Laura

A rainy day of 2002, I was landing in Costa Rica, a paradise on earth, where the stress and rush of the modern world are not to be found. Just yet. Not just yet.

As always the same routine, immigration, taxi, and hotel. Just do it all over again a few days later.

But little I knew my life was about to take a turn.

Arriving at the hotel, a casual phone call home would confirm the worst. He was gone. The time stood still for what it seemed hours. The auricular fell from my trembling hands. And I stood there unable to move. Everything became a blur. Someone offered to help me with my bags. I looked at him. And tears started pouring uncontrollably. I collapsed crying onto the floor.

I woke up the next morning with my all my clothes on. I felt lost. It took me a while to remember where I was. And what had happened. And when the memories of the previous day came back so did the tears. And while I was debating if it was worth living another day, a knock on my door interrupted my suicidal thoughts.

I opened without asking.

“Laura” said a husky voice in the semi-darkness “it is time.”

“I know” I replied, “I had been waiting for you.”

He extended his pale, bony hand to me. I took it. And without words, he led me into darkness.

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Her

There she was waiting. I could see in her profile that she was shy.

Once we started talking I could see in her a wise but fragile soul, as she had survived not one but many battles, cried defeats and survived ignominy. She smiled and laughed at my poor attempts at humor. But her laughter, although sweet, was a cover. A cover of what? I don’t know. But I could see in her eyes memories that still hunt happiness away.

Her soul was a pandora box that could mirror the deepest darkest corners of ourselves. And yet, she was fragile. And in more need of protection than anybody, I have met before or after her.

“I have to go,” she said

She just stood up and walk out the door. And for a brief moment, I felt as if a part of me had just left behind her.

The “successful” guy: The poor girl

 

The guy sitting at the cafe nervously looked at his phone. 

Someone was running late. And we were all witnessing his impatience and the cruel ticking of the clock that wouldn’t stop for him, or anybody.

A few minutes later, she came almost running through the door, ordered a cup of coffee, and sat at the table mumbling apologies that he wouldn’t listen because he had news to share. 

“I have finished my book” he announced with a big smile.

“Congratulations…” She said happily “And……” she tried to continue. 

“You have no idea how great my book is” he said with an intoxicatingly happy face that started to resemble a hysterical mask. 

“Yes, I see. But…” She tried again 

“You know? Most of my friends are writers, journalists, poets, and editors. And they all say my book has potential” His happy face has mutated into the joker’s face. He had a happy grin on, but there was something scary and obscure in its expression. 

“Great..” She managed to say

“I mean my friends just love it. They love my book. I am sure that in less than three months I will be an international success, and you will be the luckiest girl in the whole world for being with such as a great guy as myself” He said with a laugh that could freeze your blood.

 

She only nodded and started sipping her coffee knowing she was not invited to speak but to reassure him silently.

 

We all try our hardest not to look at them, but we couldn’t help to feel sorry for the poor girl sitting with the “successful” guy.

 

 

Yone oni

One morning in the busy city I live in, I got into the train, without realizing I was about to be emotionally and physically abused by a ninny salary boy, who, I am sure, will die a virgin.

I will call him “the ninny”

I, unluckily, stood next to “the ninny” when I got on the train, and to an even worse luck, the train stopped suddenly, making us all stumble, onto one another. And to my outrage “the ninny” started elbowing me.!

 “The ninny” was elbowing me so I wouldn’t fall on him, which was not necessary because I was already trying hard not to.

Being elbowed so disrespectfully woke inside me, Yone oni (oni=devil), the dark side of me that I work hard to keep at bay.

But “the ninny” woke her up, I felt “Yone oni” waking up and start breathing with fury. We (Yone oni and I) took a look at him, and then we saw his weakness: embarrassment.

Embarrassing “the ninny” easy-peasy. So we started laughing at him. Laughing more and more, until we saw “the ninny’s” cheeks turning bright red.

Yone oni was happy but not satisfied. She started plotting against “the ninny” while I was trying hard to calm her down. But she refused to go back to sleep. She wanted revenge. She didn’t want to listen to me, until, I explained to her that spending more time on him would be a waste of our time.

Then she agreed, through clenched teeth, to take a little nap but she promised to keep an eye open just in case I might need her.

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The annoying meatballs

Italy, 2002

I am glad I let my friend Francesca set me up with this guy, I mean the guy is gorgeous, he looks like a model from one of those expensive magazines. He is just sitting in front of me. And I think I just forgot my name.

Did I take a shower before coming here? Yes, I think I did. God..! Just looking at him makes my head spin.

I can do this. Yes, I will seduce him with my charismatic personality. I am giving him my best smile when I hear an annoying pitchy voice.

“Stop fooling yourself, honey” the annoying pitchy voice is saying.

When I look down at my plate, I realize, to my horror, that a small round meatball has just spoken to me.

I need to lay down. I think I’m having a breakdown.

“You are not having a breakdown” repeats another meatball.

 “Elizabeth….are you ok?” asks my gorgeous date.

I reply the best I can, and I start rolling the spaghetti onto my fork.

“You know?….I wasn’t so sure about this date, but I am glad I agreed to it” he says with a killing smile, I freeze but I try to reply with coherence.

And the spaghetti takes the opportunity to jump back into the plate.

“It is cold,” it (the spaghetti) says when I was about to tell it off. But as I am too dazzled by my date, I decide not to pay much attention to the cheeky fugitive spaghetti.

I’ll get it later, though.

He (my date) reaches for my hand, lifting it to his lips, and my heart skips a beat.

I think I am in love.

“Elizabeth….” He says my name

“Yes…” I reply making plans for our wedding already.

“I hope you don’t mind….” he says

“Yes..” I reply again encouragingly

“I hope you don’t mind….but I forgot my wallet..” He says sheepishly.

Needless to say that I heard laughter coming not only from my plate but from all over the restaurant.

“Told you, honey,” says the small round meatball laughing at me.

I take my fork, and I stab it (the meatball) so hard that I almost brake the plate.

“Ahhh…..” the meatball screams.

And I eat it in one mouthful.

That’ll show them. I might be having a rubbish date, but the food won’t be showing me up.

With love

Walking along the gray streets, sometimes, I wonder how I survived all this time without you.

pablo-4You said goodbye one morning, and although it was not up to you to stay, or to leave. The fact is that you left, and your farewell changed my life. For better or worse nothing was the same.

I was never the same.

And although, I know, deep down in my heart, that you never wanted to leave me, yet again you did.

Ironically, none of us had a say in what happened, but it still hurts, even today. In every step I walk, in every moment I live, in every dream, I still hope to find you.

And I want to think that you remember me as well. I want to believe that this post will reach you. And, that you will read it, and we will be together in some parallel universe. In one way or another.

Somehow trying to explain the emptiness you left in me, I had come up with the crazy idea that when you left, you took a piece of my heart to later hide it somewhere in the world. And that’s why I have lived like a gypsy looking for that missing part of me. Like a cursed soul, whose only hope to survive is to follow the memory of you in this world.

I guess what I mean to say so inadequately in these lines is that I will always love you and that nothing could ever erase nor replace you, ojii-chan (ojii-chan means grandpa in Japanese)

Fairies and my insomnia

Late at night, fairies visit me whispering stories and old tales. Some speak familiar languages, some talk in dialects I have never heard. Nonetheless, they all come to share their stories and their secrets. They fly around me, tickle me, pull my hair softly until I wake up and agree to play with them.

When my husband is awake, they hide and wait for him to fall asleep to come out of their hiding place. Once he is asleep, they pour magic dust on him, so he doesn’t wake up. And when they are sure, he won’t wake up some kiss him on the cheeks, and some lie on his chest looking at him with goggly eyes. They like to flirt those little ones. Those cheeky little fairies.

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But the fairy queen sets them straight “there is no time to play” she says “there is so much to do and so little time.” They take me out of my room. And I write, what they share with me.

While the world sleeps, the fairies tangle their stories around my fingers, whispering their stories in my ears, and laughing at my mistakes. I write until dawn when they must go back to spread morning dew, so nature wakes up. But I know they will come back. As they do every night.

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Quechua: The bleeding wound

 

One of the biggest regrets of my life, if I had any, is not being able to learn Quechua while I was growing up. I was not taught Quechua, either at home or school. And living in the city made learning it, or even knowing about it, harder than it should have been. 

I do not speak it, and I know it’s because of my inability, but not for lack of trying. I even moved to Cusco so that I could hear it every day. But alas..! My brain doesn’t retain it. 

I know we can’t know it all. But still, every time I hear a song in Quechua something primal wakes up in my heart, and I hum to the melodies while listening to the unknown words that wake up a swirl of emotions in my latino heart. 

It is the same with all of them, William Luna with his “Niña chay” and “Valicha” make me think of lullabies because the lyrics are just soft and lovely. But lately, I have found a new song that makes me dance (Being bad at something does not prevent me from trying 😁) from Damaris “Tusuy Kusun,” which won her first place in “Viña del Mar”, which is the most prestigious music festival in Latin America. 

I will keep trying to improve my understanding of this ancestral language which not only accompanied the Incas but it is the vessel of our mystical culture. And which secrets are contained within it, still waiting for us to discover them.

The girl from Ipanema: walking down the street

 

 

A summer day I was walking down the street when I saw her. A woman so beautiful that could stand traffic, and yet so unaware of it (her beauty) and the effects she was causing on people. 

She was walking blindly to the desire looks she received from men, and the hateful looks women shot at her. 

And as she was walking, the slinky movements of her hips were hypnotizing pedestrians and drivers. I even saw a mesmerized couple of guys walking behind her. 

They were not harassing her. But it was obvious that the poor guys have lost their souls to the rhythm of her movements. 

I am just grateful there were no traffic accidents. 

And I couldn’t help but think of “the girl from Ipanema” and that some people are really gifted with beauty but as this beauty is nothing extraordinary for them, they do not hold themselves with pride or arrogance. As ironic as that might be. 
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Life at 19: Life at 38

 

 

Getting into the little Italian restaurant, I used to visit many years ago, brought back memories. 

I was happy to be back. 

When the waitress came to take my order, I couldn’t help making conversation, so I told her I was going to tell her a tiny little secret.

She was so curious. It was adorable. 

“I haven’t been here in 5 years” I confessed “ssshhhh…keep the secret” I cheekily asked her. 

“Of course, I’ll keep your secret” she said, and I could see the sparkle of delightful complicity in her eyes.

She brought my food and this time I confess my age. 

“I am 38 years old. How old are you?” I asked her. 

“I am 19” she innocently replied

“Wow, I am twice your age” I said

We both laughed.

And I couldn’t but to think of myself at 19 years old. And I wished there was a time machine, so I could travel in time and tell the “19 years old” me that in 19 years time, she will be okay. 

Everything will be just fine

That some of the things we feared the most, never happened. Some happened, but we knew how to deal with those terrible oracles. And some other things that we never imagined happening happened. Some were great, some were good, and some were terrible.

But that we will be fine. Because one way or another, we would always find out way back.