Let’s not talk about love.
Let’s not talk about the drops in the sea. Let’s not try to explain the hidden meaning behind an expensive painting, behind a secretive smile on someone’s lips. Let’s not talk about where the universe starts and ends, let’s not talk about feelings.
Let’s not talk about love.
Let’s talk about our feet in the sea, though. Let’s talk about how good it feels to have our toes curling in the water, in the ocean, tickling the sand. Let’s see paintings for a minute, for an hour, for a week. Let’s have no idea what they mean, let’s find them beautiful. Let’s smile to those secretive lips. Let’s kiss them, find out they are warm. Let’s talk about the universe of our minds, let’s drown in it and forget where’s the middle. Let’s feel feelings.
Let’s not talk about love.
Let’s talk. Let’s see. Let’s have no idea. Let’s smile. Let’s kiss and find out. Let’s drown. Let’s forget.
Let’s not talk about love.
“So, let me see if I understand this.” He drinks some of his bright pink punch, eyes full scanning. “You are a werewolf tacco.”
“A werewolf tacco. ”
“Don’t you think it’s great?” Kyle says, a smile on his face, a plastic cup on his furry hand. “I even got a discount in the store I bought the costumes. It was really cheap, you wouldn’t believe if I told you how much I paid for this-”
“Oh, I think I would.”
“-and I found out that Mr. Jenkins - the guy who sells the costumes - went to a Safari with my mother ages ago and then we talked about elephants and he tried to sell me an elephant costume. I almost bought that, I won’t lie, it was so cool, but I thought a werewolf tacco would be cooler and so I— Rowan, are you listening?”
“Yeah, yeah. Guy who likes elephants sold you weirdness, continue.” He gives another sip on his drink, comfortably sitting on the zebra couch of one of Valentino’s hundreds of houses in neighborhoods he didn’t even know existed.
“Well, so I bought this cool gloves and this cool tail-” He stops.
Kyle raises an eyebrow at Rowan.
Rowan raises an eyebrow at Kyle.
“You are not wearing a costume.” Now Kyle is frowning, and he sounds like he didn’t pay attention to the fact until now (but who can blame him when his outfit is so damn groovy). Rowan is not sure because the furry brown eyebrows glued to his face kind of difficult his better judgement.
“Nonsense.” He taps at the knee crossed over the other one, as if he is cleaning some imaginary dust from his well-lined pants. “I most certainly am.”
“You are wearing a suit, Rowan.” He sounds a little judgemental, as if he thinks the British is spoiling all the fun of the night. “It is a Halloween party. You should have come with a costume.”
“But I did.” Rowan retorts, seeming well comfortable wearing his one button, peak lapel jacket with jetted pockets.
“You came as yourself in formal clothing.”
“Don’t be so naive.” He finishes his drink, and Kyle gives him a funny, boarding skeptical look. “I’m Bond.”
“Bond- wait, James Bond? Really?” He sounds just like he doesn’t buy it at all. He saw Rowan using these same pants weeks ago at Alex’s exposition at college, he is sure of it.
“Do you think I would lie about it? I’m even using a Rolex Submariner. My favorite Bond gadget.” He says, dead serious, even though there’s crooked smile on his lips. He slowly draws each word, rounding his vowels so his accent gets heavier. He shows Kyle his wristwatch. He receives an even funnier look from him. “If you want to, I also can show you my explosive pen. But I’d be careful when handling that, if I were you.”
“That’s cheating, do you know that?”
“You are just envy I am a secret agent with license to kill while you’re-” He looks at him again, as if he is choosing the right words. “-a Mexican crispy sandwich with fur.”
“I’m a yummy Mexican crispy sandwich with fur. And dangerous claws. Which makes all the difference.” He sits by Rowan’s side, sounding oh-so-proud of his costume. He scratches his forehead and thinks it itches a lot to be using fake bushy eyebrows, but that is worth it. Alex and David loved it. Best outfit idea since he dressed like the hippie Frankenstein, they said. “You could have put some fake vampire teeth. You could be a vampiric secret agent with license to drain blood.”
“God, don’t even start.” He rolls his eyes, because it would be worrisome if he didn’t, but there’s also the principle of a smile when Kyle completes what he is saying with a British accented ‘Rowan, the bloody agent’, because that was just a terrible joke. He thinks it is worrisome that he doesn’t feel as offended as before for seeing him dressing like a complete fool. Which proves he is spending too much time with him and he is still trying to decide if it’s another thing he should worry about. “What a pity you dislike my costume. Here I was thinking you would fancy my bow tie.”
Kyle looks at him with the corner of his eyes, and he has to make some effort to doesn’t smile a little.
“That’s indeed a nice one.” Kyle says and turns a little to Rowan’s side, so he can reach for each side of the tie and give it a little tug, as if it needed a little fix. “The real James Bond would be so proud.”
“Wouldn’t he?” He gives a small half-smile and thinks that’s a little daring, a little insolent of Kyle to imply he didn’t give his tie a perfect knot. Kyle gives it one more tug and Rowan still think it is funny how he is putting so much effort in not smiling. “I guess it gives the outfit a classical touch.”
“Yes, pretty classy too.” He agrees, looking so stupid with that weird dog nose and wolf ears tied on the top of his head, and the more he looks at it, the more stupid it looks and he should feel a little bit more offended by that. “Where did you buy it?”
“You tell me.”
(Really, just a little bit more insulted.)
Kyle cracks a small smile, efforts put aside.
(But he doesn’t.)
This should probably be the stupidest, silliest thing he has ever done in his life - this cheesy kissing under the mistletoe thing - but he did not verbalize that. Not when Kyle kissed him so promptly, right after he looked up to point out to Rowan the existence of that little thing over their heads, an almost sappy smile on his full lips as he spoke. He rolled his eyes, just a little. Said an skeptical ‘are you serious?’, because that was pretty much lame even for the magician. But at some point, Rowan had a hand pressed against the small of Kyle’s back, chin raised to properly meet the absolutely dashing lips that locked with his with a quiet endearment, and he has no idea how he has been persuaded into that. A part of himself just insisted to tell him he hadn’t had to be ‘cause, oh, when was the last time Kyle had a major trouble talking him into all sorts of things? But the other part told him that thinking about that was bullshit, and Rowan was fondest of this one opinion.
His mouth felt warm over Kyle’s and it shouldn’t feel so great after all this time, he supposed, but it did. It’s actually a little scary how right it felt like, the way Kyle made this low throaty sound when Rowan caught his lower lip between his teeth and pulled it a little, the way Kyle sort of smiled under the pressure of their lips together when his tongue easily found his way inside Rowan’s mouth, as if he was actually proud of himself for having earned that easy, uncommitted willingness, that smooth parting of lips during a crowded Christmas party under a silly mistletoe. A little scary, like having lent a small piece of himself without knowing if he was ever going to get it back.
But then the fact it felt a little scary was muffled by the fact he was more than just a little under a stupid mistletoe, and he finally managed to say that under his breath - because he would have to, at some point, he wouldn’t miss the opportunity - , and Kyle merely laughed, a little sheepish but more than just a little satisfied with the whole thing, and the sound of his laugh sounded like it was just floating, lazy and with a taste of belonging, as if he didn’t care at all but found funny how Rowan didn’t stop kissing him even if they looked too foolish standing there in the cold, all gloved hands touching freezing cheeks and half-lidded eyes peeking at each other’s faces and small kisses over chilly messy breath.
He was going to let it all pass this time, Rowan thought. For the Christmas spirit.
There was this boy I met, and he was plain weird. Short and a little fat and a little ugly and talking nonsense. He came to me and asked my name. I answered, without asking his back, because I thought he was weird, because that’s what you think of too straight forward people who come up to strangers like they are trying to be flirty.
I said my name. He told me it was pretty and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I thought it was even weirder for it was so blatant. I said I had. Anyone would say they had. I thought he was weird. I kind of wanted to laugh of the oddness.
Than he told me ‘I need a girlfriend’, and I knew I have given the right answer. He continued and said ‘And fast’.
I tried to be sympathetic. I told him he was young and that he would get a girlfriend. True is I just wanted him to go away. I wanted my class to start as soon as possible and not have him staring at me anymore, the weird boy. I wanted to laugh cause he said sudden things.
‘But I need it soon’, the weird boy said. ‘Because I want to marry and have children. I don’t want to grow old and sad. I don’t wanna be alone.’
I felt I should just give a little laugh, that ones you give when you wanna be nice but don’t really relate to people. Maybe say ‘Oh, I see’ and say I should get going.
But then I opened my mouth and said ‘Neither do I’ and it was like I was as weird as him and as he was just like me and in the end who can say we aren’t all the same
When they first saw each other Rowan’s hair was green,
like the grass of Woodstock, like a stain on a screen, like plain chaos disguised as plain chaos that passed unseen in the mess of blurred visions and long hairs and floral skirts. Like anarchy poking at peace and rebellion poking at love, only that it wasn’t quite right, only that something was out of place. Not there, with him messing with the where. Something was out of place about him; him messing with himself.
A green dot, a broody stain, a bourgeois anarchy.
When they first saw each other, Rowan’s hair was green and he couldn’t look away.
When they first fucked Rowan’s hair was purple,
like the shabby couch of someone they didn’t know the name, like the small bruises that were left on necks and shoulders and chests, like the dark circles under the eyes of one who writhed and gasped and couldn’t look away from a purple dot who crashed and bucked and groaned full clear obscenities against his cheek.
When they first fucked Rowan’s hair was purple and he fucked like loud music, like a guitar solo that never wrongs a chord, like a scream that jumped from deep notes to falsetto, like it could struck a spine and made one arch all their body because there’s simply no way of staying still when a drum starts to thrum.
And it thrummed in all his body, reverberated on the tip of his fingers, in his belly, escaped through his mouth, loud as a nonsensical song, as the movements Rowan played and sang on him over and over and over, gritty as only crude reality is when it slaps you right in the soul.
When they first fucked, Rowan’s hair was purple and he didn’t want to stay away.
When they first got high together Rowan’s hair was blue,
like the shades that danced in front of his eyes, bright and dark and light and so, so many. Fresh colors and washy colors, colors fading and curling like smoke in the air. One, two, three blues, maybe four, and they seemed to get countless as he filled his system with expensive visions and temporary dreams.
They were alone, yet there was all that noise in their ears, all that buzz, all those laughs. Rowan’s limbs were languid, relaxed muscles and loose tongue, and for that he told him many stories. He talked about music and capitalism and the weather. He told him about piercings and politics and the colors of the fence of a small house in England. He mumbled about the society and the economy and the smell of homemade cookies eaten in secret.
Colors and lights were still dancing in front of his eyes, fading more, brightening less, and he asked Rowan if he missed home.
“I fancy home just as much as I fancy your ugly hair and your fringe jacket” He said, groggy and casual and a little dreadful. His voice was fading like the blue of his hair.
The first time they got high together, Rowan’s hair was as blue as his brown eyes, and they looked far away.
When they first fought, Rowan’s hair was orange,
like vulgarity and blatantliness, like the way one lets each cell of their body be shaken with anger and shock and fear, orange as madness and fear and stupid decisions taken on a whim, orange as madness and fear and pungent smell of sickness, restless as the way Rowan shouts his life is none of your business, impulsive as the way he backs off as rebellious as he does not needs to be, as he does not should be, as a colorful dot who still didn’t find a place to himself in the middle of the painting even if it was being handed to him, right on his face, poured on his hands, on each knuckle in the form of kisses, of brushed words of belonging, of i want you to stay and i’m here and kiss me, but the kiss didn’t happen, because now Rowan was not thinking, scary and scared, avoiding to see what was in front of him like the crazy color on his hair.
When they first fought, Rowan’s hair was orange, and he gave him his hands, but he didn’t want them. So he took them back, and Rowan broke away.
When they first made love Rowan’s hair was red,
like the blood on his t-shirt, dark, deep, dry, like the swollen bottom lip that moved against his shoulder and whispered i’m fine i’m fine before anything could be questioned, as if the slender hands on his shoulders, his neck, his back didn’t beg to say the contrary. Rowan’s hair was red and his bottom lip was red and his tee was red and he wanted to say i want you to leave and to say where have you been and to say do not shit with me you’ve been gone for months and to say do not kiss me, but the kiss happened and it was like coming back to a safe place he didn’t remember having.
His hair was red as loud music, as a scream that goes from deep notes to a falsetto, as fucked up anger and boiling blood and as too much, but Rowan kisses him with red lips and it tastes like a lullaby, he touches him as a piano solo and his fingers are everywhere and nowhere to be seen, playing on him like a sonata in adaggieto and it was like for a moment Rowan was not that messed up green dot he met in Woodstock.
In the middle of everything, the too colorful clothes and the dark ones and no one, in the middle of fingers touching fingers and lips touching lips and hips striking hips, that red dot whispered he had missed that ugly hair, that fringe jacket.
The first time they made love, Rowan’s hair was red and, this time, he was not simply a dot, he had a name and a face and when he sighed Kyle against his temple, he knew Rowan had hated to stay away.
In a random day with no firsts, Rowan’s hair was brown
just like his eyes, as his large backpack and his inexpensive pea coat and the chocolate bar they bought in the airport. Brown curling in soft waves and locks, and it felt so natural and right to feel them between his fingers once, twice. Brown as so many other hairs of so many other men and so many other people and it was actually the prettiest shade he has seen until then.
Rowan’s hair was brown, plain and boring and nothing like him but at the same time just perfectly fitting. Brown as the ugly fringe jacket which was thrown away a while ago. Brown as the hair of the lady on the cover of the dye’s package he appeared with two days ago, and not nearly as brown as it would be in two years. Brown with a name and a face and it was like he was finally letting himself be seen.
In a random day with no firsts, they weren’t away. Just there.
He tells you what you always wanted to hear. What you imagined in your craziest dreams, the ones you’re ashamed even of thinking about. His voice is hoarse in your ear and he smells like smoke and bad rum. You blink your eyes drunkenly, painfully aroused and you know there’s something…
They kissed hard against the front door, Bob’s back accidentally slamming a little painfully against the flat surface as Kevin lifted his hips and pressed their crotches together, squeezed one of the ginger’s covered thighs, whispered a faint ‘come here’ inside his mouth. Bob pushed his tongue in a demanding way against Kevin’s and it was just like he was trying to tell him something he himself struggled to, like the almost four months they didn’t see each other drove him a little bit mad but he wouldn’t admit that just as easy as it was to unzip Kevin’s jeans to hurry him up.
Bob could care about all sorts of things. About the thin walls he shared with the neighbors. About the wide open window of the small living room. About Connor who was in his room and could get out from there to grab some milk or something like that. The only thing he could care about in that moment, though, was that Kevin wasn’t close enough, not nearly enough, and even though his cock was trapped between their bellies, even if he could feel the heat of their flesh slamming loud and sweaty, Bob wrapped his legs tighter and tighter around him, ankles crossed behind Kevin’s back as he tried to pull him closer despite it being physically impossible.
“Come on, fuck—” Bob moaned, tilting his head back as Kevin mouthed his throat, the side of his neck. “Harder, Marley- like you mean it—”
And the next thrust made all his body shake, limbs losing balance in such a way he had to clutch Kevin’s shoulders. All his insides quivered and tightened as a reflex of the maybe too reckless rhythm and God, he liked it.
“Better?” Kevin asked, voice a little strangled and huskier, heels almost not touching the floor when he aimed for a deeper angle. He exhaled heavily when he felt Bob’s hands creeping over his back, when he felt the tight, trembling grip of one of them on his ass when he bucked his hips forward just like he, too, thought they weren’t close enough, not nearly.
“Yes. Yes.” His head was a blur. He thought he heard the click of a door knob. He didn’t care.
Bob was already forgetting how it was. The feeling of Kevin’s lean, careful fingers, his mouth that sucked on all the right places, the obnoxious way Kevin sometimes would look at him with eyes which sought for approval of the next touch, of the next leap of bare naked desire he had, as if for a moment he unlearned everything about not needing to hold back when he just didn’t want to.
“Damn it, Marley—fuck, Kevin” His lips were against the his temple, breath damp and heavy. He did the best he could to draw air into his lungs, whimpered something a little incomprehensible, trying to form words as he stroke his lips against his skin.
“I know” Kevin said, leveling his eyes to meet Bob’s, lips almost touching now. He cupped the right side of Bob’s ass and gave it a familiar squeeze, looking at him with that almost sheepish eyes of his. There was some sort of recognition on them. “I know.”
The window was open and the walls were thin and Connor could burst in anytime and Bob could thought he should care about all that in that moment.
He just didn’t.
You look at him across the room and when someone taps your shoulder and calls you for a toast, you smile and raise your glass and cheers for him. And you don’t want to smile. You don’t want to laugh of the silly joke the person near you just told, you don’t want to say ‘i think so too’ when his aunt blurts out in a pitchy voice she thinks they make a beautiful couple.
Yet you do. You smile, you laugh, you agree and you cheer. You swallow the lump in your throat and you did imagine it would taste bitter, but not this bitter. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter how bad it tastes, it doesn’t change anything. Because there is a wedding ring on his left hand and now he has everything he was supposed to have. He has the role, the good position, the finest wedding suit, the rosebud on the lapel, the bride. You’re supposed to be happy for him, because everyone else seems to be but you just can’t. You’re supposed to be happy for him, so that’s what you tell youself. “Be happy for him”, you say, “Be happy and enjoy the free drink”.
You take another glass of whiskey, one of champagne, and the lump in the throat seems easier to swallow, almost. You look at him across the room. You watch as he gives a small peek on his newly-wife lips for a photo, as he laughs at something a journalist asks him and as he smiles for the photographer. You hate him a little for that. For doing that to himself and for doing that to you. You hate him a little for seeming to be happy.
You drink one more glass of champagne. Because it is ironic that he can can pull out a smile at such more ease than you. Because you are supposed to be happy for him even though you’re not happy at all. Because you need some incentive to keep there, to do not leave. You give the drink a sip. Then two. You have to be happy. You smile for a workmate. You dance with Grace Pearce and tell her she is wearing an astonishing dress. You make small talk. You have to be happy. You eat appetizers.
You change your strategy because you can’t be happy.
You decided to look happy instead. You are good at it. So you keep smiling, laughing, chit-chatting with anyone who talks to you. You can do this, you know you can, for you always knew you would have to, at some point. For you were never stupidly naive to think any of that could go on forever.
You look at him across the room and he is looking back at you. You raise your glass at him and smile. You wish it looks honest but you’re not so sure.
He smiles back. He raises his glass at you and you know he doesn’t believe in you.
He looks happy too, happier than you, and you hate him a little for that. You envy him a little for that.
He looks happy, and you don’t believe him either.
Violette olhou para os marmanjos reunidos à mesa, meio caindo uns sobre os outros, meio com cara de quem nunca mais quer ver um shot de A Fúria Escarlate do Centauro Voador, meio com olhos espremidos e inchados e apresentando uma inabilidade notável de formar frases com mais de 4 palavras que não contêm “nunca mais” e “alguém faz essa garrafa parar de me encarar, por favor”.
Daí ela olhou de novo. Olhou de novo e chamou todos eles de idiotas mentalmente. Mas só mentalmente, porque eles já estavam tendo o que mereciam por beberem até cuspir fora as tripas e ela iria poupá-los de um sermão (dessa vez).
Ela nunca tinha certeza do porquê de estar ali. Sério. Ela sabia por que tinha entrado naquela organização, e achava que era por algo nobre e bonito que envolvia profissionalismo e salvar o dia. O tipo de coisa que fica bonita no currículo e te rende uma boa vaga numa Universidade respeitável e num emprego decente com bom plano de saúde, com cobertura para sessões de acupuntura e tudo.
Mas daí ela olha para o bando de homens morrendo ao redor da mesa, resmungando e com caras amarelas, gemendo como garotinhas doentes, e se pergunta o porquê de ainda não ter saído.
Porque ela não lembra, mesmo, de ter sido contratada para carregar artistas e motoqueiros bêbados para quartos, tirar italianos de cima de mesinhas de centro quando começam a dar sinais de que vão tirar a roupa na frente de todo mundo enquanto cantam Eros Ramazzotti, ajudar travestis ricos a segurarem os cabelos compridos enquanto vomitam por não quererem estragar a “peruca cara feita com os cabelos da Madonna que custou mais do que sua casa jamais custará” ou segurar brasileiros na cabeça com um taco de baseball porque estão bêbados e cismando que aquele vaso chinês importado é na verdade uma bola de futebol americano e que ela está implorando para ser atirada do outro lado do corredor.
Violette não lembra de forma alguma, e acha que deveria receber bombons de chocolate e elogios pouco parsimoniosos todos os dias, por lidar com tanta complicação. Mas isso não acontece, porque nem tudo é perfeito e porque homens não entendem que é uma regra social importante presentear uma moça com chocolates quando você vomita no seu vestido novo antes mesmo que ela tenha tido a chance de pagar a primeira prestação.
E Violette poderia largar aquilo tudo a qualquer momento, certo? Poderia ter uma vida pacata com flores e serenidade e despreocupação. Poderia dizer “se virem sem mim”, dar meia volta e ter vestidos sempre limpos e cheirosinhos que duram muito mais, ter mãos muito mais macias e sem calos de esforço físico, ter joelhos que doem muito menos porque não tem que correr de um lado para o outro e pular grandes alturas para fugir ou perseguir alguém. Ela poderia, sim. E ainda pode, se quiser. É livre para fazer o que bem entender, muito obrigada. Sempre pode calçar seu par de salto alto que está ali no canto do sofá, jogar o cabelo e fazer uma saída de efeito que ficaria para a história.
Daí ela olha para todos eles mais uma vez. Para os idiotas. Amarelos e com cara de enjoo e esparramados nas cadeiras como se não houvesse morte mais lenta, juntos naquela mesa com garrafas vazias. Ela olha, pensa que eles merecem um sermão, um discurso de meia hora sobre como eles precisam ser mais responsáveis, em que ela diria “eu avisei” pelo menos duas vezes por frase, põe as mãos na cintura pensando em se armar do seu olhar mais reprovador.
“Quem de vocês quer ovos mexidos?”
Todos olham pra ela com olhinhos apertados de ressaca, as palavras de todos se acotovelando com resmungos ininteligíveis e “eu quero”s veementes. Um deles ainda teve a audácia de pedir um café com leite.
Ela dá meia volta e vai para a cozinha, sabendo que eles são irresponsáveis e meio ingratos e que vomitam nos seus vestidos, e que poderia ir embora e nunca mais olhar para a cara deles, porque são um amontoado de idiotas.
O problema todo é que eles são os idiotas dela.
Fazer o quê.