Sunday, July 8, 2007

Chapter 28 : Pretty girls make graves

There are moments in this life that are absolutely unique, and chance plays such an important part in them, for it is up to chance, in a way, that we are ourselves in turn able to witness or even experience those moments.
Note about me :
Ever since I was very small that one of my greatest qualities is that I am very, very observant (Something, I am told, that comes from my astrological sign – Leo –. But I’d rather think it’s because I just like to see the way people interact with each other.), and that very same quality had imbued me with an uncanny power of deduction, regarding the motivations of others.
Bear with me now, all this has a purpose.

As a child, one of my neighbours was a Japanese man that had come here a few years after World War Two.
He had come here in order to leave behind the life he didn’t have after the war had taken all his family, to find some sort of inner peace that he couldn’t find anywhere else, and finally after having roamed half of the world, he settled here in Lisbon, and lived out the rest of his years alone.
He was known as a courteous but somewhat distant man, and that distance earned him, in the finest traditions of scorn and hear say, and in the minds of the very old and the very young, the distinct honour of being seen as some sort of bogey man, and his house something to be dreaded, his existence reduced to a threat parents made to their children.
“You’d better behave, or the crazy Chinaman will come and eat you”, they would say.
Uematsu, he was called. Mr Uematsu. And he was Japanese, not Chinese.
So one day, when I was younger, so much younger than today, for no reason that memory will still serve right, I decided to go inside his house.
Oh, it wasn’t that difficult; after all we lived on the same floor, and the back of our building was ample enough so that the surrounding buildings to the left and to the right of ours, made a small courtyard where I would play as a child.
And, out of habit, he always left his door unlocked.
I kept my ear glued to the door, waiting for him to go out to go shopping, or to go walk his enormous Rottweiler, named Daigoro, as docile as he was fat.
And he was very fat indeed, to this day I cannot fathom how the poor animal managed to just walk.

I came in by the backdoor, and lost myself in that small world that was his home : a tiny Shinto shrine in one corner, books upon books upon books (Haga Kure, Mishima, Musashi, Bushido, and so many, many others), that sweet fragrance that smelled like… I don’t know, even after all these years words still elude me, but it smelled like green, like trees, like freshness, like nature, like life!, and above all, I stood contemplating that beautiful, ancestral sword he had… my God, I fell in love with it the minute I saw it for the first time… and I so lost myself in quiet contemplation that I didn’t notice him coming back.
He asked me in the most perfect Portuguese if I liked the sword.
I jumped in alarm, mumbled a few apologies, tried to run away, quickly, desperately, but he was so much faster than me… and, when I was expecting maybe a clout on the ear, or worse, to be dragged home by an ear, e told me to sit down, took down the sword from the wall and placed it in my hands.
He left the room, went to the kitchen and fixed me some tea (What tea, what tea!), and when he got back he told me the sword’s story; how it had come to his family, and been in their possession for countless generations. As he had no family of his own left, he sought someone worthy of her.
We spent hours, days, weeks talking, and became the best of friends. The fact that I was an only child, coupled with me not being such a sociable child at that, plus the fact that my parents professional lives was quite an active one, meant that every moment we spent together was one to be cherished.
And he taught me so much… the stories he told me about the war chilled my very bones. He had survived Hiroshima by a matter of days, and after that, he told me, life had lost meaning.
‘Brutality is something that only the weak succumb to’, he said, ‘and I became weak… for a long, long time. There is no greater crime than taking another’s life, and every single day I get down on my knees and pray for forgiveness for all the atrocities I committed.’
He had been a soldier in the army, and he left with deep scars, at every possible level bruises that won’t heal.
And so in war, he found peace. In death, he learned the value of life. In ignorance, the doors of perception were cleansed for him, and everything appeared to him as it is : infinite.

He told me that once, while he roamed this world in search of knowledge, he met a very odd character, someone who to his dying day he could not clearly describe, for as the sun fell down on him, another aspect of this being was revealed to him.
He came first as a tall and tanned, long haired man, bleeding profusely from various wounds, and when he came closer to him to see if he needed help, the man had given place to another huge, fat, completely bald, with an oriental look to him, and sat down by the road eating a bunch of grapes.
‘Traveller’, the fat man said, ‘ I will teach you the secrets of the universe. They are neither many nor deep, but it will be in your hands and in your hands alone, what to do with this knowledge I will presently impart.’
‘Ask no questions. Say or question nothing. This may not be happening at all, but maybe this has already happened before, or may yet come to be. This is just your imagination. After all, reality is a state of mind.’
The fat man leaned further back, ate some more grapes, the said, ‘Patterns. Everything and everyone obeys to pre-determined patterns : continuous, perpetual, repetitive; a line. The line becomes a circle. Deduce those patterns, and eternity will bare her secrets for you.’
The sun shined with terrible intensity, and when he looked again, before him stood a woman, tall, dark skinned, of terrible beauty and many armed who said, ‘Understand, little insect. Everything in important, and nothing is important. But some things are more important than others, and others till are of so little importance that should they fail to be, or happen, our universe would not exist. It’s important that you always know where you are, because the right person, at the right time, in the right place, can indeed make a difference… and usher us into a new age, one of reason and of peace, even if by so doing we must fight the most heinous of wars.’
A cloud obscured the sun, and brought with it a few drops of rain. It was very hot, and that warm summer rain that fell felt refreshing on his tired body. He closed his eyes for a few seconds, to better appreciate that moment of tranquillity.
A small rainbow let itself be noted from between the trees, and the rain fell in cascades from the leaves.
‘It’s beautiful’, a voice said, and when he opened his eyes he saw before him a little boy; and this little boy became the long haired man once more, but devoid of wounds, and he appeared to be peace and quiet personified.
‘Along with sunsets, it’s what I most love, rain… to feel the scent of the wet earth, to feel all this life… you were right, Father.’
The man looked at him and dais, ‘All you heard is true, but not the truth, just a truth. The only truth is love. Love, and love all, for all of creation loves you in return. I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.’

He woke up the next day on the same road where all this has occurred, not knowing if he had had the strangest dream. But something deep inside told him that what had happened had been real, what he had witnessed he knew it to be true; though it may not have happened then, or there, or to him.
Now, all this I’ve just said still holds a purpose, believe me, and that purpose isn’t about telling all about Mr. Uematsu’s life, or how he died alone… it’s just to make you better understand that I am someone who really learns a great deal from the people I know, and I’ve always known a lot of people.
Networking, it’s called, and I do it really well. I have people skills, I guess.
I don’t want to sound too full of myself or arrogant, but I think I am someone who is very patient, charitable, kind… I know how to listen to other people, and I know what words to say, and when people are close to me, then I am exceptionally loyal, a true friend, and I will give all my love selflessly.
Which also means that, if I learn a lot from people, then I must make sure that use that knowledge wisely, be it in my personal or professional life.
Oh yeah, another good thing to know about me is that I did ballet until I was fifteen.
And what does this have to do with anything? Oh, not much… only that this means that I am quite nimble, light on my feet, silent… almost inaudible.
And this virtue of mine, furthered by serendipity, allows me to witness an unforgettable moment.
I tell you, you’ll never forget this one, because I’m going to take photos. And how great is it that I have one of those cameras that make no sound at all?

You didn’t even notice it. Bwa-ha-ha, I laugh, a tad on the evil side. Time to make myself noticed.
“So!”, I say with an innocent smile, while I looked at you, naked as the day you were born, lying on the bed.
“What’s this? Playing ‘pocket billiards’, are we?”
Love, I swear you’d have seen the look on your face, you’d die laughing.

Good for me, I’m fast.
“Am I not enough for you?”, I teased perniciously, savouring your confusion, to make you suffer a bit.
“No!”, you answered, embarrassed. “I mean, yes! Hum…”
“This is, er, this is not what it looks like…”
“Baby”, I said, taking great delight in the words that I was going to say next, “It seemed to me as if you were manually tuning some musical instrument that requires blowing… surely I’m not mistaken?”
“Er…no! Ah… that is, I was just, huh…”
I nodded my head this way and that lightly, took my index finger to my lips to shut you up, then said, “Honey… really… tsc, tsc… we’ve been together for how long now? Three years?”
“Sounds like you still have no idea of what I’m capable of… and you would betray me with so many? And all from the same family?”
It broke my heart to see you suffer so, but it would be just for a few seconds more.
“Hum. Same family?”, you asked doubtfully, a small bead of sweat forming on your forehead.
“Why, yes, silly! Mrs. Palmer and her five daughters!”
“Don’t tell me that you prefer them”, I said, taking off my coat, revealing my nurse’s uniform that was neither short, tight, revealing or made with vinyl, but that for some reason men always have that fantasy, “to this”, I continued, taking it off.
Sometimes I think that you’ll never know just how lucky you are.
That excitement that seemed to have disappeared so quickly when you saw me staring at you, seemed to be wanting to come back, a bit reluctantly at first, but soon your brain stopped being in charge of the situation, and taking advantage of this situation, I got on top of you before you could even react.
You came inside me real slow, but deep and hard… Then it was fast, me and you, like racing horses, so good, so wild, so intense…

We lay looking at the ceiling, your hand in mine.
“Is it me, or the cracks in the ceiling are almost four hundred, now?”, you asked.
“How should I know’”, I replied. “Why? Do you count them? Don’t answer, I’m only joking!”´
“so… how was your day?”, I asked, massaging my aching womb.
“Pfff… not bad. Normal, I guess.”
“Just like any other day, I suppose. There’s no great magic or science to what I do… I just spend my days taking orders from idiots, and ordering stuff for others… It’s all terribly dull, but they pay ok and on time, and no one bothers me much.”, you concluded.
And that was all you wanted, right, Jon? That was all you asked for.
After all that you had been through, having someone like me must be wonderful.
Just like having you in my life is.
“How about yours?”, you asked.
“Yeah, normal too. Surrounded by people either very ill or dying, and very old men that now and then like to feel my butt.”
“What?”, you said angrily.
I kissed you, then said, “Relax, love. I only said that to see how you’d react. I was just kidding with you! I see you still like me, though…”
“Like you? I love you, Natalie!” , you said, and it seemed to me that there was a certain hurt to your voice. Strange.
“And I love you, Jon Snow”, I smiled, and you smiled for me, too.

“Oh yeah!, I got to tell you something!”, I enthused. “Today I had to go to the ward where the people who have lung cancer are, I had to talk to one of the guys who’s going to be responsible for that internship I’m going to be doing, and I saw that one of the people there was this old friend of my mother’s.”
“Truth is, I never did like that guy much, since I was small it seems as if the guy wanted to touch me, and once when I was maybe fourteen, and because my mother insisted, I sat down on his lap, and the bastard either had a gun in his pocket, or he was very, very happy to see me, if you catch my drift… So, anything bad that comes his way is jus divine justice, as I see it.”
“I hadn’t heard anything about him these past few years, until one day I overheard my mother saying something to someone about his health. Actually, now that I think about it, she may have mentioned it before, but mothers, right? Who listens to them?”
“Anyway, so today I was just passing by, and as I was about to leave, the bastard notices me, and calls me. I tried to dodge him, but he’s sneaky as hell, that guy is… I know this is just evil, and I will burn in hell for this, but when I saw him I just burst into this huge grin, I could barely contain my laughter… not because I was exceptionally happy for seeing the guy suffer, but because he was hooked to one of those machines that help you breathe, and he sounded like Darth Vader breathing.”
I breathed Vader style for a few seconds, and you laughed so much… whether due to my poor imitation, or to the other’s misery, you laughed.
I would give anything so that you may laugh always, my love. Anything.
“Oh! Oh! And when he speaks, he sounds like Stephen Hawking!”
If at all possible, you laughed even more, and I laughed with you. When the laughter died, I got a bit more serious, and sadder, too.
“We must make the best of this weekend”; I said. “I’ll be leaving Monday, and I’ll only be back in three weeks.”
“I know…”, you said, with such sadness in your voice.
“I want you to stay so much… you’re still here, but already I miss you so.”

Oh, baby.
It will be over soon. This internship will be so good for me on a professional level… And it really is one of those once in a lifetime chances. I’m so glad you understand. It doesn’t make things any easier, but it helps.
And when I’m back, all of our dreams will start to come true… should my calculations prove correct, I’ll have a huge surprise for you when I get back.
“So do I, sweet little boy. So do I. But let’s not think about that right now, ok?”
“Tell me, do we have plans for tonight?”, I asked.
“Sounds good”, I agreed. “But what?”
“Well, the new Peter Jackson is out, I’ve seen the trailer, and it looks so awesome that…”
I gave you my patented milk curdling look, one that contained the promise of absolutely no sex for the rest of your life.
“… or we could go and see that re-run of Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’, it’s in a theatre nearby, I know you like that one”, you managed to say.
That one won you the right foe another one later on, when we get back.
“Lovely”, I said. “Do you know what time it starts?”
“Nope”, you admitted, “but I’ll check on the net, just give me a minute or so.”
I went to the toilet to rinse my face, brush my teeth. When I got back, you tell me that we can go to the one that starts at nine thirty, which was great, because that meant we had time for a shower, and would have plenty of time to get dressed.
We left early enough so that we could still grab a bite to eat; the theatre was pretty close, so no worries there.

The movie was as good as I remembered, and I left the theatre feeling good. We still went for a quick drink, then we got home.
You went to the toilet, and after about twenty minutes I started to wonder if you were having fun all by yourself again.
You came out of the toilet so deep in thought, that I thought better about saying something witty.
“I was looking myself in the mirror”, you said. “I think I’m going to cut my hair.”


“Oh, are you? You’re a real comedian, you are. Very funny, indeed. Or not.”
“Well, I don’t see anyone else smiling here, Nat.”, you said gravely-
“I think you’re crazy”, I answered. “If you do it… then I’ll shave mine off!”, I threatened.
You looked at me, your face full of doubts, and after a few seconds, you smiled shyly and said, “Don’t even dream about it.”
“Your hair is just so beautiful. It was made to be just the way it is, long, free, unfettered… It looks like pure platinum, molten, liquid and fluid on your head. Don’t even dream about it!”
I blushed, and said, “I’m glad we reached an agreement.”
You moved fast as a feline, a tiger running after his prey, and I didn’t even saw you coming at me.
You held me with one arm, kissed me, and quick as that we were in the bed again.
If before it had been quick and wild, this time was slow, slow but so perfectly in tune with our bodies, and so much more intense… I had never came so hard, and when you yourself came, a tear fell down your eye.
We turned to face each other, and we both said at the same time how we felt for one another.
You must have been so tired that you just fell asleep after that.
Jon… sometimes I’m so glad you didn’t actually know me before…
Before you, even before the other disaster, the other bastard that left me to crawl through the wreckage, I was… cold? Cruel? Mean? Insensitive? Selfish?
All too human.
And I pretended so much, so much. That I wasn’t alone. That I wasn’t afraid. That I wasn’t unhappy. That I was loved. That I would never be betrayed.
I pretended that I was respected.
But it wasn’t true. Never true. Those were just the lies I told to myself every day.
And so I pretended throughout this life, through all these years.
And so much I pretended, that I ended up believing what I was told, and what I was living.
And because I believed… inevitably, I fell.

I fell.
But there you were to pick me up, and I never, ever told you how I was before, or thanked you for all that you did for me, that smallest of gestures, never made you see how much you mean to me.
I confess, in all honesty, that though it was more me than you who sought all this out, in the beginning I didn’t know if I wanted things to happen the way they did, I had my doubts, little boy, but I fell in love with something real.
Because you were so excited, and I let myself be carried by that wonderful and magical enthusiasm, that seemed to permeate your very being, and resonated from within… and so here we are, three years later.
And if one day I should lose you, may God forgive me, but I’ll kill myself.
Because I will never meet somebody like you ever again.
I look at you, as you lay sleeping next to me, and if you only knew how much I love seeing you sleep, Jon. You do something to me… something deep inside.

Because, and truth be told, you make me want to be a better person. There’s just something about you, my love. Something that gives me an endless strength, but at the same time makes so very shy, and kind.
You make me happy, happy for you, for myself, and you make me feel happy for being alive, alive just for love.
And that’s the thing, honey. You make me a whole woman. You, and only you, complete me.
And I know, my God, and I hope that you’re listening to me, that I complain a lot… there are times in my life when I can barely feel your presence in it, and so You and I sometimes don’t see eye to eye.
But for these moments, for these days and these nights you give me with him, for these deepest feelings, for him, for everything… I thank you, Lord. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Eventually, I fall asleep, naked, close to you, naked as well.

Sometime before dawn, I saw that you were up already.
“Luv”, I asked, “is everything alright?”
The smile you smiled for me seemed like the saddest smile in the world.
“Yeah. Everything’s ok. Don’t you worry about a thing.”
That’s good to hear. I smiled in satisfaction, leaned my head against the pillow, and beckoned you closer.
“Never leave me”, I begged, fear echoing in my words.
“Don’t be foolish”, you said.
I was so sleepy, and all I wanted was to sleep at your side. You sensed that I was sleepy, and closed my eyes with your fingers.
You kissed me tenderly on my face, and whispered in my ear, “Now sleep. And dream.”

And I dreamt, I dreamt that we were in the future, but not a too distant one… a few years from now? A few months? I have no idea, but not that distant, not really, and I saw myself lying in a bed, looking at you, but it couldn’t be me, I was so sick, so frail, so sad, too weak to tell you how much I loved you, and you were looking at me, fading away, slowly fading away…
Then the dream changed, or maybe it was still the same dream, but seen from another perspective, but I was up again, I was strong again, talking to you, but… where are you? You’re no t here… this dream seemed further ahead in time, and I was in a graveyard… talking… to you? Looking at your grave, and it was so, so cold, it was winter that g«had come, and I was there, knowing that you were dead no no no no no no noooooo…
I woke up.

And I was right next to you, and you were alive, so alive.
I kissed you so much, and just hugged you fiercely. “Hey”, you said tenderly, “Don’t you worry, I’m not going anywhere!”, you continued.
“I’ll still be here tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, and forever.”
“You promise?”, I asked?
“Promise. Have I ever failed you on a promise?”
We got up soon after that, and pondered briefly about what we might do. You suggested that we go for a walk, and I agreed in a very good mood. “But it’s up to you to decide where we’re going”, you said, while we had a very late breakfast.
We spent the day in Sintra; the ancient mountain imposing and mysterious in the background.
Rain fell in tiny drops, dripping from trees. All around us echoed with life; butterflies flew lazily, birds sang merrily in the perches high above, cats looked sneakily at us from under the cars… glorious and radiant life!
We didn’t have lunch, we weren’t that hungry, and we agreed on eating something later.
“Around nine, nine thirty we should be at Jamie’s house, he’s having that happening of his.”
“Do we?”, I asked.
“We don’t, but I’d really like to go. I think it would do us some good to see those guys again.”
“Besides, Sandor will be there, and I’d like to talk to him. I worry about him…”
“Yeah, he’s changed a lot”, I said. “Sometimes I hardly recognize him at all.”
“Yes”, you agreed “And he changed for the better. He’s almost the way I knew, all those years ago.”

And it was true. I had met William the same time I met you, and I found him to be an arrogant and unbearable idiot.
But today… today he’s someone who does nothing wrong, polite, civilized, courteous.
And this I know to be, because you told me so, due in part to a talk you and him had once.
My good, good man… your heart is enormous, and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
“But tell you what, I promise we’ll not linger there for too long, ok? We’ll come back early, and spend what little time we have together whispering sweet nothings to each other. Sounds good?”
Of course it does, love. And my smile said it for me.

“Jamie”, you said, clearly happy to see it your friend, “long time no see!”
“Too long, my man, too long”, he answered, with a vigorous handshake. “Natalie”, he said, “Give us a kiss, then.”
“Sandor”, you asked, “Is he here already?”
“Yep”, he admitted, “And boy, is he been drinking a lot or what? Too bad he only drinks water. He just went to the toilet. Ah, speak of the devil, there he is.”
I left you guys to talk, and got something for me to drink. Vodka and lemon? And why not?
While I fixed it, the most disgusting guy in the world decides to make a pass at me.

“So, Will, how are things going for you?”, Jon asked.
“Ah, you know how it goes… one day at a time”, he replied, taking a sip from his water.
“Huh-huh. And Marcia? How are things between you guys?”, Jon asked, while he watched intently some guy trying to pick up on his girlfriend.
“I don’t know. We had this talk like two weeks ago, and I told her everything, I told hear all those things that I’ve done, so now she knows what kind of person I was”, Sandor explained.
He looked at Jon and said, “Are you even listening to what I’m saying?”. Jon took his eyes from the sad spectacle the other creature was providing, and answered, “Hmm?, Yes, of course. Sorry. I was just paying attention to that guy that’s with Natalie.”

And the worst part is, instead on just saying ‘no’, I led the guy on.
God knows why, but I let him go on and on, and now the guy won’t shut up, and don’t even ask me how or why, but we ended up talking about sex…

“It’s up to her now, I suppose”, Sandor said, again getting the feeling that he was being perfectly ignored.
“Have you listened to the trash this animal’s talking?”, Jon said, gripping his glass tightly.
“Doesn’t he remind you of anyone, Jon?”
“Who?”, Jon asked. He thought for a few seconds, then answered, “Oh. No, no. You were nothing like this.”
“But who is this guy anyway?”, Jon enquired.
“A friend of Jamie’s”, he admitted. “Goes by the name of Gonçalo, I believe.”

And then I said, “No, wait a minute, in any given sexual relationship, and if it should happen, oral sex is a matter of quid pro quo. And by this, let it be understood with all proper reservations, that what I mean is ‘I go down on you, you go down on me’.”
And the guy just laughed in my face! The nerve!
He smiled a cynical smile, sure of himself, and said, “No, my dear. Nuh-uh. Wrong. You got it all wrong.”, he said, drinking the rest of his beer in two long gulps.
“You see, the sine qua non condition for oral sex is, you go down on me, and I’ll maybe go down on you. If I feel like it.”
Oh boy. This will end in tears. Do I know you from anywhere, you filthy pig?
Fuck, but just being in the presence of this guy makes me feel dirty…

“Sandor, man, I’ll be right back, yeah?”, Jon said, making his way to Natalie.
“Jon”, Sandor said slowly, putting one hand on his friends shoulder, gently, but applying some pressure “The same way you did this for me, now I do it for you. Stay cool. That guy has no idea of what he’s doing, or saying. Just look at him, he’s completely drunk. When you’re like that it’s very, very hard to remember the meaning of words like integrity or honesty. Remember that. Remember me, and hoe I was. But do not forget yourself, Snow. He’s not worth it”; he advised.
Jon looked at Sandor, a fierce, fierce pride in his eyes, and replied, “No worries, Will.”

“Love”, you said, “Who’s your new friend?”, you asked jovially.
The idiot’s face contorted so much, that I would have sold my soul to be able to capture it in a picture for all to see.
As quickly as he appeared, he was gone; no doubt helped by your presence.
“My knight in shining armour”, I said, kissing you generously.
I sensed that you were somewhat mad, and I led you to Jaime’s kitchen, where we could have a bit more privacy. “That fucking weasel”, you said, your voice full of rage. “Who the hell does he think he is?”, you said, your voice low, hissing like a snake. You thumped your hand loudly against the wall, and if left a considerable dent.
“Well, I know who he is not”, I told you, “he’s not what you are, not even half of a third of the man you are. He’s not my boyfriend. He’s not the man I love.”
That managed to quiet you down a bit. I guess I never saw you this way, and I confess a part of me was a bit frightened.
It seems that even you sometimes feel the darkness…
We lingered in the kitchen for nearly an hour, drank a few more drinks, until we were interrupted by an inhuman sound, the sound of the world coming to an end.

We went to the living room, and saw that everyone was gathered around a corner, watching something intently with a mix of curiosity and terror.
When we got closer, we saw that it was the other cretin who was lying on the floor with his bulging stomach turned upwards, and who was clutching the family jewels, probably afraid that they might flee from him, snoring loudly, as if there was no tomorrow.
Even in that respect he resembled a pig. Jaime tried to plug his nose, but instead of the noise dying down, it just went away for a while, and brought along a few of his friends.
We saw it as our opportunity to say goodbye, and Sandor left with us.
Down on the street, we made our farewells. “Sandor, man, let me know how things pan out, yeah?”, you said, hugging heartily, and I don’t know why, but I felt jealous.
Maybe he even noticed it, because he replied coldly, turning slightly his eyes to mine, equally warm, and said, “Right, Snow. Natalie”, he said, with a curt nod.
I replied the same way, “Sandor.”

The trip back home was quick, there wasn’t much traffic, considering that it was a Saturday night, and what traffic there was, it was thankfully in the opposite direction.
The cabbie looked glum, and my considerable experience of riding cabs in this city tells me that he is so because Benfica lost this weekend.
Once home, we felt too tired to do anything else, looked at each other, looked longingly at our bed, and I think we were asleep before we even hit it.

It is truly alarming to think how fast Sunday just flew by. The hours seemed to be as seconds, and before we knew it, eleven o’clock had come.
I know I’ll only be away for three weeks, love, three long weeks, but I swear, each and every one of them will seem like an eternity.
You helped me finish all the packing that was left, and after you put them in the hallway with the rest of the luggage, you asked me, “Natalie? Why do you like me? What is it that you see in me?”
I was perplexed, and replied, “What do you mean?”
“Just like I said.” Where did that ice in your voice dome from, Jon?
“Why do you like me? What is it that you see in me?”

“Because I don’t know why. I can’t imagine the reason why. And what you see in me, I will never know.”
“Look at me”, you said. “it’s not that I’m ugly, but I’m sure as hell not the prettiest guy around. Just look at my body… I’m starting to look like the Michelin man…”
“I guess I’m ok in bed, sure, but I’m not a porn star, or anything… and look at the stuff I like…. It’s stupid, just stupid stuff. I like comics, and videogames, and the movies I like have to have lots of special effects… I can’t be bothered to watch a movie that requires a great deal of thinking… I feel old.”
“I’m just not interesting, I don’t have a fancy degree like you do… I’m a simple person, Natalie. Just another regular guy.”

“Now look at you”,
“You are beautiful. And when I tell you you’re beautiful, I say it I the same way I would say that a Klimt painting is beautiful. Unique. Amazing.”
“You are, all of you, a masterpiece, Nat. you have an amazing body. Ninety-nine percent of the feminine population would gladly kill their relatives, and cut their firstborn in half, as in some perverted song of Solomon, just to have a body like yours… and you hair, Nat, is one of nature’s true beauties.”
“You help save people, day in, day out, every single day, time and time again…”
“You had that something that has always eluded me, that fortitude of heart and mind, that will to triumph, to want to be more, more than this, to take a course and further your own knowledge.”
“You are, no doubt whatsoever, the most intelligent woman I’ve ever known, and I can’t even imagine how, but you still find the time to read as disparate as Shelley, Comte or Vonnegut.”
You stopped, suddenly, and began to cry, just like a child.
“Stop, Jon”, I said, “you’re scaring me with all this.”
“Natalie… when we’re together on the street”, you said, amid all those tears, “Everyone looks at you, and everyone looks at me, and their eyes tell me that I’m not worthy of you.”
“Stop it, Jon, please!”
“No, it’s the truth. You deserve someone who… who’s got like a model’s body, or an athlete’s… all muscles and abs. And he should be beautiful, beautiful and perfect, so that you can have perfect children together.”
“That’s what you deserve, not me. Someone much better than me.”

Oh Jon, but I had someone like that once!
Or don’t you remember anymore? Don’t you remember the state I was when he left me?
Don’t you remember the sorry state I was in, the rag I became after all that?
Is it possible that you don’t remember how you found me?
The words came out without me even thinking them, and they sounded as if spoken by somebody else, not me…
“Please, don’t say that it’s over…”

You stared at me, your face washed in tears, your face white as freshly fallen snow.
“Over?”, you asked, “But I love you, Natalie…”
“I just don’t know why you don’t like me…”
And It seemed to me then, that all your strength had ebbed from you. You fell down on my knees before me.
I kneeled in front of you, hugged you tight, and said,
“Because you are the first and last thing I think about every day, Jon Snow. You are all I long for, all I worship and adore. You are all I dream of being, and having.”
“Because you are the single greatest human being I’ve ever known. You have a heart of gold, and you give me all you have, and all you are.”
“Because you’re my best friend. The best lover I ever had. You are the one for me, my choice to live my life extended. The one who will father my children.”
“Because I love you, Jon, more than my very life. Because of all this that I just told you, and this is the smallest fraction of how I truly feel for you, and of what you mean to me.”
“Without you I’m nothing.”
“Shhh… not one more word.”
“Not one more word, Jon. Because I’m not letting you go. I will not lose you!”
“This conversation’s over, Jon.”, I said, smiling. I had taken control of the situation, and now nothing can take you away from me.
“This conversation is over”, I repeated. Then I said, “You will be the death of me, my love”.
I held you by your hands, and took you to bed.

For the first time in a long time, we made love; not sex, not fucking, but we made love, as perhaps we never done it before.
You were weak, spent, and so was I.
It was good, but somehow it felt more like a duty than anything else : for the first time since we’ve been together, I did not come.

Morning came, all too soon, and we left together bound to the Airport.
We left in silence, and in silence was our trip.
But we were always close to each other, always holding our hands.

It’s time to say goodbye, my love, but I’ll be back soon. I’ll be back.
“Jon… about last night…well, in three weeks time I’ll be back, ok? And then we’ll talk some more?”
You smiled, beaming with confidence, and said,
“In three weeks time there will be no more reasons for you to worry about anything. Everything will flow, you’ll see.”
I’m glad, my love.
“Will you wait for me?”, I asked.
“Forever”, you answered.
“I love you, Jon. Never forget that.”
“And I love you, Natalie.”

We kissed, we held each other, we laughed, we cried, and then we said goodbye.

"Now I'm trying to wake you up
To pull you from the liquid sky
Because if I don't we'll both end up
With just your songs to say goodbye..."

Placebo, Song to say goodbye


Ad Astra said...

Oh wow, this one was a bitch to write.
But i'm gald i got it out of my system.
Now i've only got two more chapters to write, the last one, and an epilogue.

So the last one will deal with Marcia and William.
If i manage to get the poll thingy up and running, i'll ask you to determine what their fate should be.

If not, well, let me know how their story should end...
So, from what you've seen of Will, does he deserve

a) a happy ending

b) or should his story end as most stories do... in tears?

Let me know!

Cris said...

First, let me say this: AMAZING and STUNNING chapter... I'm still feeling it...

Second, I don't understand why you're asking opinions about how should be the end of Will's story... The end, for me and as a reader, is the most dificult part of a book... because (for me)it has to surprise me a litle bit and has to be the power of letting me thoughtful... about all the things readden... about all the feelings awakened... It's hard to explain... Am I making any sense at all?


Hmmm... I don't know... I think that a possible end could be a mix of the two alternatives... a kind of a happy ending with tears...


Sweet kiss...

Ad Astra said...

Hey, Cris!

Do you know, you're the second person in as many days to tell me that... that i should just trust my instinct, and go with what i decide.

I know what is going to be the central theme of the chapter; it's all about redemption.
Now, whay i want to know is : do you think that Will has redeemed himself, and is himself worthy of a happy ending?

I ask this because the way this story is stuctured inside my mind, I can write it all, and just nudge it so it can go either way.
I know i have abeautiful ending for them, should i go for a happy ending.

And i also know that the unhappy ending i have in my mind will be quite powerful.

The third choice is, well, perhaps the one that i'm probably most inclined.

But now i gotta rest my head for a few days, and then i'll start writing again!