Liliana Colanzi: I’ll be Fine this Weekend

(Translated from Spanish by Hector Duarte Jr.)

 

A day after it all went down, Diego said I had the spoiled personality of an only child. It was hot and the AC didn’t work, so we made a game of melting ice cubes across our foreheads. At that point the damage was done and I wanted to get as far away from him as possible, as if that was even possible. We sat around naked, it was so hot. The TV projected porn movies that had stopped making us laugh, so we sought distraction through music. This tune was a cumbia about a girl raped and killed in a wooded clearing.

“I’m not an only child,” I said, shutting off the radio.

“Then?”

“Nothing’s wrong with me.”

“I’m not going to ask again. It pisses me off when women give themselves so much importance. Are you mad?”

“No.”

“I already apologized for the last time. I was drunk.”

“And I said all is forgotten.”

“Women aren’t like men. They never truly forgive. Admit it.”

Diego walked around the room showing off his lean, hard body. “You look like a dead girl,” he had said earlier. I ignored him and kept dancing. Nothing worked. Even when he kissed me in the spots nobody thinks to kiss; the eyelids, bottom of the wrists. “Forget it,” he snapped, walking to the minibar for a beer. I tried covering myself with a corner of the bed sheet. That’s how it all started.

The doctor warned about occasional cramps. Truth is, long or short, I never felt anything. Not like before, when Diego would come over to make up only to have it end with both of us slinging absurd accusations at one another just for the hell of it. “You’re the most beautiful thing in the world,” Diego would say whenever we met at the motel that was too big, too depressing, and too ugly. We’d split the rate. I’d stay quiet and smile. When he asked what I was thinking, I was too embarrassed to tell him I was comfortable in my own skin. One night we set fire to neighborhood trash cans. Drinking turned us into pyromaniacs. That time, cops showed up. Three patrol cars for a few shitty trash cans; that was too funny. They locked us up all night and we had a great time. The next day Dad called from Chile where he was visiting a cardiologist. What I did was bad, he said, and I was lucked out it didn’t turn out worse. All this happened back when we weren’t afraid of anything. If Diego found out, though, everything would change.

“It’s the heat,” I finally replied. “Definitely the heat.”

“Bull shit,” he said with a tinge of hurt. We stared silently at the whirling ceiling fans blades.

“Fifteen more minutes,” I said. “Want to stay another hour?”

“What for?”

“Just to stay.”

“It’s not the same when we’re together. I don’t know why it doesn’t feel right.”

“Is it me?”

“I don’t know what it is. I’m not good at these things,” he said. He reached for the phone and dialed the operator.

“Send up the bill,” he said and stood to put on his jeans. He was so skinny, we sometimes exchanged pants. Sometimes, he let me cut his hair with kitchen shears.

I never told him I was the one who found my brother, the one who untied him. I never told him about the other thing. I don’t know why but I wanted him to know I wasn’t, had never been, an only child. My brother never used my name. He called me Smurf, Martian, penguin. My brother taught me how to shoot a pellet gun, play poker, and hold my breath under water. We stayed up watching TV until my parents got home drunk insulting one another. It was too late to tell those things; to tell him anything.

“I got it this time,” Diego said when he heard the porter’s light knock on the door. He pulled wrinkled bills from his pocket and placed them in a heap on a small silver tray. He didn’t look at me when he spoke.

“I’ll call you this weekend,” he said. I took the hint, started gathering my clothes while using the sheet to cover my body. He was at the edge of the bed, completely dressed, his back to me. I’ll be fine this weekend, I thought. We are going to drink and have fun, everything will go back to normal. Everything will be fine this weekend.

He didn’t call that weekend, of the following. I never spoke to anyone about my brother or about the other thing, and I was never fine again. Time passed. At a party once someone introduced us. Like we had never met before.

***

Liliana Colanzi (Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 1981) has published two collections of short stories: Vacaciones permanentes (2010) and La ola (2014). She edited an anthology of stories titled Mesías (2013) and co-edited the nonfiction anthology Conductas erráticas (2009). She’s a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Cornell University.

Liliana Colanzi

Liliana Colanzi

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