This Lair is Not a Home
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde, in The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
Still reluctant, I pulled the lock on the door as soon as he found a place to park. People admired the car discreetly and made comments at the ear. I was struck by that polite South Zone attitude with so many lights and billboards, whispers and rules ... I tried to look as natural as possible.
- Wait! - Miguel’s voice cut through the air like a blade. I didn’t have the courage to look back. Half of my body was already outside the car. - I don’t want to go home ...
Tearing pain ripped through my chest as the flood of ugly childhood memories washed over me one by one. I saw myself, so small and helpless, completely dirty, begging Jorge to linger a little longer on his odd jobs, so we would avoid staring at Mama on the bed, drunk and stinky.
That Luneta kept asking not to go home.
She no longer existed.
- Do you want me to stay?
I could not see his expression as he had turned his chin to the shore, lost in his own thoughts.
I gave up waiting for an answer. Fighting the shit of an internal battle about running away from that crazy bipolar or simply relying on the intuition that said that night would be a memory forever.
I gave in to embarrassment and sat back in the leather sit. He started the car without saying anything and just drove straight for a few minutes. When the buildings became majestic, I realized that we had entered a more elite part of the Zone.
- Where are we going? - Miguel smiled sideways, the streets turning dark with the tall trees, which created a huge shadow on his face.
- You’ll see.
We actually parked a few seconds after his answer. To my surprise, as I got out of the vehicle, a large facade of rough stone stood before us. It was a really tall and bright building as if polished every day by hundreds of transparent hands.
The guy waved to the doorman as we passed the entrance. I took a deep breath as I tried to keep up with his steady steps. He had everything to do with that luxury, the giant plants in the corners, the people smiling shyly as they passed, his English lord stance ...
“It’s quiet ...” I blurted unpretentiously into the elevator.
- Why are we here? - There was a “what” of hurt in my voice and I didn’t make a point of hiding it.
- This is the Lair. - His dimples appeared again as he turned to face my confused expression. “My friends and I rented this apartment to socialize with the crew and also to get away from our parents”.
- I thought you inherited something here in the neighborhood ...
“Indeed, it’s a few blocks from here ...” His eyes darted from my face to the large mirror behind me. He fixed his hair as I quickly turned to see the state of my face: it was chaos. - But ... - That tasty tone brought me back. “Sometimes you just want to be invisible somewhere. My parents monitored my whole life ... This is the place to be free".
The elevator doors snapped open with a click. I squinted at the light in that corridor and tried not to slip on such a glossy floor. There was only one dark wooden door, so big it made me feel tiny. Miguel turned the key in the lock and instantly a fresh scent of cleanliness washed over me.