Me Duelen en el Alma
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Me Duelen en el Alma
By Wes J. Pimentel
I don't cry much. In fact, instances of me crying are about as rare as tax returns. I don't have much emotional depth. I tend to be very cold-hearted and numb most of the time.
A few moments ago I had a cry the likes for which any Hollywood director would kill. I was actually sobbing. Man-sobbing is ugly. It's not like when women cry. When women cry it's beautiful, like a dewdrop rolling from a leaf. When men cry it's usually very unexpected, so we're never prepared. We have no technique. Sounds just spew out of you and you tend to blubber and drool. My nose gets really stuffed up.
The reason for my complete loss of bearing was the thought brought about by a scene in a movie that I am watching. It's on pause right now so I can write this. I figure while inspiration strikes, I might as well take advantage.
The movie is called Bella. It's a beautiful movie of little repute. I am an absolute movie buff, so I am always trying to find new and interesting things to watch. Thanks, Netflix.
Anyway, without spoiling the movie I will tell you that there is a scene in it which forced my focus to turn to the death of my daughter. Even writing that last sentence was painful. I never thought I would be capable of this level of emotion. The mere thought, just the notion of my daughter dying in some kind of accident is overwhelming to me.
I was sitting on the couch enjoying this movie, when the pivotal scene happened. The force of this scene struck me with all the gentleness of a prized bull's goring. I was woefully unprepared for my reaction. It took a moment for the reality of it to set in, but once it had, I was no longer in control of myself. It felt as though a silent question was asked. How would you feel? As the question was silent, the answer was also unspoken, however, not nearly as quiet.
The most unimaginable pain seized me, viscerally. I felt an intense pain that I knew resided in the parts of me that cannot be studied under a microscope. By the time I attempted to cease the entertainment of the thought, I was crying with a humiliating ferocity. Luckily my daughter and I are the only two people in the house. I felt like running upstairs and yanking her out of bed to hold her, to smell her hair, to feel her tiny arm laid over my shoulder. I refrained, for there is no need to disturb her slumber with the silliness of a love-sick old man.
My mother has this saying. She's Colombian, so it's in Spanish. When describing the love she has for my brother and I, she would always say, "Ustedes me duelen en el alma," which means, "You hurt in my soul."
When I was younger I took this saying for granted. I had heard it so much it became a background sound like the constant references to the saints and to God that Colombians are always throwing around. A few years ago I started analyzing how my family and other Colombian and Hispanic families speak to one another. When I came across this saying with my fresh, analytical eyes, it had a great impact on me. I have often thought about this saying and the incredible emotional depth it represents.
Since having my little girl I am much better acquainted with this kind of intensity of feeling. My little Fauna truly does cripple me from the inside. To truly love one's child is to live in excrutiatingly agonizing bliss. What a tormented, bittersweet fate we parents face. To think that your entire life resides within the confines of this clumsy, little, chubby creature.