I remember the first night I had been with Santiago (in total there were only three nights) and when he kissed me so gently and effusively at the corridor in Markos´ home, and how we then fled with the help of Maria Clara to my apartment late at night. We drank the remaining of the aguardiente bottle we had stolen from the party and we added to it the remnants of Campari from my birthday party – I´ve had only two memorable birthday parties, one in 2007 in Jerusalem when I assembled about two dozens of people at the apartment, offered them a succulent meal and received many presents and the second in 2009 with the help of Maria Clara, with so many new friends and old friends and in such extravagant fashion – which took place exactly a week after Veronica was found dead. He treated me to his favorite songs, sat on my lap as we sipped the alcohol turned into elixir, made so many promises and I lectured him on Western philosophy; I was too shocked to find out he actually knew who Hannah Arendt was and I also remember he asked me questions about the Torah whose response I promised to delay into a further meeting, I was so completely convinced that I would be seeing him for many days to come, for many hours, through many nights – deceit; we lingered into a rather strained conversation about being a pariah and then he fell asleep in my arms where he remained until the next late morning, the same morning when the screen of my computer broke for good. My cat had eaten most of his dope and refused to leave us alone, as if she were convinced deep inside her that he stood for a newfound foe. The skin in his back was soft as that of a child but his chin protruded with facial hair in full blown adulthood around his delicate thin lips that seemed as if drawn masterfully with a fountain pen and concealing much bitterness product of precocious intelligence blended in with failure in love and the personal immaturity worthy of being worshipped by Socratic illuminati in search of initiates and converts. His chest was still that of a child with a few scattered or splattered protruding hairs that made him look both childish and immaculate, as if not completely ripe. There´s nothing else I can remember with clarity and to continue describing him I would have to restore to clairvoyance and sorcery more than to memory. In size he might seem apparently tinier than I am but a lot more proportionate in the symmetrical relationship of lips, head, shoulders and hips. His arms might have shined with a delicate tan of which I am completely bereft and erratically scattered half-grown sun-dyed hairs.
King David, it is told in the Talmud, that would not spend any hours of the day without studying the Torah, so that in the twilight between midnight and the thick deeper night he used to sit by his shtender studying the Psalms, half slumbered and half awoken, not quite able to drown into sleep and neither capable to standing up. That´s how I half-slumbered that night; my loneliness profiting from the warmth of his physicality and watching the hours slip by amidst half-conversations, half-murmurs and half-intimations. That´s as much as I can remember; however I need no clairvoyance of sorts in order to attest to what followed thereafter, the prolonged silence and each and every mistake I incurred in, one more gruesome than the other, all the more regrettably so. My only accomplishment is that I delivered to him the letter I wrote that day when I fought with Maria Clara over the dangerous Campari treasure hunt. Letter which I delivered to him at Maria´s birthday party, the same day I had been intimate with Ariel – Santiago´s first love, amidst a long night of eccentric alcohol consumption by which I avowed myself to take revenge upon the little bastard and when I found out more than what I could live with about him. However, I forgot to think of the obvious fact that Ariel´s opinions might have been a little biased. We might both have deceived ourselves the same day, or with a day of difference. That night after I had to take him home from Maria´s I was with him and Ariel in the same cab and as soon as we reached his building we sent Ariel home and spent some time together; which I thought would be just the beginning of something greater and sounder but only signaled the silent speechless end. That was the last time I saw him. For consolation I can state clearly that I received every possible apology in the world for everything that stood in between. But I am not in search of consolation. I wanted the no-consolation no-apology version of the Phoebus. The next days I spent long hours walking all the day from my apartment to his building back and forth and sitting in nearby cafés with the sole illusion of encountering him. I didn´t. The only change I might have had, I blew it of my own devise when I ran away to Mona´s country house with Maria Clara and didn´t show up at Ferney´s farewell party. Months later I found out from pictures on the internet that he had been one of the guests there, while I was trapped in the middle of nowhere crying out loud my loss with cheap vodka in the company of a stranger and ridiculing myself drunk with the whole crowd. Until the day I know for certain that he was flight-bound to France I didn´t give up on my hopes to find him anew. I tried every single trick from the usual phone calls to extraordinary manhunts through the city. Not long ago I found an article he wrote on the internet. Hegel says “Here is Rhodus; you can´t jump over Rhodus”. I guess that with or without article, I can´t jump over Rhodus. Rhodus doesn´t jump… It stays home, miserly crying his whole life situation with all possible bourgeois pathos and complacency and then flies to France. That´s as far as Rhodes can jump, and jumps quite well without me. Months later when I was already living with Maria Clara at Patricia´s home (this is a totally different story deserving of whole weeks of midnight writing and writhing) there was this dull evening soirée at Guadalupe´s home when they baked the pizzas and Giovanni, her senior lover from Marseilles came by in order to be introduced to all of us (that night I also met the charming Esteban, Guadalupe´s stepbrother and a very beautiful man) and this guy whose name I no longer recall told us about how wonderful he was faring in the far-away Poitiers and that he was with a guy from Honduras or Guatemala and I wasn´t ascertained by anyone whether as flat mates or as a couple. Whatever the case might have been, that night, that sober night, signaled my ultimate defeat. I am not sure if it was that night (I´m quite sure it wasn´t) that we went to this very large house a few blocks away from Maria´s to play a silly word game, when I met a guy whose I don´t recall either that spoke so nicely about Santiago and wondered about the boyfriend that he supposedly had. I jumped at the forefront and proclaimed myself as such with the cunning aid of Guadalupe and heard all kinds of funny stories about him, about his brother who apparently is very good-looking and also very stupid. I am obliged to laugh as I write this, because right now I am completely but completely convinced that such boyfriend was not me at all. But it felt good to deceive myself and to occupy such an honorable place in the gossip list of the Colombian upper middle class; by which I would be just as much gossiped only a few months later after my fall-out with Maria Clara but for totally different reasons: Deceiver, Pathologic Liar, Thief, Alcoholic, Run-Away. I wonder today what my life would have been like if I had stayed living with Patricia, would that have lasted this long? Would I have exploited from belittling myself with bourgeois lies up to here and now? I doubt it, but there´s no way I could know.
What Maria Clara doesn´t know about our fall-out is the reason of my sudden outburst; I wasn´t outraged by the fact that she would be getting laid in the sofa with a friend and wearing that hideous red underwear, that´s not the reason why I spat on her. Besides being extremely drunk, the truth is that I was savagely attracted to Mario Stefan, I fancied him in a radical sensual and lustful way. He stood for things that I decry – the whole bourgeois attitude of complacency and leisure (not even Marx would have been that extreme) but there was this attitude typical of the cultured man, this chivalrousness, this gentle physical and emotional sensibility to everything beautiful and educated. The point now is that I am sure that this wasn´t true because the bourgeois lazy attitude is fully incompatible with the spiritual attitudes to which I am alluding, and this is not a personal grudge because I spent with him no more than a few hours; it is an afterthought on people in general. The physical sensibility however remains crucial, I didn´t figure it out, maybe I just imagined it. We spent that wonderful evening making this elegant fondue with carrots and mushrooms, baguette and wine, then whiskey and vodka. Then spitting, fighting, crying, crawling, tearing, packing, swelling, leaving, leaving for good – in one night. Whoever said that I was unable to live up to the bohemian dictum that a night is not supposed to end well, they are certainly fooled; to my own detriment I can attest to the fact that I´ve exceedingly lived up to it. I seem to have taken that night a crash course on how to carry through a suicidal plan without actually dying while at it. I passed the course with excellent grades. Life´s never got back to normal since that night, and sorrows of personal and material nature have been piling up as laundry for months with no end; but hey! There is something you can learn from that: There are other countries too. Now I have mortal enemies in a long list of countries: Colombia, Israel, Germany, Italy, France and Iceland. I guess that becoming a star does require an international prestige, precisely because those are the same countries where I happen to have friends. Save the United States, I´m still not a criminal there, but it could happen soon enough. Furthermore, I have monetary debts with people in all of those countries, now it does include the United States. Odds are that my enemies will end getting acquainted with each other; it has happened before. But I guess it requires the stammering talent for unwillingness to accept defeat of Dr. Balke to accomplish that, and that talent is nowadays scarce. Will I succeed in writing about illness without quoting at all and not making it look like a journal entry? I guess that quoting is an integral part of the way in which I write.
I´ve just been reading old writings and I definitely think I write worse and worse as I get older, I become more and more lazy; I have to commit myself to write everyday for the whole of the present month, there´s no other way to stay alive. The most difficult feature in writing I think is irony, much more than sadness and seriousness.