A teachable moment V.3

A sweet-sour memory.

I never imagined that gaining consciousness would be a marvel, to be able to understand that you exist, that you live in an unknown world. Full of questions which answers I would eventually find. This memory marks the beginning of my history as a human being. It starts with my family during a cold winter, the last winter together as family, they decided to celebrate my sixth birthday with a slice of pizza, one of the most delicious pizzas in all of Brooklyn. But to get a slice we had to face a cold day in December, the floor was impossible to walk, the wind felt that that your body was cut with razors, but my parents would not leave the opportunity to eat that pizza before leaving the country. I even wonder why they wanted to eat it, especially on such a chilly day, it was common sense to stay at home where winter cannot bother us, we would be together and sheltered with hot chocolate.

I was in my own world and suddenly felt the urge to return home, it was too much for a 6-year-old, but we were outside, so let us walk through the snow, against mother nature. Halfway to the station my body lost balance and in a second my face crashed against the frozen floor, at that moment my mind discovered the perception of existence, it was me on the ground, my parents laughing and at the same time worried about me. The realization of how small I was next to them, how weak my body was! Just like that I noticed that my perception of gravity was a lie. Childish innocence in thinking that if my feet left the ground, I would go to the sky but discover that everything that goes up must go down.

The urge to cry, scream with anger and sadness, should I get up to hug them or to yell at my parents, because it was humiliating that they had laughed at me all the time! However, I forgave them, and I had already left that to the past, but suddenly a lady had slipped and fell on the train tracks. Everyone was scared because in the distance a train was approaching to the station, all the witnesses went to help her, some called the authorities, others decided to alert the driver to stop the train, others dared to pick up the lady and others were already waiting to get her to safety. Beautiful teamwork, everyone decided to help a stranger, and even my own parents were more merciful to her than to their own son.

The lady grateful to all the people who helped her to get out of that situation, police and first aid arrived to deal with her complaints and injuries, the train arrived at the station and the driver smiling knowing that such a problem did not become a sad tragedy. At the end we took the train and arrived at the last station of the L train, Canarsie. What a beautiful area, where restaurants from various parts of the world turned into empty buildings, businesses are still standing, but on the verge of bankruptcy, miraculously the pizza stand is still open for business to this day. There are rare occasions that I take the train to eat a slice of pizza, for the simple fact that every time I decide to visit, I rewind the same memory, that day where I turned 6 years old, where that moment gained consciousness, ate together as a family in America. After that I moved to Mexico, without my parents together, without saying goodbye to my childhood friends and old teachers.

After that day in December 2006, we moved in Mexico in a small town in the state of Oaxaca “El Porvenir” a beautiful small town where there are no cold winters, most of the time is warm in the days and cold at night. I was in Mexico for ten long years, I forgot how to speak, write, and read in English. I grew up like anyone else who lived in this area, learning to work the land, creating friendships, falling in love with my culture as a Mexican. I forgot my life in New York City, to the point of having forgotten being an American. However, that sweet-sour memory was always there, it manifested in my dreams, and every time I used to talk about this with my mother, she just stared at me, she is amazed at how much I can recall the details of that day. My father only remembered eating pizza with us. They do not think that this day is important, but for me is considered the earliest memory I have of them.

            Life is sacred, our existence is such a miracle, or some might say a coincidence. Sometimes I wonder what would look like if we never went to get that pizza, never moved to Mexico, and stayed together as a family. I realized that I take every day for granted, without being grateful to be able to do the things I love, it feels that most of the time I do them without a goal. That’s why I always tell myself to appreciate the little things in life, because it can change in matter of seconds, and I cannot stop it but learn to accept it. Is quite humbling, am I right? My grandfather told me that when the day comes to say goodbye, you will see your memories in an instant, it gets cold at the end, and then “you” is just gone from this world. Sounds quite depressing, but at the same time heart-warming, because when my day comes, I wish to go back to that cold winter, to repeat it again and again, alone with that sweet-sour memory.