Living or Dying

By Caridad

Havana Street Scene, photo: Caridad

I believe I shouldn’t have been thinking that.  Since I began to write, back in my singular adolescent years, there have been various occasions when the things I write become reality.

Knowing this, I should have tried to push away that thought on Friday night.  But I continued to wait.  Until several meters before arriving at my stop the bus came to a halt.  The murmuring of those riding with me and the police car blocking traffic in the middle of the road indicated that an accident had occurred.

Several steps away, on the pavement, lay a black bundle.  A dead man or woman.  I don’t know why their feet are always left sticking out of the black nylon.

I don’t like to look closely at all the details of an accident.  I don’t like seeing blood either, and it doesn’t interest me at all to know who is the guilty party.

The first question I ask myself is about all the people who might be waiting for this person who would never arrive, who didn’t even have a faint hope of arriving at a hospital.  Dead.  Black plastic bag, in the middle of the avenue, and in view of everyone.  Waiting until the investigators arrived and began to define who was guilty.

What does it matter?  At any rate the driver of the car should have to spend some years in prison paying for it.  Paying?  The dead person is already dead, no matter who was “guilty.”

The reality is that in this stretch of the street there aren’t any traffic signals to indicate that automobiles should reduce their speed due to the quantity of people who live on both sides of the highway.

And those who were waiting will receive no more the one who died.  It’s also possible that no one was waiting.

I took a long time to get to sleep in the wee hours of Friday morning.  I cried for a good while.  Perhaps it was only because I had the sensation of death being very close to me.

I like to think that I have few altruistic sentiments and that death frightens me as it does everyone.  But I’m almost sure that it’s really the opposite.

Instead, the ones who scare me are the ones who are living without being alive.  Instead it scares me to feel suddenly that I’m not really alive, although I attempt to breathe.

When I finally stop breathing, everything will be fine.  Or, possibly, the same.  When you’re dead there’s no time to gain or lose.  Time doesn’t exist.  But being alive implies having some responsibilities.  At least being alive inside this body, this form.

Worse than fearing death is being afraid of life, as we already know.  There are people who fear death so greatly that they live in terror of almost all of life’s feelings.

There are moments when we wake up to “reality”, the daily whirlpool, and become conscious of the time that has gone by.  Of everything that is left to do, because there’s not enough time, money, strength of will to break through the thousands of obstacles that society imposes.  And that’s a good thing.

It’s important to wake up to that “reality” from time to time.  I believe that it is very important not to stay “awake” for long though, but to choose one of those many objectives and begin to fight for it…even if it be something as simple as a night by the sea, under the stars.

Given our consciousness of time, one thing that’s as dangerous as remaining “awake” for a long time , is not having a goal as simple as planting a cactus, or maybe to have it and never make the decision to fight for it, perhaps for fear of trying and failing.

Now it’s Monday and I’m writing this diary in the middle of a very uninteresting meeting.  The diary saves me from this routine, but at the same time I would have preferred having had no reason to write it.

Caridad

Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.



One thought on “Living or Dying

  • For me reading this sends chills to my spirit because it is similar to real life scenarios in my own city..in the US..i live in a hustle bustle city, very familar to Cubans who have come here and familar in books to those who have not. However, when i was a practicing nurse i saw this blood and guts daily..The body bags..and i have never failed as you have..to think of those left behind..Is there a child waiting to be fed, hugged or kissed. is there a wife or husband or other waiting for the same..Or is there just relief and a release from the pain of living..

    In my current field of law i fight for those on death row…i go home alone often late at night, i am often alone most of the time and so i have the time to write in my journal…and my thoughts are always the same..What about those who lived, and what about the one who killed them..However, like the creator..i fight for life…it matters

    Nice peice

    Yes, Yordanka it does matter..Thank u for giving love.
    MG

    Reply

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