It’s 01:02 AM in Copenhagen. Cold. Dark. Luckily, I’m not there. “Pilar is a fancy neighborhood surrounded by slums,” the cab driver said, pointing out the window, into the weak lights by the side of the road. Argentina is a rough place. I’m walking in a mall. The sun is setting and I’m bored. Anxious. I need a drink. Fucking business trip. Fucking sobriety. “Got the lonely traveler blues,” I write my friend. Back in the hotel. I go on Tinder. Play Candy Crush. Tinder again. Candy Crush now. Instagram. Happn. Tinder. Hit the hotel gym. I exhaust myself. A skinny milf works out. Looks at me with disdain. I’m not wearing workout clothes. I’m hungry. In my room again. Naked on the bed. Tinder. “December 1st,” I think. As if it never happened. As if I didn’t stalk my ex on Facebook and didn’t find her and didn’t stare at her newest picture for far too long and felt the weight of the truth. As if I didn’t care about her 30th birthday. But the urge to write that obnoxious Whatsapp message wasn’t there. Can’t stop hurting, but I can stop hurting her. I hope. Though I haven’t eaten and still sit naked on my king-size bed at the Sheraton Pilar. Writing what I thought would be my response to Kerouac and his stream of consciousness crap. Can’t do that. I like paragraphs and the sense of style. Yet, I can’t seem to break these words into smaller chunks of digestible text. Or anything readable nor worth spending a few minutes on. Jumping back and forth in time, in my head. You can’t… No: you won’t even begin to understand what it feels to be stuck in this head of mine. Ask my therapist. She’s confused. She can’t find Eduardo in me. Hell, I can’t find Eduardo in here, either. Who is that guy? All these turns and twists and life changes and women and fucking emotions. It doesn’t stop. I will not make it stop. I fuck up and repeat. The names change. The locations. The background stories. The smells and flavors and traits. They always change. But they are the same: black. Big black holes to be. Just a matter of time. And the emptiness within grows. And I grow into it, to become nothing. So I’m not better than him. I can’t kill him. Cannot kill my father and his legacy in me. Eduardo Hernández, II. The heir of a long lineage of fuck-ups. Me, the recovering alcoholic. The regretful brokenhearted mess. Oddly optimistic at times. Rarely. Not very good at ending stories. Or telling them. Not freezing in Denmark, though. Silver linings.
Life’s an overpriced blowjob. Or meal. Or any kind of prize or reward. How much work do we have to put into achieving whatever we want? And how many of us accomplish anything at all? Because for every fancy meal some rich motherfucker will have in the course of any given day, effortlessly, thousands will starve to death. How is that fair?
The collective consciousness is bullshit. How many of us have to pay for someone else’s joy? For some other shithead to collect the fruits of our labor? We, average Joes and Janes of the world, are damned to fail. We are taught to feel entitled, yet this entitlement is based in false pretenses. Meritocracy? Blah. There, in the time you’ll take to finish this paragraph, a few slaves will have died somewhere, not before having worked their asses off until their last breath. Talk about their anonymous merits, the rewards awaiting for them in the dust.
I’m among the lucky ones. Boys and men worldwide have and will pay with their hard earned money for billions of expensive dinners and drinks and club tickets to get a lousy handjob in return. Maybe. Probably not even that. Me? Nah. I have and will get all the blowjobs and intercourse they won’t, with less than half the effort and none of the expenses. Where’s the fairness in that? I don’t see it. (Although I don’t agree with the sexist idea of getting sex in return of treats. But I’m a feminist. Or relatively smart.)
Perhaps my current dry spell is the Universe’s way of leveling things out. Maybe some poor bastard is going to cash in some return on his investment and get a blowjob for cheap. Or free! Imagine that? And, in the odd chance of that happening, my existential angst will give in and fuck off. Angels will come down from the skies and sing a marvelous symphony in the ear of that guy getting head. And my spell will be broken. And I’ll come back to keep making the world one unjust shithole, to restore the unbalance of it all. One fuck at a time.
The bus was packed and warm. My back was stuck to the window, the sun hitting me from behind. Hard. A middle age woman stood in front of me, staring at her phone, with her expressionless face looking down, tired. It then came to me. A certain perfume of a certain past. Tiphaine, my French affair, my last lover. I could smell her in the damp air of the bus, and the humidity and the heat and sweat reminded me of her, of us. Her petite body, rhythmically grinding on top of me, as I licked on her small nipples and caressed all of her body, gently and rough, and gently again. I should have gone down on her. I never did. Now I crave the fragrance of an aroused vagina, the texture and wetness of it on my lips, its flavor inebriating me better than some fancy spirit.
Women. So many many women. I have entered their lives and bodies quickly. But they, also quickly, exited my bed and my path. And, just as fast, they left me empty. Completely empty, but full of words. And then, there’s no Eduardo anymore. This man who calls himself “The Writer” takes his place. Rejoicing in the erotic flashbacks of his alter ego. His lustful fingers toying with the keyboard, as if it were a clit, split in a hundred pieces.
It’s all over, though. I knew it would be at some point. I’m even surprised I could get away with it for so long. Sooner or later, they were gonna find out. Women would unmask me, finding the last layer of me; going beyond the nude, under the skin. Why would they sleep with me? Why would anyone? Can’t help but feeling fascinated by the mystery of it. Or of why I’m good at it. Another enigma. “Eduardo, the good fuck.” A joke without a punchline, that abruptly ends and leaves everyone confused and wondering “Was that it?”
I have 37 days left to go here, in the concrete jungle down south. The cars are loud on the streets and the smog poisons you and your dreams. The sun in Santiago feels heavy on your skin, whether there’s something under it or not. I’m tan already. And as horny as I could get.
I hear my neighbors fucking, almost every night. Some afternoons, too. I remember when that was me. Ah, those glorious days! They seem like fiction now; stories made up in the haze of depression and aloneness, to cope with the alienation of cold and gray Copenhagen.
“I don’t understand how you do it,” my friend Elyssa said, eating her eggs Benedict in Wonderland, this hippie coffee shop we were at. “How can you be with so many women? I couldn’t do the same. If I really like somebody, it’s really hard for me to let go. I can’t move on so easily.”
“Neither can I,” I replied, feeling a lump in my throat that I couldn’t wash down with my overpriced cappuccino. “But I do it because I always wanna meet the next one, and the next one after that. But I never move on, really. I fall in love a bit with each of them, and they take a piece of me when they leave. And they always leave.”
“That must be tough.”
“It’s okay. As long as there is a new girl to help me forget the last one, it’s fine. Kind of. It haven’t really helped me get over my ex. Not yet.”
Sent a picture of the dentist’s waiting room to S, killing time before my appointment. “At the dentist, waiting to get 300 lucas worth of work in my beautiful mouth,” I wrote, afraid of her answer. It felt too mundane, like entering a sort of “relationship territory.” I didn’t want to develop any feelings for her. I did not want to be vulnerable, nor being turned down once more. Yet there I was, texting away, tempting fate. “Good luck!” she wrote back, after a few minutes. I sighed in relieve.
I came over to her apartment on Friday. We hadn’t met since the time we kissed, so I assumed this was it; the night where we were finally going to close the deal. I packed four condoms in my jacket, showered and put on some perfume. Brought some snacks and a couple of non-alcoholic beers with me, ready for it to happen. Months and months of no sex were coming to an end with a blast. I was gonna sleep with a smart, independent and empowered African-American woman. Things couldn’t get better than that.
There was something odd in the air. Her body language, the tone of her voice, the whole situation were different. I have been there before, enough times to know when something was wrong. “What’s going on?” I asked, uncomfortably sitting across the table from her. “What do you mean?” she said, dipping a tortilla chip in her homemade guacamole. “Between us,” I said. “I’m feeling more like a friendly vibe, you know?” she replied. And our dialog was followed by some confusing and awkward couple of hours, and a defeated, fuck-less walk of shame at 2 AM.
Today is my last day of holiday. During this last three weeks I was supposed to write a lot, get a literary agent to help me publish my first serious novel, and fuck a lot of Chilean girls. Did not do any of that. Went to the dentist, retook therapy with my old psychologist, started taking anti-anxiety pills, quit drinking and spent a lot of time with my mum. None of that is better than fucking, nor it helps me calm down and tame the beast in my pants. But, why the fuck do I have to screw around so much? Why, if not to fill a deep hole of existential angst and loneliness in me? Not that pills and sobriety are the answer, either. Though, maybe, it’s worth trying a different approach. Just to see.
I had made it. All the way to Chile, back to that goddamn bar, to reunite -among others- with my best friend. “I envy you, man,” he said, after a mildly awkward silence. I smiled, politely. And as I sipped my beer and tried to ignore the anxious pain in my gut, I wondered what the fuck he -or anyone- could be envious of. My excruciating 24/7 anxiety? My fucked up colon? My sleepless nights and exhausted days? My never ending existential crisis? The lack of purpose of anything I am and do? My current sexual drought? The absence of affection, of human touch? My pathologic disconnection from the world and people, in general? My angst? Is that something to envy?
“You’ve never had it easy,” my friend continued. Now he was making more sense. I nodded. “No, I haven’t,” I said, with some sort of bitchy entitled tone. Somehow, rather than fighting it, I was owning my past; the pain and the thesaurus of motherfucking traumas imprinted in my timeline, in my brain. As if this time that these big buckets of suffering were being brought up with a positive undertone, they were suddenly okay. Because they made me who I am. And being me was, apparently, enviable.
Home. Here I was, again. Culture shocked. Disgusted by seeing the worst of me in everyone around me. Once more. The last drop in a cup full of shame and a profound disbelief. “Chileans… Are these people even real? How low can the human race go?” At least I found some comfort in knowing there were a few worth saving: my mum, a selected few among my family, my friends. And my -maybe- newest lover-to-be. (Fingers crossed.)
“So you are mulatto,” I said, trying to break the ice in our first date.
“You can’t say that,” she replied, clearly upset. “It’s offensive.”
I gulped my beer. “It’s not offensive here,” I said. As if using Chilean culture was a valid excuse for being blatantly racist.
“It’s almost as bad as saying the N word.”
“Oh… I actually have a story with that.”
Once, this Dane told me that he was amazed of how I can get away with saying the most horrible things, because “You have a certain charm to it.” He proved to be right. On our second date, looking down into the street and the Santa Lucía hill from her terrace, S said that, even though half the things I say are awful, my charm makes it okay. So, at the end of the evening, I kissed her and playfully grabbed her butt on my way out her flat. Maybe my friend was right about being envious of me. In a very twisted way, he was right.