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Perhaps all you know that when we are young, and in the adult life too, there are two different ways to learn something: one is the good way and the other one is, as you can imagine, the bad way. I have always heard mothers – including mine and may be yours– saying wise phrases like: “Wash your hands before eating!” This is an example of the good way, with this one you learned to be a healthy person and remain healthy too. Another one is: “Don´t pick your nose little John.” I´m pretty sure that none of us paid attention to this until we had the little red line falling from our nose to the ground, and all we could do was listening our holy mothers say: “You see! I told you.”
Well this is a short story for your consideration. I think I was 14 or 15 years old. Also there was a little boy, my cousin. He was like 4 or 5 years old. I was resting after a long day at school and my little cousin was playing with some soil and little plastic soldiers may be with the images of “Storm desert” in his mind. You know how kids are; they like to imitate everything, even the bad things. We had other cousins that were always in my house after school, but they went to school on afternoon. That´s why I heard one of my aunts yelling at me: “Armandoooo! It´s very late, I´m making dinner, and I need you to go to your cousin´s school and bring them home!”
We were one of those families that once in life –I don´t know if this was because of necessity or because they wanted to keep the family together or something similar– lived in the same big house with other members of your also big family which occupied the rest of the rooms of the house. And I don´t know if you know but that means that one is potentially responsible of all relatives.
Well, I accepted the gently words from my aunt and I went out to get my cousins but not until I found a partner for the difficult trip of three and a half streets, so I asked the little boy to join me. Perhaps this does not sounds very difficult, but in those days some streets doesn´t were completely full of pavement, some places were just soil, dust and mud.
So I asked my little cousin as I said. The day was cold I remember. I specially remember this because he was wearing a nice jacket, maybe white, I don´t know, the point is that he was wearing it with the intention of not taking it off for any reason. That´s why I said that was a cold day but maybe he just liked his jacket so much that he was not thinking about anything else but wearing it. We left home and walked a few steps and we began to show our skills climbing on small rocks, we jumped ponds of mud, and other things. I noticed that my little cousin´s abilities were so good that I did not worry at all about the always mother´s concern of cleanness. However, I realized of something and I gave him an advice: “You must take out your hands of your jacket´s pockets. You can fall and get harmed.” I also realized that I was talking to a kid and he didn´t care about his personal welfare: “You can play better if you take your hands out of your pockets.” I said. Of course he didn´t do what I had just suggest him and he continued playing in exactly the same way as if keeping his hands inside the pockets were a sign of how much he enjoy to wear his jacket.
Not long after my advice I began to run because the school was near and so did my cousin. And then… my sight was slower than the perception of him falling to the ground, right to the dust, of course with his two hands inside his jacket´s pockets… he couldn´t stop the fall but with his nose. The tears were imminent, also the screams and kicking… I ran to lift him and I noticed that there was much more dust than face. I tried to stop his crying and hardly thought about something which made him feel better… but I couldn´t, I just let time be his cure…
This was a little story for your consideration, as I said. All stories have a part of fiction, perhaps to hide some aspects, and mine is not the exception. An awful felling of keeping things true is that it obliges me to tell you a little secret. All injuries leave scars, maybe not just physical scars. If the problem was not exactly in your body, one can say that the scar is in the emotional part of your person. In those cases one of the most painful part to be hurt is your pride. And my own pride is going to be hurt after this. If you look at me carefully you will noticed that I have two tiny lines across my nose, lines that could have been caused by a fall, a fall straight to the ground, a fall caused by running without paying attention to the rocks on the streets, and finally, a fall that you might have not been able to stop because you were running with the hands in your pockets of your favorite jacket… Yes, as you are imagining, I was that little kid…
Frank Sinatra said once: “I did it my way”, and “my way” on that day, with all the pain of my heart, was the bad way.
Armando Lavalle Terrón