“Wake up, the sun is rising and the birds are not singing.
It must mean we have to wake them up. How many times will I have to tell them That they must fulfill their roles in life,
To sing, so I can wake up.”
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locations is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Marvin Amparo
All rights reserved. This book, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN: GGKEY: 3NZ5RGC54YA
It was an ordinary day. No rush, no keeping of time as usual. The hearing court was ready for The Humans’ Earshot. The Arphil entered the door and with a manly-strong voice said:
“Everyone, welcome to our hearing. Please feel free to ask any question before we begin. Common questions, such as where you are or why you have to tell us your story, are not relevant to us. Therefore, we have decided to give you those answers after everyone’s speech has finished. If tried to make any of the foresaid questions, you will not be able to talk nor hear yourself talking.”
A beautiful woman, named Samantha Johns, stood up. Rapidly, she sat down as her tongue twisted and her ears closed, triggering her brief deafness and muteness. The Arphil looked at her unsurprised. Calmly, he said:
“As told you previously, if wanted to ask questions such as where you are, why you are here or even who we are, you will not be able to. Since now, you will experience what we call a “Hevel.” It means you will do what we tell you to do and you will do it without questioning. It also means that all your feelings and emotions will be temporarily oppressed. You are going to be able to talk about them; however, you
will not be able to express them physically. Without more prologues, please make a horizontal line to your left.
Prior to giving your speech, you must say the number that you are on the line. Additionally, each speech must have a little. The title can be your name as introduction or some phase that may be significant in your personal life story. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a story. Thus such speech will be your life story. You will just tell us from your heart what you feel or have experienced. You will tell us a true
story, your life as you have lived and remembered it. It shall be from its most momentous beginning to its present end. After having finished your speech, you shall continue by the order of the line. Once everyone is done, you will have the hearing court’s decision.”
The Arphil sat down. All the speakers stared at him, still no one said anything. This time there was no need for a lawyer or for a reading of their rights. This time, they had no rights. This time every person was equal, regardless of their sex, gender, religion, wealth, national origin or political preference. Each speaker had no option but to say the truth. No lies, because this time they were not the ones talking on behalf of themselves, it was their hearts.
Each group was divided by the order they came in. I recall that the first speaker was Mr. Peter who started by saying:
Ten Mo**re Se**co**nd**s
I remember the days when I was a child. Those were the most wonderful moments of my life. No fear, no pain, no shame existed in my heart. The only thing I would care about was having fun and exploring life as curious as possible. We lived two blocks from Central Park, which was ideal when it came to go playing with my friends.
To me, the park was like a puzzle which I was always ready and anxious to figure out. The ice-skating in the winter, the free outside concerts in the summer, and the children’s’ boats competition in fall, were the most exciting things to me. I enjoyed so much walking down the park, while I watched over and over gain the lakes. My friends always teased me when I was staring at the water. I could not explain to them what I felt every time I saw the lakes. It’s not as if a bunch of eleven and thirteen year olds would easily get it. Plus, how to explain what yourself cannot even describe. Have you ever been in a place where you feel somehow you were there before? Or have you ever felt intrigued so much by something that you feel attached to it? If you have, then you might know how I felt every time I saw water, the same way.
I was happy, we were a normal middle class family. Normal, for lack of a better word as I believe mankind does not have a correct definition of such word. Thus what may be normal for some could be considered abnormal or outrageous for others. Yet, in a world where imperfect women and men inhabit, happiness may be a vapor which could vanish any time. And so did my childhood happiness.
I still remember that day when my father’s best friend came to our house to bring the bad news. I could not understand it. I just saw my mother take the car keys and leave as if she was in a rush. Our maid Mary cried while she held my hand repeating, “He’ll be fine”. I still not got it. It was when my mother came back home that I partially understood what happened. My father had suffered a heart attack. I saw my bothers’ eyes as mom cried trying to explain us the distressing situation. “Therefore, he won’t be coming home anytime soon.” She said tearfully.
Days passed and dad did not show up. After a week, we went visit him with mom and grandma. Now I knew why he was not coming home for dinner or to watch the Yankees. He was in coma. Most of the blood clots in his brain broke, triggering him a devastating embolism. That was a lot of information for an eleven year old kid to process. However, when I came back home I could not do anything rather than crying. I cried so much because something inside me said, “he will die.” Even though I didn’t know what death exactly meant, knew I by certain that when people die they don’t come back. For first time in my life I feared so much to something that I felt powerless. It was the fear all humans feel at a certain point of their lives, “the fear of death.” Nevertheless, no one told me about this when growing up. No one told me my family was in the list of people who die. That was my thinking, which made me furious and tearful.
Eventually, my bad did not die. Neither he came back home for a while. His debtors did come home constantly. We consequently lost it all except each other. Our cars, house, Disney vacations, even our nanny Mary. With no college education, my mom became a part-time secretary and waitress.
After five years of constant help, my mother’s family stopped helping us. So we moved to the Bronx into a small three room apartment. Tired and constantly depressed, my mother quit her job and became and escort. I worked part time as a cashier in McDonalds. My brothers were still too young to work. We were three in total. Luckily, my mom’s new job was enough to pay a
babysitter to attend them. This was a relief to me because with dad and the children, altogether, felt I as if I was a full-time nurse and nanny. All in one. Six years later my dad was still sick, this time in semi-coma. He could see us and even smile but he could not talk or move at all. Except for his left hand fingers, which were the only part of his body he could move in slow motion.
With so much going on in my life, I barely cared about girls or love. Though I must admit I fell in love in my junior year. She dumbed me after two months saying that I didn’t dedicate her enough “quality time.” She was right, though. At that time of my life it was all about dad, mom and the boys. I was the last number in my list of priorities.
I spent most of my free time on learning how to play the guitar. I even learned how to speak Chinese. My mom used to tell me “I want you to be someone Pet. You are smart and cute as hell, son. You see how we are living now? This is all temporary because one day you’ll make it big.”
Her words were always comforting, a shelter where I could lay down my frustration. Yes frustration, that’s all I felt at that moment. With a minimum wage job, a paralytic dad and escort mom, felt I the world was suffocating me. I never could really talk about my feelings with my mom, even though she was an open bible with me. She always talked to me as if I were her best friend, which sort of crept me out sometimes. However, I really enjoyed listening to her.
It was my senior year of High School. I had applied to some Cunny colleges for Accounting. I wanted to a wealthy entrepreneur. I wanted to be someone who would not have to worry at all about the “Benjamin’s.”
When the letter came, my mom hid it until I came back home. We opened it together. Her smile was as big as mine. I had received a grant to study pre-maid in Hunter College. Crying tears of happiness, mom said, “I told ya son, this is all temporary cause one day you’ll make it big.”
It was a fourth of July. The 2 train at Times Square train station was busy as usual. I had my headphones on. I couldn’t see who she or he was the one who pushed me towards the train line. The only thing I know is that it was then when the lights turned off. I don’t mean the lights of
the train station or trucks’. I mean mine. I was bleeding and almost unconscious. I heard a woman crying, “Someone help me please. He’s bleeding too much.”
It’s weird the things we remember when we’re dying. At that moment a flash back came about my first love Stephaney. My brothers and dad crossed my mind. My mom’s laugh and all the times she said, “This is all temporary cause one day you’ll make it big.” Water, I saw myself once again staring at it when was a child.
When my pain was so deep and harsh that I could not hold it anymore, my breath started to fail. It was at that moment when I wanted to live the most. I suddenly realized that life may be like a vapor on the sky. A fleeting spring flower. No future, all I wanted was ten more seconds of my present to tell mom that I love her so much. Ten more
seconds to tell dad that he was my hero and mom my heroin. Those words that I never expressed were the ones I want to shout the most.
I prayed in my mind for first time hoping someone immortal may hear my inside cry. Hoping someone could help me live ten more seconds, ten more seconds.
“Lay down, and don’t even try to bite me. Yeah like that, that’s what I mean. Hold it, hold it. I’m coming baby, I’m coming. Ohhhh, ohhhh!”
“Do you want me to leave the door open tonight?”
“No, I will be busy. I probably won’t be here. Remember, you can’t tell anyone about this. If you do little bitch, you’ll…”
‘Yeah, yeah, you’ve told me this a thousand times. If I did, you’d go home and kill anyone who knows my name. Now, take your filthy hands off me,” I said in a hostile tone.
He looked at me with no regard, whatsoever. He rapidly dressed himself as he said slowly,
“Plus no one would ever believe me,” I said finishing his sentence. After all, we had gone over that conversation so many times!
With his sarcastic tone of voice he asked, “Do you need any money for school?” I did not reply as I was thinking about where I would play ballet as my friend Karla couldn’t host that Afternoon. Those were the kind of things I thought while my world was tearing apart. My teacher Patricia Smith used to say, “Innocence is the youth’s worst enemy.” I believed she was naïve, pretentious and annoying. Nowadays, I know that was me, a naïve girl who did not realize her stepfather was using her sexually. I recall the first time it happened, he came into my room and abruptly raped me. It was a chilling night of December, my mother was at work. She’s a nurse so she had to work overnights sometimes. It hurt, Lord knows it did. I screamed and asked for help, but no one heard me.
“Stop resisting, I know you’ll like it, bade.”
“No, no, leave me alone. Please leave me alone,” I said crying.
As he shut my moth with his strong-mannish hands, he said, “Shut up little bitch.”
Sometimes, when I think about it, I just hear his nasty words in my mind saying, “Shut up little bitch.” Ever since that night I used to ask myself where in earth was my older brother Patrick. I knew he was downstairs. With my mouth shut by his rustic hands and the soft pillows, I know it was almost impossible for someone to hear me. Plus, the notorious bastard turned on the radio so the noise would not spread.
After six rapes, I decided to not resist anymore. He would just come after my mother left for work, or some nights when he secretly gave her sleeping pills. You may be thinking this man was a scumbag to society. Not at all, at least not by then. In fact, he was a teacher and a part-time preacher. Between one of his renowned good deeds was adopting my brother Patrick, who was originally from Haiti.
I also used to half-ask myself: what kind of man who knew and preached God’s love would hurt a fourteen year old child like me? Well, he was that kind of man, I can tell you that for sure.
I was walking on my way home for dinner. A young man was shouting at her, “You’re a liar.” Intrigued, I stared at them. When she left the store I courageously asked him, “what happened?” He patiently replied: “She cheated on me with my own brother. Can you believe that?”
“Yes I do, fellow. After what I’ve been through, there’s nothing coming from a man that I would not believe.”
“Well, this time it was a woman.”
“We both laughed at what sounded like a joke due to his splendid mockery and docile tone of voice.”
“Learn this princess, regardless of gender, every person is a liar.” He said smiling. “It is up to you to decide if you’re gonna be dumb your entire life, trying to keep silence.”
“What do you mean?” I asked intriguingly.
“I mean, I knew she was cheating on me since a week ago. I started to get used it or to being hurt. Suddenly, I realized, it’s better to stop my suffering before I become a masochist.”
“Someone who likes to suffer, I get you,” I said cutting him off.
“Maybe. A masochist may be someone who loves endlessly, therefore they cannot choose between love and suffering. Or it may be someone whose suffering has been so severe, they rather not fight it any more. They’ve got used to suffering like only those who have lost self-love would get used to.”
“But didn’t he know she was your girlfriend?” I asked him even more inquisitively.
“He did not, but she did know he was my brother. I had his address and a couple of photos of him in my PC. So she went haunt him down.”
“Sorry about it man. Bye, I gotta go or I’ll get home late for dinner.”
He shrieked, “What’s your name?” as I left in a hurry the store. I shrieked back, “Samantha.” “I’m Jonathan,” he shouted from the corner of the street.
On my way home I couldn’t stop thinking about the word “masochist.” Was I a masochist? If not, I was very close to be. I wanted to cry but my wrath and pride did not let me.
I ran back to the store but Jonathan was gone. I gave five dollars to a random girl to buy me
some liquor. Even though it felt as if all hell’s fire was running through my throat, I didn’t stop. I drank it all up. I wanted the liquor to block my thinking, stop my worries and take away my fear. It’s too much for a drink to do, right?
I hated my stepfather with all my heart. Additionally, I feared him so much. The same amount of hatred was equivalent to my fear towards him. I was eighteen when I got home drunk for first time that night. The family was together finishing dinner. Into rumpled words and in front everybody, I told my mom the truth.
“It’s nine o’clock where in earth have you been Samantha? You know well dinner is at 8:00 o’clock,” my mom said worriedly.
Trembling my knees, and barely talking clearly, I replied: “Yeah I know, I know beauty, but I was busy giving a blow job to a pal in the neighborhood.”
Statement that wasn’t true, by the way.
“What sort of language is that girl?” My stepfather said surprisingly. As a matter of fact, not only him, everyone was astonished at my first rebellion.
“It’s so weird you’ve called me girl bros. You always call me bade or little bitch.”
“What, what are you talking about, you’re drunk. Who drugged you girl? Tell me!”
“No one, I don’t think you’ve given me one of those sleeping pills you put into mom’s juice to doze her off. Yes, you do it to have enough time to rape me at nights.”
“What the fuck?” My bother Patrick said. Mom yelled, “Oh my goodness.”
After severe discussions between mom and Mr. Miller, mom called the police and made him get arrested. Between tears, she asked me for forgiveness. In fact, I was never mad at her but at myself. Mad at me, for keeping silence for so long; as no matter how horrendous one’s life is, there’s always a way out. Like any opportunity in life, you’ll have to be brave and snatch it up.
I am glad and grateful I could get out of such frightening happening of my life. Today, I am a mother and a recognized or better said, well-known New York Times Author. I have just finished my third book. This one is a thriller about a successful Wall St. Chairman. The book is called “Every Person Is a Liar.”
I’ve had the happiest days of life with my husband Jonathan and our son Jonathan Jr. They’re by far my biggest and most significant achievement.
On my way to meet them for dinner at Marble Rose Restaurant, a young driver did not stop at the green lights. It was then when my lights turned off. They did, indeed.
Inwardly I repeated “Ohhh no, no now. No now, I am too young to die. I haven’t told Jonathon I’m pregnant.”
When turning my head to the left, there was no blood in my belly. So I lied to myself thinking she or he will be fine. When turning my head to the right I saw my legs crushed into the car wheels. “How come I cannot feel them?” I said deeply.
I swiftly forgot about the combination of numbness and pain on my legs, as well as the huge ache in my head. At that last instant, my whole thinking was all about that little being inside of me. My baby. Was it ok? It was all I could think of. And while the breath was leaving my body, I thought of Jonathan and Jon Jr. There was no time for praying as my body fainted before my thought could claim, or beg for mercy.
T~~e~~l~~l m~~e y~~o~~u~~r st~~or~~y
I grew up hearing the stories and jokes about white and black people. I never really cared about what my peers said because in my childish little world we all were equal. It was, however, only in my childish world as in the real one, we were not. In the orphanage I was raised, every day seemed to be the same. We woke up at 7:30 AM. After taking a shower and having breakfast we would go to class at 9: 00 AM. You should never ever be late and if you were, then you’d have to wash the dishes. I will not get into a lot of details because this story is not about me. It’s about someone who transformed my life. Her name was Ms. Michelle Rockville. She was a wealthy New Yorker whose mother was an Italian baker and her dad a very powerful British lawyer. Ms. Rockville married Philip Rockville in 1978. He was a French millionaire who had gotten tired of living a tense life of business decisions.
Consequently, Mr. Rockville decided to settle down and marry the beautiful and well-off Michelle Patterson. Unfortunately, Philip Rockville died when Ms. Rockville was only twenty nine, she never remarried or even dated anyone again. By the way she constantly looked at his pictures, knew I how much she loved him. Though, she never really talked much about him.
What made Ms. Rockville unforgettable and remarkable was not her wealth or educated way of speaking. It was everything she was. Michelle and Mr. Rockville could not have children on their own, so I was the only child in the house. Nevertheless, I ought to start my story since the beginning. It all started that morning when Mr. Fox woke us up saying:
“Get up lazy ass. Today we have a very special guest who will apparently have enough pity on you and adopt one of you. So you must be superb, meaning clean from head to toes. Go take a
shower and a quick breakfast. Y’ll be on front by 8: 00. And I ain’t have to say it. If you’re late
I’ll make sure you regret.” That was Mr. Fox. He only talked rudely but he never really hurt anyone. In fact when bored, he used to tell us stories about the independence and how blacks were set free from slavery. He used to say that south needed more men like Malcom X and Martin Luther King. One Christmas Mr. Fox even bought us candy and Christmas gifts from his own salary.
There she was, a white wealthy woman in a black children’s orphanage. For me it was bizarre. Even though I’ve seen a lot of white people before, none of them have been here for adoption. Does she know we’re black? She must be in the wrong place, I thought. Her simple way of dressing made her look like a common housewife. Though when seeing her luxury limousine, you knew by certain she was not.
“Children, please let me introduce you to Ms. Rockville from upstate New York. She’s been very generous to our orphanage in several occasions. Today she will spend some time getting to know some of you. Ok?” said the director Miss, Williams.
Ms. Rockville smiled and went back to talk to some of the girls. I did not care about it. They never pick me anyways. My friends say it’s because I’m light skin. Some say it’s because I’m too quiet and dumb. Besides, I’ve seen one hundred thirty five adoptions. Most of them rejected me, others I just didn’t get to talk with. I had been counting them ever since the first interview.
Playing baseball in the yard, she approached to me and said “good shot.” I was wondering if she was talking to me.
“What’s your name? I’m Michelle.” Ms. Rockville said smiling. “Yes, it’s me. She’s talking to me.” I said slowly. I am Mathew “Nice to meet you Mathew. Do you like to play baseball?”
“I do but I’m mostly the water boy. I’m only playing today cuz most kids are busy making lines to talk with strangers to get a home.”
“I see,” she said patiently.
“Will you really adopt a kid from here?” “Yes, I’d like to do so.”
“But you’re white. Honestly to be you are only white woman I’ve seen here to adopt.”
“She laughed. I don’t know if it was because it sounded funny or because my grammar was incorrect as usual.”
“Well Mat, it was a pleasure to you.”
“Same Ms. Rockville. Thank you for talking.” I smiled at her. She smiled back to me as she waved goodbye.
It was a Tuesday of 1978. A nun came for me. Church was not until Wednesday so I asked her where we were going. She impatiently replied, “To meet your new parents.” My heart raised as my body stayed in shock.
“Really?” I said.
“But we haven’t packed my clothes? And everyone packs before they leave.” “You won’t need them.”
Entering the director’s office, there she was. My eyes kept wide open like a bulb the whole time. I sort of did not believe it. Ms. Rockville decided to adopt me.
When got to her house I was quite amazed. I never saw someone so rich in my life. Her house had 16 bedrooms, two pools, four living rooms, two kitchens and so on and on. It was unbelievable to me. Since the first very day she told me to call her Michelle instead of Ms. or Mrs. Rockville. She taught how to speak properly, how to dance even how to give speeches. She said, “You are going to need all this one day.”
She was gentle and wise. Her love towards me was a mother’s love, pure and unconditional. I could not understand why she loved me so much, when the only thing I could give her back was a simple “thank you.” For first time in my life I had my own room. She made a baseball and basketball
-playground in her mansion only for me. Plus, she hired six different teachers to teach Math, science, culture, philosophy, politics and foreign languages.
I will never forget the first time we went out shopping. It was after three weeks of being in her house. The first thing she said to me was: listen Mat, regardless of what people may say or how they may look at you “You gotta keep your head up, and never let your head down. Did you hear me?”
“And don’t call me ma’am. I am not even forty.”
I laughed as she amusingly said, “Wait until you get married, you shall know women hate to be called ma’am or old. By far, I am not the expectation.”
We went shop for a whole week to New York City. We stayed at her own hotel in midtown. She took me to places I never thought I would be even be able to dream of being there. We even went to an Italian opera together. Unfortunately, as she pre-empted, some people stared a lot at us.
Once we were on Fifth Ave. We entered into a very fashionable store. Mr. Rockville was talking with the cashier on front while I was upstairs in the men’s section. The doorman came to me and told me, “How did you get in here nigga? I don’t want any trouble just show me your pockets and leave.”
I was nervous. I did not know what to do or say. Michelle was checking on some purses, she had told me to take everything I wanted so I replied, “Michelle is buying some purses downstairs. She told me to take everything I want to. She is going to buy it for me, sir.
“Yeah. For me too, show me your pockets now,” he said heartedly. Ms. Rockville came like a guardian angel and furiously yelled at him.
“Take your hands off him idiot. Who the hell do you think you are?”
“I am sorry Miss. I thought…”
“You thought what? Let me tell you something if you ever touch my child again you will wish every day of your life to never have done so.”
“Let’s go, Mathew.”
When getting into the car, she said. “I am so sorry Mat. Remember the day when we first met? You were playing basketball.”
“Yes,” I said.
As if she were going to give a presidential speech, Ms. Rockville hold my hands as she said:
-That day you said something about white and black folks and I laughed. However, since right now I want you to know this, “The world will change.” Nothing can stay in the same way forever. We humans are destined to change regardless of our wish or desire to stay in the same way. Years ago the black population was not even allowed to vote. Even though things have gotten better, there are still people who cannot see the truth. And the truth is that we are all equal. God knows we are. Mankind was not meant to be diminished by tactless women’s and men’s detrimental philosophies. There will come a day when black and white people will be the same in America. When the president of our nation will be black and no one will tell him, “Show me your pockets.”
Thanks God she herself had taught reading was important, thus I would not have understood her at all. Although she was modest dressing, occasionally. She was never modest talking. She always expressed herself with the highest level of education and grammar I had ever listened to in a person.
With Ms. Rockville as my mentor, I learned so much about life and politics. When I was eighteen I spoke fluently four foreign languages. This time she was dropping me off to college. I could see the sadness in her eyes. Even though she always acted tough when it came to crying, she could not hold it anymore.
“Do you have everything you need? Laptop, credit cards, the new…”
“Mom, I got it all. You checked my luggage four times, remember?” I said to her ungratefully but smiling.
“Did I? Well, let me tell you something young man. No girls, if I know you have a girl pregnant here in Harvard or anywhere else, I will come back and cut off your balls.”
“Yes ma’am. Sorry, I meant mom. ”
“You know what I think about the word “ma’am,” she said humorously.
When I entered the campus’s office, the RA announced my name, “Matthew Rockville.” “Me.” I said as I watched mom carry my box.
“Hereby is your agenda for activities and your dorm is in this way. I’m gonna take you there.”
I gave Ms. Rockville a hug and a kiss while she cried happy tears.
“Are you crying mom?”
“No, just the makeup, it makes me tear if I move it around.” I laughed and hugged her again.
It was Barack’s first presidential election. I went home to stay with mom for a while. She held my arms. I held hers back. She desperately said, “Come on newsman, how much longer to give the polls’ results? It has taken forever. Due to the long waiting, when they’re ready 20% of Americans will have had a heart attack,” she said excitedly.
I saw so much enthusiasm in her eyes. And when I was not even thinking about it she shouted from the living room, “I told you”
“You don’t remember?” “Nope.”
“One day we are going to have an African American or black president. I told you that a long time ago, and here it is. It has happen.”
“Yeah, you were always right, mom.”
I don’t know where to finish this story for a story as magnificent as my mom’s cannot be told in three, ten or a thousand pages. It requires a lifetime. She made me the man I am today. Every time I was discriminated against because of my color. Every time a salesperson told me those shoes were too expensive for me. Every time people understated me, I only remembered her phase, “You gotta keep you head up. And never let you head down.”
I ha**ven*’*t me**t th**em yet
Regardless of some, I was not child-molested or someone whose parents ran away. In Zephyr Hill England, where I was born and raised, people were sort of standard and calm. Our father said it was time for a new chapter of our lives, so we moved to Washington DC. He got a new job in the English Embassy in Washington. My mother was a part-time interpreter for the U.N. General Assembly. Even though she was offered a full-time position, she did not take it. Faithful to her values, she always thought spending time with the family was imperative and unchangeable in her agenda. Therefore, she refused working full-time so she could spend more time with us.
Amongst a family of love, I constantly felt impassive and cheerless. At the beginning I did not know why, however, whenever I saw a young handsome man, I knew the cause of my cheerlessness. I was gay and could not shout it proudly. Firstly, it was hard for me to admit it so like many boys of my age I would pretend to be straight. I even pretended to be homophobic for a while, the more antigay I was the harder would be for someone to discover I was gay. That was the way I saw my sexual panorama.
It was time to apply to college. Therefore, in my senior year, my mother became my personal assistant, which really unnerved me. Yet, I did not dare to tell her that I did not like her taking charge of my life. She wanted me to go to Oxford University. My father, nevertheless, wanted me to go to wherever I wanted to. He was the opposite of my mother. Dad always used the free will as his stronger parental teaching. He used to say, “Go wherever you want, be whoever you want to be, love whoever you want to as there is no better man than the one who makes his own choices, and faces his own failures.”
I always wondered if “love whoever you want to” would also mean loving a man instead of a woman. I never asked him such question for my own sake. Besides, my parents never really seemed to me to be homophobic or anything similar. Though I always wondered why my family never talked about gay people-related topics.
At a thanksgiving dinner, after announcing I’d go to Oxford to please my mother, I said, “There is this student from my class who everyone calls gay. He was found having sex with a guy in the bathroom.” The story wasn’t true at all, but I needed to come out with someone strong. Hard to swallow. My brother Marcus interrupted me by saying:
“He surely was having a good time.”
“The trouble he will have for it will not be a good time.” My mother said in her unique British accent.
“I tell you boys, if you ever are found doing something similar, I will ground you for centuries,” my father said overstating.
“You mean doing it with a boy or a girl?” My mother seemed to pale and sort of marveled at my question. She holds firmly the fork and said, “It does not matter.”
My bother Marcus said, “What doesn’t matter? If we have sex with a boy or if we.…”
This time my dad interrupted.
“What your mom is trying to say is that, we are all the same.”
“Thank you my darling, nonetheless I can talk for myself,” mother yelled slowly. “What I mean is I know we have not had this talk with you privately. I think it is time for it. As you know, it is 2015 and the times have changed. Being gay or lesbian is nothing to be ashamed of. But doing what those boys were doing in school, surely it is.”
To be honest, I thought she was about to have a hard attack so I shut up. Despite, my dad seemed to be in Mars for an instant.
“What is it? My mom asked to my father. My beloved, do you want to add something?
“I agree with what you just said. You know that I do.” My father as she drank red wine.
It was as if she was forcing him to agree with her without even telling him to do so. Mother’s famous face of intrigue was kind of intimidating sometimes, and we all in the house respected it.
When I was twenty two, I had my first boyfriend who by the way cheated on me. Afterwards, I decided to write a letter to my parents confessing them that I was gay. Two weeks later I received two letters back. One was from my mother and the other from my father.
My mother’s letter was wordy, explaining to me that it was ok and that she will always support me. It was the most beautiful letter I had ever received. It was then when I knew none of my present and future lovers would ever love me like a mother does. Such love is everlasting, pure and unconditional. Thus a man’s love is fleeting and conditional. At least that has been my experience in Michigan University. Yes, I forgot to mention it before. I decided to be a Pilot and stay in America. I also decided to not use my parents’ money to go to college. Therefore, I accepted a scholarship from the University of Michigan.
Back on track, my father’s letter wasn’t wordy at all. In fact, it was so short that I wanted to laugh for a moment. After reading it, however, its profound meaning made me feel many things but laughter. The letter said:
I knew it. I always told your mother you were a little weird. You are, however, my son. I love you heartedly and I am going to respect your decision forever. You are a brave young man to whom I admire.
Furthermore, I want you to be proud of who you are. A man is not a man because of his sexual orientation but of his actions.
PS: when having a boyfriend make sure he’s not a democrat. Remember I
am working with the white house now. I’m teasing…
Best regards, Dad
A month after receiving the letters I went back home for my fall break. My family supported me immensely, which really made me glad. Inwardly I was scared they would not accept me. After all, I have heard stories about guys who had gotten kicked out of their houses after coming out. Some have even got disowned by their parents.
My friends and I went to NYC for a weekend. We were coming out of Western Hall club, a random guy had shot her girlfriend in front of everybody. I got out of the club safe and sound. Nonetheless, when crossing 14 St, I did not notice that I was still running nervously. Apparently, that NYC taxi did not notice it either. And yes, it was then when I saw the light. Despite many of you, I didn’t have a flash back about my family or friends. I saw me running as a kid. Then I saw a tall handsome man holding my arm. It was a wedding, the man of my dreams and I were getting married. Then, before my breath abandoned my body, I saw them, beautiful children calling me dad and my husband playing with them next to the pool. Lastly, as my last tear of pain streamed down my face, I half asked myself. How can I miss and love so much the ones I haven’t met? I haven’t met them yet. I haven’t met them yet.”
W~~ha~~t d~~o y~~o~~u s~~e~~e?
Gi**ft or cu**rs**e
I don’t pretend you to believe my story. But I have to tell it. Maybe when I’m finished you could close your eyes and tell me only one thing, what do you see?
I was nine year old when it all started. It was a beautiful afternoon. The green trees and wooden houses made of the sunset a romantic and cherished dream. My grandma was talking to our neighbors while I was playing with my cousins. We were in the yard. Meanwhile I played with my cousins, I saw it. For the first time and fearlessly I stared at it. It had the body shape of a man but the physic of an animal. It looked like a dog with long white ears but with the body of a tall man. Some used to call it Baca, others demons. It was a weird and unique moment. Even though I didn’t know it, such momentum will have changed my life forever.
Ever since that day I could see him constantly. I was sort of shy so I didn’t tell anybody about him. The next day, at an early morning someone knocked at our door. My grandma and I were alone in the house. I looked at her as she saw through the door’s mirror. Suddenly her face became pale. She could not even move. Even though I didn’t know what was happening, I sensed something was wrong. It was him, the Baca who was knocking at our door. My grandma saw him too.
I thought I was the only one capable of seeing him. Nevertheless, she could also see the Baca. Suddenly she grasped my arm and covered me with a white sheet. Afterwards, my grandma took her bible and she walked towards the door to rebuke it. Scared, she couldn’t make it to the door,
so she also went to cover herself with the sheet. My grandma shut my mouth with her soft caring hands as she said, “Don’t say anything.”
After an hour the demon or “Baca” as it was called in Cuba, was gone. It was 7:05 AM. Grandma never talked to me about it. She neither said anything to anyone about it. My grandmother acted as it never happened. For me, it was something non-scary at all. But it was innocence that had made me fearless at that time. I didn’t know what Bacas or demons were. They don’t teach you that in my little School at Cuba La Habana.
As I grew up I never saw another demons again. It all changed when I turned thirty. Until that time, I had never talked to anyone about it.
I was cooking before my friends got home. Suddenly I heard something in the kitchen. I thought it was a cat. Then I remembered it was a little weird any way. Thus in Sevilla Madrid, there were not many cats, a least not in my neighborhood. The second voice was like a child’s. I heard it again while I turned off the stove. Twenty seconds later I heard it again, this time I was a bull’s and cow’s voice pronouncing human sounds. I was more than scared, speechless and terrified. Men are not supposed to be this scared, I told myself. After the fifth time hearing it, I said.
“Fuck that.” And I ran as I screamed like a little girl.
My Dominican neighbors were playing dominos on the street. Rapidly they came to my rescue, asking me what happened. In shock, I could not say a word. How could I? Who would even believe me anyway?
I moved from Cuba to Spain not only for the political imprisonment that Fidel Castro had in our people. It was also to be free of my curse, a curse of seeing and hearing things humans are not supposed to. Apparently I couldn’t run from it anymore. Gift or curse, it was mine and it would follow me forever.
My best friends Sebastian and Ambar came to my apartment. They couldn’t believe what I was telling them. So I made a long pause to convince myself I wasn’t crazy.
“Ok, I won’t say anything.”
“Please don’t, cuz you sound like you’re higher than a motherfucker.” “Dude, you know I ain’t do drugs.”
“I’ve told you a thousand times, weed ain’t drug. It is a relaxing and miraculous leaf of nature.”
Ambar was quiet. The conversation was between Sebastian and me. She appeared to be very intrigued or in some speechless status.
“I believe…” she said breaking the silence. “I believe you. My mother could see them too. Before she died she used to tell me about them. Regardless of many daughters and mother’s relations, ours wasn’t common at all. My mother and I were more than mother and daughter, we were best friends. It was to me that she only told her stories. In fact, when studying sociology I tried to become an expert in the theme of demons.”
“So you know I ain’t lying. Tell me, what do you know about them?”
“Not much though. I quit my research on demons after my mother committed suicide. Plus, I was scared I would end up like her.”
“The relationship with my mother was pretty normal. She always told two things to keep it in mind. First, you’re good for nothing, you’re lucky abortion wasn’t legal at that time. Referring to when she was pregnant. And second, I can’t wait for you to turn eighteen to get your lazy ass out of my house,” said Sebastian.
I tried to laugh at Sebastian’s comparison of his parents and Ambar’s, but I was too tired and worried.
Days went by and things got worse. This time I saw them constantly like when I was in Cuba. Luckily, none of them ever attacked me or even looked at me. Most of the demons would just walk close to me as they faded away. Despite, the supernatural body features were incredible. Some had human forms, some animal forms and others combined both. Half human, half animal, those were the ones that intrigued me the most.
I went to the library to do my research and try to find a scientific answer. While flipping pages like mad at it, I heard a voice saying. “I knew you would come here.” Don’t freak out. This time it wasn’t any creepy thing, it was Ambar.
“What are you doing here?” I asked her.
“I work here, dummy.”
For a moment I had forgotten Ambar was a part-time librarian as well as a sociologist. She was working two jobs as she wanted to buy her first apartment.
“So can I help you find anything?”
“Yeah, I’m looking for something that may talk about…”
“Let me guess, something about Angelina Jolie? Or the nationalities of all the kids she adopted?”
“No silly. Demons, I am trying to find out something about demons,” I said as she laughed slowly.
Ambar sat down as she moved her blue skirt towards me. Putting her left hand on my hand, she said:
“Antonio. You won’t find what you’re looking for here. As a matter fact, you should try to forget about all the movies and shitty documentaries you’ve seen pertaining demons. I know how you feel, damn I know, “she said as if about to cry. “I saw my mom going through what you are going through and I can tell you it’s real. You wanna lie yourself and say it’s all a nightmare or that it isn’t real. Demons exist. They are out there. But the real ones, the real people who can see and feel demons, they don’t show up on reality TV shows like you see on TV. They are not famous. These poor people are suffering by what some call a gift and others a curse. A curse of seeing things normal people are not supposed to see.”
I felt as if Ambar was reading my mind or being God himself. In a moderate tone of voice she continued:
- I tell you Antonio, the only way you can fight it it’s by not fighting it. My mom once told me. “People say I’m crazy, but I’m not. I did not choose this. People who can see demons were chosen by God to have such gift before we were born. I don’t know if God took into consideration the effect it would have on us or if we could handle it. Honestly, I think he
messed up on that part.” I laughed as she laughed with me. Listen up, the most important thing that you have to know is that demons were once angels. The devil cannot create demons or people. In fact, he cannot create living things. That was one of the causes why he made a war in heaven, he wanted to create and have God’s power.
There were others like him too, angels that became jealous of God. However he was the greediest of them all. When God threw him down to earth he also threw all the angels who had hatred or jealousy in their souls.
“So angels have souls?”
“Yes they do. Furthermore, when people die they don’t stay on earth or in between worlds like many believe. Their souls are sent to rest. There are two places for their rest until the big judgment. I won’t go that deep. It is irrelevant now. But what you have to know is this. “There are no such things of spirits running on earth.” They are demons who imitate dead people. Once they have copied the body form of a dead person, they try to fool people. Anyone they can copy their body form of, she or he who is in Hell. Not in heaven. Demons can’t copy the body of someone who is in heaven. It is forbidden for them. Besides, demons can only harm you if they’re inside somebody. If not they can only scare you. Most importantly, and keep this in mind, everyone who can see demons is granted a gift by heaven.”
The Arphil made an unexpected, quick pause before continuing:
“Some can talk to them. Others can rebuke them. Some can do both. And lastly, a few can orvitarle them. That’s why some priests get possessed by demons when trying to rebuke them. You gotta have the gift otherwise the demon may possess you. They cannot possess you if you are protected by God though. And before you ask who the protected by God are? I answer you, they are real believers of God or Jesus whose sins have been forgiven by God and whose faith is big. I don’t mean yours and mine type of faith. I mean a big fucking faith, like Job’s, Mary’s and all those bitches from the bible.”
“What does orvitarle mean?” I asked her intolerantly.
“It is a Latin term used by ancient priests. It means you can see demons but they can’t see you. You decide when they can see you. If you’re scared of anything your mind won’t allow them to see you so they cannot hurt you. Whoever has this power also can destroy demons with only whispering the name of Jesus. This third kind of demon viewer is the most powerful. You have to figure about which type you are. If you’re an orvitarler then you are a lucky son of bitch.”
“How do you know all this?”
“My mother was a third kind. She was an orvitarler,” she said calmly. I almost shit on my pants as I could barely breathe.
“She taught me everything I know. Mom could talk to demons who said they’ve seen
God’s face when were in heaven.”
As Ambar was talking, I felt as if she was suffocating me.
“I have to go man.”
“No wait Ambar?” I said. I want to know more.
“Me cago en tus muertos tio,” she said in Spanish. That was her slangy way of saying no.
“I work here and have to go before my bossy supervisor comes. If she found me talking a lot to you or anyone… hay mama.”
To conclude my story, seven days later I figured out that I was a second kind. I also figured out that demons can kill you before you’re possessed by them, which I would’ve really appreciated if Amber had told me. Everyone who rebukes demons can be killed by them. Trust me, they hit as fast and strong as a fucking professional boxer. I’ve got bit
up a few times. First it was by an eleven girl old then by an old man. They both seemed to be so inoffensive until I begun the exorcism. Not pretty.
Eventually, Ambar left town after she got pregnant. She wrote me on Facebook saying she’d be back in a few weeks after the abortion. I wanted to be with her as I guess an abortion can be tough. She, however, didn’t want me to be there.
Sebastian was thinking to become a priest. To be honest, I didn’t believe him. I thought it might have been one more if his jokes.
And me, I’m now here in this place.
(Interrupted by the Hearing Court, “Please Antonio, just go to the end”)
Well, you’ve heard them. Me, I was driving the buss. Being a public bus driver in Sevilla had become a challenge for me. I had to see many people every day. And seeing many people meant seeing more demons once in a while.”
The old lady came to me and said:
“Excuse young man, I think I don’t have enough coins on me, can I pass anyways?” “Of course,” I replied kindly.
When the old lady who could bare walk turned to sit down, I saw who she really was. She was a demon. It was the most terrifying one I had ever seen. While I saw it through the middle mirror of the bus, I did not pay attention to the red-line. The bus crashed with a mall’s walls. I did not have time to even think or convulse. It was like a blink. The last thing I know is that I am here.
Most meaningfully, I’ve learned two things that made me a better person. I would like to share them with you. The first one is don’t fight who you really are. Second, most people don’t believe in demons or in anything like that because they have not seen them yet. They haven’t heard or felt anything that might make them believe. In fact, the only
reason why I believe is because I saw, I felt, I heard them. The devil or God himself have kept silence for so long. They only let us see the evil that exist on earth. Therefore we think there is no God as what kind of God would let children starve while others throw away plenty of food. What kind of God who said he loves us let tyrants and dictators deprive us from everything we love. So I don’t blame those who don’t believe because compared to the universe we are nothing and like nothing we have been treated by
whoever created us. The devil knows that not seeing is equal to not believing. Because of that I am grateful of this. Yes this, because I still don’t know if it is a curse or gift. I still don’t the answer of that question.
It is easy to believe now that we are here. But pretend this hasn’t happened. Pretend you got safe and sound to that place you were heading before to be here. And pretend I am a stranger walking down the street close to you. Pretend that you like and don’t mind
a~~nsw~~er~~i~~n~~g a q~~u~~e~~st~~i~~on f~~or me. The qu~~e~~stion is wh~~a~~t do y~~ou s~~ee~~? I~~n wh~~a~~t do y~~o~~u b~~e~~li~~e~~v~~e~~?
I on**ly wa**nt**ed to go ba**ck in ti**me
I constantly have to remind myself what I stand for, where I’ve come from and overall, why I’m here. Whoever says they haven’t got lost in a world that seemingly attends to mislead us, she or he is a liar. We, or better said, most of us have questioned the purpose of our existence. Most of us have feared death. Such fear may be indescribable. I was only seventeen when I first dreaded it. I was sitting in my grandpa’s inherited soft couch. As I saw the sunlight through the crystal windows, I wondered what it will be like when I die.
Where will I go after death? Will somebody know I existed? Because I did!! Suddenly, my mind became the faster calculator I’ve ever used. I started do to my math, “By the time I am gone, after twenty or forty years no one will know I lived here. Because I don’t know who were living here before my parents.” At that point was when my fear grew wildly. I continued asking myself questions I had no answers for. “What about my parents? My mom, when will she die? Will someone remember how awesome she was? Ohh lord!! I hope you really exist. How can something as beautiful and priceless as a person live for the main and sole purpose of dying?” Abruptly, I stopped being a teenager and
played to be Plato or Aristotle. I continued by saying, “Thus regardless of all wealth or wisdom, damn man, you’ll die.”
If I told you I was thinking rationally I would be lying. In fact, I still don’t know the real meaning of the word “rational” as I believe it is subjective. What I do know is fear to death stripped off my soul and at a very young age made me feel immobilized.
As my heart started to race down, breathing slowly, I started to cry. I cried as if all my loved ones were gone. I cried like only humans can cry when instead of fear something bigger possess us, love. And it was that love that made me flood tears, knowing that everyone I love will be gone. Maybe not today or tomorrow or in two years from now, but eventually they will.
I did not want to curse out the wind or ask God why he did this to us. Yet, at the same time I did blame him heartedly or whoever created us. I blamed whoever cursed us by being mortal.
I grew up and like many people I learned to hide my fears. One of them was the one that we all may have in common, dying. After intense years of study, I became a medicine doctor. It was at the hospital, attending my fiancé’s grandma when I first met her. It was love a second sight as the first time I met her wasn’t pretty. She approached to me angrily asking why it took the hospital so long to call her. After meeting her I understood her, indeed. Her grandma was the last family member she had alive after her mother died of cancer and his father of Aids.
After one year of dating, we married. Lorenza decided she wanted to go to Guatemala for our honeymoon. We had a wonderful time there, mostly because I loved her crazily. She made the happiest man on earth. So it did not matter where we went, as long as it was with her.
Coming back to the airport from our honeymoon, some men attacked our tourist bus. Lorenza was a police officer so I was scared she would even think to do something or play to be the hero. With a pistol in my head, the smelly- rude thief yelled at me saying, “Empty your pockets and give us your purses and wallets,” I did as he said.
An Italian wealthy business woman refused to give up her $ 4,500 dollars Prada purse. He bloodily shot her on the forehead. Then women started to cry and scream louder. I did not know what to do. I was little shocked but conscious of every move Lorenza was doing. She was the only woman not crying, she seemed to be so freaking relaxed, which unnerved me more.
The woman’s husband whose name I didn’t know yelled at the armed thief saying, “Why, why her, why did you fucking shoot me her? You know what? Shoot me too? Shoot coward.” The smelly thief did not even think it twice and shot him in his upper left leg.
It was at that moment when my teenager’s thinking about death came back. I remembered when I was in that soft leather couch, thinking about the meaning of life, making questions beyond my comprehension. I could not blame it on me as most parents don’t sit down with their children to talk to them about their mortality. They didn’t teach me that everything or everybody I love will be gone one day, and there is nothing you can do to avoid it. So I had to figure it out by myself. They might have thought that knowing and learning about death was a path I had to go through alone. Anyway death is part of our daily life. Maybe that’s why they bought me a dog as to tell me what they, like most parents don’t usually tell or explain. “One day, you’ll cute puppy will die.” Now I know it’s awkward for parents to throw their children that cold glass of water. Better enjoy the puppy and then when he’s sort of frozen and doesn’t move… you’ll figure it out.
While I saw mourn and love in the widower’s face, I realized we humans are not meant to live forever. Furthermore, I gazed at the reckless thief, only caring about the money and not even noticing the face of whom they had murdered. To someone, she was a mother, daughter, cousin or a friend. As I looked at him I reaffirmed myself that “we are not meant to live forever.” I did not get to that assumption by observing the ruthlessness of the thieves yet by seeing the love, hated, carelessness and fear that resided inside of the bus. We may not develop all of these patterns, deciding to love and respect instead of hating and destroying. Despite, they were and are men whose lives might be filled of hated, whose destiny is destroying other’s happiness.
As he tied our arms with tape, I also figured those thieves were not any different from most common men and women I’ve met. Wall St, business men, the fancy and hot girls on Upper East Side, the madam in Les Channelizes St. shopping store in Paris. The newsman, the train driver, the cop, the teacher, the nurse, the house cleaner, presidents, lawyers, baseball players, dentists, we all can be like them. In fact, we are. While I have lived a successful and normal young life, kids and mothers starve in Haiti and Africa. On the Middle East there are people crying on TV, asking only for not more than peace, a day without bombing.
I, too, like most human beings, have been careless and ruthless. I let the system accommodate me so I never questioned it. “We’re are all gonna die so I’m gonna live it to the fullest and enjoy life.” That was my old saying in college. But if enjoying life includes forgetting our fellows’ misery then what kind of life do we have? I don’t know about you but I’ve been like those thieves for long time, caring for me and only me.
Don’t take me wrong, I have loved my family and done charities and helped people. But I have never done more than what I was expected to do. For an instant, I only wanted to turn back in time, go to places I’ve been told not to go and help people. Help diminish other’s hunger and suffering.
What sets me apart from Nelson Mandela or Gondi is that they are immortal. They have become immortal because generation through generation might not let their memories die. Being remembered by others for something humanitarian and benevolent is the only real potion of mortality human beings can have. Mandela and Gondi have lived for others and not for themselves. At least I am not the only one. There is a whole world like me, living to be someone, not to help someone.
At that very momentum of panic, I finally understood that “a man is dead since the moment he decides to live for himself and not for others.” That was what I half told myself before I abruptly look the thief’s gun away and shot both of them, leaving one of them dead and other unconscious. People were marveled at what I did, or at least that’s what I like to think.
Something is certain, I had saved their lives. Quivering, Lorenza takes away the gun from me. Astonished, she asked me, “How did you do it, are you ok?” I said, “Yes.” A bullet had crossed one of my lungs. She did not notice until I closed my eyes and fell down. Crying and yelling for help at the same time, Lorenza says to me, “Be strong baby, don’t leave. Baby, don’t close your eyes, don’t close them. Don’t leave me papi. You’re going to be ok. Gradually and peacefully I closed my eyes. It was at that moment when I knew she will always come to save me from suffering. She would find me at the end of the world and take me with her, she the unavoidable death.
(“Well, you have heard all the speeches. In front of you there are small golden folders. Open them. Inside of them there are the hearing court’s decisions.” The Archangel clipped his fingers and the golden folders appeared in front of each speaker)
“Where are we?” asked Antonio who in that very moment was dying. Antonio’s bus
crashed with a mall’s walls, triggering the death of only him.
I answered him, “We are in the Second Heaven. It is the last place where human beings’
souls come before coming back, resting or dying as you humans call it.” “So I am in heaven? Where is God then?”
“Yes you are, but only for a fleeting period of time until the hearing’s decision. God is in the third heaven. However, his presence is everywhere. The third heaven is where the mansions and streets of gold are. I tried to explain him as simple as possible.”
“So, I am dead,” Antonio said disconsolately.
“Not yet, but you are dying. You may be in the hospital or just lay down in the last place you were prior to coming here. As I said, every person’s soul before dying comes here. Once they are here, she or he must deliver an honest speech in form of a letter or story. After listening to their life stories the Angels’ and Archangels’ court decides whether you deserve a second chance.”
“I don’t quite understand.”
“Let me explain it again. The Hearing court is a set of angels and archangels who see and read your lifetime book. Such book has everything about you, your first kiss, fights, love, success, failures etc. Once they’ve seen and read your life story, you are allowed to give an explanation. It is not about whether you were a good or bad person. Angels and archangels can’t judge. They can only decide by the power given to them if you are worth it. Worth it of coming back to earth and live longer, if you’re found not worth it then you’ll die. In another words, your soul will be sent to rest. There are two places for resting, hell or first heaven. We are in the second heaven, wherein the hearing process takes place. If your folder says you will come back, you will wake up in one day, two weeks, five years etc. It does not matter the time. What matters is that you will come back and have a second chance to amend your life or simply waste it all over again.”
I looked at him acceptingly as I said:
“I won’t be back man. I was not that much of a good person. I abandoned my family in Cuba and never even sent them a penny. I was always to afraid the government would ask for my return. I was a baseball player, a very famous one. After playing against the Spanish team, I escaped and moved to Sevilla. It was a new beginning. A beginning I always dreamed of since I was a child. Free, free of a controlling dictator. That was all I ever wanted. Fidel Castro took away not only my family’s freedom but their happiness.”
“I know. As matter of fact, I know everything about you. I am an Arphil. We are not angels, nor archangels, yet we know the same things angels and archangels know. We were humans, once. We just did not have the chance to sin or live. So when we die, heaven takes us and transforms us in Arphils. Arphils are heavenly helpers. We can do the same angels do expect we can’t guard humans’ lives. Besides, I know you are telling me the truth. Here in the second heaven, lies are not allowed. Even though you may try, you won’t be able to lie. Your tongue can only say the truth. Therefore, when giving your speech you only talk the truth about whatever happened in your life. You don’t tell us your whole life story but the part of it that most mattered to you.”
“And you might be surprised Antonio. Most times, the hearing court does not take into consideration what you did wrong in your life. If they did work all the cases in this way, there would not be a second chance for any human on earth. The court makes more into consideration what you wanted to do with your life the moment you were about die. Sometimes that’s what matters the most to the court, what you wanted to do when you were about to die. Other times, that does not matter at all, all that matters is who will be affected if you lived longer. Some people die because if they lived longer they would harm significantly one human beings.”
“I can tell you the short story of a young good man. His name was Philip De Marcus. He came in yesterday. Before he went to rest, Phillip asked the court why he did not get a second chance. He was born in 1990, so he had a young-healthy life ahead of him. The court answered him:
December 2047, at 3.40 PM. In Seattle, Washington State. You became mediocre at your job. You will not have cared about anyone but yourself. You forgot to turn off the fire near the tubes of gas at the yard. It was your job to fix the gas leaking before your best
friend’s son’s birthday. Nevertheless, you lied to them saying it was fixed. You knew that it was not. You were supposed to fix it, however, you thought you could fix it later on. You Philip did not mean to hurt anyone but you did. The wind blew. The fire of the outside Pitney attached to the tubes of gas and your best friend’s house exploded. 44 people died. Twenty two of them were kids. You and two more people survived because you were close to the exit front door.
Therefore, if given a second chance, 44 people will day at 3.40 pm. in 2047. So we have chosen to save their lives. We could let you go back but your memory won’t remember any of this and you would make the aforesaid mistake.”
After hearing why he was not given a second chance, Philip said, “Thanks for explaining me.”
Back to us
“I cannot cry. I want to but I can’t.”
“Antonio you cannot cry here. Tears are not allowed in any of the three heavens.”
“But I feel sad, so sadness is allowed here?”
“Yes, emotions are allowed only in the inside. You cannot express them though. You can only feel them. Nevertheless, in the third heaven the only emotion allowed is happiness.”
“And who were you when you were human? You said you were human right?”
“Yes I was. I don’t have a human name though. I never had one.”
“Really, everybody has a name on earth? Even animals.”
“Most humans don’t give names to embryos. I was aborted by my mother before I was born. I did not have a chance to experience what you have. So when you speakers talk, sometimes I want to feel sadness too but I can’t. Arphils can only feel love. As we did not have time to live, we could neither have time to feel those emotions you speak about. Sometimes I wonder what if. What if I had lived? If I had, maybe I would have made the same mistakes most of you have. Or maybe I would have not. Maybe I would have been a famous singer, painter, doctor or president. I hear about them all the time. When they come here I keep on thinking what if. Momentarily, my “what if” sometimes becomes into “if she.” If she had given me a chance maybe I would have made her happy. Or maybe I’d have made some family happy. Or maybe I would have made her miserable. I really do not know. Why do you look at me like that? May you tell me?”
“I don’t know Arphil. I just feel sad for you. Tell me, what would you have done if you had lived?”
Not much, for I would be a new born. But if I came in my actual body, I would run through the rain and just touch it to know what it feels like. I would eat and feel
what it feels like. I would try to help those in pain. I would give up my life for others. Overall I would try to love someone unconditionally. But I know if I was born again I would not have much goodness in me. The world will probably corrupt and make me a mean individual. Human beings are all born innocent and sinless, but the world changes them. Despite such cruel reality of mankind, I always wish they had given me the chance to live.
“What is that on your head? A halo.”
“Yes, you guys call it halo. We call it Kel. There is a message on it. Nevertheless, Arphils cannot read it. You can read it, but even though you may try to tell me what it says my ears will not hear it.”
“So what does it say?”
“It says who I would have become if I had lived. Do you want to read it?”
“I do but I don’t have time. People are opening their folders and I am the only one here talking to you. I wanna know what my folder says.”
“Don’t worry Antonio. Here in heaven there is no keeping of time. No rush. One day may be like a thousand years and a thousand years may be like a day. Here time does not run. Time does not exist. This is why people of different centuries are met here as if they all came from the same century. Yet, they do not.”
“Ohh that explains it. I was wondering why that guy over there said he was a famous writer from 1845. I am a 1990’s bitch like the song says. Before I came here it was 2015. That explains why we all sound like we come from different ages.”
“Do not worry about understanding it. Even if I told you the formula of time now, you will forget it when you wake up. And if you were going to rest, such knowledge would be useless.”
“I didn’t know there was a formula of time. Well, Ok. Let me read it. Let me read your Halo or Kel whatever you call it! It says, I can’t really see what it says. Ok, now I see perfectly. It says CEO and famous writer, the second richest man on earth. Ohh man, it looks like you were not gonna make minimum wage.”
“It says CEO and famous writer, the second richest man on earth. If you had born you would have become a CEO and a famous writer, the second richest man on earth.”
“Antony, don’t you worry to tell me. I cannot hear what you’re saying nor can I read your lips. We can’t know who we were going to be. As I told you, only you can know it.”
“I am indeed sorry that you cannot know it.”
“It’s ok. We Arphils live happy, anyway. We are immortals. We love everyone regardless of who they are. And it is love the only emotion any being needs to be happy.”
Antonio looked around and asked me, “Who were those angels?” He was mesmerized by them for they were the most beautiful women and handsome men he had seen in his life time. It was as if a new concept of beauty and handsomeness was created just for them. There was perfection in all of their body features. Young men and women who seemed to be Gods and Goddesses.
“There are not angels, they are Arphils. I explained to Antonio. Once we have arrived, we are transformed and look like angels, but we are not angels. Some of them were children who were murdered in the Mediterranean and African continent’s civil wars. Others died from diseases and starvation. Those on your right have been here for a long time, victims of human trafficking.”
“I heard about them once. To be honest, I never really cared much.”
“Not only you, most of the globe. Some humans don’t care about the things that do not affect them. Furthermore, the burden of everyday life may prevent them from caring for anyone but themselves. Yet, many people have great hearts. They love so much that they may even die for their loved ones.” The Arphil touched my shoulder for a second as he looked me in the eyes. Then he went back to his previous steady posture. He continued saying, “Almost every day we hear about the goodness that many people are doing on earth. So please don’t think that everything or everyone is evil. There can be always hope and kind even in the cruelest of the human being. On the other hand, there are more children coming today. Look at your left, can you see them?”
“Yes I can.”
“Today 1,480 children were killed by the Syrian government. Some were not even born yet so most of their mothers died as well.”
“Please I beg you. Let me cry. I asked him as I felt an indescribable pain inside my heart. It was as if now of a sudden I had awakened up from a dream, seeing for the first time mankind’s reality.
“You cannot cry here.”
“This is like a horror movie, this gotta be a dream, please make me up, pintch me.”
“Calm down Antonio,” said the Arphil.
“Tell me, what will happen to them. Where do they go? Don’t they all become in what you became.”
“No, not all of them. I wish I could tell you where they go. I wish I could tell you so many things, or even teach you so many formulations that will take thousands of years for the humans to discover. Though, your mind won’t retain all that information; and even if it did, you’d forget it all if you were to going back. Your memory will be reset; and if you were going to rest, then such knowledge would be useless.”
Antonio calmed down. Breathing slowly, and this time tearless, Antonio asked: “So have you given your life story to the Hearing Court, Aphil?
“No, I have not. I do not have a story to tell. I have never experienced anything you have.” “Who were your family members on earth? I asked him patiently and as cheerless as I had never been before in my life.”
“She did not have any. My mother was alone after her mother passed away. Her name was
Ambar. She was your friend.”
“Ohhh no, I am so sorry, I’m so sorry Arphil. I never even spoke to her about it,” I said as I tried to cry him a river of very painful tears. I couldn’t, I was going to. I wish I’d; all those sentences crossed my mind, but I couldn’t express any of them. Maybe it was because there I wasn’t allowed to lie or give excuses for my actions. I felt as if a knife were stuck into my heart but no blood was bleeding. One pain and tears, only pain and tears. Like the pain you feel before asking someone to take your life way for you can’t bear even the thought of crying any more tears, you’ve already cried an ocean.
“Please don’t be sorry, or sad,” the Arphil said in his clear soprano voice. “We don’t think like humans do. Neither feel we like you anymore. I love you Antonio, it does not matter what you did or did not do. Now open the folder.”
“Why me? Why do I have to go back? Antonio said, remorse. “I wasn’t a good person. I only had a gift that I always considered sort of a curse.”
“I don’t have the answer,” said the Arphil. “Listen up, now the Archangel will depart you now. Bye Antonio.”
(“Listen up. You all know the court’s decision. If you will go back than your memory will be reset and none of you will remember this hearing. Thus, none of you will remember that we have given you a second chance. Please, before you all depart to your respective rests and previous lives, listen to my final words. In fact, there are not mine. It is my
favorite speech given by a human. Maybe some of you have heard it “The Great Dictator’s
Speech from Charlie Chaplin.” With his words, I depart you.
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, and has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….
Technology such as airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..
Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
End of the speech….
Six stories were shared that day. The Arphil had no story to tell. He never lived. Like him there were thousands and thousands of victims or war, accidents, hatred and negligence.
Sometimes, when I sleep, I dream about them. Sometimes I feel the Arphil is next to me telling a fascinating story while I listen to him like child listens to a bedtime story. I only wish I could see him again. Moreover, sometimes, I remember the court’s and Arphil’s words about my memory being reset. In the silence of my yard as I look towards the sky, I half asked myself, “Then why, why do I remember it all?”
The speech is a drama and fiction book about the life stories of six people. They all have to deliver a speech for a second chance in their lives. The outstanding drama and hope never abandons any of their life stories, making of "The Speech" an undeniable masterpiece and must read.