A two-person monologue by Leonardo Villa-Forte

[private]He started by telling me that it was all interconnected: the colt, the earth, the skirt, the strawberry and so on; because it had all been very well thought out, the relationship between the colours, the clothes, how the rooms were separated and even the way the man scratched his ear, a small homage to his ex-wife who, despite being far away, was undeniably present in everything around him; and so, because all the elements were there together, there was a sense of urgency in the air and the congruence of these things provoked a flurry of poetry which would inevitably be perceived by anyone, pushing into the background all the care taken with technique leaving only the odour of  sanctity which meant that not paying attention for a single second was the most damnable heresy, which made me a terrible sinner as at times I couldn’t concentrate, but I didn’t mention this in the conversation, more because I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of his verbiage which seemed to do him such good, than because I was afraid of exposing my extreme insensitivity or ignorance which, should that happen, I preferred to keep to myself; and so then I continued to hear about how careless the guy’s girlfriend was,  leaving her bag on the wooden table, and how this was in stark contrast to his obsession,  but that the spuriously casual way she put her lipstick on showed how much she wanted him to pretend, and pretend well, so that she could almost blindly believe that he couldn’t care less about what she did or said, that his only concern was to keep up the great performance in bed and nothing else, and it was because of this that while she put her lipstick on he didn’t watch and pretended it didn’t matter to him, and had he turned to watch she might have been capable of slapping him across the face for interrupting the way she followed the vital and detailed cadence in the acts of seduction to perfection, and then he said yes!, that it would be perfect  because only a slap in the face could recover all the possibilities previously present,  which might have been lost by unexpected dysrhythmia, and I had to ask for a few seconds to think about what he meant by this, but before I was able to piece together any clues to understanding this  in my head he started to spew that the guy’s desperation when he ran after the colt which goes into the forest and comes back carried in his arms, dirty with red earth, was only there to be compared to the forcibly complacent reaction of the guy when the woman also feigns a final farewell, and that this showed how men have to tame their impulses and adopt more respectable attitudes because of a common policy of interacting with other people, but that when they interact with the unpretentious nature of the  animal kingdom, they surrender without the slightest sign of self-reproach to the point of wallowing in the blackest and stickiest mud, which took us back to the primitive beauty of acts that are spontaneous and of pure reflex , whether they spring from a sense of honour or habits or from basic instincts, but which in the end, today, were all indistinguishable, like twins who wear the same clothes and have the same hairstyle, because he was already bothered by the way in which people nowadays compete with each other in any sphere of life, whether in the family, at work, in friendship or in relationships, as if that were the most natural attitude, including, as an even more irritating factor, the supposedly scientific basis for relatively influential theories of our time which maintain that a competitive attitude is basic and fundamental to the human race, given its undeniable descent from monkeys and chimpanzees, amongst other wild animals that fight each other for the females of the group as well as to extend their power over a specific region; and that was when I got lost, because when he talked about monkeys and chimpanzees, the images of these animals came to me so clearly that I became quite confused and could no longer see what the relationship was between all of this and the humble and purely friendly intentions of my initial question, which, proving I had taken in something he had said, made me slap him across the face, in the hope that things would go in a more pleasant direction  after reminding him: I only asked what you thought of the film.[/private]

Written by Leonardo Villa-Forte and translated by Jaciara Topley Lira.
Leonardo Villa-Forte was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1985 and is a translator, writer, editorial producer and contributor to the magazine Pessoa. Part of his first book, “Two-person Monologue” was highly commended in the 2009 OFF-FLIP Literature Award. He is the creator of the remixed literature site and project MixLit, which has received enthusiastic reviews across Brazil, Portugal and the United States.
Jaciara Topley Lira is British Brazilian. She has long had a passion for languages, studying Spanish and Portuguese, and interpreting at university. She now works as a translator and interpreter in Rio de Janeiro.

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