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Instructions for Sebastian

Please indulge privacy. Accidentally forget to set the alarm clock or blame your ignorance: Due to recently purchased waking-up mechanisms, I’ve been able to continue my sequence of dreaming until done, thank you for your understanding, sincerely yours, you or me. Place yourself in a comfortable position. Be careful not to intrude on your companion’s comfort. Visualize all your possible to do lists. Include the enumeration of all the people you’ve met through High School, the number of pale yellow phones you’ve found on the street, weekly percentage of guilt for not keeping up responsibly with your work and number of cigarettes you won’t smoke for environmental reasons. Then throw them in the garbage can on the left side of your brain. Close your eyes. Place your head under the pillow, pulling the comforter strongly all the way up until it reaches the top left corner. Be careful with your feet. Note: One of these days, add as much fabric as required, making the comforter suit your size. Secure the absolute darkness and with the tip of your right hand index finger make a tiny slot to let one, listen carefully, just one ray of light to penetrate your sight. What do you see?

Shut-up. It’s just the chair in the room… dirty. I can’t see the color; well it’s not that big, either. I can’t breathe. Let me go out now. I’m tired, let me sleep or you’d have to go to your bed.

Wait. I see three shapes. The first one doesn’t have a shadow, it’s kind of an L thing, but I’m only catching the far corners of it. The second one is just a blank white space, like the blanket, but it doesn’t have limits and it’s thicker. The last one has irregular black and brown lines. They gently touch each other, vanish one in the other, respectfully, silently, shamelessly (Vanilla ice cream and melting caramel…). The dim light embraces them. (It stitches together their material presence and their sharpness (A tropism, a sort of essence. Objects desire, life).

Wait. Wait. There’s something else. In the floor, something glimmers, a spark…

Sebastian sleeps. I can’t. He is not special, he is just there, a mute presence when convenient, a Sunday night’s cell companion. I read to him and talk to his dreams. His speech is based on one word sentences, yes, no, shut-up, stupid, go-away, but the warmth of his body talks to me and I’m listening.

Tonight is the night, his breathing says.

His contracted gestures, hands near to the turned neck and shaky movements every half second yell: Kiss me Paula. Ki –ssh- mm -e.

His warm and cozy bed welcomes my frozen feet and instantly devours their coldness. In bed he seems so little, his curly hair and his diminished smile remind me of our childhood. I get this picture: Get away, I say. He walks in to my bedroom trying to steal my attention. He punches me and runs away. He is back. He bites me. I kick him and take him to the “tickling corner.” Stop, he says with tear in his eyes. I don’t do it. I still like his tears.

Sebastian’s body is lying on my side, template, imperceptible, large. Silence briefly slides in my head. A big, strong arm surrounds my waist… a hairy leg embraces mine. My small hands touch gently his forehead. His brownish lashes fondly distillate caramel to the corner of his lips. My long black hair pushes me towards the edge of the bed. The sprinkles of adrenaline and guilt embrace my muscles even before I move. Like a dictionary nightmare, words mean what they say. Three, two, one.

I can’t find the fever car but I see what I can do to get you two drops of a red pillow, he says. What? What are you talking about? I inspect his eyelids: Closed. Even though his upper lip warns me, I felt courageous. The room, the bed, the bodies, everything is pending on a breeze and it keeps hanging. I kiss him. A brief and casual juxtaposition: no saliva, not smashing teeth, not even closed eyes contact. It sounds like m-m-u–ah, in Spanish.

You’re late, our mom yells. Rosa Maria: Make grilled cheese sandwiches to go, she talks and walks into the kitchen. Sebastian leaves to take a shower. Eternal prisoners of Sundays waiting for unpromising Mondays mornings of burnt toast and easily spread responsibilities, we’re family.

Angela Fajardo was born in Columbia and now lives in NYC. This is her first published work of fiction.


Angela Fajardo


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 05-JAN 06

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