When curly Edy suggested going to “The Cave” in Rosetti Square in the evening, my ears pricked-up like those of a curious bunny without asking for my permission.
It is a restaurant in my line, with all kinds of spirits and any dish that comes to your mind.
Located into an elegant half-basement, equipped, fitted and decorated with flowered carpets and polished waiters, rather long than wide, it wasn’t something that some poor students like us could afford, but Edy had just received money from home and had his heart set on getting to know Giulia better, a cousin of another friend of ours, Doru.
He had been introduced to her before, but he was determined to know her even better!
The arrangements had been made in advance by phone and both of them carefully planned all the details, they only had to introduce us and it was our own business how we would proceed afterwards, as we all had the legal age and had been given all vaccines in early childhood; they hoped we would be grateful to them forever after for such favor, that is to say they were officially playing the godparents’ role.
Later that evening when we left Voievod, the cafeteria where we used to eat and feign paying had not yet opened and my stomach was craving for something liquid, but Edy said to me self-assuredly:
– Be patient, tonight we are going to drink and eat for one whole month! I won’t see other money, true, but I have a canteen card and you know very well that I’m not at all interested in archiving it.
His promise of a copious dinner soothed me. We stopped by the post office to pick-up the money and walked on.
I liked this boy, not because he was from Constanza as I was, but because he was like me… I don’t mean we looked alike, he was dark-brown and I rather washed-out, but once a month we had money sent from home. The remaining time, we wandered the streets aimlessly every day hoping to get rich once and for all, but for the time being we managed with the meager money sent from home every month.
I was hoping for the near future to bring me another friend of never-ending, if possible endless means.
This is how we, some dreamers from the Voievod hostel, would spend our time month after month!
The moon, up in the sky, covered her cheek ragged by the cold of a bloody November with a scarf made out of clouds, like a sinful collar, trying to hide her visible face and the crying eye that survived the last eclipse.
The wind was already dizzy raking the leaves left behind by the local florist who bought flowers from everywhere and in the evening rushed shivering to the restaurant door to welcome her favorite regular guests of the restaurant.
The bouquets were bordered with fern leaves and she had prepared, for any wallet, three and five carefully selected roses.
She read us getting off the trolley and she was right to draw us with a rather thin bouquet, but Edy generously pushed her away whispering:
– If you want, you could offer me one flower to remind me of you, maybe I’ll stimulate and even impress by girlfriend! Come to our table in about 10 hours, we shall no longer be there, but remember you have an account opened with this empty pocket of mine!
The woman cast a glance at us, made an accurate assessment of our slim pockets, felt pity on us and gave him an anemic, pale reminder of a once flabby and rather bold carnation, which Edy immediately and proudly thrust into his buttonhole.
The avenue lamps cast spasmodic lights on the island we had taken shelter.
We were impatiently waiting for the girls in the round corner, turning blue and stiff with cold, teeth chattering and watching the ladies nosily clatter their shoes with metal hoods for heels.
Giulia had the unpleasant mission of bringing her friend along and eventually they both showed up!
They were coming straight from work at that late hour, rushing and hopping with joy, both of them chow hounds, after the meager meals they were used to.
As they came closer, I felt like Somebody’s (I won’t say who, an important person) grace came down on me!
They looked simply perfect, just like movie stars, splendid, a dark-headed and a blond, wearing long fur coats that almost swept the pavement – the campaign against hunting had not yet started – and when they left the coats in the cloak room, two fancy rags known as a skirt and a top were revealed trying to hide, or rather, expose their legs stiff in high boots and breasts spilling out of the map of our country to size of Europe.
Extremes tend to attract each other like the poles of a magnet! The only difference between them was that one had a different hairdresser do her hair and it was now time for them to be united in a pair of platinized, artificially curled head-turning girls drawing the eye of all standing in their way, not stepping aside.
Their walk was daring, like queens who can settle any battle in their favor, make any man knee down, to cut it short we were lost and subdued from the start!
People in the restaurant started to laugh at our sight,
– What such pathetic excuses for men, human cartoons, could be doing with these marvelous women!
The envious guests were pretty confused and the entire place was humming in disbelief, but we paid no attention to them, especially as they were all dressed up.
Even Edy looked quite smart in a suit and tie, only I looked like I had run away from home in my sweater, disheveled, creased and badly-manner!
I scanned them with by expert left eye and, as usual, I couldn’t make up my mind anymore: cap it all, I was interested in the blonde, Giulia, although Edy was all over her with his good manners.
I was slobbering like a crocodile charmed by the most feminine, seducing and attractive creatures I had ever laid eyes on!
My eyes hanged for an endless second over the girls’ low cuts and I could barely lift it up to the height of the expectations, but after repeated efforts I was eventually able to focus to their faces… I was staring in admiration, alternatively and equally to both of them as I had learned from experience for fear I should raise any suspicions between them!
The other one, the one meant for me, did not attract me in a special way, although she was the reason for my being there than night.
For no particular reason I had unexpectedly fallen in love!
Therefore, as usual again, I performed against the program, but I was also surprised! Giulia too looked equally surprised …such nice pack of bones had never before met her eyes! It was something mutual, an incomprehensible attraction which made me understand I had been way off track until then.
I wished I could turn tables, but Edy was not willing to think of any other possibility, even a make-believe.
He had a visible crush on Giulia and normally I would have been delighted to have Mimi, but Giulia really run away with the show; not only that she physically dominated us, but her behavior beyond reproach pushed me to doing anything just to get her attention … her presence energized me and stuck crazy ideas in my head!.
There were big differences between the two girls; they worked in different departments; the friend Mimi was a bit married, but she couldn’t tell why; her eyes were dark, but how dark only God knew; the first time, in the rush of introductions, I didn’t understand it very well… the husband was either away or had been thrown out of the house, and the similarities … well, that night they were both free and willing to get friendly with likes of us…and what stroke me the most was that Giulia’s eyes were like grey like mine, let alone that she was as sly I as was.
The truth is that no sooner had I seen her, than I set my good or bad mind on her, I cannot really explain, but apparently she was inspired by the same good or bad thought, always watching me out of the corner of her eye, which definitely meant that the eyes had their own heartless corner, as there was no piece of brain left in my head.
Mimi seemed pleased with my appearance; I was meeting the demands of a smart woman… an invisible, insignificant creature, as well as with the show I put on from the very beginning: showing off, petty, fireproof, tasteless, odorless, colorless and the whole package…to cut it short inappreciable, subtle, unworthy of any attention, but playing fashionable and pretentious.
When Edy went outside, God know why, probably for some air, the three of us got closer and I told them the truth as I was not into lying:
– Girls, my friend Edy is irresponsible, we kind of ran out of money, though we would like to stay more… I feel like in paradise with Eve my girlfriend and all this drinking, but we do have to go… that’s all we can afford!
Mimi comforted me squeezing my hand over the table, delighted with my speaking straight from the heart,
– Who said that you are the only ones to pay? I have some extra money right now and I have to strike some balance between income and expenses!
And Giulia, because this is why I fell for her, declared:
– I have no money left, I bought this top today, but if you have so much… let the show go on!
We exchanged kisses so seal the pact … I offered them both on the sport a bouquet of flowers to split, trying to look like a big shot full of money!
Anyway, she had to look very deep into her small handbag to be able to safely leave home!
The café-concert music was not at all disturbing and our conversation ran smoothly as did the glasses we emptied, I was delighted with the arguments marching; sport was not topical, only the funny part of life had priority, the shows I wouldn’t miss for the world when I had money and the special very funny cases I was so full of!
I was in capital form! There was no dancing that night, but we would have shaken them a little bit on the dance floor.
Edy’s money vanished at the first go-off shot by somebody who didn’t appreciate our faces and started to make his usual poor mouth, with direct hints and diluted declarations,
– God, I would give my ears for one or two more bottles and a good stake!
My bowels started to rumble and grunt so badly that even the waiter, himself belonging to that special breed not easily scared away, got scared; he didn’t know that everything had already been carefully planned.
Anyway, he started to gape seeing the fat wallet of Giulia’s friend; when she had the chance she whispered to me,
– Be careful, treat Mimi nicely… she has money, unlike me or you!
This was the cherry on the cake! I realized that she was on my side ….under the table!
Both her arguments and her boot found support on my leg; I stoically stood its weight, especially as she kicked my shin bones whenever I came it a bit too strong!
I felt at ease despite of the place getting warm and noisy, hardly bearable, as the wine went straight to the heads of those seated at the tables around.
Edy and Mimi had but some sips, Giulia a bit more, to be fair; each of my gazes was an urge for her to have some more Cabernet and less Pepsi, since it was quite expensive…. it was instant confirmation that I was the only one drinking to no avail and I couldn’t help myself to prove it by gulping down some shots of brandy and several “three-quarters” of wine looking very much like pins as one more fabulous free feast for me.
And yet I was the odd man out; whereas all the others were played at smoking, I stood tall to …smoke the club out.
– You’d better buy some more wine for that money! I had started to see three times as many people that they actually were in the heated wine-cellar; I felt full and satiated for two whole months!
Getting out of the Cave, Mimi proposed in the straightforward way I like people to talk,
– Let’s go to my place, by man will be home in a year’s time and meanwhile we can dance! There is good background music and the walls are soundproof against any unexpected sound blast … just the right thing! The apartment is nearby … not far away in Drumul Taberei on the outskirts of and down into the potholes of Bucharest; we can take a cab, I have some money left, hidden away from the watchful eyes of the waiters!
– No way! Giulia decided to my surprise; we go to my place, I live next to Ci?migiu, we can thus save the money; we can buy some more alcohol to see you satiated once and for all; we can take a short walk too, breathe all the fresh air we can, as I have but a small room. Mimi, remember we have to wake up at 05:30 tomorrow to get to work and it doesn’t seem we have too much time left to rest!
She ogled at me … the others’ opinion did not matter anymore; I figured it out she wanted to keep an eye on me!
We bought some Wiborova on the way, I wanted it mixed with tomato juice and pepper, but Giulia ruled,
– Shut-up and drink it straight, we wasted the money of Cabernet and Pepsi already! And she led the way.
The fresh air braced me up and I realized fate had lent me a helping hand with Mimi in one and a bottle of vodka I wasn’t willing to loose sight of in the other!
The city lay motionless, long asleep, the wind ceased blowing; the frost had dried-out the seemingly empty streets, the symmetrically lit avenue narrowed away towards Opera square, the buildings seemed to be collapsing on top of me.
I focused my attention on the girl next to me and the bottle!
I was sliding through smoothly; Mimi took my hand and I immediately hid it in the furs, opening the coat with expert skills… we started to shake with cold as if bearing the “fragile” label; we both covered-up with her coat…the cold was still struggling to get to us; it was a long way ahead to Brezoianu, but there was no rush.. we were warm!
The time diluted inside me… I didn’t even notice the sky anymore!
Kissing me with wet and hot lips she wanted to make sure my manliness raised to the occasion but before I learned she had a wonderful pair of breasts fully capable to making me forget any Giulia, I didn’t move although Edy was shouting at us… they had already arrived to where we were all supposed to be, the official entry of a sumptuous building without a doorman.
I started to run holding Mimi’s hand, as happy as a lark.
Giulia called the elevator as she was the only one able to control it; it came down heaving, with unreasonable stops, but actually pretty fast. We went up to the last floor.
– You paid only for this far, the elevator told us, having stopped unexpectedly smoothly, like an enraged asteroid landing on an unknown planet.
It abandoned us in a dark hallway.
Giulia and especially Edy, pinched with cold, were unreasonably rushing …they knew the place. I saw them getting out through a door blocking-out a bay.
I dragged behind for a second… I wanted to think, I took deep breaths of fresh air, I was happy.
I was on top of the world! The dream of any climber, to reach the top!
The alcohol sparkled from secret corners, the moon rose from among building tops, so low that I could have easily set it like an alarm-clock and humming tunes only I knew, multicolor arpeggios.
I was in the trance of a lover, drunk as I was to remain for some time on …my muse led the way for 2 more floors up to a lock-out tower, climbing the narrowest and steepest of stairs I could have imagined.
Giulia victoriously extracted a key from the pile of petty stuff.
There lay the oldest lock and door in the world; they opened almost simultaneously; the lock hanged onto a nail and the door almost flew opened, inviting us inside with a lugubrious creak.
We entered a small windowless bedroom.
A tiny reading-lamp fed the obscurity of the room. Once we have all entered one by one, I cannot imagine how Giulia managed to close to the door.
Edy had already jumped into the bed, getting undressed as he walked, with his political level high up, and decided:
– I wouldn’t take off Adam’s suit for the world. He sprawled against the wall like a tomcat awaiting the canned desert.
Giulia, genuinely surprised at Edy’s Sunday outfit, stripped down to her bikini and a tiny negligee and followed his lead, I was next to claim my place; long-haired, skinny, in ragged, but surprisingly clean underwear; Mimi either did not like the gown anymore or did not want to pouch it, so she only left her tiny panty to protect her against the cold and tried to kiss me, ready and willing to go into more profound scientific research with me.
She reached out to me, but out of the blue I sensed an unbearable reek. She gave off smacks of Cabernet and the combination was not to my liking …I had long gargled the last sip of the last drop of vodka originating from the bottle I had left behind in the street; now I couldn’t bear mixing the drinks particularly as I had finally got the point and a striking idea, soon to become an obsession, stuck upon my memory.
– I must kiss Giulia, by all means and right away!
Out of clumsiness and rush I mistook my props! There was no more vodka to restore my balance.
Giulia, in the pile-up, had leant against Edy, glided towards me and let her breasts free with the accuracy of a metronome into my hands. Never had I experienced such a match … and minding little the others I started to lick her lips… they were soft and sweet, full ripe and peach-flavored. We held each and let the world be
Mimi got the point… showed me her back, pleased that I let her meditate and started to whizzing.
We were like four pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, the middle ones perfectly fitting together leaving the edges purposeless.
Meanwhile Giulia whispered annoyed for the neighbors to hear, although Edy didn’t have the courage to move a finger … he might have tried to touch Giulia, as any boy would do, but Giulia remained rocky.
– Edy stop moving! The bed was not big enough and wobbled at every breath we took, but we paid no attention to all the knick-knacks and studied each other passionately.
Every breath Giulia had to take annoyed her.
– Edy, stop fretting!
And we went on caressing each other shaping pieces of us!
Giulia remembered about the top and said to me quite loud, without any fear as we were confident we were alone, all the world evaporated when the boiling point was reached,
– Let me take it off, it’s in your way!
And she threw the top away aiming for Edy’s head… poor Edy was completely forgotten about.
Edy continued to remain paralyzed, dumbfounded, he didn’t even breathe out of fear he could disturb us or upset the host, but mostly because no trolley was in service at that hour to be “hitchhiked” to the hostel. During a break Giulia recalled in anger:
– Edy, why are you moving so much? And we started to mambo with the bed again.
Edy, sick and tired of so many urges, undid his curls from Ilena’s tunic, stood up clumsily, numb or dizzy from the bed, stepped over us, got dressed gropingly and took off without any further remarks; it was either very late or rather very early.
Good riddance to bad rubbish… more room for squeezing!
We didn’t bother to lock the door and took it easier on the coiling. I whispered.
– Edy is off your hair now… you can stop kissing me!
– Are you out of your mind? What do I have to do with Edy?
We went about our business. There was nothing left between us! We were alone at last.
We were still restless when the alarm-clock went off. Mimi got up and raised sand when taking inventory of the rags I used to cover her.
She didn’t realize I had protected her against the draft of air, although the room was stuffy and hot; it was like in the community bath I used to go to for a bath when I was a kid.
It crossed my mind to suggest Giulia to switch underwear, but hers was loose for me; her ass was bigger than mine, but no bigger than it should be and I gave the idea up pretty fast, though hers was not ragged as mine, but very fine, which made me utterly regret.
– You can stay over and sleep if you’d like, but you are not to leave by 7:30 pm tonight when I am back; I only have one key and I won’t give it to you because I a’ not in the mood to be looking for you about Bucharest, find you nowhere and then be forced to break the door and face the dreadful possibility of not being able to lock it up again! Giulia reasoned.
I did not feel like being kept hostage on my own accord, so off we went to the bus stop on our two feet.
The girls would not see why they would not use their feet, they were beautifully equipped, but my legs were shaking with anger rather than cold, moreover, mine were the common legs of a common young man, that is to say slightly crooked, hairy and hollow as youth inherently feels. Do not picture me as Rudolf Valentino or some other sexy- porn movie star, but I felt it in the heart of hearts that I could be one if I tried hard enough so I kissed Giulia and she whispered back to me:
– I’ll be busy tonight! See you tomorrow or… God knows when! Bye!
She held me tight as we parted…as I looked at her I could sense her vibrations and knew I had won her up!
Had I or had she?
They were gone right away in a car that had pulled over to pick them up. It instantly dawned on me…I shouldn’t look her up, no matter what!
Mimi annoyed me even more, she played lofty and didn’t even cast a look in my direction, I was sure I moved her…it was only last night or in the morning that she had kissed me passionately. She would have been an easy pray, my reflexes were sharp enough and I was thinking that as long as Giulia was busy, I could find shelter at her place, especially as she had boasted her tempting apartment.
I was innocent in my own eyes; it was only Giulia and her childish eyes to take the blame; some aren’t lucky in love and that’s that!
She refused to ever see me again…I can’t tell why!
The thin morning air was unusually cold and clear, but I felt the warmth had built in inside, it could have been the warmth of the soul; I had been walking away from the bus stop with my coat open and I could not care less, from Matasari I passed by a courtyard where a starving dog was silently prepared to ambush me; I knew it.
The hostel building was there, standing still like a diluvian several-headed monster, with entries and exits and two swelled wings.
Edy was not planning to get upset, but he was waiting for me impatiently to tell me
– I will get you Giulia one day, mind my words!
In my head I accurately foresaw that day… to the kingdom come, but hoping was free of charge.
She didn’t like him because he jumped out of his underwear too quickly… but I knew he had an excuse, it was dirty and he wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible, to air himself, but she misread the gesture,
– What is hairy thinking?…that I’m a punk who’s supposed to fall for him at the first sign?
I was perfectly aware that if once a man gets an idea in his head, not even a tank would make him flinch.
He meant nothing for her from the very beginning, only Doru always tried to convince her to accommodate him… he wanted to settle him down, but I stepped in, without no excuse… I fell in love!
Everything is as relative as the weather forecast!
Back in my room I shooed my roommates away to classes to have some peace and quite to meditate …I went down to the cafeteria and had some tea. The girls cleaning up the tables brought me two full helpings and a salt shaker all to myself.
The huge corridors were dark and empty. I plodded up the stairs to my room and dosed off in my king-size overlapped sheetless squatter bed.
The moon faded away in a purple sky and the sun melted down the white frost on the houses’ rooftops.
Stanescu Aurel Avram