This week a neighbor tried to suicide.
I came home late at night, we were joking and calmly laughing with my girlfriend when I noticed some policemen in front of my building; I asked the doorman if something had happened.
– A neighbor tried to suicide – he said, – ¿Remember Jaime, the long hair guy that lives in the 19th floor?, he shot himself around three – the doorman was perfectly clear but my head didn’t processed the information fully, I guess it´s not easy to adjust from jokes to suicides in less than a minute. Maybe he noticed my confusion and continued the relation (surely told many times that day) – he shot himself in the mouth, and the bullet came out here ( he turned his head, showed the trajectory with his finger, marked a point in the left cheekbone en then made a gesture closing his fingers and opening them swiftly), he´s better now, in the hospital, his parents had to come from Pamplona…
We talked around five minutes, he asked if I knew the guy, how was he talking abut, I said yes. I think I know, a man in he´s early twenties, tall, pale, long black hair, thin mustache and goatie, a really timid smile. I saw him walking around the neighborhood, just many times, we shared a taste for walks in the night, when the sounds are dim, the lights hit the asphalt with a wet golden glow, the night flowers shower their perfume and the city is yours. 8:00, 10:00 12:00 pm, three, four of the morning, all are perfect ours for a walk. we saw each other many times in the night, but we never said hi, not even shared a nod, yet, he always smiled, that shy, childish smile.
The last time I think I saw him he was talking to one of the doormen of the building late some night, I have seen some other neighbors doing that, not just the polite chatter when you’re passing by, but an actual visit at the lobby of the building, the kind you pay to some family member or to a friend you haven’t seen in a long time,an almost intimate kind of meeting, warm and awkward. the other neighbors I´ve seen doing this are at least 65, but this guy was barrly 25, and you could tell he was happy to have someone to talk to.
Every time I saw him I knew that we could talked, sometimes you just know those things, but I also saw some things that kept me from saying hi, a certain kind of fragility, some unrooted idealism that denies reality, a deep sadness revolting just beneath the smile, he reminded me too much of a dear friend that has hurt me and disappointed me greatly in the past, (A friend that after months of silence has just called me when I was writing this paragraph).
I always knew he was alone, too alone.
I don´t know if he´s coming back to the building or to his home town, If we ever met again, and I see a scar in his face and some shame in his eyes, I´m afraid I could not say hi.
We all live in our little brick boxes, sometimes we share them with others, and love, tire, laugh and fight, sometimes we live in them alone, and if we are lucky the bullet will come trough our cheek like a hand that opens suddenly.