Every time I tried to draw water from the well, the bucket came out dry in the desert of my acquaintances. Parents or personal tragedies, as a subject, was forbidden throughout society. For decades I couldn’t cover the topic with anyone.
For the human galaxy of those who commit suicide that history has seen, ‘at least one soul in the entire world’ could have saved them, some confessed. But they had no one to show solidarity with them and they killed themselves. How many millions of humans could have written a History of My Mind like the one the poet Kleist threw into the flames before blowing his brains out? Throughout my twenties and thirties something similar happened to me: I couldn’t write when I had everything ready to do so. Nor could I study a career, and what is worse, I didn’t understand why. In addition to the Letter I had written, my will faded away as I tried other enterprises. Then someone appeared in my life.
The day before I received your letter. How long the mail takes!
I have finished reading your book, it is so shocking and disturbing that sometimes I had to stop reading because of the sadness and pain I felt. It made me think and once I started to cry and I better stopped reading it because I was going to wet the pages… I understand your suffering and at the same time I admire your strength. Another lad would have become an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homosexual, a robber or whatnot.
Despite everything, I imagine that your parents love you, as well as you love them. How good it would be if they recognised the damage they caused you and changed their attitude towards you. The past could no longer be changed, but perhaps you would feel better in your self-esteem. (I think deep down they feel remorse, but they don’t want to admit it. How humility is necessary to recognise one’s mistakes.)
November 24, 1998. And you walking through those gloomy streets of Manchester, at midnight, with the solitude of Chirico’s paintings. Like a repetitive nightmare: the teenage Caesar slapped and alone. The one who lost his family and only loved his tree. The Caesar who walked around in his bedroom at his grandmother’s house when he turned thirty…
July 17, 1999. The letter you want to send to your mother (‘Postscript: I will never forget the golden stage that, thanks to you, dad and my siblings, I passed as a child in the house in Palenque’) touched me. I really like that about you.
But I am very sad that there is no reconciliation with your family. I felt a lump in my throat when I read your postscript: you love them Caesar. I can’t understand why your parents harden their hearts—they love you too! How sad that out of pride, for reasons unknown, they don’t come near you. How would it feel to lose their child? I don’t want them to leave this world with that abyss towards you…
Don’t take me wrong, believe me it comes from my heart.
Returning to the country after a year in the gloomy and rainy city of Manchester, and speaking with her in person, she confessed to me that upon reaching the passage of my Letter where I put on a jacket when running away from home when my father hit me, she felt like a Thumbelina like the one in the children’s story. That Thumbelina, she told me, although she couldn’t travel back in time to that night in April 1976 and console myself, felt all the intensity of my tragedy. She wanted to be, although at least as small as the character in the story, an inner voice of comfort in my heart during the most crucial night of my life.
Paulina’s compassion was the cure for my soul: the antithesis of all the offenses of so many people over so many years. A single word of comfort can save a life. It’s like seeing life in colour again after centuries of seeing everything in black and white. ‘If at least one soul in the whole world…’ said those who would commit suicide.
But they had none.