Saudade

We sketch our memories and sometimes we rub them out too hard and it ends up leaving a hole, even if you can’t see what was there any more-

So when you rub it off…

Do you still know what was there?

It’s like we don’t speak of loneliness enough, because we do and eventually somehow that mercilessly tumbles onto suicide. Then next time I’m at a doctor the question of suicide rises up, because it is somehow assumed that everything goes hand in hand. It’s asked with a smile, an assumption that of course the thoughts never cross my head.

It’s always a lie and it gets rubbed harder.

“Have you ever loved anyone” is another question which gets asked, but I rarely have the guts to tear all the petals away and reveal that I had loved when I hadn’t known myself at all. So was it really love?

What about all the rest? They just came and went with the post coital talking, where neither confesses how lonely the other feels.

It feels as if life was divided in two parts, where I knew myself and when others thought they did. If I was a smoker I would be probably smoking, but the problem is that it stopped becoming cool and it’s just something parents do among themselves, splitting a cigarette, promising to quit tomorrow.

Everything seemed like waiting for a ghost. Or maybe seeing one up close, not drug fuelled either on both ends. It’s never a confession that I’ve seen him on Facebook, so I knew how he’d look like if it were so happen to meet.

I remember that way back when I would wear dresses, before I knew who I was, I saw one of my exes while wearing a red dress and in heels and I walked past him. I remember my whole body shaking and thinking how metaphorically pretty I looked. That the last time we saw each other would be me in a red dress.

Today wasn’t a metaphor of any sorts, but a cocktail of a mental breakdown which caused me to scream at my boyfriend that I was going to said wedding alone, that I needed time to clear my head and the thoughts don’t even go well on paper, as I retell this all. I get the same rush and it’s not a good thing. It’s not a good thing when you’re asking for an apology and some sort of alibi, but it’s easier to get denied by the truth than some mediocre lie, because I know that there was nothing I could hide myself from. I didn’t know.

My thoughts are all jumbled and I apologize, but it’s really the whole fact that I would see him on a wedding of a friend, who I had no idea he was in touch with or even knew on the first place and who didn’t warn me either. There was no winking and saying ‘your first ex will be there’ because no one knows much about those times when I was different. People just assume just like the gender therapists that I’ve always been desperately macho. I never tell them that I wore dresses and even then it becomes in a whisper. Maybe for some Halloween to reconnect when I was still trying to understand myself, but the idea was bad. It’s even worse that I see him at the party and he’s surely no waiter.

He couldn’t have stalked me like I stalked him on Facebook. I changed names. He’s not friends with the people I’m friends with. Rumors don’t travel of names and surgeries, maybe that I’m trans. So I look around, there’s plenty of drinking and I can’t even focus on the sand underneath my feet to ground all my emotions.

I saw him at a wedding.

I see him at a wedding and he’s making eye contact with me because I’ve stared long enough. So he makes his way up from sitting on the sand alone and why not congratulate a friend instead of the bride and groom? He’s wearing grey pants and a white button up shirt. We’re both probably far too sweaty and we would’ve all benefited from having a swim suit wedding, but the bride didn’t want that and the weather is so hot that it just goes into being in a toaster where you can’t sweat more than you would sweat ten degrees ago.

It’s a long forgotten desire of what the fuck would have happened.

He broke it off. I wasn’t the one saying quits, but after years of waltzing and him telling our friends he loved me, I stopped. I didn’t visit him when he was desperately ill and I just made a face, that I would never visit him again no matter how much people thought I needed a boyfriend.

And as you know, this was way before I had lost my virginity. This was all child’s play and some story which would be rated well by Disney. That was all it was. I just entered teenage years and I was too young to consider actually wanting sex. I didn’t know who I was, so how could I want?

“Hey.” His voice is deeper and my hair length changed, dyed blonde. Hair length was something I didn’t give up, I still wanted it to cover my ears and look like I had escaped from some rock band or maybe some movie, book, I just didn’t want an undercut and facial hair made me look like Kurt Cobain in a way, so I kept clean shaved just to look different and with shorter than Kurt hair. Now he’s looking at me full force.

He knows that I’m trans

And there it goes.

Maybe he did stalk my Facebook.

He opens his mouth to say something, but what does one say? He can’t possible dead name me-

But he does.

I squint, because I wish there was sun and this is pathetic, that I’m shaking and I’m not in a red dress, instead I’m also in a button up and pants, sitting on the sand and I don’t feel as glamorous knowing that I have pills I take a few times a day to calm down and I still haven’t gotten the courage to even connect to the internet or call you besides telling you that I arrived.

I take a sip of my beer.

“I meant…” He sits down. He’s really staring.

“I mean.” He stops. “It’s… Allan now, yeah?”

I just nod. He’s terribly changed but even if I’ve seen plenty photos and how his life is going from bits I’ve heard here and there, it’s hard to imagine someone change so much when you’ve seen them before. I still look down and dig my feet deeper into the sand, feeling a bit like a seasick sailor. I shouldn’t even be talking to him, yet here I am, trying to even get on board somehow. Somehow the loud Portuguese seems to ease me as well. It becomes awkward when I don’t understand or don’t try, since learning languages en masse is a thing now. It’s nice to find solace somewhere even for a brief while.

My heart still keeps racing and my hands are as sweaty as the ocean.

What else does one say?

And it’s gonna get worse.

How the hell do I say that my whole world is going under? That I’ve considered even a mental hospital, just because it seemed like the place they would take someone who had completely gotten sick of the big city, of how everything had started running its course and getting out just seemed crazy. Maybe a plot of a farming simulator, but it would never escalate to anything more. I wanted out and I knew I was crazy. My mood couldn’t be stabilized and everything seemed flashing and now he was here. He wasn’t even a mirage, he was a disaster waiting to happen again. We just drink beer quietly, making both aware that this how we would react at a school reunion anyway. We have nothing to talk about besides me asking why the hell had you gone for the other girl?

Why had you dumped her so soon afterwards?

Why did I sabotage every relationship I had afterwards even my most recent which had been with you? He was solely the reason, the fingerprint I couldn’t change. He had been choking me all this time and using his hands instead of allowing my own and I would just watch.

The love had evaporated and I no longer knew how it had tasted. I just remember choking. I remember the kissing which was confusing.

Please, if you’re angry at anyone be angry at him. Accuse the one who steals, not the one who runs away.

I knew I would sleep with someone in Brazil, that I would let someone chat me up. And then the possibility shined brightly in my eyes like a flashlight and I could only turn away. But I’m getting ahead of myself. But that’s how you do it, you tell the bad news, who the murderer is and then you find out how he had killed. Or rather that someone had died.

“It’s funny…” He gulps the beer and then nods at the bride and groom. “That we both know them at the other side of the world.”

“I don’t really talk about you.” It sounds like a snap. “So I doubt they would’ve made the connection.”

“Neither.” He replies just as coldly. I did masturbate to him though. We obviously never had sex, even if some girls and boys our age already gave themselves in. And he looks at me with a bit of iciness in his eyes, he has to play ball with the same technique I am playing with. He wants to mirror it all.

“David.” I pause and he looks stung by me saying the name. Feeling an old poison run through the body. They say you never forget your first love, but mine was getting grown over by thorns in my mind which only confirmed that I didn’t want to touch. David stares at me, his hair all tidy and kept, unlike mine which is getting a bit too long for my liking, I need a trim and stop my fear of hairdressers back from the days when I didn’t use to pass or let alone be on testosterone. I don’t even know why I uttered his name. How does one skip the awkwardness?

“I wanted to see you again.” He taps on the beer can with his fingers, tapping some old song I can’t exactly recall. “But you never wrote back and I just gave up, knowing that I had pushed it too hard on you.”

“I don’t even know what you meant by it.” I laugh darkly. “You didn’t want me back, yet you wanted to apologize for everything and told me that you would tell someone who you didn’t love that you loved her.

You were so odd.”

“Who says I changed?” He chips in, still looking at me. I feel bizarre. I keep looking away from his glance, just to avoid him. But I still remain in the conversation, not even moving an inch away, maybe just fiddling with the beer can.

“I’m pretty positive that we already were built by the time we were dating.” I sigh. “I think we all try to think we’ve changed, because no one wants to be stagnant in anything, so we lie to ourselves that we change, that everything is getting better, but is it really?”

“It’s not.” David sounds like a fatalist now, like on our last conversation which made no sense and ended up being the reason I just cut him off with no explanation. I always wondered what the hell would I have said to him, if I had gotten the chance and the fact that I had no idea what could I even say, just proves the bizarre twists and turns this conversation is achieving. He rubs his eyes, digging the can into the sand. “Do you want to go elsewhere or… you alright with the whole wedding around? I feel like we’ve got a whole night of catching up to do.”

I look at him, I feel like confusion is plastered all over my face rather than curiosity or any other emotion.

“If you want to that is. I wasn’t the best boyfriend. But… you know that.” He chooses his words carefully, as if this is still a complicated manoeuvre of game pieces and you’ve got to think which cards to reveal and the goal of one’s player is not said. What did the cards say he had to do to win? What even was victory to him?

Why are we even discussing this when we haven’t even properly said hello or how are you, just to kiss each other on the cheek and complain on how we can’t really take much with us to the beach? But instead we’re really rolling around in old thoughts and feelings which should’ve really been gone by now.

I drink the beer, pretending to think over his offer but somehow I feel a bit too frustrated on both ends of the problem, I want to hear what he has to say and it does sound like an invitation, but I don’t dare to ask. Who would really sleep with their first love if they could?

I look at him again.

I slowly nod, probably regretting everything which will unfold, but my heart is rushing.

He won’t really invite me upstairs now, I think about it, but we both stand up. I glance at the bride, who is the said close friend and she’s far too entertained by the groom to the point of laughter. I rub my eyes, as we walk through the sand silently. I recall how we would hold hands in the summer and how sweaty the hands would get, but somehow we wouldn’t break the touch at all. I look around, how people are still playing volleyball and some surfers seem to be lying with their surfboards and smoking. Others are blasting music which clashes against the wedding tunes. It’s been dark for a while now and I wonder how long have we not noticed each other or if he had-

“Did you notice me before?” I ask and he just dunks the beer, holding his answer back, giving a small nod as we get out of the beach area and into the street with the crowded buses screaming out locations and where they would go next, as well some taxis here and there.

“Didn’t have the guts to talk and then…” David makes sure that I’m looking at him. “You looked. So, that tipped me over.”

What even is his sexuality? He didn’t slip anything much about me, is that how sudden does one accept that an ex is transgender? How much should one flirt with a blade? My neck is probably red and I feel myself get redder and surely not from the heat that I’ve been desperately enjoying after being so cold during all of winter and escaping it.

Dreaming of him sexually didn’t help through teenage years and he was a constant fantasy and looking at him now, where sex is frankly frequent of an outcome, it becomes a desire. I just want the conversations to reach a lull, but even if my body takes hold of me, even if all this nostalgia is through rose tinted glasses, I must still maintain the conversation, allow it to come naturally and then straddle whatever I get.

How come we can feel lonely even when we’re in love? How can some love fade and other still be so vivid after years or does it become coloured glass nourished by the ocean, smoothing the edges and giving it an illusion of what it once was?

“Do you want to drink more or just…” He’s arranging his card deck in his mind. We’re adults now and we unwind in ways we would never dream of. Mistakes are made far more fatal. David barely lets go of my gaze. “Head upstairs for somewhere far more private? But then crowds can be private, because no one can ever hear anything and everyone having their own conversation lulls out any words one says to someone else who isn’t listening.”

“I think I’ve drank enough.” You’re the one making me drunk. I look around and throw away the beer, as I wait for the light to go green. David is still drinking his. I try to flatter myself thinking that he was too entangled in his thoughts to properly drink.

Well, here’s to a change and welcome to the new! I used to be an obsessive fanfiction writer, but as time went on and I had lots of time to think due to my mental health and assess where things were going. I’ve decided to go back to being a fiction writer, which I was many years ago. I’m very happy to share my new project with you, regardless if you’re an old or a new reader.

I knew that I wanted to write some fiction, but I frankly had no idea. I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep and my mind kept going everywhere, until I was given the question, what would’ve happened if I met my first boyfriend now, knowing who I am. Of course it’s no wishful thinking and we left on rather bizarre terms and I have avoided contact since and have no intention of changing that, but I let my mind wander for a few days. I then started writing it, letting it take form and putting all my bias away and basing the characters very heavily on both of us. It’s like a last ode even if I know that eventually I’ll think of things that happened because I always dwell on the past, but I’ve never set anything so heavily on it.

Saudade (Portuguese)  a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament.

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