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Archive for June, 2010

What’s up?

I called Olivier after I left Fabian’s flat, as I walked to the city centre to meet Kate for a late lunch.

“Hello!”

“Hey, sweetie.”

“How were things Gena?”

“Okay. I saw him and I didn’t break down or anything, so good, huh?”

“No, seriously.”

“It was ok. I know you’re going to think I am crazy, but he was nice to me and it was good, but it makes me sad at the same time.  You know?” My voice breaking.

“Everybody knows you’re crazy Gena.”

“Huh huh thanks for making me laugh, sweetie.  Really. But yeah, it confuses me being well treated now that we’re over and so far apart.”

“I think I can understand, genie girl, but what I don’t get is why you make yourself go through that.”

“I just cannot not do it, not know how it feels, not see him.” I started crying, but then got my focus back “but that’s not why I am calling.”

by Pierre Andrews

“No?”

“No. I am calling about Dora.”

“Dora?”

“Yes. Tell me about Dora.”

“She just started her masters in the department, she is Greek and bubbly.”

“And she became a good friend?”

“Yes, I mean, she joined the department, then tango, so she is part of the group now.”

“But is that all? I mean, she knows about Claudia, right?”

“I am not getting it Gena.”

“In that case let me tell you: she likes you.”

“What- why are you saying that?”

“Because you’re just out of a relationship and I wondered- you are my friend and the one I care about so it is not that I think it is bad, or good for that matter, if you like her and she is good for you, great but…”

“No. Why do you think she likes me?”

“Because she did not bother to hide! Did you see the face she made when she saw me?”

“No.”

“Well, she clearly did not like to see me, her expression changed completely, it was evident.  So, if you hadn’t noticed, I am telling you this girl likes you.”

Olli laughed and I asked: “Why are you laughing?”

“Well, I guess she probably wasn’t expecting to see you or maybe she reacted like David and Isabelle.”

“What do you mean?”

“David is living with me now and Isabelle comes most weekends, right?”

“Right.”

“So, when they woke up they heard us talking in the living room and, when I came back, they asked me who was here this morning.”

“Mm”

“I said, Gena. And Isabelle asked me if we were together.”

“What?”

“Yes. They thought you had spent the night.”

“Are those people crazy? “

“Don’t worry, I told them you had come for coffee this morning.”

“But I mean, they surely know you’ve just broken up with Claudia and that I was with Fabian and we are friends…”

“Well, that’s why Isabelle said, is she with you now?”

“What does she think? That I am just checking who is free so I can sleep around with all your department?”

“I don’t know, but she said they thought you were going out with Bruno first-”

“Bruno? Why, because we’re Brazilians?”

“I know it doesn’t make any sense”, he kept laughing, “but they thought you were with Bruno and then they saw you with Fabian and they did not know who you were with, so maybe that’s exactly what they think”, and he bursted out laughing.

“For fuck sake! Bruno is Fabian’s best friend and that’s how we interacted.”

“I know, Gena, but it is funny”

“No, it isn’t funny. It is actually pretty sad that you guys are incapable of talking to one another and when I do it is so strange that I must be doing you!”

“Gen-”

“I tell Fabian you like him and I tell you he likes you and is concerned about you, but you don’t talk. I go to see Fabian and Bruno collapses in my arms because I give him a hug and he cannot talk to Fabian about his break up and if I leave them up to it they will talk about whatever orthogonality rather than about what they feel.”, I said things faster and louder as I was getting more serious about the topic.

“He broke up with Tata?”

“Apparently, yes, but if you want to know about it, you will have to ask him and, by the way, that was the same thing I told them about you and Claudia when they asked me if you guys had broken up.”

“Fair enough.”

“So you don’t talk to your friends and then you want to make me interrogate you even when you call me because you need help. I am appalled by how useless you guys are!”

“Gena”

“I am not done. And then if I get to talk to any of you I suddenly am talked about as if I were the town’s slut. It is not funny and I am bloody tired of that! I really am and I am happy I live in London now because you can’t even bloody breathe in this town.”

“Gena, I am sorry, I didn’t think you would be so upset.”

“Of course I am upset.  All I did was fall for Fabian and, when I fell, he was like a bulldozer over me. I am still freaking crying when I see the man, but then I am the men eater when I haven’t done a bloody thing.  I know it is not your view, but it is infuriating and I need to vent.  The double standards, the misrepresentation.”

“I’m sorry, Gena. I didn’t mean to be insensitive. I know it’s been tough for you.”

I gave an enormous sight, then big breath and tried to contain myself: “No no, I’m sorry, sweetie.  I know you didn’t mean it that way. I should have been able to laugh at it, you know?” I gave another biggish sigh.

“You’ve just seen Fabian, it wasn’t the time.”

“Sorry I snapped at you, okay?”

“Okay.”

“You’re not useless; you’re a good friend, okay?”

“Come on Gena, don’t get sappy now.”

“Okay, sorry.”, I managed to sniff and laugh at the same time, “Listen, I’m seeing Kate for lunch so I’ll get myself together, ok?”

“Have a good lunch.”

“I will; and you take care of yourself and keep me posted on your developments and Dora…”

“I will, sweetie. Take care.”

“Bye.”

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Cracked

When I joined them in the living room with fresh coffee and biscuits, Fabian looked a bit disconnected, Bruno had got further on linear algebra and was on a monologue about lattice models.

“Without being disrespectful to the models, I just think there are things we won’t explain logically in a relationship because they are of a different order.”  I said as I sat on the sofa, opposite Bruno and next to Fabian

“Go on, Gena, it’s good to hear what you think.”, Fabian brushed his hands on my knee and both of them looked at me, so I felt I had to continue talking.

“Well, you have tough variables to control when we talk about subjective elements such as feelings, love and trust” — It felt strange to be the first one to mention love and feelings when Bruno was the one in the verge of a separation and I was in front of Fabian.  “And hurt too. And of course people have their own filters and values, but maybe it is time for you to ask yourself: do I love her? Do I trust her and think we can save this relationship together? Or, can I see myself living without this woman? We can’t really test all the hypothesis or prove a thesis; so it is all going to depend on how you feel about trying them and”

The phone rang and — thank God! — Interrupted me from going on and on.

"The Crack II: Maybe we can fix it?!" by Pierre Andrews

“It’s Tata”, Bruno said looking at his mobile’s display.

He picked up the phone as he stood up and walked to the corridor and out of the door to get his call.  It was just me and Fabian, discussing a break up that wasn’t ours, so we waited for Bruno but within less than a minute we saw him out of the house walking to the street.

“Hey, isn’t it Bruno outside? Where is he going?”, I asked.

Fabian walked to the window to check and turned to me with his hands up in the air and a small shoulder shrug: “It looks like he is going to his house.”

“Do you think they will get back together?”

“I think he shouldn’t.  If it’s broken there is a reason, but what do I know?”

“Right.”

“It’s good to see you, girl, and I’m glad you were here with him. With us. I liked what you said.”

“Thanks.  It’s weird, though, to do most of the talking in the circumstances,”

But I got no uptake.

“You know, this break up talk and relationships.” I continued.

“True, yeah.”

“Anyway, it looks like everyone is breaking up.”

“Like Claudia and Olivier?”

“Yes.”

“How is he?”

“Have you asked him?”

“No, but he hasn’t told me so how could I ask?”

“If he hasn’t told you, I won’t gossip about it, but now you can ask him.”

“Fair enough. How is London?”

“Good, good.”

“Are you dancing?”

“Yes.” I smiled.

“Salsa?”

“Yeah. And tango.”

“Great!”

“Yes, I’ve even started going to the Friday milonga.”

“You have? God, I’m jealous now.”

“Last week was fabulous, they hosted this musicality workshop and the milonga had live music afterwards. I loved it”, so I went on telling him about the night, this time leaving  Mr. Gorgeous and Marcos-shaped wholes on my narrative and focusing on the music.  Music was safe ground; I had some training and was often moved by the tangos that were constantly playing in his house.  So, he liked to hear what I thought, show me new songs and tell me what he felt.  Dancing wasn’t as easy.  The connection that hit me unexpectedly in my fifth class and made me pulse with tango, changing everything between us just pushed us to be together. It wasn’t repeated. The secret we kept from others cracked us as well.  Our relationship, denied, grew around a fracture, a fault that dislodged me from his embrace whether we danced or not.  We contended ourselves to music and safe topics.

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Back for coffee

I got to the door, pressed Fabian’s flat button and announced myself:

— “Gena.”

— “It isn’t working, Gena. It’s five-”

— “Five seven, six eight. I know the code, I just didn’t…” I didn’t want to produce unwanted familiarity and just appear by his door, but the fact that I had rang the bell when I remembered the code was self-explanatory, so I pressed the numbers and left the door opening noise communicate I wasn’t going to finish my sentence.

I went up the stairs feeling nervous again and found Fabian holding the door open as I got to the second floor.

"Addict II", by Pierre Andrews

"Addict II", by Pierre Andrews

— “You look good as a redhead, menina.”

— “Thank you.” I said quickly, overlapping with him calling me girl in Portuguese.

— “Can I still call you menina?”

— “Sure, if you want to.” I aimed for unmoved, but wasn’t exactly sure of how it had come off, so I said “I brought us some biscuits” and extended my hand with a box of buttery goodies clumsily attempting to deflect the attention to them.

He picked them up and hugged me tightly, making me feel stupid for trying to be formal, so I surrendered to an honest and big hug.  It lingered on for a good while, maybe 10 seconds, and he said softly:

— “Bruno is here, he arrived yesterday night and I couldn’t kick him out. He left his house and I think him and Tata are separating.”

— “Jesus!”, I broke away from his embrace, “Do you want me to come back another time?”

— “No no. Stay.”

— “How is he doing?”

— “He hasn’t said much all morning, he just sat there and I don’t really know what to do.”

— “Okay. Should I talk to him?”

— “Don’t say I told you anything.”

— “Okay.”

I waved ‘hi’ to Bruno from the corridor, and went to give him a ‘hi’ kiss, but Bruno collapsed into my arms and I ended up giving him a bear hug:

— “Gena, sweetie, so good to see you.”

— “What’s up, Bruno? You don’t look so good.”

— “It’s Tata, Gena”, he left my arms and slumped into the sofa opposite me.

— “Do you wanna talk about it?”

— “We’re on a break, I guess.”

— “Oh, sweetie, that sucks.”

— “Yeah, and I left the house.”

— “God, Bruno, this sounds serious.  How are you feeling, I mean, of course I don’t expect you to be great, but is this something you’ve been discussing for a while?”, I asked as I wondered what Fabian was on about when he said Bruno wasn’t talking, but Bruno, the mathematician, surprised me:

— “Well, uh”, he gave a big sight, “Oh, I guess we’re-  our relationship could be illustrated by an orthogonal model uh…”

Fascinating as it could be to discuss values and relationships in a geometric way, I couldn’t believe his answer or keep up with the boys if they went further along that path, so I looked at Fabian who finally seemed to be ready to say something.

"Addict III", by Pierre Andrews

— “Maybe we should make some coffee?”, he alternated looking at the two of us with his hands moving in the air, “And we can have your biscuits.”, he said looking at me.

— “Yes, coffee and biscuits would be good”, said Bruno.

— “Sure, I’ll make some and you guys keep talking.” I took Bruno’s maths and Fabian’s intervention as a hint to leave them talking alone and stood up, but then noticed Fabian was standing up too.

— “We still have some of that fancy coffee you bought”, he stood closer to me, “there’s no one to drink it.”

— “Right, I’ll make it then.”

I moved towards the kitchen approaching my task with some trepidation — taking it over as the host in a flat where I knew everything’s position but not mine was surreal.  Everything reminded me I didn’t occupy that place any longer.

— “We don’t have your thingy anymore, though.” Fabian walked after me leaving Bruno alone in the living room, “we only have this other thing here, I don’t know if it is good.” He opened the cupboard to reveal an Italian coffee maker.

— “Oh, this is even better than the cafetière, I have one of these too. I can handle it.” I said, signing with the head he could go back to the living room to stay with Bruno.

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Dora

Olivier’s mobile rang and he arranged to see a group of friends for coffee 45 minutes later, around the time I was supposed to see Fabian.  One of his friends, Dora, was going to walk by his flat so they could walk together to the city centre.  We had about 20 minutes to talk and get ourselves ready to leave, so drying the tears rather than encouraging their flow was our chosen strategy.

When Dora rang the bell we were looking better and ready to go – we just picked our coats and went downstairs.  Olivier opened the door to the street, held it for me and, as I made my way around him and out of the door, I saw a girl with lots and lots of wavy black hair and then her smiley face turning dour.  Olli waved hi to the girl as he walked after me letting the door close behind him, and then turned to me for a big hug goodbye.

by Pierre Andrews

— “Good luck with Fabian. Call me if you need anything, ok?”, he said softly to my ear while he held me in his arms.

— “Thanks, sweetie. I’m cool, though.”

— “Of course you are, just call me if you need.”

— “You too!”

I smiled at the girl as he went towards her, but she didn’t smile back.  Strange candidness that one provoked by jealousy, I thought, and it occurred to me that I probably had more rights to it than her.  Olli was my close friend!  But of course I would not compete for rights to jealousy so the absurdity of this thought hit me almost instantly.  I turned to the opposite direction to Fabian’s flat knowing I would have to call Olli later, even if it was just to know more about the girl – she liked him!

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