By your fifth year you pretty much know everybody around. This is great on the good days and horrible on the bad ones. On a typical day you’ll have lunch with your friend, you will go to the bathroom while he orders a roll of spicy tuna for you, you will remember that there is a minimum of $10 for the debit card thing to work and that the spicy tuna roll is only $7.50 and that there’s no way that that’ll make it up to $10, even with all the taxes and the tip. You will decide to think about that later. In the bathroom, you will glance at yourself in the mirror and quickly look away, you will wash your hands and think of that scene in that novel by Camus in which the protagonist will relish in the precise moment of the day in which he washes his hands. Later, the protagonist will complain to his boss because by the second time of the day in which he washes his hands, the towel is damp. You will feel grateful for never using the same bathroom twice in a day—sort of how you are with people, as well—and you will come back to your friend, who is sitting at the best table in the restaurant. There, you will talk about this guy you just saw on the street who writes like a magical realist writer and uses words that nobody understands and both of you will confess to not really loving what he writes, but you don’t really love anything the living writers write except maybe Zambra, and they say he’s an asshole.
When the food arrives, you will suddenly start talking about all the commonalities between Quentin Tarantino’s films and Bolaño’s texts. You will be surprised to learn that ‘commonality’ is a word. Your friend will agree and he will talk about all the insipid details that both authors include in their work. For example, your friend will say, Bolaño would probably talk about our whole conversation leading up to ending up at this sushi place, and your classmates from English class would maybe think that this would, eventually, have some grand meaning, but none of it really does, like some sort of gigantic and overdrawn nihilist meme. You will both laugh and add that a Tarantino film would probably also include the whole conversation during the meal and one of you would eventually end up waxing poetic about time or death or life or something of the sort. You will silently hope that, if everything turns out to be a movie, the movie is Kill Bill. When you finally have to go pay, it will turn out that the cashier really likes your friend so she will let the $10 minimum slide.
Later that (typical) day, you will find yourself talking to a girl about Arabs through history in what we now call Spain, because the only way you managed to convince her to leave her apartment and have a drink with you was by telling her you would know more about this topic than the article she was reading on it for her class. Although you will know more about this than the average person, the article will know more than you, but you will try to fake it and she won’t really care because she never did care. Your friend will be there and he will try to help you, though. He will interrupt you quite suddenly and he will tell her the story of this ancient Arab king who, on learning that his wife has been unfaithful, decides to sleep with a different woman every night and kill her gruesomely after he sleeps with her. After many women have died, there will only be two left. One of these will be Scheherazade. Scheherazade will tell the king a story every night, but she will leave out the ending so that he won’t kill her. Your friend will presume that by the end of the thousand and one nights she was either killed or she killed the king or there was some kind of happily ever after. Your friend will confess to never having finished the book, and you won’t blame him.
In an effort to sound intelligent, you will say that this is all like a story Bolaño would tell; with the strange killings of women and the sort of endlessly diverging stories that really only amount to death and even the act of him randomly deciding to tell this story in the middle of your improvised (but quite brilliant, you would say) exposition of Arab history. The girl will say that you’ve been talking a lot about Bolaño recently and you will tell her to get ready because you’re only on the first chapter of the book.
When you get home you will try to write again. You will be marginally successful. You will not know how to finish. You will torture yourself over an ending. A thought will pass through your mind: dying would be easier than making up an ending. You will, again, think of Bolaño. You will decide that this is a horrible thought. You will not be sure if you are a horrible person or not. You will continue to not be sure. You will give up. You will decide that not finishing would work as a metaphor for
Lista de imágenes:
1. Álvaro Franca y Fernando Reiszel, "Poesia da máquina", 2011.
2. Álvaro Franca, "Renascimento", 2013.