We rode far from town. It wasn't a Sunday or any other such melancholic day, but it was chilly and I wished I had put on a warmer sweater. My left thigh was aching from the previous night but I didn't want to complain about it as I always end up with some kind of bodily ache after an escapade with Aggie.
When he was still a sophomore high-schooler we had ventured inside the school one night for him to show me his artworks on the back walls. Jumping over the fence had never been my thing and -as expected- I had fallen over landing flat on my back inside the bushes. The thud had sounded unbelievably loud and Aggie never stopped laughing about it. Still, I'm always up to follow one more of his crazy ideas because Aggie is an adventurer and a constant mover, which I am not. I mean I love a good adventure but like the fat kid slash comic relief in movies, I am the hesitant, slower one who keeps track of every possible detail and fills the silence with hundreds of bits of -seemingly irrelevant information. What can I say I love to know things and can't help but pop them as we're climbing some hill or venturing inside a tunnel. Did you know that ... is my all time favorite thing. Aggie is a collector of silly jokes and good music if anything, but not of facts, especially when they're shared during -seemingly irrelevant moments.
I go along with playing mom (or girl) when he likes to play child (or dad), but it's not a matter of who's older, not every time. I mean it's impossible to deny the fact that I'm much older, but even as a 12year old Aggie had a serious amount of grown-up qualities which became evident in many circumstances. When necessary he'd assess everything and reply with a single thoroughly counterbalanced argument, and I'd be all "what the fuck did he just say?" It's a kind of balance for us, he says. You see, there are several occasions when I act like a child myself. You're so like the minions on "Despicable me", but that's why I liked you right from the start.
Aggie is the kind of person whose influence brings out the best in others. You always want to be a better version of yourself afterward, a healthier, more cheerful, more intoxicating, more gratified being.
The older Aggie grows and the more time I have to look back at our mutual past, the more amazed I get. How on earth did we pull this through? It's like having a brother, a boy, a guy, a dude, a pal and a lover in one, though the last part has not been thoroughly explored. And I like to keep it that way, as it's the last thing one should look into if there are so many other mind blowing, soul gripping aspects to reconnoiter. We've kissed and stuff, we even went to second base, kinda towards the third, but it didn't make much sense at the time. We paused. Perhaps because, to Aggie's mind, we'll end up together anyway, and because, to mine, we have so many other loves and romances to delve into before we do. To me, jealousy and possessiveness are inferior states of being and are mostly exhibited under the influence of first romance brain drugs. Don't get me wrong, they are cool as fuck but tend to leave one with a huge withdrawal syndrome, meaning an exquisite impairment in understanding and really, deeply caring for the other person. And in this case, we both care, a lot. It works too. When things get too hot we properly dodge the itch by arguing, or by escaping to the country and doing every kind of shitty, time slash energy slash attention-consuming thing. And soon enough one of us falls in love with somebody else and worries away their nights and thus does not mess with the good stuff. Not to mention the experience, and by experience, I do not mean the vacant kind of involvement, but the essential one that has you shaken and exposed and working overtime to get a meaning out of.
Do you think we're consciously preparing ourselves for the real deal?
but I don't really know what is the real deal.
All I know is that when it comes to Aggie I cannot allow myself to be his girlfriend, not in the casual sense at least.
So we hit the road again.
We ride far from town to a village that used to boast thermal springs and fancy retreats about fifty years ago. We love this place. Most of its hotels are abandoned with all their shit still inside, intact. There are huge trees, parks, and gardens all around and at this time of year, the ground gets completely covered by auburn leaves. We love to venture inside all this beautiful decadence -or at least pay serious efforts to break in.
I'm at this point in life when having my foot hoicked up a half-open window is not advisable, especially when during the largest part of the week I teach children and I am periodically requested to tell them off for doing exactly that. It's done halfheartedly as I consider it a pity; a child just has to climb on and off windows, fences, walls, trees, and stuff because adults are not eligible anymore, so I turn a blind eye if the climbing is not done down the second floor. So when Aggie finds a back window entrance to one of the largest foreclosed establishments I can't say no. There is a mattress underneath the window so it is supposed to be easy. It isn't.
Still sucking at it, he japes and slightly moves under my pelvis as I try to control my laughter and a little pee. I get up, half limping. Seriously Willy you're the lousiest climber ever.
I told you I'm the fat kid in the movies now get your skinny ass moving stick boy. I know he resents me saying this and he'll always come to comment how his shoulders got so much wider ever since he hit seventeen, which is the truth but still stick boy gets him pissed.
Yeah right, but check out these shoulder blades ...
There you go.
We walk past the ground floor rooms and head to the reception parlor, everything's covered in dust that dances around as the sun rays hit the floor. A perfectly set ghost hotel of the mid-nineties. Ivory shagreen leather sofas and bold textured walls. Aggie throws himself in the corner of a couch, a cloud of dust rising from beneath his faded black jeans. He opens up his arms, invites me in. I go and sit just there, light a smoke, give him one. We gaze into the void, furniture, items, all intact, vainly paid for and left to wear off slowly fading out of focus.
- You think we ever going to get out of this small town without any regrets? he says without looking at me as smoke rises over our heads. Would you be happy?
- I had my chance ... One thing's for sure you'll be on your way soon enough. This year or the next one is going to be your turn.
- But you'll be visiting ... right?
- I surely will ... I told you before. It's just that (small pause) ... you have to promise me this ...
- Promise you what?
- Promise me you won't be wasting yours. Don't ever look back, I mean.
- You're a silly girl, you know that ?
- Had no fucking clue. Thanks for letting me in stick boy.
- Fucking lousy climber Willy, you are a total idiot sometimes.