#6 Gitano Garden of Love

“Shit, I had forgotten how there is always plenty of alcohol at wasps parties, but never any food. I’m heading to the bar …”

I remembered Ben’s phrase at the MET party. Emulating the diligent Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology within me, I proceeded to type the word “wasp” on the Google search bar. Today I will also learn everything about the universe without having to move my ass from the couch. And so it was; on my agenda, I only had one dinner scheduled with the fabulous Courtney and her fabulous friends at the city’s trendiest restaurant, with a notable absence among the attendees: Todd Lawrence’s. And, despite Ben’s insistence – “Lilith, simply follow the boy’s lead” – I was somewhat ashamed to admit that I was not having any luck with the young man of stunning honey-colored eyes. Indeed, it had been a week since I had caressed his hand, large, venous and masculine, handing him my card with my phone number.

I haven’t heard anything about Todd since then.

It had also been a week since we had abandoned the opera together to later enjoy a kiss under the spell of the great Manhattan blackout; this kiss being the first one of my new awakening. And, although the first few times are traditionally not a suitable material to show off in front of others, I must admit that I had been lucky myself. Indeed, just thinking about the strength of Todd’s arms pressing me against his muscular body while kissing my neck with his mouth half-opened made me unintentionally fantasize about our next meeting.

But would I ever meet him again? … And, above all, would we ever…?

WASP is the English acronym for “white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant”. It is an informal term, descriptive of a closed social group of Americans of high social status, descendants of the British culture and Protestant religion that have historically held social and economic power in the United States. […] It is used to refer to white Protestant Christians, excluding Jews, Catholics, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Gypsies, Italians, Turks, and Spaniards.


There’s no way Lilith, don’t even try it, you’re not a club member, I thought to myself, checking the long list of exclusions. And while it seemed that the beatniks had already adapted to the new times in the form of hipsters, the wasps, very much in harmony with their conservative nature, were still plain wasps. In this sense, and if I were Todd Lawrence, I would not have gotten in touch with Estíbalez de Jasso either: what kind of wasp would ever want to reproduce himself with someone like me, risking to lower his social status this way?

In the United States of social tension and political polarization, laughing at wasps was now more than an accepted exercise; it was a popular one. Thus, I was able to find thousands of websites about their numerous food manias and their alcoholic and repressive tendencies; the friendliest thing I read is that they like to decorate their apartments with pastel colors, exotic elements, and plenty of fresh flowers. I looked around and admired the bouquet of the blood-colored fleur-de-lis in the textured glass vase of the hall. Will I be, perhaps, at least half wasp, maybe? The question about my true nature was still to be resolved, but one thing was already very clear to me: Gloria learned quickly about my decorative tastes.

“Miss Lilith! Your cell is ringing …” – my Venezuelan maid stopped the vacuum machine to (affectionately) approach the phone to me.

“Thank you, Gloria” – I looked at the screen, full of hope; it showed an unknown number. I know that I should have felt some fear or caution at the very least, but I felt excitement instead: would it be Todd? – “Good morning, who’s calling?”

“How formal do we all sound early in the morning” – it was Ben – “… or did you perhaps think that someone else was calling instead? … do you have news about our cat?”

“None, laztana. I am very afraid that my charm is not the same as before. I have not had the chance to tell you, but I had an incident with a young Brazilian at a nightclub in Brooklyn, and… “

“Do I want to know?” – Ben interrupted me. I decided to remain silent; 2019 or not, some taboos were still impossible to break.

“The details are really not that important. What I mean is that I may be losing some of my powers, and…”

“That’s bollocks, Lilith. Don’t let your feminine insecurity overwhelm you … how strangely human of you!” – Ben laughed alone on the other side of the phone, while I bit my lower lip – “… and remember that if for some crazy reason the erotic path does not work with Lawrence, we will develop another hunting strategy, a little bit more aggressive… and fun. Ready for tonight?” 

“Yes, I have looked at the restaurant website and it seems that I will be traveling to the Mexican Caribbean; this city never ceases to amaze. Any special instructions?”

“None. Keep Courtney happy; I think we could take advantage of a friendship with her… her family is very linked to Lawrence’s.” – Ben fell silent for a few seconds – “… but, above all, have fun kid, you have me so worried … it’s time for you to make friends your own age.”

We both laughed in unison. It had only been 3 days since Jamie had taken him to the airport on his way back to London, but I already missed him. Very much.

“How is your trip going?” – I wanted to hear the sound of his voice a few more minutes before hanging up the phone – “… and most importantly, when are you coming back to me?”

“The trip is going badly, the advanced students don’t manage to get new information on the case. The poor devils try to deceive me by showing exactly the same damn data through different graphics. Absurd. So it all depends on you now …” – Ben cleared his throat – “… and, well, since I don’t have much to do here, I hope to be back tomorrow night for lunch together on Sunday. How would you feel about that?”

“I really like that idea. See you soon, laztana.”

I turned off my Google Pixel to avoid interruptions so that I could quietly read for the rest of the day. I turned it on again while Gloria braided my hair and helped me get ready to leave the house.

No news from Lawrence.

Jamie picked me up promptly at 7 in the European afternoon time – 7 in the Anglo-Saxon night time. I snuggled into the dark leather seats and looked up at the running facades outside; the last glimpses of the day were already filtering through the smooth panes of the black Mercedes as we crossed the glass island southbound.

“Have fun, miss…those are the orders!” – our loyal driver winked at me, half an hour later. – “And please, send me a text message when you are ready to return home.”

“Thank you very much, Jamie.” – I closed the car door and walked towards the spectacular entrance of the restaurant, trying very hard not to hook my heels on the concrete pavers.

Gitano Garden of Love is a dramatic wild-inspired establishment in the heart of SoHo. In operation for just a month or so, the complex included lush coconut palm trees, a pond lit by aged candles and a meditative maze that would serve as a recreational space for moms bourgeoises during daytime hours. Inside, more than 450 souls could enjoy a piece of the Tulum jungle without having to leave the concrete one. Of course, the jungle enjoyed an enviable bio-diversity: in that garden, there were hipster men, there were waspy women, there were men who were once considered to be women, women who were once men and even people who did not respond to any kind of gender binarity. What was not to be found in that garden was any gypsy: curious fact.

Or maybe not so much. Poor McGuire.

Yeah, I’m losing my edge.
I’m losing my edge.
The kids are coming up from behind.
I’m losing my edge.

That summer night had not rained. Nor was I in Brooklyn, not did I need to memorize the music playing in the background: I diligently took out my Google Pixel and opened Shazam, the mobile app to identify the music in your surroundings. It seems that in 2019, there is a solution for everything (in a virtual form, at least):

Song: Losing my Edge
Album: LCD Soundsystem
Band: LCD Soundsystem


“Lilith, dear! We’re here!”

Courtney’s high-pitching voice was calling me from the west side of the jungle. I’ll research more back home. I showed up before the transexual bouncer as I crossed the entrance. The beautiful hostess was called Alok, and like Jennifer, my very kind and small receptionist at Equinox Bryant Park, Alok liked to use words such as  “Great” or “Amazing” maybe way too often for my sober European taste, with the exception that Alok would add “Beautiful” or “Baby” at the end of each of her sentences. This practice, so nice in that enticing, party environment, would have cost Jennifer a sexual harassment notice in the Midtown gym. The notice would have probably evolved to dismissal if Jennifer was not Jennifer, but Jason, for example. Would they ever explain this on the “Clients for Dummies” guidebook?

“For 6 people, I would recommend starting with guacamole, platanitos … the tuna toasts are also really tasty” – the waiter, of Latin origin, had the sign “Aspiring actor, serving tables in the meantime” invisibly drawn on his pleasant face.

“Sounds great…. what would you have us drinking?” – Courtney shone in a tight emerald dress and extra large white stone earrings that reflected the candlelight of the table, thus emphasizing the seasonal tanning of her skin this way.

“I would recommend cocktails based on mezcal, tequila…”

“Courtney, come on, we’re celebrating.” – a muscular man of undetermined ethnicity, black eyes and shaved head took the floor while raising his hand in a dramatic fashion – “… sir, bring us the most expensive champagne bottle you have, please. And as soon as you see that we are running out, quickly bring another … “

“Evan!” – Courtney let out a little scream.

“Quiet honey. I’m paying for everything tonight …”- the young man naughtily nibbled at the corner of Courtney’s lips. At the same time, the waiter/actor diligently arranged the 6 glasses of champagne on the tropical wooden table, in perfect right angles.

[Corporate indoctrination does seem to work.]

“These dinners of ours are looking more and more like AA meetings through the passing of time…” – sitting by my side, a chubby and very white girl, with curly and dark hair, looked at Courtney and Evan with a false gesture of reproach.

“Nonsense. Tonight we have something spectacular to celebrate, little Iris …”

“Us?” – A couple in love inquired, in unison, from the other side of the table. She was a Courtney doppelgänger, but somewhat inferior, in every possible way: smaller eyes, smaller breasts, smaller stature. He reminded me of Ram, my driver of the House of Love night, but with one important caveat: that handsome Indian did not wear his fingers adorned with any kind of ring.

“Everyone in Manhattan knows about you both through Instagram, my loves. They know about your latest safari in South Africa. They also know about your escapes to the Nantucket island.” – Evan raised his glass, looking at me in the eye – “… today we celebrate Courtney’s new prize. Lilith. The exotic Spanish lady who studies at Columbia! Thank you, honey, for raising the intellectual and aesthetic level of this group, and for… “

“You, cretin!” – Courtney gave Evan a theatrical smack. And so we cheered. And there I was, pretending to enjoy the food, pretending that the alcohol had an effect on me, pretending, in short, wanting to be there.

I’m losing my edge to the kids from France and from London.
But I was there.

Courtney, almost thirty years of age, had graduated from Columbia law school a couple of summers ago after a turbulent previous undergraduate experience at the University of Vermont. There she met Evan, a stylish boy from New Jersey, of humble origins but of superb vital ambition, who would become the loyal confidant of the golden girl. In regard to the rest of those present, it must be noted that Courtney would meet both Iris and Maria at Law School. Iris was a Jewish princess from the Upper West Side, while Maria was an athletic girl from California with whom Courtney would begin a friendship/rivalry relationship that had calmed down since Maria had met Manish, her partner that evening.

The fried bananas arrived at the table as the bubbles began to take effect and the temperature and sound of the music bass gradually scaled around us. The waiter/actor prepared himself to perform his dramatic act, in the form of promotion of the new restaurant, telling us (showing a lot charm, everything has to be said) the story of the successful chef of Gitano Garden of Love, a man of Venezuelan origin. His story represented, however, a very different life trajectory from that of Gloria, my cheerful maid from Choroní. While Gloria’s parents, Afro-Colombians, had arrived in Venezuela fleeing the drug gangs in the 1970s, the family of the trendy chef, of European origins, had arrived in Caracas in search of fortune. Unfortunately, and 40 years later, the city of the fury represented insecurity and misfortune in equal weighs, and both compatriots, forever unknown, would build a new future in the concrete jungle instead.

“I have a confession to make tonight” – Courtney spoke, and when the alpha-girl spoke, the whole table went silent. I smiled to myself; that slender blonde girl reminded me very much of Daisy Buchannan, the protagonist of Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, prototype of all flappers whose husbands I was set to murder in Paris.

[By the way, that afternoon I had read on the Internet that wasps like to organize parties under the Prohibition Age theme from time to time; it would only take me 2 more human weeks to verify that this cliché was actually very true.]

“Are you going to finally change firms?” – asked the chubby Iris.

“Did you get that party invitation for the Hamptons?” – Maria whispered with envy.

“Have you finally decided to sign up for a pilates class in my Equinox?” – shouted the exuberant Evan.

“… Oh, I do know an Equinox gym.”– I pointed out, trying to generate commonalities in the conversation.

“We love that place! We are all members.” – Manish, who was very quiet in his corner, now looked at me with approval – “I know, Courtney… is it a new beau?”

“No, no, no… and… bingo!” – Courtney got up, bringing the palm of her hand to her forehead, giving a dramatic air to that moment this way – “… but there is a problem.” The table fell silent for a few seconds before starting again with the discharge of interrogative ammunition.

I’m losing my edge.
To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin.

“Is he Jewish, just like me?” – Iris asked – “…give me his phone number then, I’m in short supply…”

“Is he…a waiter or something?” – Maria whispered, looking both ways with slyness.

“‘Is he perhaps more handsome than me?!” – shouted the beautiful Evan.

Everyone looked at Manish, who had yet to ask a question. However, Maria’s boyfriend went back to his initial silent state; the questions that the only diner of color at the table would be shuffling in his head were perhaps too politically incorrect in that context.

And one is a slave to her words, but the owner of her silence, Lilith.

“No, no, and no … he is… republican.” – Courtney collapsed in her seat, pretending to pass out.

“That’s not possible” – Iris put her hand onto her mouth.

“Do you know if he voted for Trump?” – Maria was very worried.

“Do you know if he has any neurons?!” – Evan was upset.

“I hope the sex is really worth it …” – Manish murmured, sarcastically.

The whole table then looked at me, waiting for me to speak; I noticed how a weird tension took hold of the dinner party. Of different colors and trajectories, Courtney’s group of friends had something very important in common: everyone had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Logically, I was in the sarcophagus of an Egyptian priest when the world’s first orange president took office in the year 2017, oblivious to any human reality in the outside world.

Naturally, I could never share this little detail with my new party of friends.

But I’m losing my edge.
I’m losing my edge, but I was there.
I was there.
But I was there.

“… how did you meet him?” – I pretended to be concerned, setting my elbows on the table and placing my face onto the palms of my hands in an active listening gesture.

“On The League.” – Courtney snapped her fingers, showing pride.

“What is The League?” – I asked. There, yes, all the diners looked at me as if I were sort of a complete alien.

“Guys, calm down, Lilith is European, and she is also new to the city…” – Manish came out in my defense. I had already entered the Equinox club, and everyone knows that once you are a member of a club, you become part of the brand. And brands must be protected, because if not, they lose value, to the detriment of all those under the same umbrella, whatever the real aptitude of their particular members really is. – “… it is natural that you do not know – yet – about this app.”

“My God Lilith, you have to download it right now!” – Courtney wide opened her brown eyes, and ordered a third bottle of champagne, while Iris rolled her eyes in disapproval.

“…The League is an online dating application, my dear” – Maria vehemently explained to me – “…I met Manish this way a couple of years ago, right? Love? “

“Yes, my life.” – the young Indian took his girlfriend by the waist and proceeded to give her an Eskimo kiss on her little nose, too pointy to be real. It really looks like a piggy’s. – “… my boo-boo…”

Boo-boo you…” – Maria and Manish were really quite cloying. Evan rolled his eyes and, making his fingers take the form of a gun, shot an imaginary bullet in his temple – “… the peculiarity of this application is that it caters ambitious people with both excellent professional and vital trajectories. For example, I am an attorney, I work at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and went to Columbia University. Manish works on mortgage investments at Goldman Sachs, and went to college at Princeton.” – more brands. More tags.

“Nor does it bother that both are attractive according to the aesthetic standards of this day and time, of course” – Iris pointed out, with a slight tone of resentment; two weeks later I would learn that Iris had not passed The League’s selection filter.

“How interesting.” – I left my glass on the table – “So, are you all there?”

“Stop, stop, we don’t want to divert the conversation because the critical point here is that our golden girl is currently sleeping with the enemy.” – Evan knocked on the table. Some tostones left the corner of one of the plate, and the champagne bubbles were already running on the Caribbean pine table. No one seemed to care anymore – “… but no, my love. I’m on Grindr. And if you need a summary, Grindr is an application for gay men.”

“I’m on  JDate – my parents want me to marry a fellow Jew. It’s an app made just for us …”

I thought of little Ben, the day of his Bar Mitzvah, being photographed by the fool of Warhol. I remember abba’s beautiful facial expression back then. I also revived the gesture of concern of Miriam Solomon, Samuel’s sister, the day I entered her house in Pamplona, ​​that first winter night of the year 1609.

“Finally, it should be mentioned that we were all once on Tinder – it was the universal application back in 2012 … but now you only save it for when you want casual sex.” – Maria, the forever A student, quickly pointed out. Manish pretended to be dismayed and really offended; everyone laughed in unison.

“I understand” – how complicated. – “But Courtney, you met your Republican on The League, then … by the way, what is the guy’s name?” – enough labels for the damn night.

“Charles. He’s gorgeous. And very masculine.” – Courtney threw her blonde hair back, marking the bones of her female collarbone this way – “Charles, yes … his name is Charles” – she giggled.

“You really mean Charlie ” – Evan accompanied Courtney’s giggle – “And tell us how good  Charlie is in the …”

“… honestly, this one sounds like more of a Chuck to me, period” – Iris interrupted, turning her eyes again as a sign of disapproval.

I’m losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.

In line with the nostalgic atmosphere of that hot summer of 2019, Courtney and Charlie, “C&C”, had decided to move from text messages to real-life action at a speakeasy in the Chelsea area, a speakeasy strategically located near the gallant’s apartment. According to the cliché, Courtney chose this kind of bar as a wink at the historical period she worshiped. Indeed, the establishment maintained the decoration of the happy ’20s and served gin and absinthe overnight for an urban public between 25 and 40 years of age.

Charles was perfect. Well, almost perfect. Protestant, attractive and equally athletic, young Chuck had graduated from Cornell, another prestigious university on the American East Coast, and worked in derivatives for JPMorgan, another reputed bank. C&C talked about their family, their dogs, the number of weddings they would attend that year (with feigned fatigue) and the US trade war with China. Mistake. The young Chuck then presented a single argument in favor of the Trump administration’s policies on the matter and Courtney instantly shot down, sensing the worst. Happily, the gin had already taken effect, so without further delay, the golden girl suggested going for a slice of pizza and end the evening watching a movie at the Republican banker’s apartment.

“Did you maybe eat artichoke pizza at Artichoke Basille?” – Iris was still hungry.

“How bizarre…what movie did you choose?” – Maria was still somewhat startled.

“Did you take a cab home later or did you spend the night at his place?” – Evan was trying to measure the seriousness of the situation – … and who paid for the cab?”

“Was the sex good at least …?” – Manish was still waiting for the spicy details.

“Of course, Harry Potter, I left, I don’t ever sleep at the enemy’s… although I do like when the enemy behaves like a knight and calls an Uber for me “- Courtney laughed. She was already drunk. Uber was an application to get taxis online, I knew that. In 2019, there is a solution for everything in the form of an application. – “And the sex … wordless.”

Harry Potter! … let’s see, explain, explain that, baby …” – Evan shook Courtney.

The diners at that table were about the same age as the actors who had played Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the famous J.K.Rowling saga. In this sense, Courtney, Evan, Iris, Maria, and Manish had also eagerly awaited the receipt of the letter of invitation to Hogwarts, The School of Magic and Sorcery. Courtney decided to placate her frustration (the letter, of course, never arrived) and make her dreams come true that night by playing the intelligent and brave Hermione, the heroine of the story. Overall, she had nothing to lose: that Republican boy was not “boyfriend material” according to her textual words, so she wouldn’t have to repress any fantasy for long. On the other hand, Chuck had resignedly agreed to play the evil and sadistic Malfoy, the platinum-haired anti-hero of the Potter saga.

“What an interesting role play. And besides, a really good technique not to feel guilty afterward…” – Iris raised her glass and toasted to Courtney – “Shall we order dessert?”

“Instead of words and groans of affirmation, did you cast spells?” – Maria nudged Manish for that remark – “A-lo-ho-mora.”

“No, no, no spells, what Charlie cast was a potion at the end of the act…” – Evan pointed out, gesturing an explosion with his hands at the same time.

Everyone laughed out loud, imagining the scene. The power of magic. Desserts arrived, and the young adults started checking their mobile phones more often – the screens had been blinking all night. Evan, Maria, and Courtney took pictures of the dessert, nicknamed as “Mayan Chocolate Spell Inspiration” on the menu; what a pity that it tasted like nothing to me. The group took the opportunity to tell me about the training and virtual diet program that they were all following, inviting me to also partake in it. I imagined taking photos of McGuire’s corpse, and very kindly, declined this proposal.

“It is essential to keep a calorie accounting system, dear” – said Maria.

It was almost midnight when the check arrived. I sent a text message to Jamie, my driver, and Evan did the same with a Grindr date. Iris asked for an Uber while Maria and Manish enjoyed some foreplay in their seats. Courtney emitted a giggle from hers.

“Guys … Charles, I mean, Chuck, has texted me. He wants us to meet. Now. So, what do you think…?”

“No” – sentenced Iris.

“Absolutely not” – Maria stressed.

“If the sex was good …” – Manish earned another poke from Maria.

“I changed my mind, I want more stories of Charlie” – Evan said.

The whole table then looked at me, waiting for me to speak about the issue; after all, the vote was in a technical tie, and my opinion would irremediably mark Courtney’s fate that night. I watched her rosy cheeks, her dilated pupils, and felt the excitement of her body at a distance; the girl was looking for an excuse to give poor Charles a green light.

And so I gave one to her.

“I understand that Harry Potter is a literary saga of 7 volumes” – another number adored by humans – “… in this sense, I understand that as for today, you have “read” the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It would, therefore, be the appropriate time to go for the second one: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” right?.”

The two men praised me in unison, while the women held back their laughter pretending decorum. Courtney applauded at me, delighted; that night she would have wild sex with a Trump voter without feeling the responsibility of her country’s fatal fate on her delicate paper shoulders.

But I’m losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they’re really really, really nice.

“Tell me, dear Lilith – how’s it going with Todd? He’s a really formidable man…” – we were outside the restaurant. The rest of the party had already disappeared, but Courtney was waiting (very kindly, everything must be said) for Jamie to show up and take me home before meeting her Malfoy.

“The truth is…that I don’t really know. He hasn’t called me… and I don’t have his number.”

“Todd isn’t going to do that: only psychopaths give phone calls these days.” – I looked at her in disbelief – “… things may be different in Europe, but don’t even think of calling him over the phone, Lilith. Or sending him a first text message. What’s more, I’m not going to give you his number so you don’t face any temptations… “

So much technology to finally resort to medieval seduction tricks – “Why not? If I want to see him.”

“And he wants to see you, believe me. He sent me a text this week asking me if I knew more about you via the MET Young Patrons Program” – Courtney showed herself protective – “… but he will never show you his interest. In fact, he will wait as long as possible to contact you.”

“I don’t understand…”

“No matter how much society advances, men always take the first step in New York, Lilith. Especially men like him” – Courtney coughed briefly; the temperature had gone down.- “… and let him do it. Men are hunters. They need to feel that they have won a prize or something. If not, they irremediably lose interest.”

I remembered the monterías in Navarre with my brothers, the danger of the wolves, the nervousness of the horses, the gunpowder, the blood. But, above all, I remembered the lord of Xavier’s last hun, a hunt from which he would not come back home alive.

Jamie had arrived. I said goodbye to Courtney with a kiss on the cheek, wishing her luck and urging her to use protection. The golden girl said goodbye by inviting me to her 30th birthday party, which was to set to happen on the first weekend of August at her family estate.

“See you in two weeks; the theme is Gatsby. It will be fabulous!”

Sure. I snuggled into the dark leather seat and connected my headphones to my new Google Pixel. Jamie started the engine and we got lost together in the tunnel of lights and colors of that Manhattan night.

Yeah, I’m losing my edge.
I’m losing my edge.
The kids are coming up from behind.
I’m losing my edge.

“Losing my Edge” was a 2002 electronic post-punk song. The debut of a popular Brooklyn band was included in the famous list of the magazine Rolling Stone as one of the best songs of the century. But who the hell elaborates those lists?… I closed my eyes and began to hum the lyrics; the metallic sound of the early millennium mixed well with the nostalgia of the dream of that summery night. But, and quite to the opposite of the characters in the Shakespeare play, I would not find love back in my Upper East Side apartment – despite having already visited, in my new awakening, both a dancing club and a garden that promoted such emotion as part of their brands.

Fernando das Neves
UX / UI Designer. 917. ****** 69. Brooklyn, New York.

I found the business card of my white rabbit when I went to archive, very diligently, all the cards that I had collected on that tropical evening. Texting him (yet never calling) was tempting. Those young people, full of vitality, had reminded me of how much time had passed since…

Lilith, I love you, I want you, I love you so much …

A shiver ran down my neck. At that time, my Google Pixel rang several times in a row, signaling the reception of three text messages at 12.55AM (1), 12.56AM (2) and 12.57AM (3), respectively: 

(1) Hi Lilith, this is Todd Lawrence; we met at a MET party a week ago.

(2) I’ll wrap up my London project soon and I would like to see you again, this time in the daylight.

(3) I’ll call you as soon as I land to schedule a date.

I evoked Todd’s strange honey eyes, an unusual color that I had first seen on the streets of Pamplona in 1609. Would it maybe be 6 in the morning in London …?  I visualized the young lion eating 5 boiled eggs on an empty stomach and running spartanly on the left bank of the Thames under the first flashes of dawn; I also saw my dear Benjamin snoring loudly in some corner of Vauxhall Cross at the same time.

I’m losing my edge.
I’m losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks.
But I was there.

I found myself smiling, but the gesture was short-lived: visualizing Ben on the other side of the English river, I remembered that Todd was, in fact, the enemy, and the enemy was already close to us. Too close. Through his messages, young Lawrence also showed total control over the conversation, without giving me details about moments and places of encounter, betting on wanting to mark the rhythm of our future interactions this way.

I took Fernando’s card in my hands and started to type his number. At that time, my phone screen blinked once again:

Ps. I can’t stop thinking about you.

The furtive smile returned to my lips. “That’s bollocks, Lilith. Don’t let your feminine insecurity overwhelm you.” I filed back Fernando’s card and decided to enjoy a fantasy rather than settle down for a mediocre reality that night. The power of magic.

And so I went to the bathroom, turned the hot water tap and put a vanilla bar into the porcelain bathtub.

You don’t know what you really want
You don’t know what you really want
You don’t know what you really want
You don’t know what you really want