When you begin a conversation with someone for whom you understand that you might feel love in the future, it is like building an illusion out of cards: you both want to create a dream that you hope will last as much as possible, fearing an earthquake or a powerful gust of wind.
One last time the black swan will open its wings
To hastily embrace the inward universe;
But remember that nothing is what it seems
And the mirror might be coherently reversed,
The reflection makes as well sense
When the butterfly's touch implacably stings.
There is no corruption except in our minds, meaning that this concept is our invention, being a word, in which, if I understand it correctly, is encapsulated the eternal idea that something was in a wondrous state of affairs that was lost or, in any case, that degradation of some sort had taken place. My assumption is that, if we are the way we are, then there is no point in finding out who corrupted who because things could not be elsewise, though if we put enough thought into it we can find arguments for both sides that are equally valid. Yet we emerged out of nature, so we cannot do more than we have been given the ability to by our Mother, even if nourishing the illusion of evolving or suffering a downfall. We merely play our role, as different and self-destructing as it might appear at times, and if we march towards our perishment or corruption, it is fine because other species will live without us and other planets will replace the earth if the latter is eradicated, which is almost a certitude.
Selflessness exists if you ignore all the events that have led to it and its goal. However, giving the fact that it is mainly an evasion from pain, I think that it does not exist, and, either way, one cannot say for sure if it is so because our real motives are hidden and ungraspable often even for ourselves, which makes it impossible to prove this quality, the only option remaining being to simply take someone else's word for it, or to rebuke it as jibber-jabber.
Musing about life
The older I get, the more I understand that my heart remains wild as ever and my romantic illusions, although I thought that I've got rid of them completely, are alive and come to me once in a while strangely strong and deeply disturbing, like the dead body of a mesmerizingly beautiful, humane doll, that I've killed because I could not stand her haunting allure.
That is how it is
Well, my friend, I guess I should say that you shouldn’t have done this and that life is the most precious gift, if I were someone who consideres that one’s opinion should match the majority’s. But I am not that kind of person and have no retention to admit that existence can often be unbearable and excruciatingly painful, and so we have the right to put an end to it in an unusual and seemingly against nature way, by which I do not mean that we should take such desperate action whenever something petty or hurting affects us, yet the truth is that it happens, meaning that it is another cause of death, although rare and banished by religions as contradicting the universal laws, which isn’t true, for we, humans, have the ability to forestall potential threats, which has become a hindrance more than an asset, being the source of fictionalized, psychological suffering and anxiety. That also grants us a permanent, unfaillable mod to escape torment, and it is relieving to believe that we have it at our disposal, ready to use at any time, regardless of the fact that it is viewed as a cowardly decision.
I won’t mourn you, because it is meaningless; nothing can bring you back to this absurd dream called life. Unfortunately, all the rationalizing done before fails to console me completely. And I regret that you could not manage to understand that the beauty of existence lies in its apparent glacial coldness in which only you can insert joy by treating it as an illusory game in which a lot more things are permitted than we feel at first glance. Yet I cannot help but notice the fact that your reaction is the product of all the events preceding you and me, so...
From one side of the spectrum to another
If straight wou be the minority, then the word would change oppositely its meaning, and those who are now the minority would be called straight, and those who are now straight would feel uncomfortable.
Penniless and afraid
I and Johny are laying in the grass beside the road, panting, looking at each over with exhausted eyes, the hands resting motionless next to our bodies. We are about to leave Ciudad Hidalgo, a city in which, in the morning, we were abandoned by the crew of Penniless and ambitious, only left with a few supplies and eyewear broadcasting everything live. Yes, you are right, it is a stupid thing to be in a reality show, but the pay-off is 100k, so the effort is worth it, even if previously I haven't been what people would call a materialist. Desperate times require desperate needs, I assume.
“So what the fuck should we do now?” I ask after a long period of silence. They told us to keep the conversation lively and engaging, which is what the audience wants, but now I sound a little bit discouraged, and I cannot help it, though trying my best.
“I don’t know,” he answers, stopping to observe me and directing his eyesight towards the river flowing near us. “But we have to do something,” he adds after a moment of musing, turning his head towards me. He is not so tall as me, so I normally have to lower my eyes when I speak to him, except that presently, as we sit here, our height seems equal, and I have to meet his calm, but confident gaze directly, which is surprising. “Otherwise we’re not going to make it.”
“Yeah, you are right.” I sigh.
“And you need that fucking money.”
I smile, somewhat cheered up by his upbeat attitude, but not totally. We still did not figure out how to solve the problem. Besides, it starts to get dark and we have to find a place to sleep. Probably, we’ll spend our night outside like vagrants, and this prospect kind of gives me the creeps, I’m not gonna lie to y’all, because there are a lot of animals that lurk around. “I actually do.” I wish I hadn’t, but I do need it, unfortunately.
Johny reaches out to me and puts his hand on my shoulder encouragingly, without condescendence, and that’s what I’ve always liked about him since our early days of childhood. “It”s going to be alright,” he says.
“I hope so.” My voice is more cheerful than a few moments ago, for he manages invariably to cheer me up with his contagious enthusiasm. Then I get up and stroll alongside the river, feeling a sudden rush of energy. The sun begins to disappear, its light playing intermittently on the surface of the water like a multitude of frolicking fireflies in search of their loved ones, and I am mesmerized for an instant by this surreal beauty, eyes squinting at the distant horizon, which makes me think about Diane, for whom I accepted to appear on television, although people consider me an intellectual. I don’t know about that, I could only say that, in this instant, my sole regret is not being close to her. Why aren’t things easy? Why can’t I just follow my dreams unrestrainedly? I envy the grace with which the river flows.
“You have dirt on your pants, buddy,” Jonny observes kindly. “You better stop dreaming and watch your steps.”
“It’s not dirt,” I correct him, “it is sand. Soggy sand, that’s different.” Couldn’t he understand that?
“I see,” he agrees, and then gets up and inspects the area with curiosity, without contemplating too much, moving around diligently, as if searching for something specific, then stops, disappointed. “I’m concerned about where we are going to sleep at night. We do not have any money at all, so we can’t go to a motel. I was hoping to find some rugs, but couldn’t see any here. Perhaps we could lit up a fire to keep us warm and push away the beasts.”
He has a practical mind and is able to forestall the dangers, and I would have taken him with me even if we weren’t friends, so there is no wonder why he decided to become an engineer, whereas my choice was to study art and dedicate myself to painting, which, of course, didn’t contribute considerably to my income. Ashamed to stay idle, I glance furtively around and recognize that there is nothing except pure, clean, dry grass, undulating slightly in the wind which, now, as the dusk comes more perceptibly, is gaining in intensity, arousing a desire to put on the coat, that, until now, was resting on my shoulder. In some places, I have chicken skin, and, amazed by the sudden fall in temperature, driven by the urge to find a shelter, I look around more intently, but my sight is inescapably caught by the image of the sun already diving into the water, although a few moments before the day still didn’t give a sign of ending, and I cannot help myself but ponder that changes occur surreptitiously, even if they are just natural. That’s how I’ve fallen in love with Diane: my existence evolved at a usual pace, then she into my life, we’ve become crazy about each over, and I knew I would never be the same since, or at least that was how I was taught that love should be.
Johnny fumbles in his bag and fetches a bottle of whisky. “I would like to try this. What do you think?”
“Good timing.” We didn’t drink before, intending to keep our mind sharp and get out of the pickle, having only five days to our disposal, during which we are to travel through Mexico City, then in Manuel Benavides, from where we’d have to reach Tijuana, all according to the itinerary whose reasons are a perpetual mystery to me, made up by those from the television. If I win, Diane would be thrilled and consider me a real man, who is able to make money, not just a dreamer who uses his pencil as a means to escape reality. “Reality”, I muse, and smile, taking out my bag to feel less encumbered by its weight and hence enjoy more thoroughly the whisky, “how ironical! Here I am, being part of a reality show!”
“What’s so funny?” asks my companion, who has just gulped some alcohol.
“Nothing? That’s so unlike you.” He sounds incredulous.
“Well, just some stupid thoughts that are preoccupying me. Like-”
“It is funny how I try to discover the world. I get involved in some show instead of just travelling on my own.”
“Don’t forget the money,” he says, “you need them. How else will you marry her? Or should I say how will she marry you?”
“C’mon, Johny.” I feel embarrassed by the fact that he is mentioning these things and the viewers will know more about me than I would be comfortable with. “C’mon,” I repeat, looking furtively aside to communicate my emotions, painfully aware that I am filmed and every reaction is seen and interpreted by far more people than someone who values privacy would appreciate. What a shame, damn, that’s unfortunate...
“Unless you’ve changed your mind.” He has noticed, I suppose, my abashement and his voice comes in an undertone, being close to a whisper, but not totally.
“I haven’t changed my mind,” I say more firmly and with resignation. I signed up for this, so I shouldn’t be surprised if my intimacy isn’t quite respected. Diane’s whimsical, sometimes cantankerous nature was never a trait that Johny liked about her. “She is going to make you suffer,” he told me once, not long after I had introduced them. I replied that this didn’t bother me. “But then again, you are a sufferer. There is nothing we can do about that.” And he sighed, not with desperation or exasperation, but with a parenthetical resilience of someone who knows they cannot control their unruly kid, regardless how much they scold him, and he sighs in the same way now, as he receives from the bottle of whiskey, except that his attitude is more determined.
“Ok then,” he begins, "We have to figure out a place to stay at night. Remaining here might be dangerous.”
“You are not wrong.” We have chosen to dwell near water because of the extraordinary heat of the day, whose intensity is diminishing presently, and so it is easier for us to leave, despite the fact that I enjoy tremendously its cooling, glittering beauty. “Let's go,” I add, regarding for the last time the sun which is hidden in the river, it seems. Still, I do not move, so Johny has to put gently a hand over my shoulder and usher me towards a highway, where the buzzing traffic is again sensible, although not so furiously as in L.A., and where the street lamps are already lit. After a few moments of ambling around, we find a bench and sit on it, deliciously tired from walking, a pleasure to which I am not so accustomed, leading a primarily sedentary existence in my apartment, amongst easels and colours, the only reason to go out being, of course, Diane, a mundane person who rejoices whenever her charms are flatteringly acknowledged by as many people as possible, and, honestly, I do not have the cruelty to blame her, even if she's always giddily trying to get me out of my comfort zone.
“Brad, how do you feel about having kids? Do you think you are ready to take the responsibility?” inquires Johny. What an unexpected question, I think, but then I see a school bus stopping at a station near us, and a few children stepping out from it, naive and playful.
“I didn’t think that far ahead. Yes, I suppose.”
“You are not going to have so much spare time, you know.”
“I do.” Silence reigns between us, interrupted now and then by a few car horns and the sound of people strolling and discussing. It isn’t an awkward silence, and I cannot help myself but muse about the possibility that one day, I and my girlfriend might live in a place far away from civilization, where we could enjoy a peaceful, retired, idyllic life, surrounded by nature, perhaps not like hermits, yet settling in a small town, where it would be easy to withdraw in my den and rest whenever I want to. The fact that some kids would eventually frolic around might just, it occurred to me after paying enough heed to those there who are most likely returning to their parents after a day of school, enrich our marital existence, materializing the classical phantasy of a nineteenth-century painter for whom the whole universe might be encapsulated by a winsome, lively woman nursing her offspring, idle in the grass, without being tormented by the futilities of the world. To achieve this dream, I accepted to be a part of Penniless and ambitious, urged by Diane who claimed that the few bucks that I earned making portraits and other similar works wouldn’t suffice if we were to become husband and wife one day. Was she wrong? No, I had to admit, frustrated.
“Hm.” He hesitates as if pondering his words, like he often does, then scrutinizes me, almost with shiness, and only after he turns slowly his head back to the bus station, empty now, he speaks, “I am glad you’ve finally grown up.” My first impulse is to be offended and I usually cannot help it, but he's aware of my fragile vanity, so he smiles and leans towards me to pat my shoulder. “Parenthood might be scary, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it. I have two kids, as you know, Brenda and Mike. Not everybody is prepared. I am happy for you though and wish you good luck.”
“I presume I am prepared.”
“You “presume”? That’s a precise way to put it.”
“I do not see another way to put it.” We burst out laughing.
“Buddy, don’t be so scared. Being a parent is also a blessing, I would tell you that. Weirdly enough, since my first kid was born, my attention was turned away from me and I am at peace now. It is strange, you might think, but you’ll understand what I am talking about when becoming a dad.” I want to say something, but my stomach abruptly makes loud, growling noises, which is inconvenient.
“Let's eat. I am starving,” he says. The sandwiches are pretty tasty, I think, which might be also because the whisky has stirred my appetite, and we haven’t eaten since noon. When we finish our meal, we take a few moments to rest, and I fetch a piece of paper, which they luckily had permitted us to carry, knowing what an enthusiastic artist I was, having the gut feeling that I might draw something, although uncertain what precisely. And, the pen in my hand, I begin to create, timidly, and not after long my thoughts start to take a clear form, and the image in front of me reveals itself as an incipient, scratchy shape of a school bus. Not brilliant, but it has potential if I manage to bring some animation into it.
“Listen,” I say, turning the head towards Johny, my lilt higher than usual.
“What is it?” He is surprised by my vivacity. “What's the matter?”
“What if we follow the track of that bus 'till the terminal bus station. It is a fine place to spend a night.”
“Yes. But people would think that we are vagrants.”
“And what are we, after all?”
He does not answer immediately. “I must grant you that.” Then a pause comes; he caresses his chin pensively. “How can we be sure that this is the right route?”
“We can't. But I’ve noticed that the same bus came back rapidly, so I've figured that the station must be nearby.”
“How can you tell that it wasn’t another bus?”
“I just have a hunch.”
“It isn’t much-“
“Do you have a better plan?”
“But it’s all we have,” he retorts patiently. “Until now, at least.”
“Ok, let's go!” I say, triumphantly, leaving the bench. Soon, he gets up too, his visage betraying an amused satisfaction, although I can see that he as well is searching for an answer, frowning slightly. Progressing quietly, we are able to hear the constant sound of our footsteps whenever the road is empty. Sometimes, whereas the daylight grows dimmer and dimmer, the tranquillity is interrupted by a school bus, and so my conviction that we are on the right path grows stronger and stronger, like the long-expected emergence of bright red colour against a dark background, until my line of sight catches a bunch of yellowish squares arranged neatly in the right of what might appear as a usual park if not for the large gate and the exceeding amount of beckoning luminosity, to which, like flies, we are attracted with a sense of refreshed hope. To show that I was presumably the first to have noticed it, I shout, “Do you see it?”
“You were right. Shall we go? Maybe-”
“Sure, why else did we come here?” He doesn’t reply and I do not wait for his answer.
When finally entering the area, our last steps being made at a somewhat impatiently faster pace, we pause for a bit to acquire a deeper understanding of the surroundings, until approaching the benches, where we see no homeless people, which gets me thinking that vagrants are not allowed to sit here during the night and, hence, my plan would not be feasible, unfortunately. I share my concerns with Johny, who is surprisingly chill. “I don’t know. Let's sit there and rest. If someone kicks us out, we’ll try something else.” Perhaps he’s right.
It isn’t difficult to find another bench, on which I soon decide to continue the drawing, content that no one is bothering us, not yet. My piece of paper has wrinkled, but it is still possible to work. After a few additional touches, I'm pretty happy with how it looks, so now I should proceed to invent a background of some sort, and so look around, pondering if the entire station should do it, quickly realising that it is too prosaic, full of stone and iron, and so my examination goes on, the gaze meandering like a river out of its habitual course, yet at one moment I meet the eyes of a red-haired woman, who is coming nonchalantly in our direction from the opposite side of the building. Her gait is slow, measured, yet she has barely discernable, isolated, brisk movements, which would remind of a dancer elsewhere if not for the fact that she does not wear any headphones whatsoever. Perhaps the song is playing in her head, it happens... There is a particular intensity, a gentle force in her eyes, by which I am instantly mesmerized, although she isn’t exactly my type of woman, being slender, skinny, the look betraying a certain restlessness which is common to those constantly aware of themself, yet not devoid of grace and charisma, I admit. As she edges into a zone where the lights are more powerful, coming closer to our bench, the colour of her hair passes through a lot of hues, it evolves, so to speak, and for a second I almost doubt that I spotted her colour correctly, just almost, because my vision is trained and I am not fooled easily by the spectrum changes, as boastful as that sounds, but am rather enjoying it like now, still unsure if she has the same weird, mysterious emotion. By the point when she gives the impression that her trajectory would lead her in front of me, she suddenly turns left, without seeming conscious of my attention, and my observation is no longer possible, even though I twitch my head towards her, taking care not no appear conspicuous, which allows me to look at her from behind and notice the long hair waving in the gusts of evening wind, until darkness envelops her, who, I presume, is heading towards the gas station, leaving me with a sense of remorse. “You have a particular gaze,” Diane told me once, half playful, half menacing, during the first days of our relationship, “and I really like it. But I should be the only woman whom you watch like this. Is that clear, honey?” “Yes, baby. How could I?”
The encounter has filled me with a stream of creative energy. I’ve always felt an inexplicable surge of feelings after such situations, trying not to look in a conspicuous way, if my future wife was nearby, whom I only loved, of course, yet not believing that any restriction should prevent someone from admiring the beauty of the world. However, the glasses were hindering my actions, and I decide to be more mindful with my impulses, aware of being watched and judged by an infinite pair of eyes, among which one particularly might get angry, with which I wouldn’t be pleased. So my next step is to resume the drawing, steadily but with conviction and care, convinced that a female should, doubtless, embellish my work, for whose appearance I choose for model Diane, although the pose or the entire context remain an enigma. So I proceed and grow swiftly enraptured by my occupation, losing the notion of time, which happens a lot to me.
“I think I should inspect the surroundings,” I remember Johny saying at one moment, for whom I do not worry because he knows Spanish. “I’ll be nearby, don’t fret.”
“Good,” I answer absently, turning my head half towards him.
For an undetermined period, I only hear vaguely murmured voices, shouts now and then, to which I do not attribute a usual cause, assuming they are just the sounds of a bunch of people talking vividly, nothing to be bothered about, but the high-pitched, girlish giggles stir too much my curiosity, and I find it impossible not to glance again, the noises coming from my back, to where I turn hesitantly, mumbling, “What the heck is going on? I cannot focus!”, and notice with pleasant surprise that the lady from early on is in the centre of a cheerful discussion, surrounded by other two women who apparently are her friends or at least close acquaintances, to whom she is speaking using theatrical gestures. This is how I discover the owner of the voice that troubled me. But I have to behave like a wise, faithful painter and so I examine again my piece of paper, ignoring staunchly the distractions.
The next thing I know is that someone is nearby and tries to have a word with me. Not a pleasant word, I assume, when he enters in my line of sight, tall, wearing a police uniform. His tone is rather harsh, but not vehement, nor malevolent. “No parle Espanol. Ingles, ingles. Abla ingles?” I say peacefully in broken Spanish, waving the hands, after I stay up to face him respectfully, persuaded that a scuffle isn’t an option. He makes a little pause, the face confused, then his expression changes and conveys understanding, I am guessing, and he does not talk but just stares at me, probably trying to update all his English vocabulary. Not after long, he seems ready to communicate, yet Johny, who's fluent in the language of El Greco, comes back and they engage in a conversation, by the end of which, as I was to be informed a little bit later, he would explain to the policeman, who did not like seeing us lingering there too long because loafers aren’t allowed to sleep at night in the bus station, that we are simply lost travellers, not homeless people. In the end, my friend did not convince him, unable to provide any ticket proving that we are to take a bus parting from the station nearby and because my pants are still dirty, even though I’ve made some attempts to clean them, yet they are in a deplorable shape, not gonna lie.
“Can you imagine that, buddy?” says Johny. We are alone now, but we’ve been warned to leave the area in a few hours. He is angry.
“Luckily,” he says mysteriously, more calmly, “I think I know how to get us out of the pickle. It would be great if we found someone to sell some food and coffee. We might gather a little bit of money for a ride to the centre of the country. And visit Ciudad de Mexico.”
“I hope that will work.” I pat his shoulder. In the direction from which he just returned, I notice that the red-haired girl is staying there accompanied by other two, one brunette and another blonde, who are slightly shorter. “Maybe we should try with them?” I say, pointing in their direction.
“I don’t know. I did not want to interrupt them earlier, they were having a very loud conversation. Perhaps we should give it a go.”
“They are the only one left, right? We have no one else to help us.” He gives me a smile in guise of an answer and I return it, covering my mouth with one hand and coughing. Johny has to do all the talking, unfortunately, and I have to resist the temptation of observing intently the woman who caught my attention earlier, whose name is Isabel, as I'll found out when we'll be introduced. The conversation is a show of gestures and mostly incomprehensive sounds, so it seems reasonable to look around now and then. Soon, I notice that the same police officer is ambling around, although far away, and I feel that it would be wise to share that with my friend.
“The policeman is coming back,” I say, worried, but also uneasy for interrupting their conversation, especially that Isabel pays more heed to my words than she should.
“That sucks. We must hurry up.”
“What sucks?” asks Isabel laughing.
“We didn’t know that you speak English.” Johny is embarrassed. “It would have been more pleasant to chat with you if the two of us were involved.” He gestures towards me.
“Well, you didn’t ask, so...Not to boast, but I know English very well. But Juana and Margarita are not so familiar with it.”
“Yes,” mumbles Juana shily and with a strong accent, “we are not so smart as she is, but we are mucho...very happy to meet you.”
“Very happy,” confirms Margarita, giggling.
“We also are pleased to meet you,” I say.
“Your friend here made us a very peculiar offer,” Isabel begins, her glowing eyes meeting mines for the first time, her tone more serious and formal now, having to stop amidst her sentence because a powerful gust of evening air messes around with her gorgeous hair, covering her face almost completely, making me wonder why isn’t she, like my baby Diane, tying it in a bun or knot. “Why would you like to sell your food and all that stuff?”
“Because we have to sleep somewhere, then go to...”
“Yes, he told me that. But how did you end up in this situation in the first place? I mean, you should have kept some money for a hotel or something. Or am I wrong?” Hell no, she is right, but we are not able to blow away our cover, even if I might be tempted to do so, because I like her naive, candid look which she tries to hide, I suppose, by being logical and cold, showing triumphantly the gaps in our alegged actions, of which we are totally aware. Searching for an explanation, I turn my head towards Juana and Margarita, who, probably not understanding all that we say, have a radiant expression on their relaxed faces. An awkward silence follows, during which I hear the steps of the policeman in the distance, yet I still want to be sure that he has still a long way to reach our small group, so I imperceptibly twitch my head so as to catch him in my peripheral vision. He is not rushing, yet heading in our direction, that is plain.
“Are you criminals? Why are you afraid of the policeman?” I am not sure if she really means it, but her tone is a little bit suspicious, sadly. It is strange, but such lack of confidence is discouraging, and so I try to satisfy her curiosity.
“Bums cannot spend the night here, Brad. It is against the rules. Although I am surprised why...Anyways, I do not get how you wound up in such a pickle.”
“Well, we had money, but we lost them. I and Johny are on a trip, we are trying to discover Mexico in the old way, almost like wayfarers. We intend to visit a few cities, Manuel Benavides and Tijuana, for example. Only then we are to come back to Los Angeles. However, our schedule is strict, so we are to make it within five days.” Lying isn’t so hard after all, is it? Thank God I came up with something, as fabulous as that sounded.
“Why is the time of such importance? What is the meaning of it?” This woman is intelligent, I must grant her that at least. Too skinny for my taste, yet...
“Well, I lied when I said that we were on a trip,” I begin, hesitant. She raises an eyebrow. “I did not lie but the truth is that we are in a challenge.” Johny stares at me bedazzled, puts his arm on my shoulder in an attempt to stop my apparent confession. “Trust me on this one, Johny. As I was saying, we are in a sort of contest. You see, I am a painter-“
“Aha!” she interrupts me derisively, still quite in disbelief.
“Yes,” I continue unperturbed my charade, “I am a painter.” At least here I am spilling out facts, which makes the whole thing easier. “I made a bet with a peculiar art dealer who promised a large reward if I were to visit certain places in Mexico and make some paintings inspired by the voyage. The problem is...”
“The problem is?” The lilt of her voice is warmer than before. Is it a sign that her heart is on the verge of melting? Too early to say but I have to try at least.
“The problem is that we do not have any money,” I utter, trying to be as serious and emotional as I can, noticing how they are listening carefully, stirred by the sadness of my voice.
“You got robbed.” Isabel seems impressed by my story.
“No...I am ashamed to say this, but we didn’t have the money in the first place. We have to make it only with a few supplies, food and whisky.”
“How cruel. But why would you agree to put your life at risk? It doesn’t make sense.”
“I am an artist who struggles to make a name for himself. My paintings could be included in an exposition. And the remuneration is considerable. 100k.”
“I have no idea what to think anymore. Why should I believe you? Perhaps you just invented these things about paintings and all that.”
“Could you at least prove that you are a painter?”
“Sure. Here, look,” I say, relieved, fumbling in my bag to fetch the piece of work, still in an incipient state, at which she squints for a while, curiously, and I distinguish proudly a certain glimmer of appreciation in her dreamy, languishing gaze, about which I would probably boast, though not now because I am slightly abashed about my shameless streak of disingenuity, so instead I just contemplate her thoroughly. She has adopted a peculiar pose, intending to turn towards the source of light, leaning forward to it with the upper part of the body, whereas the legs keep their place, just as if not wanting to participate in the whole movement, opposing it without breaking the continuity of the movement, only the heel leaving the earth now and then so as not to lose balance, reminding me of a ballerina or a Disney princess. Diane wouldn’t have taken such a long time to allow herself to be utterly absorbed by an image, I am sure of that, yet she has an unbelievable vivacity which I am drawn to inescapably. “What do you think, Isabel?”
“I like it.” Her friends are also interested in my drawing, which they study for a while, politely.
“Could you help us?” I inquire impatiently.
“Let me think a little bit, will you?” She is slightly irritated, but only on the surface, I am guessing, and regains her calmness in a jiffy, crossing the arms across the chest. The policeman is near and he urges us to leave, gesticulating courteously, but with conviction. “Officer, the gentlemen are leaving now. C’mon guys, I will perhaps put you out of your misery.”
We march silently for a while. Isabel says, “The whole thing seems still strange, but artists are weirdos. I am a weirdo myself, I must confess.” She blushes and her tone is more amiable than before. “But who am I to judge? I'm interested in art. I am a choreographer, by the way. My field of expertise is more down to earth, of course..”
“It is still art,” Johny chimes in.
“Yeah,” I encourage her.
She laughs loudly, for the first time since we’ve met, then continues, her eyes glowing with mischief, “You guys are very funny, I must tell you that. Perhaps we might help you. I and a couple more of my friends are making a trip by boat to Pasadena. There is a lot of parties out there. We might make a detour to Los Angeles, we don't care about the trajectory, the boat is fast. If you insist on visiting those places in Mexico, we might come with you, if possible, or wait, if necessary.” We keep moving and are beneath a city bulb near the initial station from where we arrived to the biggest one. She scrutinizes me for the last time, squinting, amused, whilst Juana and Margarita are talking with my buddy.
"By the way, did you know that I am an ingeneer? I might be useful. You never know what could happen.” It appears that Johny’s obliged words are appreciated by the other two girls, who laugh and utter something.
“Good. Now take this money. It will permit you to stay at the motel where we have already booked two places, but I’m sure there’s room available, Hidalgo isn’t a crowded city. Tomorrow we’ll begin our journey.”
“Excellent. Shall we make the trade?”
“That can wait, Brad.”
Later, when we are about to go to sleep, after wishing good night to each over, Isabel takes gently my forearm and whispers in a maternal tone, “And do not forget to clean your pants. That cannot wait.”
After five unforgettable days, we arrive in time in Los Angeles, and I receive my cash, which makes my wedding possible. I’ve made a lot of beautiful paintings during the trip, but why is it that I am not satisfied?
God exists because it is impossible to believe how else life could have appeared on this planet. There has to be a God to create this Universe, and the fact that life has emerged on earth, even though it is very unlikely, is proof of that.
So all our existence has a meaning, even if it is ungraspable.
The Bible states that we are the result of a divine influence. Those who think that the Holy Book is written by men to justify their made-up beliefs do not take into account that, amongst other surprising facts, the Book incorporates some very accurate predictions.
Snap out of it
I think society is exaggerating the role of mates. We are taught that everyone should have one and, if the person isn’t already with you, it is simply because the moment is not fit and, eventually, you are finding each over and remain together. Of course, there is some truth in that, but not totally. The reality is, in my mind, that no one is made for you, as one might naively presume judging by the constructs generated by the media or by various forms of art or knowledge, and that there is a spectrum of persons among whom you might find the one with whom you can get along, but that does not mean that the person is the one and only, the other options being excluded.
This way of perceiving things not only limits the possibilities but also creates a great deal of discomfort and anxiety, for one is always stressed, waiting for their love, who usually is coming late. Also, when the two finally begin a relationship, the fear of not losing each over can reach paranoic proportions, which is but detrimental for the mental health of both.
That’s not to say that there are certain people with whom the connection, both physical and spiritual, is stronger than others, which does not imply, however, that it is a unique occurrence and that there is necessarily someone to whom you are destined or vice versa. The belief that there is a soul mate is an illusion constructed by society to, mostly, keep you hooked with someone, even if the circumstances are unpleasant in the long run.
On the other hand, friendship exists, and I would suggest cherishing it, although not in an idealistic fashion.