"A PERFECT NIGHT"
by Rodrigo Girão

Thirty-seven floors above the ground, Sinatra's voice and stench of tobacco filled the air. Soft lights shone on the sober wooden furniture and sparkled on the wine-filled crystal goblets. Boring family talk went on through the night. Just another boring usual family party.

Outside, at the balcony, there was a young boy. He was alone, as it was drizzling and the air was too cold, bearable but not exactly pleasant for most. He neither liked it; he needed the solitude the place could bring, though. His long straight black hair and his white shirt were fluttering with the wind. His honey-coloured eyes stared at the lights on the skyline. The distant neon signs waved at him on an almost hypnotic pattern in harmony with the wild music that echoed in his mind. Night was greeting him.

The dark glass door opened behind him. He didn't notice, or didn't seem to. A man came to him and stopped right at his side. He looked a lot like the boy, except that was older, a few centimeters taller, had his hair on a ponytail and wore a tuxedo. He had a can of soda on his hand. "Hey, it's cold here. Let's get in. I know you hate the smell of your uncle's cigars, but I've already fixed that problem... throwing them at the toilet's trashcan."

But the boy didn't move. He just stood there, quiet, silent, staring at the distant skyline. In his spirit he could feel it. That was something almost unspeakable, an instinctive longing. High in the sky, she was there. Big, round, shining on all her beauty. The full moon, his almighty mistress, his silent lady. "So, it wasn't that. You are... feeling that way, aren't you?" The boy turned around and faced him in such a way that no further word was needed to make that a complete answer.

The man quickly apologizes for leaving so soon, but "he feels sick, I'd better take him home." And he knew the boy truly felt different, but that wasn't due to any health problem; it was merely the other side of his nature calling. The two left, but of course they didn't go home.

The park. A huge area of nature, preserved and available for all to see. When in it, everyone just forgets the city around it. It just seems unimportant. That place is a haven, a sanctuary, a resting place from urban life. But it was late night, so the place was almost empty.

They walked deep into the woods, where surely no sane person would be found at such time. That was their secret place. There was a green wooden bench there, almost utterly forsaken, the paint quickly peeling, but still solid. The man sat there and waited. The boy went behind the bench and got undressed.

"I'm really sorry that I hadn't noticed before." The boy handed him the clothes, which he put on a small backpack. "Don't worry about that. I mean, all my friends that are... you know... like me... all they always say their families don't understand them. But you do!"

He sighed. "No, I don't. No matter how much I want to, no matter how much I try. I can't truly understand. But what else can I do... force you to be what you are not? I try to accept, and that's the best I can do." The boy smiled and looked up to moonlight that shone through the interlaced branches above. "If you knew just how precious it is..." He closed his eyes and relaxed, allowing the magic to begin.

The man stood there, quiet for about a minute or two, before standing up. "Are you done?" As there was no answer, he turned around, and a beautiful timberwolf was there. "Well, ok, I'll be here at the usual hour. Take care." The man walked away, back to civilization. The wolf walked away, further into the wild.

Epilogue:

Hours later, the sky was still mostly black, although a few stripes of red and orange could be seen at the horizon. As the man drove his car, he looked at the tired, sleepy boy at his side, calmly sucking strawberry milkshake from a plastic cup with a straw. There was a bit of dry mud on his bare feet, hands and face. He wondered how they could be so different. But he didn't really care about how, or why, or even what. He knew the truth deep in his soul, in his feelings. With his fingertips, he softly cuddled the boy's nape. "I love you, son", he whispered. "I love you too, dad", the boy whispered back on a smile. A new day was beginning, and in that moment the world seemed to be blessed with perfection.