even know how I became a victim.”

“You become the victim when you feel sorry for yourself. Look, I don’t care that you suffer for love because I don’t believe in love equals suffering. Love should be joyful, forget this passionate speech of a 18th-century virgin. Everything we know about love is rooted in the idea of an impossible love, from the overdramatic music to the overly dramatic movies. If you don’t want to be in that relationship, don’t be in that relationship. Nothing is holding you except yourself, and your desire to suffer.”

“Ouch, again. So you think I should throw away all the…”

“Oh please stop. I don’t care. What I care is that you quit being a victim of a situation you created. You put yourself in that mood; you allowed yourself to be that person. So, pick yourself up and move on. The end.”

“You are…”

“Stop the excuses. The movie is starting, so shut up and give me kiss.”

The lights go down. The movie starts: 9 years ago.

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“Love me,” he said. Silence. Loud music around them, but at the moment, it felt as if no one was there. Just them. “Love me,” he repeated in a lower tone, holding a tear ready to slide down his cheek. The others surrounding them continued with their party vibe, holding their drink, sipping alcohol as a mandatory rule for being alive on a Saturday night. He had a drink as well, and a shaking hand was holding the glass cup strongly. He wanted to be quite. “Please, I beg you. Love me.” He kept saying, “love me,” chanting for what he couldn’t feel. He demanded to be loved, unable to understand how to feel loved. He couldn’t hear a word besides the pounding “love me” that was coming from his mouth. Silence, complete silence, no response, not a single word to comfort him. People continued to sing, dance, and drink around him. They maintained distant from them. A guy screaming for his friend walked in the middle of them. He woke up from his trance. He noticed where he was; he noticed no one was paying attention to his pain, to his eyes that didn’t cry. They looked at each other. The gaze lasted for hours, for a second. Time was completely irrelevant. “I beg you to love me, ” but this time only the inside of his head could hear the words. The space between them just got bigger. It was time to leave. The crowded place made it difficult to reach the exit. He took the lead, strolling through the happy people, his legs felt heavy. His whole body was in a state of shock. The words revealed nothing; he said nothing he wanted to say. It certainly didn’t fell right. His eyes met the eyes of a girl waiting in line to order a drink. She smiled at him, desperately in need of a drink. His blank expression said something to her. She could feel it. A stranger could understand him better than anyone else there. Without making a sound, she asked: “Are you ok?” He just nodded his head. Without saying a word, he said: “Thank You.” He was relieved, not for the sympathetic gesture of a stranger, but for being able to say something different than “love me.” The crowded exit forced them to hold hands, to not lose each other, such a senseless reaction. When he felt the touch of the hand, his body reacted. He wanted to let it go but felt childish to do that. He just wanted to reach the exit. As they finally crossed the door, someone said, “Have a goodnight.” He turned his head with anger to have to respond an automatic gesture of politeness. They were finally out, heading to the car. Their hands were away from each other. There was no sound inside the car. His mind had finally calmed down. They got home. Silence. He heard, “we should go to bed.” He didn’t say anything, undressed, he finally cried.

MRS.

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I don’t like weddings, and here I am dressed in white. With my bouquet in hands, I remember every time I had to be the ring girl, to be a bridesmaid, to understand I had to smile, to be nice, to enjoy a moment like the one I’m living now. I’m waiting for my entrance; the guests are excited, my aunt is crying. Thank God the music didn’t start yet; the very expensive wedding planner is holding me: I have to make them wait a little bit. I was ready 10 minutes ago. I want this to be over, jump fast to the ridiculous expensive party. Listen, I love my soon-to-be husband. I want to spend my life with him; I want to have kids and grow old on the countryside. I just can’t connect to the idea that a party, a priest, or a wedding dress that looks like an ugly, fattening cake is going to make me married. Weddings are contracts; and not a romantic one. We live together already; I have a beautiful house with pictures, furniture, and most importantly, love. I confess I got tired of people asking me all the time about the wedding; I’m not having this party because of them, but the family/friends pressure is a small reason for the thick ring to be placed on my left finger. I’m someone Mrs. now. I have to be strong for not molding myself into a briefcase my husband moves around. My identity has to remain intact. I can’t remember how many of my friends lost theirs at the honeymoon. Lame. I don’t. How funny it can be if I say no. The wedding planner is going to be devastated. She is more excited about all this than I am. I do. I’m about to be Mrs. It’s not the man of my dreams, but it’s the man I chose to be my partner. There are still very few of us who can choose who to be. I’m the bride. The guests are here to celebrate us. I’m happy. Still, I can’t stand this party.

 

The Kiss

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He is there, sitting on a bench, waiting for a bus – with all kinds of people passing by him, with all kinds of thoughts running through his head. The money is not enough; the sex is never enough. He lights a cigarette to ease his mind of all he can’t accomplish. He is alone on the bench until a woman joins his presence. “I could spend the night with her,” he thinks. However, he is enjoying his smoky dreams; his laziness stops him to try a conversation. She appears interested in her thoughts only. With nothing more to do except waiting for the bus, he smiles at her. She replies with a sympathetic smile. She moves her body close to him. “What’s up with this girl?” he blushes with her approach. He looks at her; she arouses him. He kisses her; a long kiss he doesn’t want it to stop. The mouth is wet as they, only them, wait for the bus. His thoughts cease by the desire of being with that woman. He wants to kiss her all night. But he interrupts the kiss. A shy smile after a bright light illuminates her face; a car comes into their direction. She moves away. They wait, far from each other.

Many things are missing in her life right now. She can’t keep herself still to wait for a bus. She walks past the stop bench twice; there’s a man there, she doesn’t want to talk. “What’s the problem with men that can’t see a woman alone without feeling they have the right to approach them?” She sits by him; with distance, she doesn’t want to talk. The money is not enough; the sex is never satisfying. She observes him, “the dude is hot,” she wouldn’t mind spending a night with him. He arouses her, but a stranger won’t fill the gap in her life. He smiles at her; he wants to make himself present. “Fuck it!” she thinks, moving closer towards his body; she can smell him. She kisses him, a long kiss she doesn’t want it to stop. The mouth is wet as they, only them, wait for the bus. Her dissatisfaction ceases by the action of being with a man after a long time. She wants to kiss him for the rest of the night. But she interrupts the kiss. A happy smile after a bright light illuminates his face; a car comes into their direction. She moves away. They wait, silently.

5

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I run back home after the school. I can hear the women from outside; my heart is racing fast. I’m greeted by my mom, “go say hi to everyone, and I don’t want you to hang around the table.” She looks beautiful; there’s a unique way boys look at their mother that is just pure. I agree with a smile, and run to the laughing, cheering, and a very smoky game room filled with my mom’s closest friends. I give a kiss to each one of the beautiful ladies. Red lips mark my cheeks. There’s just no space left on my face when I greet my grandma. She calls me son, and she doesn’t wear red lipstick. Grandma is the most beautiful lady in the room; a disease took her melatonin away, so she is very white, hair is short and curly, she dresses in a floral dress, and her admirable elegance. From the movement of her body to the tone of her voice and laugh, it’s all very delicate, very slow but effective. She keeps a handkerchief (small, white, laced) with her all the time; cleaning the edge of her eyes, it looks like she is always crying. I believe it’s just the way she plays the game of being a woman. With one of her movements, she wets the handkerchief with a little bit of saliva, cleaning my face of the red lipstick marks. Then, she gives me a long kiss on the cheek. I check if my mom is around and run under the table. I like to hear those women talking and playing. I like to be around them; I laugh with them, I can spend my life just watching that upside down game. The woman with red marks on the tip of her finger and the tip of her cigarettes is my favorite. She is so loud and competitive. Her feet don’t stop moving from all the anxiousness and the caffeine. She loses the game, uttering a swearing which makes me laugh so hard my grandma notices my presence. I see my mom’s arms reaching my t-shirt collar. She pulls me from the room, and I’m still laughing. She looks at me with a smile on her face, takes me to the kitchen with her, and serves me the delicious food she prepared. I look at her.