When I step out – it´s not as if I´m in prison -, I like to sit back on the porch and pretend that I´m outside, hanging out with friends, and that I am free to do as I please instead of being locked up in here. I know it is for my own well-being, but as I Iook around and see the others, María, staring into the distance; Sofía, driving the nurses insane (ironically) while running around screaming; and Andrea constantly plucking her eyebrows, I feel out of place. I don´t think people understand me. I know I can be a bit too intense sometimes, but I never mean any harm and I have such a rush of emotions sometimes that it is hard to control myself. But, you´ll understand when I tell you the story of why I am here, I´m sure of that.

My mom comes here almost every day, I am so happy. I don´t have many friends left, they don´t understand. But my mom does, and she tells me that everything is going to be OK. She tells me that the right guy is waiting for me and that I will be happy and raise my family. My therapist is really nice too, and she tells me that I shouldn´t depend on someone to make me happy because I will only end up resenting them. I think she might be right, and I am really trying to like myself more… but after dating for so long, if nobody likes me, how can I like myself? What is there to like?

I don´t know if this has happened to you, probably not. I bet you are smart, and kind, and pretty. I bet you have wonderful friends and a partner who looks after you. I wish I could feel that way, but I look at myself in the mirror and all I see is ugly. Ugly body, ugly person. Although I try to care for others and I pretend to do so, it’s exhausting sometimes. Of course, nobody likes me. That´s why I am here, I finally faced the truth. I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, I wanted to be worthy, I wanted to be loved.

VI 

No wonder Torrance finally let go. I just wasn´t enough for him. I tried so hard; I put everything I had into that relationship. I guess it wasn´t enough. I wasn´t enough.

I suppose it happens to all couples, that after a while, things tend to fade away. With Torrance it was like that, although when I was about to give up on us, he would do something amazing, like the time I was leaving my job and he was waiting for me, in an old classic car, in a white suit holding a bouquet of flowers. He could be so intense and over the top, and I would let myself fall for that. And I fell, hard.

(…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

Credits

Cover photo: Montevideo, Uruguay – Parque rodo park – DFLC Prints (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

IV 

I began looking for love in my early twenties. I knew that once I found it, it would be wonderful, eternal and that I would finally be happy. I could not wait to find my soulmate and I truly believed Torrance was the one. I loved everything about him. How he would look at me when we went out, how he wanted to know my friends and my family. He was so interested in knowing every aspect of me and liking it that I could not believe it was real.

Torrance and I became one really quick. Sometimes I would feel a bit frightened, but I just liked him so much and he made me feel very special, so I eventually told Mica about him and we got into a huge argument. Things weren´t the same after that. How could she not see how happy I was? I never understood why she wanted me to break things off with Torrance and give up the only chance of being truly happy. To be honest, I think she was jealous.

Later, I told James too, he nodded his head in acknowledgment, and that was it.

On June 23, we finally moved in together. I was so happy! My family and my friends liked him, and they could see how we complemented each other.

After a few months I noticed he changed a little bit. He was so worried about work!

I remember one time, coming back home after having dinner with friends:

“Where were you? I got home from work and you weren´t here,” he said, drilling a hole in my eyes with his look, as if trying to enter my head.

“Oh, honey! I am sorry! We decided to go for dinner right after work, didn´t even have time to change clothes. I am so sorry,” I replied.

“I don´t think you should wear that to work, nobody is going to take you seriously. Unless, that´s what you want. What is it, you have a crush on one of your co-workers? Who is he?! Tell me, puta! Do you think I don´t notice you putting on perfume every morning? Where do you do it, huh? Tell me, or I´ll kill you!” He was yelling at me, hitting the chairs and everything he could find on his way to me. I was frightened, I had never seen him like that before.

“No, honey, no! I haven´t done anything! I love you, you, and no one else! I just… I was hungry and they were going to grab some dinner, so I went. But I love you, please, believe me.” He was grabbing my wrists so hard, and I couldn’t hold my tears. How could he believe that? How could I make him understand that he was my life? “I won´t wear these clothes anymore! I swear. They are not even my friends! Please, please forgive me.”

He finally started to let go of my wrists. He was looking at me like he was trying to gauge if I was telling the truth. For a second there, I thought I saw something. His eyes turned a shade darker and his pupils somehow grew larger. It was just a nanosecond, and then he started to cry. I was still shaken, and I didn´t know what to do.

“I am sorry, baby, I am so sorry! What have I done! Please, forgive me!” He said with his voice cracking. He went down on his knees and started bawling, tears running down his face in shame. “I just missed you so much, I thought something had happened to you, and then I began thinking that you were with someone else, and I felt dead inside.” I was in shock. I couldn´t believe that he was feeling what I had always feared before. I had finally found someone who feared losing… ME!

“It´s alright, babe. It´s alright” I said as I went and kneeled next to him. He couldn’t even look at me. I hugged him and started crying again. “You can´t do this anymore, I was really scared. I thought you might… hit me or something, you know?” I said to him, quietly.

“No, baby, no. I would never hit you. I know I was a little aggressive, but I would never hurt you. I would rather die!” He was hugging me so hard that I didn´t want to let go. I could hear him sobbing, in regret. I looked at the bruises that were forming on my wrists, but I looked away. I decided to let it go. I could see that he was truly sorry for what he´d done. And he loved me, he loved me so much and, after all, it was me who pushed him to do this. Had I stayed home it wouldn’t have happened. How would I feel if I thought I were losing him? I did not even want to consider that option because it upset me so much.

Things were great after that, actually. He tried, he was attentive, and romantic, and would go out with me to family gatherings and outings with friends.

I am not stupid; I know what you are thinking. I can´t see you but I know how it all sounds. But it wasn´t like that. Not at all. I am well-educated and independent, and those things wouldn’t happen to me. I loved him and I knew he genuinely loved me. You don´t understand either, nobody does.

Despite Isa and Mica´s demands, I never introduced them. I know that Mica would instantly hate him, and Isa would probably judge us both. I did not need their negativity in my life, and if they could not see how happy he made me, I did not want to share my joy with them.

(…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

Credits

Cover photo: Montevideo, Uruguay – In traffic – Chris Slupski (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

III 

“So… Isa, I´ve been seeing this guy. I don´t want to jinx it, but I think it’s going great!”

We were having our usual Saturday morning coffee. We loved to do that, just the two of us. Go out for coffee, do some shopping and look pretty, you know, girly stuff.

“Tell me everything! Can´t believe you didn´t say a word! Who is he? What does he do? Is it… good?” Isa replied excitedly. I loved that even a subtle mention of sex would turn her cheeks pink.

“I´m not going to tell you that!” Of course, I was going to tell her, details and all, but I just liked making her feel a bit out-of-place. “He works in an office, he´s super smart and nice. He comes off as a bit cold sometimes, but I think it’s because he has issues with his dad. He hasn´t said anything but I can feel it. And he´s so passionate! I sometimes catch him staring at me, or through me… I don´t know, he´s so intense.”

“Wow! That sounds hot! Does he have any friends?” Isa said. She would always make the same joke, laughing like it was the funniest thing ever. Her pearly whites glistening under the midday sun in excitement, thinking about the possibility.

“I don´t know really. He doesn´t say much about his friends. He works all day, and he only has time for me, he says. I find that super innocent and pure, that he´s so in touch with his emotions that he doesn´t fear telling me that all he wants is to be with me.”

“I want to find someone like that, too.”

“You will,” I said matter-of-factly. That´s the thing about love, when you have it, you believe everything is possible!

(…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

Credits

Cover photo: Punta del Este, Uruguay – At waterfront park – DFLC Prints (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

“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.

II 

“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

Credits

Cover photo: Punta del Diablo, Uruguay – At the ocean – Vale Cantera (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

VII 

I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t ask anyone for help. Police, judges, the social services, the whole bloody welfare state, none of them could effectively help me with this. If I had told my friends, the ones I’ve got left, they would have said to me, “Are you stupid? Why do you let him treat you like that? Report him!!” Yeah, I bet they are right, but things look much easier when you look from the outside, don’t they? I couldn’t tell for sure, but probably those same phrases have come out of my mouth at some point in the past. They didn’t have to just be scared everyday about me, but about Amelia’s future; they didn’t have to face the blows, the insults, the lack of options, a future, being certain that the only way to get out is death. Sounds dramatic but that is the way I saw things; that was my reality.

What I needed was not good advice, nor anyone patronizing me and not supporting me during the bad moments… I just wanted someone I could rely on. When things really got out of hand, you just don’t know how to react…

Last night things were really rough. He wasn’t drunk; he didn’t use drugs either. Miguel was always “a good boy,” respected by family, friends and workmates. After all these years I’ve come to believe that his own addiction was violence, more specifically, violence towards me. Somehow he had always managed to live this ‘double life’ in which he was on the one hand a respectable father and colleague in the streets and, on the other, a real monster at home. That day he had had an issue at work, of course, I’m sure he didn’t say a word there, but he entered ready to explode at me…

“I’m fed up with those bastards not knowing their jobs and trying to teach me mine,” – and I think he proceeded, “and why are you cooking this for dinner? Am I supposed to eat this trash?? Are you stupid??” – I believe I should omit the long list of insults that came afterwards.

The next thing I remember is him grabbing my neck so hard that I thought he was going to break it. I fought as hard as I could, but he was much stronger. I kicked, punched and scratched in despair but he wouldn’t stop pressing. Everything began to turn dark… I felt the temptation to give up… it would be so easy!… but I remembered my child, my poor Amelia, and suddenly something bizarre, dark and fearful rose up in me. I decided that I’d had enough of that situation and enough of Miguel. I found at that point the courage necessary to face an event in which my very survival and Amelia’s was at stake. I began to feel around me while being suffocated by Miguel, in search of I don’t know what. I touched something that seemed to be heavy and metallic, and in my last adrenaline rush I hit Miguel hard on the right side of his head. After the first blow, the pressure around my neck was released, but I had never dared to fight back before, and the anger welling up inside me just didn’t let me stop.

I kept on hitting him, over and over again, until he was unrecognizable. I was exhausted and dizzy… so much so that I couldn’t avoid vomiting. I cleaned my mouth with a tissue I found nearby and tried to put myself together… Luckily enough, Amelia hadn’t come out of her room; the poor child was used to hearing noises late at night, and I had instructed her many times not to leave her room no matter what.

I hadn’t realized I still was wielding the murder weapon in my right hand, so I looked at it and it turned out to be a chess trophy Miguel had won at the age of 14. Who could have imagine then, that prize earned by him would put an end to his life thirty years later?

Thoughts slowly began to arrange themselves inside my head… I had to get rid of the body before breakfast. The flat was very small and there was no way I could hide it from Amelia or anybody else coming to visit. Anyway it would start to smell in no time. “How did they solve this sort of thing in the movies?” I said to myself. “Dismemberment? Sulfuric acid? Throwing the corpse into the river with a stone tied to the neck?”

It was 3:45 a.m. and I had to move fast. I cleaned up the blood stains on the floor and wrapped the body in plastic from a mattress we had bought last month. I started to pull the body, but it was far too heavy for me. Even so, I managed to make my way to the main door, went out of the flat and was heading towards the lift when I heard something. I looked back and there he was, Mr. Evelio, the neighbor across from us, staring at me and my strange burden. Since the plastic was transparent, Miguel’s bleeding body could be seen… “Oops! My fault!” I was completely frozen, couldn’t speak, nor move either. I was at Mr. Evelio’s mercy…

VIII 

Maybe it’s because of my work, but in this industry you soon learn that not all human lives are worth the same. I knew that piece of shit, Miguel, would end up like that at some point. I had to contain myself to not tell Luisa, “Why did it take you so long?” when I saw her dragging her husband’s corpse. Instead of that, I stupidly said good night, to which she mouthed an almost inaudible good night. To resolve the situation, which is needless to say rather compromising, I assured her, “Don’t you bother, I will handle this.” I took the body and went to the lift. Luisa remained in the corridor completely astonished, I told her, “Go clean your home and when you’re finished, go to bed. We will talk about this tomorrow.” She couldn’t reply more than a feeble “Okay”.

Outside, I walked to my car carrying the body on my shoulder, put it in the trunk and drove eight miles away up to a descampado I knew. Then I dug a hole, put the body inside and covered it with soil again.

The next morning I went to the door in front of mine and pressed the doorbell. Luisa appeared very nervous… “I just wanted to thank you, Mr. Evelio, for everything you have done for us…” “You’re welcome. Listen. This evening, it is very likely that his family reports his disappearance to the police. Very soon the cops will be around here asking questions. I cannot stay here to answer them because of the business I work in. By tomorrow afternoon, they will start to consider me a suspect in the crime and will close all the country’s borders. There will be pictures of me in every port, airport, bus or train station of Spain. They won’t find the body any time soon, I hope, but I don’t want to talk to them. Anyway, I’m missing the place I was born and raised, it’s 2,000 km from Madrid and I wanted to suggest you and Amelia come with me… maybe… if you want…” “What place is that Evelio?” “The island of El Hierro”…

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 Jonay Quintero Hernández

Extremism Is Now the New Hype – Jonay Quintero Hernández

The Fear of Not Knowing – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Embracing Instability – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: Madrid, Spain – Barrio del Pilar – Yana Demenko (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

V

Two weeks have passed since I came to live with my new master. There isn’t a single part of my body that doesn’t hurt, but at least I can walk and go places. I kind of like my new master, and it’s not only because he saved my life by taking me away from el poblado. He happens to be a good guy, but he spends the whole day out and sometimes doesn’t get home until very late at night. He has very strange habits and sometimes departs without leaving any food in my dish.

That is the main reason why I began to explore the surrounding area. In search of food. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lovely young lady named Amelia. She lives in the apartment right across from my master’s. Since the very first time she saw me, I’ve been her best friend. She lives with her mom and dad.

Her mom is also very nice to me, her name is Luisa. She looks quite sad, unhappy even, I don’t know why. She’s very thin and pale and a couple of times I couldn’t help but realize that she had bruises and small injuries on her face and arms. As for her husband… I learned quite quickly that is better to keep away from him. One day he saw me inside his flat and said very rudely: “Get that creep out of my sight, we don’t keep the neighbor’s animals in here!!” He tried to kick me, but I scampered away. I definitely have no intention of going through that again, as I don’t think I have so many lives left.

Amelia and I spend the whole day together, until Evelio gets home. She feeds me, gives me water, caresses me, spoiling me and playing with me by pretending she is a witch and I am her magic cat…

VI 

I wish dad was nicer to us. I just can’t understand why he is so mean… Sometimes I can hear him at night shouting at the TV, watching a football game. Other times he is arguing with mom. Other times I hear bangs and then my mom crying. I hide inside my bed, covering my head and ears and don’t dare to go out, until I fall asleep… the next morning I don’t ask, and mom acts as if nothing ever happened. She looks sad, and I know dad is to blame for all her bruises. I want to think of something else, go somewhere else… but I can’t go anywhere. I am always at home or in school, and don’t like it much there either. My only friend is Kunta, strange name, isn’t it? But the other day I asked Mister Evelio, our neighbor, and he told me that was her name. Don Evelio is very serious, but he is always been nice to me, he looks a little lonely though.

I like playing in the afternoons with Kunta. I imagine that I have magic powers I can use just by moving my nose, and he is my “cat-mate,” so we both have many, many adventures. Now that I remember…last night it was very quiet at home I couldn’t even hear the sounds of the TV…

(…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 Jonay Quintero Hernández

Extremism Is Now the New Hype – Jonay Quintero Hernández

The Fear of Not Knowing – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Embracing Instability – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: Tarragona, Spain – In the water – Alicia Fabregas (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

III 

I had been adopted as a kitten by the myriad of grandchildren that bastard had, although actually nobody ever made a stand to claim my ownership and very often none of them fed me. Quite creatively, considering the color of my hair, they called me Gallardó, meaning “black” in the old language of the gypsies. Humans and animals lived cluttered in small shacks made out of wood and metal sheets. Hygiene was nowhere to be seen and I had to lick my parts constantly in order to keep flees and other parasites in line.

The cops, the “pestañí” as they used to call them, put a lot of pressure on the area with constant raids and searches, but even so, the smuggling continued more than ever. Clients continued to come to collect their doses and these drug clans continued to amass huge fortunes that they used to hide in holes beneath the shacks. The bosses of each of these clans, behind a façade of respectability and good nature, were cruel and brutal, not only towards their rivals, but also their own families and whoever dared to question their supremacy.

Very often I was mistreated and more often than not I had to hunt for my own sustenance, like foraging. What a shame! As if it was not hard enough having to live in the same place with these mischievous humans, I even had to eat my food raw. That day I was specially hungry and despite my efforts to provoke some tenderness in any of the humans within reach, I saw myself forced to chase a miserable mouse as famished as I was, the poor wretched soul. There is no doubt that the lack of proteins in my body had begun to affect my most basic bodily functions, and I was not as agile as it takes to participate in any hunting party that deserves that name.

When emerging out of a pile of trash, just in front of Tío Jacinto’s house, I stumbled over a stone and fell down, and the mouse ran away not quite believing that he was going to live another day after all. I happened to fall before that old man, obese, in his permanently stained shirt and greasy hair. Unfortunately, Tío Jacinto had just decided he would be a real asshole that morning and kicked me on the left side, so hard, that I was propelled almost two meters away and could not stand up anymore…

IV 

During the whole two hours I was waiting for the veterinarian to come out and tell me how the cat was, I had plenty of time to think about my life and the events of that night. I had luckily found the only vet on duty that evening, and I honestly expected he could do something for the poor creature. Working as a hitman, you do not usually have the chance to show any kind of mercy or express any feeling about anyone. But that black cat had brought to my mind a past that I had believed to be gone a long time ago.

In that past, which now seems to belong to a former life, a movie, or just something lived by someone else, I’m a 9-year-old boy. I run all over the place, playing all the fantastic games that are only enjoyed in my mind. I goof around with plants, animals, stones, pieces of wood…

I am on the Island of El Hierro, one of the Canaries, a tiny, mountainous and wild rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As usual, I am spending the summer holidays at my grandparents’ house. I love them very much and they love me too. They are a strange but formidable couple. Granny is very small but incredibly energetic, hardworking and tough. Grandpa is very tall and thin but incredibly strong considering he is in his 80s. He is like a good giant, loves animals and kids. Everyone in that small village knows them and respects them out of pure admiration. They are the image of a whole generation who have built my own country and several others due to the emigration they had to undergo.

When I see properties where there is a small dog, may be a Chihuahua, together with a big one (a Rottweiller) and the small one is the most aggressive, I remember my grandparents with a smile. In most of the households in El Hierro there used to be animals, they were in practice like small farms and among all those animals, cats were the most independent, they were usually out in the fields most of the day and came back home at lunch, breakfast or dinner time. Grandpa had a kitten, it was rather wild but was very tender and friendly with all of us, with grandpa and me most of all. We used to play with him for hours in those never ending afternoons of my childhood.

Panchito, that was his name, was tiny, gray, and with stripes very much like a tiger. He was basically our best friend that summer. Until we found his corpse.

My grandparent’s place was very close to the road. One morning we found him lying on the ground, dead but without a single injury on his body. Grandpa said that he probably had been hit by a car and died due to internal injuries. We all cried a lot that day, and Panchito was for hours lying on the floor because none of us dared to bury him. Finally, Grandpa did. I never knew where.

It is curious how something like that can be in your mind for more than 40 years and still hurt when recalled.

The sudden appearance of the veterinarian made me leave my memories. Apparently the black cat was going to survive… “Is it your cat?” asked the vet. “No, it isn’t,” I replied. “Okay, he’s going to be alright. He only has two broken ribs; it looks like a blunt object hit him on the left side. Tomorrow he’ll be able to go home, but he is going to need a lot of rest. Are you taking him.” “Yeah, sure,” I said, without knowing why… “Well the cat hasn’t got a chip so we’ll have to implant one and enter your data on it if you want to keep him. What is his name?”

“Kunta,” – again, I don’t know why I said that. “What?” asked the vet. “Kunta Kinte. Considering he’s completely black, it seems kind of appropriate.” ”Oh, how fun…” – Some people are just too bitter to get an innocent joke…

(…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 Jonay Quintero Hernández

Extremism Is Now the New Hype – Jonay Quintero Hernández

The Fear of Not Knowing – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Embracing Instability – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: El Hierro, Spain – On the island – underworld (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

I

“¡No! ¡no! … ¡nooo! ¡please!”- moaned the old man in his stained clothes and greasy hair. “¡Don’t kill me, please!” – he kept on yelling like a pig in a slaughter house. Evelio felt a little bolt of disgust, but apart from that, it was hard for him to discern any other feeling about the situation playing out. Ruthlessly, he raised his tool for the work, a second hand Beretta 92 FS he had bought in a poblado on the outskirts of Madrid, and without giving it a second thought, shot the desperate man three times in the head.

Plenty of brain mass fell to the ground, and many small pieces slid across the leaves of the neighboring vegetation as silent guests. One minute before that body was a human being, wicked as he might have been, but still a living creature. Evelio had executed the man outdoors, next to some bushes, close to a nearby slum. One of the few still standing after the impressive urban and economic boom that the city had experienced a few years ago.

No people were to be seen, neither did the stars seem to be watching the scene from the sky. The middle aged man scratched his dark beard, wiped his forehead with the back of his gloved hand and sighed in resignation. Being a dark night, it felt as if all the crimes and ignominies were to remain undercover. That made Evelio think that maybe his parents would not be able to see him from above. Fortunately, he thought, they died a few years before, and they did not have to see how things had begun to go wrong and he ended up like this. Sighing again, he lit a cigarette and wondered to himself “How did I end up like this?”

Probably, everything started to go poorly some years ago, in the crisis. Evelio was made redundant from his position as sales manager in a big corporation. Already in his 50s, he allegedly had lost the competition against younger candidates that got paid substantially less, had fewer vested rights and were more “malleable.” The pretentiousness of his earlier years had vanished all of a sudden, crushed by a fierce reality imposed on him.

The economic problems started quite soon. María, his wife, was jobless as well, and both spent too much time at home. They thought they would spend much less that way, but in the long run they passed so much time together that it began to show all the cracks in their relationship. They never had the time to have children, as they were so focused on their respective careers and now they discovered that they had not much in common after all.

One sunny morning Evelio woke up, and María just was not there. No letters, no sms, or messages on whatsapp and the worst of the case is that he did not care much about her absence. “Tanta paz lleves como descanso dejas” (as much peace you take as relief you are leaving) thought Evelio. Without any income, he was soon unable to pay the mortgage of his fashionable detached house and was evicted by the bank. He would have seen himself on the streets if it weren’t for his sister Elba who took him in.

He began to walk back to his car, troubled by all these thoughts. The night was very dark, and eventually he had to stop and turn on the light of his cell phone to see the way. After a few steps he noticed a small black shape on the floor. He got closer and realized that it was a cat. The small animal could not move and a few drops of blood seeped out of its mouth. It was struggling for life as its breath was so weak. In all likelihood, it had been poisoned, hit by a car or suffered from some internal injury. Its green eyes were half closed and its black hair was very soft as he touched it.

II

Tío Jacinto was the head of the most important gipsy clan, which controlled the narcotics market in the south of Madrid. He slid out of bed, glanced at the big crucifix on the wall above it, and carried the many pounds in his body across the floor. Not without struggle, he stretched, making his old bones crack, and then dragged his feet towards the window. He looked out at the huge no man’s land before his eyes while deciding what his mood was going to be like for the rest of the day.

(…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 Jonay Quintero Hernández

Extremism Is Now the New Hype – Jonay Quintero Hernández

The Fear of Not Knowing – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Embracing Instability – Jonay Quintero Hernández

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: Madrid, Spain – On the outskirts – Eduardo Mendez (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Elizabeth’s Story

“I would have never imagined that at the exact same age my grandfather was when he died, I would be forced to migrate to his country of origin. My grandfather, Jaime Vivas Sagarra, was born in Spain; he was a Catalan. Now I’m in Spain, petitioning for the restitution of his birth citizenship rights as a Spaniard which he had to relinquish when opting for his Venezuelan citizenship in 1900, since Venezuela, back then, only allowed citizenship in one country.

I am 66 years old and my life was peaceful, happy and quiet at my home in the State of Nueva Esparta, Venezuela. I always felt like the Island, Margarita, was a country within the country. I don’t know if it was due to the ocean and the mountains, which give you a sense of freedom and isolation, while also leaving you less exposed to the dangers and difficulties that threaten the big cities.

I was living in what I truly considered paradise until politics destroyed the economy and the security of all Venezuelan citizens. Corruption made its way into every corner of every place in a privileged country possessing immense wealth.

It affected everyone, however, the hardest hit was taken by retirees, the senior citizens. We receive a pension worth the minimum wage, but not the food bonus compensation that all workers get by law for their monthly work. On top of the outrageous hyperinflation that has gripped the country, known to be one of the highest hyperinflations worldwide and close to the tragic ones seen in the past, there is a shortage of medication and food. This has created a dramatic situation and a struggle to survive it.

I always said I would never leave my country no matter what happened, that in the worst-case scenario, I would always be better off here, at home. I don’t know what I was thinking by the term worst-case scenario, because I never foresaw a war, persecutions or a Narco-dictatorship.

I would have never imagined that after having bought my own house and my own car with the arduous work of many years in the old Venezuela, I would be forced to migrate in order to be able to count on the very basic needs of any human being in order to survive, to stay alive. I had the infinite luck to have my daughters and my brother living overseas, and they are the ones who helped me and encouraged me to emigrate.

Before traveling to Spain, I tried to get some cash. It was such an ordeal, something really dramatic. We haven’t had paper money in over a year. When I went to go and withdraw my pension, there was no money at the bank. I saw elderly men and women crying because they did not know how to use their debit cards to pay for things. Many didn’t have the internet, a computer or simply didn’t remember their pin numbers. I remember them complaining about not finding their medication or not being able to afford it anymore. It was all really depressing.

People go to work by hopping on cargo trucks by the hundreds as if they were horses. Crime is rampant; life is worthless; adults and children sift through garbage for food. It is something really Dantesque.

That made me migrate. I saw my own personal holocaust way too close for comfort, even as privileged as I am. I had to wake up, take action, and avoid being run over by the worsening misery. It’s amazing how a government can ruin a country. How can it already be 20 years, and things still manage to get worse. Why are they trying to take our dignity away and our will to fight for our rights? We have seen our younger generations die trying to defend their country, as they are murdered point blank by officials.

Criminals kill people all the time just to steal their shoes, jewelry, cars, and lately, even their bags of groceries. People are dying in the hospitals from all the blackouts, the lack of supplies and the lack of sanitary conditions and even running water. How can you survive under circumstances like this?

I really don’t know what I’ll do, but I can’t go back home. It’s my life that’s on the line here. I can’t go back to get malnourished, broke, sick, abandoned and lose everything I fought for my whole life. I prefer to tell my story as an outsider, as someone who was forced to abandon her lovely land and I never will give up on the hope that one day, not very far away, Venezuela, our beautiful and blessed country, will break free from the power of evil that’s haunting us and that all of us Venezuelans gathered around the world will again have a place to call home. Again have the land that they dreamed of.”

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 Veronica Cordido

The Crib of Uncertainty – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Instability, A Stable Reality – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Hanging by Extremes – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: Venezuela – Waiting in the rain – Daisy Camargo (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

For you to understand the dimensions of this story, I will tell you what happened to me yesterday, Friday, September 28, 2018.

On this day, we, the retirees, get our pension from the bank.

Due to the huge shortage of currency in Venezuela right now, I woke up very early, hoping I would be there early enough to get some cash at least. I was already on my way to the bank by 6:30 a.m. since, mind you, I must travel to another state because there are no banks in this small town, and, despite departing at the crack of dawn, I ran into trouble.

The problem is that, due to the absence of cash, the insecurity that we live with every day and the lack of spare parts plus their high cost mean that public transportation in Venezuela is a thing of the past.

I waited for over 2 hours at the bus stop and only 3 buses came, not enough for even half of the people who were waiting to commute. Since this is a common problem nowadays, there’s a new means of transportation now; trucks that are designed to transport construction materials and even livestock, trucks that are designed to carry 350, 600 and 750 heavy units are now being used for the mass commuting of humans.

I had seen it before and swore I would never hop onto one of those in my life, but as the saying goes: “never say never” and in the middle of my desperation and having no other viable option, I hopped on a truck like a cow or a pig, cramped in with 99 Venezuelans more. No matter what I say or write, unless you live it, you can never imagine what it’s like to be so humiliated, so hopeless, so helpless.

Things didn’t end there, though. Once I got to the bank, it was swarming with so many people, so many retirees like me. Then I remembered that the Government of Venezuela, due to the lack of cash, had set that specific day for retirees to get their whole pension, so I waited for hours. The bank lost their line for about one hour and, by the time that it was my turn, I had already waited for five hours and they were low on cash. So, in the end, they gave me half of what I was supposed to receive.

Tired from standing in a line for so long, with no seats, no food, no water, I went back, in resignation, to the place where you catch a truck or a bus to go back home, but this time, because it was late, they were charging 4.5 to 6 times more than the regular price, and there was still no spot and a long wait. Luckily for me, although this doesn’t sound lucky at all, I am in very good shape and, at 62 years old, I was able to hop on a small bus and hang myself from the door, with my body dangling halfway out, and finally I made it back home.

I spent a total of 12 hours on my feet, in unbearable heat, with nothing to eat or drink but some sugared water, just to receive half of what I should have gotten for my pension as a retiree. A whole day of my life gone in this precarious way, and that happens every day. Do you think that the elder should endure the treatment that we are currently receiving here? This is an issue of human rights, and it should concern the world.

And just to wrap it up with an important point that affects all migrating and undocumented Venezuelans worldwide who simply do not have a choice:

I have had an expired Identity Card for the past 3 years and there’s no way that SAIME, The Venezuelan Government institution in charge of issuing IDs and passports will renew it, and, as for my old passport? They held on to it when I went in for a renewal, and I’ve been waiting on it for the same long 3 years. And why is that? If you ask me? They want to hold us all prisoners; they don’t want the world to see what’s really happening.

There are already more than 5 million Venezuelans who have recently left the country, which has taken a heavy toll on the countries hosting our massive exodus. The situation that Venezuela has been going through is unprecedented and it’s threatening all of Latin America. I don’t think they want us to go. I think they want us to die and that’s what scares me the most, to die alone. Ironically, it’s only thanks to their help that I can live here and survive, but all my family has already left, my sister, my nieces… I’m already 62, poor and undocumented, not by my will, but by force, and I don’t want to die alone.

And as I write this, I don’t know what I’ll eat today since I’m out of cooking gas. Venezuela, the country with the highest oil reserves worldwide has a shortage of cooking gas, car oil and even gasoline at times. And that’s how I feel, like the tittle of my story, where all I can do is sit and watch how my life and my future slips through my hands no matter how tightly I try to hold on to it. My name is Pedro, and I’m your average senior male citizen trying to survive in Venezuela.”

(…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 Veronica Cordido

The Crib of Uncertainty – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Instability, A Stable Reality – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Hanging by Extremes – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)

Emblems and stories on the international community

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

Credits

Cover photo: Caracas, Venezuela – Liberator avenue – Johanna Wallace (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed