Today we were having lunch as usual. My mom, pressing her fingers against the table, told us in what it seemed to me like slow motion: “you know I’m never afraid of anything, you know I come back home at 3 in the morning and walk downtown Caracas but today I heard this story of a 53 year old lawyer, who lives nearby… some guys entered his house for robbing and killed him with a punch on his head, and then they hanged him to make it look like a suicide…but the thieves were surprised outside and that’s how everything was discovered…you know is not even about being worried because one of you is out at night… this happened inside a house, in the middle of the afternoon!” –
I got the feeling that her voice was slowly breaking and that she would start crying any minute now but she didn’t. She just added “I’m afraid now” – And got off the table to went straight to her room.
My sister’ face looked like a funeral. But my brother in law and I reacted in a different way. Although it is not politically correct to say this, I’m ought to admit that I felt angry with my mom for telling us that story; because there’s nothing we can do about it so, What’s the point on spending a valuable time of our lives worrying and fearing disgraces we cannot stop or change?.
Can we protect us somehow? No, we don’t have the resources to install a wall and/or some security system at our place and there’s no guarantee of protection on possessing a gun, besides my family values (thankfully) would never allow them to do that.
Can we ask someone else for protection? Also no. We trust the police even less than the thieves and assassins out there and if you continue reading this blog carefully you will notice that the government has not moved one single finger to reduce the delinquency but quite the opposite: has allowed it to increase. And it doesn’t seem that another citizen request for security will bring anything besides an equally worse political retaliation.
Can we put our possessions somewhere else in a way that we don’t look as “robbery or kidnap material”? I have refused to buy an IPOD and prefer to stay with a cheap Mp3 and a pair of old headphones fixed with scotch tape, I never wear any jewelry except only a pair of fantasy earrings and avoid, specially if I’m using public transportation, to walk around the city wearing good clothes. With those rituals, my hope is to look as a “bad business” for the delinquents. But my light skin, my sort of Spanish look- like face and the bus stop where I get down shows clearly that I don’t belong to a poor neighborhood and there’s nothing I can do to hide that.
Plus; there’s a possession, the most valuable of all that you can’t perform a lot of tricks to protect: its called life and it seems to be stolen to equally rich, poor people, middle class, people who seem to have a lot of money but don’t even have a penny, to simply everybody in Venezuela. I think the delinquency is the most democratic thing Venezuela has at the moment. So the answer is also, no.
Is there’s anything we can do to avoid suffering the terrible ending that lawyer my mom told us today had? To experience the million of similar stories, one worse than the other that we hear every single damn day? No.
“So, mom” – I said to myself – “Why are you telling us all this then? Perhaps with this situation we will live for another day, perhaps we are lucky enough to survive and grow old as my grandparents did. But the days we got left, we deserve to live them maybe not with an unworried happiness but yet, with a certain tranquility. I deserve to feel excited about my boyfriend coming home to visit tonight and not feeling (as I end up feeling after my mom’s story) worried and guilty thinking that tonight maybe won’t be a great night with him as usual, but instead when he gets down of his car and walks to my front door, he would be surprised not by my kiss but by a thief I couldn’t notice, hidden in the garden…”
I don’t want to move on with this imaginary story, sometimes I don’t know if I should just call him and say “hey! lets not see each other again because our dates could be interrupted with the insecurity ghost… lets continue with out relationship over the phone and “live” our lives inside our rooms, inside our houses, waiting for the thieves who can also come inside our rooms, inside our houses, took away our lives and make it look like a suicide…” I just don’t see the point of feeling fear if there’s nothing you can do to change the circumstances that created that fear.
That’s why I felt angry with my mom, because after another happy lunch, she filled our nerves with fear, tension, sadness, frustration, guilt, sorrow and a long list of etc. I know you will answer this story with things such as the free speech and the need for information, you will think about how is it possible that I’m promoting simply not to be informed about the events that are ought to be in front page of every single paper because of their cruelty. You will ask me “What about this lawyer? And his family? Don’t they deserved to make the world know what happened?”.
Dear reader, I’m completely agree with you. I’m a person who has repeated that couple of words (free speech) and has being mad to those who are irresponsible enough to simply not wanting to know what’s going on out there. I’m one of those who yells at others things like “as long as it doesn’t touch you, you are not going to care”.
It’s a paradox really. I know I need to know, I know I must know but yet I’m angry at mom because she made me know. And until that second she opened her mouth I was happy, I was so happy you couldn’t believe it.
I got a new and lovely part time job that allows me to keep working on my thesis.. I saw the news on CNN to find out the time the debate between Obama and Mc Cain was suppose to start and made it into the perfect excuse for asking my boyfriend to come over tonight. I was planning to spend the afternoon between a thesis chapter I must finish and my piano, right after lunch; then a long bath, then choosing the best clothes (nothing that looked too classy, because after all he’s only going to come over to watch a televised debate; but something that made me look at least decent), then a little make up and then to act casual until I saw his car stopping at my place. Then a hug, a kiss, a “how was your day at work?” I was so stupidly happy living my day and thinking about how great was going to be the rest of it.
Then came lunch, my mom told us a story about a lawyer killed inside his place for not other excuse than stealing lame less things. Then my sister’ funeral face. And all my happiness switched with an intense fear mixed with the certainty that I can’t do anything about it. My picture of a night laying in the couch watching a debate was changed for strange scenes of thieves and guns and who knows what else making me lose not only my money (I wish this were only about stealing money and that’s it) but the ones I love the most. I felt like crying. I felt like writing here. I forgot about the piano or the thesis.
And I just made a speech against free speech because life has remind me to build a commitment with the life itself sacrificing the commitment I had with ulterior things, such as the right to be informed.
Whenever I write about fear I think of this prelude of the first Cello Suite by Bach. Here's a lovely interpretation I found in youtube.