DISEQUILIBRIUMS The Individuals. Chapter 31

Thursday 22 December 2016

Time: 8:30 pm


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I can’t stop thinking about Samuel as we prepare dinner. The last twenty minutes have been the tensest I’ve ever experienced. He has taken off his long overcoat and, without it, he doesn’t look as big as I had thought. He is certainly muscular, but as always he walks with a slouch and with his long coat I would never have imagined it. I have to focus because if not, I’ll cut my fingers with this sharp knife.

Cutting carrots on a wooden chopping board isn’t difficult, but doing it quickly as I am accustomed to doing can be risky if I am not concentrating.

I can’t stop thinking about what has just happened. After the words with the noise appeared and Samuel almost collapsed with fear, Elsa’s image re-appeared on the projection. There was absolute silence that no one dared to break. David then stood up and started directing us. He told Elsa to come over quickly to his house, that he had food in the fridge and that we would prepare something together. I couldn’t stop watching him as he organised us. I liked how he did it. We needed someone to take charge of the situation at that moment, and David took charge. It’s not normal for him, and so I’m impressed. Deep down, I felt very safe next to him.

He normally doesn’t take the initiative, but since his mother’s episode, he’s different. It served to break the impasse that has developed, and now between the two of us we start preparing some tortillas and some salads. No one says anything. It is as if by silent agreement we’ve decided not to continue talking until the five of us were all together.

I watch David next to me and I notice that he’s accustomed to being in the kitchen. Erik and Samuel must be setting the table in the living room. I hope that is what they are doing, instead of arguing. I don’t hear anything. So, I suppose that there is peace.

Suddenly, there is a sound of music coming from somewhere in the apartment.

“What’s that?” I ask David.

He lifts his head to perk up his ear towards where it is coming from.

“It must be Erik. He saw my brother’s dulzaina which was in the living room. As he had never seen one before, I showed him how to play it with the main notes.”

He falls silent to listen again.

“He plays it quite well.”

“Yes, yes,” I respond, as I continue what I was doing before. “I asked you about it because I like it.”

We continue working in the kitchen, each of us in silence occupied with what we are doing. Through the window, we can see the city, grey after the rain. The black cloud, that cast us in darkness earlier, has faded. I notice the neighbours opposite starting to take in their laundry too late. Suddenly, I notice David is about to break the silence.

“It was nice when you held my hand earlier.”

I hear David saying as he stands next to me beating the eggs and looking down at the frying pan with sizzling oil. It’s true. At the moment of tension, I grabbed his hand and now I remember that I gripped it tightly. I don’t know what it meant for him, but it appears that this comment sounded like what I think it was. Why did I hold his hand? It was an instinctive act, or was it?

“Thank you David,” I say the first thing that comes to my head. “I was very tense.”

“Any time.” He turns to me and smiles.

Oh, oh! It seems that I’ve just made the conflict worse. David is my friend, every since we were small children, and I have a high regard for him. He’s a good guy. It is true that he’s grown up a lot and I’ve to admit that he is quite attractive, but I’ve never considered him as anything more than a friend. He’s tall, with an athletic body and walks with his own unique style: self-assured and at the same time, with every step he takes he is curious about everything he observes around him. It makes me laugh that he’s got a fringe that he keeps brushing away from his face with his hand. He always wears fine, baggy jumpers which look elegant on him. Although his colour combination in trousers is not his strong point, he looks good in them, so much so he attracts glances from the girls in class. Until now, I’ve always regarded him as a friend, although I have to admit that I’ve never seen him working in the kitchen and he looks very handsome. However, I’m in a relationship with Erik and I don’t want to spoil that.

“Thank you for being my friend,” I say, turning to look at him directly.

Suddenly, he leaves the dish and fork on the kitchen counter and, without me doing anything, he moves his face close to mine. He looks at me. I am unable to put down what I’m holding. I look back at him. As in a dance in slow motion, he moves his hands upwards. It feels good. Now, with his hands on either side of my face, he holds my face firmly as his lips touch mine. I don’t know what’s happening. I feel my world whirling around me. I feel a knot in my stomach, and at the same time, a feeling of peace. I see his mouth opening and I do the same. We kiss fully. The sensation overwhelms me. My heart is pounding a mile a minute. I feel his hands. I like it. With my eyes shut, I can feel nothing but him. What’s happening to me?

But something brought me back to reality and, putting down what I have in my hands, I gently remove his hands from my face and stop kissing him. I move away from him. He blushes, lowers his eyes and continues beating the eggs.

“I’m sorry,” he says between his teeth, looking down at the dish.

I don’t know what to say. My heart has calmed down a little. It felt as if it was going to explode. I’ve just put myself in a right muddle. Not because Erik might have seen us, since I hear him having a laugh with Samuel in the living room, but because I liked it.

This can’t be. David’s my childhood friend. This can’t happen. I’m going out with Erik.

I think that I’ve just understood the reason for his strange behaviour in recent weeks. How could I not have seen it before? Would others have noticed it? I am going to put some rationality in this.

“It’s nothing,” I say in a low voice as I look at the pieces of vegetables I’ve already cut. “We are under a lot of tension.”

He stops beating the eggs and has remained quietly looking at the dish. Then, he turns to look at me for a second. I observe a glint in his eyes, which I’ve never seen before. He returns to what he was doing before and I finish making the salad in the large dish he’s given me.

The doorbell rings loudly.

“Erik, Samuel!” David shouts in the direction of the living room. “Please open for Elsa. I can’t at the moment. I’ve got my hands full.”


WriterGlen Lapson © 2016

English translator: Rose Cartledge

PublisherFundacion ECUUP


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