The Freaking Coat
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. - Aesop
The more fear and adrenaline coursed through my body, the more the pain seemed less. I don’t quite remember how I was able to take a subway to the Central, but within hours I was turning the key in the door and plummeting onto the bed. My brother laid exactly as I left him. Outside, the yellow rays indicated that the day was dawning and the Saturday was already beginning.
Jorge would know I had gone out because of my dirty sneakers at the entrance and the dry tears on my face.
The whole little apartment smelled of cereal and chocolate when I woke up at 2 pm. With a wrinkled face and a trail of drool running from my cheek to my left ear, I grabbed my mobile aside still with my eyes closed and felt it vibrate between my fingers.
“36 unread messages,” it said on the lock screen.
Though my face showed nothing but genuine confusion, last night’s flashes soon invaded the brain, floating in front of my brown eyes like a very psychedelic movie from the seventies.The most recent messages from the instant messenger program were from Carlos, he had probably woken up at that time too and realized what a shit he did.
Even our biological clocks worked similarly: I hated him for being a damn perfect boy.
Some other texts overcame from the school group. A poor soul was desperate wondering if there was any work to hand in on Monday.
But the last ones, sent last night, came from an unknown number whose picture didn’t appear to me.
Five minutes later, one more.
As if that explained anything.
“You forgot your coat in my car tonight. And your headband is washed waiting for you.”
HOW THE HELL DID HE GET MY PHONE NUMBER?
“Sorry for saying anything that made you feel bad. I’m very grateful for the caring”.
A part of the glacier that I had spent all night forming around my heart simply melted and collapsed, bringing everything else together. It was impossible to act like a tough girl when the idiot called Miguel didn’t even try to piss me off. He and Carlos were so different, like cheap red wine and a very expensive white one. You know the second is better, but you still drink from the first because it’s sweeter.
With trembling fingers, I forced myself to type in an answer that didn’t sound like: “I’m extremely touched, but HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NUMBER?”
I started with a very formal “hello” so he would know that I wasn’t that easily pleased. Then I tried to look detached by sending: “You can save that for me, it won’t be missed”. Which was a bitch of a lie, since it was the only coat I had for going out. The only coat I had at all!
Finally, I decided to end with just a “You don’t have to thank me” of an answer. Very simple and contained, followed by “How did you find my contact”?
I barely had time to look at the other messages, because the boy answered me almost the next minute. Strangely, even though I couldn’t see them, the memory of those forget-me-not blue eyes filled me with unusual heat.
“There is nothing in this world that money cannot get. And having some contacts in doubtful places, for sure”.
Money, money, money, everything in this world always seemed to be related to the paper notes always missing in my life. What did he mean by that? Had he paid someone to find me?
“How much do you know?” I asked, placing a suspicious-face emoji at the end of the sentence before sending it. Again, the answer came in the blink of an eye, which filled me with anxiety and a still unknown feeling that I couldn’t decipher. Was this my ego puffing up for getting so much attention for the first time?
“Nothing, just your number. I didn’t want to know the rest. If anyone is going to tell me about the wonderful Luneta, it will be herself.”
“Luna”, I said, though the dryness of the message didn’t match the reddish tone on my dark skin as I read it from him. “I like being called Luna.”
This time, his answer took a while to arrive. It seemed that he was writing a very elaborate text. The “typing” message kept popping up and disappearing on the top of the screen for several minutes until I gave up waiting and got up to wash my face.
After brushing my teeth and going to the kitchen to see what my brother was up to, I was in the middle of my cereal bowl when the phone rang.
“Would you be interested in living something crazy?”
My eyes darted over the extremely messy house, all the dishes I had to wash, my pajamas still on, and my curly hair looking more tangled than a vulture’s nest, making me let out a loud sigh. He must be kidding me.
“I’m not very presentable at the moment”.
A new moment of silence stretched as if the guy was thinking of some solution that did not involve my escapism.
“I give you two hours to get organized and then meet you wherever you want.”
Jorge’s voice echoed in my head, talking about the opportunities he missed and how he wanted to have the chances I have in life. Well, this was a chance to do something pretty dumb, and it was a weekend, wasn’t it? Perfect for stupid actions!
“Meet me at Parque Madureira at 4:30 pm”.
I clicked send and my heart was almost vomited itself.