When you reach a certain age or rather, a good number of experiences, of those that we understand as vital, I don’t know, the birth of our child, marrying someone we have only been able to dream of at least as our soul mate, or complementary, or half orange, or what do I know, a complete orange? perhaps a medical news that changes your life and what you understood as such, an almost more than possible accident of any kind and from which you escaped even without knowing how … well, you know what I mean, experiences that have marked you and have left a mark in your memory, a scar on what some call soul or simply, have been so etched in memory, you know it will be the last thing you stop remembering.
All this to try to explain to you, a few weeks after the event, what I came to feel…
Do you remember a post about Ernesto?
I was talking about this fisherman from El Hierro, someone I will undoubtedly have to tell you someday how I got to know him, and who took me to the high seas, into the ocean to cut my breath, at first, to see how the sun emerged behind the liquid horizon that surrounded me, to shortly after … I think the correct definition would be to die of pure and simple pleasure to feel close to some creatures from another planet.
But I think I’d better do a memory exercise…
I am practically paralyzed by something I never believed… a smile that greets me on a head as fat as a watermelon, dark, a huge body for me and that, far from flooding me with fear, I still have the memory of Jaws.
They’re beautiful, I mutter to myself….
- They are, Ernesto tells me very softly, they and their cousins, the carnal ones, the direct ones, whatever you want to call them, all of them, are, together with the whales, the most magnificent beings of the sea.
I can only nod and stare at him and whisper…Thank you.
- I still don’t know why Jorge thinks I told him to come in his bathing suit.
And… well, yes, I did swim, although it was not as spectacular as one might imagine… although I had better tell it as truthfully as possible.
When he finished telling me this, I remember looking at him with a face of disbelief, after all, I was seeing how a bug of no less than 5 or 6 meters was just an arm’s length away from me, from the boat that separated me from them, and yes, I know, they have a very tender smile and all that… but fuck!!! how big they were!!!!!
But well, at this point, it was in me, the fear of one who does not consider himself a good swimmer, we must not forget that I am in the Atlantic Ocean, I’m wearing only my swimsuit in the middle of March and if that were not enough, I was invaded by the thought ….
What the hell are these critters eating?
Anyway, I let myself fall overboard, yes, with my mask and snorkel borrowed, with the addition that my right hand, is attached to a line of the gunwale with so much force that I left it pressed to half its thickness, you can imagine how nervous I was.
I would say that it was a glorious first impression to dive in those waters, but it will be that no, I simply disappeared certain noble parts of how cold the water was, and also, thanks to the fact that I had covered my mouth with the tube, let’s say that the heels only felt the bugs that swam next to me.
And another thing…
You have no idea how dark the bottom looks, and if you add that my generation grew up with the movie Jaws seen in the cinema… the plan is already all told.
So, there I was, wondering why the hell I was there, serving as bait for any monster that appeared from underneath a darkness that could not be guessed when it ended, maybe a few thousand meters, maybe a few hundred, but that to me, particularly me, seemed unimaginable.
But I had the idea of turning my head… and there he/she was, sorry for not being more descriptive, but I can’t tell them apart without more physical details that I know, but I want to think that it was her/him, there, barely a meter away from me, it didn’t even look like she/he was making an effort to swim, there was a creature of no less than… very big, with a huge head, like a watermelon mounted on its forehead, with a smile on its mouth, looking at me, perhaps wondering… this squid is very strange… Why is she/he looking at me so much? I have no idea what could be going through his head, because, it’s silly, I know, you’ll tell me that I was dazed, anesthetized perhaps by the cold and my neurons were not working, say what you want, but it’s been a while and I still remember how he looked at me, how he fixed his eyes, how I saw someone…
I do not believe in karma, in religions, in everything that people call parapsychological, I am rather objective, little or nothing given to believe in anything else that is not rational, objectifiable through the certainty of the obvious, but at that moment … I believed.
I believed that something else had to exist.
I could not look away, I think I was not even breathing, I could only feel how that incredible creature was rocking in the water, by God!!!! I could feel how the water was moving away from his skin, how the strength he possessed, he transmitted it to the water and I could feel it in my own, I saw how he turned his head and when I did it in the same direction I saw the rest of the herd, shadows in the depths, just shreds of dark skin furrowing under me, I saw how more members approached him, how they kept their distance…. I heard them talking… yes, I know, I have no fucking idea what they were saying to each other, but I swear by the most sacred thing that they were talking to each other, I can’t tell you how or why, only that I would have given anything to be able to do it with them.
I listened to Ernesto warning me that I should go upstairs, lest I freeze… and then …..
She came closer, I noticed how the water moved away from her, I noticed all that strength moving just effortlessly, I saw how her gaze was directed to me, I saw how she smiled at me, and she spoke to me, in her language of course, but fuck, I know that she spoke to me.
Yes, I was there next to him and… no, I didn’t dare to reach out and touch that incredible being.
I guess you’re wondering why the hell I didn’t touch her, didn’t caress her.
Do you know the answer?
Yeah, the feasible thing is that I told you that I was afraid it would attack, that it would bite me because it felt threatened, they are not domestic animals, they are creatures in the wild, maybe I could have even thought it was edible, but none of that is true.
I didn’t think I had the right.
I didn’t think I was worthy of even a brief and fleeting caress of such a creature.
Ernesto helped me into the boat, gave me a blanket and a coffee that burned like hell itself, he did not ask me any questions at that moment, I know he imagined that I could not tell him anything, and set course towards the port, and meanwhile, my sight did not stop seeing, or rather, trying to see again those who had created in me the more than firm idea and conviction that we were not alone in the universe, that there was more life and, I would dare to say without fear of being wrong, more intelligent.
- I want to ask you something Jorge…
I just raised my head and listened to him.
-They are animals that are reserved, not very fond of contact, not these ones at least, they know me and Magua (the boat), and I will tell you that I myself have bathed with them, but I have never seen any of them do what she has done today.
-Was she a female?
I remember nodding my head, smiling inwardly at myself for having gotten my wishes right.
I remember half getting up, still shivering perhaps from the cold, or from the half liter of brandy I had put in my coffee.
I remember turning around to fix my eyes there, in the distance, where she was supposed to be.
I remember feeling, a few minutes before, the most privileged being in the world for having bathed with them, but when Ernesto let me know that detail….
You see, I couldn’t stop my eyes from watering more than obviously, so I just kept staring there, beyond the distance, trying to see what wasn’t there anymore,
When I thought I could speak with more serenity, I turned to him and I said…
-He must have liked me.
I remember he stared at me for a few uncomfortable seconds because of how hard his eyes were shining.
-Do you know something Jorge, they say that they see through our souls, that they are able to feel our deepest secrets, and I have acquaintances who even say that they are the only beings that, depending on how they act… they forgive us, they forgive everything that we are not able to forgive ourselves.
I could only nod, because, you’ll tell me what the hell can be said to such a categorical idea.
I could only approve with my head, I remembered that invisible force when it moved through the water, I remembered the series of conversations they had between them, apparently meaningless noises, but which you knew were full of emotions, I remembered how it approached me, as if inviting me to touch it and why I couldn’t do it, why I didn’t believe I was worthy.
-As much as you judge yourself, as much as you punish yourself?
-Remember Jorge… she liked me.
*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***