Authors: Cristian Mihai
2012 Cristian Mihai
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for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this book may
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This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the
products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely
edition, April 2012
What if I were to tell you how
this story is going to end? Would you read on? What if I were to tell you what
the biggest tragedy in my life was? Would you care? If I were to flood you with
useless information about who I am and what I do, would you remember any of it
for more than five minutes?
why I am not even going to bother telling you my name.
be honest, I have absolutely no idea how this is supposed to work. You know,
how writing about something that happened to me is going to help me or exactly
how I should write it down. Do I write it in the present tense, as if it’s taking
place right now, as I write the words, or do I write it in the past tense
because it already happened and there’s no way it’s going to happen again?
know, I know, first world problems, but I have always thought that the one
thing we shouldn’t be afraid of is the past. It’s selfish and stupid to
remember over and over again the moments of our joys or sorrows, because
history rarely repeats itself during a man’s life. Therefore, the past should
be buried and forgotten.
it’s contradictory that even though I feel this way, I am writing down a little
bit of my own past, in a pathetic and absurd attempt at preserving it. You
know, when I’ll be old, I want to read these papers and remember. Because it is
sad but true that no matter how much we try to keep them intact, memories die.
Memories die, and there’s no way to bring them back once they have vanished
from our mind.
long time ago, when I was a kid, I used to keep a diary. And every night, before
I would go to sleep, I would write down everything that had happened to me
during that day. It was a painstaking process, so after one month I gave up.
this is not what I want to write about. No, not at all. I want to write about
her. So here goes nothing.
there’s one thing that I regret, then it must be the fact that I never
experienced love at a very young age. You know, a pure and simple love, like
one you have when you’re five or six or seven. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the type
that used to play with others too much. Introverted is one of the words my
mother used ever so often to characterize me as a person, and as I grew up, I
did my best to become the exact opposite of what that word describes.
Dexter, I know I’m just like a dog chasing his own tail. And yes, I am going to
write about her. Eventually.
right now, after I write a couple more words. You know, so I can man up and
figure out how to write about her without blushing like a stupid kid who has seen
boobs for the first time.
always thought our first love, for those who remember it, is something that
carries with it a certain charm, a certain echo. And every other love feels
connected to this first one, to the moment of our first great disillusion, when
we forgot to be young and naïve. It’s a strange thing, to keep something as
childish as our first love as a way of comparing the amplitude of our feelings
as adults, but I reckon this happens to a lot of people.
yes, you are right. I have to write about her.
she was my first kiss. We were young and a little drunk, and she only did it
because… well, I don’t really know why she did it. And it wasn’t a real kiss
either. Our lips touched for only a brief moment, but I remember it so clearly.
It burned. That’s how I can describe it. That kiss, that second when our lips
met, was enough to make my lips burn hot, feverishly hot to be exact, for
almost half an hour. And for a long time it was enough to make them burn
whenever I remembered.
Dexter, Dexter, guessing by your name, I think you don’t know much about the
educational system in Romania. So I should tell you that in Romania, when
you’re in the eighth grade, you have to take these tests, so you can know which
high school you’re entitled to go to. And well, kids from a bunch of schools
come to the same place to take those damn tests.
where I saw her for the first time. In the school yard, waiting to go inside to
take the tests. It was quite sunny and hot outside. For the first time in my
life I genuinely believed that a girl my own age can be beautiful. She was kind
of skinny, to be honest, but still, I couldn’t stop staring at her. I wanted to
go and talk to her, I really did, and I struggled to find the courage and words
needed to do that, but I couldn’t. What would I tell her? What would the other
kids think about me? You know, it seems to me that whenever I think about my
life before high school, it’s clear that I behaved as if my mom had kept me
locked in a closet or something.
dear Dexter, I should tell you something about ladies, so you can understand
that I am not an introvert anymore. There’s only one thing when it comes to
picking up girls, anywhere, anytime. You have to be willing to make a fool out
of yourself. That’s all. You just have to go there, without making wild
assumptions, without day dreaming about how that girl is going to be your wife
someday. No expectations, no trembling voice, no heart pounding like crazy
inside your chest. You look her in the eye and say what you feel like saying.
It doesn’t really matter, but it helps if you say something crazy or
interesting. But no clichés. Please, never try one of those pickup lines that
sound so smart but have been around for so long they’re entitled to have their
own drivers license.
honestly, Dexter, with a name like that you should better be good looking or
rich or both.
get back to her. After that summer day, I didn’t see her. I didn’t know her
name or anything else about her. So I simply got over her and began to think about
don’t believe in destiny. I believe in luck, which is pure chaos, but I don’t
believe in destiny. But somehow, I saw her again on the first day of high
school. In the school yard, with all these kids I didn’t know (because I didn’t
know anyone at my new school) all I could do was stare at her and hope that she
would be in my class. You know, there were like seven classes of freshmen, and
so the odds were against me.
don’t know if it was destiny or not. All I can say is that we were classmates
and the fact that I was going to see her almost daily for the next four years
made me shiver with excitement. But still, I was afraid to talk to her. And I
didn’t for a month or so. Not a single word. Some part of me wished to be invisible;
some part of me avoided her at all costs.
is, until one day, when we ended up talking. Don’t ask me how or why or exactly
when. I am only human, and even though I pride myself with my memory, this I don’t
back at how I felt back then for someone I didn’t know, I honestly do think
that I was a bit obsessed with her. And we all know, from TV and movies and
books, that obsessions are never, ever healthy. But I didn’t care. But I didn’t
tell her how I felt either. As in, I never got the courage to tell her even a
little bit of the affection and weakness I had for her, which was far stronger
than the weakness a fat kid has for Nutella.
told you something about a kiss. Yeah, that happened during a New Years’ Eve
party, and I am pretty sure she forgot all about it the very next morning. And
I never mentioned it either. It was my secret, something that could keep me
awake at night, something that I could dream about, over and over again. It’s
strange, because words are so stupid sometimes, but I think the only words that
could explain how I felt all those years are these ones: painful pleasure.
was one sided in this strange relationship. She dated other boys, and I, well,
I tried my best to get into the school’s soccer team.
were close friends. We talked a lot, and I was, without really regretting it,
the freaking king of the friend zone. I made no attempts at escaping the zone,
but I embraced it as my only hope of having her close to me.
I tell you more, you have to know that I am not that person anymore. An
introvert. I have had plenty of women, and I am not lying. And for you to
realize how many chicks I score these days, you should know what I do for a
living; I own a few nightclubs and a modeling agency. So, my friend, do not
worry about me, because life’s good.
let’s get back to our story. After high school was over, I left the country. I
struggled for a while before making it big, but it was worth it.
never managed to forget her, if this is what you’d like to ask me. No, she was
there, sometimes in my dreams, sometimes in the moments I thought about my days
as a teenage boy. Every brunette I met or saw (because you need to know this:
brunettes are the only women a man should love. Yes, I know this is a matter of
taste, but… still… you should love brunettes,) reminded me of her.
to be brutally honest about myself, I never even tried to forget her. I never
even tried to fall in love with someone else. I know, love is never a matter of
choice, but you can let go. You can forget, at least enough of it so you can
love someone else.
years later, when I met her again, I had already grown sick and tired of always
being disappointed by every brunette I saw on the street so, at first, I didn’t
was in Rome at the time.
I were to ask you to imagine the most beautiful place on Earth, odds are that
you’d think about a landscape, a mountain or a beach or something, but Rome is
as wonderful as anything nature managed to create. It’s a mesmerizing history
book that never ceases to amaze me, no matter how many times I visit.
there, on a narrow sidewalk, filled with tourists taking photographs with
indescribable fury, I saw her. I saw her eyes, blue and wild, a tender light
glittering inside them, and I felt as if her beauty answered to all of life’s
questions. You know, like who created the Universe and all that.
our eyes met it was as if, and there’s no way of avoiding a cliché here, my whole
being was struck by an earthquake that sent ripples across everything that I
was or had been. It was then that I realized she was the girl who used to make
out with all the popular boys in school while I was busy helping her with her
man put his hand on her waist and kissed her on the cheek. He had an enormous
camera tied around his neck, and a smile that said, quite clearly, that he
thought being in Rome to be a miracle or something. He wore a cheap t-shirt,
like those souvenir t-shirts they sell for less than ten bucks in bazaars and
such. He was a pathetic creature.
began to walk toward them, with the confidence of being worth several million
dollars and the general idea that I was no longer an introvert. But as soon as
I stood a mere foot away from her, I found it difficult to look her in the eyes
and swallowing never felt to be such a strange thing to do. It felt as if it
required a conscious effort on my part to breathe or for my heart to beat.
I said, and my voice was weak, just as it used to be in high school. Meeting
her again had reduced me to being a freaking moron again.
smiled. “Hi,” she said. The guy next to her furrowed his eyebrows and grinned
in a semi-menacing way.
you remember me?” I tried to put on the most decent smile I was capable of.
course.” She hugged me.
was when I realized who the guy was. One of my classmates, only he was taller
and better built.
he said. We shook hands and smiled at each other, maybe even nodded our heads
in one of those quiet and embarrassing moments.
she said and brought her hands together in a quasi-pious posture, “what have
you been up to?”
all the years that had passed that was the only thing I said. And it was the
closest to the truth as possible. Without her, I hadn’t managed to do anything
She looked over to the guy. “I got engaged.” And she showed me a ring, kind of
cheap and kind of simple.
sorry you lost in the playoffs,” the guy said, as if we were old buddies or
something and he was trying to console me.
just wasn’t on our side,” I said and remembered that back in high school this
guy, whose name was Dan something, had been obsessed with sports. He had even
been our soccer team’s goalkeeper. “Do you still play?” I inquired as if I
accepted the fact that we had to pretend that we liked it each other.
shook his head.
an engineer now,” she said.
haven’t written down her name yet because I still find it a painful thing to
do. You know, it makes her memory even more vivid. Just by writing it down on a
piece of paper, her memory grows stronger.
you can see, the first one was kind of rushed because I wanted to get it over
with as quick as possible, and the second one, well, you can see that my hand
was shaking pretty badly because of the shock of seeing her name so close to my
face. But the third one turned up okay.