Enlightenment^2 – Curtis Eggleston
August 18, 2021
I, thin as wintry sunsets, lightstepped up out of the metro across Avenida Paulista to Augusta, aimed home, but twilight, as moon recalls tides, beckoned hunger´s churning of food into chyme, acid burned my stomach echoic as my mind malnourished thought thoughts dispersed like breaths into headwinds, but as thought would have it, maybe I´d consume two scoops in one cone, because there cornered, conversation interrupted by a check-in from the restaurauteur restoring napkins, sat at least one, if God willed two, dessert-immersed, aphrodisiacized lesbians.
They were the only two sitting outside, at the back of an open square of twenty tables, forty vacant chairs, slivering their ice creams with little plastic spoons the size of shovels for toys – patient, tiny tastes, exchanging quick, sweetened looks between bites, I could only imagine. A hostess smiled, opened an arm between me and the two girls, saying I could sit wherever I liked, but with suggestive body language of the side I´d be likely to choose. I smiled, ducked her arm, walked mentally whistling with pocketed hands to the table right next to them, sat down, frowning, the price of scanning the menu. I felt them not look over. I called for a menu in English. Still nothing. I snuck a glance. Everything I knew at that point in my life, I´d learned from popular culture, and everything I´d learned from popular culture, including and not limited to everything I knew of girl-girl relations, was mostly written by straight men. I felt pretty confident then, I would be prepared to deeply understand these two. But I wasn´t some cocky, presumptuous prick, I came respectfully, unexpecting to cozy with either that night, I just thought I could sit there anonymously, for reconnaissance purposes, apply any insights to future endeavors, and maybe get something to eat.
The girl who sat across from me was clearly the dyke. The longer I looked at her, the stranger. She could have been my twin. Thin, baggy blue jeans, blonde shaved head, light Brazilian skin tone, pen ink-blue eyes, cheekbones, chin, brows, nose, features mostly familiar to my mirrors, an androgynous being if not for being braless under her blank white tee shirt. The blonde´s prospective date was harder to define. She had long dark hair with dyed purple ends, mandala ink symmetry lacing an arm. Piercings silvered her entire left ear, as many studs, barbs, bars, and jeweled dangles as could fit, but unlike Blondie, who would lean in over the table as she spoke and smile, adding flirtatiously a lip touch flourish, Purple was more like a mannequin, stuck, plastic in her chair, maybe unsure, quietly, taking intermittently chocolate chipped mint flavored bites of her ice cream, nodding politely, listening no doubt, but responding monosyllabically, touching her collarbone once in a while like to check if she was still there. That unconscious motion delivered epiphany. If the threesome were to happen, Purple would have to be the nexus, the crucial connection encircling myself, her, and Blondie. Maybe she was playing hard to get. By far the sexier of the two, thin-waisted yet voluptuously fit, feminine, lips to kiss you awake, it would have made sense her sitting back on those two pillows, the sexy bisexual with multiplied choice of attraction via her own doubling magnetism, while Blondie the talkative and desperate spilled to impress Purple´s gorgeous fluidity onto bedspreads. One problem preventing the threesome. Blondie would never want to fuck me, unless she wanted Purple so badly she´d be willed to exception, but in that case, I would need Purple to want me. A doozy of proliferating variables. If I were to have flirted with Purple right then, and she´d smiled, scribbled me her number, hair-flipped, or in any way exhibited a blatant shift of interest toward me over Blondie, all chances of menage would end. Cuz, like, empathizing with Blondie, no lesbian wants to fuck a straight girl. They want to fuck lesbians, or bisexual girls, at least a girl giving off lesbian vibes. If Purple was some straight, coxinha model type, Blondie wouldn´t be there in the first place, and there Blondie was, well, not so desperate, but, you know, actually, wow, all shine, talk, smile, and flirt, momentous with her confidence, admirably. Purple, petting her clavicle, agreeing, and…nervous? Not the statuesque, powerful bisexual, tolerating Blondie, but in awe of her assuredness. I had more easily imagined Purple with a man, but our eyes have seen too much, so often now our insides are the inverses of what we show to others, and Purple was undoubtedly at least bisexual if she was willing to be flirted with by Blondie so intensely, but then why did Blondie, gushing facts, stories, and philosophy with ease as if she were reading off the page, want mannequin Purple with nothing to say, the timidly empty beauty limited to outer aesthetic arrangement? Because maybe Purple wasn´t just hot-dumb? Maybe she was simply intimidated, sexually undecided, and therefore admiring Blondie´s possession of self. Blondie, I realized, had all the control, seeing in Purple´s uncertainty a version of own past, an insecure girl lost of unfilled identity, and there must have been something hot for Blondie about fucking some decisive truth into Purple´s vacuity. And but then this brought me back to the opposite side of the problem before, with Purple as the central component between the two Blondies, how would I earn Purple´s attraction? If she was sitting there on a date with a female, it was because she´d had enough with types of men, the hyper-masculine, constantly sexualizing eyes-and-dick only on ass and tits. I mentally self-scolded. I´d already botched it. To attract a bi girl, I´d need to be one unique man. Not the programmed to daydream princesses, but the appreciative of woman as sex, not sexiness, not the physical utility of but the power withheld in all that was feminine. I rescanned Purple, not this time at ass and breast, but instead to seek her flaws, to reprogram myself to appreciate them. First glance I´d noticed none, probably same as most men in her male partnered past, blind to fuck until skin-on-skin rub repetition, familiar nearness, magnified some blemish, some misplaced freckle, excusing his abandonment, até mais, onto next object to womanize.
Stretch mark scars, top of Purple´s thighs, peeked out of seam under shorts. The slightest swell tufted neath her jaw, so her downward looks would crease a faint double chin, and when Blondie said something that made Purple laugh, let Purple relax, finally, I noticed she´d been flexing her abs the whole time, and let loose her totally normal bubble of a stomach, still better than average in terms of slimness really, real, the beautiful truth. It´s not that I would lie and say I became more attracted to Purple´s slain perfection than to my initial, sex-inspired notion of her body, it´s that I understood her preference for Blondie, who, regardless of masculine appearance, or even, in many ways, maybe mentality, still held within her a femininity divine, would not dispose of Purple in the manner with which human man had had her accustomed. I realized how hypersensitive Purple must have been to her own perceived flaws, and as if every sorrow borne of this vanity, necessary if in order for man´s arousal, Purple had endured, were transferred divinely into my own heart and distributed throbbingly to my understanding´s extremities, I swelled, with a pregnancy of sorrow, and conceived of how near the female spirit was to God, bearer of child yet holiness withheld, unrelated to their body´s shape but spirits within, suffering the limits of their vessels.
Suddenly, it was Purple imbued with bliss, as if Blondie´s every breath buoyed vaccinating tinctures over the ice cream laden table between them, into Purple´s inhalations and reciprocated laughs. I looked over to Blondie who was already looking right back at me, with eyes like frosted bayonets, she smiled at something Purple had said, but, her gaze my way unrelenting, was grinning then, at both of us, as if she had heard every one of my reverberating thoughts. Intimidated stunned, I returned to the menu´s prices, which, rather tyrannically, all exhibited themselves numerically well above one, and unpreceded by decimals.
I should have stood, departed then, afraid of Blondie, and affording a toothpick, but Purple was enraptured, a body language clone, so I stayed, kept my head down, listened to the details Blondie had vocally sewn so attractively, to try to interpret the contents of her passion.
With saturated focus, I understood nearly all of a few minutes of Blondie´s fervency, before missing her next minute or two while self-congratulating an unexpected leap in Portuguese comprehension, before ballooning mental celebration to the wind, and listening again to Blondie´s unbridled declaration of artistic intent: she was obsessed with art, specifically literature, and within the creatively written word´s encyclopedic history, of every entry devoted to novelists and poets whose genius had recasted our world, few masters´ letters compounded into what was, in her opinion, the most beautiful language of our world, Portuguese. Fernando Pessoa, she said, and he was from Lisboa. Machado de Assis, que ótimo, our star who died a century ago. Brazil has our share of songwriters, sure, but music was different, crutched poetry, and meaningless in the long term by comparison, a song requires the same air in which it dies through dispersion, she needed her ambitions inked on paper, or better, engraved into metal. And what about Brazilian literary women? Hilda, okay, rest in peace, and who, Clarice Lispector? With that middle name Pinkhasivna? Caralho velho, and what about us? Fighters like me and you, who go beyond woman, the box of the word. But so many are scared for their lives. Yes, the world is changing, but while it does, do we all have to wait underground? Did you know Brazil, for the twelfth consecutive year, is the world´s leader in murdered transsexuals? And yet we have all the momentum, right here in São Paulo. Look at the blocos on Augusta. Go to a rave in any abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Mooca! We’re already in the future, but too many are tired of having to hide, unless on some specific night, in some accepting neighborhood, there´s a party where we can all come to explode as ourselves, and we can celebrate, great, but then what do we do about it, film it? Post it, so our friends who already feel the same way can see it, and nod in agreement?
Blondie threw up her hands, laughed at herself, sat back willowed in her seat.
She said she didn´t know why it had to be literature, but photography, painting, film, imagery just didn’t do their stories justice. She knocked the table and promised Purple she would become as great as the greatest authors Brazil had ever known. Because she knew she couldn´t teach anyone, she was going to make them feel it, and they could learn what it was that they needed to know for themselves.
Legal gay marriage, she said, they call progress. You know Brazil´s constitution includes a law against racism? To truly shift, we´d have to tear down walls, transcend definition, which is the basis of law. You ever heard of the American poet John Keats, his theory he called Negative Capability? He said it was the key to greatness as an artist, the releasing of logic, science, in pursuit of artistic beauty, even if it led to the undefined, the confusion, the mixed, philosophical uncertainty, but you know what? What I think he meant to say was that quality makes up what it means to be great as a human, the peaceful acceptance of all possibilities, and it especially applies to people like you and me, but even more so to the ones who see us without understanding.
Blondie took a long breath, shook her head. She would heave this country forward with her words. She would rather die than…
And as she went on, she looked at me again, but with blue eyes melt-soft and torn she invited my view, into and well through her lenses, halted earlier at masculine weapon and shield, surpassed depth to an amorphous shrine engendering presence unequalled I breathed her breath and exhaled myself back into myself and felt envy, watched her talk to Purple as I sat dumb burned back to the skinless unacquaintance of my essence, with a sexual lust for something in myself I could not touch, and for whatever it was that Blondie had so much of she could share. If it was what I heard was the word uttered soul. Blondie was so well aligned within herself, her soul could obviate what in any other person would be the first-felt presence of the body. I loved her more than I´d loved anybody, she felt to me as rare as would be the Earth´s last living tree, hope for future leaves not born of windblown seed but instead of the auroras of her aura, which, naturally, spread as light, unenclosed unlike the physically alive, could never go extinct.
But then Purple leaned over the table excitedly, her top drooped slightly, exposing the bounce of a phenomenal cleave, and surged within me the urge to fuck all six of them, Purple and Blondie, both of their souls, and Purple´s incomparable breasts as she tucked them back into her top, and I became light headed, thought I would faint into dizz, the waitress asked if I would ever actually order anything or just sit there like a legless beggar, which I thought was uncharacteristically rude of anyone, not to mention someone working customer service, so I pulled back my chair and stood and left confused as to whether I’d come to any life changing conclusions or if not having eaten in twenty-four hours or more was scooping my brain´s usefulness, but then the metaphor reminded me of the ice cream on the table and the potential of three to sum theophany, and I knew what I had to do: I would go straight home, immerse myself in literature, write a poem, and upon my next crossing of a similar threesome opportunity, would introduce myself politely to Purple´s equivalent of course, but not before kneeling and delivering by hand, my manicured poem to Blondie´s.