Last Thing

Evan Lavender-Smith


Burgundy toenails, black hairs on toe knuckles, russet sandals, a bit of brown naked ankle. Pelos negros, sandalias, un poco de tobillo marrón desnudo. Black yoga pants, heather t-shirt, slate gray Sharper Image travel pillow. Almohada slate gray para viaje de Sharper Image. Black yoga pants: the same ones she always wears when she travels: pantalones negros de yoga: siempre los mismos.

When she travels, he thinks. Cuando viaja . . . She's always traveling, he thinks. Siempre viaja . . . ¡Es más de lo puedo soportar! It's more than I can bear! Travel is a euphemism—but a euphemism for what? For distance: distancia. For absence: ausencia. For pain: the pain he suffers when she's absent, when she's distant, that's what travel really means. Eso es lo que realmente significa: dolor.

He needs to write a book to make him famous so he can show her what it feels like to always live in pain, always apart from him, while he's off on a neverending worldwide book tour. Un libro, famoso, vivir en el dolor, aparte de él, en una eterna gira en todo el mundo. It will have to be a different book, though. A new book. To be written after the stupid book he's trying to finish now. Un libro diferente, un libro nuevo, después el libro estúpido. His next book, he promises himself, as he's often promised her, will have greater popular appeal. ¡La promesa eterna de un libro con más mayor atractivo popular! He must write a book with a real plot, argumento real, and real characters, personajes reales, and real action—acción. A real book in which real things really happen to real people.

If this fucking airplane doesn't crash, he thinks, abbreviating my literary career.

From across the aisle, he whispers to her, ¿Cómo se dice mid-air collision en español? ¿Y cómo se dice point of view?


¿Cómo se dice toenails? he whispers. ¿Y burgundy, por favor?

At this, en esto, she laughs, ella se ríe.

Uñas, she says, wiggling her toes, de los dedos del pie. Nails of the toes of the foot. Mi mama les llama cambio de Dios. My mom calls them God's spare change. ¿Recuerdas? Remember? Burgundy is burdeos.

Mi español chupa verga, he says. My Spanish sucks dick.

I need to write a phenomenology of touching feet, he thinks, of touching toes. Una fenomenología de tocar los pies, tocar los dedos del pie . . . But I won't ever get to it now . . . Pero no se te ocurra ahora . . . Because this puto airplane is going to crash, abbreviating mi carrera literaria.

Your Spanish has gotten a lot better, she replies, but you really shouldn't swear so much, you know.

It's the Duolingo app on my iPhone, he says. El app Duolingo en mi iPhone. Todo lo que soy bueno de verdad en español es malas palabras, he says. All I'm really good at is cuss words. You married a vulgar whitey. Siento decir se casó con un gringo vulgar.

I married an amazing man, she says, who is, yes, very white, but only a little bit vulgar.

He extends his bare white foot across the aisle toward her bare brown foot. His leg blocks the path of an oncoming stewardess, la azafata venidera, who shoots him a scornful look.

Lo siento, he says to the stewardess, removing his leg from the aisle, placing it back under the seat in front of him. I'm sorry.


He's seated across the aisle from them. It's a very small airplane, maybe the smallest one he's ever been on. Sólo tres asientos por fila. Only three seats per row. The engine wheezes. ¿Cómo se dice to wheeze? he thinks.

Por fin, at last, they're rolling away from the gate, la puerta. She reaches across the aisle to hold his hand in hers: uñas burdeos: burgundy nails. He rubs her knuckles with his fingers. ¿Cómo se dice knuckles? he whispers. ¿Cómo se dice gorgeous knuckles, mejor dicho?

En esto, at this, ella se ríe, she laughs. Gorgeous Knuckles, she says, good title for your next book.

At this, en esto, he pshaws.

He thinks, ¿Y cómo se dice to pshaw en español?

Gorgeous Knuckles, he says, I'll dedicate it to you. Si este puto aeroplane no se estrella, abreviar mi carrera literaria.

Nudillos preciosas, she says. Gorgeous knuckles.

You have nudillos preciosas, he says, gorgeous knuckles, and manos preciosas, he says, gorgeous hands. Y pies preciosas, tambien. And gorgeous feet, too.

Thank you, she says.

De nada, he says. You're welcome.

¿Cómo se dice touch feet en español? Tocar pies: touch feet. ¿Cómo se dice, After the girl falls asleep? La niña: the girl. Quedarse dormida: to fall asleep. ¿Y, Obscured from the sight of our fellow passengers by an airplane blanket draped over our legs? La vista, la manta, las piernas . . . ¿So I can leave this world on a high note? Una nota alta.


Over the intercom, en el interfono, la azafata dice lo siguiente, the stewardess says the following: LAN airlines . . . usted . . . mas cordial bienvenido . . . quatro sesenta cinco . . . Lima . . . nuestro tiempo . . . seis horas . . . de la mar . . . en preparación . . . cinturón . . . respaldo . . . servicio . . . como . . . electronicos . . . communicacion apagados . . . comodo y seguro.

Jesús Cristo, he whispers. I got almost none of that. Did you? I need to practice more, he says, tengo que más practicar, retrieving his iPhone from his man purse, su bolso, pressing the Home button, el botón de Casa, swiping the Swipe to Unlock widget, el widget de Swipe to Unlock, entering his Secret Code, su Código Secreto, and pressing the Duolingo app button, el botón del app Duolingo.

The stewardess said to turn everything off, she says.

But then how am I going to understand anything? he says. Creo esa regla no se aplica a mí. Surely that rule doesn't apply to me.

En el interfono la azafata dice lo siguiente: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen . . . LAN Airlines . . . Commander . . . First Officer . . . we will welcome you aboard . . . bound to Lima . . . our estimated flying time to Lima would be . . . we would be flying at . . . feet above the sea level . . . in preparation for takeoff, make sure your seatbelt is fastened, the back of your seat in the fully upright position, folding trays stowed, and your electronic and communication devices are . . . the flight . . . I will be happy to assist you . . . make your trip comfortable and safe.

 Jesus Christ, he whispers, pressing el botón de Poder on his iPhone, the Power button, and placing it in su regazo, his lap. It's like I can barely even understand English now.

She rubs his knuckles, sus nudillos, with her fingers, sus dedos, leans toward him across the aisle, el pasillo, whispers, Maybe after the plane takes off and the girl falls asleep, you can switch seats with her so we can touch feet under the quilt.

Sí, por favor, he says. Gracias. Yes, please. Thank you.

You're welcome, she says. De nada.

Ahora sé que este aeroplano se estrellará seguro, he thinks. Now I know this plane will crash for sure. Pero por los menos lo voy a dejar este mundo en una nota alta. But at least I will leave this world on a high note.


La luz Prohibido Fumar dings, flashes. He retrieves from his man purse a package of nicotine gum, opens it, places a piece in his mouth, chews it fifteen times, uses his tongue to position the gum next to his molars. Bolso, chicle de nicotina, boca, quince veces, lengua, al lado sus molares.

Tranquilo, idiota, he thinks. Relax, idiot. Todo estará bien. Everything will be okay. O no. Or not. No importa. It doesn't matter. ¡Muerta no es gran cosa! Death isn't a big deal!

The little girl in the seat to her right, la niña pequeña, a su derecha, next to the window, a la ventana, the little girl with unkempt blonde hair, pelo rubio despeinado, the little girl in yoga pants, pantalones de yoga, wearing a pink-and-gray striped t-shirt, una camiseta rayada rosada y gris, and brown sandals, y sandalias marrones, the little girl who keeps alternately leaning forward to look out the window and leaning back to prevent herself from looking, para evitar que ella misma mirando, this little girl, he thinks, mi hija, my daughter, no es tan pequeña mas, is not so little anymore.

She matters, no? ¿Que importa, no?

Yes, que importa. Sí, she matters.

Very much. Muchísimo.


An elderly woman in the row in front of them makes the sign of the cross over her forehead and chest, then grasps and kisses a crucifix hanging from a chain around her neck.

Mierda, he whispers. ¡Olvidé mi puto crucifijo!

Stop swearing, she whispers, letting go of his hand. You can't say shit and fuck every other word like you do in English. It's not the same. It's disrespectful. You sound like an idiot.

The elderly woman turns her head to regard him, smiles, holds up the crucifix gesturing with her lips and hands for him to kiss it if he wants to.

No gracias, he says. He pats his chest and coughs. Estoy enfermo. I'm sick. Así digame, vieja, he says. So tell me, old woman. ¿Qué tipo de trabajo haciendo? What kind of work are you making? ¿Y de dónde vienes exactamente? And where do you come from exactly?

The woman places the crucifix under her blusa, her blouse, and turns away from him.

What happened? he whispers.

You said vieja! she whispers. I can't believe you said vieja!

I said mujer! he whispers. ¿No?

You said vieja! she whispers. Why didn't you just call her señora? Why didn't you kiss the crucifix like she wanted?

Because I don't believe in God! he whispers.

You have to apologize! she whispers. Don't try to say anything else! Just apologize!

Okay! he whispers.

Señora, he says, leaning forward. Perdón. Lo siento por ese vieja comentario antes. I'm sorry for that old woman comment before. No sé qué estaba pensando. I don't know what I was thinking. Voy a besar su crucifijo ahora. I will kiss your crucifix now.

The woman does not acknowledge him. He slowly leans back in his seat.

I don't understand, he whispers. No entiendo.

You're so obnoxious! she whispers, slapping his shoulder, his hombro, with the back of her gorgeous hand, her mano preciosa. From now on just say what you need to say in English and I'll translate for you, okay?

I'm trying my best! he whispers. I got mujer and vieja mixed up . . . it's not a big deal!

I don't understand why you're always so obnoxious, she whispers.

I'm sorry, he whispers. Lo siento. It's the stupid Duolingo app. El app Duolingo estúpido. It's been fucking up ever since I jailbroke my iPhone! ¡Ha estado fucking up desde que yo jailbroke mi iPhone!

At this, en esto, ella se pshaws.

Lo siento, he whispers. I fucked up y lo siento. I'm sorry. Vamos a tocar pies y make up. Let's just touch feet and make up.

Stop speaking Spanish, she whispers. You sound like an idiot.

I'm sorry, he whispers. Lo siento. ¿Así quieres tocar pies o no? So do you want to touch feet or what?


That's what I miss most when she travels, he thinks, looking down at his reflection on his iPhone. Eso es lo que . . . Touching feet, he thinks. Tocar pies . . . Good thing, cosa buena, he thinks, I'm going with her esta vez, this time. ¡Es más de lo puedo soportar! It's more than I can bear! I always miss her so much when she's gone . . . but then when she comes home from her travels our reunion is never as good as I thought it would be . . . en mi cabeza, in my head, cuando era distante, when she was distant, cuando era ausente, when she was absent . . . Because she's always so tired when she gets home! She stays in bed all day for many days on end! ¡Durante muchos dias! And she doesn't even want to touch feet with me . . . And she's so crabby all the time . . . tan crabby . . . and I get so sick of all her stupid bullshit! ¡Mierda estúpida del toro! But then, soon enough, she starts gearing up por otro viaje, another trip . . . and I start becoming anxious again . . . en mi cabeza . . . and then she finally gets out of bed and goes on her trip and the whole time she's ausente, the whole time she's distante, all I can think about is how much I miss her . . . todo el tiempo, all the time . . . about how much I want to touch feet with her . . . tocar pies, tocar pies . . . about how meaningless my life is when she's absent . . . no sentido, no meaning, no sentido . . . ¡Es loco! It's crazy!

There's a version of her in my head that does not jibe with the real-life version of her, he thinks, looking up at the seatback in front of him. Una versión en mi cabeza y otra versión de la vida real.

I need to write a book in order to get famoso, he thinks, in order to have to travel all the time yo mismo, he thinks . . . so I can finally show her what it's like to live like this, to siempre vivir en dolor, to always live in pain. I need to write un libro con más mayor atractivo popular, a book with much greater popular appeal.

But the versions of my books en mi cabeza never jibe with the versions in real life, with the books I actually write, he thinks, looking down at his iPhone. In my head my books always possess great atractivo popular, but in real life they never do. My real-life books possess very little, if any, popular appeal. ¡Prácticamente ninguno!

It's the exact same problem with her and with my books, he thinks, looking up at the seatback in front of him. In my head, they both possess atractivo tremendo, tremendous appeal, but in real life they possess muy poco, very little. Practically none.

But she's so great, he thinks, turning to her. Look at her! She possesses tremendous appeal! And so do your books, he thinks, looking down at his reflection, his reflejo, on his iPhone. ¡Y tan sus libros, mi amigo!

¡Pero sólo en su cabeza, culo! he thinks, looking up at the seatback in front of him. But only in your head, asshole!

He turns to her, across the aisle. I love you, he says. Te amo. I want you, he says. Te quiero. My life is meaningless without you. Mi vida no tiene sentido sin ti.

She does not acknowledge him.

I should apologize to her, he thinks, looking down at his reflejo on his iPhone, for treating her so poorly in my head. She has no idea how poorly I treat her in my head. My head is where the idealized versions of both her and my books reside, sí, but it's also where I frequently treat both her and my books with desprecio tremendo. Tremendous contempt. Lo siento, I should say, for the way I treat you in my head. And you need to apologize to your books, too. Lo siento, mis libros, por tratare tan mal en mi cabeza . . . Lo siento, libros, por frecuentemente llamarte estúpidos . . . I am sorry, books, for frequently calling you stupid.

He turns to her, across the aisle. I'll stop being so obnoxious now, he says.

Thank you, she says.

De nada, he says. Touch feet?

Let's wait until the girl falls asleep, she says. After we're up in the air.

The plane's most likely to crash during takeoff, he says. I need to be touching feet for my last thing.

But the aisle's between us, she says.

El pasillo, he says. El pasillo. Siempre el pinche pasillo.

Please stop, she says.

They never pay attention to the aisle during takeoff, he says. All they care about are the seatbacks and the overhead storage compartments. Takeoff and landing are the best times to have your feet in the aisle, los mejores tiempos, because there's nobody walking around then. They never say anything in the safety procedures about not having your feet in the aisle during takeoff, do they?


Over the intercom, en el interfono, la azafata, the stewardess, dice lo siguiente, says the following: pedimos . . . atención . . . seguridad . . . gracias . . . LAN Airlines . . . bordo de este . . . flota . . . más moderno . . . a continuación . . . sentado . . . emergencia . . . el pasillo . . . todos los artículos . . . para su seguridad . . . hebilla y ajustarlo . . . en caso . . . presión en la cabina . . . oxígeno . . . es muy importante . . . antes de ayudar a otros . . . situación de emergencia . . . para su protección . . . evacuado . . . pertenencias . . . pasillo . . . en caso . . . salidas sobre las alas . . . su asiento . . . instrucciones de seguridad . . . LAN Airlines . . . prohibido fumar . . . finalmente . . . información adicional . . . instrucciones de seguridad . . . en el bolsillo . . . asiento delante.


Mamá, la niña pequeña a su derecha dice, the little girl to her right says, por favor quitate las sandalias para que podamos tocar pies, please take off your sandals so we can touch feet.

The aisle, he thinks, the aisle, always the pinche aisle! ¡No es justo! he thinks, watching from across the aisle as they take off their sandals and begin touching feet. It's not fair!

La vida no siempre es justa, idiota. Life's not always fair, idiot, he thinks, looking down at his reflection on his iPhone.


En el interfono la azafata dice lo siguiente: We ask you to please direct your attention to the safety procedures . . . LAN Airlines welcomes you aboard . . . our aircraft safety procedures . . . if you're sitting in an emergency exit row . . . we ask you to keep also the aisles and emergency exits clear of any articles . . . in the event of a loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop in front of you . . . in the event of an emergency situation . . . in the event of a landing on the water only the two exits over the wings will be used . . . LAN Airlines flights are smoke-free . . . we finally ask you to read the additional information regarding this aircraft . . . the safety instruction card located in the pocket of the seat in front of you.


Please stop touching feet with the girl and touch feet with me instead, he says. I need to be touching feet for mi última cosa.

The plane won't crash, she says.

How do you know? he says.

Why would it? she says.

Well, I'm on it, he replies. Why wouldn't it?

Why is everything always all about you? she says. That's a problem with your writing, you know. I like your writing, you know that, but I think it's fair to say that you write almost exclusively about yourself. If you wrote about other people from time to time, instead of always being stuck inside your own head, you'd probably already be famous by now.

Famoso, famoso, it's all about famoso for you, isn't it? he says. Maybe I don't want to be famoso, ever think of that? Maybe I just want to write un buen libro. If I write un buen libro, there's no chance I'll get famoso. That's the way it works. I'd have to write a very bad book, un libro muy malo, to get famous.

Then hurry up and write a bad one, she says.

¿Cómo se dice to sell out en español? he says.

Madurar, she says.

¡Nunca voy a madurar! he says, pounding his fist on the armrest.

Madurar means to grow up, she says. I was telling you to grow up.

Oh, he says. I meant to say I'd never sell out.

No, you said the right thing, she says, touching feet with the girl.


¿Por qué, he thinks, is touching feet such a big deal for you? Necesitamos una fenomenología de tocar pies, tocar los dedos del pie . . . Is it a fetish: es un fetiche? Do you have a foot fetish: un fetiche del pie? No: no. Then what is it? No sé, no idea. Are you sure? No sé. No es sólo ella. Me gusta tocar los pies con mis hijos, también. Asi que no es sexual. Es algo que me gusta. Es mi cosa favorita de hacer. It's my favorite thing to do. It's just something I like. It's not sexual. I like touching feet with my kids, too. I don't know. Pero me gusta hacerlo con ella sobre todo. But I like doing it with her most of all. ¿Por qué? I don't know. Her touch . . . something about her touch . . . su toque, su toque . . . It reminds me that I'm alive, yet it also reminds me that I'm going to die. En el futuro, in the future, en el futuro próximo, de hecho, in the very near future, in fact. And that's the feeling I want the most. La sensación que quiero. To know I'm alive, estoy vivir, but also to know I'm going to die, voy a mirir, very soon, muy pronto. That's what I want the most . . . besides writing un buen libro. What I would want the most is to write un buen libro while she's touching me, while her foot is touching my foot, to write un buen libro while knowing I'm alive, but also while knowing I'm going to die. If I knew I was about to die, as I know I am now, because this fucking plane's about to crash, porque este puto aeroplano está a punto de estrellarse, that's all I would want, eso es todo, I'd want to be writing down some nonsense in the notetaking app on my iPhone while she's touching her foot to mine. ¿Pero por qué pies? But why feet? ¿Por qué no manos? Why not hands? ¿Por qué no un handjob, por ejemplo? Why not a handjob, for example? A handjob would be great, claro, but we'd have to be touching feet while she's giving me the handjob. ¿Por qué pies? ¿Por qué pies? Why feet? Why feet? La verdad es que suena exactamente como un fetiche de pie para mí. It honestly sounds like a foot fetish to me. Well, maybe it sounds like one, but it's not, because I'm not even particularly crazy about the look of feet, hers or anyone else's, so it can't be a foot fetish. ¿Pero no dijo que tenía pies preciosas? But didn't you say she had gorgeous feet? I did, yes, but that was a lie. I only said it to be romantic, to make her want to touch feet with me. Her feet are okay, I guess. I wouldn't call them gorgeous. It's not the look of her feet that I find so attractive. It's something about touching feet with her, there's more touch there than when we touch hands, than when we hold hands, because the foot is more sensitive, because there's greater surface area on the foot, or something. While I do very much enjoy holding hands with her, I would certainly always prefer to hold feet with her, to touch feet with her, as the foot is one of the most sensitive places on the body. Pero no el más sensible. But not the most sensitive. No, that's right, not the most sensitive. ¿Asi que no tocar con los lugares más sensibles, si sabes que vas a morir pronto? So why not touch with the most sensitive places, if you know you're going to die soon? Because, obviously, we're on an airplane, and there are all these people around, including our daughter, seated right next to her. Are you suggesting that I fuck my wife on an airplane filled with passengers, the most physically proximate of whom is our daughter? No, perdón, no quise decirlo así. No, sorry, I didn't mean it like that. Because if I fucked my wife on this plane right now, I would definitely get put on the no-fly list. Tienes razón, no deberiá haber sugerido, lo siento. You're right, I shouldn't have suggested it, I'm sorry.

¿Qué más? What else?

She has often suggested that I may have been touch-deprived as a child.


Toque privado.

¿Cree que esto es verdad? Do you think that's true?

I don't know.

¿Le amamantó su madre? Did your mother breastfeed you?

That's none of your business.

Pero tal vez que es su problema. But maybe that's your problem.

Maybe you're my problem.

Sólo tratando de ayudar, amigo. I'm only trying to help.

I don't need your help. I don't need anybody's help. I can take care of myself.

¿Vas a empezar a tocar los pies con uno mismo? Are you going to start touching feet with yourself? ¿Vas a escribir sus libros sin pedir ayuda de nadie, sin pedir a nadie que te ayude a publicarlas? Are you going to write your books without asking for anybody's help, without asking for anybody to help you get them published? ¿Vas a autopublicar otra vez, como lo hizo con sus últimos libros? Are you going to self-publish again, like you did with your last books?

I didn't self-publish! Those were legit presses!

¡Eran editoriales legítimas!

En esto, at this, él se pshaws, he pshaws.


He turns to her, leans across the aisle, speaks over the engine's wheezing, How do you say pshaw in Spanish?

I don't know, she says. Bah, probably.

Bah? he says.

Pshaw! she says. ¡Bah!

Not the exclamation, he says. The verb. To pshaw. How would you say, for example, At this, he pshaws.

En esto, she says, dice ¡Bah!

No, he says. He doesn't say pshaw but just makes a pshawing sound with his mouth, like this.

He pshaws.

How would you say that? he says.

Hace el sonido de un idiota, she says. He makes the sound of an idiot.


The engine wheezes: they are rolling toward the runway. He turns to her, leans across the aisle. Maybe I should start writing in Spanish, he says, maybe that's how I'll finally sell some books. ¡Porque los gringos aren't ready for my shit, I fear!

Hace el sonido de un idiota, she says.


The book in real life is never anywhere near as good as the book in my head, he thinks, looking up at the seatback in front of him. Why do the sounds I make in my head seem so beautiful, but then as soon as I put pen to paper, I'm fucked? Why do I always make the sounds of an idiot? I need to get a microchip implanted in my head. Necesito un microchip implantando en mi cabeza. If only she knew how I felt about her in my head, then she would never leave me alone, solo, en dolor, in pain . . . ¡Es más de lo puedo soportar! It's more than I can bear! The problem, as I see it, with respect to both the loving of my wife and the writing of my books, is this: cada uno tiene su proprio mundo privado en su cabeza: everyone has their own private world in their head. She has a private world in her head, just as I have a private world in my head. I don't know what's going on in her head, just as she doesn't know what's going on in mine. She has no idea how I suffer, just as I have no idea how the reader will or will not suffer my books. I can try to tell her how I feel . . . te amo, I can tell her, te quiere, mi vida no tiene sentido sin ti . . . I can try to draw for the reader a sketch of what is in my head . . . con jagged, broken lines . . . con chicken scratch. Pero no es bueno, something always gets in the way . . . nuestra piel, our skin, nuestras palabras, our words, el pasillo, the aisle, los niños, the kids . . . my lack of disciplina, my lack of inteligencia, my lack of intensidad lírica, lyric intensity . . . Perhaps what I should do, henceforth, with respect to the loving of my wife, is not try to tell her how much she means to me, never again should I tell her how much I love her, how meaningless my life would be without her, but keep it to myself, en mi cabeza, where it's safe, seguro, where it's pure, puro, and true, verdad . . . I will leave mi amor en mi cabeza, where she can seek it out, if she wants. Likewise, if the reader wants mis libros, he or she can come seek them out in my head, where I've left them, where my books are hermoso, beautiful, were they are ideal, ideal, rather than trying to write them, making them imperfect, always far less than ideal, and trying to publish them, making them feo, ugly, vendible, saleable, something available for purchase with dollars, con dólares, or in Peru, o en Perú, con soles.

Pshaw! As if your books would ever be available for purchase in Peru!

¡Como si sus libros sería disponibles para su compra en Perú! ¡Bah!   

My Spanish, too, I should keep it in my head where it's seguro, rather than letting it out through my mouth where it becomes feo, where it becomes peligroso, dangerous, especially when I confuse words like mujer and vieja.

I should just stay at home from here on out, también, never leave the house, nunca deje la casa, I can order all the groceries off Amazon, en Amazon, the kids can start taking the bus to school, el autobús, I can teach all of my classes online, en línea, if anyone wants to visit they can come over, but only for a few minutes, then they have to leave, locking the door behind them, firmemente.

Gran idea. Great idea. Vivir en an agujero: live in a hole for the rest of your life.

¡Hace los sonidos de un idiota! You make the sounds of an idiot! You don't know what you're thinking! Sabes muy, muy poco acerca de la vida, amigo . . . You know very, very little about life, my friend . . .

Yo sé. I know.

No, you don't! You know nothing!

Yo sé, yo sé.


There's an impossible book in your head, he thinks, hay un libro imposible en su cabeza, looking down at his iPhone, never to be written, never to be read: nunca escribirse, nunca leerse.

The airplane wheezes, accelerates.

Hay amor imposible en su corazón, he thinks, there's impossible love in your heart, looking across the aisle at her, nunca mostrarse, nunca sentirse: never to be shown, never to be felt.

El aeroplano sigue respirando con dificultad y acelerando.


In his head, he says the following: Hablo mal de ti en mi cabeza . . . siempre te llamé estúpido . . . pero eso es sólo porque estoy mal de la cabeza . . . no eres exactamente lo que quería . . . pero aún eres algo muy deseable sin embargo . . . la vida me imagino que para ti no es la vida vivirán . . . para que no poseo la fuerza de voluntad para llevarlo a cabo . . . no poseo la disciplina . . . poseen la inteligencia . . . ni hacer poseen la capacidad necesaria para intensidad lírica . . . para esto, lo siento . . . como lo siento siempre llamando estúpido . . . el libro en mi cabeza no coinciden con el libro en la vida real . . . pero está bien . . . eso es sólo la forma va . . . así es la vida . . . la vida no siempre es justa . . . en el libro en mi cabeza que muera al final, por ejemplo . . . morir en un accidente aéreo mientras dirige con mi esposa y mi hija a visitar a mi suegra enferma en el Perú . . . pero en el libro en la vida real, eso probablemente no sucederá . . . en el libro en la vida real que sobreviviré, estoy seguro . . . además, en el libro en mi cabeza había muchos más capítulos/historias/lo que sea . . . titulado La familia en cuestión cientos de ellos . . . pero en el libro en la vida real que son sólo un puñado . . . quizás cinco o diez a lo sumo . . . y el libro en mi cabeza contenía más español . . . y así más capítulos/historias/lo que sea . . . miles de ellos . . . pero en el libro en la vida real que son menos de cien . . . pero está bien . . . era capaz de no más . . . o tal vez simplemente me aburrí . . . tal vez merecía algo mejor . . . de hecho, estoy seguro que hiciste . . . pero es más de lo que puedo soportar . . . di todo lo que tengo . . . me esforcé mucho . . . o si no fue mi mejor entonces muy cerca . . . espero que el lector percibirá una sensación vaga sombra la versión ideal de ti . . . la versión en mi cabeza mientras leía los menos versión ideal de ti . . . la versión en la vida real . . . supongo que es el más uno puede esperar . . . quizás es hora de que ponga mayor confianza en el lector . . . llamar al lector estúpido . . . en mi cabeza . . . puede ser que la mejor cosa que puedes hacer cualquier libro es proporcionar al lector con una invitación a imaginar una mayor libro . . . no como es sino como se esfuerza para ser . . . el libro ya que una vez fue en la cabeza de alguien . . . el ideal libro cuando estaba aún en proceso de convertirse en algo real . . . puede ser que el libro en la vida real no es más que un registro de fallas de su autor . . . disciplinaria, intelectual, letra . . . en cualquier caso, hay una última cosa tengo que decirte antes de que este puto aeroplano se estrella . . . en el libro en mi cabeza . . . o antes de él no chocar . . . en el libro en la vida real . . . y la última cosa es esto . . . lo siento por no hacerlo mejor . . . pero está bien . . . no te preocupes . . . estás listo.

The airplane continues wheezing and accelerating.

En su cabeza él dice lo siguiente: I am always calling you stupid . . . I'm sick in the head . . . you are not what I wanted you to be . . . I do not possess the strength . . . the discipline . . . the intelligence . . . the lyric intensity . . . I am sorry . . . that's okay . . . life isn't always fair . . . I will survive, I'm sure . . . there were supposed to be way more chapters/stories/whatever . . . thousands of them . . . I was capable of no more . . . you deserved better . . . it's more than I can bear . . . the most one can ever hope for . . . stop calling the reader stupid . . . imagine a greater book . . . in the process of becoming something real . . . its author's failures . . . disciplinary, intellectual, lyric . . . one last thing . . . I'm sorry for not making you better . . . you are good enough . . . don't worry . . . you are ready.


El aeroplano sigue respirando con dificultad y acelerando.

In his head, he says the following: Cuando estás distante . . . cuando estás ausente . . . cuando existes solo en mi cabeza . . . son perfectos . . . eres ideal . . . pero luego cuando vuelvas a casa te siempre son crabby . . . no quieres tocar pies conmigo . . . te quedas en la cama todo el día hasta que es hora de ir en tu próximo viaje . . . menos hermosa, me parece a mí . . . menos que ideal . . . pero ahora parece que todo esto puede que tenga revés . . . que la tengo completamente mal . . . esa versión sombra vaga de en mi cabeza . . . la versión ideal . . . sólo existe debido a la verdadera versión . . . la versión menos que ideal . . . cuando estás ausente . . . cuando estás distante . . . yo te idealizar . . . crear una versión de en mi cabeza que no es real . . . crear una versión perfecta de ti . . . pero la versión de en la vida real debe ser infinitamente mejor que la versión de en mi cabeza . . . porque es la versión muy de ustedes . . . la versión menos que ideal . . . que permite la creación de la versión ideal de usted . . . la versión imaginaria en mi cabeza . . . así que si no fuera por la versión muy imperfecta de ti en la vida real entonces el perfecto idealizado imaginario versión de ti en mi cabeza nunca podría haber venido a estar en el primer lugar . . . tus muchas imperfecciones son precisamente lo que permite por su perfección completa . . . en mi cabeza . . . uno puede nunca ser la versión ideal de sí mismo . . . eso es un hecho . . . uno sólo puede ser la persona que él o ella está en el proceso de transformación . . . uno puede solamente ser imperfecta . . . en cualquier caso, tú, mi amor, y todos sus devenires imperfecto, es decir el mundo me . . . imperfecto sale el sol, imperfecto y conjuntos con tú . . . tú eres mi imperfecto estrellas . . . mi luna imperfecta . . . mar imperfecto no tiene nada de ti . . . imperfectos selvas . . . eres imperfectamente más hermoso que el libro más imperfecto hermoso . . . incluso en mi cabeza . . . estoy perfectamente perdido sin tus imperfecciones . . . hablo mal de ti en mi cabeza, sí . . . pero eso es sólo porque estoy mal de la cabeza . . . en cualquier caso, hay una última cosa que debo decir que antes de este puto aeroplano se estrella . . . y una cosa es esto . . . lo siento por no haberte tratado mejor . . . especialmente en mi cabeza . . . pero estoy trabajando en ello . . . o voy a empezar a trabajar en ello . . . no, estoy listo para empezar ahora . . . porque te amo . . . imperfectamente . . . yo estoy completamente imperfecta . . . mi pie imperfecto quiere tocar su pie imperfecto . . . quiero que revolcarse y regocijo en un estado de imperfección conjunta . . . tus imperfecciones son perfectos . . . no te preocupes . . . bien . . . estoy listo.

The airplane wheezes and shakes violently as it lifts off. It's about to break into a million pieces.

En su cabeza él dice lo siguiente: When you are distant . . . when you are absent . . . when you come back home you are always so crabby . . . you stay in bed all day long . . . you are less than beautiful . . . I may have all of this ass-backwards . . . the version of you in real life . . . the creation of the ideal version of you . . . not to mention the fact that I can't touch feet with you in my head . . . one can only be the person he or she is in the process of becoming . . . the imperfect sun, it imperfectly rises and sets . . . the imperfect stars . . . imperfect moon . . . the imperfect sea . . . their imperfections have nothing on yours . . . you are more imperfectly beautiful than the most imperfectly beautiful book . . . I practically imperfectly swoon . . . I am sick in the head . . . one last thing . . . before this fucking airplane crashes . . . sorry for not treating you better . . . especially in my head . . . I am ready to start right now . . . I myself am imperfect . . . my imperfect foot wants to touch your imperfect foot . . . let us wallow and rejoice in a state of joint imperfection . . . your imperfections are perfect . . . don't worry.

El aeroplano está volando y temblando violentamenta y respirando con dificultad and then, suddenly, it calms down.


Mamá, the little girl to her right says, closing her eyes, laying her head against the window, puede tocar pies con Papá ahora, you can touch feet with Dad now. Me quedé dormido, mi amor. I'm falling asleep, my love.

Ella es un ángel, mi hija, he thinks. She's an angel, my daughter. Un pequeño ángel imperfecto. A little imperfect angel.

From beneath the blanket cinco wiggling uñas burdeos emerge onto el pasillo. She raises and lowers her eyebrows twice.

¡Sus cejas, he thinks, placing his iPhone en su bolso, his man purse, removing his right foot from its sandal, les crió dos veces! Her eyebrows, she raised them twice! ¡Hora de divertirse! Time for fun!

Are you ready? she says, placing her foot in the aisle. ¿Estás listo? 

Tan listo, he says, placing his foot in the aisle, touching it to hers. So ready.