“I told you, it was a UFO!” I said while walking on the shore, trying to avoid touching the cold water with my feet. It was a cool summer day and we were enjoying our last days before going back to the capital and starting a new year in high school. I don´t really remember what I was wearing or how my hair looked, all I remember is the breeze in my face and a feeling of complete joy. I sometimes wish I could go back to that place and time, but many years have gone by, 16 to be exact, and lots of promises have been intertwined with deception ever since.
“It was a plane, or a satellite maybe. There is no such thing as aliens or extraterrestrial creatures,” James replied matter-of-factly, with a tint of arrogance I had learned to cherish. I was disappointed by his statement, given that I wanted too much to believe that there was something larger than us, something that had been there centuries before our creation and whose existence would continue to exist well past the extinction of humankind.
Many summers followed. I can still smell the bonfires at the beach, singing along a terrible guitar tune and playing board games until late hours of the night. I still feel a pinch of melancholy when I think of that place and that time. Now, some of the old oaks have been felled, and the faded color of the houses are evidence of the passing of the years. I don´t go to that house anymore —I am not allowed to leave this place. I wish I could go back there, when I was still me.
I am still the same person, obviously – only there are a few versions of me. We all have at least two faces, the one we show to the outside world, and the one we keep to ourselves. They can be dark sometimes or make us feel shame. But who are we to judge? We just play with the cards we´ve been dealt and try to make the best out of it. Right?
I see no reason to talk about my life today. It’s always a routine. But I do want to tell you about what, ultimately, brought me here. Think of it as a love story, if you wish.
“Come on! He can’t be that bad! I am sure that if you give him another chance you´ll see that he´s not like that. You’ve got to give people the benefit of the doubt.” That´s Isabella, always so nice and always worried about misjudging others. That´s why I like her. But truth be told, I think she is full of herself. Always speaking with superiority, as if she were the representation of good morals. It´s nice being around her though, I wish I could think as well of people as she does.
“Well, I am telling you, he was,” I replied. “If I didn’t call or text, he would completely ignore me. I told him I cared about him, and he just smiled. Seriously? Who does that? Haven´t people watched enough movies to know you shouldn´t do that? I felt miserable and unwanted.” I still remember how undeserving he made me feel.
Honestly, as bad as I felt it was good that we ended things, that guy was a complete moron. However, I just couldn´t understand why nobody liked me, not enough to build something together.
“I don´t want to be that kind of person but… I told you so. Long ago, before you started getting all serious with him. Had you listened to me, you would have avoided all this mess, and we would be discussing something much more interesting. Like aliens, or the afterlife…” That is Mica, always right (and loving it) and although I know she meant well, I always felt belittled by her. She was usually right, and things might have turned out differently had I listened to her more.
I loved it so much when we were together, talking freely about life, love and all things worldly. We´d been friends as long as I could remember, and of course, like in all friendships, you might sometimes need distance from each other, but you always find a way back. Isabella was quite obnoxious sometimes, and we would call her Mother Theresa to get on her nerves. I honestly don´t think she cared much about others as she cared about herself. But that was her, and we loved her despite that. And Mica, well, we eventually grew apart, she became a moralist and would judge everything I did, and I couldn’t take it. Not at all. I still care for her, of course, but I wasn´t surprise that she didn´t come visit.
And then, there is James. I already told you about him. There was something so intriguing about James. I don´t think he enjoyed hanging out with us. He would go away for long periods and come back during the most difficult times. Its like he sensed when he was needed and would quietly return and await his turn to act. He wouldn´t say much. I didn’t know him all that well, but he would become a fundamental part of my story.
(…to be continued…)
In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)
Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey
January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan
February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asryan
March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez
April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Toni Wallis
May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko
June: A Girl Pedaling – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas
July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk
August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido
September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández
October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino
November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake
December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva
Background – Context
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
More work by Alejandra Baccino
Adventure – Alejandra Baccino
Polarization within Ourselves – Alejandra Baccino
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Punta del Diablo, Uruguay – At the ocean – Vale Cantera (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed