Editor’s Note: In the first episode of ‘Break an Exit’ we met the author – ‘a 90s Catalonely electronic-music-retarded-prince’ – who looked back on how twenty-five years ago he was paid a dignified middle-class wage, ‘but today a Spanish journalist earns four-hundred times less.’ Then, after experiencing a painful and unexpected break-up from a nine year relationship – having lived almost twelve years in his adopted home of Ireland, ‘wet, soaked, dark, but full of life, in some twisted, beautiful, and slagging manner’ – he returned to a Barcelona, succumbing to a night of drug-fueled debauchery, before taking a flight to the promised land of Bali where he aims to earn enough money to live from a ‘corpo-fuck’ freelance piece of writing . After arriving in Bali in a disheveled state a kindly driver, Kadek, conveyed him to a new home away from home. In the first episode we briefly encountered his mother, ‘Mumruinho’ – ‘a sophisticated version of [José] Mourinho’ – whose character is expanded on in this episode, along with descriptions of ‘the soul-cleansing, ecstatic-dancing and cacao-intake of the ultimate junkies of Never Land’ he finds in Ubud, ‘the spiritual capital of Capitalism, heart of Bali.’
Writing is the oldest technology of all
Paul. B. Preciado
over and after
Kadek drops me at the party. He is not impressed with the celebration, not even with the empty can of beer that I almost forget inside his car. He gives me my backpacks and stares at me as if trying to crack the equation of my age and luggage. The haiku here being: lack of age packed.
One is purple, doggie on a string kind of backpack. The second is a cheap fancy one I bought to travel to Sweden, where the Ikea family came close to eradicating my un-poetic years of dole in Ireland.
The party honours the full moon, a full bright coconut that seems to move along the blasting subwoofer and the lazy sea waves, with an identical indulgent flow as the millennial bodies orbiting so far away and yet around her. There is a tiny pulpit besides the bar with a bearded DJ sporting a tropical necklace, plastic rainbow petals on a string.
I throw my backpacks by his side. It is a catalonely Freudian slip. My 90’s best mate was some DJ, the true electronic prince, cremated in 2006. I was his caddy also.
Most people are blonde and tanned as if they weren’t blonde. I feel overdressed and overwhelmed. I’m clearly overdressed. Most of my feelings are over something, which is only natural, so I try not to overthink it, though my long trousers —even rolled up— and my t-shirt, specially my t-shirt, seem over the top: they over question the barefoot-bare-chest dress code.
My Irish godfather hugs me and welcomes me, and his smile is my first outboard. He handles me a beer and tells me he doesn’t drink. Me neither. Then a blonde English girl wearing a couple of coconuts bowls as her upper bikini offers him a tequila and he gulps it swiftly and apologises for it. Me too. We could start a movement though we are just following one started in Ireland over two centuries ago.
I’m just landed and the only locals I can see are behind the wheel or the bar or the ashtrays.
I have the urge to run towards them and tell them that the DJ necklace could be racist.
My need to be accepted is what made Hitler a national hero.
In less than two seconds I experience one of the most unavoidable expat syndromes: somehow, many people remind me of people I know. I recall having the same feeling upon landing in Ireland twelve years ago. Only then I remember the words of one of my best Irish mates.
“It is not them: you are on your own now,” he said. A true friend.
It is a motherfucker of a line, tautological kind of, and has worked in some redundant, circular way that travels at the same speed as political morals, pharmacology, or tropical necklaces for that matter in every continent I’ve been it. Yes, clearly downhill.
It is one of the first coping mechanisms of the expat: to run some delusional and yet pretty accurate face recognition mental-ware that makes her think that all those strangers could be acquaintances, that there is safeness in the unknown.
Safeness disappears once you start considering it. Bali, in any case, feels like a safe island though that is only what it seems, and nothing is what is seems.
The DJ set is remarkable. Twenty-five years ago it would have blown my mind. Today it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. Another classic middle-aged syndrome, the reiterating shame: I discovered techno kind of shame. All these people could be my first girlfriend abortions kind of shame. We are the same kind of shame.
Thought we are not. I belong to the white Western offspring of democracy and divorce, a dreadful corpse of wanting and discomfort, mostly infused by the absence of your parents. Our grandparents fought in wars and suffered hunger, and they thought we were the biggest idiots that had ever lived.
Millennials and Z’s, on the other hand, are the offspring of surveillance and self-care, the ultimate obelisk erected in the name of neediness and frustration, their faces are on-going selfies swaying between the moon and the handset lights like soft blurred sins. I never embarrassed my grandfathers in such a sensational manner: they were both executed before I was born.
And then again my need to report millennial’s is what made Goebbels Hilter’s secretary.
We are both white Western postcolonial invaders anyway, though they don’t necessary reply to emails or WhatsApps, and they get increasingly agitated when you don’t respond to them. They rarely smoke or drink, but they keep detoxing and liver cleansing as if they were Keith Richards.
white plastic red gums
I ran away from Mumruinho on a Friday night in 1994, only to found a new home a few weekends after, in 2007, in Ireland. Until then I had found my healing to my journalist shame in tiny white plastic bags that lived between the premolars and the tongue of a huge man from Angola. His name was Joaquim, a low flight deadly phoenix, whose tooth set was the national bank of Afghanistan.
I miss her so much.
My Little Goat, my love, tiny jars, the fucking junction.
This might be the hangover, my reunion with self-pity, disgust and discomfort twelve years after. Though this is what it feels to land in a foreign place after the first bender in over a decade, and after your girlfriend of nine years has dumped you, and after failing to attend the colonoscopy that would have measured the exact thread of Boris Johnson, now flapping like a flamenco dancer so close to your arsehole that it makes you sick and gives you pleasure in equal ways.
So yeah, I’m exhausted and heartbroken and I’m the oldest man around, not even the DJ questions that. There are over twenty-five millennials and Z’s twenty-five years after. Over and after, my upon landing misplace and overtime adverbials.
I will be introduced breathlessly to all of them over the next five minutes.
I will forget all their names afterwards except one: Bernardo.
Bernardo is barefoot and, as his name suggests, wears no t-shirt. He has long curly hair both in his head and chest, and his smile is like a set of pearls underwater, some organic statement against fluoride.
“Bernardo is studying to become a free-diving instructor,” my godfather tells me.
“Oh, really, what can I say, I mean, do you really run on your own oxygen supply forty metres under?”
“Hundred per cent”, he replies.
Over the next few weeks this would be the reassuring line I would hear more of.
One hundred per cent.
Bernardo’s collarbone could be my whole body after a car crash, it’s thirty-three per cent left, or thereabouts, say.
My godfather seems particularly eager to introduce us. I wonder why.
“He is going to be your neighbour,” he says.
The way he says neighbour doesn’t sounds like someone living next door, for some reason.
What kind of neighbour, I wonder.
“The kind of neighbour you share the kitchen with.”
I can feel hair in my mouth. It is unpleasant. I see broken horoscopes and burnt dictionaries and empty rolls of toilet paper swirling around my head, overshadowing the moon.
In most countries, including Indonesia, there is a more accurate noun to describe the person you are going to share the kitchen with.
It is a word I’m traumatized by, the ONE WORD the break-up set me free to be.
All of a sudden I’m a heartbroken middle-aged little man with an underage housemate.
Most things are seldom like you pictured them, though housemate still sounds better than homeless. I’m lucky, am I not? I’m in paradise and Bernardo would probably be going back to playground school after the holiday.
“So is that what you do? Free diving?”
“I have a band as well,” he answers almost as unimpressed as Kadek.
I wonder if he might be a celebrity back home. It seems clear that he does not work. I could lock him in our likely shared toilet and question him to death … only to become housemate free.
And then he does something that suggests that his Instagram profile might be the size of his collarbone.
“I’m Bernardo Evaristo Alejandro Tomás,” he says. And offers me his hand, every second name claiming its throne like a fucking gladiator.
It only takes four words to quadruplicate your number of housemates.
I blink lightly, like the fart of a sardine, a stab of silver, real tiny, whizzing past Boris Johnson’ fringe, still lapping there like the tongue of a doped dragon.
“I’m H. It is a soundless word in Catalan. You can call me H and I won’t hear you, which is the ultimate motive of my name: to get rid of me.”
Bernardo is frowning now, the space between his eyebrows is like Ireland before England, a land of complex words and otherworldly fires coming from the same equinox as God and dinosaurs, magic and wisdom, all the things that Boris Johnson great-grandpa shat on, for no one to fucking notice it.
“I respect anyone and everyone, hundred per cent,” says Bernardo.
“I don’t. But I’m happy like that. It’s a tribute to Mumruinho, thirty-three per cent.”
Bernardo looks suspicious in a well-crafted way now. He could be a Belgian beer, a full-bodied stout, never a Guinness, though.
His English is equally spotless as his tooth, yo.
All these underage expats might have no jobs, but fuck you Shakespeare, yo, they make you sound like a helpless peasant trying to come to terms with beetroot spelling.
The week after the break-up there was a ceremony in the hills of Kerry. The priestess was a giant by the name of Dawn. Met her selling olives in Tralee just a few weeks after landing in Ireland, twelve years ago.
I had just emptied my infinity pool and left my only remarkable belongings, my books, in a storage room that would get flooded a few months later — at least, that is what Mumruinho would tell me. My eyes were hollow, my cheeks were nowhere to be seen, same as my pupils; my joints were journalist ashes, so nicely burnt, my landscape was dark as the island, and my shivers my only sun, a rather cold one.
I managed to get a job as a market trader from another giant that owned a business opposed to his size: Lilliput Stores. He claimed to be from Cork, though he had an indecipherable Mullingar accent. He ran markets all over Kerry, mostly selling Mediterranean delicacies, so somehow my accent was softly welcomed, never mind my empty sockets. He dispatched me by Tralee’s frozen shore every Sunday. I’d fill my eyes with a couple of olives: they would have never looked more exotic.
Dawn was the driver and the water, and I was the olive stain with pale olive eyes. Our puddle was impossible and yet immediate. She had a brain tumour the size of a walnut. She still does, she has outgrown the disease in epic and unbeatable proportions, her fight transforming her into some larger than life human being, the biggest heart I would ever know.
She has been fighting it for almost thirty years without radiation, which she refused having twice had surgery. She read, researched and hunted endlessly, until she found herself in some tropical jungle, departing with some doctor with no t-shirt and some ancient wisdom rooted on the same ground they were about to break.
Back then, quite early in our olive romance, after having shared all the damage we had dealt and inflicted upon us way before algorithms, Dawn had told me about her healing practice. I considered fighting my lack of cheekbones with the same medicine she was using. But the idea made me shrink. After so many years swimming the dead waters of my infinity pool, awakening my consciousness felt like exhuming Franco —in my own body.
Twelve years later I met her again. I’m a priestess now she tells me, though she was one before: “I’m organising a ceremony in the hills of Sligo.”
I’m ready now. So yes please, blindfolded.
Santa Rita Santa Rita, lo que se da, ya no se quita (Spanish saying: ‘Saint Rita Saint Rita, what you give it won’t be taken back’).
She sits beside me. Almond-shade skin, tooth-set white as Joaquim’s – the dream of a plastic free mouth; smile like a tiny silk paper lamp that would remain turned off most of the time; left hand drawing incessantly, a heap of colour markers raising a rainbow wall between herself and her boyfriend sitting next to her, covered in mandala-stripped-off clothes that seem to emulate her drawings, though her drawings are of skinny creatures with letter-box mouths, eyes popping out like big, melting white eggs.
She is enlightened at length, her fingers producing a wrist-belly kind of dancing, silver brass echoing, while her other hand, the right one, the likely hand of darkness, is dissecting and exploring the soft landing of the sliced mango and pineapple all over the coconut yoghourt, right by the granola shrapnel that guards the edges of her breakfast bowl, that remains almost untouched by the sacred waft of inspiration.
We are in Ubud, the spiritual capital of Capitalism, heart of Bali.
Ubud used to mean Healing. There was a time when therapies were shared and transmitted based on donation by local priests, back in the day when locals were paddy field workers and healers, and expats still worked.
Today the rice fields are being destroyed at some familiar Fucking Mordor pace, and locals are property developers and private taxi drivers and scooter renters and tourist guides and individuals that edu-condescend you in the art of splashing sacred water on your body for fifty thousand rupias per drop. They are growing at the same scale as Capitalism and plastic waste, though their manners are admirably gentle and welcoming, even under the ongoing invasion of self-absorbed expats.
Today’s expats are mostly jobless healing-pollas: they work exclusively on healing themselves at the cost of their own damage, one that also curls behind global warming. It is some Beckettian paradox orchestrated by western money & soul pumpers that claim to be masters, sleeveless and baggy trousers type of masters.
Its jobless disciples are grateful and obedient, credit card trained in the art of breathing and chanting and smiling. Their word usage having the literary economy Raymond Carver dreamt of, a vocabulary trinity built upon three words: blessed, energy and sacred.
You would find them splayed like chewing livers over stinky maths, sliding their backs on tennis balls, producing astrological stretchings and sucking their stomachs in at the Yoga Barn, the Facebook of Yoga, an astounding compound of endless acres devoted to the soul-cleansing, ecstatic-dancing and cacao-intake of the ultimate junkies of Never Land.
There is an army of global youngsters badly struggling with the most outrageous and needy set of addictions I’d ever come across.
They drink turmeric and grape juice in the name of self-empowerment, abhor gluten and dairy —though no one seems to know what gluten is – love veganism, but mostly practice trans-veganism, are fond of seeds, essential oils, horoscopes and tattoos, and they love to inflict all kind of penances on themselves in the name of healing and transformational cleansing: 3-days juice fasting’s, 7-day coconut water fasting’s, sound healing fasting, kirtan fasting, holotropic fasting, and any self-withdrawal allowing them to fasten their seatbelts on the endless flights that they would keep taking from workshop to workshop and from visa run to visa run; that being the ultimate indicator of how fucked up postmodern junkies are: unless their former fellows – hello! – who ran their addictions at the cost of their own health, modern addicts run them at the expense of global warming.
Compared to them, my climbing to Joachim’s mouth, the years of silver foil burning and neatly stacked up tiny jars, are lesser than nail polishing. William Burroughs, Keith Richards, De Quincey, or Isabella Eberthard, what a joke, the easiest playground ever built in the name of self-abuse. But fuck me, how sustainable we were.
Not an ARK
Bernardo takes a moment and starts emulating pyramids and vaulted domes and the whole evolution of tortilla bases with his spine. His body stretches like a shameless algorithm, reaching the stars and drilling the dunes, in some pre chit-fuck-you-chat kind of way. That is to say, that is what he does to fill the gaps in conversation.
“Are you a yoga teacher?” I inevitably ask.
“Instructor, yoga Instructor.”
“Fuck me. Sounds like Bond, Fake Bond.”
And then he tells me he is Mexican and stresses that my years in Ireland haven’t quite worked enough to get rid of my Spanish accent. I mumble “Catalan,” but he is way too tall to hear me. Mumbling might be my response to the fact that we are going to share the kitchen, which makes him a real close neighbour, so somehow I will come to appreciate quite rapidly his wuthering heights.
Then my Irish godfather disrupts mythology and conservationism. We can’t hear him at first. One Belgium techno badass of a tune is ironing our hearing. It’s a song that cancels silence altogether, a noise pisser that Jeff Mills couldn’t stand listening to, not even back on the early days of evil bpm’s. So yeah, why not, it is a bit like Bernardo’s chest. Everything is actually: the stars and the dunes and the waists of the expats rounding angles that might have never existed before Bernardo Magnus.
But the evil song, this is faster than Bernardo would ever be, no matter how Magnus he’d get.
I ask our Godfather to repeat it. So there he goes again:
“Bernardo is taking care of the cats and the dog.”
The music stops altogether, the speakers kind of shut down as my Noah’s Ark gets instantly shattered. I feel like I’ve lost something I never had, though I’m clearly gaining a kitchen partner whose grandmothers were almost raped by my ancestors.
I blink and blank and fail to smile, I try to keep my shoulder blades together, though they are sinking. I tell myself not to anticipate. Not to anticipate. Learnt that one in jail. Never quite worked. Although I’ve just landed in Paradise and I’m free, so fuck those poets, I mean, those pets, why should I care for them, I never met them before anyway, let alone my history with them, which is the history of an evasion, which is also the main narrative of these unwanted and rather undesirable episodes of my life.
But that is some negative statement, isn’t it? I mean, I didn’t choose to be single and booking the flight that just got me here, what the fuck was that? Oh yeah, heartbroken homeless acrobatics. Fuck me.
I remind myself that I’m in the heart of a Paradise island, surrounded by future friends and long gone songs, and I decide to embrace everything. I’m free after all, am I?
It is not that complicated after the second tequila in twelve years.
From here there is no way back and I don’t quite care, in fairness.
Rita rita ra
So yeah, her hand is restless and prolific and eager. We are inside another popular enclave amongst the healing-pollas, a healthy food restaurant named Sayuri, where you can eat – at the cost of one kidney or half an eye – a selection of hydroponic fruits and vegetables that claim to be organic, though in the exhausted soils of Ubud, the stream of water is nothing but toxic.
The customers are white, skins glowing in coconut oil, livers just cleansed, no fluoride but polished pearls aligning the perfection of their tooth sets. The sexual tension is like a red carpet on steroids, you could cut through it with nail scissors, it sounds like a scruffy thread ripping slowly through a piece of unsustainable Lycra, exposing yet another thigh.
Yoga Barn instructors are all over here, sporting lousy trousers and sleeveless t-shirts and referee haircuts. It is some perennial working outfit. They pretend to network, staring at their tablets, relentlessly clocking its black mirrors where they can follow the movements of their upcoming victims, namely their students. Every underage, millennial or Z girl that walks in notices them straight away. Then pretend to order something, sit down, set up their tablets and start playing the Black Mirror game in some twisted and glorious take on The lady from Shangay – the Ubud credit card trained student sexploitation, being its working subtitle.
Suddenly my attention is drawn to a few tables across from where I’m sitting.
There’s an on-growing group of Aussies hugging and kissing as if they just have been sentenced to death, most likely after spending the last twelve years in an underground prison – which is unlikely if not fictional, because they look they could be twelve years of age.
Yet again their scalps are bundled, spiders rafting down its poisoned streaks, the darkest take on guacamole ever witnessed, you could dip dead rats on it, only for the rats to come back to life. Their skins are thick as dusted brownies, eyes vertiginously hollow, thousands of James Stewart’s with distorted Aboriginal features falling incessantly through its sockets; chins sharp as Maya’s pyramids. Holy shit, I could be losing my edge here, they really could have been locked up for over a decade: the state of them!
I feel emotional, I want to cry, to join them and hug them and wish them well in hell. This could be the most epic farewell ever witnessed, some macabre juggling essay on the end of youth. I’d never seen anyone hugging anyone else so passionately, so desperately.
Then they start talking and it appears that they were hanging out last night. Only then I become aware of the conversation. It says, “ye-yo, ye.yo,”
It could be some ancient occultist ectoplasm, the keyword for disengaging from life, only to transcend death.
Then one of them says “awesome yo,” and a second one goes “Yo bro, -yo, hey-yo.”
Immediately after that they, inevitably, start talking surf. “Waves, yo. Fuck me, yo.”
The big Wednesday turns into the tiniest Monday, a suffocating, claustrophobic one, where it is not even possible to corpo-fuck, that being the main reason I came here, before coming across the right hand of darkness, that needless to say, keeps drawing, oblivious to the size of the days or the waves. She doesn’t even seem to care, nor even blink, when the surf prisoners engage in chanting.
Bali, thank you Bali for your healing and your waves, Mother Earth, thank you, we are blessed, love the energy, Bali, you give it all, yeah, yo, all together now, oh fuck this is amazing, thank you Bali for the energy and the waves, we are blessed, you are sacred and we are blessed, yo their voices raising and exploding while my corpo fucking remains frozen, my earphones flawing, as Boris Johnson’s ignites the rear veins, sensing the swelling, the hydroponic fallacy kind of boiling.
I’m bleeding, I need to heal, I disengage from the plank-ness and focus again on the left hand and its endless course. She is something else.
Her t-shirt is loose, her armpits young and soft, tattoos like mandala dried patterns drifting over the course of her biceps, moving along her determined marker strokes.
Eventually a third jobless super-addict joins her and her boyfriend, though she won’t stop drawing, nothing would stop the young pour of life and creativity, not even the words starting to pile around them like the babble of a rat undergoing a liver acid transplant, words that say: ceremony, dream, mandala, tattoo, Instagram, not worth it, I’m an artist, he is not an artist, I am an artist, tattoo again, pattern, design, dream, ayahuasca, painting, clarity, so clear, it came to me so clear, it’s great to be an artist when on ayahuasca, such vivid dreams, so clear, until it is so fucking clear that the right hand of darkness comes to life.
This is fucking gold, I pick up my phone and I open voice memos and press the red button.
vision, artist, I, I, I, we have to do it together, recorded it, paint it, I could record it, you paint, fuck man, yes, I’m an editor as well, you know? I mean, I’m an artist, but I can edit, man, yo, yo, yo, yes, yo, amazing, yo, Australia, yo, it would be amazing, but there is no time like the first time, you know what I mean
No time like the first time, yo, and then again the three of them together would not sum-up half of the life experience of a tough kiddo spurring the deathly low back of a deathly pony in the longest terraced street in the world, though that might be unfair, but true, different kingdoms, and yet the same century.
I record their words but keep tracking her hands, the unlikely acrobatics of a young heart running free, perhaps not wild, likely not even free, but running all the way until finally, oh lord, she opens her velvety lips, uncovers the pearls and sets up the star fucking alignment: all of a sudden, there is a shark on the rise, some evil kind of look rests on her eyes as she pierces with her glance the back and then the chest and the eyes of a local serving fish, namely a waitress.
wi-fi for the blueberry?
It goes exactly like that:
“Excuse me. Yes. You.”
Her left hand still working out the flow, the right cancelling the spooning altogether, becoming one with darkness, her breakfast bowl suddenly orphan again.
“Yes, you, I’m talking to you.”
The waitresses eyes are exorbitant now, her smile her only shield.
“I ordered a granola bowl with mango and pineapple and dragon fruit and blueberries. Come here, get closer, here, yes, can you see blueberries?”
Her silk lamp has no bulb, just the flickering terror of a broken florescent tube: the fucking blueberries are nowhere to be seen
The wi-fi? For your Blueberry? produces heroically the waitress’s curved upper lip, clearly stalling for time, swimming away from the brutal fangs
And the left hand keeps on writing, all the way, filling the bellies and the heads of the rainbow monsters, gleaming almond shade skin, smile nowhere to be seen.
“Do I speak German, I wonder? Not the fucking wi-fi, I’m talking fruit here, a lack of it, NO BLUE BERRIES ON MY BOWL. NO FRUIT. BOWL WITHOUT FRUIT”
She keeps on drawing though her speech slows down, as if talking to a half-dead organism.
“I’M NOT PAYING FOR THIS,” she finally says.
Only then the waitresses gets closer and says sorry, keeps the smile, gets the bowl and says sorry again, she even bows at the shark, her ancestors revolving in their graves, the sky creaking with blatant shame, history repeating itself in some fucking postcolonial-millennial way.
I remain silent like a fucken retarded electronic prince, and my eyes can’t help but zooming in, closer, much closer, to the drawing, where some sort of red jelly fish is vomiting a yard of stars on the ear of a little boyish cartoon.
It is as naïve as it is inedible.
The other Austrian
“You only need to ask the universe, right?”
I don’t say that.
That is the statement of an Austrian lady that seems less impressed than Kadek. My godfather has introduced us earlier and now we are both looking for an ashtray. She states that she doesn’t smoke. I tell her that me neither and we both light our cigarettes.
I look at her in disbelief. Everything I ever asked to the universe for has mostly been neglected, the Earth’s crust laughing her head off, only delivering a dead father, a death child, my best mate’s death, a stupid dead profession, broken deathly roofs, dead novels.
My little Goat was the first thing it seemed the universe had delivered alive. And she had dumped me by know. Dead right.
“Be careful with what you ask for. So much wanting can become the cruellest form of wanking, the one that makes you blind and arm-folded,” I reply.
“Where are you from?”
“I was born in Barcechina.”
Then she asks about Ireland and states that twelve years there had not worked quite enough to get rid of my Spanish accent.
I tell her that thirteen years since Jörg Haider’s death have not eased the politics of her country.
“I could have been the tree against which Jörg Haider crashed into,” she says.
I want to have children with her, I don’t want sex, don’t know what that is no more. I want to rest under the shadow of the tree of Life, and she is clearly that. Then she speaks again.
“Haider would have an erection today if unearthed from his grave,” she says.
And the first unnatural erection of my trip pops up.
Tiny jars, fucking junctions.
“That is what I do. I manifest,” she says. “If you want something, you only need to ask the universe with belief. Then it happens.”
I ask to the universe for her to stay and develop that.
She walks away like a super heroin. The wind raising as she fades into the night. I ask the universe to smoke her and to smoke myself after.
The breeze is suddenly so nice that I decide to live on it for the next couple of hours. It sways my hangover and my jetlag in a way a folded-arms-orphan can only be grateful for. The moonlight scissors the landscape edges with its silver rim and I follow its unforeseeable shape with delight, until I take off all my clothes and merge with the waters and the coconut lights and the bowls, its soft, white balm, helping to extend my arms, to become one with the water and the Milky Way. I open my mouth as gratefully as a millennial, only to swallow a massive chunk of plastic.
As I swim desperately back to the shore I notice that Bernardo has engaged in conversation with a blonde girl. The conversation lasts less than a minute, and while I’m still a silently approaching and sinking Catalonely submarine, Bernardo’s collarbone spirals rather magnificently and drills the blonde girl chest, her mouth and the stars, until neuroplasticity becomes the landscape and my second erection greets nature’s inevitable failure.
The soundtrack is now only a convenient tune, Matthew Dear’s, Deserter.
There will be more tequilas, enough to make me forget how did I get home, YES HOME!, let alone collapse on the softest mattress of my recent life.
I text Dawn. I can’t do this. She just dumped me, I’m unreliable. I want to kill myself and to kill all passers-by, mainly Google Engineers. She explains what healing practices are about, states that I am the one who has to commit, and that taking the medicine involves free will and courage, that it is not for everyone.
Then I reflect on her fight, the years of research and travelling, her inner conviction. She has been a role model for years. I wasn’t quite expecting to get there in such a state, but I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.
The day after the break-up, one-week before the ceremony, the Little Goat sets up my single room downstairs, in the spare bedroom. She is my housemate the day after she was my girlfriend. She has a proper job and she is middle-aged, but she can’t even dream of moving out on her own.
I come back from Aikido, walk into the house, and find it here, her former study, by the hallway, my agonising new home.
I walk in and consider my new cage. One second after I’m kicking the mattress. I jump over it until the frame cracks, then I start kicking and punching and throwing the mattress against the wall, and the plants against the lamp, skidding soil on the ceiling, dead leaves on the ground, my shoulder bleeding under the mattress, while I keep kicking it from behind.
She comes downstairs. She asks what the fuck I’m doing.
“Training to corpo-fuck.”
An hour later she is nursing the main wound in the toilet. I’ve got what I wanted. I wanted more. There was nothing though.
I lied over the heap of broken wood and splinters and bleeding sheets for three days. I cried for her and the plants I fucked over. She said she was tired of waiting. She loved me. She wanted me to love her. I did not quite manage to. Fucking folded-arms-orphan. Son of an orphan. Fuck me.
I jump on the train towards Sligo. I try to read Maggie Nelson. I fail. A few schoolboys stinking of weed and chocolate bars sit down around me. I’m engulfed by a nameless generation, Z’s are dinosaurs compared to them, they slide between screens and impalpable cloud dimensions, they play virtually and slag each other rather analogically.
They share screens and then escape through them, they start sentences in life and finish them in Instagram, so it seems. Their innocence turns into cruelty and then into innocence again. Their conversation is an essay on how to disappear, only to come back from behind the handset.
They talk loudly and swirl low and laugh highly and shout rather gently, fancy suburban kids, in school uniforms, their mouths spelling words as fast as their fingers, opening a fourth reality wall so effortlessly that I can almost sense a beam of hope.
They are all around me and not at all, exactly as I was to her.
The sun is falling at an angle they avoid by looking down at their handsets. It is burning on my face, splinters of wood still popping up like broken Pinocchio ribs.
I pick up my phone. I text Mumruinho. “She just left me,” I write.
Mumruinho was abandoned in an orphanage on the island of Ibiza seventy years ago. Over her first five years of life in the orphanage three married couples took her and then sent her back. Before the married couples arrived the nuns would educate her in how to behave in order to get picked up. Such an education was of little use for my further teenage issues.
When my best friend died she said: “he was a junkie, don’t be so dramatic.”
After his funeral she said: “her mum just gave me a bad look.”
When I was a junkie she said: “don’t do that to me.”
When I did mushrooms under a college research program she said: “you’d forever be a junkie.”
I did fuck away and started plastic bag climbing way before that, and after that I did move to Ireland where I would meet the love of my life. Over the years the relationship between Mumruinho and I has been dysfunctional and random, combining full on fights with boozy Xmas nights dancing until dawn.
She replies to my break-up WhatsApp, while the nameless generation kids are half sharing a bag of crisps and sticking the other half in their underwear, which seems to be the ultimate way of sharing.
Mumruinho writes to me to say that my Little Goat is no more than “an Inca dog.”
She is a proud Catalan pro-independence republican. Mumruinho is. Before she started playing Candy Crush she read all the time. She knows that my ex- is from Argentina. Inca dog meaning South American cunt.
Catalan republican statement.
When she was abandoned Franco was in charge. He died the day I was born. I feel like a dead dictator, big time.
I write back: thanks for your reassuring words. And then I can’t help but reveal my vulnerability, which is the story of our fucked up bond: we are both folded-armed-orphans, our table tennis mental game played without arms or legs, just spitting words that spell help and cracked love and please don’t.
Our conversations are muzzled monkeys locked in psychic rooms, imagining rackets and missing the balls. But yeah, overall throughout the undecipherable visceral babble, she is a landlord and I’m homeless. Not to mention that she is my Mumruinho, and I’m her son of a bitch.
I ask her about the shitty kitchen-less bedsit she owns in the suburbs, the tenants being a couple of developers that sublet shit holes at fucking Mordor prices. I decide not to use the word homeless, a second after I am using it, that being another of my unavoidable thinking patterns: considering and being convinced not to do something tends to be the preamble to proceeding immediately to doing it.
No way, she texts back. You are not a homeless. You have friends. They have roofs. I tell her thanks for the reminder, and that I’m going to a ceremony. She writes junkie and always. Adverbial wise this is our eternity. It is handy for her and not that handy for me, though I have the stop texting hand.
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