this time i am fighting it, i am not letting myself follow that train of thoughts back to you. otherwise, it would end like it always does, and that is precisely letting myself follow that train of thoughts back to you. of course, after a yet one more ride on a roller coaster..

- what's gonna be for you today, sir?

- hmm... not pancakes, not scramble eggs..

- so?

- hold on, one second.. i'll just have the special, whatever that is.. which is?

- we're out..

- of course..

- so?

- i'll just have a big fat fresh glass of orange juice..

- sure..

by the time she comes back with my big fat fresh glass of orange juice i will be wondering how long it would take to pluck my beard one hair at a time, unless, of course, there is a slice of lemon in it.. then.. then the train again..




the incident ii

It has been a couple of weeks since the last time I wrote something on this brand new Hewlett-Packard that will soon be sold. My doctor, who I see every week at least once, was not happy about it, although she told me she would not force me to do anything. I have been busy doing nothing. I still choose WAL-MART over a full night's sleep, I still choose drinking and smoking with my father over talking to him, I still choose Jane, Bill, and Shanecca over everyone else.

I went to the water park with my friends. Bill is skinny but fit. He used to be a runner in high school. He never went to college. He hates his father, who lives with a Cuban girlfriend somewhere in Atlanta, and visits his mother's grave the first Tuesday of every month. After going to the water park I learned also that he likes speedos as much as briefs, and he hates boxers as much as board shorts.

Shanecca is fat. She is also beautiful. She could work for a plus size modeling agency and be in women's clothing catalogs. Even though she works at Wal-Mart she buys all his clothes at Target. She does not know how to swim, but she still enjoys the water park as much as children do, or so I guessed.

Jane is neither tall nor short, neither fat nor thin, neither blonde nor brunette, but she is really pretty on an average kind of way. She drives a very old car and has seventeen different lava lamps at home. After the water park we went over to her place to watch a movie and have a beer. We watched Casablanca, which is supposed to be a classic. I, personally, dislike everything from Casablanca but the ending. Although I only like it because of how it makes me feel I wish it was different. I felt sad after watching the movie. Her tiny smiling eyes again. And silence. I spaced out, and only after Bill punched me in the stomach realized that Jane had been asking me if I wanted another Guiness for almost a minute. Of course, yes.

My father read my first writing. He did not like it. Too childish, he thinks. According to him, before the incident I was able to actually draw feelings. He liked how deep I was able to reach without trying. You were a bittersweet, yet happy soul, he told me after a long silence filled with two beers and seven cigarettes. But then you fell in love with her. I do not know what he meant, and did not want to ask. I am afraid of remembering things I am not ready to, although my doctor says that is unlikely to happen. She says I might start remembering things from before the incident one piece at a time and will actually need to piece them together to make sense of them. She knows about the incident, she has told me about it. I only know because of her. What neither of us really know is what happens before.

I will try to write sooner next time. I am not feeling well today. I have described my friends better, though. I do not know if I should call them my friends, just yet. Sometimes I wish I could contact those who once thought they were my friends, they might be helpful. But then again, I don't not know if I want their help. I am afraid. I am going to the restroom now, I need to refresh my butt.


the incident i

The doctor asked me to write about it. It could be helpful, she said. The truth is, before the incident, I used to write. I used to be a fine writer, or so I was told by many people. I have tried to read my old writings, but it has not been helpful. I do not recognize them. I am sure there was a purpose behind them, I just do not know those anymore. Sometimes, when I read my writings, I cry, but I do not know why, I just do.

After the incident I moved in with my father. He lives in a mobile home at a recreational vehicle resort surrounded by a car cemetery, a fast food restaurant, a freeway, and a beach. He works at the car cemetery. We do not talk much and when we are both home we stare at each other drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. Soon after the incident I started smoking and drinking. Marlboro Reds and Guiness Draught only. Before the incident I always believed I would die either of gastric cancer, because of a chronic disease I did little to take care of, or in a bycicle accident. Nevertheless, nowadays I am inclined to believe that either liver or lung cancer will be listed as the cause of my death.

Ever since I saw "WAL-MART: The high cost of low price," I did not step into a WAL-MART again. But that was before the incident, today I do not know what I would do without them. I cannot sleep. I have not been able to get a full night's sleep since the incident. That is how I started to spend the night at a 24 hours WAL-MART across the freeway.

I have no memories of the incident other than her tiny smiling eyes. I randomly see them every now and then, but I am unable to relate that memory to any other memory, so the line of thought dies with them.

My favourite things at WAL-MART are playing Wii and bending over while still seated in the toilet seat so it flushes. I also like the silence, and the beeping of the barcode readers. As for the Wii, I am very good at ping-pong. I actually only play pin-pong. At the beginning I was not good at all, but after a few days I could play for an entire night without losing.

I have three friends at WAL-MART. I do not keep in touch with my old friends, people that used to know me before the incident. Bill, Shamecca, and Jane are all WAL-MART associates that work the night shift. Bill likes to watch me playing Wii. He has never played himself, and will not let me make him play. He just likes staring at me while I play. We do not talk much, but we enjoy spending time together. He is a divorcee and has two children somewhere living with their mother. Shamecca is really loud and talks to me about American Idol while cleaning the floor. I do not know what she is talking about most of the time, but it is still fun. She still lives with her parents, but only until she can become a singer herself. Sometimes she sings and her privileged voice fills the empty corridors of WAL-MART. She goes to karaoke every friday night. I have yet to go with her even though she invites me every week. Jane is really pretty. She also likes the beeping of the barcode readers. We have plans to make a song using them and become famous. I think she likes me. I like her too, but not the way I like those tiny smiling eyes.

I have just realized that this is not a story with an introduction, a body, and an ending. Maybe that is because I have nothing to tell. I hope this is what my doctor had in mind when she asked me to write about the incident. But this is not about the incident either, since I have no memories of it. The stories I wrote before the incident had most of them an introduction, a body, and an ending, and probably I had something to tell back then although I do not know what anymore.

Tomorrow I am meeting Jane, Bill, and Shanecca for lunch. We are going to go to the water park afterwards. Bill is behind me right now. I am writing this in one of the laptops exposed in WAL-MART. He does not like to use them either. I think it is time for me to go back home and try to sleep an hour or two before the sun rises. Before, though, I will visit the restroom once again and bend over. I will come back tomorrow, since I am not busy or anything with something else. I am never anymore. Sometimes I wish I remember what happened. But then again, I am afraid I will not like it. My life now is simple.



And then, one morning, after a quiet night's sleep, you realize there are just two kinds of travelers.
There are those who depart, and there are those who return.
The former wander around maps, the latter look for themselves in the mirror.

And then, one morning, after a quiet night's sleep, you realize life is a journey.
And you need to figure out what is that you have in front of your eyes.
Mirrors or maps?
Maps or mirrors?

And then, one morning, after a quiet night's sleep, you let go one tear and draw a bittersweet smile.

And then, one morning, after a quiet night's sleep, you wake up.

Is there someone there?



She walks to the left, restless. Looks down, worried. Sighs. Looks up, hopeful. Walks to the right, eager. "I don't know," she says.

He stays still. "What is it?"

"Oh, you know..." She kicks the floor with her left foot.

He does know.

"Don't look at me," she rubs her hands together.

They listen to the loud silence. The walls of the living room fade. They feel uncomfortably comfortable. They have been there before. It is happening again. Once again.

He rushes towards her and kisses her on the lips. He should not have. That is the tipping point.

They kiss and hug and caress and clumsily walk to her room. She closes the door. What they are stays outside. It is just herself. It is just himself. Naked. In a desert island surrounded by blues. Two merging rainbows.

When they open the door again, their paradise sinks. Layers of life that keep them away from themselves. That fade the colors. Only then, the reasoning, the rules, the logic.

"It's cold out here, isn't it?"



a rafael

Alguien me dijo en una ocasión que de personas había de tres tipos, los que no lo hacen nunca, los que lo hacen sólo una vez, y el resto.

"¿Qué hay de los que nunca se lo plantean?" Dije yo.

Cuando la conocí escondía su cabello, entonces pelirrojo, bajo una boina de lana morada. Vestía una camisa marrón a juego con su manera de mirarme y unos pantalones tejanos negros rotos por las rodillas. Su rostro no era para nada convencional y a pesar de no usar maquillaje resultaba maduro y elegante.

No había dos mesas iguales en el cineklub. No había tampoco dos sillas iguales. Me atrevería a decir que no había dos de lo mismo, sofás, sillones, taburetes, espejos, cuadros, esculturas, y un sinfín de cosas inútiles a la luz de una pretérita pantalla en la que proyectaban películas de Hitchcock, de Godard, de Allen, de Wenders, de Herzog, además de cortometrajes de directores de cine anónimos. Pero si en algo era diferente el cineklub era en que la mayoría de los que allí se reunían lo hacían por separado. Al cineklub la gente llegaba sola y se iba sola. Algunos huían, otros no.

De pequeño, además de aprender a querer ser mayor, descubrí el placer de dirigirme a un desconocido que no volvería a ver. Hay cosas que se aprenden de pequeño y se olvidan después. Eso nunca lo olvidé. De ahí que fuera incapaz de recordar un nombre, un rostro. Lo imprevisible de la interacción, ni el antes, ni el después, eso es.

Yo no iba al cineklub en busca de pasado, de futuro, yo iba en busca de lo efímero de una colección de ahoras. Así fue como la conocí, un año y dos meses después de haber comenzado a ir todos los jueves por la noche. Un año y dos meses después de haberme mudado a un dúplex en Sol.

"Te gusta Frank Capra?" Me preguntó mientras George Bailey recorría las calles de Bedford Falls.

"Me gusta Pottersville."

Era nueve años más joven que yo. Su manera de mirar, de sugerir, sus maneras todavía vírgenes. Un bálsamo. Con diecinueve años me había enamorado de una mujer de veintiocho que me abrió los ojos. Con veintiocho me enamoré de ella. Mientras caminaba solo hacia el metro la luna se escondía detrás de una solitaria nube consciente de que por primera vez el cineklub me había regalado algo más que un ahora.

Cuando llegué a casa ella estaba dormida sobre la mesa de su escritorio, rodeada de planos y maquetas como tantas otras noches. Se desperezó mientras me desnudaba. Mis ojos no mienten.

"Lo siento," dije yo.

"No lo sientas, tarde o temprano tenía que pasar," susurró ella, resignada, triste. "Al fin y al cabo, ¿qué me hace a mí diferente de las anteriores?"


"Es injusto para mí, pero ése eres tú. No te odio. ¿Quién sabe? Quizás esta vez sea diferente. Pero no, no lo será. Dentro de un tiempo, al igual que yo ahora, también ella tendrá que dejarte marchar. Porque bicho," acarició mis labios con los suyos. "Eres aceite."