Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen: “Folkstone (2013)”

Folkestone (2013)

It’s always winter there, but it feels like autumn, because it’s all slightly dead and slightly broken. It’s 2013 and you’re still young and skinny and your family can afford the trip and no one knows who Trump is. They use pounds there but the pounds look like big stamps and you forget it’s money and you start buying stuff only a teen would. It’s 7:30 not 4:20 but you’re smoking all the same you don’t care, you have long, silver cigarettes (the cheapest, still too expensive) for breakfast. You drink Monster before classes not coffee because you know you’ll need it and because you pretend to care but don’t and that’s okay because you’re 16 and in love and there’s parks everywhere and people say hi and no one steals a thing because you’re in Europe and South America is far away. You think feelings and emotions are for emos and you call them faggots but you know you love someone and that makes you proud and special and it makes it easier to sleep at night after you jerk off (never thinking about her). You live with a young couple that must have been lovely but you never noticed because you’re too busy smoking and drinking and watching Heroes with the Muslim friend you never thought you’d have. You lose the house keys once and don’t see the allegory there but no one does anything because it’s Britain and everyone’s polite about everything and no one really gives a shit about an Argentinian. You buy beer with a fake ID from a Pakistani girl that can’t be older than you but already is (she has to be), you go to a hidden garden full of orchids and bees and get offered some hashish but you don’t have enough money and you’re too afraid to try. There’s a cemetery in the street where you think you’re living but you’re not because you will always be an Argentinian and you’ll never escape from the Third World.  So you go there with the girl you love (names never matter) and you walk and should be holding hands but don’t because you’re nothing and will never be, and she talks and talks and you’re Semele so you can’t reply because you’re burning inside and everything’s on fire even though it’s winter and suddenly wearing shorts isn’t such a bad idea. She stands in front of a big tombstone with a ship on top, some German soldiers who died once, who cares, she does, so you stare too and think it’d be right to cry for the dead young men because you’re young too (not for long) and dead (this you’ll be forever). So one day you get up and think that maybe she loves you back so you call her and talk and make her sit beside you and you tell her. You don’t say “I love you” because you know better, but you do say things like “I always dream about you” and “I like you a lot.” A second passes and your fate is decided in that second. She shakes her head, says “No,” and starts crying. You cry too, but that doesn’t matter, your life is already irrelevant and stupid. She goes away and doesn’t look back, never looks back, always moving forward (unlike you). A couple sees her and asks her if she’s okay and you know what she says and what she should have, but it’s too late now and you can’t chase her and you’ll get scolded once you get home and you will nod and pretend to be sorry and go to your room and see what it feels like to scream in your pillow. 

A lot of things happen after that, too many, you want to write them all down, you get obsessed with the idea of laying down all the facts you think you remember, but no one will ever read them because you’re too afraid to let people know how you really feel about her, about that trip, about Folkestone, where it’s always winter, where you bought pot once and went to English classes, where everyone says hi and no one steals a thing, where you’ll always lie dead.    

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Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen studies Literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina. He currently lives in Quilmes.

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