I rented a cold-water flat on the Correr de Confeccio in Barcelona for purposes of sex, although the lease carried with it the requirement: For the occupancy of a solo male only. The flat had no toilet, but rather a urinal with wire mesh over it. A sign above it read: NO SHITTING.
Núria – a young woman in tight, sweaty clothing – was an encounter altogether unexpected. She was a runner with long lovely fingers and dark hair. We met in the street at an accident where a motorcycle had hit a young boy. She left the scene with me, though I was a stranger to her.
We sat on my couch, did some dope. She was still breathing huskily, enthralled by the violence. “I want to destroy everything I can, and in my late years I will build everything I can,” she said. “I feel like a vibrating blade knocked loose of its moorings.”
How to fuck her, I wondered. The allusion to vibrating blades was certainly her invitation. Yet, she was so sweaty. “Can I offer you a seltzer water fortified with gin and lemon?”
I believe she was about twenty – no veins in her arms. She was sleek like a shiny missile or clean bicycle. Not a curve or angle wasted. Núria’s imperfections fell in the area of language, but they were endearing. For example, she believed that in the English language, the Golden Retriever was another name for God.
Núria was nicely high now and drinking with ease. “Should I have more? Yes, I want.” She presented her glass for more gin. From the fire escape outside the window, a cat leapt by.
She leaned back, still glowing a bit from her run. “That poor kid was so pale. When I was a girl, I had golden skin – as if the Golden Retriever himself had sucked my body. I lived by the beach in the sun and there were no cats.”
“I find you a bit like a cat, the way you stretch on that couch,” I said, very sexy.
She smiled. “Don’t be crude.” We drank in silence, opened the window and lit cigarettes. I wasn’t any good at smoking. Núria was a very good and lovely smoker.
I ran my gin glass along her brown arm, and continued acting damned sexy. “This is fine talk for two new friends, but I want to know more about you…your obsessions, your desires?”
Núria looked away for some time, and then, “To change my gender freely subject to my hunt, my appetite.”
I smiled bashfully. “Right on. I respect that.” I did, too – it was a damned good answer.
It was nearly 2am, and we grew weary. We said a brief prayer for the dead boy that brought us together in the street. She asked if I had any American antibiotics, citing an infection. Of course I did, but I wouldn’t willingly give them up. I had my own infections, God knows.
* * *
Núria vomited twice in the small hours, but was otherwise an agreeable guest. In the morning, I found her reading a book entitled Old Hamburg. She claimed that when she read the old classics, it aroused a deep passion for knowledge. I had no clue what she meant; Old Hamburg was basically some bullshit coffee table book I ordered online. But I nodded agreeably and said, “Right on.”
I slowly sliced a pineapple (due to its arousing scent) while she read a few pages to me and prepared some dope. Her mobie began buzzing with texts.
She chattered excitedly. “A beautiful friend of mine. Can I invite her to your place to take a shower?”
“Sure. I don’t pay for water, but I must remind you: this is a cold-water flat.”
“She has been out all night.”
“Yes, let’s invite her. Has she read or desired to read Old Hamburg?”
Núria giggled again. “My eyes sparkle when I see her. You’ll see it. Everyone tells me I’m star-struck when we look at one another. She’s the reason I need the antibiotics.”
“Not simply from looking at her, I hope.”
“Where did you meet her?”
“Here in Barcelona. Some place at night. I only remember I saw her. I can taste what she eats; she is that much of me now.”
“So, you are a lesbian?”
“For her I am lesbian. I will be a good wife when I am older. A good mother. But how can I be a good mother if I have never truly loved a woman?”
This I did not know. I am still perplexed by this rare bit of Catalan logic.
Núria stretched, a magnificent feline yawn, my undershirt hanging loosely over her chest. She laid across my couch, and I sat beside her on the floor. Suddenly, she looked at me rather mournfully and said, “Last week – and you must understand I had been drinking – last week I took a picture of a very attractive girl in a public restroom as she urinated. I felt such shame afterward.”
“You cherished the invasion of her privacy, didn’t you?”
“Such shame,” she repeated. “But I wanted to keep her a little bit.”
“Was she rather beautiful?”
“So beautiful. Like a runner is beautiful. Like my friend. Like me.”
I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, close to her mouth. She didn’t flinch. She just laid there like a doll oblivious to the affection it receives. Not knowing what else to do, I arose to sit in a chair, put on some Bruno Mars. It felt right. You Are My Nasty Treasure was the song, and we both danced a little from our respective cushions. I watched Núria’s little body grind into the corduroy, a slow, fitful grind that only a Mars track can induce. Come to think of it, it may not have been Mars, but who the hell can tell anymore? It sounded so wonderful on that warm, flushed Spanish morning.