Cruising Chronicles Vol. 1: Flowers by Alfredo And...

Cruising Chronicles Vol. 1: Flowers by Alfredo Andonie


Husband and wife, married, happily ever after.

After dinner, she cleans up the table.


Goodnight, honey. Goodnight. The lights are off but her head wanders. Beyond the pillow, across the bedroom, into the imaginary fields that distance her from the city. This suburban house, this suburban mattress. There is something nauseating about the everyday smell of her husband, there is something that precludes her from dreaming. It’s her. She doesn’t want to, she refuses to dream. She has a body. She doesn’t need to dream: she can feel her own pulse. The sheets are too soft and the house feels too close to nature. The lilacs she planted a month ago flowered last week: they look beautiful, they say, they are beautiful, they repeat. The neighbors love them, her husband loves them. She feels their smell now coming though the summery breeze into the room. But she knows: she doesn’t trust nature anymore. Her pulse travels away from the flowers, away from the suburbs and into the city her husband knows too well, where he works every day. She opens her eyes into the darkness of the room. Boundless, she dives into the blackness that night offers her every day. But even darkness has limits. Her gaze progressively accommodates and she can pierce through it. The solid gloom gives way to lines that are silhouettes and outlines that curve into a heaving body. A restful body, the body of her sleeping husband inhales and exhales. She wanders and he inhales. She travels and he exhales. That’s all. But out there, there is language in her veins and tongues that drip saliva like rain. She is a woman that waits and she knows that. She is a woman that waits and that is a thing in itself.


Time to wake up, honey. At dusk, she kisses her husband on the cheek. The table is set. Coffee is almost ready, bacon and scrambled eggs. His suit is clean and ironed. His pants are perfectly folded over the bed. Kiss, kiss, have a good day. The house is empty now and gets emptier as the husband travels further away. He takes the first train, then another. Once in the city, he rides the subway from the station. He arrives at the office early, always early, and sits at his desk. He licks the tip of his finger and turns a page. A perfunctory lick and a turn, paper after paper, he licks and turns. He looks at his watch and gets up for an early meeting. Seven men are sitting around a table, a secretary types in the corner. A round of seven handshakes and a cornered wave of the hand. He listens attentively as his boss speaks. The deep voice fills the room and a fugitive echo from that voice penetrates him. It resonates trapped within in thoracic captivity. It settles beneath. He can no longer hear his boss speak but he can see his bristled jaw. The undulating hammering of his Adam’s apple and the curvaceous lines of his neck. He inhales. He shivers. He exhales. Around him, he can see the hairy end of forearms fringing the fabric of sleeves. He gasps. He fishes for a pen in his pocket but finds a protruding bundle instead. A bundle of stale fantasies: deep echoes and hairy hands, tongues that lick fingertips like rain. His mouth is dry and he gestures towards the secretary for something to drink.


The secretary obeys in silence. She fetches seven glasses of water and hands them around with a smile. She heads imperceptibly back to her secretarial corner with a throbbing smile. The smile aches but she types. An hour goes by and then another. And there is something cramped in the hours confined. She types and smiles. She wrinkles her nose. She is satiated by the smell of shaving cream and cologne. Odors forged to taste like forest, a fraudulent nature, a concocted field of cloying flowers over hardworking men. Men in suits: serious men that work with flowery aspirations in their necks. An impulse concealed. Instead, she types and conjures the weaved effluence of pullulating flesh. Her hands still move mechanically over the typing machine, but now her body yearns with chance. From her corner she can see. Her face is tilted towards the machine. Her eyebrows are lowered. But her eyes look up. She glowers up in darkness from beneath. Deranged, she types and smiles and stares. Her heart beats frantically. She types. Her palms secrete moist. She types. Riveting rivulets of sweat run down her spine. She types. Torrential streams of blood cloud her thoughts. She types. She presses the keys, she presses and taps. She types. The machine breaks. She smashes one or two keys. And she smiles. Ampullated, the smile swells up inside of her. Because it exists, because it’s hers. The purulent smile is a smile for herself and no one else. And she smiles again without pain. The meeting is over and the boss calls her up.


The boss wants her to send a package to his wife. She writes the address of the boss’s house on the parcel and calls the delivery boy. He comes, pants tight and sweltering arms, and she offers him something to drink. I’m not thirsty, but thanks. He looks at her and she opens up to his gaze. An immobile encounter. There is something perverse and infectious in her smile. She hands him the package and he walks away, out in the streets. He takes a right. The summer rain has been dragging all day and now through the night as well. His feet are damp. He takes a left. His breath is heavy. The siren lights turn the puddles on the pavement red. The city is dark and he can feel the humidity on his skin. He takes another turn and rings a doorbell to his left.


The wife of the boss opens the door. The delivery boy is soaking wet. He hands her the package, she looks at him and he looks back. Almost in defiance, she wonders. He flaunts a parasitic and cavernous smirk. His shirt clings to his thrashing chest in a viscosity of sweat and rain. His clothes, insolent and moist, draw the sharp edges of his body. She might even see his nipples protruding through the fabric. She wonders, she looks away. In this man the pious woman finds a chance to do good. Come in, dry yourself, you are soaking wet. The pious wife of the hardworking boss is also a pious mother. She calls her son and he comes in. Lend him something to wear honey, whatever you find in the charity bag of clothes to give away. The delivery boy follows the son into the attic. The son looks for clothes and, when he turns around with the pile in his arms, the delivery boy stands against the threshold of the door, umbral and smirking. Naked. He has already undressed. The son swallows a big gulp of saliva. His reaction is sonorous. Aware, the corners of his body protests involuntarily with betraying and oppressive noise. He looks away and closes the door behind him. But he knows now: tonight has to be the night. The delivery boy comes back downstairs and leaves the house. The mother feels she can rest peacefully. She has made a good deed. In this wet night, her consciousness will give her a good dream. Now it’s time for us to go to bed.


Goodnight, love. Goodnight, mom. The son aches in his bed. The boy can’t sleep. He knows that tonight is it, that tonight has to be the night. A night over another, the night of his body over that of the streets. He can no longer wait. Every night, when the lights are off, his head wanders. Beyond the pillow, across the bedroom, into a real city that lies underneath. A subcutaneous city of ambling men. A city redrawn. A cartography that responds to the body in code. Street corners, back alleys, cinemas and parks, unwoven from the geography of suits and cologne, hardworking fathers and pious mothers, cracked open to desire and the pounding imperatives of blood. He is tired of waiting. Dreams are no longer enough. Beyond the eyelids, they are too clean. Out of the bed, too ephemeral. Under the day’s light, dreams are sterile. He doesn’t need to dream when he can feel his own pulse. His sheets are too soft and this house is too neat. He has been planting the seeds. Germinating in the streets, looking around, he has heard and seen. Whispers like weed grow here and there. Men ogling with intent have crossed his inquisitive gaze. The urinals in the train station, they say, the last cubicles in the toilets, they repeat. He has never dared. Until today. He gets out of bed. He gets dressed. He leaves his house silently. His heart beats with violence. In his throat, over his palm, from the sky above: thumps and thumps, each step forward, a night over a night. He walks without looking around, fixated on his pulsation, his feet drum. A red puddle and another, sirens and street lights. He arrives at the station and heads to the toilets. Before coming in, he stops at the entrance. He wants to turn around and leave, but he is already shivering with heat. Testiculate and tumescent, his trepid head, flowered in shadows, his fingers already grasp the feral promise he is here to redeem, he can already smell: filth. He takes a step forward not to run away. He inhales. He takes another to silence his head. He exhales. And, without realizing, he is already inside.


The bathroom subsumes the boy into a monasterial devotion. A sacrilege and a cathedral, expansive, empty and dark. A congealed silence slowly relents to the continual noise of waterpipes. The boy wonders if he is alone. Like monks dressed in white robes, the corridor of dripping urinals ushers him forward to the end of the hall. All he can hear are his own pants. He is terrified, but the pungent smell of urine propels him deeper inside. There is something exhilarating about flesh and dirt. There are shadows that await. Within the quietude of murk, cautious figures wander astray. Movements and muffled meat. Moans. His gaze progressively accommodates and he can pierce through it. The solid gloom gives way to lines that are silhouettes and outlines that curve into heaving bodies. A restless body, an older man with a cigarette in his hand has been praying on him for a while. He is reclined against one of the stalls. His body commands a muted language to be deciphered in pieces broken apart. The eyes of a sacrificial lamb, contained and desperate, the lips of a suffering savior, the wandering palms of a tender executioner: he pats his bulge. Captivated and given in, the boy is already there. He is here. The waiting is over and he knows. He moves forward to touch, he moves forward to touch. And it feels like breathing for the first time.


The boy is lost in the roughness of skin foreign to his. The urgency to touch conflates into a river of flesh. A drive to liquify the space between them, a tactful press of the hand, a frenzied want to satiate time, leads the boy to reverentially recline and kneel in front of the man. His knees get wet and sweaty fingers tangle between his hair. The boy looks up with crystalline eyes, unzips the man, unbuttons himself. He opens his mouth and closes his eyes. His tongue moves around with the man enclosed by his lips. In the depths of his throat two fantasies collide. The boy moves back and forth looking for a remote answer within, an innate language hidden in his veins, saliva dripping like rain. And there is a sudden pause. Both bodies respond. The man fluidifies in his mouth, running through his chin, pouring down his chest. A soluble pact between two orgasms that stain. The boy ejaculates over the pants of the man. He reconfigures himself in the dazed haze of his release. He opens his eyes back again. This is the first time. But he doesn’t realize where the blotch of his climax might end. Maybe far away. Maybe in the hands of a suburban wife who cleans the pants of her husband every day. The boy stands up. She does the laundry. The boy buttons up. She dries and irons the pants. He walks away. The boy has no way of knowing but a wife far away is bored. Not of her husband having sex with other boys, which she doesn’t know. But of his smell. Not of cleaning the stains of other men. But of how sad the eyes of her husband look when he comes back home. She knows that out there his eyes aren’t like that. That somewhere they reflect a city that glimmers and shines. She folds the pants meticulously over the bed. The boy doesn’t know, but she is tired of waiting. The boy doesn’t know and neither does she, but they have crossed paths in that orgasmic stain. She opens the door. She looks at her flowers and takes a big breath. She inhales, she exhales. The waiting is over. She walks away from her lilacs and takes the first train into the city. She smiles without pain under the rain.