"Babe, let's go back inside..." The Icelandic full moon had flickered one last time before being engulfed by a dense, luminous white fog. It was as if an army of clouds had descended to swallow the entire landscape, merging and melting sky and sea into vapour. As the rocks on which the poles of our suspended house stood dematerialized before our eyes, and the trees in the grove next to us slowly disappeared too, our secluded dwelling seemed to float in emptiness, a vessel adrift detaching us farther apart for the rest of the world. "It's getting very cold and you're barefoot out here."
"I do not get cold so easy." Fabrizio replied, nonchalant, winking at me. And taking another chance to prove me he was as hot as I knew he was, he pulled me close and held me in a tight embrace.
But even so -- and especially after a long kiss that had made us both hot --, I towed him into the house. Hugging him as we walked, to warm myself since I was the one who was wearing lighter clothes, we laughed as we tripped and tottered, unable to immediately coordinate our steps. Like the fog outside, that was so thick yet very light, those were extraordinary days for us, of overwhelming love and happiness, of feeling that our union was complete, physically and spiritually.
Giggling like 5 year old boys, the clumsy four-legged animal we had become finally collapsed onto the soft skin rug in the living room. Just to harmonize our temperatures, among ourselves and with the heated house, we again engaged in a long, passionate kiss that did not evolve to making out because I could sense Fabrizio was tense. Since the moment I had told him about that German speaking woman -- now that I think, I have never learned who she was.
"A German woman? I don't recall any of the girls in our circle of friends being German..." Fabrizio referred to the previous group of friends he shared with Andara, of course. He was also intrigued, when I revealed him how I had gotten his address. "Maybe she was someone who disliked Andara, if you say she was ironic when she sent her a kiss... But why would someone want to separate me from Andara?"
Maybe she wanted to reunite us instead, I had to think.
Fabrizio froze and his heart skipped one beat when I told him she had apparently mistaken me for a roommate of his.
"It's impossible!" He was deeply shocked. "No one knows about that story! At least, no one should know!"
During college, Fabrizio had had his first sexual experience with a man -- suitably enough, with his roommate, an older guy from Austria who was through his second university graduation. Their families were acquainted, and the two young men had seen each other in a few social events, but had never spoken until they were made roommates. Their liaison had begun one night when they were gleefully drunk -- a fast and furious fuck, more like a fierce combat, exhausting, rewarding, with no losers. It had continued with increasing vigor and frequency for another couple of weeks out of sheer horniness and convenience, but with their curiosity renewed at each session, and as the confidence in their mutual secrecy had been established after the first month of frenzied sex, they had been lovers for almost two years. Brilliant, outstanding, exemplary students, striving to remain among the academic elite, they only relaxed and would loosen control in the lustful privacy their room.
None of them had had a previous homosexual experience, and they did not think of themselves as gay. They even did it with girls every once in a while, to prove each other and themselves that they were not gay. But when things got too serious, according to Fabrizio, and they could not assume they had feelings for one another, they had decided to get steady girlfriends. It was no more than a cope out to remain having unrestrained sex together -- at least being able to think of themselves as bisexuals, and providing a social alibi for their secret relationship, that they could not let go.
That's when Andara, an old childhood friendship of Fabrizio's, had reappeared in his life. They began dating. Fabrizio didn't think he was cheating Andara, since his original relationship was with Helmut, his roommate. And of course the guy was aware of Fabrizio's new girlfriend, just like Fabrizio was aware of Helmut's. They thought in this compromise there was no betrayal -- Fabrizio and Helmut had thus each had two partners for over a year, but they had always remained faithful to them -- themselves and their girlfriends. If they ever did it with another guy, that would have been betrayal -- they had agreed on those terms like the good gentlemen they were.
When Helmut had gotten involved with politics, and he wanted to quit their relationship, they again calmly agreed on it, and decided changing rooms was enough to part. They were both terrified that public cameras could catch them -- there was never a kiss, never a touch beyond normal male camaraderie in public, where they played accordingly to their leading roles in the university. Their room was the only place they had ever had sex. Thus, they fucked one last time, a rather simple, merciful last exchange of body fluids, when their intimacy had already been canceled, then shook hands and parted. A corridor between their rooms was a distance long enough to keep them apart, since they were civilized enough.
Especially for Helmut, who had gotten married and elected a few years later, that story had to remain a secret.
"How can she possibly know? And who can she be?" Fabrizio was so distraught. He was agitated, sweating, had even begun to smell bad.
"Babe, it's not certain that she knows anything..." I said, trying to calm him. "She has just mistaken me with an older guy," I hated thinking I was an 'older guy', but our age difference was a fact, "who could have been your ex-roommate. Searching for you...You have lost contact with him ever since, haven't you?" I shivered as I waited for his answer. Was the roommate another ghost, comparable to Andara in our lives?
"Helmut knows me! He knows my family, not just my ass!" He grimaced. I still had to get used to Fabrizio being either aggressive or ironic when he was stressed out. Right from the start I knew how edgy he could be when tense, having first watched him being his worst, at the darkened airport in Vice City. "My father and his uncle have a joint venture. He can find me any time he wants. No, there is something positively dangerous and wrong in this..." Fabrizio took one last sip from his prosecco, and pushed the glass away. I was relieved, because I often feared his habit of drinking to relax could turn into a neurotic escape like Catherine's.
Andrea would have told Fabrizio who that woman at his restaurant was. But the restauranteur had been mad at Fabrizio upon learning from Andara about us. Like most of Fabrizio's friends, Andrea had turned his back on him, ending their friendship -- they were all for Andara, poor perfect Andara. And Fabrizio had never had a chance to ask the restauranteur.
That story had haunted me, too, though differently than it had tormented Fabrizio.
I had to face how he had had Klaus and Andara in parallel for almost a year. To Fabrizio, it was very clear that it were different things. The public and the secret, the romantic and the sexual, the physical and the emotional -- but all those distinctions were purely mental, Fabrizio's rationality coming to his aid to disguise his actual confusion and misbehavior. For in fact, he was going to bed with both, though not the same bed, and he was kissing and loving them both, though not with the same intensity, equally enjoying their companies, though not as openly... But he insisted it was different, and had tried to keep the feelings out of his relationship with Klaus.
But what if those feelings actually emerged, after all those years, to be reenacted?
What if it was some kind of relay race between them? There had been two people holding the same baton -- Fabrizio's baton -- and running... That idea was kind of funny, but the thought that I would have to share Fabrizio with someone else was actually terrifying.
Celeste's legacy of being relegated to second choice was like a curse on me.
I wish I could just forget about Fabrizio's past, and my own, and that he would forget about my past, and his own past, and that we could finally live our love story without being burdened by guilt and doubt.
Yes, I know.
I have this tendency for a magical thinking. And I do enjoy coincidences and synchronicities, interpreting them under karmic laws and a fate based creed. And seeing symbols and signs everywhere, in people, places, events.
I still recall that attendant at the airport who gave me an upgrade and put me sitting next to Fabrizio, thus allowing us to find so many things in common -- actually, to fall in love at first sight.
And that German speaking woman, who gave me his address, I also am grateful to her. I tend to think of both women as our angels and anonymous madriñas, who helped first uniting us, despite all the difficulties we would still have to face.