I MISS MY GODPARENTS
I miss my godmother complaining about something while washing the dishes in a large bowl. She didn’t complain about the dishes, although it was very hard for her to stand, she complained about the winter, the damned winter, or she would complain about death, this useless life, because some man had died, who was so young, little over eighty. I miss the death knell of the church in my village, echoing in the churchyard, over all the rooftops before reaching the fields, where it would dissolve in the ploughed furrows.
I miss my godfather carrying pockets full of five-escudo coins, which he would exchange for glasses of red wine in the taverns. Even when he said good morning or any simple words, he was able to choose expressions that added humour and never upset anyone. The doors of the taverns were always a shady hole in the lime. The smell of wine had seeped into the walls. I miss the noise that the thick empty glasses made on the marble. Sometimes, when I entered those places, no one was there. Then, you had to slap your palm on the counter and call out.
I miss seeing my godmother combing her thin hair at the wash basin mirror. She would dip the comb into the water of the sink. I miss walking alongside my godfather on summer mornings, close to the wall, both of us covered by the shade. He would ask me funny questions about the orchards where the other boys and I knew there was good fruit to steal.
Through the distance of time, I can still hear their voices. As I write these words, I hear them repeat things they told me before, when we were in the same place, perhaps without fully understanding the enormous value of us being together. I hear my name said by their voices, in the special way how each one said it. That recollection makes me miss them even more. And, at the same time, I hope that the future never takes that memory away from me. I prefer to forget episodes, stories; whole days of caprice, than to stop hearing my godparents’ voice; my godmother calling me, my godfather calling me.
Today, missing that time is a kind of great happiness at having experienced it, knowing what it was like. I miss my godparents because I had them, they were mine and, by the longing I feel on days like today, they are still my godparents, even though the church bells in my village tolled for them many years ago.
Even if it were possible, I would never want to stop missing my godparents, those old folks that, throughout my life, filled me full of their certainties, as well as their doubts, with wisdom and the mistakes that I have been able to learn from.
Missing is not sadness, it is emotion.
Missing is what remains of love when we lose the physical side, we stopped being, we stopped touching, there is an unsurpassable barrier of space or time, but the love continues, it remains. Missing is that type of love.
Missing is love.