Chapter 18

I just wanted a hug

Illustration de Paloma Agüera

I come back to Spain after a year and the first thing I do is not to go see him. I understand, or so I want to believe, that I have a multitude of better things to do than seeing a person who I have long considered a vegetable, bedridden and without even knowing that I am the person in front of him, with all the things I have to tell. 

The first thing is to meet some friends, here and there. To look for a job, a house, to brag about my experience doing the Americas. The third thing is to try to repeat the first thing and keep having excuses not to see him, to run away, as if it had not been enough to spend a year on the other side of the Atlantic.

Months go by and I don’t go to the care home where he has been slowly perishing for a long time. He had been dead to me for a long time, and ever since he almost hit me with the sword, I had been trying for years to make him disappear completely, as if burying him alive would spare me his inheritance.

Until he resurrected. Now he is with me forever, more alive than ever, and I am writing to “him”.

Subject: I think he was waiting for me

Hello, A.

I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen or spoken to each other. Since I was discharged, I have handled very well waking up in the morning, the anxiety, crying from time to time, the black birds, my algorithm; I have had no “need” of you. So, I want you to take this like an old friend who hears a song that brings back fond memories or visits a city you were in together and writes to you.

In spite of the years, three years now, I have a thought and a feeling that never goes away, a kind of esoteric theory that I would not have been able to believe at another time but that, since it does not go away, I give it form, scrutinize and make it mine, like a lady praying on her knees with a rosary in her hand and believing her words.

When the bug that settled in my chest and in my head began to get smaller, I could see, with the clarity that comes from coming out of a depression, that my father died to see me for the last time. He waited for me just until that moment when he could have done it at any other time. Before I went to live in South America, while I was there, a few years later. But he died because he knew I was back, that I didn’t want to see him and because, I don’t know, I’m ashamed to write it, he felt the need for me to give him a hug, a kiss, to spend that last night.

I don’t know why I am writing you this, maybe to confirm that I am not crazy for believing that such a sick person, without speech, without reasoning, without the ability to hold his sphincters, was able to recognize the need to feel his son with any of his senses, if he had any left. Maybe to tell me to stop believing in ghosts, in spirits, in the religion I have never believed in. I am writing to you, surely, because the guilt weighs on me, because the mind, in search of solutions, is capable of believing and creating transcendental characters. As myths were created, as I, now, mystify my old man.

I am grateful that you read me and that, with that alone, it is enough for me.

Hello, dear.

I don’t know if as a psychologist I could answer you. We are fighting for psychology to be considered, at last, as a science. But there is a supernatural thing that is so earthly that I can’t stop believing in it and that thing is called love. I’ll allow you to call it esotericism, but it doesn’t do our profession any favors.

Jokes aside, what if I told you that he didn’t just want to say goodbye? What if I told you that, by leaving, he wanted you to start not turning your back on him? But not just on him or on the disease, on your life! Surely, he wanted you to know that the sword, Damocles, had many things to tell you about him but, above all, about you.

Now, at last, you are in life, and it’s fucked up, but it’s yours. And what greater act of love is there than for a father, for the second time, to give you life. I imagine all the guilt and regret that accompany those thoughts. There’s a lot of shit there that we’ve already seen dear, but at least there’s something, something more than in running away.

Enjoy believing in this last act of love because, contrary to what is said, this love does last forever.

Don’t stop writing to me, please.

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