Black dog

A black dog visits me once a month. He doesn’t have a schedule, he shows up as he pleases. Yesterday he came to say hello. My black dog and I have a connection, because he doesn’t bark and makes no sound, you cannot tell just when he appears. But I do; his bare presence transforms the atmosphere around: cold silence presses against my chest, I know he’s arrived.

We love long walks on paths without direction, we walk not knowing when it will end. My black dog moves so silently you cannot tell he is with me, it’s only because of the rhyme in our steps that I know he is by my side.

His eyes absorb all color and reflect none, an entire absence of light that lacks of all sensation.

People around hide their face but not me, the silence of his presence and the disturbing lack of emotion on his eyes comfort me.

Some may call him a curse, other a sickness. Some may even dare to say he isn’t real, if they could just feel how his steps resound in my heart, like the echo bouncing on the walls of an empty room with every heartbeat. But they would never understand no matter how much I explain it.

Today when I woke up he was gone, but he stays close enough that I can always feel him near.

Black dog

My purple tree

I was in high school when I saw my purple tree for the first time. It was in the front yard of the house I moved to in Mexico City. I wasn’t amazed by the purple tree, maybe because at that age boys don’t wonder about trees. Of course I acknowledged the color purple of my tree, but I never understood how extraordinary and unique that was. I didn’t care about my tree at all. I never learned its name and, to be honest, I hated it.

People said my purple tree gave a great view and character not only to my house but also to the whole street, yet I never saw it. I hated my tree because I spent hours raking its fallen purple leaves without making a difference; as soon as I picked one leave two more had already fallen down. I constantly got calls from my supervisor because the front yard was always an incomplete job.

Considering that I wasn’t responsible for raking the leaves very often because my nineteen roommates and I rotated the house chores every week, I should not have made it a big a deal. But I did. All I saw of my tree were its purple leaves on the grass and the never ending work of raking them.

Many years later I have come to understand that that my tree was unique not because its color, but because it magnified anything around it; my tree was unique because it created beauty. I miss it. I would love to have it  back. I would love to rake its purple leaves on the grass. I would love to see people walking by and turning their heads towards my purple tree to admire its splendid appearance. I would love to see the beauty of my house raise because of its presence.

I have had many purple trees in my life. I hope I have gotten smarter enough to recognize them now.

My purple tree

Family talk

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Last week I talked to my parents, they told me about an invitation from their church to assist a protest against abortion and euthanasia. I am not sure my parents are totally opposed to these two things, but they trust their “faith” more rather than their own reasoning, so they will be there supporting the penalization of things they didn’t know exist nor understand what it is; euthanasia.

The protest leaders said that abortion puts two lives at risk, the baby and the woman so with this protest they will be saving both lives. The fact is that legal induced abortion is safer than childbirth. I told my parents a march promoting birth control options would be more beneficial.

It is not my intention to state why I favor abortion, I just want to make a point. Mexico is one of the highest countries with teenage pregnancy rates. It is obvious that the sexual education needs a reform. I do not believe that abortion is the solution to this problem, but surely the penalization of it is the wrong approach to a solution. However, the protest of October 20th is only against abortion, they do not have any concern on the biggest problem: teenage pregnancy.

It frustrates me to hear lawmakers and religious leaders trying to legislate the female body. There is nothing more private than a body, and no one has a right over it.

What about euthanasia? Well, my parents were told that if when they get old and none of their children want to take care of them, their children can decide to put them down. Totally false information. When I explained to my mom what euthanasia really is, she would still not accept it, her faith had already provided her with an opinion and going against it would be a synonymous of apostasy; going against the truth, the truth of her faith.

I grew up believing that my body is a temple and I should treat it as a holy thing. The problem I had with this idea is that there were people telling me the way I should treat my temple. No one has a right to put rules on my holy temple. It is mine and I decide how to keep it holy (or not) and how to treat it. If I ever reach a point of no return in my life where there is no quality ahead, I should be able to decide whether to continue or end there, I should be able to decide to be free of any constrain, obligation or bondage. I understand it as the ultimate act of freedom: to decide when and how I want my life to end, a decision made by me and only me. It may sound weird, and I don’t blame you, this is a rare thought of mine. A quote from Montaigne explains so beautifully what I’m trying to say:

It is uncertain where death waits for us, but we wait for it everywhere. The premeditation of death is premeditation of liberty. He who learns how to die has forgotten to serve. The knowledge of death frees us from every constraint and obligation. There is nothing bad in life for he who understands well that the withdrawal of life is not bad.

I moved out of my parent’s house when I was thirteen years old, so at a very young age for better or for worst, I had the opportunity to make my own decisions. I’m not giving that privilege away. I have learned to let the political/religious disagreements between my family and I pass by. I learned that trying to convert my family to my point of view would end in a discussion. I don’t do that anymore. I simply say what I believe in and move along.

-So, how is the weather like in Cancun? I asked my mother and our conversation flowed as usual.

 

Family talk

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