Τετάρτη, 1 Ιουνίου 2016

AT THE FESTIVAL


“Come on, Hunter, get dressed! We are going to be late”, Julian cried out. “I don’t understand why it takes you that long, your clothes are on the chair. They will be here any minute for the photographs”. For the last ten minutes, Hunter had a close look at the clothes that his brother had left for him to wear. It was too much this year. He had picked a checkered jacket in the colour of almond with a light- blue shirt and a bow tie in the same hue. He was certain that his brother was proudly wearing the same clothes and was eagerly waiting for him out of the wooden cabin that they had given them. They were the guest stars of the twin festival and they had lead roles for the weekend. For the last eight years Julian almost dragged his brother to this humiliation that he found “so unearthly cute”, at a glade in Ohio. The festival was very popular and gathered people from all the states and from all around the world. Honestly, Hunter could not understand why so many twins of all ages would gather and camp for three days, would wear the same clothes to stand out, would play golf and volley ball, march in a big meaningless parade and pose for the numerous photographs. He felt as if he was in an anti-aesthetic zoo and everyone constantly peered into his cage. He decided to follow his brother the first year in curiosity, hoping that this experience would bring them close. He had let Julian organize it, since he had found out about it, he had booked the tickets, he had bought a big tent for them to sleep, he had chosen their clothes, much more conservative back then with a humble black suit and a grey shirt, and he had planned their daily schedule with the activities. It was a great opportunity for him as well to bridge the gap between them that dated since college. It was not something really threating for their relationship but, after a lifelong activities that they shared with their parents’ blessings, they needed some time off. They were together at school, at the school parties and the excursions, at the university, during the summer holidays, always trying to cope with Julian’s intense antagonistic nature. He always wanted to get the best grades, the most popular friends at the school yard, the prettiest girlfriends. For him, it was the only way to be individualized from his identical brother. 
Everyone got them mixed up, even their parents. They both were tall, thin, with freckles and big ears and with the same tone of voice. Two identical boys who were becoming men with their internal differences growing up as well. Hunter was totally indifferent with grades and any kind of excellence. He was not into his brother’s antagonistic norm but he was carried away by his energy that transformed him into someone else several times. He had no trouble at all staying behind the bright lights that Julian created, because he felt more comfortable there. But there were times when he wanted to hurt him. Like that time when he personated Julian and he ran off with that cute blondie Cassidy to the mountains. She certainly understood the difference but she never said anything. 
The first time at the festival Hunter got bored and found that whole masquerade so futile. They never got to be alone because Julian had found his old self again and the competition was overflowing from every pore of his skin. He wanted them to win at the parades and at every kind of game and in popularity, of course. The following years he insisted on going again. Hunter would refuse, Julian would be persisting, they would fight about it, but in the end Julian would win. Each time, Julian experienced a conniption, he discovered the meaning of life at that glade, while ,on the other hand, Hunter used it as the perfect excuse for get away from his boring job at the insurance company. 
“Come on, move it, you act as if you delay on purpose just to break my nerves”, Julian shouted. His choice this year was outrageous. That is why he hadn’t shown the clothes to his brother earlier. There was no way of humiliating himself in front of all those people in these pastel colours, as if he were a candy in a turned on teenager’s mouth. Hunter lit a cigarette. He put on his black T-shirt and his jeans and he came out of the cabin with the fancy suit on his hands. “You are mistaken if you think that I am going to make a fool out of me with your nonsense. Enough!” he shouted and threw the jacket on the ground. Julian was surprised by his brother’s reaction. Instantly, he regained his self-control and got offensive. 
“What kind of a backslide is this? What’s wrong? We are not here for your girlish whims but for the victory, like every year. Everyone will be here any minute now for the pictures and you do what you do best all your life. You linger, Hunter. So get on with it, because I am not in the mood”.
It was the melon that broke the donkey’s back in a suppressed tension that lasted for so long. The clothes and the silly festival was just an excuse. For the two brothers, a lifelong hypocrisy in front of parents, teachers, professors and friends was just a performance of tolerance. They didn’t like each other and now it was as if someone made an invisible signal to release their darkest instincts. Hunter spat his cigarette on the ground and, as he approached his brother, he growled with all his strength: ‘I don’t give a damn about the photos or you. Stop bossing my life”. Julian started laughing provocatively. 
“Come on, what are you waiting for? You’ve been longing to surpass your non-existence for so long, even though I doubt that you will find the strength to do so”, he said sarcastically.

He hadn’t finished his phrase when Hunter’s punch landed on his mouth. Blood painted Julian’s laughter. The two men thrashed each other. The pain and the rage got them on the ground fighting like wild animals. They didn’t talk, they just let growls from the depths of their chests. Hunter’s punch shook Julian’s head who stood still at that sharp rock. Hunter stood also still with cold sweat running down his spine, as he watched the blood create a small pond at the back of his brother’s head. Panic almost suffocated him. He was not sure of what he had done. He didn’t know if his brother was alive. He heard voices approaching the glade. People stepped close to see this year’s guest of honour twins and, of course, take pictures. 

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