Saturday, January 22, 2011
Killer's Kiss (Part 3)
As the elevator glided effortlessly skyward, it was making almost no sound, just a quiet whoosh like silk brushing against skin. Where I come from, everything is worn-out, clanking and rickety. "Look," he'd said, pointing with his pudgy index finger, "In this country they don't have a thirteenth floor. Have you noticed how it always goes straight from the twelfth to the fourteenth? Triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number thirteen.They consider it to be bad luck, especially after 9/11. Imagine that!" He giggled, and even that sound was saturated with his authority over me.
I'm only 21. It's my first visit to this city. The weather's several degrees below, the sky grey and loaded with unpacked snow. Yet I don't feel cold here. Inside nothing gets in, least of all the wind blowing mercilessly from the north. We're sealed tight.
I struggle to my feet, and look through the glass. I contemplate the sweep of buildings without their thirteenth floors. The granite facades shimmer with ice. All I can think is, the thirteenth floor must still exist, but it's now become a forgotten space wrapped with guilt, and uncertain shadows, and thoughts that don't normally get out. Just because you ignore it, it doesn't mean it's not there.
My mother wouldn't like it in this place, and she definitely wouldn't like to ride in an elevator that took you up into the unknowable. She never understood why I was so desperate to come here. "Son, how do you expect to get by on looks alone? What kind of life is that? You fret over your reflection in the mirror all day long, but you never ever see yourself."
I cry a bit. Sometimes I do, when no one's around. I'm only 21. Today's the first time ever since I was a little boy that I allow myself to cry in front of someone, though his heart stopped beating not so long ago so it doesn't really matter. Still, it feels brave to me. I'm down kneeling on the floor again, soaked through and soiled. He's everywhere around me, bits of him spattered on the wall and the eiderdown. Even now, he consumes the room with his presence. The screen of the laptop has caved in, from when I used it to crush his skull. We seem so hard and impregnable, but somehow make a hole and our bodies are quick to betray us.
A short excerpt from a story in progress: 'Where the Heart Breaks is a Place Hidden'. On January 7, 2011, celebrity columnist Carlos Castro was murdered and mutilated by his 21-year old companion, Renato Seabra, in their Times Square hotel room in NYC.