Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I just came back from Guanajuato, a city where old, mysterious stories are stored behind every window in sight. Guanajuato is a mixture of color, faded and new, narrow narrow streets that wind up hills of all sizes, but also of underground hidings, tunnels carved through the heart of the mountains until there where enough for us to wonder through them. The city was built over mines, and it still has that underground feeling, where light and darkness are mixed in a couple streets. I was there with my father, his wife and my brother, who I miss most of all my family. My brother moved to a small, crappy town 20min from Guanajuato, where the company he works for is settled. He has a good job, and while he needs to deal with a few useless and difficult people, he has developed almost every skill to complete his varied tasks. I have so much respect for him, and wish we were in the same city to share our lives more closely. He lives in a small, functional house, that is nevertheless surrounded by boring families and an emptiness typical of arid regions, where the sky is vast and the vegetation short, adapted to the most extreme environments. While he was at work, I took my little sister by her hand and walked around his house looking for a space where to exhaust my yearning of belonging, sharing and doing. I made sure to cook and clean around so I didn’t feel bored when at home, and I almost felt like a housewife with children, since I continued to play mother with my sister until I annoyed her with my maternal commands. Amusing and frightening.

After a few calms days –and extensive shoe shopping, since Guanajuato is famous for its good quality shoes- we headed back to my father’s house, leaving my brother behind, busy in his work. The usual four-hour ride was six, thanks to the idiot road administrator who decided to close all but one lane in a 5km extension, on a busy vacation weekend. We sat there for two hours, our wheels moving painfully slow, learning every detail of all the cars around us. I was driving, and I struggled to keep control while incessant rain, darkness, heavy traffic, hills, hard curves and multiple physical obstacles set along the road dominated the way, along with my own exhaustion.

The struggle on the road was compensated in the last 20 minutes, when my eyes burned from the effort of focusing on minimal light and distracting rain and my stomach hurt from sitting tight in the same position, it had been impossible to stop on the road. My heart also ached a little since my father had decided that they couldn’t drop me off at my mom’s place since it was too late. He was right but I felt neglected, as I’ve felt many times before when I’m with him. I was thinking about this when a gigantic, most spectacular half moon showed itself among a black yet illuminated sky, playfully hiding and appearing among a vast sky over a line of high mountains. It was 2am, and after discovering that moon, I could barely keep my eyes on the road, which reflected the intense light from its blithe forms. I have never seen a moon so incredibly large, so close to the earth and to my home that I could have died right there from the inner bliss that such vision produced in me.

In awe, I finally reached the home of my childhood, where I grew up and spent most of my teenage years. I immediately felt sad and detached from it, only tied in to its inner grounds by an invisible umbilical chord that I will never be able to shake. What used to be a small yet decent home, clean and orderly, inhabited by a beautiful dedicated wife, a mostly absent yet decent husband, and two happy children that played with a cat in its garden, is now a tumble of abandoned toys, papers, towels, clothes, food, and an eclectic collection of decorative items, from pictures to paintings, candles and rugs, an old piano, and the strangest combination of furniture. The garden is gone and only two of the four trees remain, my bromeliads disappeared. My father re-married and my mother left that house when I was 17 or so (I’ve erased the exact time of their separation from my memory). It slowly turned into something that is only a faint reflection of my past, and my own history there, as well as my brother’s, was buried under a diverse list of materials and foreign things. My memories were fragmented as a result, and they somehow reminded me of the moon I had just seen.


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