André De Vito
Two static figures were staring at a statue. Seen from afar, it could have been three statues. It had rained earlier, and now the sun shed a week light at them. The earth and grass were still wet. Even though the lawn was wasted, the field marks faded and the goals rusty, the place still looked the same as fifteen years ago.
– This will be the last time. – Leo was holding a can of Coke in his left hand.
– It’s not like you’d never come back.
– Not to this place. It has always been kind of weird to come back here.
– Yeah. But I don’t think this thing will stand here until you get back.
Leo was one meter away from the life-sized statue of a pre-teen. It was made of material that one day had a bronze appearance. Now it was old, dark and peeling. The boy represented was wearing a football uniform and carrying a ball under his right arm. A penis had been drawn with white paint where anatomically it should have been if that statue was real.
– What are they going to build here? – Leo asked after a long pause.
– A lot. The parking lot of the supermarket I think.
– A parking lot is the worst thing that can be built.
– Pharmacies are as bad as…
Leo dumped the rest of the liquid from the Coke can at the statue’s feet and stared at his friend:
– Look, I’m anxious to leave.
– You asked to come.
– My father used to bring me here. He thought I had been affected, and coming here would help me to get over it.
The other man laughed and lit a cigarette. Leo threw the can of soda on the floor and crushed it with his foot.
– I swear to god my father tried to do the same, and the worst of it is that after that happened I still came here for the practices. I wanted to be a professional remember?
– I stopped coming not to see this statue ever again. Maybe I would be playing for Liverpool today if it wasn’t for that. Can you imagine?
– Liverpool? I would have imagined Sevilla, Lyon. No one from this city will ever play for Liverpool.
Leo looked at the other man in response and after a few seconds laughed and said:
– I think our future wasn’t affected at all by this tragedy.
–His future was. – The other man said pointing to the statue. – Where is this guy now?
– What would you be doing if you didn’t have a dick? At least this statue has one.
They both laughed briefly. Although they weren’t speaking very loud, their voices echoed in the gray and muddy walls surrounding the football field.
– What the hell his parents had in mind when they ordered this statue?
– Looks like it was the club’s president’s idea. Or the manager’s…
– And what does that change? The kid didn’t get a new dick, did he? What can a statue do?
– My dad said that the guys wanted to cheer him up somehow, make him feel like a hero.
– A hero. – Leo repeated.
– He saved three children that night.
– Right. I hated him, now there’s no way I can hate him. Not after that.
– Now you see? He IS a hero!
– He was mean to everyone.
– Very. A bully, but saved people. He had sort of an alpha attitude.
– The alpha stuff.
Leo circled the statue and as he said:
– It’s not even well made. I mean, I used to think it was more similar to him.
– Everyone changes over time. I don’t think he looks like that anymore.
– Probably now he is fat like as a castrated cat. – And smiled.
The other man looked around. A group of birds walked the lawn. Leo walked towards the field, now with his back to the statue, the other followed.
– Leo …
– Do you still hate this kid?
– A lot!
– After fifteen years?
– Don’t you remember the things he did to me?
The other didn’t answered. Instead he starred at Leo’s back for a moment, then turned his gaze to the inscription at the bottom of the statue. Leo turned to him again:
– He killed my dog, he spread that rumor that I was doing drugs and I was expelled from school after it…
– He was thirteen.
– Do you think I give a fucking damn about this shit? I just don’t understand why he risked himself to save those girls. He used to bully them too.
– Well I don’t think he knew it was dangerous. There was no way of knowing that the fire would spread so fast through the bleachers or that the bleachers would collapse and that he was going to end up with an iron between his legs.
Leo walked back to where he had thrown his Coke can some minutes ago.
– What an unlucky bastard. I guess fortune doesn’t favors the bold after all.
– He probably had a much worse life than ours.
– What’s the last news you had of him?
– None. I do not even know if he’s alive.
– I’m going to ask Ana, her parents know his parents.
Leo pulled the phone from his pocket and thumbed it for a moment. Meanwhile the other one lit another cigarette. Leo putted the mobile back in his pocket. The weather was turning cloudy and windy.
– I think I’d want to die if I lost my dick.
The other looked at the cloudy sky.
– What time do you arrive in Berlin?
– Tomorrow night. I have a connection in Barcelona.
– I think if I was that kid, I don’t know … I would try to focus myself on other stuff. There is more in life besides sex.
– Because he never had sex. – Leo added.
– He had a cute girlfriend, remember?
– Yes, Fernanda, she’s hot nowadays.
Leo checked his phone again, putted back in his pocket and then continued:
– Well, it may even be that he finds something other than sex, but it’s hard to know that everyone does and can’t do.
– There are many things that most people do and that I cannot do. Probably he must have thought of suicide but I think everyone does at some point.
– I never did. – Leo replied – But if I were him I would.
– You’re right. I think Ana’s answer won’t be very encouraging. There’s no way this guy could be all right.
– Here lies the dead boy, the infant hero, sacrificed everything he had to save his three girlfriends.
The other man fell silent, kicked up some dirt on the ground.
– It’s strange that an organ is everything to a man.
– What do you mean?
– That if he had lost an arm, a leg, a kidney, an eye, or any other non-vital organ, there would be no statue, there would be no such commotion. There would never be this statue and he would be… better.
– And probably many others would be bullied in that school.
– Yeah. I guess history define us, right?
Leo reached into his pocket and took out his cell phone. The two of them walked back toward the entrance gate. It was drizzling.
– She replied me. It seems that he studied in Europe for a few years, with his parents’ money. Then he went to the United States and became a musician.
The other took off a chain that was wrapped around the gate. He pulled and shoved the jammed metal. When it finally opened and the two left, he wrapped the chain back and searched the ground for some object. Then he found a broken padlock that he used as a simulacrum on the rusty chain.
Leo looked behind the bars one last time:
– I should not have asked her where he was. I think it spoiled our story.
– It’s good to know that he’s fine.
They hugged each other.
– Good luck. I’ll visit you when I take a vacation.
– Thanks man, I will miss you too.
They walked each one toward his car. Each toward a different future, drawn in parallel lines bound to never cross again. That had been the last time they’d seen each other until now, though they kept in touch at distance from time to time.
Far away, Victor, the boy without a dick, was recording his second album with his band. Some time ago he had tried unsuccessfully to write an autobiographical book, and besides the amputation he was healthy.
He used to go out to dance, even though he thought his nights never had a proper ending. He didn’t think of that statue as often as his old colleagues. Tall and skinny he was admired for his beauty by unsuspecting people, who didn’t know about his disability. Victor, despite the mishaps was apparently happy. What nobody knows is that even before that grandstand collapsed, before even killing that dog, Victor longed to inhabit that tomb imagined by Leo.