Moonlight reflected on her pale skin. The sky above, woven with the richest black velvet, was only a prop from the stage on which she acted. Her naked body against the wind was like a light in the storm.
He stared at her from behind, and as he stared he felt terror like he had never felt before. He was afraid of losing her, of running away, of disappointment, of boredom. He was afraid of the fights that would come, and the apathy that would sprout between them. He was afraid because suddenly he was no longer “he,” but “he and she.”
He wanted to escape, he wanted to abandon the responsibilities that such a relationship entailed, but he could not because he loved her. He had not known her for long, but the feeling that burned in his gut was impossible to deny. She made him a little boy again, and that’s why he hated her.
She turned her neck. Her eyes rested on her shoulder, a smile cutting her face. To him there was no beauty more graceful. She was like an eternal specter bringing judgment to his soul.
The smoke rose to the ceiling and escaped through the windows, the smell of weed was stenching the place. Daniel sat on a sofa on the corner, hidden behind his blackberry. On one side people were discussing the last season of Lost, on the other girls used the loud music as a pretext to grind against the boys.
He does not remember when she sat next to him, but there she was. Black hair cut short, eyes as green as a wild lake. He saw none of it, since he was busy with his cell phone.
“Not much.” Daniel replied. He was not interested in making friends and would not pretend to be interested in talking.
“If it’s not nice, why did you come?”
“I need to socialize more.”
“And you will do that with your nose stuffed in your phone.”
“You look like a fun guy.”
“And yet you sat by my side and began to talk.”
“Maybe I thought you were cute.”
Daniel quickly noticed the softness in the girl’s voice. If she were to scream, she would break glass, but her sighs would calm the most angry of beasts.
“Since you do not want to talk, I’ll leave.”
“You can stay.”
“So you want me to stay?”
“I’m not saying that, I’m just saying, if you want to sit here, sit down.”
And on the couch they sat in silence as the party unfolded around them.
A white light covered the buildings on the horizon while the sky above remained smouldering grey. The center of São Paulo looks like a fortress from afar, a wall formed by the buildings that conglomerate there, and even from miles away it stands out like a concrete canyon. When you look at that titan, nothing else exists.
The sun gilded the clouds, the song of birds filled the air, and the roar of engines echoed from the streets. Daniel barely heard the melodies coming from the
streets, he had grown accustomed. Still drowsy, he brushed his teeth and shaved before going into the shower. Afterward he crawled back into the bedroom, where he wore his sage-green social shirt. He picked one of his size 42 pair of shoes, which he polished every Sunday night. He had three pairs and alternated between them weekly. After tying his shoelaces, he left the apartment and went to work.
He thought of Clara on the way. He had not thought of her before. Sure enough, she was still asleep while he was gripping the metal bars of the bus. Their marriage lasted five years, and their next birthday seemed imminent. He already planned a dinner and reserved a present, all he needed to do was get it after work. The relationship between the two had cooled in recent months, a romantic dinner seemed to be the perfect way to light it up.
They barely exchanged words on most days, and when she spoke, only complaints came from her lips. She did nothing but criticize her mother and regret her lack of work, and recently not even that. Daniel just hoped things would improve between them.
His businesses at work also soured. The bills seemed to go from bad to worse, which was ironic considering he worked at an accounting firm. He would wake up most days with pain in his shoulders, and he would go to his job asking if this was the day he would be fired. He did not said anything to Clara, he didn’t want to bother her with more worries.
Sometimes instead of turning left on his way home, he turned right. He went to a nearby bar and he drank a few. Once done he gargled some mouthwash in the restroom before taking a cab. He arrived at home about the same time on both occasions.
The bus stopped. He walked to his work, once he reached the building he climbed up two flights of stairs to his office. When he arrived, he was greeted by his beautiful secretary Karen, who was holding a stack of financial analyzes and receipts in her hand. He took the papers and entered his room, where he sat down and began to read.