We are not there yet
The only hoax to believe in
The Horizon Trilogy’s Toy Story 4
“I’m here”. Otto texted.
He was just about to say the quite oposite one hour before. But once he realized how many things had to go wrong for them to have the possibility of meeting up, he simply could not say no. Taren and him have not seen each other for so long neither knew where to start. So he said yes. After canceling the bar hangout, the orchestra night with his dad, and a bonus of Taren’s surgery being postponded a second time right in the moment it should start. Plus, going like this, no plan, no previous schedule, just lifiting up from that comfortable gaming chair and going to grab a pizza.
“Why not tomorrow?”, he asked. “We don’t even know if it’s gonna be open.”, Taren replied. “We don’t know if it is now.”, Otto returned. Taren was talking about the holiday. Otto was quoting the joke they had about arriving in that pizza place one day and it would be closed as it was indeed giving out their spot. It was a good joke, like so many they had already. So much have happened since that coffee. Otto sent a message in the middle of the afternoon offering a latte from the coffee place they liked. “You are really willing to come here in the middle of the afternoon just to have coffee?”, Taren thought about asking, but felt like that was retorical. It would not be the first time Otto stretched to be there. They barely talked, there was not enough time or words to it. Taren did not know where to start. He did not really know what he was feeling. Otto just wanted to be looking at his face when he tells about going out with Savio. It happened in that friday night Taren passed. Taren was passing and canceling a lot. They haven’t been to a movie since the Multiverse one, but they knew they could not be the movie guys forever. They grew out of it, bigger than that. What they had now was weirdly relatable to many, and yet rare as kingfishers catch fire.
“It’s freezing out here”. That’s what Taren said that got them late in the first place. He would go home to get some winter coat. He did. It was not enough and he only freezed the entire time. He played with the newly bought zippo Otto brought. It was a fire zippo, like they are supposed to be, so Taren was not afraid of burning himself like he would be around the plasma one with its Thor lightning. Otto started with some funny stories and complained a lot about the new Stranger Things season. Taren went with the wave and made a few jokes and a lot of mean comments himself. They ordered a beer and decided to not eat just yet. Full moon blown up in the sky and the cold june wind just risking the whole thing. A begger got too close to the table just holding a cup that Otto filled to the brim. “I would never have noticed he was asking for beer.”, Taren said once the man left. Otto kept on his rant for a few more minutes. He told how Savio had blocked him in every social media possible. That was just too much. He was feeling just alright, Otto. Nothing real to complain. Just warming up to the moment when he would ask the very feared question.
Both of them felt how the whole environment changed once Otto asked that question. The street was noisy and people were all around. It was like a friday night in a wednesday dressed as thursday primetime. It is a holiday eve anyways. Body of Christ. This is the body that was broken for all. Taren would try to get some sleep for the first time in ages. Otto would work to make some extra buck. Nobody would think about Christ that day. Otto dedicated some time to talk about how Folklore was a great album, dispite being definetely a Taylor Swift album. Taren opted not to listen, it could do more harm than good where he was. Where was him? Who’s to say. He knew without knowing. This is why he would only think about how to answer the question once Otto had done it. He did, and Taren still did not know where to start.
“Should I go chronological order?”, Taren implied.
Otto thought about that Cicero song. Taren started ted talking about the Tim Bernardes album, his period sick at home, the frustrations, the fears, the drawings he made of couples he saw on the street and posted on the twelth. Otto knew already how he actually felt. Taren would still say it, admiting he missed her, as a friend, as a companion, the unique connection they had. He said about how their talk in the end of it all just humanized her and put him somewhere where he could appreciate the memories, where he could hold on to those moments, and he felt — damn, he knew — like she felt the same way. He just could not prove it. No one could prove anything. Otto thought about the Haim song. Thought about where he would be in the grand scheme of things. Thought once again about how many things have had to go wrong so this could happen. They were there, sitting in the pizza place table, eating no pizza for too long of a time. But still felt like they were not there yet.
“I find it weird that I’m not the one in an emotional rollercoaster.”, Otto said a few hours later in the line to pay the bill. Taren wanted the relief of telling and forgeting. “I hope one day we trade places.”, he said. This whole time apart served to teach them both one thing or two about how powerful this whole thing could be, about how fortunate they were for just being in different places right now, both physically and in their emotional journeys. Otto had the whole house set. Taren was finishing his, the curtain was still missing. Otto did not want Savio to just leave. He wanted to try, a slow pace trying. Savio was just too fast in the journey to him. Taren would not know that for a couple more weeks. It did not felt like the stakes were high enough to bring it up that night. “Tonight, I’m just comic relief.”, Otto said, not so relieved. Who would be relieved for any reason anyways? That stupid guy keeps finding ways to stay apart and at every new repetition of the Last Time song, Otto would just feel it crushing in his chest, the fact that he had loved him, that he knew that last time that friday night would indeed be the last, but at the same time, not so much, they would keep doing that, but in a different note than the song predicted, they shouldn’t stay apart, they could give it a try to stay together. But how? He just kept on leaving. That’s inhumane. And still, too low stakes for a pizza wednesday night.
Otto and Taren both seen this film before, and didn’t like the ending. They would get there in the end, that other song said, but that wasn’t a relief if you think about it. That son of a bitch Tim Bernardes. This whole thing was a hoax. The only hoax thay would dare to believe in. They were either being honest, but uncomfortable, or comfortable but not honest. And why would they replicate that with each other?
In the meantime, Taren’s dad came around. He told him to not do anything he did not want to do, anything just for someone else. Some selfshiness can be a lifesaver sometimes. You got to be clever and kind, strong and polite, a serpent and a dove. Days and nights like these reminded both of them of how their souls could barely entertain such greatness, while struggling to find reasons to believe or someone to blow the wind so their spirits would soar up to the dark night sky. But the moonlight was somehow visible, in the midst of a thousand bars and people and noise and music mixing to one another. And yet, no one could honestly say they were there yet. Not even close to it. But the journey had barely started a few years before. It would have been fun if their so called exes could have been the one, if that can’t be much more than a concept. If one thing have been different, anything could be.
“It’s funny what comes to mind after some time.”, Otto wrote. The moment you said your life was turned upside down after you changed your shift I gaged, cause that was the year-round Stranger Things week. One moment after that I thought to myself, “maybe he shouldn’t have changed.” And then it hit me. None of this would be real if it was such. And like anything before and after that would, this pain was not supposed to last forever. That’s not how life works. Life is finite. Everything should end at some point. Everything should just become memories at some point. The very question we had to go through now would determine what we would remember of all this.
“Just ask it already.”, Taren said, somewhat paciently.
“Are you alright?”, Otto finally asked.
“I’m not there yet.”, Taren replied.
Neither of us, man. Neither of us.