The Moon Inside of Me

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Another Monday to Die

“Mondays are not Catholic days”, my grandmother always said.

The relationship between religion and the days of the week was never clear to me, but whenever the day came, the slurred voice echoed in the four corners of my skull, as did the negativity that sentence brought.

I rubbed the red eyes with my fingertips, trying to focus, despite the cigarette smoke on the backs, coming from the other students in that murky classroom. The points of light that escaped the gaps between the window blinds blurred with the brightness of the projector facing the whiteboard.

Watching Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” for the third time that year caused a chain reaction in which everyone paid attention to everything but the scenes in the movie. It was common for students to smoke inside the room if they weren’t caught and no one would object, afraid of having their forehead pierced by a homemade revolver shot.

I nibbled the hairband on my wrist to secure the dark strands in a long ponytail. I needed to cut them immediately or they would expose me as a cavewoman model in history classes. Before I could finish the maneuver with my arms, a little ball of paper hit me with a frown. Curiosity prevented the hairstyle from reaching its predetermined end, so again a cascade of curls weighed on my back.

“Mr. Vladmir’s pants are so tight that it looks like he has a vagina from here”, was written, followed by a grinning smiley face.

I looked at Claudio, my best friend, smirking in complicity at that comment, but I couldn’t help but notice the truth of those words. In fact, in the darkness, you couldn’t find the teacher’s balls inside his pants.

Suburban education was a great thing, wasn’t it?

Were it not for the giant penis designed on the desk or the trail of smelly chewing gum clutched under it, I couldn’t tell the difference to an expensive institution.

Nothing new under the sun of Rio de Janeiro.

A shrill, out-of-tune alarm announced the change of classes, indicating another long hour of procrastination in the decrepit science lab.

- Will you skip this torture with me? - Suddenly Claudio’s white hands clasped my shoulders. A brand new cigarette rested on his full lips, eagerly waiting to be lit.

Playfully, I reached into the back pocket of his brown cargo pants and stole the green wallet. Immediately, the scent of mint invaded my nostrils. That was the smell that always reminded me of our friendship: since the age of eleven, Claudio had acquired a peculiar taste for menthol cigarettes.

“You won’t smoke all these, get me five”, I begged with the best smile I could muster.

- Five? This is a whole day that I don’t smoke.

- Three! - The innocent face increased.

“And what are you going to do when I’m in the shower and want to smoke but don’t have a cigarette anymore? Are you going to buy me another wallet”? His messy brow rose a few millimeters, a skill I envied.

- Okay, two! Please, please, pleeeease! - The baby voice was my final letter. He rolled his eyes in defeat and slung my backpack over his shoulder.

- Ok, you freaking puppy! But, let’s go right before the next class comes in and we get stuck in another Chaplin session.

- God have mercy on me!
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