«For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself.
(St. Paul: Epistle to the Romans)
It's amazing that my son is turning 20 today ... if Martin was born yesterday. It seems that yesterday I was in labor, or taking him to his first concert and that only yesterday, with 6 years, he decided that he wanted to be a musician (by influence, obviously, of Yusa). On February 12, the day of her birth, it was a day of celebration and joy until 2013. Santiago Feliú, the same friend who brought me the most comfortable gowns and shoes that a pregnant woman could dream of during her trips to South America, a year next spoiled me the date forever, with its occurrence of coming to die just the day when my son, a little his also, was partying with Adriano Feliú, the eldest son of Santi, celebrating that ambiguous age in which they believe that they are not children, age of self-condescension and experimentation, of the first drinks and puffs in secret.
I was a fan of Santiago since my teens, but I wasn't exactly her friend. I was more a friend of Donato. I followed them with my cousins or the temporrary friends for Café Cantante and all the jams that let them play as a duo Salta Saltarina; Listening to them, I must have believed myself great, without being, as Martin thought he was great on February 12, 2014. His 80s Vallejianas metaphors (Se le caen los dientes a mi barba...) are an indisputable part of my emotional youth education. Only he succeeded in supplanting Silvio and Pablo, Los Meme, Los Safiros and The Beatles from my parents' cassette. And for a young iconoclastic, deny me if not, who puts the soundtrack of a house is the boss, even if there live several generations and you don’t know where the food that you put in your mouth comes from.
Then the Santi went to play throughout Latin America with Silvio, he believed things ... he joined the Colombian guerrillas for a while ... I lost sight of him. One late night in the late 90's he came to the tiny apartment that I shared with Mane to consult something legal, a lucid contract that he had signed in Argentina and had him caught by the eggs, or so it seemed. I was then the young one-eyed girl in the country of the blind, that is, the only lawyer here who understood some of these issues. I don't remember if he came on the advice of Xiomara or Iván Latour or who. The fact is that he arrived with his contract, and it turns out that the only ornament that was in those two square meters that made me home was a poster of his. Mane and I worshiped him as a God of our age. Only he dared to put Fidel, the Pope, Gorbachev and Allah in the same sentence, confirming the hodgepodge of emotions that the 90s brought us. And that already threw us head on the hard timba.
Después no nos separamos. Nuestra relación fue madurando con nosotros y llegó el momento en que sin darnos cuenta éramos tembas y compartíamos puntualmente los viernes, casi como un ritual, certezas, tragos y preocupaciones. Y risas. Muchas risas. Le dimos juntos un chucho inmisericorde, a todo y a todos. Inventamos discos y proyectos con conceptos y nombres absurdos y ganamos miles de dólares imaginarios con cada uno. Qué manera de comer mierda. Comer mierda con alguien a quien estás queriendo mucho debe ser una de las cosas que más fortalecen una amistad. Y cocinarse mutuamente los pocos platos que, con lo poco que hay, aprendes a hacer. Y que te enseñen a jugar Rummikub. Y ver crecer y quererse a nuestros hijos. Y criticarle mucho el bodrio de concierto que hizo desperdiciando a la Sinfónica Nacional. Y ser testigo, aún sin susto, de sus primeros bateos de hipertensión. Y hacer de apócrifa notaria de su última boda, porque no aparecía el papel del divorcio.
El 11 de febrero de 2014, Martín había salido con Adriano y otro amigo (“cuídenmelo y que vuelva temprano, que mañana tiene clases”) y yo me había dormido al sentirlo llegar un poco después de las 12 y encender la luz de su lamparita (ese momento en que la madre de hijo adolescente puede, por fin, conciliar el sueño). Lo que pasó a partir de cerca de las dos de la madrugada es una pesadilla que jamás me he atrevido a revivir en palabras, aunque mil veces me vuelve con obstinada precisión a pesar de la exigua memoria que me dejaron los años y los excesos.
The phone rang at that absurd hour and, half asleep, I heard Gemma insistently ask me about Adriano, if I knew about him, if Martin had already arrived. "Martin is sleeping," I said, as I stood up and checked him anyway. There he was, in his room, innocent, surrendered. "Darsi, MY SANTIAGO PASSED AWAY", he shouted and I thought "Damn, what a freaking nightmare I am having" ... Everything is confusing even now ... Lili was already getting dressed and I was already riding in the car and I don't know if we fly, yes she drove or I drove at a ghostly speed or I teleported. Eighteen minutes after the call, who knows how, we were already in the Emergency Hospital with his inert body, with Gemma in an unstoppable crying - eight months pregnant as she was - and we had already found Adriano (who would arrive at the hospital all sweaty, minutes later, literally running from Infanta and Mangrove).
I had to dress him and comb his dull hair, the hardest moment - with distance - of my half-century of life; I had to tell a lot of people, in Cuba and outside of Cuba. I don't know how I could, half in trance I still remember myself. It has also been my turn to see how Martin, who had him as a kind of hippie uncle with green jokes and a car full of cockroaches, has grown up discovering for himself his poetry, his genius, his rock spirit, his illogical left-handed body.
Su obra grabada, que no he podido ni deseado volver a escuchar ya nunca más, comienza con Vida y termina con Ay, la vida. Como si él supiera que iba a dejarnos huérfanos de su persona, pero que necesitábamos un ser mitológico para personificar tanto absurdo, tanta fe perdida, tanta belleza terrible. Tanta Vida y tanta Muerte. Todo este Misterio.