To read the original version in the author's native language click here
“IT’S BETTER TO FEEL PAIN THAN NOTHING AT ALL.”
I remember hearing a singer I like saying this. I remember not getting what he meant, but the melody sounded good and, for that reason only, I kept the headphones on and sang along to the rhymes on my way home. But now I understand. Or, at least, I sing it with the sense of someone who feels what is understood.
All because the skin was touched on the open wound. But when the crevice closed, or when another horizon was seen, life also became busy and the sight lost focus. And just like that, without me even noticing it, I stopped understanding.
I forgot and let it fly away – the pain, the one that pulses insistently and opposes the unconsciousness of living.
The heat is suffocating and orange and the sky is burning and naked. The surface exhales the heated air in trembling, curvy waves, as if the horizon played in a water-colored painting. I wake up with the sun sneaking through the window. The blankets, forming a nest under my body, are too hot. I feel the sweat breathing through every pore.
On the upper floor, there’s a shower that never felt so tempting. I turn on the cold water and take off the swimming suit, which left its shadow printed on the skin it was hiding. The mirror in front stares at me, intrigued. I return the look and face myself directly. I have dry sand glued to my ankles, and my hair tangled in a nest of salt and waves. I unroll the expression upon myself.
Curious, I say to myself, how much we see without seeing anything at all!
Because never has anyone known anything before knowing something about themselves first.
And when it comes to us, we look around. We don’t see the center. We make statements and suppositions, while we lie to ourselves when what we are, we hide.
Here I am. And there she is, ripping my chest, like a stream that runs towards the river, slim and straight. Steady and linear. I almost dare to ask where has it been this whole time, but I shut up with the realization that it was me the one who wasn’t in the right place. It seems to gain sharpness the more I stare at it – but once again, it’s all a matter of optics.
I have no memory of the moment in which this scar was drawn in me, but I guess I know the story that brought her to life quite well.
Or did time take charge of sweeping away what, to memory, it has left?
Although the story seems told from afar, I still know the way back to the attic where I stored the book. I break in, discover drawers and dust-off archives. I find those days: the sudden start; the changed plans, from a life on the run to a tied-up survival, from an airplane chair to a hospital bed, from the knitted sweaters to the white coat, from the unleashed soul to the mechanized heart and the orchestrated breath; the intermittent “during”; getting answers and desiring to give them back for change;
losing what I didn’t know I had, and gaining what I never thought I needed;
the settling of routine on the never-ending doses of pills swallowed in hands-full; the “good mornings” strolled in-between cold-lighted hallways and sterilized walls; the nights packed in chamomile tea and cookies; the needles that were not even felt stinging anymore, and the machines that beeped the rhythm of the seconds.
And now, in the mirror that reflects me, I only see what’s left. The scars. Because I don’t have my hands covered in stickers anymore, nor the arms wired to lines pending from an iron support. There is no longer an excuse to spend the whole day in pajamas, and the bed is only open when it’s already late. But the scars are there because it’s in them where the story is printed in tattoos. The ink is injected deep into the skin, and its drawings are permanent.
How tenuous is the validity of feeling! How easy it is for the indifference that doesn’t remember what doesn’t unsettle it.
Suddenly, I feel an almost unbearable sting. Of what? Of guilt. Guilt, of being busy with everything that is nothing. Guilt, of letting escape that rampant desire, that tireless will, that insatiable craving. Guilt, of forgetting the contrast where the black revealed the white, the fear filled the chest with courage, the crying echoed the loudest laughter, and the pain awakened to life.
Because, at the end of the day, I could only build myself whole after I was torn to pieces.
I outline the lines that describe me, with increased intensity in the corners hidden by the light of the shadow. I wave again, to the reflection with which the mirror salutes me. I dress up the whole skin that covers me – because even if the return ticket was still valid, a long time has passed since I turned it into a piece of crumpled paper, lost at the bottom of the waste bin.
Because everything is better than nothing, and undeniable are the wise that feel because they live – and so, live, simply because they feel.
And even wiser are those who don’t need to see the stained black to distinguish the clarity that paints the white. Because they know what whole love is, and blind hatred; euphoric joy, and soulless sadness.