The young boy looked out the window, spreading the thick heavy curtains open with his sweaty palms, looking past the little balcony and out onto the building parking lot and the street beyond, for the second or third time that afternoon. It was sunny outside, just the perfect day to take the bicycle out and ride around the park like he used to do. But that would involve pulling the bike into the house, from the balcony where it sat, walking it through the living room, walking it out of the apartment while holding the door open, making sure the front door was closed tightly and double locked, walking to the little elevator and riding it all the way down to the street level, which was only two floors below, then walking it to the sidewalk and then finally sitting on it and beginning to ride, then he would have to do the whole process in reverse when he came back and maybe somewhere in there he would have to call his mother to let her know that he was going out, or that he would be back soon, or that he was ok, or something, just anything to record in her voice mail in case she checked it before he came back, which was probably unlikely, but he would have to do it, just in case. The thought of riding around, out there in the wide open green and brown park, seemed like a distant promise, something that could happen in other days, maybe in the past, maybe in the future, just not something that happened today, because today he walked back to the couch and turned on the TV with the remote control, and sipped at the large glass full of Coke on the side table and glanced sideways at the books on the little bookshelf his father had given him so many years ago, back when things seemed newer and sunny days were precious and unique. Maybe he could read today, and maybe then he would be someone else, somewhere else, in India, in the desert, in the mountains, in outer space, in the depths of an ancient castle, in a dark forest, anywhere but here, just a block away from the park, the green and brown park which spread like a living labyrinth away from his window, now once again covered by heavy curtains which only barely moved with the breeze.
But that one block was just too far, the effort involved seemed too insurmountable, and right this very moment, on the TV screen, there were some women dancing in short skirts to a loud thumping music full of bass and guttural grunts, and the park was even further away and the TV screen was right here, right in front of his eyes. He looked up at the clock to make sure his mother wouldn’t be arriving any time soon. He unzipped his pants and pulled them down slightly and he started to masturbate slowly as he watched the women dancing to the syncopated beat. Sometimes the camera would zoom underneath them and he could almost see their panties and their ass cheeks or just higher up their full smooth thighs and in one of those moments of close revelation, when it seemed that a particular girl was just too beautiful for his mind to comprehend, he started to orgasm and he had to stand up to make sure he didn’t stain his own pants, and the warm semen fell all over the dark rug, in tiny white drops that mostly disappeared into the rug’s thick texture. Soon, sooner than expected, the moment of ecstasy was over and he shrugged his shoulders and then pulled up his pants and buttoned them up, and he went to the kitchen to get a paper towel and he came back and cleaned the small mess on the rug. On the TV screen, the women were still dancing, as intensely as they had before. He felt like maybe he could masturbate again, and reach that fleeting moment of blind joy once again, and let it wash over him like a wave of silence that took away the endless white noise of the quiet apartment.
He walked once more towards the curtains and stared for a moment at the bike that rested against the metal bars of the balcony and he thought that it really was a perfect day to go out and ride but now it was too late, now the afternoon was getting old and he was feeling very tired, maybe if he hadn’t masturbated, then maybe he would have gone out, maybe just a moment ago it was still possible to open the glass doors and bring out the bike, but now the time for that had definitely passed and there was no way to recover it. So he walked back to the couch and sipped at the coke some more and soon he had unzipped his pants once again, thinking that he might as well, since he definitely was not going out, not anymore, and maybe he could read afterwards, and the women kept on dancing, and one of them stared at the camera in a way that made the boy picture her mouth right around his penis and he could only barely imagine how good that would feel. In a flash of pleasure, he exploded once again, and there was a lot less sperm this time, but he still stood up and he still cleaned it afterwards, at least as much as he could. Then he turned off the TV for a moment and he walked to the bookshelf and grabbed a book at random, and it was one that he had started to read several months ago, but he had never finished, in fact, he never got past the first chapter, so he brought it to the couch and leaned back and started to read. The first paragraph was good and then there was some description and then a bit of dialogue and it was all good but he was getting sleepy and the words were starting to dance before his eyes. His eyes closed and he let the book fall on his chest and that’s where he found it, a few hours later, when he woke up. He stood up, put the book away and walked back to the glass doors of the balcony and stared at the bicycle leaning against the rail, and out at the sunlit afternoon that was already getting very cool and very dark, and he knew that now it was definitely too late and maybe he could have still gone after the first time he had masturbated and maybe then he would have had enough strength but now it was definitely too late, and it was getting too cold and dark to be out riding around, and in a couple of hours his mom would be home and then he would eat and soon it would be time to sleep. Maybe another afternoon like this, maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe in a moment of clear decision in a day that wasn’t so quiet, or so noisy, or so gray, or so bright, maybe he would open the curtains early, and see the bicycle outside and maybe he would go out and ride and let the sun shower him with golden warmth and maybe then he would not even call his mother because there was no need to, since she wouldn’t hear his message anyway, and then the shower of ecstasy would last for hours, and it would soak into his flesh and deep into his dreams, like invisible tentacles of heat that reach into places of unsuspected depth. Maybe that would happen soon. But today it was too late. He pulled the thick heavy curtains closed and he came back to the couch and turned on the TV with the remote control. New women were dancing, with even shorter skirts, but the song sounded the same. He looked up at the clock to see how soon his mother would be home. Maybe there was still time for another flash of blinding pleasure. It was too late to go out anyway.