de Elsymarie Gierbolini Rivera
I cannot see. I cannot hear. I cannot walk. I cannot speak, but I can feel. This allows me to imagine the shapes and forms of living things due to the energy and sound waves they emit. What I enjoy most of all is the feeling of the wind against all of my being, and the warmth of the sun on a morning after a chilly night. I cannot tell how much time has passed since I was born again, yet I can remember some of the changes that have occurred in my surroundings.
While I was still growing up, I remember there were more like me around here; older than me, and a few less like Christopher. I really do not know if that was his name, but that is the one I gave him. I like that name; it seems to have a certain musicality to it.
Christopher used to play with me almost every day. He would come around noon, and by sunset he would be called by his parents to eat, I presumed. Growing up, he started to invite others like him, his friends it might seem. As time passed, he went from monkeying around with us, to reading to me at some hours in the day, and at others he would fall asleep by my side. At the same time that he became taller, so did I, and the air got fouler and warmer around us.
By the time he was a young man, everything had gotten noisy and he had stopped visiting me so often, until there was a time when he stopped visiting me at all. When he left, I would spend my time meditating, feeling the atmosphere, and those who were close to me. Those like me began to disappear one by one, and those like Christopher began to appear more and more. As I kept growing taller and sturdier, Christopher’s parents grew weaker. I felt how they would moan in pain when they would get up for daily activities, and how tiered they would grow after being on their feet for a short while. An everyday task, even in its simplicity, would be difficult and tiring to them, unlike the times before their bodies started to crumble and fail. One morning his father lay resting. His mother screamed in anguish for she knew that her husband would not wake up ever again. The day after, Christopher returned with a woman and two children. How much time has passed? It seems to have been a long while. He only came for that day to tend to his mother and mourn his father, but he left the day after. At least he had a smoke with me, although I really don’t smoke.
When he left, I felt how each day his mother grew sadder and lonelier. In the mornings, she would get up and sit on the bed without saying a word or moving any further. She would just sit there breathing and letting time pass her by. Some days she would get up and eat, others she would not even leave the bed at all. Sometimes, but rarely the occasion, she would receive a visit from one of the neighbors. During these visits, she would put on her mask and smile while having small talk. This continued until one day she walked by her window and stared out of it. I sensed that she was looking at me. While she looked at me, I felt how her last breath left her lips, curved up in a smile. Was she greeting death at last, long awaited to end her suffering and loneliness, in that final moment, or did she see me for who I really am? A few days passed and some lady found her body. I believe she was one of the neighbors, but I am not so sure.
Shortly after, Christopher came back to stay. He did not come alone. Along with him were the woman and the two kids, already too old. Even though Christopher came back, I feel very lonely. There aren’t many like me left, and I fear that a day will come when I will suffer the same outcome as my brothers. Besides, Christopher doesn’t visit me anymore. He seems to be very busy all the time. I don’t blame him, his family seems a handful. I could feel they were not tranquil, which is strange for me to sense such emotion in Christopher. He always had a calm atmosphere surrounding him, yet his wife would seem to always be screaming at him, and he would respond sometimes with equal fury. The kids would often be fighting each other.
Every day Christopher would wake up and get ready to work. He would then wake his kids and make them breakfast. The kids would ride their bikes to school, and Christopher would drive away to wherever it was that he made a living. All the while, his wife slept. She would awake early in the afternoon and make dinner for the evening. Sometimes she would clean the house. Being done with this, she would go out and walk around town. The kids would come back after school and find the house empty most of the time. The wife would arrive soon after, and Christopher would arrive later. When they were done with dinner, the wife would break out in yells of hatred and resentment towards Christopher, all while the kids melted their brains watching the big box with moving pictures. This continued for months, maybe even years until one day the wife and kids left, never coming back.
This woman managed to destroy Christopher’s spirit, turning him into a pitiful version of the sweet boy I grew up with. I felt how my friend grew sadder and somber, lonelier and comfortless. The feeling enveloped around him like a heavy foul demon that would grip his claws harder and deeper as the days passed him by. He would miss some days at work until he stopped going all together. One night he came to see me at last. I noticed, as he approached me, how the heavy hopelessness and discontent he carried was suddenly lifted and replaced by a strange tranquility. Christopher tied himself around me and swung onto my arms; shortly after he breathed no more. My one and only friend was gone, never to return again.
I grew still and no longer looked forward to the playful wind, nor the warmth of the sun. All that I had left was for time to take me away. Time passed and I changed. It was when I had lost all my foliage that the house that was once the home of my friend, was brought to the ground by a noisy creature. I too was not spared. Some men were loitering beneath the little shade I could offer, and without notice, they cut me with raging fast blades. I felt how they cut every fiber of my cortex. I fell to the ground, crying thunderously. Afterwards they chopped me into smaller pieces to be later tossed into the belly of a monster that roared mechanically, impetuous so that its hunger would be quenched. I was not scared as they dragged me to the demonic machine. These men would serve as my escorts to my first feared, and now long-awaited, fate. This was the moment I was waiting for, the moment Christopher’s mother smiled at, the moment he could not wait for.