Thursday 22 December 2016
Time: 6:30 pm
I’ve been standing for at least 15 minutes on the other side of the front door of my home. It’s difficult for me to open it. I can’t even bring myself to put the key into the keyhole because this simple detail would activate the springs in my mother’s very fine hearing. Anyone seeing me would think that I was mad. They would have observed me, with keys in my hand, just looking at the keyhole and leaning against the front door through which I pass everyday without question.
The problem is that when I open and enter the apartment, I don’t know what to say. Perhaps, I could go to my room without saying anything to anyone. Or, I could go to whatever room my mother is in and tell her what I think of her and use all the words she calls ‘bad words’, one after the other, until she understood how badly she made me feel. Perhaps I could forget the last ban she gave me and head directly for my father’s office, open the door and rummage as much as I like.
I could demand answers to all that Erik had begun to tell me.
In the end, I couldn’t open the door and therefore went over to Erik’s house instead. Who would have said a few weeks ago that I was going to do what I’ve just done. My mum will never know. If she ever finds out, I will not be able to explain it to her.
Now, I have to muster up all my strength to go up these stairs. I feel weary. I only have two more floors to go up before I press the door bell that always looks so new, always so clean and orderly as the inside of his apartment.
I can’t get it out of my mind. I can only think about what Erik told me before in the street. It was all so incredible. It must have been difficult for him to tell me, although on top of that, I can imagine how difficult it was, first of all, to believe it.
After the spectacle he created, going off in such an ill-mannered way in the middle of the street, he ended up going directly home. According to what he told me, he threw himself down on the sofa without turning on the TV and remained staring up at the ceiling for a long time until his mother came over to talk to him. It was the first time she has seen him so worried and sad. So, Erik did not mind trying to alleviate her concerns and answered her questions. It seems that he hadn’t told them about going out with a girl and that he was angry with her (I don’t think that I would have liked that because I regarded him differently, but I let him continue without interrupting).
I don’t know when or why he mentioned my name and my full surname:
His mother’s expression changed completely and then she asked him:
“Do you know her father’s name?”
According to Erik, he remembered because he knew that my surname was Italian since my father was the son of immigrants and, although I had mentioned my dad’s first name only once, he remembered it from the first time he heard it as he thought that it was such an unusual name. He knew that it wasn’t a common name in Zaragoza, but in other places it is.
His mother became really nervous. She turned white, raising her hands to her mouth. Erik had never seen her so frightened before. Her habit of passing her hand over her hair when she was serious must have turned to that unconscious habit of squeezing it as if trying to wring it. She quickly went to call her husband and the two of them sat down with Erik. He told me that he forgot his anger when he saw his parents reacting in this way.
I’ve only been to his home once. They have furniture commonly seen in Swedish shops, in very light colours, bleached almost to whiteness, but without being white. I can imagine him lying on the sofa, with eyes lost on the bookshelves opposite, full, or rather crowded with books, without a coffee table between the sofa and the bookshelves. His parents sat on two chairs in front of him so that he could look at them directly.
And now, here I am, on the other hand, entering David’s house with Erik to tell him, Samuel and Elsa, who are most certainly linked up for videoconferencing, about what has happened.
Writer: Glen Lapson © 2016
English translator: Rose Cartledge
Publisher: Fundacion ECUUP
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