julian

we met julian in dublin, one night. he was wet the same way stray dogs are wet when they’re lost in the rain. we took him home and he stayed with us for three days. we never left the house during those days. when I say ‘we’ I mean myself and tina. I guess we never went out because all we needed was there. we fell in love with julian. instant love. no-need-to-explain love. we spent most of the time looking at julian and trying to communicate with him in alternative ways. words didn’t work because he spoke no english. julian is (was?) from france. he was confused by the way we kept staring at him but at the same time he seemed to understand that something was going on. in other moments we danced and performed for him, something that he didn’t seem to enjoy rather than being surprised by. as if suddenly he discovered the way a person can be free. we didn’t know what happened to him before but life must have been rough with him. I think that’s why we always felt the urge to tell him that we were his friends. those with julian where strange and happy days. one night something happened, though. it was obvious that we where both sexually attracted to him, but engaging in a three-sum with tina is something I’d never be able to do. that night, julian slept with her and I slept in my room which was next to hers. that was the first and last time I felt jealousy for tina, because she was getting something I wanted. I couldn’t fall asleep because my body kept shaking at the thought of being left out. it was obvious that julian was moving his first steps into his gayness but it was still early for him to sleep with a guy. and my fear of rejection prevented me from making the first move. that’s what it was. it was just for a moment, that night, but it was intense. the strange thing is that above anything else I felt alive and I felt that I was leading the life I wanted to live. even if I couldn’t have him at least I knew what i wanted and I think, in the end, that’s what we were trying to pass on to him those days: that freedom only comes with courage, and even when you have it, you have to fight to keep it. every day of your life. since then, there have been so many times where I felt my ownness was slipping away and had to get it back, whether it took leaving the country, going out for a walk or saying fuck off. he was seeing that, through us, and he was making a decision. he seemed to be saying to us: that’s how I want to live, I understand, there is no other way. if the days with julian come up during a conversation we are always struck by how important it was meeting him, even for such a short time. mirroring us, he reinforced our decisions and made our encounter the most unforgettable exchange. when we talk about him, we always hope it’s the same for him. the thought that he removed us from his memory is saddening but also unlikely.

it’s the last morning, julian really has to go. we put him on a cab headed for I don’t remember where. I can see his long dark hair and his perfect lips behind the glass, his shy hand waving goodbye. we close the door behind us. we both have our robes on. we don’t talk about him much. we make coffee. I can’t remember what we did that day. we never saw him again.

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trains

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on a train. and it’s not good. there are two indian guys sitting in front of me and one of them is so sweaty it’s making him uncomfortable. the controller wants to see my ticket, I show it to him and fall asleep right away with the wallet open in my hand. I don’t know why I’m on this train, I wish life could be easier. I used to like trains but right now I find the whole thing exhausting. and the fact that everything I do lately seems wrong right after it’s done is not helping. dirty seats. the confused mix of colors of the landscape running fast out the window. things you try to catch with your eyes but slip away so quick. I went to the toilette and when I looked at my face in the mirror I realized I had this big smear of ketchup right under my mouth. I have fat lips. I should definitely shave and under my eyes I’m reaching darker shades of black for the lack of sleep. noise. I go back to my seat and the two indians have been replaced by a dad with his teenage daughter. the girl is telling him he looks grumpy and he has a look in his face that’s saying I really wish you’d shut up. the man is trying very hard to be nice. I want to tell him I wouldn’t mind if this train was empty too. I don’t even enjoy observing people anymore, which, so far in my life, has been my most successful activity. rail tracks running fast. parallels that never leave you. people trying to get a seat. anxious to find a safe place for their bags. fixing their make up. hypnotized by their smartphones. when I get off the train I feel dirty and think that I really need a shower. now that I’m touching the ground I’m not any less confused. trains used to take me to places, and while I was on them, I used to not care about where I was coming from and what was up next. I call a friend of mine just because I need to hear a familiar voice. I wish she’d notice that I have tears in my eyes and she’d ask me what’s wrong but on the phone my voice doesn’t sound broken enough. I hang up and don’t feel any less alone. I used to chase the temporality of a trip on a train. that state of mind where I wouldn’t worry about things and I wouldn’t worry about not being worried. now things have changed and I’ll be thirty soon and trains aren’t enough but I’m not a grown up either. for a second I wonder if all of this makes sense and then I laugh at myself for thinking that. I get on the tube and I’m so tired I can’t stop stroking my forehead. probably everyone else can see that I’ve definitely had enough public transportation for today. I realize that trains and stations and people still make me emotional, though. probably for the wrong reasons and certainly not out of a sense of stability and self fulfillment. but still emotional.

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chronicle of a dead pigeon

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it’s been on the roof of the building facing my kitchen window for over a week. it’s a dead pigeon. when I first saw it I was kind of grossed out. I don’t like dead animals but then, who does? I’ve been walking back and forth from my room to the kitchen, aimless, just waiting for the little corpse to change position. I don’t leave my apartment much lately. mainly because I don’t feel like it. scrolling down on the facebook page and staring at the pigeon have been my main activities. after a couple of days from when i first saw it, it moved a few meters on the right. and there where white puffy feathers that looked like snowflakes everywhere. a part of me found it romantic. I’ve been thinking about this guy lately. somebody I couldn’t have. i actually thought he was out of my mind, gone for good, but he was only hidden somewhere in the back of my head. I wondered how long it would take for the dead pigeon to disappear. nobody is going to remove it from the roof and it could take a couple of months before it rots away. but the wind may do the job earlier. little parts of it though, little bones, will probably resist for a while, I thought. even in a few years, little traces of its presence may still be noticed, if you look carefully. the same way somebody who really mattered never actually leaves. even if what’s left is nothing but an annoying reminder of the days you spent trying to get him out of your head. trying to feel better without being actually sick. hoping that a painkiller could resolve the problem or pressing a button would automatically erase the thought of him.

I finally went out for a run the other day and realized I didn’t pay any attention to the pigeon for almost 24 hours and rushed back home. when I saw it, the pigeon looked as if it had been turned inside out. I could only tell it was a pigeon because I knew, otherwise it would’ve been an unidentified bird. I see the guy  and realize how I’ve never been able to figure him out. I know, if I’ve been there and felt that way, there must be a reason. but right now I’m just observing a dead animal. I might as well go out and wait for the wind to do the job.

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ghost, I don’t know you anymore

it’s easy. you wake up and it’s a sunny day just like any other sunny day. you’re going to do the same things you did yesterday. more or less. wake up. make coffee. put your jeans on. a striped jumper. after all, it is a sunny day. it’s supposed to be a good thing. some people think it’s a reason to be positive. and it is. then you walk out the door and go to the tube station. you’re on a platform waiting for your train. nothing new, so far. then you hear a voice that says ‘Hey’. there. there it is. your ghost. unfortunately, you recognize him straight away. it would have been so much easier if it took you a while. but a ghost, a good ghost, is always there. ready to come out. to pop up. right. there. now, you haven’t seen this person in years. this person who came out of your life without even saying goodbye. this person you shared moments with. moments that defined who you are. you say ‘hi’ back to him. you take the train with him. you got four stops. four stops for seven years. now this person, of course, feels the need to apologize to you. ‘it was an impossible situation’, ‘i had to cut everyone off’, ‘anyone related to that part of my life’. you’re actually quiet shocked right now. but you don’t even realize it. you talk about what you’re doing. what happened to your mutual friends. what happened right after the last time you saw each other. you get off the train. you’re out of the station. the sun is still out. the sky is blue. it’s perfect. now your ghost is embarrassed because he’s not in the position to keep in touch. you’re still banned from his life. but at this stage you got that figured out. and it’s actually fine. you say, ‘I’ll wait for the next time I’ll meet you on the street’. and smile. this could be tomorrow. the next year. or never. but it doesn’t make any difference, anymore. you’re on your way now. you left your ghost behind you. for a moment you see yourself and your ghost in a car seven years ago. your ghost has passed out. the syringe still in his arm. then you’re back and the image has vanished. all you think about is the sun and the way you’re walking, really. you realize you don’t know this person anymore. he is not part of your life. hasn’t been for ages. he is not  even a ghost anymore.

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