Any other day, he could have missed dinner without even thinking twice. He might have spent the night in the library pretending to study. He might have stayed over with a friend or got drunk and ended up pissing himself somewhere. God only knows how much he felt like doing just that. But there was no thinking of it with Martha coming over for dinner. He could picture them in his mind, their peering looks falling on him as soon as he came in, their eyes turning toward the door as soon as his key found its way into the keyhole. Bloody erotic scene, except a tribe of Beasts was in the other side, not Beauty, and they sadly wouldn’t be asleep. Beauty was somewhere else and he, a member of that tribe, was prone to let it slip away.
The thing is, he did not want to go. Agreeing to bring Martha with him for dinner had been a very bad idea right from the start. At the time, he had thought it might keep their mouths shut for some time, after all he had not had anyone over for dinner since…ever. But he had been naive, her missing their little “party” was bound to make them all the more eager for a piece of meat, like the crows the really were. And he just was not in the mood for another night show of the same depressive drama series. Besides, the whole dinner thing had already earned him a fight with Pete…
The whining, the humming, the squeaking noise of the train approaching. Doors opening, people coming out of the carriage, people shoving their way into it. He stepped into the carriage and found a seat by the window, next to an elderly lady lost in the reading of some exciting, freshly published novel. Beeping sounds, doors closing, the safety of being inside a closed little cosmos, the train finally moving again, the platform passing by in a hurry and disappearing somewhere behind him. He rested his head against the window and gave in to the lullaby of moving trains in underground tunnels.
They had met after class, down in the basement floor. Pete had been waiting for him at his usual stop, leaning against the wall in his leather jacket. His unruly, curly hair, the clothing, the foot flat against the wall and the Nietzsche he had been reading making him look all the more like the rebel young poet at odds with the modern world. Was there something of Kerouac about him? Maybe. He liked it, whatever it was that stayed his gaze on that image for half a heartbeat every single time before walking towards him.
‘Hi!’ he said, as if he was a father waking a son on a sunny springtime morning. No, not a father, an older brother, …Let us not go down that road, please.
Pete’s eyes forsook Zarathustra’s wisdom and met his.
‘Hello there!” he answered, the syllables warmed by his cozy voice, a smile running through his lips and spreading to his eyes when their gaze met. Silence followed while Narcissus talked to the lake or vice-versa. Seconds only, stolen away from their cover-up talk, and then Pete’s arm was about his shoulders as they walked together to the cafeteria to grab some lunch.
‘How was your day?’ Pete asked him.
‘Boring…that is, normal, I supposed’ Luke replied with a grimace, ‘I quite enjoyed Professor Barnes’ lecture on Richard III, tho.’
He felt Peter halting at the sound of that. He could have guessed what was coming next. He felt something warm spreading from his left-hand fingers, up his arm and, then, down through his chest and nestling in his tummy as Pete took his hand, waved his arm in a theatrical manner, in the way of a flesh-and-bone Statue of Liberty in regal robes crowned and then…
‘GOD AND YOUR ARMS BE PRAISED, VICTORIOUS FRIENDS: THE DAY IS OURS, THE BLOODY DOG IS DEAD!!!’
The few people around were, understandably, startled. Then some smiled, others shook their heads in disapproval. The pair of them buried their faces in each other’s shoulders, trying not to laugh too hysterically and failing miserably. The embrace was broken in the blink of an eye and left behind to both of them the echo of its sensations in the echo touching skin and perfume. When they surfaced from it, two middle-aged, vaguely donnish women nearby were ruminating their upright, righteous anger against the desecration of the hallowed walls by a pair of “art-murdering, loud idiots”. Peter, off course, couldn’t resist the opportunity and, in the same cheeky, Shakespearen-like sort of way, he intoned the appropriate vade retro, pretending to aim his speech at another, ethereal, gathering of witches:
‘How now, you secret, black and midnight hags! What is‘t you do?’
To be continued…
Tomás Ferreira (Get Real. culture editor)
This series, entitled “A Horse!” will be in 8 parts. This is part 5/8.