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Lucas Almeida Franceschi

Brazil

Brazilian 18 year-old on a gap year with a lot to share!

Message to Readers

Always comments on style, not content, please.

Apart from that I have no idea what I'm looking for. Any kind of feedback would be welcome. :)

Bruno

December 1, 2015

FREE WRITING

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    Last week, I was on my way to my ex's building for his swimming pool ("ex" what, you ask me? Truth is, I wouldn't even know how to answer that question.) Together we had seen one year and a half of an on-again-off-again relationship, the kind that was essentially more impactful on me than it was on him.

I had met him in one of those distraction moments you find yourself in a bustling Brasilia party. It was 2014, and the seniors were doing their traditional Afterprom party: everybody was dancing and drinking; and even some of the teachers joined in. There I was, on a blue linen shirt and a very unmemorable haircut, and an even less memorable social attitude, dancing away without any sense of style at all - everything about me, exhaustingly forgettable, excruciatingly boring. At 2am, one of my best friends finally took the embrace of the girl he liked; at 3am, my best friend back then had left the party and I was finding myself lost and alone, going with the motions. At 3:30am, the alcohol had started to hit; and I knew, from that point on, that I should start to take it a bit slower. At 4am, a passing thought: what if Rogerio is telling this most random boy by my side that I was gay? Such silly imagination.

    I was too self-conscious for words.

    At 4:01am, this most random young man walks over to me and confirms that my predictions are sometimes, just sometimes, right. He whispers to my ear and asks me who I am; he gives me his number. We kiss, and I take my leave.

    So, we went out the following Saturday for a lunch date at Pontao - occasion that, in an interestingly coincidental way, featured my first time having sushi. I talked about the hardness of Math HL and my love of Sao Paulo. We split the bill. I left for his house, and there we "chilled". But there was no funny business. I was in a hurry, I had a flight to catch, and later that night I was in my aunt's house, trying to figure out where this brave new world would fit, when I hadn't even brought myself to come out to my paternal family yet.

    Before I left his car, we had kissed. On my way up, I tripped on the curb. "He must have seen that!" I thought. "Must I always be such an idiot?"

    The next week, I was to leave for Miami. I kept this and other things on my mind, but these kinds of things need to be taken in slowly: there were a lot of things going on in my mind, in my psyche; a little "revolution" of the mind that was about to go on unannounced. One day, I walked alongside my mother, after I was cursing myself for perceivably being rude to a definitely ruder friend on Facebook Messenger, listening to "Brave New World" by Thirty Seconds to Mars. What with the tree canopy of the beach boardwalk, it was shadowy. "The light at the end of the tunnel", as it were, was dim, but insistent.  

    When I went back home, I was still that lost boy who begged for social success, but who had learned a valuable lesson on patience.

    After that, I saw him, twice again. They were good encounters, but eventually, they stopped. My decision, it was: I had to focus on the problems of my own life before I could let others in it. The random boy next to me at Afterprom was starting to strike me as a little too superficial, a tad too egocentric, and a bit detached. It was best not to have anything to do with him for a while.

    But man! Was he easy-going.

    As a mental flashback that sets off on its own, whenever I'd had just a bit too much to drink, his image just flushed into my mind. He was the first one I wished to be next to me. That incredulous young man who would not buy for a second the idea that I was a first-timer to all those things, with his silly little laugh. But I was. And I never did. I never did phone him, I never did Snapchat him, I never did anything to reach that guy. My friends wouldn't let me. I wouldn't let me. As a hopeless lament, I wouldn't let me.

    I took my time to focus on what really mattered: myself. I took to meditating. I started journaling. Reading inspirational articles on those current new-age, new-generation websites had become an everyday habit. People are becoming increasingly zen, nowadays, and that makes me feel good. Nonchalantly, I started giving people advice, including my own family. Once, it was so powerful, even my own advice made me cry. Then, I got the hang of it.
Suddenly, being popular was so much less desired. Perceived failures in English class were just another lesson to learn, not something to beat myself over. It is, afterall, a second language. I became friendly, I became humorous. I turned to myself, and found that, the more I harnessed this infinite potential, the more I would get. I became a great leader.

    Very recently, while all this was happening, through a distracted, intoxicated moment, Bruno and I were again in touch. After I'd drunk-texted him, the next day I decided to immediately ignore him; but weeks later I once again reached for him, and we fixated a date. From the first contact until the actual date, three of four months of ridiculous "hard-to-get" game had passed. When we finally met, I can't even remember how it had happened.

    When we met, I had wanted to show him how much I'd changed; while, somehow, I felt the same. We met twice. He was single then, and you could see that I was starting to make him like me. And I was starting to like him.
Then, when I had him - that's when I left for Paris.

"Do you like chess?" A sober, visually Brazilian old man asks me on the elevator on the way up. For a while I thought I'd heard him say "You must be Lucas" and wondered if the man was Bruno's father, knowingly struck by Alzheimer's. "My driver wanted to play it with me, but I have to admit that I hate the bloody game!"

    "Oh, I love chess, sir! Been wanting to play it for a while now." I respond with an almost inappropriate tone of intimacy. I smile. I respectfully place both hands on my back. He turns and heads for Bruno's apartment: it confirms that my predictions are sometimes, just sometimes, right.

    "Hey, Dad!" a shirtless Bruno comes out and greets his genitor, then he moves on to direct his attention to me: "This is my friend, Lucas. I see you two have already met."

    Bruno and I do our hilariously ironic heterosexual handshake. He's not aware that I find it so funny.

    "I was just getting to the pool. You can wait downstairs while I grab some things in my room," he says.

    "Okay," I say back. There is a political program playing on the radio. His house is a typically Brazilian, moderately upper-class, duplex apartment. Its floor is granite, much like my own place. There isn't any decoration on the walls, but the place is filled with brownish furniture and tapestry. I walk halfway to his kitchen. There is a sudden desire to be friendly to everyone in that household. I have that brief moment when you wander through someone's house and thinks of just how it must feel to live here. For one moment, you wonder.

    "Been hot these days," I start a conversation with the father. "I don't even know when Brasilia became so hot!"
He stares at me blankly. Somehow, my sentence confuses him. After careful consideration, he politely responds:
"I don't understand the whole fuss about the heat. I think the weather's just fine this way."

    "Oh, but you see, sir, I've just been in Paris. In the winter! I haven't been used to all this heat," I respond, with a smile on my face and an attitude that's as friendly as ever. He doesn't seem to comprehend.

    "Paris? Winter?" He inquires.

    Somehow, I feel I've crossed an invisible etiquette barrier. Bruno comes down and asks if I'm ready. Before turning, I tell the father that it was pleasure to meet him. It seems to bedazzle him.

"How have you been? How was Paris?" the random boy dancing next to me at Afterprom asks. We are going up in the elevator. He smiles and says, "I imagine you must be full of stories."

    As we exit the elevator, I launch a "I wouldn't know where to start" when he interrupts me:

    "Oh, shoot! I forgot the towels! Would you mind waiting here while I get them?" He asks.


    "Oh! Sure... " I shoot back. He says he'll be right back, and reenters the lift. I walk towards the pool.

    It is a beautiful view of Brasilia. Far from that terrace at the end of Asa Sul, you can see the airport. You can also see the whole of Asa Sul: the tapestry of dark green Brasilia trees, the purplish asphalt in the streets caused by the dryness of the city. The sun was shining hot (it really was hot); the day, oddly humid. It was a great day for a swim.


    How far I've come. And how close am I to getting what I want! To think of that shy, fearful little boy of other times, desperately texting his best friends and asking to go for a party. Necessary suffering. Now I am so much better, and yet, I am much the same. But now, it excites me. Something that used to intimidate me - now it excites me. Gosh, am I awkward! It's funny, rather. I just put my head back and laugh, and we all should. Because it truly is funny. It's all a process - everything we go through, every misstep, every right step; and at the end, what will we have but our memories? I like my memories. Paris really left a mark in me - it's made me a strong, slightly vain, well-dressed young man. And I've had my fair share of dancing next to overly self-aware boys in the French dance floors. There, I've made people cry of joy. I've made people laugh. As an eternal souvenir, I have a cigarette burn, on my arm, from a Norwegian girl (who happened to have a very odd northern British accent when she had had too much to drink). Great story to tell one's grandchildren; keeps me aware that there is so much to life. Where could I even start?

    I could go on and on about my new philosophy of life. I could make myself an advocate of it and say "It's been scientifically proven, you know?" I could make a lot of money from it. I could touch a lot of lives from it. At the end of the day, the lesson to be learned is: it's all a process. And, before I'd walked all the way to my ex's building, I had promised myself that I would not see that as the "final test" of any of the things I'd thought I cultivated. I would just see it as a funny experience to have.

    "Where could I start?" I tell him. "Well, this is kinda funny actually, this one night these girls and I … "

    At the end of that hang-out, he tells me that he was seeing someone. He needed to move on - as it should be. We tell each other goodbye, promise to do something later that week - while we both knew that it was never going to happen. Now, he's leaving for California in less than a month, where he'll be studying Gastronomy, and we most likely won't see each other for a long time. If at all. Ironically, as in a cliché, that's exactly when I realized that I'd liked him all along. That's when I realized that this, the first boy I'd been with, who saw me as I developed into what I am - what I've always been.

    I squint my eyes. I look at his golden hair, his big, white teeth, his black eyes. I bring myself to tell him what I think. All of it. Just the irony of it.

    I let him know that now, I'm mature enough to stand my ground.

    Today, he's been cold in his texting. It's okay, I think. We Milennials are so oddly unattached about these kinds of things (compare this to a turn-of-the-century loss-of-love story and you'll see how well I'm handling the situation). He'll come around, I believe. Someone will, eventually, come around. He couldn't wait around for two whole years, and he never knew how I felt; I never had the courage to tell him. But now I'm ready. I believe I surpassed him, and I'll be waiting for him after that finish line. Or at least, I'll be waiting for someone.

Close your eyes and think of how funny this all is. Who cares what others might think? The life is yours. If you love someone, tell them. If you mess it up, laugh. Just laugh it out and do it with a heart in. I guarantee that everyone in the room will laugh too.

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