My Year Without Her (2014, novel, english translation)
(Preface + chapters 1 and 2)
"It's terrible!" This was my first exclamation when I finished reading this book. Honestly, I started reading expecting a typical sentimental romance cliché, kind of good for the interior of a fireplace, but soon - and from NOTHING, I must exalt - it became a good experience, how can I put it, it was strange, I made a "hum" inwardly, followed shortly after by an "ah", then I coughed, then coughed a little more, "what is this? why is this here? does not make any sense", as I began to slowly see myself losing my sanity - I was sure to be watched in the corner of my eye by an alligator in a cigar-smoking suit, but I refused to look in his direction - I considered suicide obviously, going to McDonalds, to have a milkshake, then suddenly I saw myself reading the same thing from the beginning, I remembered my youth before the war, I remembered my loves, their breasts, I felt myself slightly being deceived by the author, I also felt cheated by my dog.
I believe the first impression one can have about the author as he begins to read this book is that he is a pervert - which I doubt not - followed by the feeling that he is a five year old child - a perverted child - then to conclude that he is absolutely an insane, demented, perverted child. The premise of this novel: a young man dates a girl, has problems, cant take anymore, ends the relationship, soon after discovers himself mentally ill, goes back, she does not want him anymore, he does not know what to do, begins to question his life and decisions, begins to go out wildly to parties behind oblivion, whether in a substitute, in drink, in "new experiences", yada, yada, yada, the usual Disney movies, Hollywood movies bullshit. But then out of nowhere, sidereal space, the Earth spinning around the sun, and then cutias appear from nowhere - some kind of Brazilian crazy rodent -, or you find yourself reading an article about social behavior at university parties in Rio de Janeiro, or a treatise on gothics and hair, or the demented math of football fans, and there is rhinos - my god! -. You soon notice, this title "My year without her" is very misleading. Other than that I also must notice, that I have done the research, and there are none of those cutias with fancy hair styles, they never even existed. Also notice that this is not a healthy book - it should be burned, in fact - not that this is a problem for me, I have experienced a lot of crazy in life, I can hardly sleep at night with all the memories, but one of mine granddaughters, Penelope, 22, I do not remember from which mother or grandmother, there are so many, she stole the manuscript, read it in one night and dawned me crying. Ah ... these post-nuclear young people are sensitized by anything, they are also demented and perverted children equal to the author. Next day, it was her cousin Tatiana, who after reading the first chapter, cursed the first and then the author, only to later also finish the book the same day, and ask me to contact him. She was very sad when I told her that he was already dead, crushed by a piano. Honestly, their reaction to this book was very unpleasant. I suppose these traumatized young people today can find something in the situations of the protagonist they can relate to, something in his mistakes and right answers, more mistakes than right answers, in fact. However, I do still think they should have been reading a Hesse, or Kafka, or Dostoyevsky, or Schopenhauer, not this disheveled author.
Salazar "Sal" Mummramad
(Winner of the Nobel, in 1984, in category: others.)
Sucks me wildly, she seems to want to swallow me into herself as I indulge in a mixture of pleasure and pain. I've never done it like this outdoors, especially against an isolated wall behind college. I did not imagine that the night would end like this, I came here for other reasons. But here I am, with this girl, whom I met only an hour ago, kneeling in front of me, sucking my dick as if it were her only reason for existence. Things rarely happen in life in a planned way.
It´s an economy college party, the college, Federal Fluminense University, in the famous land after the puddle, also known as Niteroi, in direct opposition of Rio de Janeiro. Obviously, I'm not an economics student - what kind of person would that be? And obviously being in the faculty of the party does not matter to anyone here, this is just an excuse for people from different faculties to meet, get drunk and grab each other without much consequence – basically the primary function of being in college. I arrive early and the place is still half empty. It’s happening in the area around an old campus building, a building built before the large cold concrete blocks that now make up the majority of the university, with a large space with gardens where the crowds will soon be clumped, crushing the grass and pissing on the trees. As is usual at the start of any party, small pockets of people divide the place. I don’t see anyone I know, so I call my friends. Everyone is still far away. So I do what I always do at any party, I move to one of those circles of people, and I start talking, basic questions about the obvious to get inside and pass the time until someone I know arrives. It's a numbers game, some are already so closed in their little bubbles that they look strange at anyone that tries to get inside, others are so much looking for some new interesting thing to make a difference in their day to day life, that they open cozily to any stranger that gives them any attention.
I talk and talk, I drink and drink, and soon the place is unbearably full, an anthill, bathed in bad music and alcohol. Several friends arrive, and since I have never enjoyed standing in the same place for too long, I move from one group to another constantly, digging through the crowd, always looking everywhere, always expecting to see someone who is not there. And then in the middle of the crowd I meet a friend of mine, a friend who is also her friend, Carlos, yes... Carlos. I start talking to him and then I ask.
- And do you know if ... is coming here today?
- Oh no, she called me, she decided not to go out today, tomorrow is her father's birthday.
She is the reason for me to be there: to bump into her, to stumble, to lean. We are no longer speaking to each other, we barely see each other, but something in me always says that the next time we come across, things will be different. So, since I have nothing more to do there that I originally intended, I do what everyone else is doing, I go hunting, for oblivion, for anesthetize, for any other girl that can make me somehow forget the one I want, after all this is what everyone else is doing, nothing matters. The first is a busty little girl, Jessica. Curly hair, lost eyes, but who has assumed the part that she knows where she is, since she probably studied a lot during the day, had lots of worries, so now she has to have some fun, have fun as everyone seems to be having fun - everyone is smiling, aren’t they? And there she is, flouting in the middle of a group passing around a marijuana joint. I don’t smoke it with her, nothing against it, I'm only against the judges who think they should ban something somebody want to use in himself, and also all the old ladies in ophthalmologist’s waiting rooms who like to discuss the degradation of the young. I’ve tried, but have since given up smoking anything like that - I can only feel something when I'm extremely drunk. And yet I did not know if this was really something that I was felling, or a role that I assumed, so it makes no difference. I am fast, after some cheap talk, I grab her, I lift her in the air, I suck her tongue, I suck her lips, I squeeze her butt, she does the same to mine, I get disinterested, I follow the queue. The second is from another state, São Paulo. Her name is Paula, she’s not even in college, she’s a third year high school student, visiting a friend. Not a great talk, we kiss, I take note of her phone number.
- But I know you'll never call me.
- Of course not, I will call!
Strange to be questioned in the role I'm playing, although it's true, I'll never call her. I follow the line. The fact it’s I can’t focus on anything in that place, for I still thinking of her. I cross with Carlos again. He is a type of paradox, he does nothing at the party, says he’s there only to enjoy the company of his friends, but what that means is: he doesn’t know how to deal with women. More small talk and after a few phrases with her name, nothing that shows much interest, he makes the comment that pulls the conversation where I want to go.
- You know, it was a surprise you broke up.
- Yeah, we used to have many fights. We were very intolerant of each other in some things, in our differences. Yes, but you know something I learned recently, this kind of thing should not matter in a relationship, maybe loving another person, is to love their differences, knowing how to deal with them - the only useful thing I took out of a Sociology and Psychology class, made a lot of sense to me at the time, it's amazing when you only understand some clichés when they present themselves in strange places, under certain mental conditions.
- You didn’t end up well, did you?
- No, if it was up to me, I would still be with her now. You see me here talking to everyone, so easily, picking up several girls, you know why I'm like this? Because she told me to do this, she said it would be best if I meet more people, made friends with them, would help me forget the past. So that's what I'm doing. And yes, I may be grabbing and kissing other girls, but I still want to be with her. But what am I to do, when the one I want rejects me? Stay home staring the wind?
- Yeah, you're right, but I'm different. I had a problem with this girl a while ago, we dated a couple of weeks, but it didn’t work out well, we lost interest. But I am ok, this is not a priority in my life, I prefer to be alone. (She, the one I was expecting, had told me about it. She had given him advice on how to behave with a woman, as she said, the way I didn’t do, that is, pay her a fancy dinner in a restaurant. Yeah, they had lost interest, her first, and him for having no other option.)
- I was just like you once, closed from everyone who was not part of my daily routine, not venturing far outside the box. Sometimes I even thought that this was my natural being, isolated on an island, comfortable inside a deep dark box. But then I trained myself to be something else, extroverted, talkative, always looking out to meet many new people, I got used to it, and the box got too claustrophobic. I used to only go to parties, pick up the girls and nothing else, if that even happened, always depended a lot on my mood at the time. Now, I stop calmly, I get to know people, I talk, and things are much easier so, a lot more opportunities appear that way. But even so, to tell you the truth, I don’t know if this is really worth anything, I'd change it all to be with her again.
- I really didn’t know you still wanted her. I always thought you were so well together. I really hope you two get back.
- Yes, in a way, we were good. But I don’t know where things are going up from here, she told me she's already dating a guy.
- Yeah, I know.
- Do you know what her feelings for him are?
- Like, she's my friend too, it wouldn’t be right for me to share such things about her now. But you know, when you were together, she also confided things to me, and I can say that now, it's just not the same, she doesn’t feel the same way about him as when she was with you.
- Yeah ... but then…, let's forget about it for now and let's go hunting around for some women, you have to find one for you too!
- I don’t know, I rather stay here with some friends.
- Come on, I insist, you point out one you like and I do the hard job.
- No, no, no, I don’t have the same ease as you.
I look around, I see a group with some attractive girls, I go and start talking, I also pull my friend along. I introduce him quickly to one of the girls and focus my attention on another, one with meaty lips. She’s beautiful, tall, with curly hair - yes, I am addiction to this -, a psychology student. Her name is Joana, I've never been with a girl named Joana, and for some reason this gives me a feeling of new, of innovating somehow. Soon I completely forget my friend and she has all my attention. It's easy for me to talk to a psychology student, one of the ways I used to get out of my old box was to read books on human behavior. Thousands of topics can be followed with her, but what does that matter, just some cheap fast word exchange and in no time, I find myself already glue tight to her body, kissing deeply her lips. I'm not a shy person, and good, so is not she, a few seconds later, from kissing, I'm already squeezing her ass, I'm already lifting her in the air while we continuous our ferocious kiss. We walk around the crowd and we kiss, we drink and we kiss, we talk a little more and we kiss. With each more second, her eyes shining brighter than before, with each more kiss, she becomes more aroused by my touch, her body getting hotter and hotter. And without having to think about it, we're on our way to an isolated wall behind the main building. Initially I only intend to throw her against a wall so that I could kiss her more, bite her neck, squeeze her whole body against me. But soon my hand follows under her top, strongly moving over her breasts, her small, but appetizing breasts, and soon my mouth is on them, sucking out of those large, curved nipples, inversely proportional to the breasts, while my other hand descends inward her pants. Sometimes people pass by and we composed ourselves, pretending to be just kissing. The warm glance of desire she gives me is something that gives me more pleasure, she is enchanted by how excited I get her, she’s completely over my control. The people go, soon my lips are again sucking her breasts and my hand with two fingers go down penetrating her wet vagina, it contracts. I want to penetrate her, stick my dick in her warm body, I get my pants down, but she is a little shy, worried by the possibility of someone passing by again, spotting us. So she kneels down, kneels in front of me, and with my thick, erect dick in her hand, she begins sucking me. And I must say this fact is noteworthy, because never before or after, someone sucked me like her. Her mouth is like a suction pump trying to swallow my dick. I can hardly understand if what I feel is pleasure or pain. I hardly know if I am enjoy it, or if I fearing she will break my dick in some way. My penis muscle contracts several times without ejaculating. When I can’t take it any longer, we hear someone approaching. So we stop and go back into the crowd, me tidying up my pants, her getting up her top.
- You're a naughty little devil with an angel face! - she says.
I suggest we go to a motel, even though I don’t know any in Niteroi, neither I am able to afford one that night, it just seems the right thing to say. She says no, she says she needs to control herself. She lives there, in that same land after the puddle, but in another neighborhood. She says she has some things at a friend's house and needs to get them before going home. I accompany her, expecting we fuck at her friend's, but it doesn’t happen, there is already a lot of people there. We go to the bus station where I’ll take the bus that crosses the might puddle, there she gets a taxi. Through the taxi’s window, I can still see her intense look of desire over me. I wonder if I'll call her back the next day, if I'll meet her again. It's funny, a night like that should be exceptional, but I can’t see anything there besides sex, and that not the only thing I want, I want to care for somebody, I want to take care of somebody, but the only person for whom I have such feelings is not there, she’s not with me anymore. We broke up about three months ago, after an exact one year of dating, and worse, it was me who finished it all, I made the decision. I broke up with the only person I have ever loved and still love.
I'm depressed, have passed the week locked in my room. I wake up late, I watch movies, I do not get out of bed, I sleep early, or rather, I writhe in bed early. We talk only through the messenger, we speak the minimal since we have no more subjects to talk. I lie to her, I say that I have spent the day studying, doing something productive, I do not know if she believes it or not. I only know that something has to change in my life, the path I'm following does is not working. In our last meeting, we barely touch, not for lack of my attempt, or for any kind of repulsion from her to this, but simply out of sheer disinterest, she prefers the movie - it does not bring as much disappointment as we together. Our last fight was horrendous, now we pretend to be well and she pays more attention to the film on the screen than to me. What kind of person goes with another one in the movies to see the movie? I get out of there worse than I was before. I cannot take it anymore, I feel that our whole relationship is on my shoulders. Everything only happens if I do it, and she only takes the trouble to agree or disagree. In the nights that follow in our conversations through the messenger, my distance becomes apparent. But what a difference it makes, it's not like she's going to take any action because of that, she just complains, complains and complains and nothing else, the only person who can take action here is me and nobody else. But I do not want to, I'm too tired to do everything myself, and that's all I have left for the question.
- ... you want to break up with me?
And I get irritated.
- Of course not, I love you, you are the love of my life. Stop messing up and let's talk normal.
And the conversations follow without life.
It's been a week since we last met, she just had an medical procedure in her mouth. I thought about visiting her, but for what? To stand staring at the air in her house while she focuses on other things, she did the same thing in the movies. I want to stay with her, but not as an adornment, not fulfilling only a part. But despite the melancholy, I decide that I cannot stay like this. There is only one certainty in my life and this is that I love her. Soon, I wake up, I wake up early, I organize my room that was an abandoned mess. And I'm start to plan how I can fix everything, how should I focus on other things, such as my writing and my films, and study to get a job right away. I know things will get easier with money. Yes, we have problems, but it all about doing a little more effort, that soon everything will be fixed, soon she will really understand how much I love her and the fights will stop, soon she will be totally proud to be with me. I even print some pictures of landscapes and place on the walls to give my room more air, I want her to be surprised the next time there. It's silly, but I'm silly. It's a wednesday, we'll see each other tomorrow, on thursday. The messenger conversations continuous as monotonous as ever. The truth is that any subject more striking, I cut short, because I know it will end in confusion, with her disagreeing with something, so it is easier to avoid. I'm go to sleep. Thirty minutes later, or more, I do not know, I'm already asleep, the phone rings.
- ... enter the messenger!
- What? Why? What happened?
- I need to talk to you.
I enter the messenger.
- You're acting strange, you're distant, I do not know what to do.
Soon I think, here she comes with her confusion again. It is typical of her to swallow me for her inner conflicts until three o'clock in the morning. And I always follow, but at that moment I'm full of that.
- ... please, let's talk tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll be together, it's better.
- No, I want to talk now. You are distant, cuts off everything I start to say, doesnt seem to care anymore.
- My God, please, I'm tired, let's talk tomorrow. I'm not different with you, I love you the same way.
- No, no, and I don’t know that anymore.
- Seriously, I'm almost fainting here. Tomorrow we'll be together and everything will be alright.
- No, you had no problem spending a week without seeing me, and I wanted you.
- Why did not you ask?
- I do not have to ask you for anything, you see me if you want to see me.
- I know ... So, tomorrow we'll see each other.
- Do you still want to stay with me?
And that's it, it's the third time in a week that she asks me this, I cannot take it anymore. All me, me and me. But if I take all the initiatives, she is still unsatisfied and does not agree, brings me to this hell even when by pure luck I guess the desires she is unable to speak. "... I love you, I need you near me!" No, this is too difficult. It's easier to "You do not care about me, you do not love me!" So I answer her question:
- I already knew it!
- Yeah, you always know everything.
- Stop it!
- No, I'm tired. I cannot take it anymore. I want someone in my life who is with me, not questioning me every time, just using me as a company.
- Stop it!
- No, I am tired. That's what you wanted, so there it is.
- No, I didnt want that.
- You wanted it, always asking the same thing, I cannot take it anymore.
- I love you!
- Yes, I know how much this love is real...
She calls me.
- What you're doing is stupid. Let's talk better tomorrow about this!
- No, I dont want to meet you anymore tomorrow - I say that, wanting to meet her, but I know the reality, nothing I am questioning her about will be of any importance if I come face-to-face with her. The moment I look into her eyes, everything will be lost, I will be her once more to do whatever she wants, torture me with her thousands of doubts, never believing me, putting me in as the decider of everything, only to disagree with what a decide. I know that if we meet, she will ask me again what I want, and so in a mix of anger and passion, I will say: "I want my woman by my side! I want you to stop fooling around and be her!"; She will just look at me with desire, will not answer anything, nor take responsibility for anything, and I will kiss her, a long and strong kiss. But I refuse to go through this again without her first showing somehow that she cares, that she really wants to make things better, and not leave everything to me as always. She cries, then becomes irritated. - You'll regret it, listen well to what I'm telling you! - That only makes me angrier, not of her, but of myself, because I know I will, and that's exactly why I give myself to more anger. I'm sure that what I'm doing is best for me, I'm feeling alone with her, and I cannot let this love ruin my life, I let all my frustrations take over me, I start listing everything that we have passed that I dont like, every thing I did, and every thing she did not do in return. At that moment, one part of me wants to make sure that everything is destroyed, so that the other that still wants her cannot come back. The conversation is over, we agree to go to sleep, think better, and talk the next day. I delete all our Orkut photos and our dating status - nowadays you can only have real emotional reactions if they are shared on a social network - and then I cry. I dont sleep, I just wriggle in bed. I start writing a letter, trying to say as best I can, I cannot take it anymore and she has to take some action, she has to fight for us, to be a woman that’s part of my life, not just a company, to do as I always tried to be for her, supporting her. Her answer is to say that I do not need to give explanations because I'm putting an end to our relationship. It is common for her to understand nothing I say. But I'm no longer interested in giving more explanations. We talked on the phone one more time, she insisted we should see each other, and I insist not, seeing her is a certainty to get back to someone who does not care. She once again calls me an idiot and says I'll regret it. I finish our conversation and cry again. I cry and cry, until I tell myself how stupid this is, that she is not worth it, that I must go on with my life, continue with the same plans that I had done twenty-four hours earlier To improve me as a person, to improve for her, but now without her. I feel the need for a new life. What life, I still do not know. Tic-tac, tic-tac, tick-tac, starts ticking the bomb`s clock.