Get On before Me?
While in the train station, I noticed people from the Third World boarding trains heading toward the past. Meanwhile people from the First World were boarding trains bound for the future. After a short while, two men from the Third World caught my eye. They were trying to board a train to the future. Each of them was beseeching the other in God’s name to get on board before him.
While this was happening, the train left the station moving very fast. The two men remained frozen in their places, stupefied with amazement. But they quickly went off toward the train of the past, pushing and shoving each other violently.
One day there came a knocking in a dancing rhythm on my door. I opened it and saw Luck standing before me. I didn’t believe my eyes. He wore the clothes of kings, a belt of glories around his waist . . . the crown of happiness on his head. Shedding golden tears of joy, he hugged me close. He let me taste delicious words of praise and wiped my polar forehead with the spring of his hand. I brought him into my frustrated home, and amazement entered with him. I said to him: “Life is very generous with her avarice . . . the snows of stinginess pursue me night and day.”
He answered me: “I will infuse your heart drop by drop with heaven’s essence.”
We became the best of friends. I gave him all the little that I owned. He gave me everything. We dragged the misery of the world by the hair and spat on him and threw him to the ground. We put our feet on his head. We walked the road of laughter until its end. The knight of vanities rode the donkey of my stupidity—the knight who obeyed nothing but the orders of Luck who had adopted me. And I was a slave between his diamond hands.
I scattered as many treasures as there were milliseconds. Dissipation considered me with astonishment. He said to me: “Be reasonable, you idiot!”
I rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet! Luck holds me as a mother holds her sickly nursing child. He winks to me now and again saying, ‘Don’t worry. I am with you.’”
One evening I woke worn out by luxury. Luck’s empty bed struck me like a bolt of lightning. His closet had been emptied of everything but tragic surprise: without a word, he left me secure in the hands of betrayal. I set out into the street, racing against my madness. I cut houses and cities into tiny bits looking for him. I found him in one of the wealthy suburbs, arm in arm with a man. I heard him promise that man just what he had promised me. I saw him wink to that man as he had winked to me. I ran up to him, my thoughts unkempt. I scolded him hotly and cried at his feet, the poison gas of betrayal choking my speech. He looked at me as a mathematician looks at his symbols, then went away from me, going off with his new friend.
I returned to the house, pulling behind me the torn limbs of my happiness. I found the world’s misery waiting for me, his strength fully recovered. The explosions of his laughter crumbled what remained of the weakened structure of myself. He dragged me by the hair and spat on me and threw me to the ground. He put his feet on my head. He spoke aridly: “You are my servant forever.”
With disaster-stricken voice I begged him to leave me alone . . . but it was too late.
In a cafe looking out over the shore of a sea of pedestrians swelling with heads and bodies of different shapes and sizes, he looked at the ash of his cigarette in the ashtray and wondered with anguish about a way to flick the ash of his burned soul when the need arose and the appropriate ashtray for such a task.
Clouds of hot steam rose in his flushed skies. He happened to turn toward the groups of pedestrians on the sidewalk next to the cafe, heads rising and falling like the undulation of waves far out at sea, brains swaying with life . . . with the rising and the falling.
He considered their faces seared by the fire of melancholy and the hell of privation. He considered the old people whose backs had been bowed by time, getting ready to release the arrows of their souls into the next world.=
Suddenly the brightly colored flag of her image fluttered in his autumn skies, and spring was born. His life opened with joy, he kissed it with tenderness . . . with tenderness. He inhaled deeply, its perfume still burning, a flag made from the light of angels, moved by the breeze of her scent. “Where is she now?” he asked himself again and again. “She must be married with children.” But he steeled himself and looked at his memories with a cold gaze before they could continue their harrowing narrative. He felt for his pillbox in his coat pocket. He looked at the deep wound of his life that resembled the crater of a volcano exhausted by eruptions and extinguished despite itself.
He felt around for the ash of his soul, wondering how to extract it and scatter it beneath the iron wheels of life’s vehicle.
With a fearful heart I opened the door of human destiny. Hundreds of crows flew into my face, their cawing deafening my ears. I saw the future lying on a torn couch. Near his head was a red table on which were placed long lines of medicine bottles and three extinguished candles. His body was withered and wrinkled. His chest rose and fell with tragic speed as the angel of death, full of childlike happiness, jumped up and down on him. With difficulty I tried to pierce the terror of the death vigil. At his feet was a pile of dead hopes, falling continuously from the human family tree. The ceiling was low like a person crowned with shame. The walls were narrow like the mind of man blinded by fanaticism. I put my trembling hand on the forehead of human future. I jumped back at the extreme heat. I held his gnarled hand and, looking at his protruding veins and ravaged nails, I kissed it. He looked at the ceiling with eyes lost in the desert of existence as the rhythm of the angel of death jumping up and down on him grew faster. He opened his mouth with a herculean struggle and spoke coded words. In vain I tried to translate them. The cawing of the crows burst my eardrums. The dead hopes fell over me. After a few trembling moments he gave up his soul, letting out a scream that destroyed the pillars of humanity.