Chapter 9

Distress

Illustration de Paloma Agüera

I had not finished the ice cream I had been licking since the boardwalk, when we entered the courtyard of the aparthotel where we summered every year. We had just arrived from a family dinner, from telling jokes in a beach bar where we always had for dinner what we liked most at that time of the year: sardine skewers with a glass of gazpacho. In the building of fourteen floors and eight hundred rooms at the front line, there were many people spread between the restaurant on floor 0, the one on floor 6, the games room on the fifth floor, the theater, the 24-hour gym and in the small, illuminated terraces of each of the apartments. That night I had trouble sleeping, I was worried imagining the lives of those other people, other families, who had decided that, that night, they would not go to the boardwalk. I imagined them making homemade pizza, enjoying a card game, going to the show offered by the aparthotel entertainment or making friends at the billiards on the fifth floor.

The next day, tired from a full day at the beach, it was late to go for a walk and have some fried fish for dinner near the port. We made homemade pizza, turned on the light on our terrace and, after a card game, we had a rematch at the billiard table on the fifth floor. That night I had trouble sleeping, I was worried imagining all the lives of those other people, other families, who had decided that, that night, they would not stay at the aparthotel. I imagined them telling jokes at a beach bar while eating sardine skewers and a glass of gazpacho. Then they would go for an ice cream on the boardwalk.

This first summer, the first one since I was told, without any certainty, my expiration date, I was aware that before the possible one, the warned one, the one I had a 50% chance of having, I was already starting to have a disease with the name “fear” and the last name “to miss something”.

And, since then, my life has become a distress (sinvivir) caused by my desire to live (vivir).

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