I despised this carpet from the moment I stepped on it, almost 3 years ago. But I had no choice, don’t you get it? It was the only space available for my hope-nothing-hope transition.
I am Nađa, whose name was filtered by the passport control devices on several occasions, which, in its new version – Nada, has been serving me for the past years due to the untranslatable Serbian letter đ. Nadja is a Slavic female name, known in Arabic as Nadia, and in Russian Надія – in both languages meaning hope. However, in an international context, my new name Nada is translated as nothing in most cases. Hope becomes nothing in this migration, nothing to hope for becomes my life, and hoping for nothing my ultimate goal.
Today, I woke up sad as if everything drowned. But I had no choice, don’t you get it? I am thinking about the projects. What if the Crying Classroom takes place in my own room, outpouring the tears absorbed on this ugly carpet?
Who covers the whole flat with a carpet? I still have not met the owner of the flat so I can ask him. Still, I am squeezing my eye lobes on its surface while waiting for a change (of the carpet’s color at least). As it is becoming wet, the gray dots of its texture transform to a dark blue color. I start liking it more. Should I cry more? Should I cry a river? An ocean? A carpet?
Today, my tears are labeled with pressure. The pressure of this moment, partially yesterday, inevitably this evening, and always of tomorrow. The pressure dissolves my body, takes control of my actions, hurts my mind, and makes me sick. The pressure of you, of the screens, people, days, objects, him, definitely her, and myself.
I am sitting on the floor of my room imagining the person that will inhabit it after me. Will they try to untangle the complex history of this carpet as well?
A short story and performative reading by Camilo Londoño Hernández
[Al final todos muertos]
Te matarán. Me matarán. Nos matarán. Me matarás. Me mataste. Os mataréis. Los mataron. Por hijueputas. Por maricas. Por pendejos. Por guerrillos. Por paracos. Por pendejos. Por maricas. Por campesinos. Por ciudadanos. Al final…¡Todos muertos!
Iba vestido de azul oscuro. El buzo y el jean monocromáticos parecían una sola prenda casi un overol de obrero en turno de domingo. Cuando el vidrio del bus le dio reflejo a su rostro se sintió como un cursi poema.
No podía arreglarlo. Tres de la tarde.
Jairo, Jota, su amigo, el muerto, se estaría descomponiendo mientras él pensaba en la mejor ropa que podía llevar a un velorio. Aunque era cierto, su cita no era con Jota; lo que lo esperaba era tan sólo eso: el cuerpo. El cuerpo sudoroso, bañado, agasajado, estirado, moribundo, petrificado, exaltado, muerto, agrio, frío, tibio, cercano, triste, ajeno, en llanto, vacío. El cuerpo de Jairo y los dedos extrañamente redondeados por las uñas, con los nudillos lisos y los huesos gordos, pesados. La columna y esa cicatriz en la espalda baja, como mirando sobre sí, hacia la carne.
-Es de una cirugía.
-De niño. No nos conocíamos.
Eso es lo que iba a ver. El cuerpo de su amigo, Jairo, su amante. Las rodillas sucias, los hombros en triángulo, la barriga ancha, los ojos para adentro, tranquilos, pesados, muertos sobre su cuerpo.
Eran la tres de la tarde. Jairo Fernández. Sala 6.
Esculcó el cementerio con la mirada y se adentró en el laberinto de puertas, nombres y ataúdes. Las escalas eran amarillas y las paredes blancas casi grises como huesos en formol. De tanto en tanto, entre las puertas o por los pasillos, pasaban negras manchas de gente, y a veces, por error, alguna mujer anciana se movía con una camisa ancha y florida rompiendo el ritmo solemne de los cuartos de velación.
A pesar de de ser un espacio pequeño, en ese cuarto se podían encontrar todas las personas con las que un ser humano se puede cruzar en la vida. Desconocía lo popular que llegaría a ser la muerte de su amigo. Se asombró. Respiró con espantosa esperanza y se zambulló entre la masa como un pequeño cuerpo inmerso en otro más grande. Al detallar el ataúd observó que la ventanita que deja ver el rostro de los muertos estaba cerrada. Intentó abrirla pero no pudo. Del tumulto estallaron voces y llantos con sensación a chisme. Las señoras empezaron los rezos confundiéndolas con anécdotas que no correspondían al novenario.
-¡Pobre Jairito, cómo quedó de desfigurado!
-¡Ay mija, es que ahora no respetan nada!
-¡Qué pesar de ese muchacho, con el cuerpo tan bonito que tenía!
En medio de los murmullos pensó que no sabía cómo fue la muerte de Jota. Una amiga en común había dejado un mensaje entrecortado, entre llantos, en el celular. “¡Jueputa!, Jota, lo mataron, lo mataron, a Jairo, ¡a nuestro Jota!”. Él intentó devolverle la llamada, pero no obtuvo respuesta. Solo un mensaje de texto rápido con el nombre del velatorio y la dirección. Y ahora él estaba ahí, vestido con un mal color azul, mirando una caja sin saber por qué.
“Dos cuchilladas en la espalda para volverle a abrir la cicatriz”. “A él lo torturaron agarrándole el pene con pinzas eléctricas”. “Después de robarle y golpearlo, le metieron un revolver en el culo y al disparar, las tripas se expulsaron por el ombligo”. “¡Para que aprenda por… ¡marica!” Seguro Jairo tendría el ano caliente. Ya no tendría más esa cicatriz.
Rozó el cajón con los dedos y desarmó cualquier imagen que sentía sobre los párpados. Sabía que el cuerpo de Jairo estaba ahí y aunque de él sí recordaba cierto calor en la piel, al tocar la madera del cofre sentía un cuerpo frío, ni si quiera tibio, frío como una nube de lluvia o un dulce en el refrigerador.
Un grito cortó el barullo del salón. La madre, como sostenida por el aire, caminó hacia el féretro mientras la habitación se vaciaba. Él también se movió. Ella gritaba como una fruta e podrida que destila jugos amargos. No hubiese imaginado que la madre de Jota luciera así. Para él, aquella máquina de gritos debía ser una señora más alta, más gorda y con menos llanto sobre la lengua. No importaba. Él también le había mentido a Jairo sobre sus padres.
-Viven en el Caribe. Por eso nunca están en la ciudad.
Sin embargo, aquella mujer resultaba siendo lo más familiar que había visto desde que ingresó al cementerio. Su amiga no estaba. Unos compañeros que pensaba encontrarse, tampoco; y el cuerpo, lo único conocido y memorizado para él, lo que motivaba aquella cita, parecía no estar ahí. “Desafortunado encuentro”, pensó sin poder llorar.
Salió a buscar un café y al regresar leyó en la cartelera que se estiraba sobre la puerta del velatorio: “Jairo Hernández. Sala 6”.
Repasó las letras incrédulo.
Jairo Hernández. Fernández. Hernández. Jairo. Jota. Juego. Jugo. Muerte. Coja. Ardor. Sudor. Amor. Canción. Soledad. Calle. Amor. Aquí huele feo. ¿Quieres caminar? Sigamos por aquí. Me duele. Tengo sueño. Vamos a comer. Esta noche no puedo. La otra semana puede ser.
Quiso bostezar, abrir la boca para simular un grito. Pensó en Jairo y se le cerró la mandíbula con un suspiro. Volvió a repasar la escena tétrica que tenía en frente y se quitó el buzo azul para destapar la imagen de una caricatura fluorescente que se estallaba sobre una camiseta blanca. No intentó buscar la verdadera sala de velación, ni llamar a su amiga, ni redimir su cita con el amor ni la muerte. Salió del cementerio con el suéter sobre los hombros y las mangas vacías rebotándole contra la espalda. Caminó hasta el siguiente parque, donde se sentó a esperar que el sol, cansado del día, se hiciera azul.
[In the end all dead]
They will kill you. They will kill me. They will kill us. You will kill me. You will kill me. You will kill each other. They killed them. For motherfuckers. For faggots. By assholes. By guerrillas. By paramilitaries. By assholes. For faggots. For peasants. In the end… All dead!
He was dressed in dark blue. The monochromatic sweater and jeans looked like a single garment, almost like the overalls of a worker on a Sunday shift. When he saw his face reflected in the bus glass, it felt like a corny poem.
He couldn’t fix it. It was three o’clock in the afternoon.
Jairo, Jota, his friend, the dead man, was decomposing, and he was thinking about the best clothes to wear for a funeral. But his date was not with Jota. What awaited him was just that: the body. The sweaty body, bathed, showered, entertained, stretched, dying, petrified, exalted, dead, sour, cold, lukewarm, close, sad, alien, crying, empty. Jairo’s body and fingers were strangely rounded by nails, with smooth knuckles and fat, heavy bones. The spine and that scar on the lower back, as if it looks over itself, toward the flesh.
-It’s from surgery.
-A long time ago?
-I was a child, and we didn’t know each other yet.
That’s what he went to see: the body of his friend, Jairo. His lover and his dirty knees, his triangular shoulders, his thick belly, his inward eyes, quiet, heavy, dead on his body.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Jairo Fernandez. Room 6.
He scanned the cemetery with his eyes and entered the labyrinth of doors, names, and coffins. The stairs were yellow, and the walls were white, almost gray, like bones in formaldehyde. In between the doors and along the corridors, crowds dressed in black walked around. Once in a while, by mistake, one old woman moved in an oversize shirt with flowers breaking the solemn rhythm of the wake rooms.
Despite being a small space, in that room, you could find all of the people that one human being could come across in life. He did not know how popular his friend’s death would become. He was amazed. He breathed with frightened hope and plunged into the mass as a small body immersed in a larger one. As he examined the coffin, he noticed that the little window that normally shows the face of the corpse was closed. He tried to open it but could not. From the tumult burst voices and cries that felt like gossip. The ladies began the prayers, confusing them with anecdotes that did not correspond to the novena.
-Poor Jairito, how disfigured he was!
-Oh, my dear, they don’t respect anything now!
-What a pity about that boy, with the beautiful body he had!
In the middle of the murmurs, he realized he didn’t know how Jota’s death happened. One mutual friend had left a broken message, in tears, on his cell phone. “Fuck! Jota! They killed him, they killed him, they killed him! They killed Jairo, our Jota!” He tried to call her back but got no answer, just a quick text message with the name of the cemetery and the address instead. And now he was there, dressed in an ugly blue, staring at a box without knowing why.
“Two stabs in the back to reopen his scar.” “They tortured him by grabbing his penis with electric pliers.” “After robbing and beating him, they stuck a revolver up his ass and when they fired, the guts were expelled through his belly button.” “So that’s how he learns … faggot!” Surely, Jairo would have a warm anus. He wouldn’t have that scar anymore.
He brushed the drawer with his fingers and erased whatever image he felt on his eyelids. He knew Jairo’s body was there. Although he remembered a certain warmth on his skin when he touched the coffin’s wood, he felt a cold body, not even warm, cold like a rain cloud or a candy bar in the fridge.
A scream cut through the hubbub of the room. The mother, as if held by the air, walked towards the coffin as the room emptied. He also moved. She screamed like a rotten fruit that exudes bitter juices. He would not have imagined that Jota’s mother looked like that. To him, that screaming machine must have been a taller, fatter lady with less crying on her tongue. It didn’t matter. He had lied to Jairo about his parents, too.
-They live in the Caribbean. That’s why they are never in town.
However, that woman was the most familiar thing he had seen since he entered the cemetery. Her friend was not there. And the body, the only thing known and memorized to him, the reason for the meeting, did not seem to be there. “Unfortunate encounter,” he thought without being able to cry.
He went out to get a coffee. When he returned to the room of the wake, he read the sign stretched over the door: “Jairo Hernandez. Room 6”.
He went over the letters in disbelief.
Jairo Hernández. Fernández. Hernández. Jairo. Jota. Game. Juice. Death. Lame. Burning. Sweat. Love. Song. Loneliness. Street. Love. It smells bad in here. Do you want to walk? Let’s go this way. It hurts. I’m sleepy. Let’s eat. I can’t tonight. Maybe next week.
He wanted to yawn to open his mouth and simulate a scream. He thought of Jairo. He closed his jaw with a sigh. He went back over the gloomy scene in front of him and took off his blue sweater. An image of a fluorescent cartoon exploding on a white T-shirt was uncovered. He didn’t try to find the real wake room, call his friend, or attend his date with love and death. He left the cemetery with the sweater over his shoulders and the empty sleeves bouncing against his back. He walked to the next park. There, he sat waiting for the day-weary sun to turn blue.
This is an open [personal] selection to share with my classmates at the Crying Institute. The procedure and methods to select them are based on personal affections and interpretations regarding crying and literature. Its curatorial process does not represent either a universal understanding of crying or a conclusive approach to Latin American literature.
Analú Laferal. Ladrida.
En la ceremonia, en un punto importante del despliegue, le pidieron hablar a las mujeres asistentes —mientras el tambor acompañaba a todas las que se autoreconocían como una —. Después, el turno de los hombres: sus voces retumbaban en el espacio con la seguridad de esa provocación. Me perdí, cuando se dirigió el agua a mí —encerrada en ese cuenco limitado por piel— la dejé pasar. Así me sintiera mujer, a pesar de haber sido condenada al nacer como hombre, no supe en qué momento hablar. No sentía la certeza ni la certidumbre de quienes tomaban el bastón, la palabra. Terminaron las dos rondas, por encima de mí, y guardé silencio, me aferré a la quietud de mis cuerdas vocales. No quería hablar en ningún momento, y el Peyote ya estaba dentro, en la fornicación orgánica entre la planta, la saliva y la sangre. Tenía que hablar, pero no bajo las condiciones que me torturaron durante la vida. El silencio fue mi grito más duro, la manifestación en contra de los binarismos que me persiguieron —incluso en las estrategias azarosas con las que pensé liberarme—. Me sentí extranjera, ajena, asustada.
El estruendo de mi incomodidad se escuchó a la luz del sol que tomamos, con la medicina. La abuela empezó a contar que ella y las que le anteceden no creían en lo masculino ni lo femenino como materialidades obvias, sino que, más bien, los pensaban como estados de una misma sustancia. El agua fue en ese momento la forma en la que ella compartía con nosotrxs su claridad para ver y entender los cuerpos —afirmando que eso la hacía sagrada—. Dijo que la masculinidad era como la lluvia, vertical, que iba a fertilizar la tierra para que el alimento brotara; que esa misma lluvia terminaba en el mar, en los ríos y en los cuerpos horizontales, en lo femenino, una gran placenta que se mueve dentro y paralela a la tierra. Mientras iba hablando, en un dúo de palabras con el abuelo que nos acompañaba, explicó cómo entendían las proyecciones, las imposiciones. Comprendí que el agua, al igual que el travestismo, era una de las invocaciones de la potencia salvaje del movimiento (por eso tantas religiones la incluyen en sus ceremonias). Cuando la abuela empezó a detallar su idea sobre el recinto donde nos encontrábamos, llovió —una invocación, garantía del tejido compartido—; llovió y comencé a llorar, fui lluvia vertical sobre mi cuerpa, como la limpia necesaria que iba apartándose en los labios y reconociéndose horizontal con la saliva. Me sentí aguacero ventiao´, del que cae en diagonal. Me reconocí salpicadura del río, directo al cielo cuando cuerpo impacta la superficie y se funde en ella. Me vi agua, nieve, tormenta en el mar. Lloraba, al ritmo del tambor con vientre líquido reconocía la herencia, un lugar en medio de las certezas binarias que contaminaban la comprensión de cualquier latitud. Sentí gozo, del que parecen sentir las personas que danzan en las iglesias de garaje. Alucinación o no, el tambor tocó a un ritmo con el que todxs empezaron a cantar mi nombre: Analú, A-na-lú, A-na-lú, A-na-lú. En esa etapa del camino que emprendía ya no era Ana; también había dejado de ser Luis, hace mucho. Ya era una diagonal.
Bajó la palabra a la cuerpa, a la piel preparada con saliva y llanto, llegué a casa y tomé la primera progynova y espironolactona con tres tragos de agua, la medicina “real”. Sumando los comprimidos farmacéuticos, aseguraba mi tránsito (el cóctel residual de occidente reflejado en pastilla y la ancestralidad del agua que empujaré en lo profundo de mí por lunas). Fui desecho, huérfana de espiritualidad indígena, pude gestar una nueva realidad. Me supe en las latitudes donde las estaciones no pesan, travesti.
In the ceremony, at an important point of the display, the women in attendance were asked to speak —while the drum accompanied all those who recognized themselves as one—. Then it was the turn of the men: their voices echoed in the space with the certainty of that provocation. I got lost. When the water was offered to me -enclosed in that bowl limited by the skin- I let it pass. Even though I felt like a woman, and despite having been condemned to be born as a man, I did not know at what moment to speak. I did not feel the certainty or the certainty of those who took the baton, the word. Over me, the two rounds ended. I kept silent, and clung to the stillness of my vocal curdles. I didn’t want to speak at any time, and the Peyote was already inside, in the organic fornication between plant, saliva, and blood. I had to speak, but not under the conditions that tortured me through life. The silence was my harshest cry, the manifestation of the binarism that haunted me —even in the haphazard strategies with which I thought to free myself—. I felt foreign, alien, and frightened.
The rumble of my discomfort was heard in the sunlight we took with the medicine. Grandmother began to tell how she and those before her did not believe in the masculine and feminine as obvious materiality but rather thought of them as states of the same substance. Water was, at that time, how she shared with us her clarity in seeing and understanding bodies-asserting that this made her sacred. She said that masculinity was like rain, vertical, that it was going to fertilize the earth so that food would sprout; that the same rain ended up in the sea, in the rivers, and the horizontal bodies, in the feminine, a great placenta that moves within and parallels to the earth. As she spoke, in a duet of words with the grandfather who accompanied us, she explained how they understood the projections, the impositions. I understood that water, like transvestism, was one of the invocations of the wild power of movement (which is why so many religions include it in their ceremonies). When the grandmother began to detail her idea about the enclosure where we were, it rained – an invocation, a guarantee of the shared fabric -; it rained, and I began to cry. I was vertical rain on my body like the necessary cleanliness moving away on the lips and recognizing itself horizontally with the saliva. I felt like a ventilated downpour, the kind that falls diagonally. I recognized myself as a splash of the river, straight to the sky when my body hits the surface and melts into it. I saw myself in water, snow, and storm in the sea. I cried to the rhythm of the drum with a liquid belly. I recognized the inheritance, a place in the middle of the binary certainties that contaminated the understanding of any latitude. I felt joy, the kind that people who dance in garage churches seem to feel. Hallucination or not, the drum beat to a rhythm with which everyone began to chant my name: Analú, A-na-lú, A-na-lú, A-na-lú, A-na-lú. At that stage of the road I was taking, I was no longer Ana; I had also stopped being Luis, a long time ago. I was already a diagonal.
The word got down to the body, to the skin prepared with saliva and tears. I came home and took the first progynova and spironolactone with three gulps of water, the “real” medicine. Adding the pharmaceutical tablets, I ensured my transit (the residual cocktail of the West reflected in the pill and the ancestrality of water that I will push deep inside me for moons). I was a waste, an orphan of indigenous spirituality, but I was able to gestate a new reality. I knew myself in the latitudes where the seasons do not weigh, transvestite.
La única esperanza que nos queda es que el becerro esté todavía vivo. Ojalá no se le haya ocurrido pasar el río detrás de su madre. Porque si así fue, mi hermana Tacha está tantito así de retirado de hacerse piruja. Y mamá no quiere.
Mi mamá no sabe por qué Dios la ha castigado tanto al darle unas hijas de ese modo, cuando en su familia, desde su abuela para acá, nunca ha habido gente mala. Todos fueron criados en el temor de Dios y eran muy obedientes y no le cometían irreverencias a nadie. Todos fueron por el estilo. Quién sabe de dónde les vendría a ese par de hijas suyas aquel mal ejemplo. Ella no se acuerda. Le da vueltas a todos sus recuerdos y no ve claro dónde estuvo su mal o el pecado de nacerle una hija tras otra con la misma mala costumbre. No se acuerda. Y cada vez que piensa en ellas, llora y dice: “Que Dios las ampare a las dos.” Pero mi papá alega que aquello ya no tiene remedio. La peligrosa es la que queda aquí, la Tacha, que va como palo de ocote crece y crece y que ya tiene unos comienzos de senos que prometen ser como los de sus hermanas: puntiagudos y altos y medio alborotados para llamar la atención. -Sí -dice-, le llenará los ojos a cualquiera dondequiera que la vean. Y acabará mal; como que estoy viendo que acabará mal. Ésa es la mortificación de mi papá.
Y Tacha llora al sentir que su vaca no volverá porque se la ha matado el río. Está aquí a mi lado, con su vestido color de rosa, mirando el río desde la barranca y sin dejar de llorar. Por su cara corren chorretes de agua sucia como si el río se hubiera metido dentro de ella. Yo la abrazo tratando de consolarla, pero ella no entiende. Llora con más ganas. De su boca sale un ruido semejante al que se arrastra por las orillas del río, que la hace temblar y sacudirse todita, y, mientras, la creciente sigue subiendo. El sabor a podrido que viene de allá salpica la cara mojada de Tacha y los dos pechitos de ella se mueven de arriba abajo, sin parar, como si de repente comenzaran a hincharse para empezar a trabajar por su perdición.
Our only hope is that the calf is still alive. Perhaps he didn’t think of crossing the river behind his mother. Because if he did, my sister Tacha is just this far away from becoming a whore. And mother doesn’t want that.
My mother doesn’t know why God has punished her by giving her such daughters, since in her family, from my grandmother on, there have never been bad people. Everybody was raised with the fear of God, and very obedient, and didn’t offend anyone. Everyone was that way. Who knows where her two daughters learned such bad behavior? She can’t figure it out. She wracks her brain and it isn’t clear where she went wrong or what sin she committed to have given birth to one bad daughter after another. She can’t figure it out. And every time she thinks of them, she weeps and says: “God help them.”
My father says there’s nothing to be done at this point. The one at risk is the daughter who is still here, Tacha, who keeps on growing and growing and whose breasts are already beginning to show, and which promise to be like her sisters’: pointy and high and pert and attention-getting. “Yes,” he says, “they’ll stare at her wherever she goes. It will all end badly; I can already see it will all end badly.” That’s why my father is terrified.
Tacha cries when she thinks her cow won’t come back because the river has killed it. She’s right here at my side, in her pink dress, looking at the river from the top of the ravine, unable to stop crying. Streams of dirty water run down her face, as if the river were inside her.
I put my arms around her, trying to comfort her, but she doesn’t understand. She cries even more. A sound similar to the one sweeping along the riverbanks emerges from her lips, making her shiver, and she trembles all over. The crest rises. the rotten smell from below speckles Tacha’s wet face. Her two little breasts bob up and down, continually, as if they had suddenly begun to swell, bringing her ever closer to perdition.
3. Oliverio Girondo. Llorar a lágrima viva. [Weep living tears!]
Llorar a lágrima viva.
Llorar a chorros.
Llorar la digestión.
Llorar el sueño.
Llorar ante las puertas y los puertos.
Llorar de amabilidad y de amarillo.
Abrir las canillas,
las compuertas del llanto.
Empaparnos el alma, la camiseta.
Inundar las veredas y los paseos,
y salvarnos, a nado, de nuestro llanto.
Asistir a los cursos de antropología, llorando.
Festejar los cumpleaños familiares, llorando.
Atravesar el África, llorando.
Llorar como un cacuy, como un cocodrilo…
si es verdad que los cacuíes y los cocodrilos
no dejan nunca de llorar.
Llorarlo todo, pero llorarlo bien.
Llorarlo con la nariz, con las rodillas.
Llorarlo por el ombligo, por la boca.
Llorar de amor, de hastío, de alegría.
Llorar de frac, de flato, de flacura.
Llorar improvisando, de memoria.
¡Llorar todo el insomnio y todo el día!
Weep living tears!
Weep your guts out!
Weep before portals and at ports of entry!
Weep in fellowship! Weep in yellow!
Open the locks and calas of tears!
Let us soak our shirts, our souls!
Inundate the sidewalks and the boulevards,
and bear us along safely on the flood!
Assist in anthropology courses, weeping!
Celebrate relative’s birthdays, weeping!
Walk across Africa, weeping!
Weep like a caiman, like a crocodile…
especially if it’s true that caimans and crocodiles
Multiple joys, multiple relationships, multiplied jobs, multiplied dreams I speculated on, and multiplied realities I raced to be part of, were reduced and calmed in the very first days of this year, leaving just the adjective ‘multiple’ behind, in a quite different context.
one and two
I have eaten 6 mandarins in the last two days: two in the B3 department, while waiting for further instructions; one on the way to the Stätionare Aufnahme; two at the final destination in the C4’s waiting room; and one while waiting for the first drops of cortisol to enter my body, announced to produce a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Entering the C4 building means seeing ‘these’ faces, and jumping from the question “why am I here?” that manifests my anger, and the injustice done by the higher forces, to a certain comfort, which always happens when one makes acquaintanceships within a context.
This bond is present in our eye contact, the little smiles drawn on the differently born, differently aged, and differently sick faces, and the codes of confirmation that we are belonging to this multiplied version of the life. The most obvious sign of bonding is nodding: either several nods followed by gently closed eyelids, or one, sharp and precise, that establishes the thought of a nodder in a form of a statement.
For these days, I’ve been wondering, but failed to ask in my broken German: which cities are the photographed on these photorealistic pictures hanging on the C4 walls?
Before I failed many questions in German, I failed to paint a photorealistic scene of the white horses running on the meadow during my bachelor studies, which was a huge disappointment for my whole surrounding back then. I gave up and bought myself a good camera since I could not find a reason good enough to compete with such a device. I am quite sure now that it was me in resistance, more likely than a lack of skill to depict the horses.
For a hyperactive, always on-run lady, for one that plans enormously while living in the future, that is in control of everything, for such folk, or anybody else, it is extremely hard to accept the fact that such a disease can enter their bodies and impede them in any sense. Can you fail a disease? Not in a sense of giving up life, but rather a failure that tricks the brain, so it thinks there is no disease at all.
Besides my C4 friends that share the infusion and waiting time with me for two days now, I have experienced some quite new, I dare to say interesting body sensations during the examinations. Different body parts of mine were electrified with the needle producing this strange effect of an inner massage, or the sensation of having your index finger directly in a power socket. Another needle, obviously bigger, pierced the particular point of my lower back, targeting the little gap between the vertebras of the spinal cord. The transparent liquid was sucked out from my back filling 2 little glass containers. This uncomfortable pain, more of a pressure feels like a tiny hand that tries to pass through the even smaller doors in my spine, and gets stuck for some minutes, leaving this feeling for some hours later – as if your whole back body opens, air comes inside through this tiny hole and you can breathe through the pain.
I had bought the expensive package of caffeine-free, deep-roasted coffee before coming to the C4 this morning, aiming to start my new, healthy life along with the journey with the Sick Body, after which dr. Fritsch said that coffee is the only way to suppress the headaches I have been having these days. After I am finished with my 6th mandarine, and the tests’ results are announced for this day I will head to the coffee place and purchase some deep-roasted, caffeine-enriched medicaments.
With such a condition, it is not about how it is at the moment, but what comes next and how will it affect you. For somebody that never lives in the Now, this could be a unique way to finally trust and dwell in that place, as the only safe space that gives you a moment to breathe and spares you from anxious thoughts and uncertainty of the following days.
Am I awarded here a tiny, barely visible bit? Spared the future rat race, running for everything I can be part of, of the omnipresent fear of missing out while diving into the complete uncertainty, that wipes you harshly with its heavy days of unpredictability. I am not the one in control at the moment, but I have full capacity, the Dragon voice, the unbeatable strength I always gain when out of control, and a new skill – getting a lot of rest.
Dear Now, my old friend, we are starting to bond. We might even make peace soon.
I have almost forgotten how it is to have a healthy right hand in these two months. On the morning of the third cortisol day, I can feel a bit more, again, with the 3rd injection of 500ml that drops slowly, entering my veins and making me trust my fingers again.
I have two generations on both sides of my chair: on the left one is a young woman whom I share the metal infusion holder with, I measured – it is approximately a meter between our chairs as if this pole with two bottles of cortisol cuts the distance between us; on the right side, I see peripherally an old lady in the red jumper, that has not moved that much since I entered the room, as if her eyes dived inwards, looking into a depth of her own inner body rather than I hospital walls that surround her.
On my third day, I cried all along the way here with pauses, different paces, rhythms, and amounts of outpourings, inside the three trains and two tram stations. I have eaten one, seventh mandarin that helps kill the bitterness in my mouth, and drank half of the black tea I prepared this morning, as it helps reduce the headaches. On my third day, I am crying with such an overwhelming mixture of pain and hope, thinking of this as a potential adventure, and multiplication that occurred as my partner in future crimes, rather than an enemy.
I trust in you Sick body. I have kissed your carrot-oil-smelling shoulders before each exam because I know that we are born for the great things – the great beauty of life among other greatness.
It is a Saturday – one of those that have no influence on the perception of the day, or the importance of the number or the name of it. As if it would make any difference to call it Tuesday instead. However, even though it does not change anything in my own day, I know that it is a Saturday because there is no photorealism hanging on the walls while sitting in the B4, Ebene 40. Just white. Pure whiteness.
I have never seen my young physical and emotional body in such pain, dear dr. Köbele, making hard each movement and thought of mine, with heavy mood swings followed by tears, no matter what the emotion is. Heaviest tears so far, split in two bodies, separated by a border, covering our faces: my own, and my beautiful mama’s.
Do you know how frightening it is to be called with the code ”urgent”? My legs froze today, and my heart blew up, breaking through the thin skin of my chest.
What is it?
2 x 15
Today I had two sessions closed in the strange metal body of that loud machine, two times half an hour inside of the capsule. Surrounded by the disturbing sounds coming from the walls of it, I had a chance to picture my brain cells dancing within the empty skull, bumping onto the walls of it and changing the rhythm according to the song played by the MR.
What is it, dr. Köbele?
“If we find it, you will have to receive a contrast medicine.” they said. My blood was mixed with the gadolinium contrast medium in the second session, which means that they had found it.
The second session made me think: this is the second round or the second encounter of a potentially big change. A big step backward, perhaps, or forwards, inevitably? For the second time, I received this terrible news, still not knowing what is it.
What makes my hands numb for so long? Doctor Köbele?
Thank you, Sick Body, for being so brave not to hide your most honest feelings and reactions. Thank you for hiking several kilometers and discovering all these beautiful hills today after being exposed to the capsule and contrasts, because you faced those white-coated, frozen, tale-like scenes, long trunks, thin grass coming out of the white carpet, tiny branches that in their extreme geometrical confusion created a puzzle. They looked the same as MR pictures of my brain, doctor – impossible to understand, with the complicated history and unexpected changes, even entity, in a way I understand it.
Lost & Found
Today I lost my earring, right before entering the capsule, and my left glove while running through the snowy hills. But I found the strength to support myself on this weird journey, producing powerful tears that burn my face and melt the snow.
…until you call me, I am not going to move anywhere.
Encountering a disease has ambivalent consequences. On one hand, it is a terror of potential disabilities, changes, and in its worst case permanent absence from the white leather, quite a comfortable sofa we are sitting in while receiving the news. On the other hand, it is an unexplainable blessing, a potentiality, a touch that burns our chest and lets us embrace the overwhelmedness.
Today I met dr. Köbele
I read all the magazines you have on the shelf, daily horoscopes for the past week, ate two Spekulatius cookies, and explored each corner of the waiting room until the voice of the nurse struggled to pronounce this long last name of mine.
And there I was, waiting for you to tell me, whatever you have to tell me.
Observing my body – my fingers paralyzed, my toes hurting, my body getting weaker each second, my daily life changing, my brain not working properly, tired, exhausted, disabled. Today, I finally took into consideration – I might be sick.
Today I liked your jokes, dr. Köbele. Your way of delivering, examining, and telling stories about possibilities and disabilities.
Dear dr. Köbele, today I felt weaker than ever, lonelier than ever, and far away from everything that gives me strength. But today I loved my body in one morning more than I had loved it in these 26 years and stared directly at the sun longer than I could have ever imagined it.
I walked down the street with a great burden on my chest and sun on my face. I let the tears outpour and slide down my cheeks. If gravity were to change its direction, the tears would climb up the sky, directly to the Sun.
Dear dr. Köbele, my tears burnt on the sun and no pain accompanied this great beauty.
Directly at the Sun
…I remembered the book I have read two times and that never left my mind – “Starring at the Sun” by Irvin David Yalom, an American existential psychiatrist and author of both fiction and nonfiction that shares a precious moment from the individual and group therapy with people who were afraid to look directly at the Sun.
On 14.12. 2022. the Wednesday late night, a sharp scream broke out from Marienstraße. This was a performance work shop, organized by me, called crazy dark room.
Hier was the introduction, to let participants quickly get into it.
Crazy Dark Room Let your Limitation free!
Content: First, u need to think now u are a Psychosis. Explain the story in your mind about how you have gone crazy. Second, I will lead u one by one in to my dark room. Third, u start to performance, let your emotion and your story free in this dark empty space.
Last, short discussion/ write down how u feel.
As i tried to forget myself from the reality and let all anger or dirty thoughts take control of me, the thoughts of “Nobody hier loves me, Nobody hier cares me. I am useless.” came up to my mind and drove me truly cried.
I went so exhausted that i have to end the work shop in the end.
Later as we were doing the feedback round, my friend who was also in the work shop, cried. And one of my roommate, who was rushing back to the apartment when she got the call from other roommates, hug me tightly for about 20 minutes after i came out from my room.
The work shop was firstly designed to be a chance that i imagined to revenge back against those people who fucked up with me in the real life. But in the end it turned out that the only people i hurt, are those who care about me.
The food designer Marije Vogelzang, has launched a project before:
Eat Love Budapest
In this workshop, the women feed the stranger while they can not see arch other faces.
It’s such a beautiful touching project, that connects the people through the most common way that almost everyone has: feeding by someone else (like the child by the mother). Tears down when the workshop ended even for me just as a watcher.
Crying is more as a private experience for me. But this time was my first time to cry just because of a workshop.
Through the workshop, I understood the idea that it’s hard to judge someone after u went into his heart. It’s hard to hate someone if u have cried for him. Tears can really be the most powerful weapon in this world. Behind tear is the name love.
the link to the website: https://www.marijevogelzang.nl/past-projects/eat-love-budapest/