KR OnlineFictionTranslation

Sweat

Translated from Spanish by Ezra E. Fitz

It goes down. It happens. You get to know a writer, and all of a sudden his work takes on a certain power, a certain relevance. The opposite can happen too, by the way, like when someone has the chance to gain access to an author and his son, and suddenly the work no longer holds. It falls to pieces.

 

Sometimes a person lives through one of those experiences that needs to be told, that bears repeating, that you just have to write. Something a bit improbable, a bit implausible, which is exactly what makes it a story worth telling. Like getting involved with the son of an important writer.

Like connecting with the secret works and the vibe of the firstborn.

Like sleeping with him.

Like you got fucked by a kid named Restrepo and it messed you up.

All messed up, but on fire.

Awesome. Prostatically delightful.

How can I write such a tale without having to be a part of it?

How can I be, shall we say, on bottom and on top at the same time?  Maybe it’s more appropriate—more natural—to be versatile.

Modern.

And low-key, of course.

 

Daddy’s boy.

His father’s son.

The rebel, the prodigal son, the fallen angel.

A book about writers and their obsessions with writing it all, told by two people who aren’t writers themselves but rather readers.

A book about two guys who read one another the minute they met.

 

If I were allowed to relive just one of the forty-three years I’ve roamed on this earth, I think I’d choose the one I spent back in 2013. I’m pretty sure that’s my favorite year. Specifically those four sultry days and three sweaty nights in late October when the Feria Internacional del Libro de Santiago, or FILSA, was going on, which for us involved an overly expensive and micromanaged media tour for The Aura of Things by Rafael Restrepo Carvajal and his son, Rafa Jr. Yes, those four days and three nights in 2013 are high up on my list of key life moments.

Or maybe not.

Maybe I’d rather just erase them from my memory.

I don’t know.

Fuck, it wasn’t all that bad.

One thing I do know for sure: those few days are worthy of writing about.

There’s a story in there. That’s the line I always use. It’s like my tic:

“There’s a story in there, hueón. Tell it to me. Just find it and make it happen.”

Not all authors want to share their best stories. Sometimes they want to keep it to themselves, they don’t know what it is, or mainly they’re just too terrified to share it, make it public, release it into the world.

This—I hope—is my story. It’s the story of several other people as well. It doesn’t span my entire life, nor does it cover the lives of the others involved. But things happen.

“There’s definitely some material here, güey,” as none other than Rafa Restrepo himself once told me.

I guess he was right.

 

I never did any traveling. I never went anywhere. I just stayed right here.

I was taking it easy, but I got going.

They got me going.

A lot of them did.

Now, with the complicity and distance of time (though it hasn’t really been all that long, fuck, so many things went down), I’m absolutely certain that what happened was that I sleepwalked into a minefield: I crossed certain lines, got more deeply involved than was either necessary or advisable with people who were just too young.

Way too young for me.

Assholes.

Cute assholes. Jerks. Dudes.

Maybe I looked younger than I was, but I should have known better (on good days I looked thirty-seven, maybe thirty-eight) and despite being a master of pop culture trivia, totally up-to-date, and tuned in to all the social networks, I was obviously the older one, even if I conveniently forgot about that little fact.

What’s the expression?

Young, dumb, and full of cum.

A cute guy (with dimples) can change you. Can make you anxious and obsessed at the same time. You think you can suck out his beauty, his verve, his strange sense of confident insecurity. You swear that everything that makes him incredible will rub off on you, and only later do you realize that there was nothing special about him at all, save for the fact that he was cute and happened to notice you and that he had these dimples.

At one point I was hooked on skinny jeans and those awful Christmas-type patterned sweaters that were all the rage with the hipsters. I was fascinated by those beards and haircuts that were half military style (those necks exposed to the sun, my God) and half retro (like Russian immigrants or Levi-wearing miners from San Francisco), plus that particular smell that emanated from the foreskins of teenage guys who radiate that hormonal scent that hides among the pubic hairs of those who don’t have much hair anywhere else.

I loved those guys who wore tortoiseshell-rimed glasses or acetate Warby Parkers but read only graphic novels and their little workshop friends’ debut chapbooks. That’s one thing I did learn after everything that went down: empathy is something you acquire over time, over the years, with age. If you’re too young, all you see is yourself.

Especially when you’re looking in the mirror.

I liked those selfie-boys.

Why deny it?

 

During that particular heated week, Santiago was suddenly awash in all the colors in the pastel rainbow of fashion: short shorts, cargo shorts, Bermuda shorts, jersey shorts, even cutoff denim shorts, muscle shirts, pima cotton V-neck T-shirts, sandals, Havaianas, Birkenstocks, or Bestia boots (“hecho en Chile, no en China,” as the guys who wore them would say). The whole city went 3D, and all the hookup apps crashed. Santiago was rife with firm, hairy calves, bushy armpits, broad, wet necks, and sharply defined shoulder blades thinly veiled by white, yellow, sky blue, and sea green T-shirts. Strong legs (is there anything more striking than some dumb dude with hairy, well-built thighs?) betrayed the benefits of being a hard-core cyclist. What Augusto told me was true: butts have clearly improved, because now everyone has a bubble one. That spring, bulges were clearly outlined under tight linen pants or distressed jeans slung low around the hips (more obliques than there are in heaven) that occasionally revealed the primary colored underwear being sported, though I also loved those who went around commando or “a lo gringo,” as they say around here, with their wild, native curly bushes poking out just a bit.

All of a sudden, everything was long necks and aquiline noses, intriguing eyebrows and insinuating backs, broad, tanned shoulders and big feet clad in worn sandals, hairy chests, and four-day-old beards covering Adam’s apples that got spotlighted when they took a few swallows of those organic, fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices that cropped up out of nowhere and spread everywhere. That season, the ethnic, tribal, and vaguely surf tattoos were in vogue, set in lightly bronzed skin moisturized with sunscreen, and on the terraces of bars and restaurants, guys with dark eyes and sensual accents flirted with you even if it was only for tips as they served you Aperol spritzers and shots of Ballentine’s. El Parque Bicentenario, our wannabe Central Park, was packed with groups of friends extolling the previous night’s exploits as they lay on the grass on blankets or towels with their dogs, their bicycles, their cute sunglasses, shoulders, and feet shining in the sun, with light cardigans ready for whenever a slight mountain breeze might kick up.

At long last, metrosexuals had given way to lumbersexuals with their hair, their abundant beards, and their natural aroma, slightly piquant in the air around your nose (more armpits than there are in heaven). There were men everywhere—ready, willing, hunting, and horny—and especially the cute, socially blessed, slightly ignorant millennials with great teeth and expensive smiles who looked nothing like the ones who bore them: roving, on the prowl, wet with sweat that dripped from their faces and moistened all their hair, visible or otherwise, inevitably darkening their cotton T-shirts and button-downs and leaving parts of the city, like Pocuro Park with its lovely, unruly cyclists, and joggers, drenched with testosterone.

The murderous afternoon sun became an accomplice, illuminating them from behind, gilding their silhouettes and encircling their hair like a halo. No special powers were required to spot the color or brand of their boxers, or to be stunned by hints of the dozens of “happy trails” that do indeed live up to their promises every time they suddenly appear beneath worn-out undershirts or second-hand guayaberas, exposed when the guy in question stretches in a way that’s neither unintended or innocent.

After endless months of winter and poor heating, long johns, and Scaldasonno electric blankets, after downloaded movies and Netflix marathons, with a space heater nearby and apathy as your ally, testosterone, pollen, and oriental plane trees exploded without warning along bike routes, parks, gyms, and bars, at pools, on terraces, and rooftop gardens. In the afternoons, when a gentle breeze swings down from the Andes, despite all the fauns and all the frenzy, I remember that with the freshness came the noonday demon, appearing just a bit behind schedule: as if the evening gloom were arriving just as the austral night was beginning to fall. It was during those days, just before FILSA kicked off, and just before the Restrepo delegation arrived, when I realized I couldn’t shake certain truths that were already beginning to feel more like a decree. Maybe you have some money or fame or wisdom or comfort, maybe you even have an apartment and a decent job and are feeling “relatively resolved,” as a friend of mine once said, but in the end all that just dissolves away when faced with the prospect of such freedom, such ease, such rampant youth.

So many hot, young, fuckable guys circulating, exhibiting themselves, offering their lode and loads.

Spring is, of course, both the sexiest and the deadliest time of year.

During those burning days before FILSA (“FILSA: For Readers” was that year’s exceedingly odd slogan) and the arrival of the Restrepos was when I most missed the J-Factor. Of course I did. Fuck, I was so hot for him, I was all about him, plus there was that thing where a guy who’s not really that into you still makes you sweat bullets: the charm of not being able to reel him in. I saw him everywhere. His scent was steeped in the sweat of all the others. In every scantily clad guy out there, walking around, glistening under the scorching sun of that raging summer, roaring forward as if announcing an avalanche, I saw him, I saw that fucking prick, that millennial-from-hell, every time I blinked. The damned and blessed and mythical (yes, mythical, stunningly striking, mysteriously intoxicating) Julián Moro Factor was impossible to delete that manic spring.

 

The J-Factor was 100 percent millennial, and his Grindr account was linked to his Facebook (with 6,874 friends) and his Instagram (where I once spent over an hour observing him wandering through various parts of Italy and France and Ireland and Croatia and even Malta). When he came, his semen smelled of saffron, which fascinated me, though I was never able to understand how that happened or what he ate to get rid of the chlorine stench. He seemed to think it was disgusting that I tasted and slurped it because like any good millennial he wasn’t quite as brazen as one would think (“I don’t always fuck on the first date because I don’t wanna end up like a slut, you know?  The most guys I ever did was five in a month. Does that seem like a lot? It’s not, right?”)  When he listened, I felt important. And he laughed like the child he was. After having spent so much time not connecting to anyone, Julián was the closest, most important thing I had—the one person who fascinated me and made me feel awkward and predatory at the same time—so I ended up going after him and I guess acting a bit ridiculous. I had to avoid the cool, good-looking guys with the means to travel around a world to which (among other things) they didn’t want to belong. Maybe they were right . . . why only be with one person when you can have fun with so many?  And it was true: we were years apart, he still had a lot of life left to live, and I shouldn’t have let myself become infatuated with a kid who—despite having traveled the world and lived this much—still had a lot to figure out, not to mention at least a couple more mistakes to learn from. I, on the other hand, would never have a six-pack, I looked better in bulky, winter clothes than I did naked, and I knew I’d never be an underwear model for Calvin Klein. I was lacking at least three inches in length, and I could stand to lose about fifteen pounds. Julián walked around like he was a supermodel, which clearly he wasn’t, but that sense of confidence in himself (despite all his other insecurities) was just one of the many things that made him as endearing as he was fascinating.

All you can eat, he said to me one afternoon as we lay on the grass at the Las Lilas Plaza.

“It’s my time, and I just can’t bet on you, Alf. For real. Maybe later on. Go find someone who’s around your own age. A skinny old dude. I should really drop four or five pounds myself. If you want, I’ll find someone and set you up. I’ve slept with plenty of well-heeled guys your age, hueón. More than you think. We could even have a threesome. What do you think? It’s not a bad idea. Or is it? What do you say?  Maybe?”

 

One Sunday this past winter, when I was still going out with the J-Factor, we decided to get up and go to a film festival about architecture at the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center. We caught a couple of documentaries (one was about the construction workers who built the Empire State Building and from which the famous photo of a group of ultra-handsome men having lunch while sitting on a girder suspended in the sky), had coffee and croissants at the Wonderful Café, and later attended a talk given by one of Julián’s professors about important early-century Chilean architects. I was struck by how captivated Julián was during the whole thing, or maybe it was just my desire to get deeper and deeper into his world, and into Julián himself.

Alfredo had become a bit of an architecture groupie. After the talk, the J-Factor introduced him to his professor, and they started talking about how there were no good biographies about some of the more famous names in the business. And there, right in front of Julián, without Victoria’s permission, and without even bringing it up at an editorial meeting, Alfredo and this professor, Bernardo Moreno, decided to publish a series of books on key Chilean architects like Luciano Kulczewski, of course, but also Josué Smith Solar, Juan Martínez, and Escipión Munizaga Suárez.

The J-Factor ended up staying with him that night, despite the fact that he had class the next morning.

Alfredo got in touch with a real estate and construction company with a guilt-and-social complex that was willing to finance the project in part and began having regular meetings with Bernardo Moreno at his studio, which was halfway between Alfaguara and the Torres de Tajamar complex, in an old, remodeled art deco house on General Flores Street, which was one of the J-Factor’s favorite parts of the city. Other times he met with Moreno in a little café in Providencia called Shots, just a short way up from Liguria, a restaurant, to talk books and go over photos, brainstorm ideas, and examine blueprints. Bernardo had called just the previous week to pick up the threads of the idea and send along a few pages, because he had gone off the grid for some time while building a museum on the coast of Chiloé. He suggested we get together “wherever,” and I said yes, perhaps as an antidote to the imminent arrival of the Restrepos, something of a break in the FILSA routine, or maybe it was just a way of getting to know—or at least getting closer to—the world of the J-Factor. Maybe, I thought, if Bernardo Moreno is so busy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk with some of his students who were about to graduate and would have more time on their hands. Maybe Julián Moro and another student could be his assistants. And mine.

That was the plan.

Shots can hold a grand total of four customers. Two inside, and two out on the sidewalk. It’s more of a take-out than a sit-down spot: you get your coffee and move on to some other place, or you stand and chat under the awning of the residential building overlooking Providencia where it was nested. As I was walking down the winding little side streets connecting Andrés Bello with Providencia, Moreno messaged me on WhatsApp saying he was running at least twenty minutes behind because he was caught in a meeting with the mayor and a group of architects from the La Reina Department of Public Works about a project he was involved in. I decided to head over to Shots anyway, indulge in a bit of caffeine, and read one of the manuscripts I had in my satchel about the Petit Marfán sisters.

I wanted to be alone. Either that, or I didn’t want to go back to the office.

Inside the café, checking my Twitter feed, looking for what people were saying about FILSA and Baltazar Daza’s book, I didn’t realize that the barista on the other side of the counter was a new guy named Aníbal with enormous, dark, Arabian eyes . . . and with whom I once had something. For a week, maybe less. A long time ago.

What did we have?

Sex. A lot of sex. He wasn’t very tall, but he was well built. We met at the Station RestoBar in Bellavista. I was there with a lawyer about my age whom I met on GROWLr because he felt like he was fat, and that bear app is always less intense. Everyone on there is more caring and perhaps even a little desperate, plus age isn’t an issue. I was in my bear phase. But nothing ever happened with the lawyer cub. Aníbal caught my attention. That night I asked him for more stuff, for more drinks and cocktails that they didn’t have on the menu. He laughed, realizing that my extravagance was a form of flirtation.

“What do you mean you don’t have Icelandic mineral water?”

Aníbal had a beard. A thick, bushy, black, untamed beard. He wasn’t exactly a bear, but he went through life as if he were. In every sense. Hairy. Very hairy. And strong. He had good arms and wore tight, black pants. He was gruff (what a great word to describe a bear: gruff), undeniably masculine, with those immense eyes, and had shamelessly and eagerly posed for Cazzo, the local website for hot young bears. The lawyer (Germán? Gerardo?) realized what was going on and left, hurt and offended, taking his watered-down drink and grumbling about Obama.

Seeing Aníbal naked was a sight to see: he had a tattoo of a stag, and in order to get it, he had to shave his entire chest back when he was living in Antofagasta. When it grew back, though, the stag seemed to be hiding behind a thicket of hair, disappearing into his groin as its legs ran deep into Aníbal’s lush, native forest.

There at Shots, they greeted one another with happy affection.

Why did we end it?  Why didn’t we ever really begin?

He was the community manager for a few small businesses, restaurants, and bars. Sometimes he worked as a waiter. He even spent some time as a high-end bartender, going shirtless and mixing drinks at the HotSpot fiestas. That first night, when the lawyer was in the bathroom, I asked him for his phone number. We met up two hours later, when his shift was over. We started hooking up in Bustamante Park before moving on to his apartment in a big, soaring, brand new but cheap tower on Santa Rosa. He had an American poster of L’inconnu du lac, a few books by Guillaume Dustan, and a copy of Andrés Caicedo’s journal Ojo al cine. Every Xavier Dolan film on DVD and the complete collection of Viernes, the magazine published by La Segunda (“Dude, I love the talking pets section”). He didn’t believe in deodorant and instead used drops of verbena oil behind his ears and underneath his scrotum. He was clever. And sweaty. Aníbal had posed for Claudio Doenitz. He was submissive, which surprised me at first, but later it seemed super romántico. “I want to do what you want to do,” he said, and that’s how it was. He dreamed about traveling to Asia. He gave me a vintage T-shirt with the Free Coca-Cola logo on the front. It concentrated all his many smells, and on that occasion he used it to clean up both himself and me.

Aníbal recommends a mocha cappuccino. They talk about random things, but not to avoid any issue. Alfredo notices that Discography by the Pet Shop Boys is playing.

Are you seeing anyone?

Sort of. You?

Nobody. Well, no. I go out.

Of course. All the time.

Seriously. I’ve been good. Low key, studying French, listening to folk music. No more bars, hueón. I’m too old for that. I was getting sick of the club scene . . .  so many distractions with that lame showbiz crap, everyone hooked on Joan Rivers and E!. I’d like to do yoga but not with hipsters. Something real, not a pose.

He never saw my apartment, but I loaned him a few of Álvaro Bisama’s books that Alfaguara had published (“Fuck, he’s cute. Plus, I like how chubby he is. He’s like a bear with actual thoughts.”). One evening when we went out for dinner at the Bocanáriz in the Lastarria gayborhood, and there, outside, sitting at a sidewalk table, without warning, he kissed me. In front of everyone. And I liked that. That night, watching cute kids strolling by, he told me:

“Look, there’s this actor, this wannabe actor, who hates me now because I came on his face and accidentally stained his headboard. Actors never come out of the closet, dude, because they want to be leading men. It’s true.”

That night with Aníbal, I think I finally realized something that I should have known for quite some time. Or maybe I did, but it bothered me. The fact is, sitting there on the sidewalk outside Bocanáriz, something happened with this Aníbal, with this man with whom I’d had such intense intimacy and yet about whom I knew so little. I had also slept with that guy who thought he was a serious actor and was tired of being an extra on telenovelas. Later that night, we went for ice cream in the Parque, when a sales engineer with an Italian-sounding name came walking down the path with a graphic design student and told Aníbal that this marketing manager for a craft beer company was amazing in bed; I know, he told me, because he’d once had “something” with this design student’s roommate, but what I didn’t tell him was that this design student had also slept with Augusto Puga Balmaceda, who took pictures of him with his iPad while he was sleeping because he was just so beautiful and yet didn’t even realize it.

Are we all this united, this interconnected?

How many degrees of separation?

Aníbal hands me my coffee. The heat is beginning to take over the little shop. His hairs are trying to escape from underneath his tight, black T-shirt.

Love comes quickly / whatever you do / you can’t stop falling.

Good to see you, Alf.

You too, Aníbal. Great to see you.

He doesn’t flirt with me. He just tells me the truth: that it was good to see me. I feel the same. He doesn’t want to sleep with me or even set up a date. He’s just a great guy, a guy I was intimate with, a guy I slept with, a guy I exchanged fluids with. It hadn’t ended badly. It’s the brotherhood of semen, as Augusto Puga once told me. After all, he’d been with some of the same guys as I had. Had hooked up with guys who had been with guys who had been with guys whom I knew or wanted to get to know. My connection with the J-Factor linked me to so many other people that I once almost called him the Chilean Kevin Bacon. But I thought that he might take it the wrong way, that nobody wants to be labeled a whore or a slut whether you are one or not. This was a brotherhood where rivals and enemies end up closer than they ever expected. If you choose to talk about the past, there’s no room for jealousy and accusations, no place for judgment or opinions of any kind. We all have a past, and not all our flings, affairs, and hookups are a source of pride. This brotherhood of semen formed something of a train, a braid (I had something with Clemente, and Clemente with Benjamín, and Benjamín with Aldo, and Aldo with Jero, and Jero with Aníbal, and Aníbal with me) where the degree of separation was no more than one or two at the most (“You fucked Zamora, the filmmaker?  Are you kidding me?  Why?  Have you seen his shit?”  “Yeah, I hooked up with Matías, is there a problem with that?  Luckily I was versatile. I always thought he’d be on the market sooner or later.”).

The brotherhood of semen, of friends and foxes and bros and dudes in common, this sect of intimate acquaintances that generated neither hatred nor revenge nor neglect somehow made us superior to the heteros who, as Vicente Matamala insisted, “don’t know what a clean breakup is.”

“So who’s that good-looking guy you said hello to?”

“Just some guy I had a thing with, Vicente.”

“And you don’t hate him?”

“No.”

“And you don’t want to get back together?”

“It’s over.”

“You guys have all the luck.”

“Maybe so. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Maybe we didn’t know everybody, but we could sense it, and sometimes, on Facebook, when the algorithm recommended a new friend, you’d see a guy or a dude you once had sex with, and then you remember his name was Gabriel, the dentist, or Adrián, the event coordinator, or Pablo, the RC radio guy, or Simón, who is also a waiter at the Patio Bellavista but swims in Speedos at the Club Providencia, or Damián, the LATAM flight attendant, or Orlando, who repairs elevators, or Tomás, the landscaper who’s always on Instagram, or Jonás, the bald, tobacco-colored foreigner who loves Chile with an immigrant’s energy and has an ass the same color as his back (What was he . . .  Venezuelan?  Nicaraguan?) and what many people do—what I do—is click the button and send a friend request.

They’re almost always accepted. These kinds of connections aren’t all that intimate, it’s true, but those almost anonymous guys who never block anyone remain “friends.”  Walking into Club Amanda with a guy from LemonLab, recognizing faces, remembering bodies, thinking of foreskins and circumcisions, of how much or how little hair each of these guys might have as he greets you with a hug . . . that’s the vibe. That’s the energy. Ultimately, of course we’re all more connected than we think, and that’s what makes us strong. We took care of each other, we gave each other affection, we loved each other so much, we fucked like animals, or we went out for ice cream without a care in the world.

Maybe Puga was right. Maybe a relationship’s success isn’t measured in years but in hours, in intensity and honesty. What you experienced over a couple of days in Cartagena, what happened one night in Cuzco, or what took place over three days in Montevideo is worth just as much as four months of dating in Santiago de Chile.

Aníbal had been a part of my life, a part of me. Maybe we didn’t have enough in common to be real friends, the kind who talk on the phone, and clearly he didn’t meet the requirements to be my boyfriend. But I had been inside of him, and he had been inside of me. I had swallowed his semen, and mine had spilled across his hairy chest and his deer. We had a bond, however distant and invisible it may be.

What was left was the important part: the brotherhood.

Every now and then you find out about where some of your brothers have landed: that Guillermo is in New Orleans with some dark-skinned dude, or that Víctor is on Pipa Beach, Brazil, in these short, ultra-gay Speedos with some guy who might be German, which makes you laugh, or that Fernando is hanging out at his parents’ country house, or that Antonio just took a selfie on the deck of the Balthus Spa. Sometimes, at night, when you’re all messed up, a little sad, when someone did something to you, there they are on the other side of WhatsApp, and you chat, you laugh, they cheer you up, they tell you stories, sometimes they even say things like “Come on over, I’m alone.”  Sometimes something happens when you go to the house of that guy you once had a connection with. And sometimes not. You just talk, maybe kiss a little bit, keep each other company, and that’s how the brotherhood grows (“I know I’m being weird, I just need some skin, hueón. Stay.”).

That, again, is a brotherhood.

Julián Moro—the J-Factor—is the only one I look back on as an enemy. So much so that I had to unfriend and block him. Not because I hated him, but it might actually have been the opposite: because I ended up loving him. And, as everyone knows, no matter how awkward they might be, when love becomes part of the equation, there’s really no friendship or camaraderie anymore. There’s something else. But Aníbal is not an enemy, and seeing him again is a good thing.

You on Instagram?

Yeah, but I don’t upload much, I say.

I upload a lot. Maybe too much.

Then he smiles and winks at me.

How much do I owe you?

Nada. It’s on the house. Great to see you, Alf.

You too.

Alfredo thinks that Aníbal is the most handsome guy in the world, that he’s awesome, and he’s even questioning why he ever let him go. Just then, another customer walks in: a guy in a suit, maybe even an Atilio Andreoli one, super elegant, handsome, with slicked-back hair, and definitely gay, as if he were some ultra-rich, Marlon Teixeira supermodel guy who works for an investment bank. He looks at Aníbal with more desire in his eyes than I ever did, and asks for “a cappuccino . . . with an extra shot” as if to say, “I’ll give you an extra shot later tonight.”

Aníbal looks him in the eye, maintaining his gaze as only he is capable of doing, and the guy in the suit, who must make ten times what Aníbal does, is absolutely captivated.

I exit the café and walk down the street, thinking to myself, now this lawyer or businessman with the extra shots will end up being my brother. We’ll have something concrete in common: being lucky enough to have had Aníbal inside of us.