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Alex was already asleep on the uncomfortable seat in front of the door corresponding to his flight, after two hours of wandering around the airport, first to carry out the check-in tasks that the airlines have delegated to travelers and then to dispatch the baggage. The nervous tension that usually accompanies those activities prior to boarding had vanished once he had completed them, giving rise to the great fatigue accumulated during the week before the trip, in which he had had to prepare all the material that he was expected to present at the international convention of the company he worked for and in which he had to show the results of the Argentine affiliate in the previous year. His bosses had placed great expectations on him and had loaded him with recommendations on the points to emphasize in order to highlight the efforts to overcome a year with an unfavorable economic environment in the country. He knew that he had been chosen to represent Argentina because of his knowledge of the company’s activities but above all because of his fluent use of the English language, acquired in the years he had lived in New York, when he was working in his previous job.
The loudspeakers woke him up from his lethargy by announcing the departure of his flight and giving priority to frequent travelers, first class and business class passengers, pregnant women, families with young children and the elderly. Resignedly he got up from his seat and positioned himself in the line that was forming. The young man reflected that luckily he was assigned a seat next to the aisle of the plane, since his long legs did not fit in the narrow window and middle seats.
The plane taxied and finally took off so that the next cause of tension was also relieved and the older lady who had not stopped talking to him nervously calmed down and concentrated on reading the on-board magazine with all its banal texts and magnificent photos. Alex closed his eyes and started the unconscious process of reflection that always took place at the beginning of each flight. This time the thoughts did not address the task that had to develop in the convention, which he had already prepared sufficiently and did not show weak points but were rather oriented to relive the events occurred ten years before when he had lived in New York for twenty months. The experience had been very strong for a young man who had just turned twenty-three years in the previous work weeks spent in Caracas, before traveling to the United States. The traveler recognized that at that time the culture shock for the boy born and raised in a middle class neighborhood in Buenos Aires had been very strong and had somehow shaped his personality. On that occasion he had been visited by his then Argentine girlfriend accompanied by her aunt and that four week visit had shortened his loneliness. It was when they returned to Argentina and he found himself alone again that the city of New York devoured and reconfigured his personality with the traits he still retained, a mixture of light and shadow that combined resilience and strength of character with a certain disenchantment that nevertheless did not fall into cynicism.
When he returned to Buenos Aires after that period of training he had married Susana and they had lived together for seven years. The marriage had then been shipwrecked by repeated infidelities on his part that had culminated in his affair with a woman thirty-five years older than Alex who had absorbed him like a sponge. Finally Susana had expelled him out of the house and he had had to send his belongings to his parents’ home and go live with his new partner. Marta was a lady belonging to one of the patrician families of Buenos Aires to such an extent that there was a street in the city carrying her name; she had then imposed on him a new life based on her strict etiquette standards. The woman had an apartment in an exclusive area of the city and liked to show her young partner among her friends of similar social extraction; she did it with discretion and good tact, avoiding any hint of scandal. In bed Marta became transfigured and became a demanding lover who wanted to try all the erotic variants that arose from her readings of oriental love arts. The lady had warned him in advance that she wanted to see all her sexual fantasies fulfilled and was also prepared to satisfy his. Both postulates had been fulfilled in excess and the repertoire carried out by both lovers seemed to have no limit and boredom and routine had never reached them. Despite the physical imprint of their relationship, in an anticlimax Marta had confessed that very much to her regret she had fallen in love with Alex and lived this feeling as a problem. Without a doubt, it would be the woman who would most suffer for the temporary distance produced by the young man’s trip abroad.
Alex’s errant thoughts in his airplane seat addressed a recent event that had unexpectedly occurred. Although he was not a frequent visitor to Facebook, he usually entered his account once or twice a week. About fifteen days before he had been surprised by a request for friendship that made him jump in his chair; even in the doubt of if it was the person that he believed the young man confirmed this request and then all his past was displayed in front of him. Rachel Lewin was a young woman with whom he had a very intimate relationship during his first stay in New York.
The girl, who belonged to a well-to-do Jewish family in Manhattan, had gone to live a few weeks before their first meeting in Brooklyn Heights, in front of the island of Manhattan and the exit of the East River to the sea. In one of the outings to walk by the riverside esplanade called Promenade, Alex had sat on one of the benches of the site. This place had a marked erotic memory for the young man, since several of his conquests in New York had taken place there. He had moved to Brooklyn Heights after a couple of weeks spent in a hotel looking to have a place of his own and save money.
Alex was staring into the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the river water when he noticed a young woman approaching and surprisingly sitting next to him despite the fact that there were other empty benches on the esplanade. The young woman, slightly overweight and with graceful but somewhat vulgar face immediately began a conversation, at first somewhat forced, and then invited him to have a coffee in her apartment, not far from Alex´s home. Just as the boy had anticipated the visit ended up in bed in a love marathon in which he had to employ himself thoroughly to satisfy the seemingly insatiable needs of the woman. Rachel confessed that she had been following him since she had seen him on the street a week before, that she knew of his walks on the Promenade and that had taken advantage of the meeting to force getting in contact. In spite of the flattering nature of the confession, Alex was surprised by the naivety with which the woman had exposed her feelings towards him, undoubtedly tinged somewhat by her romantic and sexual fantasies.
During the entire stay of the boy in New York they had sex on a regular weekly basis, although the boy had let her know that they were not on an exclusive basis.
After the first contact on Facebook the woman had sent him messages almost daily, not always answered by Alex, in which she made known her desire to meet him again; Rachel had even declared herself willing to travel to Buenos Aires for that purpose, until the man had finally let her know that he was moving to New York for work reasons, although he had not communicated the exact date, to avoid creating himself an obligation as soon as he arrived in the city. The woman’s response was immediate.