Funny how things creep up. I thought I’d stopped thinking about her; for weeks she hadn’t even occurred to me.
And then, there she was. First she knocked quietly on my mind’s door; she threw some pebbles and called my name. But the next day she began in earnest: she made demands, pitched a tent, and – without provocation, besides the natural workings of my brain – she laid a siege.
Two days later I broke down. I called.
In my mind I was hopeful; at least, I felt worthy enough of the attention – I was the one besieged, after all – but in reality I was shunned like the plague. What a treacherous little machine we carry around.
Goni spoke to me in monotones,
This isn’t a good time, Lui.
Well, when is a good time then, tell me?
I have company.
Gon, when is a good time?
I have to go, Lui. Goodbye.
Under the yellow light of a payphone, a dial tone in my ear, I heard a hundred teenagers gather outside Discothek Danube behind me. I watched them, a lubricant mass, oily, gleeful, smitten with one another, candy-humans with cell phones, and I felt something… disgust maybe… who knows.
On the other side, in the distance, a huge catamaran filled with day-trippers from Bratislava steered across the river. A big white whale on the Danube. And I stood there with my dial tone...
… and that’s when it happened.
The me-of-me. The lover of Frankfurters and trapdoors. Over the sound of candy-human-chatter and ringtones, he showed up. The kid out-of-nowhere. The me-of-me. You must remember him. You must. Not a friendly grin this time, though, but a hard stare. And as he stabbed his finger in the air toward my chest and moved his chapped lips –
He was gone.
Just like that. But he said something, I know he said something – I swear to God – I just can’t remember what. It’s like waking up feeling something strange on your stomach only to discover it’s your own hand.
The dial tone. The whale. Everything was in place. Nothing had changed except that now the siege was lifted. Suddenly. Fully. The tents swept up. The ground cleared. Goni gone. And now the candy-humans made me laugh again and their ringtones dance on my feet.
If you saw a guy strolling down Hundertwasser Promenade with a woolly and a big grin – a huge grin – that was me. And if you were thinking about talking to him, if you thought of saying, hey what’s going on, what are you smiling about? you should have, he would have bought you a strudel and a wiener melange and told you all about it, and he would have liked it – Lui Labas – he would have loved it.