Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yesterday was not a day for the world to end

Yesterday didn’t feel like a good day for the world to end. It didn’t feel like a day to go completely wild 100 miles per heartbeat. I wasn’t either sad or moved or ecstatic. I was actually kind of numb. So no, yesterday couldn’t be a day for the world to end. Sweat flourished out of my pores, some drops thicker than others, neither fear nor anxiety. It was just a plain hot and humid day, and kind of ordinary, too. It was a day I went house hunting, and you can’t go house hunting on the day the world will end. It was late afternoon under a golden sunlight, central time, when I asked myself if I’d go to heaven or if I’d go to hell. After two seconds I realized that either place is just too harsh for me and purgatory may be too close to real life. So no, because of that I knew that yesterday couldn’t be the day for the end of us. It was my niece’s 15th birthday, and you can’t deny a girl the pleasures of celebrating her rites of passage. Yesterday couldn’t be the end of times because I wanted to eat bread with olive oil and goat cheese and salami and red wine. It was delicious, and yet there was so little poetry. Yesterday was certainly not a day for the world to end. The city was exactly the same, no more ups and no more downs than the normal city self, and no doomsday prophets prophesying chaos. I saw a man getting handcuffed in Midtown, a mother feeding a baby, pigeons eating hamburger leftovers, people looking for trouble telling us to park our car away from their houses, a man flirting with my Mexican dress. And that other man, the one with a lion tattooed on his neck packing my groceries, didn't look like he was ready to let go of this realm. I got a manicure and painted my nails bright red. I listened to samba in the morning. I watched TV. And no, absolutely not: yesterday was not a day for goodbyes. I didn’t call my friends, I didn’t hug my family, I didn’t tell people I love them, I didn’t throw the finest party to celebrate the end of the world swimming in a champagne pool, I didn’t kiss the neighbor, I didn’t try tantra, I didn’t flap my wings, I didn’t allow myself to be completely out of control. It was a day for little socialization, for physical rest, modest rationalization and contained emotions. And I was in bed by 9pm. 

Yesterday was just another ordinary Saturday and only two things ended that day: the deadline of yet another false prophet and the person I was on that very day.


Post originally written on May 22, 2011, a day after a U.S. preacher warned that the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011. This post has been modified from its original version.

The web

When I moved to my new home a tiny little spider decided to build her web in my front yard.  Her silky thread expanded from the cypress tree to the nearby bushes, almost imperceptible except when the sun rays caught the exact angle of the carefully sewn fabric. Otherwise, for most of the time the little spider seemed to hang freely in space, defying the laws of gravity. I liked that optical illusion right there in my newly acquired front lawn. Each day I would get back from work and observe her resting after a day’s labor. Each day her web seemed more beautifully crafted, such stunning geometric precision that I confess I was slightly jealous. I once tried cross stitching a gift for a friend’s newborn, but I failed miserably. It’s not that the little clown I weaved wasn’t cute: it’s that the reverse was a complete mess. My mother always said that you know a good weaver when the reverse is flawless. My mother is a perfectionist and even though I’m a Virgo with perfectionist tendencies and an aura of apparent “I-have-it-all-together,” the backstage of my mind is a web of flaws.

I never tried to get rid of my little yard neighbor. We were both busy building our new homes. She seemed pretty harmless to me, more poise than poison. While I was living under this intense jolt of adrenaline for acquiring a new place that officially crowned me as an adult, little Arachne was simply being. I only saw her when she was resting, like a constant reminder that I also needed to grant myself some quiet times, and yet I kept on moving in the opposite direction. Restless, always restless. There was always something else to do, someone else to visit, another party to attend, another email to write, another man to go out on a date with, another life plan to plan, another thing to prove to myself or to the world that I was capable of doing.

Within a few weeks of moving to my new place, a torrential storm engulfed the city. That night I experienced the most overpowering thunders of my entire life. The lightening strikes were so intense that for uncountable minutes my bedroom was uninterruptedly lit up in hues and shades of pale blue. All horrifying and beautiful, a spectacle of destruction and awe that only nature is capable of performing. When morning came, the sun was shining timidly amidst the news of complete chaos in a city that nearly drowned. There were lost lives and lost life dreams. And when I looked up at my cypress tree I noticed the void. Little Arachne was no longer there. Her web was also gone, washed away with the storm, silky threads of beauty swimming towards the sea. I want to think that she survived the deluge by jumping on a leaf and hanging on to it until she could rest in safer shores. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t, but her existence taught me some good lessons: embrace quietness, buy flood insurance and use your natural gifts to bring beauty to this world.