His name came up earlier, in the context of my last trip to the island, and I think it’s only fair to tell you who he is.
Take a bag of raisins, or look at one of those Japanese dogs, that look like wrinkled towels, mixed with the bronze color of those who have been exposed all their lives, not only to the sun, but to the wind, the salt, the water of various seas and oceans, place it on a wiry body, a dry old cap and a permanent cigar in the corner of the lips, dry, an old tarnished cap and a permanent cigarette in the corner of his lips, add to it an eternal half smile, something that I misinterpreted at the beginning, as being in a state of being in a hurry, when in fact, it was out of gratitude for every moment that arose.
I don’t know his age, I never asked him in all those chats we had, maybe because I was more interested in knowing his opinion about this or that subject, or also, to listen to some of his adventures, who knows from his imagination or from a life that I thought was worthy of being told.
I am not going to deceive you, you came up in some of those conversations, I wanted to know what he thought, he left me perplexed on many occasions by a wisdom he had acquired and the humility with which he accepted the ups and downs of a chance that many cause them heartaches.
We spoke on several occasions, in all of them, without exception, it was fortune who brought us together, something that surprised me every time I referred to it, but he just threw that half smile and argued that why worry about something like that, out of his control.
I remember the day he knew what I was doing, the reasons for my arrival on the island, the reasons why one day, he saw a “godo” jump into the water, as if he wanted to beat some record, and then hear him scream, cry and finally return to the beach.
I didn’t remember seeing any boat or anyone on the beach looking to see what the hell I was doing, or trying to guess under what substance I was affected to do such stupidity.
But he was there, in the distance it seemed, a little intrigued but attentive in case my strength was not enough to make it back, so, when he knew part of the story…I remember he looked at me fixedly and told me, what for me is one of those pearls that I never want to forget…he did what had to be done.
That’s it, and yes, I know, you were expecting something more bombastic, well I’m sorry, because even here I couldn’t tell you everything that the tone, the slowness with which he said it, the accent, I don’t know, but I swear I almost cried!
He spoke to me about the commitment that one has to make when he is old enough to assume his actions, the honesty of being faithful to outdated principles, old, out of fashion even, but that are part of the vital DNA of each one, he spoke to me about how complicated it is to know oneself, how fortunate he was to know who he was, something that many sail, he always used maritime expressions, they sail, as he said, through life without knowing what port they are going to dock at.
He asked me many questions, the memory of days in which fear was permanent, of the faces of those we let go, of the immense fortune I had to meet the greatest and most wonderful group of human beings, of what, with them by my side, I was able to face, and even, he guessed part of the biggest secret that I never admitted, in those moments, and then, a few people guessed about me.
He guessed it quickly, perhaps, as he said, because sometimes… those of us who are similar recognize each other… Captain.
A position that can not be granted lightly, because it is something of immense responsibility, is who dictates the course, is obliged to be the first to embark, always has to be the last to leave the ship, but above all, is the immense fear that you are responsible for those who trust you, and that, in his words, is the greatest and most incredible gift that someone can make you … give you their trust.
Another one of those phrases…
You see – he said to me – it is very good that people want to tell them how incredibly brave they were, when nothing was known, and just as there were others who decided not to go in, and I am not referring to those who had motives, but to those who simply did not dare, who even minimized their actions, those who forget quickly the favors that one does, but forget even faster the actions that they themselves have decided not to do, like that they never came to ask and so on, believe me, even at sea it happens, they can even sleep peacefully, maybe they will never even have remorse for what they did not dare, but you know what? , Only a few can look up without fear, see the immense wave that rises in front of the bow, smile at destiny and prepare the rudder.
Because only a few will dare, and they will always be the ones who will appear on the front line, without anyone calling them, with the satisfaction of pride in their work, they will be there, without expecting anything in return, making the same commitment every day… and do you know why?
No – I answered.
Because they know who they are, because there is no greater pride and satisfaction than knowing who you are, there is no greater power, no greater reward than the one that comes from looking around and seeing what you have been able to accomplish, because they will take one step after the other and they will get up again…. because they know… because they can.
There were more days in which the hours passed quickly between chats, beers and pipe tobacco, tobacco that by the way, it was impossible for me to smoke for God’s sake!!! with the obvious laughter on his part.
He is a curious guy… Ernesto, Captain, with capital letters, of Magua, his boat.
*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***