Jan 7, 2008

the intimacy of strangers

In a street cafe overlooking downtown, Emilia drinks moscatel in the afternoon sun. Her table has a lot of free chairs and two young turists from London ask if they might join her. One is originally from Iran, the other Albanian from Kosovo. The Iranian is talking, he has beautiful liquid eyes, to Emilia.
- I don’t like french movies, I don’t understand them.
- Which one, for example ?
- The Dreamers.
- The Dreamers ? I don’t know that one.
- You must know it ! About incest, in Paris…
- Oh, this one ! she frowns. - It’s italian, actually.
- You’re only making this face because you’re disgusted by the whole incest thing !
- Me ?!? Oh no ! When I was young I even sometimes wished I had a brother, so I could …
- So you could have sex with him?
- … You could put it that way.
A beat. The boy thinks it over:
- Well of course there is the confidence factor. This way, I mean, if he’s your brother, at least you can be sure he will still be there the next day.

The sudden naked loneliness of it startles the three of them into short silence. Then, fast, the boy launches into how he likes to make breakfast for his lovers, the next day. Because of course he wasn’t speaking of himself. His lovers don’t walk away into the night… Emilia interrupts him almost harshly, speaks of the movie, the actors, anything but the thing.

Then it gets cold. The boys don’t relate this to the setting sun. They say "so nice to have met you, darling" and take a cab to their hotel.
On her walk home, she passes a church on whose wall a tiny note is glued, offering a scribbled message. Always a fool for the handwritten, she picks it up:
Roguemos ao senhor da existência para que não nos deixe confundidos.

Pray the lord of existence (Lord of existence ! Some title ! She sees wind-blown pyramids of decepated heads) that he won’t let us get confused !

Being confused means not being able to tell apart someone who’ll still be there the next day from someone who won’t, for example.


  1. I've just been idling through next blog, next blog, I do this sometimes in the hope of finding something interesting, and never have. And suddenly I come across yours, drawings, stories, many languages, two of which I certainly don't know a word of, themes, wit, but all very in the air, magical. What a blog should be

  2. Wow! First comment ever! Thanks!