Juan looked up at me as I approached, strolling across the knee-high, wet grasses and weeds. My legs were cold and damp from the dew. The field was alive with the insects of summer nights. Flashes of lightning bugs darted across the emptiness, their pops of light like fire about to combust. That's how the whole world felt that night, smoldering on the edge of candescence.
Juan looked to his left as I approached.
"I like the weeds best,” he said.
“I've never been one for flowers or pretty things. I get lost in beauty; I want it so bad. To take it, keep it, dominate it. But it always destroys me. It always fucking does. And when it does, I go and take out the rage on some innocent. Maybe it’s a guy sitting in a bar, drinking his lite beer in his suit. Then someone takes a swing. Then somebody breaks a bottle and pulls a knife…
“It's just another scar then. The fight, the first blows? That’s what the beauty wanted all along. Rage counters beauty, and rage can only be calmed by blood. As the wound scabs over, a man can heal, and beauty will rest – until the next time. She always returns. Beauty owns me, and she gives me these scars.” Juan stopped and took a breath of the ashy air. “That is why I take my comfort in the weeds. I need to live with the weeds and leave the beauty to those who can understand it. Not me. Beauty is the tool of the witches. Yo no creo en brujas, pero si vuelan, vuelan.”
“What’s that mean?” I asked.
“If the witches fly, they fly,” replied Juan. “That's what everyone says in my country. No one believes it, but everyone knows. They speak of the mystery of the witches, the danger of the witches – the mystery and danger of the beauty.
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