As I told you in my previous publication, the adaptation knocked on my door, or rather, he knocked it down with a battering ram and made me accept it with my hands up. In my daily reality, mimicking with the rest is an obligatory requirement not to stand out and thus diminish the possibilities of being a victim of a robbery.
That’s how my speech changes, I use “street language” to answer people’s simple questions, I walk looking straight ahead as if nothing worries me while inside I fear for the safety of my belongings. Little by little, those values I carried with honor and pride such as empathy and solidarity were set aside and became old accessories of the past. The barbarism became a small place in my being, and that sincerity that made me make contact with the reality of the rest was extinguished.
It wasn’t until I left my physiotherapy session that I realized such an unfortunate fact. There I was able to make contact with another Caracas, other faces. These old but forgotten faces were not dead in life, nor did they seek to end anyone’s life. They wanted to help, they wanted to contribute to the development of a country in ruins with a smile and tons of knowledge. The patients, all of them smiling, greeted with a good afternoon no matter if you were an acquaintance or someone completely strange. Courtesy, kindness and citizenship prevailed in that place as a kind of Venezuelan utopia, one of those that visits me at night while I sleep.
In that environment my adaptations to barbarism became completely obsolete and a cause for shame and concealment. They were of no use in that place, the “I” that I always was could be and not fear for their physical integrity. It was a moment of re-encountering myself, of realizing that I live in a city of opposites. A city where there are massacres by police forces and criminal gangs alike, while an orchestra performs a Mozart symphony in front of an almost non-existent audience. Some eat from garbage, while others teach poetry. Some destroy, others save lives. Everything, in the same place, in front of the Ávila.
The gap is huge, and it’s up to us to tie it up. We have to bring those two realities together, pull the good guys on the bad side, remind them that not everything is what they see every day. I managed to recover my sencibility for the human, thanks to contact with citizens, but if it had not been for that, I would still survive in the bowels of the city, with an expressionless face, ignorant of the pain of others and among sweaty bodies, dead but still beating.
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