THERE WAS A BIG BROWN MOTH resting on the front upper collar of a navy blazer hanging in the store. For a moment I thought it was an adornment I would be seeing in the new collection, but as I brought my head a few inches close to it, I realized it was a real living moth. I took out my phone to take a picture for Snapchat. I approached my phone a few inches close to the moth and it just seemed completely unaware of what was happening around it. It was just another Sunday shopping at the Galerias mall.
I spent all morning in bed, finishing the second season of The Worst Witch on Netflix, I got out of bed after midday and played jazz music while I was getting ready to go out have lunch. It was Luis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra, as usual, but that day in particular, I was playing on repeat a song that just recently became my favorite song of all songs I’ve ever heard: Wonderful! Wonderful! by Johnny Mathis. I heard this song for the first time in 2012, in the series finally of Desperate Housewives. I believe I was too emotional crying over Mrs. McCluskey death in the last few minutes of that episode to take a mental note to look for this song later. But the moment I finished watching the series on Netflix earlier this year, I looked it up on Apple Music and since then, I’ve been obsessed with it, more and more, until I made it the number one song in my favorite songs playlist, displacing Once Upon A Dream by Lana Del Rey.
It’s a sublime song. It was so beautiful to me listening to it on my EarPods and traveling in a taxi through the desolated highway — typical of Sundays — on my way to the mall. There were no people, and not traffic. This song transported me to an ethereal state of mind where I felt content, or even happy, like I had the starring role in a story about overcoming depression and finding true love at the end. This song would play in the last scene of my life’s story as I smile and the camera pans out in slow motion focusing in the blink of my eyes while the man I love grabs my hand and pulls me into a walk under the dimmed sun light in a cold day, and that moment it’s a new beginning.
I was so sad inside that taxi, but it felt good, because even in sadness there is always hope for a ray of light. The wind stroked my face as I was looking out the window from the passenger seat at how gloomy the sky was while dropping a drizzle that kept my skin matte and sweat free — it’s usually a million degrees in this tropical weather, you’ll always sweat. The weather was lovely just as it was, but the sky was just building up the windy electrical storm that falls at 4PM almost every day. There is something about gloomy weather that I find so romantic and comforting, especially on a day like that, when all I wanted was to die, for the sadness was almost unbearable, and the only thing that could give me a moment of peace was the fantasy I can only live inside my favorite store, when I feel just like myself and where the real world and my real life are left outside.
I was greeted with a smile by the security guard at the store. I strut around the racks and tables for a minute before the beautiful cinnamon-skinned salesgirl approached me to ask if I needed any help. “Yes!” I said with enthusiasm, “I see there are very few stuff on display, the store looks empty, what’s going on? please don’t tell me you are closing.” In the second it took to get her answer I mentally prayed that this was not true, because it could be just an inventory issue due to the socio-political-economic crisis this country has been going through for the last few months. “No,” she said, “It’s just that the truck is not coming as often as it used to, because of all the problems going on, but it will continue coming every two weeks,” “Oh my god! Thanks god, because this is the only store I shop at, I was so scared,” I said as I was going back into my pink colored bubble inside my head.
Later, when I was coming out of the dressing room, I hear “Hello, Charlie! How are you?” I immediately stopped gazing at the price tags and I raise my head to see this gorgeous guy that has been working at this store since they opened a couple of years ago. I’ve had the biggest crush on him since the first time I saw him back then. Somehow we started following each other on Snapchat last year. I think he probably added me when I popped up in his people-you-may-know list after he saved my number to let me know when a certain pair of shoes I was dying to get were coming. He called one morning and I ran to the store to buy the shoes. They were my size, but they were incredibly uncomfortable and I didn’t want them anymore, but they were so beautiful and this guy was so beautiful and kind enough to call me that I bought them anyway. It was painful to wear them every time, but the compliments I got were well worth it.
“Hi!” I replied, “I see you got some new stuff there,” he said. I don’t remember much of what I said then, because, as it happens every time he talks to me, I ramble and talk with a weird accent because he makes me shy. I remember I rambled about some white sneakers. He still makes me nervous, even after we video-chatted a couple of times through Snapchat and he invited me to go out one night, but it never happened.
After shopping, I didn’t want to go back home being alone in my room. So I sat at the coffee shop with a cappuccino on my hand and my shopping bag on the other chair and I played La Vie En Rose, the Luis Armstrong version, over and over, as I looked outside the open hallway of the mall and feeling the wind on my skin while the rain was falling. I was feeling so sad and so lonely, but I liked that moment. Loneliness and sadness are so comforting to me. It was truly lovely to sit there by myself, completely depressed but comforted by my own company and self-love inside my pink colored bubble. In that moment, I felt glimpses of happiness and gratitude that at least, I had this: a good cup of coffee, new clothes, and a pretty selfie I posted on Snapchat, all while looking and feeling ‘good.’ All I wanted that day was to cry in silence and never leave home, but I went out because I had to get some food, and it ended up being a lovely day living la vie en rose.
I see skies of blue / And clouds of white / The bright blessed day / The dark sacred night / And I think to myself / What a wonderful world (What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong)
I’m going through another episode of depression, and I’m starting to worry it’s getting worst every day. I’ve called in sick to work more than a couple of times in the past month. “Are you still able to work and function in the world even though you may be depressed?” texted me one day the guy I was hopping to date. “Absolutely. Depression has never interfered with my regular life,” I replied. I didn’t mean to lie, but at that moment I didn’t remember all those times I could hardly get out of bed at 2PM to show up to work for at least a couple of hours when I was a freelance Graphic Designer. I didn’t remember all those times I got corrective actions because I didn’t show up to work because I was so depressed that I didn’t want to get out of my house, let alone, talk to people. I thought I was over that because it hasn’t happened in the last two years, but it’s happening again.
Later that Sunday, I sat in bed with a pair of boxers and socks on to watch The Mirror Has Two Faces, with Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges. What a way to add the cherry on top of a lovely day, but with a lovely night with a real good romantic movie, cold weather, and a whole new bottle of Rosé. Romantic old movies from the 90s, are the very best. They are interesting stories with a heart. I stuffed my six pillows against the wall and turned off the lights. And right there, sitting in bed, with the warm light from bathroom illuminating my room with a dim and gentle glimmer, me, myself, and I, had the best Sunday night I’ve had in moths. Netflix and chilling in bed was heaven on earth, and Rosé was like holy water.
Give your heart and soul to me / And life will always be / La vie en rose (La Vie En Rose, Louis Armstrong)
As depression continues to increase and affect my regular life, I’m longing for something to hold on to before I hit rock bottom. I think about suicide most of the day. I’ve searched “how to kill myself” on Google. I think about going out late at night to a dangerous neighborhood in the hopes I get killed. Although I would not do that, it crosses my mind. I know this is only a symptom on depression, but for someone like me who only has friends that are not intimate nor close, and who has nothing else to talk about with their mother and father other than two or three sentences about money, being depressed is probably a little more sad than it would be if I could rely on someone for once.
“Did you go to work today? I didn’t see you,” texted me my lovely friend from work, whom I see like a mother figure. “I didn’t,” I said. “Why? What happened?” she asked. “Nothing really. I just don’t want to go to work anymore.” “I feel you are not happy,” she said. “It’s not just work. I suffer from depression since I was a teenager and it comes and goes. And right now it’s coming back,” I said. She didn’t know this before, and she was kind enough to offer help in anything she could do. She’s been texting me more often lately, but I really don’t need more attention, I just need love, at home. I wish someone were waiting for me at home at the end of the day, or something like it. Something like a boyfriend.
“I’ve been thinking about getting a boyfriend,” I told a friend. “I’ve never been the type of person who gets in a relationship for the sake of not being alone, you know, like JLo, but things have changed. I’m lonely, and I don’t want to be. I will start looking for a boyfriend just to get some company and I will dump him when I get bored.” “Please tell me you’re not going to look for a boyfriend on Grindr,” he said. “Where else will I find it?” I said. “I don’t even go out anymore and I don’t do anything else other than work.” “Maybe on Tinder,” he said.
“Why have you been single for five years?” asked a curious stranger on Grindr. “I don’t know. Guys don’t see me like a boyfriend material. They only want to fuck. At least that’s what it seems.” Indeed, men like me, several men have liked me for the last 5 years, but not a single one has liked me enough to want anything else beyond sex. I understand. They want my body to be their toy, but they don’t want to deal with this. They are looking for wild and fun men to brighten their days. I am not one of those men. I am a broken man whom likes a quiet life and routines, and whom has many demands and unrealistic expectations. I don’t blame them they want fun-and-easy. They are just people. People like to have fun and keep everything as easy as possible.
I really don’t think I need a boyfriend, though. I just need a close friend I can talk to and ask them to take pictures of me at the park in my new outfit. It’s sad I show up to work sometimes over dressed, sometimes wearing really nice outfits, and sometimes feeling handsome, and I look for someone to take a picture for my Instagram, but every time, I go back home, I take my clothes off, and my Instagram remains untouched. It’s sad that I value my appearance so much and I rarely receive compliments. There’s a girl who plays Fashion Police with me when she sees me at work. “I like the outfit, but if I was Joan Rivers, I would have you arrested for those shoes. What were you thinking?” she’s said a few times. “Flowers and plaid? No! You’re getting a fine. What would Joan Rivers say about miss-matching patterns?” she’s said other times. “But mixing patterns is in!” I’ve defended myself — I believe Gucci and Harry Styles would agree with me, based on his photoshoot for the brand’s Cruise 2019 tailoring collection. Other than that, I go completely unnoticed, and it bothers me.
“Mom! You’re not going to believe this! I walked around everywhere and not a single person ever looked at me! I was completely invisible! I’ve never felt invisible before, but those people totally ignored me! I liked it so much!” I told my mom the moment I saw her when I came back after my first trip abroad. There is nothing I hate the most about Nicaraguans than their stares. I detest being looked at every single day of my life, every single time I step out of my house. It’s a horrible cultural habit. Nicaraguans shamelessly will stare at you for any reason they find fit. Not so long ago I didn’t dare to wear bright red sneakers, or a floral black-and-white shirt with a bomber jacket of a pattern I’m not sure if it is plaid, madras, or tartan, because I always wanted to be as invisible as possible, but now that I am in my thirties, I just don’t give a fuck anymore, but I still would rather be publicly invisible, except at work, where is the only place I get to show off any new piece of clothing I get.
Life is not always as meaningless as I convince myself it is when I write. For the first time in half a year, I went out last night. I met with a friend I have the confidence to call real friend. Nothing is off-limits or uncomfortable when I talk to her. We’ve rarely seen each other since I left the job where I met her. Last time I texted her I was hurtful and petty. “I showed Chris the text you sent me that time and he was surprised how mean it was, but I told him: That’s just Charlie being Charlie,” she told me over our first round of beers. If that is not a real friend, I don’t know what is. The fact she let my bullshit slide — on multiple occasions — because she understands I have certain issues, is by far the biggest demonstration of friendship anyone has ever shown me. It was really sad to me saying goodbye when I quit that job, because I knew I would not be so lucky to find this type of friendship in my current job, or anywhere for that matter.
It was until this morning when I posted our picture on Instagram, that I realized last night with her and my other friends was one of the happiest moments I’ve had this year. No one realizes that something as insignificant as hanging out in the same bar we always end up at, has a tremendous effect in making me feel like a real person instead of like a rusting robot. Last night it was real life happening, I was living a little. I felt alive. Having beers, being silly, making jokes, checking out guys, taking pictures, listening to the music in the background while we talked and laughed; it was a wonderful, wonderful moment in life.
And I say to myself / It’s wonderful, wonderful / Oh, so wonderful, my love (Wonderful! Wonderful!, Johnny Mathis)
Today I’m alone again and I don’t know when I will feel alive again. But on days like that Sunday at the mall, I enjoy solitude. I enjoy spending time with and by myself. It feels like nothing is missing in my life and that I will be just fine alone forever. But as the movie ended and I tasted the last sip of Rosé before I fell asleep, I couldn’t help wonder if I will ever be a butterfly free in the wild, or will I always be the big brown moth attracted to bright fluorescent lights from beautiful places it doesn’t belong to and brand new clothes that lose their appeal after they are worn. Am I destined to a permanently lonely life? Or will I ever see over the rainbow and my life will be wonderful! wonderful?
Somewhere / Over the rainbow / Skies are blue / And the dreams that you dare to dream / Really do come true (Over The Rainbow, Judy Garland)