Cute Without the E
“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” - Cormac McCarthy in The Road.
There were so many paintings, shiny objects and rugs that it felt like passing through the reception of a very rare museum. Everything caught my eye and masking that admiration was a flawed challenge.
However, even though the floor to ceiling gleamed in more perfect whiteness, the words he spoke did not come out of my head. Was this the place where he could break free? Between those four walls?
“That also looks like a prison to me.” Miguel stopped moving for a moment. The muscles in his back tensed visibly under his shirt. Gently, his head tilted to the side, seeing only the movement of his lips.
- Not everyone can have the same luxuries.
Was being free a luxury? So I had something he didn’t have?
- Do you want to drink something? - The voice had come down a few steps and almost shuddered from so low. I felt the hair on my body prickle with that dark tone and the sensation made me more afraid than anything else.
I just nodded.
- Water if you can.
- I do. Still have two hands, you know? And glasses, and some lost jar in that fridge. - He laughed softly. I loved his laugh ... I just said that, right? Impossible not to keep repeating.
I sank into the couch, not caring much about etiquette as Miguel moved to the kitchen counter. Just the contact with that furniture made my bed look like a moldy old rock.
Suddenly I jumped when the brown man cursed, followed by the noise of many objects breaking against the floor. Without delay, I ran to him and my breath failed to find a horrible scene: My host kneeling on a heap of broken glass and a stain of water and blood mingling on the clear floor. He was clutching his wrist, clenching to stop the stream of liquid escaping from a cut in his hand.
It was deep, damn it.
I grabbed the first dishcloth I saw and wrapped it around the wound, staunching it. With the laces of my sneakers, I tied his arm tightly, preventing the blood from flowing. We stayed like that, in silence, for twenty whole minutes while I held his hand.
When I was convinced that there was no risk, I removed the red-soaked cloth and with the help of a fork removed the splinter trapped in the flesh. Miguel didn’t scream or complain, despite the pallor he displayed. The sapphire orbs remained fixed on my face as if analyzing each action.
- Do you have something to disinfect it? - He denied at first, completely lost. I sighed deeply, mapping the surroundings around until I laid my eyes on a bottle of vodka. Perfect, I thought.
As soon as the liquid touched the surface of the wound, Miguel moaned and a stubborn tear traced a small line on the porcelain cheek.
Gently, I brought my thumb up to it, wiping away that trace of pain as a mother would have done to a child who cares about falling off his bicycle. He shivered at my touch just as he did in his car, but this time he didn’t push me away.
I ended up untying the bandana I was strapping to my belt and making a makeshift bandage.
- Where did you learn to do this? - His voice was still weak with pain.
- You do not know me. - And I smiled, getting up to fix that mess.
- But I know the girls from Copacabana. - The accusatioon hiding into those lines in that sentence broke my heart. I was discovered! - Who are you, really?
I felt the blood boil until it rose to my face. A mixture of anger, shame and sadness hit me like a flood of pointed arrows right into the heart.
I didn’t dare to look at the boy when I said:
- Where I come from doesn’t limits who I am. - And so, I grabbed the bag and run out of that prison of liberty, so beautiful that I even forgot I was "arrested".
Miguel didn’t come after me or try to call me back.
He was just an idiot.
And me, another one.