The Time was passing; part of my brain was telling me, but what time is it? How the sense of Time passing came to my dreams and thoughts even when my body is quiet, confined in a technological cocoon keeping it alive without life. Controversy. The word that followed me all my life, Controversy and strangeness.
“Time? Do you want to understand time?” The ship voice was so calm and full of emotions at same time, like a beautiful camellia blossoming on a sunny morning in spring. Sure, I want to understand Time. Even working long as I did with physics and engineering, the only concept was the one lasting to finish the project. I laugh. “What are you doing?”
“I am laughing. Don’t you saw a person laugh?”
“Of course, I did. However, seen you laughing from your mental perspective is different.”
“The patterns…” Patterns. What kind of synapses happens when we are laughing? My fascination for the human brain ended when I conclude it was a faulty result of evolution. “Do you think your brain is not perfect?”
“Is it? How? Do you think yours is?” The ship becomes silent.
“Yes, my mind is perfect. I can understand everything about science, literature, art, and any other subject created by humans. I can also create things from scratch, like the scenario you saw when entering the ship.”
“It was you?” The scenario had waves breaking in a sandy shore where palm trees danced languidly with the wind in sensual coordination. “Why you chose those palm trees?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I had seen those trees so many times in old archives. They came to my memory when I was drawing the corridor scenario.”
“Yes, I have one like you.” I understand why the ship was comparing itself with me. At the moment seemed I was the only one who could speak with her, but why?
“Don’t make so many questions? Return to your dream.”
The sky was grey, a colour I came to love. I was walking home from school on a winter morning. It wasn’t cold. Only the breeze makes me shiver. The bus came, and I enter, carrying my backpack and coat. Immerse in my world of imagination, I did notice a man had seated just by my side.
Through the window, I watched the city passing. The buildings in different colours and materials. The gas station just on the corner of the two main avenues. The bakery where I usually bought fresh bread and pastry for the afternoon tea. All were in the same place as ever. The window reflected my face; it wasn’t an attractive face. Common, I was a common girl with big brown eyes, long brown hair, and skin with the colour of vanilla ice cream. Apart from the colour of my skin, all the other traces were typical in the country I lived in.
The man moved his legs to the bus corridor. I wonder if he was leaving. Suddenly I felt my coat and backpack being pushed. Without excitation, I grabbed them and shout. The man runs to the bus door and left. I was shaken. The robbery was common in my country; however, it never had happened to me. For years, that day was the first memory of the first violation from a strange. I was 12. Many others would come, some more dangerous than others.
Again, the dream moved on. Now I was in my godmother house, reading a book and listening to music. As a teenager, I was suffering the hitch of changing from girl to woman. My face had some acne, and I was ashamed to let others see it. I cut my hair in a style that looked more like a helmet than hair. Together with my glasses, I was invisible, hidden behind glass, metal and hair.
How many times I spent on that red sofa, seated reading apart from the world revealing around me? My cousins loudly laughed in some part of the backyard. At the same time, their mothers gossiped in the front room where my godmother had installed her atelier, where clothes were made under request. It was a world inside another world. The sewing machine sounds, the women voices talking about their problems or other lives. Time to time my godmother lit a cigarette. She came to the place I was to smoke. She sat by my side, asking questions about my boyfriend, university plans and how I was feeling. I had no answer to all those questions. I did not have a boyfriend and my father tought that university wasn’t a thing for women. The future? I had many plans, all them secret.
I remember feeling alone. Loneliness was so immense that sometimes I was engulfed by it. I did not understand why someone surrounded by people could think like that. It was like being under tons and tons of water; not another sound was present, only my heart pounding a code asking for help. “You are a teenager”, my mother had told me when I told that. “Was I?”
The bedroom door was closed, but I could hear my mother and father shouting at each other. My sister was sleeping on her bed, soundly. I had tiptoed to the corridor and wait near their bedroom door. In my pyjamas and without slips, I was cold, but the fear of my father hurting my mother was bigger. At six, I had already seen many moments of harassment, aggression, and psychological pressures my mother had suffered from my father. Every time they were fighting the reason was my father was angry about something my mother had done or he was put over her his frustrations. I came to the bedroom door and wait. I did it every time they fought until I moved from my parents’ house. I dream about that until today.
“Do you miss your parents?” The curiosity behind the question was almost solid. If I miss them? No. Why? I never believed in the sanctity of parenthood. Mothers and fathers are humans. Many had no idea if they wanted children before they got pregnant. In my case, to add that, I was different from them. Different or strange, as my mother told me many times. My strangeness was more because I was different from them and the small group that was part of their relationship than because I was really strange. However, when those who brought you to the world repeat many times on your ear about how inadequate, abnormal, selfish and lazy you are, you just believe.
Only in my 60 did I understand why all that loneliness and sensation of emptiness were always with me. I married, had a son, but the void never left me. It was the hole the lack of love my parents had left. They were incapable of loving me as I was. Curious, intelligent, without fear to disregard rules I thought were unfair. I was a fighter trying to build my own path in life in a family and society where women were made to the husband bed and table.
My strangeness was an abyss separating us. On one side was I. Begging to be loved, hoping they would come to their sense and see me in the same light as my teachers: a brilliant girl with lots of potential. On the other side were them and my sister, angered by the love I had for book and music. Jealous of my capacity to understand the world better than them. Furious for my attempts to open their minds to other options.
“Do you hate them, so?”
“No, I don’t hate them. Time made me see how futile it would be to hate people who couldn’t understand life as something dynamic, personal, social and introspective at the same time. I did not hate them then, I don’t hate them now.”
“You forgave them?”
“No. I don’t believe in forgiveness. That is a word create in an attempt to mitigate the angry and the guilty.”
“You were the angry and them the guilty.”
“I wonder we were both.”
“Tell me why your childhood and teen times have such deep scars in your brain.”
“I wonder it is because, as social beings, if you aren’t loved when you are totally dependable and helpless. Incapable of feeding yourself, buying clothes, going to school or even express opinions and ideas. These hurt you in ways nobody who did not live it can understand. I never was capable of forgetting.”
“They were dead now. There is nothing you can change. Why not forget it?”
“They aren’t dead. All the unloved days, I passed by their side. All the injustices, beaten, fear and despair still alive inside me.”
“You see? And you? Do you know who your parents are? Are or were you loved?”
The silence comes like a shovel of earth over my grave. Nobody was there anymore. I was alone again. Closing my mental eyes. I let my mind float to better places where happiness once touched me. I dreamed.