The Boy Fascist
the hope of love more powerful than love? Does not the hope of new love buoy
the spirit and raise the bar of possibility? Does it not destroy despair by
supplanting darkness with the warmth of a rising sun? Don't you begin to
believe that your qualities can be recognized by a kindred soul? Does it not
reinforce your faith in your true self and your choice of path in life? Does it
not give you inspiration and hope for the future?
Like finding hieroglyphics without
the Rosetta Stone, countless women have attracted Noble but none like Silvia
who he met at Finn's.
When he met the one he knew
immediately, not because of a match or a perfect fit into his expectations or
desired stereotype, it was based on her having the one primary attribute or
character trait that he desired most so that her entire orientation cascaded
around that one trait. Silvia didn't have any guile. This dominant
characteristic was like an elixir, purity so rare that it acted like a magnet.
He absolutely wanted to be with her, an attraction with such force that he had
to care for that one bright light in a world that had always been dark.
Silvia, smooth skin like ivory, hair
the color of root beer with earnest eyes the same hue, cheekbones sharp and
prominent. Eyes showing no guile, her lips thin. It was Reno who broke the ice
but his gamble at humor backfired. Trying to be witty, he said he hoped she was
Dutch and not German. Noble cringed but Reno slugged it off thinking it was par
for the course to say the wrong thing to an attractive woman right off the bat.
So he persevered.
Reno ordered the same White Russian
that she was drinking, knowing full well it was a good conversation piece since
it was made with powdered milk. Thick and sweet like a milkshake. A few words
and then more words led to a full-blown conversation. Reno played it cool,
drawing her in from her friends, Noble in awe of the power of Reno's character.
He saw a newly developed gravitas working, a newfound freedom emancipated him
from the awkward tongue-tied drill that would have followed in the face if such
beauty. His first point of recovery was pointing out that his great grandfather
was from Hanover.
"And yet you said you preferred
Dutch." Playful yet purposeful, brown eyes giving him her full attention.
"Well, I was only saying that I've
never met a bad Dutchman in all my life, that's all. Coy. A slight grin. Her
skin pale and like silk, her noticing Reno's undisguised interest.
"Oh, I've met some Dutch that were
not so good." She turned her attention to Noble and ignored her taller
girlfriends and bearded Argentinean.
"Might be a Texan thing," he said,
wondering if she really could be interested. They spoke about South America and
he assumed she was a recent arrival.
"No, no. I've been here fourteen
months," she said. When she told him she worked for an NGO he saw an opening.
Reno didn't hold back.
"You know what would be my ultimate
job?" She leaned in closer. "To work for the Red Cross and travel around the
world helping Americans who were in jail. You know, expats stuck in prison.
Give them care packages and books and things they want, Burns me to think there
are so many cool people locked up for the most minor offences, forgotten and
overlooked. In a perfect world that's what I'd really like to do." Her
expression a combination of surprise, awe, profound understanding and a smidgen
"I do something similar to that,"
she replied. Reno, bold and adhering to his beliefs and gut, went on.
"See the thing is I have an open
ticket. I have the freedom now that I didn't have before."
"I'm a landlord now. I've always
thought having a monthly income was the best way to live life and give me the
flexibility to travel the world and experience what lie has to offer." Sylvia
put her hand on his forearm, sending a thrill through him.
when I find my true love we will bring the kids with us all over the world,
local schools, major empirical data, because we live in an international world.
The kids would speak five different languages by the time they were twenty."
Enraptured and stupefied, as if discovering someone she always existed, she
"Will you marry me?" In the silence
Paul McCartney sang and people all around them were busy talking and laughing,
he feared it was a joke. But Reno saw something in her eyes - an abandon, a
leap, a young girl showing courage at the words and archetype she had seen many
times in her dreams. He was careful not to be cavalier.
"Okay, I'll marry you."
"I'm serious you know. Five kids is
"Six would be better." Reno
"Five is good," she said, coming
closer to him, seeing that they were a perfect match.
"We get married and we go anywhere
we want with the kids." He was thrilled and scared but not suspicious,
confident Reno had said his piece simply and honestly.
"Las Vegas?" Lame.
"No, here in Quito. All we need are
"I have one," he said, immediately
thinking of the Dane.
"Me too." They smiled at each other,
considering the possibility seriously for the first time. He felt a flutter and
enjoyed the tingling sensation at the brutal frankness of this German, seeing
no sign of guile.
"I've never asked anyone that
before." He pondered the simplicity of the proposal, the acknowledgment of the
chemistry, the torment of her search and the great relief it posited for him.
To bypass the games and the courting and the second-guessing seemed so Reno.
But he didn't feel fear, only a profound stirring. Noble thought to himself:
how unsick. How crisp. She's perfect for me; a woman who knew she wanted
to live the exact life he had described. It cannot be true he thought as a
means of protection, but she went on.
"You like five kids?"
"Five is good, yes."
"And we can go all over the world
"That's the ideal."
"And we marry here in Quito?"
"Why not?" He was amazed to see how
utterly happy she was. The time for admitting it was a joke had passed. They
hugged. Her pheromones perfect.
Silvia turned to her friends.
"We're going to be married."
"You need witnesses," her friend
"I have one, a Dane." They looked at
each other and laughed. It was then that Noble thought the joke had been played
on the notoriously gullible Noble.
"Why don't we get married in Centro
Historica at the Compana de Jesus?"
"Where? Oh you mean the Compana
Iglesias?" her friend asked.
"Yeah, the one with seven tons of
gold on the walls. I mean have you seen a church like that?"
It's beautiful." Sylvia squeezed his hand and kissed him. Dumfounded, for a
moment Reno was speechless, a rarity of the extreme. Countless thoughts raced
through his mind. Nervously he took out his cigarettes, toying with them.
"Shall we go out for a cigarette?"
Sylvia read his mind. Relieved that she was a smoker.
It was when we were outside smoking,
with the cold rainy air on his face that he feared guile but also experienced
the heady magic of chemistry, knowing that he wanted to make this woman happy.
He simply could not come up with a reason why this woman would toy with him.
"I will be here tomorrow," she said,
"Okay, I'll come by." She nodded as
if it were the only course of action.
A little while she left with her
friends, leaving him scared and spinning, and in an animated state of
disbelief. Noble didn't want to return to his guesthouse so he sat quietly at
the bar pondering the whole episode.
Just as he had thought love was an
illusion spun by poets and exaggerated by writers for dramatic effect, Noble
knew now that love was real, a natural and everlasting intoxicant for the heart
that balances life's waltz toward the end point of ones mortality, an enhancing
force that was a constant reminder of the inherent thrill in the everyday, a
witness to the joys and achievements and a support when trouble and sadness
marred ones chosen path.
The shadow of loneliness evaporated,
and the dark whispers of the ghost of misery ceased, bringing sunshine from the
clouded sky. He knew that now, but he hadn't before. Instead comforted in his
desolation, and fictitious in his belief that his abject bitterness and
resignation from participating in life was righteous and safe, he whispered to
himself that just getting through unscathed was the wiser course of
"Bullshit," he mumbled.
Protecting himself from
self-incrimination of this truth was now his task. Choosing to engage in all of
what life had to offer, he thought, was how he would be able to continue
without slashing and stoning himself to death by his own hand.