He is a mess, a mess she doesn’t want to disentangle. She’s glad he’s not her mess, and yet there is a definite magnetism about him and his mess. Because he’s so messed up, she often thinks he must be a genius. She’s dying to, but dares not ask him if he has flashes of brilliance. She says the sentence to herself, practicing the right intonation so it doesn’t sound accusatory or jealous, facetious or snarky. Hollow. Do you have flashes of brilliance? She can’t envision the situation in which that would ever sound anything other than puerile. Do people have flashes of brilliance? She can hear him guffaw, saying, People have their head up their ass.
But she can also imagine him naked - hugely naked because, unlike Alfredo, he is huge, bulky, hairy - naked and lazy and sated and watching her from under hooded eyelids. In that lethargic state he might be capable of saying something along the lines of: flashes of brilliance. Like a shooting star, when you glimpse one on the night of San Lorenzo and it gives you a thrill, and then it’s gone and you wonder if your brain was just firing sparks off behind your eyes because the back of your neck was seizing up from staring at the goddamned sky at the stars, waiting for a shooting star so you could say you saw it, marvel at the luck of having actually seen one and then not giving up for the night, saying to yourself, to the person who is sitting there with you, one more? One more for the road? So you sit into the night, shivering, your neck twisted in a way you will never be able to straighten. And then you think you might like to replicate that. Do something that might give you that same feeling, make other people stay and watch and be unable to put their chairs away and go the fuck to bed.
: lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance : false,meaningless <hollow promises> hollow