Skip to main content

Short Story: "Picking up where we left off"




Iris had listened attentively to all his words, her face covered by a veil of graceful melancholy. 

She paused for a second, trying to compose herself. 

She glanced at the mountains, their geometric silhouettes calmly burning in the indigo sky, then took his hand: “Gaining a clearer understanding of the world and how it works is a paradoxically confusing experience.  I have always assumed that, as you get older, you kind of learn to figure stuff out, you find the key to handle life, you finally take control.

As it turns out, growing up is a painful experience. Or at least it has been for me. You slowly strip yourself of layers of childish obliviousness. The same obliviousness that protected you from the harsh realities of an often unpleasant world. Once you leave it you’re naked, vulnerable, exposed.

At first, it’s just a crack, almost invisible to the human eye. The years go by and the cracks extends, it widens, it splits you in the middle. Before you know it, you’re broken,” she said, drawing an imaginary line on her chest with her snow-white piano fingers.  

I’m a bit of a mess these days,” she continued, “I find myself torn between apathy and burning rage.
It’s the passing of time that bothers me, too, the mounting awareness that the party will be over, eventually. And just like you, I am seemingly unable to enjoy the best part of it.

I know they’re thinking: what does a twenty-year-old know about the passing of time anyway? Why would you presume to know anything about this damn party and when it finishes and what the best part it’s supposed to be?

I used to watch movies and find delight in those amazing stories, the intricate plots, the kaleidoscopic characters, the evocative settings. And you know why? I was sure that one day I would have something like that. I lived in trepidation, a never-ending feeling of anticipation, the clear vision of the day when life would finally feel like a movie.

I still watch movies, but some of them don’t speak to me anymore, not in the same way.  I watch them, and instead of swimming in the excitement I drown in a bottomless pond of nostalgia, dragged down by the sharp feeling of loss for what can no longer be.

I am quite young, yet old enough to have to give up some dreams because I’m too late for them. And I’m okay with that, I guess. It pains me and it breaks me, but I am not going to get in another hopeless fight. I've had enough early defeats for one life.

But I haven’t given up just yet, and neither should you. We are flame, slave of the wind, casting long shadows over each other, maybe weaker than before... but God, you feel this pain? this rage? this sorrow? It means that it's not over, that we're still here, that we’ll keep on burning,  that maybe - after all - we'll be the last lights to go off at this beautiful, strange party."

Missouri, Summer of 1989



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Valerio's Press Review: "GQ Magazine, April 2021"

Welcome to Valerio's Press Review, the series in which I read a magazine or newspaper (okay... look at the pictures) and write mean things about the people in them. It's fun! 1) A revitalising afternoon of clam-digging on Southend beach? A day of snorkelling by the port of Dover? Make sure you pack Rolex’s newest submarine watch! You don’t want the fish to think you’re poor.  2) Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection. The question on everybody’s lips is: do you really want to look like your rich friend’s beach house bathroom? The answer is, and always will be, yes. 3) Sam Claflin for Barbour. A GQ insider told me that his puzzled expression is due to the fact that, for the whole duration of the photo shoot, Sam couldn’t help but wonder if he’d remembered to feed the cat before he left his flat. Models... they’re just like us <3 4) GQ’s Staycation must-have items. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring one item with you, what would it be? Duh! A £32

The Love Series: Dressed For The Occasion

I think we’ve all been there before. You’ve finally managed to bag a hot date. You approach the whole operation with scientific precision and military discipline. You pick the best time for both of you, scour Yelp for the cheapest restaurants with a minimum hygiene rating of 4/5 and proceed to send your location to the group chat so your friends know where to find your lifeless body in case your date turns out to be the millennial Ted Bundy/Aileen Wuornos. Everything is ready, planned to the last detail. But then the big day comes and, oh shit… you have nothing to wear. You lean into your closet and ouch, all you can see is a blurry cluster of old, faded, Salvation Army-ish items that all of your friends will promptly veto and report to the authorities (wearing them in public would indeed qualify as a lewd act) the moment they receive your panicked snaps. It’s like Primark’s reduced section on steroids. A felt jacket? Too shabby. A funky silk shirt with oriental patterns? too

Getting on with it

A friend of mine messaged me the other day about an opportunity to pitch a piece for a new magazine looking for articles about happiness and well-being. She swiftly withdrew her suggestion upon realising I had literally nothing to contribute to the subject. I can’t seem to shake off the ever so slight suspicion that my particularly abrasive brand of defeatist sarcasm is unlikely to go down well with an audience that’s after feel-good stories for a much-needed start-of-week pick-me-up (that’s enough hyphens for today). Life in the time of Miss Rona is predictably slow. Aside from the customary episodes of wretchedness which stud my life that I have already discussed at length on this platform, I have very little to write about. I am of course binge-watching the Crown (hence me casually using words like “wretchedness”). I have also decided to finally do something about my life-long shampoo addiction and reduce the frequency of my hair washing from once every 24 hours to once every 30 hou