El 12 de febrero

Autor: Andrés Joaquín Brillembourg

Today, I saw a video of a boy in my country, no older than nineteen or twenty, murdered on the street.

The gunman places two bullets in the boy’s skull and brain juices spatter into the air. The boy’s lifeless body collapses to the ground, his body sterile. His veins fill with led; his limbs turn to rubber. His coffee-colored face becomes masked in a coat of blood, and so, no one can identify him. Surely, the boy must have a name—and a mother—a poor mother who must be worried sick. For her boy should have been home from school long, long ago.

The gunman places two bullets in the boy’s skull and brain juices spatter into the air. The boy’s lifeless body collapses to the ground, his body sterile.

The clock says half past six, as the boy lies face down on the scorching pavement, the life seeping out of him like the blood from the gun wound in his head. His schoolmates surround him, screaming, ¡Maricón, lo mataron! One kid, tall and lanky, tries to lift him up. Two, three more kids run over to help. They grip the bony wrists and pry the boy’s plastered body free from the pavement. Then, in between all of them, and accompanied by a ferocious adrenaline rush they lift the corpse, heavy and dense, onto their shoulders.

His schoolmates surround him, screaming, ¡Maricón, lo mataron!

The four kids sustain the corpse by its back, while its rubber limbs hang towards the ground, the led trickling down through the veins in the arms and accumulating at the fingertips.

Muffled gunshots. Concrete buildings decorated in bullet holes. Acid flames devour the street, sucking oxygen out of the air—while I hold my breath, sitting still behind the screen, watching— watching every second of it.

Muffled gunshots. Concrete buildings decorated in bullet holes. Acid flames devour the street, sucking oxygen out of the air—while I hold my breath, sitting still behind the screen, watching— watching every second of it.

My eyes are fixed on the glow of the screen, my muscles melting away under the repressive heat of my apartment.

Together, the team of four carry the boy around the street corner, and into the shelter of an alleyway wedged between two buildings. They slouch him against one of the walls and tear his shirt off to check if his heart is still beating, but the led in his veins has hardened by now, and the boy falls sideways into the dirt like a porcelain statue.

They slouch him against one of the walls and tear his shirt off to check if his heart is still beating, but the led in his veins has hardened by now, and the boy falls sideways into the dirt like a porcelain statue.

One of the kids, still in shock at the sight of the corpse, digs his thumb into the hole in the head, as to confirm that the bullet wound is real, that this is all really happening. The hole feels warm and mushy like the inside of a baked pie. He takes his thumb out, his fingernail painted red, turns away from the corpse, and pukes his guts out.

Mamaguevo: ¿qué coño haces? Another kid yells. Vámonos de aquí, !ya!

One of the kids, still in shock at the sight of the corpse, digs his thumb into the hole in the head, as to confirm that the bullet wound is real, that this is all really happening.

The four kids jump up and sprint out of the alleyway, back into the chaos of the street, leaving the corpse sideways in the dirt for the flies to feast.

My phone lit up. I picked it up and read:

ESTE 12 DE FEBRERO A LAS 5PM ACOMPAÑA AL MOVIMIENTO ESTUDIANTIL EN UNA PROTESTA PACIFICA FRENTE AL CONSULADO. QUE TU INDIGNACION SE CONVIERTA EN ¡ACCIÓN!



I set the phone back on the table and glanced through my living room window. Thin ice caps were crusted on the glass pane. Outside, spongy layers of snow layered the street. The city had turned white, and the day was unusually quiet—as if the whole world had become erased overnight. Such hollow silence, such profound and disorienting nothingness, collapsed over me like an ocean wave, spinning me under its wake, rushing in through my ears, nose, mouth… and for just a few more seconds, I held my breath.

The city had turned white, and the day was unusually quiet—as if the whole world had become erased overnight.

I tried desperately to feel the indignation that the others did, but my efforts were specs of dust in the wind. Today, on the 12th of February, I felt something crack inside, as wide and deep as a tectonic plate. Wishing to be both there and here simultaneously, I was neither as a consequence.

Today, on the 12th of February, I felt something crack inside, as wide and deep as a tectonic plate.

My eyeballs burned and my insides trembled—I could not hold it any longer—I let every last ounce of emotion drain from my body. AJBS












Chocolates

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