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.