The unlikely ones: He tried but failed

Tragedy rarely comes unannounced but it flows to our heart in small sporadic doses. We always try to arbitrarily attribute the quality of tragic to a single event, such as a Tsunami or a Holocaust, but even these events are just part of a greater event that is tragic per se. No one thinks of life as tragic till their turn arrives. Even the most pessimistic people forget their pessimism most of the time and live the hell out the lives they dislike so much. Real pessimists don’t exist; they’ve already killed themselves. What we have in the world are only grumpy people who live in spite of themselves and mindless people who laugh while they watch a tragedy unfold on life’s stage.

He’d taken drastic measures. He was living with his parents in Argentina one day and the next day he was in Poland, trying to start afresh. The catalyst had been a girl whom he’d met online, but she wasn’t even a good excuse, since nothing really happened between them. He was aware of it, but he was also aware that there’s no good excuse for living after all, and he didn’t need to justify himself to himself. He dreamed of her for a long time and even wrote a book about her. Then he got a couple of good girlfriends, both of which he abandoned in the end. He’d tried at life but failed. He wasn’t flirtatious or superficial but simply extremely indecisive. He didn’t have any expectations from life but respite from it. Every time he fell in love it was a paradise built on hell, but hell didn’t take long for hell to gain ground on him.

Now he was too old to try something crazy, again, such as moving to an ex-soviet country. That feeling permeated him at the moment: “I’m too old for life.” When he was young, his tragedies would be so interesting to him. The first time a girl broke up to him he dropped his philosophy studies and read Love in the Times of Cholera in a couple of days, after having cried himself dry. But now, it was just a succession of inexorable scenes that led to the denouement of the tragedy. What he´d come to realize with time was that it wasn’t the story what was tragic but the genre itself. No matter how much comedy, romance and action we add to the plot, it is always a Shakespearean tragedy.

“There’s nothing wrong with a girl who likes sex and fun,” he thought, “but there was something ominous in the defiance with which she said it.” It was a statement to him: “Please me or I’ll leave you,” but he hadn’t paid attention to it. She’d also said other stuff, such as: “I love you blah blah. We’ll make beautiful babies, and I want to be with you forever, blahblah” to which he did pay attention. In the end she said: “I’m your Karma,” and that´s the phrase he was left with. She was his female version. She wasn’t evil or superficial; she just drew bitterness from the tragedy of life and this gave her the courage to destroy recklessly what she’d managed to build. How many times had he done the same? “I’m your Karma” he kept repeating himself, till it became simply: “I’m my Karma.”

He’d tried to hate her, but he’d failed even in that. He’d tried to wish her a lifetime loneliness, but he knew she´d find someone suitable for her. He´d tried to hold on to that tragic moment, but it elapsed him. Now there was only the all-encompassing, everlasting tragedy of the everyday; the silent Chopin jingle that preludes our death since we start breathing in the poisonous air of life. He’d try shutting himself  off from life but he’d failed. As soon as he let his guard down, a new flow of events and emotions made his existence meaningful again. But the meaning came only from him. The same as a book is meaningful only when it’s read and cutlery draws its meaning from food, his life took meaning only when he completed the equation.

He was in the mood for letting good things happen to him again. He went to a bar with a friend and saw a girl. Most probably she was really beautiful, but his newfound euphoria may have had something to do with his impression of her. She was sitting alone, with a book and same papers. She’d bought mulled wine and was reading the pages, smartly dressed, in a corner of the bar. Now, the book and pages were an ambivalent sign; They could mean: Please don’t bother; I’m busy; but they could also mean: I need something to do while I wait for someone to approach me. After all, she was in a bar, not in a library. And even if she’d been in a library, he would’ve approached her because she was charming and because all public places were fair ground for him. Her beauty wasn’t too sexual. It had the elegance of women who take care of themselves and don’t demand insensible things from men. The girl was very friendly, and for a moment all his decisions made perfect sense. He’d come to this ex-soviet country to meet a nice and simple girl. She was called Sofia and happened to be waiting for someone, and not just hanging out as he’d thought, but that made the situation even more normal, and normality was something he welcomed to his life at that moment. She actually needed to learn go through that text before her meeting so he asked for her phone number and went back to his friend. The following day he texted her and she agreed on meeting him that weekend.


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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