“Hiya. Thought we’d meet inside.”
“I… guess I imagined you’d be with friends.”
“My friends don’t bite. But no, we’re both flying solo today.”
“Where’s The Exploited T-shirt guy?”
“Oh, so you knew. Broke up with him last week, he’s an asshole.”
“Thought so. Good to know my spider-sense still works.”
I bit my tongue for dropping that lame comic book reference. From mocking 50-year old Phil Collins fans to superhero fanboy. Nice one, fucktard.
“I don’t need your powers to guess that. My deductive skills are on par with Batman’s.”
That was it. She didn’t back down on anything, no matter the avenue. Rolled with any conversation, made it hers and always gripping. We talked for an hour, maybe more. Then there was a hole of silence, a crater too wide to bridge with words.
“I feel like kissing you.”
My voice came out with a slight note of fear. I couldn’t read her yet.
“Then go for it.”
We lost track of time, sitting in the cold marble of an old house’s entrance. I wondered why I’d never met her before, and she said I would have hated her a year ago.
“Gotta go now. I got tomorrow’s morning shift. Shit on a Saturday, but free afternoon.”
“I’ll walk you home.”
She’d told me where she lived, at which point I knew we were hitting it off for real. I had seen the house, large and luxurious. Her parents had money and she didn’t need the work, but she had not taken money from them since she turned 18. That’s why they couldn’t boss her around, she said. Sound logic.
The pavement was moist with late night dew, and tiny drops twinkled in her hair and her leather jacket. We got there too fast, and we didn’t want to be anywhere else but here, now, hands all over. She went up and I marched home, love-drunk face smeared with her black lipstick. The enchantment didn’t last long.
I went to the riverside again on Sunday. We were smoking a joint with Martín and discussing Tool’s latest opus when the crowd imploded into a woeful double feature: Nadia and the asshole, now sporting a denim jacket full of patches, white Sex Pistols font on his chest. I hated the fucking Sex Pistols! I lay there, knocked out and high, clutching at straws. Thought I’d never see her again, and six months went by before I had the courage to go to the bookstore and ask about her. She had quit, and “no we don’t know where she works now, sorry.” Nadia was lost to me, treading who knows which path in the streets of Rosario, holding hands with a smug pile of shit that was fully responsible for my misery. I had lost an unfought battle.
In time, I started dating a girl who worked near Cactus, saw her almost every day. We were having fun, but the fire petered out in a couple of months. There was an inconsequential discussion one day, and she left me standing on a corner and wondering if it was over. And then I saw Nadia, walking towards me with her head down, headphones on and headbanging.
Nice way to break the ice. I guess I was even dumber now than at the time.
“Eh. Hi, Leo. How have you been?”
She was wearing shades. Big, 80s cop TV show shades.
“Not bad. You?”
“Hanging in there. Day by day.”
Her voice was jittery, and when she looked to one side, I saw what looked like a black eye below the right lens.
“Are you… seeing someone?”
Another episode of ineptitude brought to you by yours truly.
“I’m still with Ale. We’re about to move in together. Have to go now, he’s waiting for me, we’re having coffee. Bye.”
She hugged me so tight that the air struggled to remain in my lungs. The legion of pedestrians swallowed her and I stood frozen. All I could think of was the synchronicity of the stupid song coming out of the record store’s speakers. “Love’s the funeral of hearts,” sang HIM’s Ville Valo. I was mourning for not being with her. But fuck, she was suffering for real. She was in danger. And I had lost the train again, shackled by my indecision and lack of reaction. I took to the river one more time, hoping that it would carry away the monsters of frustration. I stayed there until the hours turned black, unable to cry and petrified. I looked calm, but I was raging beneath the surface.
In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)
Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey
January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan
February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asryan
March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez
April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel
May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko
June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas
July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk
August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido
September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández
October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino
November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake
December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva
Background – Context
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
More work by Javier Gómez
The Canyon Inside Us – transposing emblem by Javier Gómez
Uncharted Bliss – transposing emblem by Javier Gómez
The Way of No Way – transposing emblem by Javier Gómez
Emblems and stories on Argentina
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries
Cover photo: Buenos Aires, Argentina – Abandoned – Florencia Potter (Unsplash)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed