I’m Eleazar, and when I suffer through nights with asthma and a runny nose, all I think about is Vitico’s sister, Silvana. My heart stops when I remember her, my lungs stop, my dreams stop, my dick stops. Everything just swells up, my thoughts, my veins, the urge to hit the ground running, just like that, straight back into the past.
It might seem as though everything follows some kind of an order, but no, it’s all chaos. The day the airplanes bombed Caracas that November morning of ’92, I jumped out of bed and ran up to the roof, everyone else was already there fighting over Dad’s binoculars, the airplanes flew low to the ground, below the pinnacles of El Ávila, and Silvana’s brother Vitico was there too, he had scaled the wall that separated our houses, she was still on the other side of it with her cute little tits and short little skirt, waving good-bye to me with a raised hand, biting her lip. Silvana had a huge mouth and striking eyes and her soft face was the color of wheat, clean as a sugar bun. I liked Silvana. We all held our breath as a squadron of the planes that bombed Caracas flew by so close that for a second we thought they were going to crash overhead, all except Vitico, who ran around like a soccer player who had just made a goal, arms outstretched, screaming: here come the planes, here come the planes! Vitico was never the same afterward, something happened that day, and every time we brought it up he’d get aggravated and start bitching and whining.
I bonded with Silvana the moaner, she of the meaty lips, of the easy fingers, and today, steeped as I am in asthma and snot, I declare that she was the love of my life. She was tender and she was testy, she liked to have sex a lot, she asked me to screw her at all hours, and she never got disgusted by my little milk. I never had to say a word to Silvana, like hey Silvana, why don’t you blow me; no, she literally devoured it, she stuck it in her mouth, swallowed all six inches, until she choked; she was perverse, Silvana, intense, she asked me to hold her tight around the throat, to strangle her breath away with my hands and when her face went red, she ate me down and left me without a soul. It’s my revenge, she said, my way of getting payback, my dripping desire, come on and touch me, touch me, shoot me with cum twice, three times, four times, she wanted it all to herself, the little milk for her little self, deep inside.
And I would have married Silvana if life hadn’t come between us. One afternoon Germán, Vitico, and I were hanging out on the stairs drinking a bottle of rum, playing the guitar like we did so many times, a little of this, a little of that, just shooting the breeze about stuff like the cosmos, the end of the universe, or the distant origins of humanity, when I said, I’m going to study aviation, I want to ride around in a fighter jet way up in the sky and bomb this shitty place to smithereens, and I don’t know why but without so much as a second thought I shouted here come the planes, here come the planes! Vitico’s eyes opened up real wide, he put the guitar down by his side and walloped me so hard I saw stars, black holes, and supernovas, my eye throbbed but I kept on shouting here come the planes, here come the planes as I ran away down the street. I waited for him at my house, next door to his own, right under Silvana’s balcony, and I punched him once, then twice, and heard his nose crack and then his jaw. Vitico fell backward onto the sidewalk and just as I shouted here come the planes again, my foot connecting with his ribcage in a dropkick, Silvana came outside, she of the formidable mouth. That’s when everything went to hell and I went to Aviation, finished school, and things have gone rather well for me since, I have a house, I have a bed, I have money and a wife who loves me, I have businesses, I have buddies, I’m Eleazar, one of the President’s men, a Red Beret in the paratroopers, with round glasses and a mustache, the shadow and the light of the Messiah.
Now, in the middle of the night full of snot and asthma, these are the things that come to mind, I remember Silvana, the rubicund, and when the memory becomes too much to bear, and her mouth comes back to me for reconciliation, I shout, feverishly, here come the planes, here come the planes! My wife squints at me from her side of the bed and turns over.
II Little Ben Wa Balls
I run into Quique in front of my house and he doesn’t talk politics or bring up the World Cup. He’s grown gloomy, a sad man. He talks about Verónica, how he’s not the same man who used to dive under the sheets and take a chaw of that wild lady’s pussy. I loved her, old buddy, and think about her as if she were dead, because good things in life never come twice, he whines. I looked at him trying to hide how ridiculous he sounded to me, Quique’s such a dumbass, good things don’t come in doubles, that’s impossible, things just come along, that’s all. Quique, I asked him, haven’t you found another woman whose tabernacle candles need lighting? It’s not the same he said, licking his lips, not even close. Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be if all the pussies in the world looked exactly like your ex’s? Quique brought his hand to his forehead, then back along his scalp, disheveling the few hairs he had left. You know, he said, I liked to stay inside of Verónica after I came, just lie there playing dead, my arms and legs open like a dancer, and feel the muscles of her little flower contract, it pulsated as if it were alive, the spasms so strong they gripped me there, all around my dick, once I counted thirty of them. Quique licked his lips again, as if he were thirsty, I just kept quiet and thought it was right that I did, because I had run around a lot in my day, enough to know what Quique was talking about. I had tapped Verónica’s pussy with enough gusto to know about it all firsthand, until she started wagging her tongue and not exactly around the tip of my glans. I’m such a weak woman, she had sighed, so weak—I can’t help showing off my orgasms. That’s how I could tell she wasn’t just showing them off, she was faking them. Verónica was a contortionist who knew the trick of the ben wa balls. Quique, I said, she was an artist. I didn’t want to delve into the subject any further, about whether her orgasm was a matter of involuntary spasms or the little ben wa balls. I patted my friend on the shoulder and invited him to take a walk around the block. You remember those girls from architectural school who danced for us in Margarita? I asked. Yeah, yeah, sure I do: the Barbies. Back then, all the Caracan women were shaving their pussies; they looked like babies, shaved clean from head to toe, with tight, round little asses, and they’d get drunk and horny and do a prêt-à-porter for us along the beaches in Macanaos; so yeah, I said, things like that don’t happen a second time in life, but think about it, they were gorgeous and faked it too.
III Herbal Tea
Alberto met Silvana in a shop that sold herbal tea. The morning was racked with gusts of wind that rustled the branches of the trees, whistled along the windows of the buildings, and sent the dead leaves lunging toward the ground like dark, sprightly serpents that first swarmed together and then unraveled into tenuous coils.
A few glances between Alberto and Silvana were enough to make them both blush. Have you tried the green anise infusion? he asked the woman. Her lips grew large, red, and wet. Alberto thought he had heard another sound, imperceptible, like a moan, or a request. I only drink black tea in the afternoon, he answered, and she, who was all mouth, said you bad, bad boy. She was no longer blushing. Where do you live? Alberto swooned, as if he couldn’t believe what was happening. Oh not far, just around the corner. She undid one of her braids and let her hair fall over her shoulder; then call me, I’ll prepare you something.
Alberto and Silvana started having tea together, every afternoon at five o’clock sharp. It was as if they were in Camden Town, far from the noise of the city, free of the rumors and violence, and talked a little about this and a little about that, nothing too deep or intense, except perhaps the way they looked at each other. Silvana’s lips grew voluptuous, they swelled and then contracted, her eyes glowed like two chestnut embers. The relationship was ritualistic, no flirting, no time wasted. Come here, lie down on this rug, Silvana said as she pulled down his pants, let’s not make love like everyone else. Nothing strange, she whispered, as her pink tongue appeared and wound itself around the man’s flesh, his testicles; she pressed her lips to the base of his penis, how lush it smells, she said, like pollen, like apple leaves, and she began curling her lippytongue, and her saliva became like gooeydrool and her entire mouth reigned over that cock, which gave off a fragrance of lemongrass. Silvana moaned, she pressed, she swallowed, she made tender gestures, squealed like a puppy, she was the enchantress devourer of swords, who comes and goes with the tide, lowering the pitch to an epiphany, an aria sung between aromas and froth until three or four spurts of semen filled her cup to the brim.
In the corner of the balcony where they had their tea, Alberto tightened his fists, closed his legs, and fell sidelong onto the rug, quivering. This is where they drank mint tea, infusions of orange peel and linseed with honey; where they celebrated like fauns covered in little chamomile flowers and kissed hungrily; finally Silvana gathered herself to one side of the rug, opened her legs and looked up at the sky, rearranging the clouds between the geraniums while Alberto ran his lower lip along her slit, wiping up the moistness; he got nervous, it seemed as though his breathing had lost its rhythm, he snorted; after a pause he was back again, he bit, he licked the bottom part, there, slower, right there, lips close, tongue inside, outside, blow, the lips, the fingers, back, yes, and Silvana whooped in a falsetto, cried out in the breeze, she ululated with water held in a clay vessel, oh baby don’t stop, up a little higher, there, flick it with the tip of your tongue, underneath, yeah there, the little seed, the grain; it smelled of hibiscus, mint, peach skin, a perfumed kernel, there, below; and Alberto followed its contours, ate it, kissed it in the high tea of the afternoon on the rug in the balcony under the geraniums.
In the distance, a delighted, erect, volcanic Ávila watched the lovers’ oral choreography. They repeated the ritual every afternoon, every time they met, every day of every month. Until one day—every story has an ill-fated day—a few airplanes flew across the Caracas sky in preparation for a parade. Alberto was trimming the rose apple between Silvana’s legs, Hurry up, baby, come on, here come the planes! He hadn’t even finished his sentence when he felt a deaf thud on his back. Silvana hit him with her fists and her heels. Stop it, get out of there, get out of my life.
Silvana still spends time on her balcony, cloistered, depressed, and cursing the day, the whole sad story, of the episode in which Eleazar and her brother beat each other to a pulp under her window. Every once in a while the planes thunder by, hoarse and contaminating, and she thinks about how goddamned Eleazar, the aviator, will never get as far as he thinks he will; in spite of it all, he’s a poor, happy man.
IV Verónica at three
I went to have a few drinks with Verónica one afternoon, at a patio bar in San Ignacio. She greeted me, quoting the first sentence of Nerval’s Aurelia: “The dream is a second life,” then she became withdrawn, how predictable women can be. Verónica always withdrew when the haze of intensity overwhelmed her. What dream are you talking about? I retorted. The tenebrous underworld or the impossible dream, memorabilia, the landscape we want to inhabit when we’re held fast by reality? I don’t know. I don’t know, she said as a smile lit up her eyes. Have a drink and tell me about it. Would you help me make a fantasy come true? Her hand slid under the table and kneaded my thigh, I kept silent, enjoying her hand, and a warm erection did the talking for me. Yes, just say yes and let’s see what kind of trouble she gets you in, it shouted. I finished the drink, threw a bill on the table, without saying a word the whole time, without looking at Verónica, turned my back to her and got lost in the hallway of the shopping mall.
I walked around for a while, crossed one street and then another, passed in front of an old hotel and imagined all the lovers’ fantasies about to die in that precise moment. I went down to the subway and let the crowd lead me to the train cars, perfect chance, and ended up near my home, in the middle of the afternoon. The tropical winter’s dirty, vicious sun was setting the classic cars, the almendrones, ablaze. I got to thinking how my life was turning into a categorical string of boring actions. I’d gotten to the point where I wouldn’t take any risks, because nobody’s fantasy comes true, not even when you pay for it, go ahead and ask the devil himself, fantasies fade away and reality comes back again.
I sat on a bench in the square and looked down at my crotch, feeling compassion for it, so I gave it my best spiel. It’s always better that we’re left wondering; who knows what kind of a hole we might have fallen into.You see? After the erection comes the calm.
"Romanza Porno-Militar" published by Sudaquia Editores. By arrangement with the publisher. Translation © 2014 by Valerie Miles. All rights reserved.