Before the end of the world
A meteorite collided with planet Earth without the least noise. Nevertheless, a couple of hours later, all news reports were foretelling the apocalypse. Thousands of first aid kits were widely distributed. The price of oil touched unusual amounts. Ana took a leave from work to spend more time with her children. Stefan and his boyfriend kissed as if it was the last, the first time. People started going out with an odd, enthusiastic energy. Some of them smiled. Some simply sat on a spot of grass waiting for the sunrise. What we call world, far away from extinction, kept spinning with a new momentum. Nobody ever saw the meteorite.
About a year ago, under the antigravitational effects of an alcoholic day, with no clue how I got there, I found myself at a party where all guests had to dress up like their best friend. I had no idea of it, of course, so I went dressed up as myself, but luckily nobody realised it.
“Look at that guy” said a woman with a chubby face when she saw me passing by her table to pour myself a glass of beer. “It’s the best costume I’ve seen today.”
She came closer and kissed me twice with a friendly attitude. She called herself Sofía. None of the guests contradicted her, nor seemed to doubt I was authentic, not even for a second.
“He even walks in the same way” someone remarked. “And what about his attitude? He definitely looks like him!”
I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t know who was who, nor if Sofía really was Sofía and not another fake, cleverly passing herself off as her. When I managed to string a sentence together, a man on the right pointed at me again: “Are you hearing him?” he asked surprised and amused to the audience, with a conspiratorial look. “He has the same voice…”
I suddenly shut up, somewhat disconcerted. The wet bar was quite dull, and food was rather stale. Unnoticed, I walked towards the door, abandoned my glass and went out without saying goodbye.
Back home, I went to the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognise myself. Confused, I put myself to bed. The bed was harder than I remembered, but since I was very tired, I put up with it. When I woke up, I found myself holding the waist of someone else’s woman; and I keep doing so: months go by and there’s no way out of this spiral of replacements and misunderstandings. Meanwhile, I wander through the house claiming my previous identity, and day by day I try to convince her that we have to break up. Her tears move me, but what else can I do? Anyway, she doesn’t believe me, and she is happy like that.
From the book Pequeñas sediciones. Menoscuarto Ediciones, 2017. Javier Vela (Madrid, 1981). After studying Literary theory and Comparative literatures at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, he published the poem collections La hora del crepúsculo (2004), winner of the Premio Adonáis; Tiempo adentro (2006); Imaginario (2009), awarded with the premio Loewe a la joven Creación; Ofelia y otras lunas (2012); Hotel origen (2015), and Fábula (2017). Pequeñas sediciones is his first collection of short stories.