Friday, July 27, 2018

Of the verb to miss

It takes time to transform the absence of a loved one into a good memory, a nostalgia that does not hurt.

  By Cris Guerra

My son wants to visit his father's grave. It will be their first meeting - Guillermo passed away when I was in the eighth month of pregnancy. Francisco is 11 years old, the same age as his father's death - time with one is time without the other.
Your unprecedented request has brought me a contradictory feeling. I was glad to see him willing to take that fault. To build nostalgia is to make real his story with the father that he did not have time to know and who feels the absence, but not the lack. On the other hand, perhaps I would rather spare him the pain of lodging a hole, that silence that deafens. When my mother died, my father spread his objects around the house, like traces that could tell a different story. The slipper, the knitting basket, the glasses. Seven years later, it was his turn. Of the lack of the two, I made a picture of the whole wall to wake up, to continue saying good morning. 
Failure is a door where no one enters. An echo inside us. The other suddenly blesses himself: he does not speak to us anymore, he does not give a phone call, he even provokes antipathy. The darn has the power to romanticize even what it was not. He transforms dialogue into a monologue, steals the object of love and leaves him dizzy, not knowing where to go. It is a time when we lose ourselves. A kind of condemnation, since death is perpetual - the impression is that we die together, so much the pain of existing. Too bad for so much time ahead. And no use lying down and sleeping, because the next day the fault is born again, along with the sun. Worse: some presences sharpen it. And then who wants to miss is us. Shrink and disappear once and for all.  
Failure often takes up too much space. Until we went out in search of our own presence. In the name of moving on, I made the absence of a habit, until it became scenery. Along the road, I confess, every now and then a wind of pain came through an unsuspected gap, stroking my skin with a chill of sadness. I thought I would feel those chills forever, like someone with a chronic illness. A rheumatism of love that from time to time it perpetuates and mistreats. 
Turning missing in longing is like making origami. Fold the white paper until it flies. Until the love is more than the person. A framed feeling, a picture that tells me a story - that does not even seem to be mine anymore.
Over time, I learned to live with absence as if it were a person - and it is. More than an interruption, lack is a way to stay forever. One to continue existing, now being part of who we love. By ritualizing his father's longing, Francisco names his pains and joys and gives each one his role. It transforms the missing absence. Draw your origin, build a north to look at.

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