Cascabel

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I have always wanted to have something to be remembered for, a book, a story, it doesn’t matter what, all I want is people to know that I existed. I think that is the reason I have a journal and the reason I write in this blog.

I always knew that I don’t believe in God, but It was difficult to accept that this life was all that existed. Once I decided to believe that there is nothing else after death, my desire to make or to create something so people remember me once I’m gone, grew stronger.

I have not created anything that may make my name resound in the world. However, there is an object flying in the universe that announces not only my existence but also the existence of all of us. This object is expected to last for more than two million years, it is the closest thing I have to be remembered for eternity. I’m talking about the voyager’s golden record.

Each of the voyagers launched in 1977 carry a golden record explaining life on earth. So, that maybe one day someone may find it and know that we ever existed.

This record not only contains an explanation of life but also of culture and language on our planet. There are only two things recorded in Spanish; a greeting and a song. The only song in the Spanish language contained in the golden record is from my country, Mexico. And It is in this song, el Cascabel, where I find a little bit of me to be known by for eternity.

I cannot but imagine the aliens who may listen to this song and wish to visit the people that listend to El Cascabel, and that I would be among the welcoming party “zapateando” at the beats of this song and the aliens would ask:

-Where are the tacos?

This month, September, is when I celebrate the Independence of Mexico and I want to celebrate it with you all listening to the most Mexican song that will forever live and for which I will always may exist; El Cascabel.

Viva Mexico!

Cascabel

The cat and the light

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–Don’t let the cat into the house. Just feed her once a day, like this

He opened a can of cat food and placed it on the floor, the cat came and ate from it.

–What’s her name? I asked.

–She doesn’t have a name, he said.

That was the conversation I had with Armando about his cat the day I met him. Armando is a retired man who travels a lot, and I was left in charge of his house for the next 6 months. His instructions were very simple: feed the cat, and leave one light on at night. I was not required to mow the grass nor to clean the pool, he already paid someone to do all that. But he encouraged these two instructions: the cat and the light.

I didn’t find it weird to have a nameless pet, when I was a kid I had two chickens that never got a name, I simply called them chicken and rooster. So, I was ok calling the cat, cat.

He invited me to sit next to him as he explained the importance of the cat. Armando’s wife died three years before I came to his house. She died of cancer, and two months after she passed away, the cat started showing up in the house. He tried to scare the cat away several times until one of his daughters believed it was the spirit of her recently dead mom. So, although the cat is still not a welcomed guest in his home he continues to feed her.

Armando does not believe the cat is the spirit of his wife, but he shows special attention to her.

The next morning Armando came to the house to pick up some stuff and he brought Daniela, his new wife. Armando and Daniela got married two days before I moved into his house, and they were about to leave on a business trip as a new couple.

It may seem strange but after Daniela entered the house as the new wife, the cat did not show up for almost a week. I though the cat was gone, but she eventually came back.

I don’t believe the cat is the spirit of the dead wife, I think it is just a good coincidence that the cat appeared a few months after her death. I think it is just a coincidence that I moved to this house where I needed to take care of a cat who is the spirit of woman who died of cancer. I think it is a coincidence that I named this cat Melissa. I think it is a coincidence that I forget to turn the light on at night, but never forget to feed and chat every morning with Melissa.

The cat and the light

I don’t remember his name

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I just realized how complicated it is to describe someone when you don’t have a name to put on that person’s face. It feels like a soulless memory.

I don’t remember his name, he was two years younger than me. We met when we were kids at sunday school. But at some point, in our teenage years he stopped assisting church and I got into boarding school so I lost all track of him.

I saw him again during a school break in which I was visiting home. That is the last time I saw him. A few days later he died. He drowned. His family called my dad who was the religious leader of our church at that time and they wanted him to perform some kind of a prayer asking for the recovery of his body which had not yet appeared.

My dad, my friend’s family and I went to the beach in which he drowned. We walked for a while until we reached a huge rock on which we had a better view of the whole area. My dad climbed to the top, I stayed a little behind him and the rest of the group stayed on the ground. I was there, on top of the rock looking at the beautiful clear turquoise caribbean ocean. I remember thinking of how something so beautiful is capable of killing someone. My dad offered the prayer there asking for the ocean to return the body of this kid.

In the middle of the prayer my dad did not feel he was touching the ground and felt like falling. He opened his eyes to make sure he was still standing on the rock and continued with his prayer.

I looked at the ocean and though how something as huge and powerful would change its natural currents just because my dad was commanding them in the name of God to do so. I never told anyone what I was thinking there because if I ever did, they would have told me that I am weak and would question my faith which I was trying so hard to maintain. I hid my lack of faith for almost 15 more years.

The body of the kid whose name I don’t remember never appeared.

I don’t remember his name

Doña Concha

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One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is when I played with my friends at an abandoned house around my elementary school. It was a marvelous house, the walls were made out of branches tied together and the roof out of palm leaves.  It had no electricity nor windows, all the lighting it had came from the few sunlight that passed through the narrow spaces between the branches of the walls. The most amazing thing was that this palapa had two levels. With every step we made we heard the wood cracking, it was going to fall at any time. We didn’t know who build it nor who used to live there, we only knew that it had always been abandoned. One day we found a bee hive and decided to throw it down. We all got stung, however nobody cried because when you are 10 years old you never let your friends see you crying.

Can a 10 years old kid find something better to do than playing at a two levels abandoned palapa? Yes, the excitement of the house was not only for playing in there knowing that at any second it may fall down, but to get a better look at the woman who live next door; Doña Concha, the witch.

Doña Concha had dolls hanging from a tree outside her house and a skull on top of her door, that was all I could see spying from the second floor of the abandoned house, and for a 10-year-old kid that was good enough to prove she was a witch. Not to mention that she had a fake eye, and wore the same dresses all the time. I think she made her clothes herself, it was a piece of fabric sawed with an elastic on top, she put it on just above her breast, I think she never wore a bra. Her dresses looked like a towel.

I remember that on our way home after school, as we passed by Doña Concha’s house we all would shut up, walk faster and never turn our head on the direction to her house which by the way, was filled with her many dogs that were not friendly at all. Probably the dogs were the reason why we broke into the palapa on the first place so we would be “safer” in this fragile construction keeping a better watch on the witch rather than on the level were the dogs could bite us.

When I turned 13 I left my house, and with that I forgot about Doña Concha. Fifteen years later I went back home, one day I saw Doña Concha walking on the street with her many dogs behind her. She looked way older, I was surprised of how much someone can age during that time. Despite the damage that time has made on her, I recognized her immediately. Now I am 28, I don’t believe in witches anymore, but when I saw her I understood why I thought she was one. Her head was a mixture of grey and black hair, I could not tell if her hair was dirty or if that was her natural color. She was wearing the same old dress, her skin was not as bright as bronze like I remember, I think the many days under the sunlight of my town turned her skin darker and redder; like cinnamon, not with the beautiful smell but for the reddish, the opaque and the wrinkled.

One day I saw an attractive young man outside of Doña Concha’s house. He was tall with brown-dark skin, he was strong and it was very easy to see the hard life he has had because of the noticeable scars on his body. He didn’t have a delicate appearance, he was more like a rustic beauty. I was surprised that the dogs that would at anytime chase anyone who was stupid enough to step close to that house, were around him in total sign of respect. There was something in his eyes that reminded me of Doña Concha. When he noticed my presence, I waved with a slight movement of my head. He waved back the same way.

Later that day I asked my parents who that man might be. They said he is Dona Concha’s son. They also told me the story of her eye; Doña Concha is originally from Veracruz, there she used to dance to entertain men, one of whom fell in love with her. This man wanted to marry her, but Doña Concha rejected him. In a fit of rage, he grabbed a knife and hurt her. She survived but lost one eye, she would never be hired as a dancer again. Doña Concha ran away and ended up living in my town, right next to the abandoned house.

I was confused to hear that Doña Concha has a son. But I was happy to know that the witch of my childhood is also a mom. I was glad to hear my parents talking about her being an “entertainer” and also a mother without any judgment, because I know that attacking the sexual morality of a woman is one of the most popular strategies to discredit her. Doña Concha can be a witch, she can be a mom, she can be an entertainer, she can be whatever she wants.

 

 

 

 

Doña Concha

I met a king

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I met a king, yes it is true.

I was at work and I hated the three days it took to prepare for his arrival.

I have always disliked the prestige and better treatment people may give to someone in a position of power for no other reason than their title. It took no more than 60 seconds to, once more, cheat on my values.

I was at work when I first heard about the king’s visit, I hated him. We were going to welcome him with a red carpet, what a shame to myself was going to be standing there keeping reverence to a King I don’t even know. It made me feel denigrated. I was instructed to not call him “Señor” which is the title we use to call everybody, they even told me to not mention his name. I felt that the sign of respect they wanted from me was to make myself less than this King.

On the first day, the security of the king visited us, they checked out every single aspect. I just thought to myself “nobody has ever heard about this “X” kingdom, If I see this man on the street, I won’t even notice his royalty, all of this is BS”.

The second day I simply ignored them. I saw everybody trying to impress this people and the king was not even among them. All these arrangements and accommodations for the king reminded me of my childhood in church and how people talked about the exiting time when meeting the king of kings. Probably that is why I hated so much the preparation for a king’s visit, who reminds me of a battle with my childhood God which I do not respect.

On the third and final day everybody was nervous, I checked that everything was perfect. I heard, “the king is coming” and suddenly I found myself on one side of the red carped making a reverence while the king entered. I hated myself for doing that; not really, I was jealous. I wanted want this king had, respect.

I escorted him to the “room”–which wasn’t the best one we had, but we made them believe it was the VIP room. I walked with the king for less than 60 seconds, I felt the reverence, the respect, the looks, the silence people had while I was walking with the king. It took me less than 60 seconds to once more, cheat on my promises and desire to be treated as well.

At the end of the day I was relaxing at the king’s pool, and I enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

I met a king

Stupid Fortune Cookie 

I don’t remember how many years have passed since I was at my favorite chinese restaurant, probably three… I’m not sure. What I can still recall is the feeling with which I opened the fortune cookie at the end of my meal. Me and most of the people, I think, have no interest in being told their future by a cookie. However, there is always this intrigue that invite us to open the cookie and read what the future may be – although five minutes later you won’t remember it. Today, a few years later, recent events on my life make sure I keep forever what that cookie said,

Prepare to change your plans

How drastically plans changed. I have tried so hard to hold myself on the past, (I still do) and I justify myself thinking that it is ok because I am not missing any new good things, what I had, was and forever will be so much better than anything new happening. 

Recently I had another fortune coockie, I was afraid to read my future, last time I did it went horrible. I red it hopping for a miracle, I don’t believe in miracles but I believe in hope.

If you wish to, you will have an opportunity 

I just hope my opportunity has not passed already. Besides, how can I stop wishing for something I can’t go a day without thinking about?

P.S.

Beware of the stupid fortune coockies.

Stupid Fortune Cookie