Chapter 4


Illustration de Paloma Agüera

Years after that attempt, when I understood the magnitude of life itself and, therefore, of death, I picked up his diary to find out why he wanted to commit suicide: the worst thing that could happen to him was that he would survive.

August 14, 2002

“I recently stumbled down the street and looked back as if there was something to have caused it. Nothing, I suppose: new sneakers that grip too well. That same day I got in a big rant over a small thing, a stain on my suit made me scream again. She told me not to worry, that it would be fixed by washing it.

Another day, maybe a week later, another stumble knocked me to the ground. I looked back for something to have caused it: nothing. I shook off my knees and dissimulated. After that fall, the one that brought me to the ground altogether, I started walking from side to side. Because of the pain, I suppose. A week later, I thought about going to work by car, so I could avoid walking (I could not retrieve a steady walk, even though it no longer hurt), but I could not find it, so I ended up reporting the theft. It was in the back street. I was absent-minded, we all have been there. 

I took the subway to work again. But before long I stopped remembering the transfer, the line and even where the office was. I could spend an hour looking at the map trying to figure out which stop I was at or where the office was. I was always late, I got fired. Fourth job in six months. The crisis, I supposed. We argued a lot, not so much about the job, more about the stains on my suit, all the house keys I lost, my screams at the wrong time (right now I don’t quite remember why). We would get into fights over insignificant things, she would tell me.

I’ve had several stumbles in the same day for a while now, but I don’t look back anymore, I think it’s all in my legs, or in my head. Last week I choked one night eating a pork skewer and I got angry, very angry, as if it wasn’t my fault, as if, like the stains on the suit, they were put there by others. I asked her to divorce me, and I still don’t know why”.

August 18, 2002

“I have an appointment at the health centre. Now that I’m living with her, my mother is beginning to think that all this is not a coincidence. I stumble, I forget, I argue. Like yesterday, like the day before yesterday, like a few months ago. I’m scared.” His last two pages. Anxiety would no longer let him write, so I suppose he was writing to understand that day when he wanted to take his life:

The physician. The genetics. The result of a test: positive. And all that’s to come, I would assume. A wheelchair, the drool hanging. Everything he hadn’t been told. Too bad he still had neurons left for imagination. The mind fills in the blanks and often gets it right. Tremors of fear and sickness. He would be tied to a chair, to a bed. He would end up eating through a tube, breathing through another, forgetting who his children were. Vegetable. Less than a plant. Alone. White walls of a residence. Somniferous.

He ran away so as not to experience concrete certainties. “I can’t” he ended up saying on that bench in El Retiro park. It’s not so easy to die, I suppose.

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