God fearing, I took a breath with tarnished lungs and stepped off the edge of an electric light. Esta nada. Nothing worth notice bellowed from the distance and I sang a song about El Senior in quiet remittance. The terrace felt empty despite the barrage of paintings that covered the inside walls of the sanctuary. I yielded myself to the vastness of the room, like those portraits of armed soldiers littered across varying shades of gray brick and mortar. It drew me into a scathing void of solemn purification and I was suddenly flooded with emotion. A low hanging tree drooped in earnest from the edge of the terrace on the exposed side of the building, and its massive leaves cast shadows on the walls. I took notice of its antiquity. I could not ask for a single tangible thing, no tenía un propósito porque nada podía ser de este mundo para mí.
I was not afraid to fall in that moment, when I stood to be so exposed. I could only close my eyes to shove out the sobering cleanness of dazzling metallic tables and freshly painted shutters. A street light shone on the address plaque on the outside of the door, its brass numbers reflecting golden slivers of light on the hurried faces of passers-by.
From this world I felt a distinct need to flourish, unfettered by demands for adherence to dogma or even guilt. Here I felt safe; aquí yo estaba seguro, pero libre no.
Those corroding adjectives shivered off my tongue like fractal expressions of an eternal being. Serious, sober. intense.
I saw the words of my unborn children written in the atmosphere and held a breath in the dark spotted flesh of my lungs. I knew of their suffering, of the unscrupulous ideologies born from their rogue encounters with the world. I knew of their humble experiences, poured out on humankind from a wholesome place that could only derive in-utero—and death. I recognized the pain I had imposed upon them, handed down from those who came before me, and I shuttered with self-disgust. The breeze carried a cool relief, a cathartic awakening that stemmed from the dawn of my personal sunrise.
The room faded into the background, and I left all things palpable behind me to rest. A gray, short-haired woman passed quietly from outside the terrace, barely noticeable, emaciated even…like a starved drifter passing through my personal voyage. From the very edge of the room I could see a piece of paper torn from its passage and sweeping through the wind in the doorway outside the terrace where the leaves cast shadows on the wall. I moved to rescue it clumsily between the palm of my hand and shoulder-blade. It was a handwritten note that read:
Should you be often shocked by honesty and rarely by deceit, you have failed to truly live.
I twisted my thoughts around the paper torn from its passage. The ripe morning breeze fell silent and the leaves no longer cast shadows on the walls. I began to sing my song of remittance and was instantly reminded of that first moment of raw anticipation. As I stood blithely on the edge of electric light, I knew I could do no more than simply exist. Nada más y nada menos; gracias, Señor, y ayudame a ser. I had once been unwilling to accept the “unbearable lightness of being” as it necessitated that I become the final authority with total freedom over my own spiritual impulses. Now I recognized the anxious burn rising up in the back of my throat as part of the sheer bewilderment of it all—and that which would eventually loll me peacefully back to sleep.