Friday, August 10, 2018

Onde Anda Você — One

Arcos da Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It was Sunday night; cold and drizzling. He left the Riachuelo Street, walked through the Lapa Arches. He was holding an empty Itaipava longneck bottle, too much of a good boy to simply dispose of it. He walked to the Joaquim Silva street, found the one open bar—a boteco really. Two men played pool in the back, silently, only the billiard balls clacking together, a random football league game rerun on a mute TV hung up high, old enough to have witnessed Pelé in his heyday. No Pelé now though, only Botafogo and Fluminense FC fighting off relegation zone earlier that week. He put a coin in the jukebox, picked Tim Maia's saddest song and chugged down cheap beer like it was water. At some point, the owner let him know the bar's closing. He grabbed another beer and ventured out in the streets again, sitting on the steps of Selarón's staircase, all the tourists long gone. There was nowhere else to go and truth was—he'd never walk up those steps anymore. 

Maybe he knew that.

Onde Anda Você — Two


São Paulo Mountain Range, Brazil 

        With the direct light on him, I prove myself once again right; Ben really is pretty cute. Handsome, even. He has a nice face structure, features that are both elegant and mature, in a way that there’s no way they were there ten years ago. There’s no beard, but I wonder if maybe there should have, just so it can add to the whole look. Then again, this is probably too formal for beards. His coffee brown eyes are framed by thick lashes I’d definitely die for and his hair is cut pretty short, which definitely suits him. He can’t be younger than thirty five, or older than forty really, but you never really know it with men.

“Who are you hiding from?” I ask as I watch him from across the table we found near the balcony. His eyes had been wandering around the crowd and they settle on me.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Three

         Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life, Mark Twain once said.

But that's a lie. That's the biggest lie ever told by a white american guy, although it likely isn't. But love doesn't pay the bills—unless you're lucky enough to have married rich. 

I'm not lucky enough.

So I took it upon me to alter the damn saying so it's a lot less hypocritical; work with something you love—and you'll never love anything ever again.

There. I said it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Four

         "Ok, I've a serious question now-" I balance the huge plastic cup in one hand. I'm sitting in one of the concrete seats at the park; Ben is sitting in his chair, positioned in front of me. I gotta look up at him, which is a nice thing—for a change. "Is your name really Bernardo Bernstein?"

He nearly chokes at his freshly pressed sugarcane juice—a local specialty. He sets down his cup right between his legs.

"Why on earth would you think that?"

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Five

          I lashed out at an intern. A goddamn intern. 

They're babies—stupid, stupid babies, but babies nonetheless. They need patience, an ocean of patience; when I turned into a proper nurse, I promised myself I wouldn't join hospital toxic culture, and lashing out is definitely not like me, but I feel like a fucking jenga tower right now. All I need is a gentle sway, the softest of breezes, to go crumbling down and ruining everyone's day.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Six

             I'm not gonna be the one to raise the white flag. The rendition flag. 

Almost an entire week goes by of radio silence between Ben and I. I do reach for my phone more than once (a day) to text him something funny or naughty or both, but I catch myself before I can send anything. I delete more messages than I can count, redacted versions of the first one—a long apology—until it's just "Can I come?". But I don't send that one either. If he doesn't wanna talk to me, then too bad. His loss.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Bonus Chapter

 I stare at the ceiling, the pain in my legs no longer a background noise. 

It'a fucking Carnaval parade. 

I want oxy.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Seven

I stare, dumbfounded.

"What is that?"

"Exactly what it looks like." He's grinning like a champ.

"Ben, you didn't."

"You bet I did."

"You ruined your car."

Friday, August 3, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Eight

People look—all the time. They glance over once then twice, until they're staring; when Ben assembles his chair next to the car, when he transfers and wheels inside. Especially, they stare while we wait in line.

"Sir." A man standing behind us taps his shoulder. Ben looks around and angles his chair a bit. "You can use the preferential line."

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Nine

      I'm not sure if I'm feeling cold or anxious, because I'm shaking. Standing there between Ben and Theo, waiting for them to draw swords and stab each other like a in a medieval sparring that looks nothing like a gentleman's duel.

As soon as Ben wheeled in, Theo stood up, and perhaps if he hadn't done that, Ben wouldn't be so goddamn pissed right now, looking up at his brother with his jaw set so tight it could pop. He's tall—they're tall, I suppose. I'd guessed that much already, judging by how long the legs of the sweatpants I so often wear to bed are, but seeing it vertically, standing there… It's nothing short of a shock.   

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Onde Anda Você — Ten


"How did you get up here?" 

Theo lifts his head. He didn't hear me coming—it's like he forgets I don't have footsteps anymore.

That thought makes me equally bitter and amused.

"The doorman..."

"Thought I magically healed my spine?"