The new American hero (A quick look)

Can you see the handsome young man sitting by my side, driving through the forest, behind the wheel of his decaying truck?

Yes. I would trust him with my life (sip of vodka).

We left Alan behind, at home, sleeping.

Have any of you out there ever “driven through the forest” as we are doing? These are narrow, temporary roads, often too subtle to be perceived, swallowed up eventually by the “temperate rainforest” — too many quotation marks in a world that feels too strange.

It seems to me that this son of mine collects guns, but I did not ask, I wasn’t ready to discuss the answer, plus I don’t know a thing about firearms or calibers to engage in a conversation. He is well prepared to “whatever,”  “whatever” meaning a vast range of events, from a bear in the woods to the invasion of America by the Chinese.

That’s how Alan manages to explain the impressive amount of water bottles under the sink in Erik’s prefab house (attack, invasion), but, wait, I found out it’s no more than a routine emergency measure in case the water freezes inside the pipes due to the morning cold.

What a great kid (sip of vodka). What a great soldier (there’s good proof of that). What a great lover (I can just imagine).

He is 25, and this is the first time, believe me, that we got together in real life. When I first met him, 5 years ago, we were total strangers, but now, for some reason, we are mother and son, I’m his “madre,” half-Mexican, maybe (shot of vodka). I cook for him, we venture together into the forest, he gives me a kiss on the cheek when leaving for work. Wow. Great.

All of a sudden, I share a deep love with my American son, exactly as if he had been born from my womb (exaggeration, poetic license). The next moment I start to worry: why the heck would he stop at the gas station to buy a bottle of water (it looks like water, but the plastic of the bottle makes it look like a blue liquid, maybe some benign kind of absinthe, “Neuro” something) that promises to alleviate stress and to increase mental acuity?

Anyway, he offers me a sip of his drink, which is free for public consumption (weird America), but I hesitate. I limit myself to the familiar vodka (crushed ice, a twist of lime, speaking of which, I can’t deal with this refrigerator that breaks the ice and I make a mess on the kitchen floor. Daisy, the dog, licks it up with pleasure, right, a strange world, another sip of vodka).

I feel very proud of my son, an evolved specimen of a kind I had never met before (“I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life,” says Alan, talking about something entirely else, but it fits perfectly). Erik is highly focused, a businessman in the process of creating his own company, I won’t even tell you what it is for now. Let’s face it, in this house I never know when something is top secret or not. In fact, it is not his first enterprise, having the previous one fallen into oblivion due to the incompetence of the Brazilian server I introduced him to, paying for it myself during useless eight or nine months, until I discovered that although they continued to charge me every single month the website had been shut down long ago. Ah. Brazilians.

(Yes, I still remember).

The company (my son’s, not the server’s) proposed to sell lumber and breed horses on the amazing forest property he had acquired a couple of years ago, and is now trying to sell. I made the video, designed the website. It’s all in the past now. Time goes on.

“Don’t you think you’d better wait?” I dared to ask (Alan had alerted me against messing with his child, I mean, with his child’s life plans), as he himself had told me the region was going through a period of expansion.

He says that at this moment the mortgage is a burden, he wants to get rid of the expense, free himself of the dream he dreamed not so long ago, breaking free from the property, from hunting for his own survival, from the forest, from his so-called freedom. He yearns to feel free, to enjoy life after 10 years of intense work in the Navy, a kind of bondage. I understand. And how (another sip of vodka).

“Take another sip of vodka, dad,” says our son, hoping Alan will finally stop bugging us, lol.

Yes. I must confess. That’s all I’ve ever wanted: someone to help me make Alan stop talking. The following conversation between father and son I cannot share; all I can say is that it included bullets, gauges, surprises when shooting.

I left. I’d rather dream.

The property we desire, Alan and I, has a broad horizon inviting us over, a beautiful home that we plan to plant there. And at this very moment I’m suddenly impatient for having hopelessly ruined my best intentions for a brief vacation.

Good-bye. We’ll see what happens. That is, if the Chinese postpone their attack.

Have a nice Sunday!

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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