Daniel was no one important, just an American kid with a twitch, visiting friends in Buenos Aires for the summer.
And Libertine? Well, she was a moment — the kind that sends ripples across a pond under the soft splash of mayflies. The sort that reminded him of the moon on a hot evening as a fan clicks overhead with knotted pink yarn used as a makeshift cord. He recalled her bedroom with its cement block walls painted teal green and a poster of dappled horses galloping across a field of dandelions, corners bulging with crumpled balls of masking tape. There had been a small, stuffed bear poised in the windowsill, eyes the size of quarters, fur glinting from the white Christmas lights in the backyard. Its ears perked forward at the mumble of the party’s late night conversation, which had long turned honest under the influence of Malbec.
In vino veritas.
He did not deserve her. He shouldn’t have anyone. People like him, the sort that were plagued with disease should be alone. In another time — not so long from this one — he might have been locked away in a sanitorium, hidden from the rest of society. A blemish. A blight. A shameful reminder of what could go wrong with biology. Daniel knew this.
Yet in this moment, he was with her, wholly and fully. Without any judgments, or discussions of what would happen in the future.
Her name meant salvation, though he would not understand what this meant for many months to come.