Adriana Uribe

I come out of my trance, going to the window to monitor the street down below. There are no people or umbrellas around anymore. I’m getting used to the constant tapping at the glass. I go to the living room to check the time. It’s just 3:35. I discover a new noise inside the flat. Four humid bubbles of wall paint have formed on the ceiling. At the center of each bubble, a single thick drop of water grows before falling with a splash on the rug, the coffee table, the sofa, and the freshly polished and waxed wooden floor. The drops grow slowly. Then, the muted splashes follow at their own pace. Some drops seem to fall faster and louder than others.

I run back to the dining room and tell Dora about the leaks. She gets pots from the kitchen and places them underneath the ceiling bubbles. She takes away the sofa cushions, the books on the coffee table and looks up and down to make sure that the drops won’t fall right in the middle of the pots. She goes back to the kitchen and returns with a tea towel to wipe dry the wet surfaces.

Abuela would get mad if she knew that Dora is using one of the good tea towels for water drops on the wooden floor.

The noise inside the flat is now louder and with a little echo, as if the water drops are furious about being contained inside small pots.

I keep thinking of the ceiling bursting open and water flooding inside and destroying everything we have. It could wash us away with the furniture, toys and everything else. We could end up floating in a brown river of mud and debris. Miss Belén said in class that all rivers end in the ocean and if this rain becomes a giant river and takes me away, I won’t see my family again. The ocean is far from Bogotá; I know that because when Dad took me to Cartagena, the flight took at least two whole hours.

I am not afraid of rivers or water, though. I’m not even afraid of the sea. Abuelo taught me to swim during holidays and I practice when we go to the club. The rules there say that children have to be accompanied by an adult at all times, but I can float and swim well enough to be on my own. When we went to Cartagena and I was in the sea for the first time, Dad insisted that I jump above the waves, but I preferred to go under holding my breath and closing my eyes. I should be able to swim if a flood takes me away today.

The phone rings and I answer immediately. I was expecting Dad’s call because he phones every afternoon at the same time. I want him to come and rescue me before it’s too late. I don’t want to be on my own in case there’s a flood.

“La casa se está inundando como en las noticias!”1

I could barely contain my tears and hoped he would understand that this was an emergency. I remembered the flash news and the photos in the edition of El Tiempo that Abuelo brings back from work; the frozen images I’ve seen on the news are more powerful because a photo stays forever and it doesn’t change. Entire buildings collapsed under the power of mud rivers and our street could be the same. Grownups don’t take the rain seriously. Every time it rains around here, we see the streets turning into rivers. Now the rain is getting inside people’s homes. My home.

Dad insists I shouldn’t worry. He asks me the same questions he repeats every afternoon: How was school? Had I finished my homework? Eaten my snack? As if nothing else was happening, he tries to distract me or maybe he’s just distracted as he always is when he talks to me. He tells me that the rain should stop soon and everything will be fine. He couldn’t hear the heavy raindrops falling from the living room ceiling. I could hear the people in his office talking, the noise of the electric typewriters and the phones ringing.

“Don’t worry sweetie, maybe the gutter is blocked. We’ll get someone to fix it over the weekend.” He is always trying to calm me because he doesn’t like it when I cry. He must have noticed that I was scared, but not enough to make him come for me. He always promises to fix things during the weekend and then he doesn’t do anything. Maybe we won’t make it to the weekend.

I have never seen my dad worried or sad, not even when Mum left. That time, she packed her bags, kissed me goodbye and told me she would call during the week. Dad stood by the door and then told me not to worry, that everything would continue as normal. Life was going to be the same whether Mum was there or not.

It’s true that things are more or less the same because I am still in the same school and Dora and Abuela are around like Mum used to be. Weekends have changed, though. Now Mum picks me up on Saturday mornings and I stay with her until Sunday evening. She didn’t like it when I told her that after my dad picks me up on Sundays, he doesn’t stay at home with me, he leaves me with Abuela and goes out again. I don’t want Mum to be upset so I don’t talk about it anymore. Even though Abuela is always at home on Sunday evenings, it feels a bit like when I’m with Dora. Something is missing. Abuelo and dad don’t spend much time at home, not even on weekends.

I discover this sad feeling inside me after I hang up. No one will come to rescue me, no one needs me around. Dad didn’t care, grownups are always busy with other things. It’s always upsetting when I feel that no one cares about important things and it’s worse when I feel they don’t care about me.

Once I asked Dad what would happen if he had to work in another country or another city.

“You would stay here with your abuelos and visit me during the school holidays.”

I don’t want to stay in Bogotá without my dad. Besides, Mum is still in Bogotá but my abuelos probably wouldn’t let me go to live with her. They don’t like her and maybe wouldn’t even let me see her on weekends.

(…to be continued…)


1. The house is flooding, just like in the news.

Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent

January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)

July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)

August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)

September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)

October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

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)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits (left side top to bottom, middle, right side top to bottom)

Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 3 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 2 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – At the station – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – Black shadows – Nicolas Ladino Silva (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – The street – Mikhail Mokrushin (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – At home – Alex Mercier (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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