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Few hours after falling asleep we woke up. We stayed in bed for a while, naked under the sheets, our noses touching, looking at each other’s eyes with the dumb look fresh lovers have. It felt like the start of something. It often does. It rarely is.


We heard some movement in the kitchen and thought we’d join the party. Maria grabbed my Manchester United shorts and a black XL t-shirt, which funnily enough, belonged to my wife’s boyfriend. We got out of the room, curious about what their reaction was going to be. They hadn’t seen anything. As far as they knew, we hadn’t but exchanged a few words in the entire night. I went first. “Mawnin ma’am. Mawning fuckface” -it’s hard coming up with new nicknames every morning, sometimes you gotta resort to the classics-. He was making breakfast. Maria shyly entered the scene. He started laughing hysterically and so did I. My wife, not so much. It wasn’t jealousy I think, although she hadn’t had the same chance I did to rip off that Band-Aid yet because she hadn’t seen me with any girl since our break up. It was that she didn’t know Maria, so she didn’t find it funny.


We all had breakfast together in the balcony. We made a nice quartet. “Let’s form a band!” I suggested. 

The four of us hung out periodically in the subsequent days, all under the same roof. The weirdest part is that it never felt weird. It’s amazing what happens when one lets go of the artificial constraints we impose on ourselves and on each other. You are not supposed to live with your ex-girlfriend-wife and her boyfriend and his friend who you’re sleeping with. But then again, why the hell not?


Maria and I went quickly into couple mode, which is, for better or worse, the only mode I’m familiar with. She introduced me to a world I had always wanted to be a part of but never had the chance, or maybe never dared to get out of my comfort zone to do so. She belonged to what some might refer to as the "local art scene", partaking in all things art related such as photography exhibitions, poetry readings, oil painting nights at the abandoned fish market, etc. She hung out with a cool-looking bunch, always involved in some interesting project. Her world was peripheral to mine, and yet for some unknown reason, they didn’t seem to intersect. They were doomed to remain asymptotic, and so were me and her.

My first glimpse from the inside was conflicting. She took me to this little hidden warehouse where her friend was going to read her poetry. I’ve always wanted to like poetry, but I’ve never liked any poem. This was unlikely to be the exception, I thought. 

I felt phony walking into that place. "Poetry reading, who the fuck do I think I am?"

When we entered the place there were bongos being played by a naked man. We walked around. There were photographs displayed against the exposed cement block walls. There was a circle of people painting on the floor, paintings hanging on the walls, arrangements that are hard to describe save to say that they were low budget. I felt bad about not feeling anything. I worried that maybe I lack the sensibility to appreciate art, but that can’t be, because I remember that time when a Van Gogh painting brought a tear to my eye. Maybe this was bad art. Maybe there’s nothing left for art to say. But then again, haven’t artists always struggled with this question? Don’t they all alternate between delusions of greatness and feeling completely purposeless? 

Her friend got up on the microphone. She recited. People stood in silence, some of them with their eyes closed, conveying the impression that they were being moved to their very core by the words bespoken. I didn’t believe them. It couldn’t possibly be true, they had to be faking it. Poetry can be so cringy. The whole thing felt cringy as fuck. She finished; people clapped. I clapped. “Great, right?”. “Yeah, great”. 

Maria knew most of the people so she took me for a quick meet & greet lap. I shook hands and smiled. People were nice, most of them transmitted a genuine hippish vibe. They seemed to care a lot about a lot of things, which in my experience tends to result in a lot of empathic suffering and not much helping. But the good intentions were there, and that’s something. In a way, I felt the same about the art displayed; the intention was there.


We went for ramen. 

“So, did you like it?” she asked.

“It was fun! A bit too networky for me though. Everyone was trying to get me to follow them on Instagram after the first Hi”

“Well, if they don’t self publicize, who’s gonna do it? It’s not like they have a marketing budget”

During the course of dinner my evaluation of the event changed. Maria made me look at it in a different light. It didn’t matter if the art was good or bad. It wasn’t about that; it was about fun. It was about community. It was about expression. So what if your art isn’t great? It’s no reason not to do it. I thought about the stash of unfinished songs I had in my drawer. It’s easy to criticize, it’s hard to create. “I gotta dust those off” I thought. 


Three weeks went by. We were inseparable. 

Things were looking good. 

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