My father seems to think I'm a fakir, because I haven't had a boyfriend for about a year now. Let me put it this way, my boyfriends never stay around, a few months, tops. The last three lasted two months, three months, and eight months, respectively. Lately I've had two lovers: an actor, then a poet. My father never met any of them, I never told him about them, because I'd rather not talk about my failed relationships and weekend lovers.
Because I don't have a boyfriend, I have a feeling that he wonders all the time why I'm still single, and it just so happened that yesterday he sent me a text in which he discussed ways of being human, and among them were the way of the yogi and the way of the fakir, and he said they were lonely people who withdrew from the world and usually didn't have a partner. And all the rest that imply discipline, silence, reflection, chant, mantra, little food, fasting, etc. I thought the letter was addressed to me. Even if it wasn't actually meant for me, I was the one who should peruse it and post it on her blog.
I don't tell my father everything that happens to me. I learned that in a self-help book. Actually, I don't tell anyone what goes on in my life. I also learned that in a self-help book. It said: "You shouldn't share your feelings with others, because it makes you vulnerable; be discreet and keep your peace of mind." That's what I did, and yes, I have kept my peace of mind since then.
Now, regarding my father's suspicion, I have the following four options:
1. Ask him point-blank if that's what he thinks.
2. Ask him nothing and carry on with my life (I have ruled out
this option because this suspicion haunts me, and I just
can't get it out of my mind).
3. Go deeper into the discipline of fakirism and become a fakir.
4. Find myself a boyfriend and set my father's mind at ease.
I really don't know which option is best for me, because since last night, since I went to some bars with D to have a few drinks here in La Barceloneta, I haven't been able to make a decision. It hurts me that your father thinks of you this way and on top of it, not having a stable boyfriend... So I can't quite make up my mind because I have been wrong for years. Well, yes, I have more or less made up my mind since a phone call made me see the light.
This pain and this confusion made me realize something last night, or made me think that I realized something, by the third drink. I said to D: You know, I have just realized something spectacular: I'm in love with the guy I left ten years ago, with F. What? he said. Yeah, I'm in love with F, he was my first boyfriend, we were together for six years, we were happy, we broke up ten years ago, but you know, I love him, I feel that all these years I have been wasting my time on a bunch of useless, stupid, and disgusting losers, and I have just realized that I love F. It sounds weird, no doubt, but in my thirty-three years I have loved only once. Yes, only once, and it was F. Wow, oh my gosh, to realize something like this ten years later. And well... ten years. And I see him in Chile every year, every time I go to Chile I see him, and he even came to see me once in Barcelona, but you know, he's always had a girlfriend, he's never been single, long-term girlfriends, ugly ones and beautiful ones, of every type, and that's what fucks me up, that he always has a girlfriend, beautiful or ugly, so on many occasions I have wanted to say something to him, but I won't dare, I can't bring myself to tell him, and once he even came to Barcelona, stayed over at my place, and wanted to live here, he came over from the United States, from Utah, running away from the Mormons, he told me that he went there for a music residency, the place was overrun with Mormons and weirdoes, someone threatened to kill him, he took him to a hill at night, they smoked a strange herb, and he said he would kill him, he came running over to Barcelona to avoid dying by the hands of a Mormon. That same night he got on a plane and landed on this side of the Atlantic. I should have said something to him, but I didn't, just how stupid was I to set him with a Polish girl? It was sad, how horrible, why did I do such a thing? Even though he asked me to do it, he wanted to meet someone because he came running away from the Mormons. I was dumb, but he asked me to help him, and now I realize that I love him. I should never have set him up with a Polish girl just because he came running away from the Mormons. Dumb, dumb, dumb. How could I have been so stupid?
What the hell, D said. I just don't get it.
Look, let me explain. The thing is, I love him and recently I have realized that I never appreciated 100% what was going on. Another time I saw him, our friend's wife had died. We traveled south by bus. Sixteen hours on the bus, from Santiago to Valdivia. It was an incredible trip, like an initiation ritual. We were going to a funeral, burying a great friend's wife, but I was also mourning for something else. Maybe I should have known that with that funeral we were also mourning for all the time when we had been apart, the time that slipped away from us. I never understood it, I should have asked him. We traveled sixteen hours to Valdivia, we ate bread and drank on the road. Other friends came on other buses, among them was my ex-lover, N, the one with whom I cheated on F, and at a bus stop N said we should do it in the restroom of the bus station, and I told him what a dumb-ass he was, that he was married to a Brazilian girl, what a dumb-ass you are, N. How can we do it in a bus stop restroom if you have a Brazilian wife?
Then N told me to sit with him. I said no, that I had been with F and would stay with F for the rest of the trip. Just like that, I sat with F, well, I stayed with him for two days, and we accompanied my friend to his wife's burial. It was horrible, sad. She was buried in a hill. You could see she was beautiful. She was only thirty and left behind a newborn infant. They say she was a beautiful woman.
And I never told him, but I should have. I should have popped the question. I should have told him: Marry me now. One, two, three, let's tie the knot!
On another occasion I went to Valparaíso to give a public reading. I asked him to let me stay in his house. We slept in the same bed, it was incredible. We hardly brushed each other, no physical contact between us, our bodies were lined up, side by side, like sardines in a tin can. We got up, ate breakfast, and went out. It was sad, we had lunch together, and he saw me off at the bus station. I waved goodbye through the bus window. I felt dumb.
I never told him. I have never told him. I want to go over to his house and tell him now. You're crazy, my friend said. Don't tell him. Don't be silly, it's just an illusion. Could it be that you feel lonely? Well, yes, it can be, partly, but besides this loneliness has made me realize that he's the only man I have loved. I always think about an email I could send him. Subject: Do you want to marry me? And spill my guts to him. I don't know, I have never been able to ask someone to marry me. I could do it. Dear F, Do you want to marry me? If he says no, well, at least I've tried. The last time I called him up and asked him out for coffee, he said yes, I was at a hotel in Reñaca with my parents and could go to Valparaíso to see him. At first he said yes, that we could meet for coffee or dinner, but then he said no, that he was with his girlfriend and she was jealous of me. It was perfectly understandable, but I still felt hugely disappointed. I told my parents about it, but they have so little faith in me, they say I'm emotionally out of whack, that I'm telling them nonsense again. Besides, you're always hiding something, my father said, I don't know what you're hiding, but it must be bullshit. But it really made me feel like crap, because I have always imagined myself living with him in a small house, on a hill, who knows, with him somewhere. He with his music, I with whatever comes my way.
Well, I told you all this, thinking about the subject of my father and fakirism. I don't know how I could convince him that I'm not a fakir. Now has come the time to prove to him that I'm not. At thirty-three, I must show my father that I'm not a fakir. Dad, dad, I'm not a fakir. Do you believe me?
I must show him that I'm a woman and can have a boyfriend, children, a house, and plants. That I don't devote all my hours to fasting, reflection, study, and so on. But I don't know if he really thinks of me this way. How can he think like that? It would be strange. Most strange. But the point is that I'm really confused, lost, about my father, fakirism, F, and cans of sardines on beds. Yes, I think he thinks of me that way. Those reflections he sends me are indirect messages. Subliminal messages. He seems to think I'm a fakir or a yogi, I don't know... I must talk to him to clear up any doubts. First, call F up and tell him the truth, get him back, as a boyfriend, partner, and lover, make him my husband, and have a child with him. Then call my father and tell him: Dad, I'm getting married. And all the men I have dated until now pale in comparison. All of them are morons.
Yesterday I made a list of ex-boyfriends emailed each one of them in a desperate mood, because I didn't know what to do. And with all of them I did the same, sending a brief, affectionate note to ask them how they were doing and let them know that I cared about them, so they would feel good and write back an affectionate note, wanting to get back with me, and of course, all of them were going to say they missed me, and I did it, I emailed about five ex-boyfriends, all affectionate, and they wrote back, affectionate, and all of them said they missed me and no doubt all the emails hinted that they were waiting for me, but after receiving their replies, I hated them again and cut off most of them and I was a pain, a bitch, and I told them no, I'm not writing to get back with you, just to end what we never ended properly, something we left unfinished before. I didn't bother to write back to others.
Once in a while I do this. That's what I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of telling F something similar, and when I receive his affectionate reply, I cut him off. But no, I don't think that will happen. Maybe I should do it right now. But I don't know... With this gesture of mine, maybe my father will stop thinking that I'm a fakir, that I live in austere solitude, or maybe he won't change his mind, because he has never really given it much thought.
But tell me if I should do it, dear D, I said to my friend, surely annoying him. Well, you can do it, let's go, I'll walk you home. Let's get up, pay the bill, and go to your place. You dial F's number and that's it.
We paid the bill, walked, and reached the entrance gate. I searched my purse for my keys. I reached inside and felt them right away. We went up the large stairs and went inside. We went up to the balcony, where I keep my laptop.
Call him, my friend said, dial his number with Skype.
Whose number? My father's or F's?
How should I know? You decide. You have to clear that up.
And I kept wondering who I should call, my father or F, I really don't know. Both lived so far away now, thousands of kilometers away. And I opened my laptop, and typed my password in Skype. I logged in. My contacts appeared. Both of them were online, green, in other words, connected and available, besides other friends and ex-boyfriends who don't interest me anymore.
And my friend said: Go ahead, call him, and tell him, speak calmly, but tell him, that's what we're here for. I don't know, I can't tell him, and the laptop made a noise and the light flashed, and my father was calling me. Hello, Dad, what's up? Nothing, I'm with a friend. Ah, good, I love you. I'll call you back. And how's Mom? Yes, sweetheart, all is well. Have a good time, go out somewhere, don't stay cooped up like... Well, I don't know, sweetheart, don't stay cooped up like... I don't know, you have to go out, sweetheart. Don't stay cooped up too much, hit the beach, and go out to dinner with friends. Yes, Dad, right now I'm with a friend and we were thinking about going out for a drink. Great, a kiss, sweetheart. A kiss, Dad. I hung up on him and dialed F on Skype, in a hurry, to avoid second thoughts, and he took a long time to answer, he didn't answer right away, he must have been busy, busy with someone else, and hello, F, how's it going? Go ahead, tell him, said D, next to me, and hello, what's up?, tell him right now, tell him or I'll tell him. Hello, beautiful. Fine and you? Fine, all is well, I'm glad to see you online, I wanted to talk to you, to tell you something. Oh, yeah? I, too, wanted to talk to you. Ah, is that so? Tell him, yes, tell him. Okay, what were you saying? Yes, I wanted to tell you, yes, that I'm fine, and very happy, so it looks like I'm going to be a father. Oh yeah? Yes, I think so, M is pregnant, I'm going to be a father. Oh, a kiss, congratulations. A kiss, F, congratulations. Yes, thank you very much, a kiss... Yes, darling, I'm happy, thanks. Thank you, a kiss, I'm happy, too.