He knew the guy behind the bar and the guy knew José, although they had no idea what each other’s name was.
- That painting on the wall near the toilet is really crazy. Is it for sale or is it just on exhibition?
The bartender was known for being really cool, and the two beers he placed on the bar only went to prove that reputation.
- Do you like the painting?
- I think it’s amazing, it looks like my life.
- Explain that to me.
I can’t find any sense in its beauty but I really think that’s why I like it so much.
- You’re smoking too much, kid.
José was in no mood to be lectured and his face probably mirrored his state of mind.
- So it’s not for sale? Is that it?
His insistence put a beautiful smile back on the face of the bartender, so much so that you could see the localized and progressive disintegration of his first and second molar.
- Kid, these are my paintings, you know? I painted them and I’m really pleased that someone noticed them.
- No, I’m just bullshitting you.
They made a toast with what was left in their glasses.
- To the artists that live inside each of us.
José had already drunk a lot that night and the previous night as well, so it took him longer to think of what he wanted to say.
- To l…
- To love? Is that what you were going to say?
As a matter of fact, José was thinking of toasting his friend from the bar. But when he turned to see where those words had come from, he was suddenly sure that Esboço had just turned into one of the world’s biggest airports, considering what had just taxied up to him.
The girl in front of him had an unlit cigarette in her hand, and José held out a yellow lighter.
- If you’re going to make a toast to love, we usually know who we are toasting with.
José performed a kind of MRI* of the situation, and quickly realised that he wouldn’t try again that night to buy the painting that had got him so emotional.
Before he headed off, he said thanks for the beer and made a sign that he would return.
* MRI is a technique that allows one to determine the properties of a substance through the correlation of the absorbed energy against the frequency.
On the way between Vigário Street and Santa Apolónia train station, he realised that no matter how much he could drink and make toasts, he wouldn’t find love in that kind of company.
It would have been better if his beautiful companion had stayed quiet and only let her eyes speak, but the aspiring medical sales representative could not restrain herself and while attempting to explain what was going on in her soul, she ruined the magic of the moment.
When hey pulled into Anjos tube station, thus assuring the little bird would not get lost on her way home, José came into possession of some valuable information.
The poor soul, who happened to be a great kisser, was a marketing student who did not often go to classes, as she lived too far away. But she still managed to pass the courses and move on to the following year.
The beams of light of the new day seemed to emerge from behind the old hill of São Jorge Castle*.
As his steps led José back home, his thoughts led him to realise he was getting tired of doing the same thing every day. It was finally time to try something new.
Deep down he liked the idea of studying marketing. According to girl’s lengthy explanation while he was attempting to undo her bra with only one hand, it was not very difficult. As was the bra, since she managed to help.
He noted with care that he was looking at an activity which tried to determine which products or services might interest consumers. The aim of marketing was to create value and satisfaction for the customer, while managing lucrative relations for both parties. It seemed interesting.
He kept walking side by side with daybreak. A growing feeling that change lay ahead: change university, earn a degree that would take little or no work at all, and be able to carry on, seeking with no great bother, the reason he was there.
* The Castle of São Jorge - Is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.
As he went past the door of a dodgy bar that should have closed long before, he heard a fantastic beat that tempted him with a second wind before the night would end.
There’s a conclusion to my illusion**
I ASSURE YOU THIS
There’s no end to this confusion if you let it wish you well
SOUL TO SELL
Highest bidders, can’t you tell what you’re getting?
There is a light to all this darkness, I will tell you this
There’s redemption in you asking them just why it is
Some answers are better left unspoken when you know you ain’t getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Younger, younger, younger
In the end he didn’t go in, but, from there on, he glided over the cobbled streets, the energy flowing from an almost inexhaustible source, and he felt as if he were a hair’s breadth from happiness.
When he was almost home, the smell of freshly baked cakes filled his nostrils or perhaps his belly button; they could have been either Palmiers, Croissants or Mil Folhas. All of them sure to be delicious.
The scent together with his hunger, were an explosive mix. It didn’t matter that the place was a bakery; it could very well have been a butcher shop.
He gathered all the coins in his pocket and managed to scrape together almost 100 escudos*. Not much, but enough to end the day sweetly.
When he went inside, a voice he thought he knew called to him:
– Hey man, What he hell!
* The Portuguese Escudo, which used a dollar sign, was the Portuguese currency, from the proclamation of the Republic and was brought in as a replacement for the currency designated as Reis. It was the last currency before the Euro.