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In memory of*

Isle of Skye, Scotland

22nd April 2021


Following a long walk against the wind, under the rain I could feel to the bones, I have found myself standing on the edge of the cliff. Wind continued to blow in the same direction, but now with a renewed force, as if it intended to call a halt, to move my body back to a safe place. At my back, a neat green lawn, which only constant rain could have produced. In front, my possible destiny, the void. Infinite grey rocks at its blurry end, which should smash my head, and as a consequence, my sorrow.


Whereas tears have not ceased to fall for a decade, I have felt one of them slowly sliding on the corner of my mouth. Perhaps this was the way my sadness made its farewell, with its very long, slow and wet kiss, with its form and flavour of salty tears.


Suddenly, I felt somebody else’s presence; two kids of colour, around four-year-old, were running into me with curiosity. Having stopped very close yet at a safe distance from the cliff, they stood there watching me. They were looking at me attentively again and again, and I saw in their eyes they didn’t understand what was happening yet intuitively knew something was wrong here, that the situation was serious.


In a little while, two teenagers arrived, Stuart and Georgina, who later introduced themselves as siblings. Stuart was the older one. After a few seconds of silence, the younger said:


-Hiya, I’m Georgina.


She immediately extended her hand in the novice’s act of negotiation. I didn’t respond with a handshake, but instead turned my gaze again at the void, of which end seemed rather harsh and dangerous this time. My sorrow turned into anger; ‘why is it often so difficult to stay alone and have a moment of privacy?!’


Then, Neville arrived at the scene with no rush, calmly and with a harsh voice of Caribbean accent said:


- Turn around, I want to see your eyes.


I couldn’t believe in such an invasion of privacy; this family seemed more stubborn than YouTube premium adverts. I turned my gaze, furious, I looked towards that harsh voice of a weird accent. The instant I saw Neville, I knew he comprehended, that he was suffering from the same pain, I felt my look changing, now to a semblance of an unprotected lad, looking for solace. Through sheer reflex, my arm extended towards Georgina, whose hand was patiently waiting there in the air. When our hands met, she pulled me abruptly and we both fell on the green and neat lawn.


The four guys ran into us to embrace me.



Mexico City

1996


Dan woke up with a terrible headache and dry mouth. Children have already spent a couple of hours alone, fighting, screaming and playing. Before anything, they could eat a horse. Emily’s [the eldest sister’s] failed attempt to prepare scrambled eggs ended up only with a huge disaster in the kitchen.


Dan didn’t quite remember half of the last night’s party, and less even, how he got home. Laura, his wife, instead of in bed was found on a single sofa in the small studio. Still asleep, amid a disaster of monstrous scale, even larger than the kitchen’s. The worst however was that sickening smell, which reminded him of a stop by the street food goat-meet broth. He closed the door and wished Laura luck for when she wakes up.


He dressed quickly in sweatpants and took children to Mexico Park, two blocks from them, to eat something quick outside, to feel alive again. Children requested hot cakes with loads of honey, knowing that their father, in the state he was in, couldn’t bear the smell even if for a moment. Dan ordered extra hot chilaquiles[1] with green salsa.


On that day Steve, nearly four-year-old, learned how to ride a bike. When he did it for the first time, he shouted:


- Mama, mama, I did it!


- Hahaha, mama isn’t here, plonker! But you can tell your dad – said Emily.


- Buddy, I knew you’d make it. I’m so proud of you?


Steve kept pedalling; deep inside he liked that his dad saw him and supported him. Yet he could not get why mum so often was not there.


Upon their return home, Laura was waiting for them, has already had her shower and was surrounded by a strong lavender scent of her perfumes. The house smelled of a cheap removing odours spray, of Mediterranean waves.


-How are you doing my loves?