Friday, June 03, 2005

Today is Sunday

For the old man who sits on the bench along the well-lighted corridor, nothing appeals him than watch the thin hand of the wall clock recounting the passage of seconds in this somewhat flat morning. He puckers his lips and munches with his toothless gums the profound idea that seems to have struck him, though he would shrug his head and squint his eyes as negative validation of its importance.

But what he plays in his head is of no great consequence to the world or to the public that passes along the corridor this early morning. Nobody in fact gives the old man a merit of their attention. They must have seen him sitting on the bench, but nothing than a familiar, dull ornamental sight of no value.

So the old man sits still on the bench with his own alcoholic thoughts, drunk with ideas that he himself could no longer instigate the power to put order in the stream of chaos in his reason. A concrete structured philosophy is totally absent, leaving behind his peripatetic mind an invisible trail. Though the old man could feel sporadic pain and twitches in his guts, as he anticipates the millisecond interval of the clock until it ticks, concluding that a second has elapsed.

With difficulty, he tries to navigate his thoughts to separate the days, those that have past and that of this day, yet he cannot distinguish them with difference. For a long time his mind plods on the miasma of identical events, the same well-lighted lenght of the corridor, the white walls, and faces, that only heightens the pang of pain of his confusion.

Nevertheless, a vague realization, like that of a man who wakes up from a dream that he could not define with concrete shape, that what he searches for is the tacit sign that today is a different day, or for the simple act ofr naming it, that he can tell with certainty whawt day is today.

The old man has been still in that position, staring with animal attention at the wall clock, when he catches the cool, feminine voice of the nurse inside the station, bearing in its message the only clue he finds out as what he has been searching for all this time. He hears the nurse tell the doctor on duty that Father Almanzares will arrive late because the good priest would have to drop by first at the sixth floor where one of his relatives had been rushed late last night because of a stroke.

The creases on the old man's countenance grow deeper caused by an electrifying excitement, his aura of destituteness turns into that of a genius who suddenly discovers a resolution and answer to the question he has pursued for a lifetime.

Then the old man stands up, closes his white robe, ties it in a hurry and runs towards the first ward at the end of the corridor, careful that his steps, as his slippers land on the floor, not to create noise, a clown's comical gait with the impression of keeping a great surprise he is about to bestow and reveal to his audience.

As the old man stands at the door of the first ward, where inside several patients fight in their dreams their own solipsism and personal demons, he yells with gusto and glee:

"Today is Sunday. Mass at ten." Then he proceeds to the next ward hollering the same sentence repeatedly.

A nurse cuts the old man's round, pacifies him, explaining to him that he needs to be quiet because the tenants inside the wards are still asleep. But the old man cannot contain his enthusiasm. He looks at the nurse and says to her: "Today is Sunday. Mass at ten," as if the fact is the most marvelous discovery he has ever found. And for the long time that the old man can recall, this is the first time that he felt an absolute happiness.

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