Since I can remember there have been two things defining my life: first, a desire to help others and to make a difference on the life we live; the other, a vast, rich, colorful imagination. My desire to help is still an ongoing effort which I feel is yet to be fulfilled, The second one, my imagination has kept me sane and saved my life more than once. Because of that, now when I approach the last third of my life (or third 4th; who knows. right?) I want to dedicate my entire time to share my tales and stories...
I want to let that crazy imagination run free for once, let it take control of my hands to write non stop; let it take control of my eyes and ears, so new inspirations incite my mouth to share those stories and fun memories with everyone just to have the joy of seeing how a smile, an idea or a fleeting thought illuminates those around me.
below is a sample of my writing, if after reading you feel my imagination deserves a chance to run free please support my effort, I would be grateful for any help or donation you decide to give; a dollar, a peso, an euro, a franc, anything will be welcome and used to give you all the joy of the impossible....
Another Christmas Song. by Luis Guerrero
The tall man looked around, everyone was on their feet, applauding, screaming, celebrating the musical adaptation of Charles Dicken’s famous tale of holiday redemption. It had been a tradition for the Atlanta people for many years; however, for the man, it was his first time. He stood up and joined the ovation, not that he felt the same emotion that the rest of the audience, but he agreed that the show was a masterpiece, the music, the special effects, all had been amazing, and it was the last time it would be seen in Atlanta since the show would not be presented the following year.
While he applauded he tried to discreetly start his exit, but there were too many people blocking the way; so, with a sight of resignation and poorly disguised impatience he waited for the others to start moving toward the exit. He considered his feelings about the night, he had planned to have dinner and a show with his nephew and niece, but plans changed when both youngsters cancelled; the boy had said he had a party with friends he could not miss; his niece never showed up. He had suddenly found himself alone at the restaurant, with a bottle of red wine ordered and two empty seats.
As he ate dinner and sipped the expansive wine he thought about the absent family and although sad and upset, he dismissed the situation as “another flaw of this generation”. He had tried to give away the tickets for the show but as expected, all his friends and acquaintances were busy, after all it was Christmas eve and last-minute shopping was still ongoing… He had finally decided to go to the show alone and give away the other two tickets at the theater. At the end of the show he lamented that the kids had missed the experience and being that it was the actual closing of the long running show. He thought about the choices he had made that led him to miss more than one of those “one in a lifetime events” and how he had regretted missing those.
As he drove home, the man realized how much he wanted to revise his life and avoid loneliness moving in and becoming his permanent roommate; but time had passed, second opportunities were seldom available, and time travel was not possible. He though a little more about it, then discarded the subject.
Once at home, he opened a bottle of wine and poured some in his special glass, the one that his best friend had given him many years back; it was an oversized wine glass his friend described as the cure for “moral hangovers”, the glass purpose was that they both could enjoy drinking wine and still be able to say they had “just one glass”. He laughed out loud remembering some of their conversations over a “single glass of wine”. It had been on occasions like that when they had consoled each other about break ups or laughed about the crazy situations they found themselves often involved in. He missed those times, but as they transited life they had first gotten geographically apart, then emotionally pulled on different directions, and now, they just spoke over the phone a couple of times a year for a few minutes. The man left a heavy sigh out and thought “where is everyone tonight” even his cats and dog were keeping to themselves.
The man walked outside to the backyard carrying his glass of wine in one hand and a wooden box in the other. He sat on the backyard stairs, looked at the starred sky and enjoyed the cold breeze, opened the box and started to roll a joint, he had become a marijuana enthusiast during the past few years, as he dragged the first puff he though how stupid was the federal government position was about marijuana, alcohol was so much worse, and the consequences of irresponsible use were the same or at least similar... he let another sigh out. The year had been full of political uncertainty, and the whole country system of values had been shaken.He realized that in few minutes Christmas Eve would be over.
The celebration of Christmas at the United States was so different that how it was on his motherland. He remembered how when he was a kid Christmas had such a different meaning than now; Christmas now had become so commercialized and had almost transformed in a social obligation that even those who did not follow the Christian religions were forced to participate.The man though about what it meant for him now. His childhood Christmas had a different color, a different flavor and an inexplicable joy that arrived days before every Christmas eve.
The month of December was a joyful month in the valley where he grew up and it was even more joyful at his house. The weather where he came from was wonderful all year long, and although December was always cold, the blue sky had a crystalline sharp color and the sun shone everyday almost as if it was a beach day. The streets, buildings, businesses and homes were dressed for the occasion and the spirit of the festivities could be felt everywhere. The people from his beloved valley were friendly and welcoming, and during the Christmas and New Year’s season everyone made an extra effort to be nice and cordial, to smile more and complaint less; the people he remembered were always happy during those days, particularly open to help others and the religious fervor was seen everywhere.
He came from a humble medium class family. There was never much money to spend, but he never felt poor. During the month of December, he never felt the cold, not because they had a heated home or hot water, neither because they had any special clothing for the season, it was just that the family kept him warm and happy.
Because of the limited resources, they never had a live Christmas tree, but his mother who loved the season and whose unbeatable optimism was her best tool to celebrate that month, had come up with the idea of the snowed Christmas branch. At the beginning of the month she would find a dry tree branch; she was picky about it, the branch had to have the right shape and strength. Once she had made her selection she would plant the branch in an empty can of powder milk using cement to ensure it would not move. Throughout the year she would save some coins, so she could buy the overly expensive laundry soap she used for covering the branch turning it into a fragrant, fluffy white Christmas tree.
The man smiled flavoring the memories of the whole process, and how creative his mother was to spare all of them from realizing that they had much less than their neighbors. Truth to be told, they didn’t have much, but they had each other.
The man took one more drag from the joint and continued to enjoy the unexpected memory walk. He thought about the meaning of Christmas he learned at home; while for all neighbors and friends the meaning of Christmas was clearly defined by the birth of the king of kings, the son of God, for him, the celebration was just a day to celebrate family, peace and love for those who were around him. Spirituality was always present at his childhood home, but neither formal or informal religion was. His father was a recalcitrant atheist who believe humans were just a combination of atoms destined to break down and become nothing but ground and worms. His mother was a non-practicing catholic, highly spiritual and a strong believer that the body was just the outfit dressing of the priceless spirit. Because of those differences the ideas, Jesus son of God was just an entertaining tale. Besides, since he was very young he knew that baby Jesus’s gifts found under the tree at midnight were bought by his parents as an expression of care for each one and those who surrounded their life. Each gift was thoughtfully, carefully chosen, those were never casually added to a list, but tailored for the receiver. His mother always stressed that a gift to someone carried a message, and the message should never be “you are not important, I just picked up this at the bodega just to be done with the obligation”.
The man sipped his wine, he considered how he had allowed the commercial frenzy to rule the past few Christmases and how he had pushed back his upbringing.While he pondered on those ideas he felt as if he was drifting into some trance, and he felt he was no longer alone on the deck. He felt an urgent need to pass the childhood meaning of Christmas along, if not to his nephews and nieces; to his dear friends and anyone who could hear; because the meaning was not a celebration of a birth that had happened over 2000 years ago; especially because such event had not happened on the date it was celebrated.He thought; the meaning of Christmas was so much broader and spiritual, and what he had learned at his childhood home was right, it was the truth: it doesn’t matter whether people was religious or not, he was taught to be good and be kind, to help when he could and to enjoy the celebration as an expression of togetherness.
The man felt exalted thinking on how to share the message and how to honor the spirit of those wonderful childhood years. For a moment he felt as if his mother was behind him and resting her hand on his shoulder; he felt at peace with himself and his life, and because he wanted to share it with everyone he grabbed his phone and wrote a message to his family and friends, to his enemies and frenemies, without consideringwhether they were Christians or not, he wanted for all to have the peace he had; and as he texted a heartfelt merry Christmas, he invited all to celebrate each other regardless of the greetings anyone would chose to use. As he fell asleep on the deck, under the illuminated sky he mumbled to himself “Merry Christmas, may your life be fulfilled and blessed”; then for the first time since he left his beautiful valley he slept soundly and at peace. He woke up midmorning, and as he stared to get up, a blue blanket fell to the floor, it was a nice warm blanket that reminded him of the one he had when he was a kid. For the rest of his life He would wonder who had placed a pillow under his head and that blue warm blanket over his body.