By Maria Matienzo
The phone rings and it’s a good excuse to stop writing, especially to have a friend remind me that dreams exist. The conversation takes a pleasant turn and goes on for more than an hour.
All of a sudden I remember that a witch stitched a hummingbird into the palm of my hand; that I traveled to India; that I lived with the woman that I now love a month before meeting her; that a serpent portended a meeting with Ana Margarita; that I climbed up past petrified angels to reach a summit; and that the sea, always the sea, let me know how far I could go.
Once I walked on the waters and leapt from one mountain to another with slight apprehension in my chest, but without fear. On another occasion, I hid behind my grandmother’s hips as the only way to reach the end of the road. One afternoon I fell asleep and held a very serious conversation with a boy who alerted me of certain death, and then later I saw myself as an old woman together with my grandparents.
I used to live in a parallel, limitless, full-color world. With closed eyes I was another person. Yes, I know you’re going to think that in addition to being taken in by fantasy, I show signs of schizophrenia. But who cares? My ecstasy was envied by my awake self.
There came a time when I decided that my dreams needed to take a leap into reality. I convinced myself that I could start a small publishing house and get talented designers and illustrators to join me. I picked up fellow dreamers along the way, regardless of race, gender or odor.
I developed a logo, a slogan and a style manual. I came up with a response to each of the barriers that I might encounter. I registered the business in my name and we began to work on a few stories for children in which beauty, creativity and diversity went hand in hand.
I dreamed of producing rag dolls and learning materials to teach children more about our history.
I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. Until I woke up.
A few years were sufficient to comprehend that individual initiative wasn’t enough (they make you believe that it’s not even valid). Words weren’t enough, nor ideas, or even money. I had been too optimistic and had thought I could break through the impenetrable barrier of centralized thinking and action.
I stuffed my biggest dream into the drawer. I was left with numbered pages and Corel Draw documents designed and illustrated just waiting to be published.
I no longer dream, even with eyes closed. That’s the price I must pay. The only consolation that remains is, when I look at my files, I feel a tightening in my chest and jumpiness in my stomach, like someone who hasn’t forgotten an old love and still holds hope for a reunion.