Tras haber creado mi anterior blog cecilmundo varias personas, muchos de ellos mis alumnos, me sugirieron que creara una secciòn dentro de cecilmundo para publicar mis obras de docencia de idiomas. Dado que la cantidad de documentos de explicaciones, ejercicios y exàmenes de inglès son muy numerosos porque tengo màs de 30 años del ejercicio de la docencia, preferì estrenar blog con mis alumnos a como ellos realmente merecen. En este blog planetcecil no solo iràn mis documentos didàcticos de inglès, sino tambièn la producciòn literaria de varios alumnos que se destacan en las letras. Tambièn darè oportunidad a aquellos que tienen excelentes obras pero que no han logrado publicarlas ya que en mi paìs Nicaragua todo se mueve por la marrana polìtica, y si una no pertenece a determinado partido no verà jamàs publicado su opus. Tambièn tenemos la desgracia de contar con seudoeditores quienes al no conocer verdaderamente de literatura se convierten en mercenarios de la imprenta solo para llenarse ellos mismo de dinero y fama a costillas de los escritores. Todos aquellos que deseen participar en este blog, denlo de antemano por suyo. Aunque lleve mi nombre en un arranque de egolatrìa, yo soy sencillamente vuestra servidora.Cecilia

Las alas de la educación

Las alas de la educación
La educación es un viaje sin final.

La lección de física

La lección de física
Casi aprendida

jueves, 18 de febrero de 2010


For Frederick II the Great of Prussia
“The first thing she had a mind to ask me, while I was still writhing in pain reside her dormant husband, was why I was searching for her. I felt sorry for having sunken my fingers into her spine, pulling strongly on the vertebrae in an outward direction. Weren´t the natural pains of a galloping diabetic neuropathy enough? But I needed her, I told her, and maybe because she was a historian and her name was Wilhelmina, and she reminded me of the woman I most loved in my life. Vilma, please, I´m known as Vilma even if on my birth certificate I am Wilhelmina..she hissed while her husband continued sleeping at ease in the enormous bed without having an inkling that his poor wife was struggling with me, her star nightmare of the week. It was then when I decided to resort to her intellectual´s ego, throwing aside any compliment having to do with her womanly self-esteem. I didn´t tell her that she had fascinating eyes, or that she looked better alter having lost 10 kilos of weight…you see, nobody like her could submit to paper the anguish that I went through so long time ago for the mere fact of having loved beyond measure.
“That about love without measure struck a response in her. She sat upright on the bed, smoothing her long camisole with a drawing of Taz the Tasmanian Devil, she lit her dark green night lamp with a graceful tap of her long iguana-like hand and she smiled for the first time. She reached over for a glass half full of water, swallowed a white pill and a small light blue capsule,and she said she was ready.Let go, she said, paper and pencil ready. I sat on the edge of the bed and she handed over to me a flat yellow cushion with Pikachu on it..Fritz,she said, just let yourself go, we will yarn.
“Fritz. Since how long ago had I heard my loving nickname pronounced? And she mentioned it with such a particular softness. The iridescent Nicaraguan Spanish got stuck in my German tongue, but I tried to speak to her in the best manner possible so she wouldn´t escape again before I could give her my testimony. Where could I begin? Okay, you know that my Dad was one of the greatest disciplinarians in history, and his rule began at home. My mom was told that he could FIRE the housemaids and she should do the laundry with her own hands. That was my old man. He saved even the last penny, and he had traced a plan for each one of us from the moment my mom´s belly bulged with child .We were 14, not all of us lived. It was the usual thing back then. I didn´t hassle my tutors, I got good grades, I loved history, but there weren´t big plans for me because there were males older than myself. I ask myself if I could have been happy if my older brothers hadn´t died. Once that all hopes befell on me, between one army training and a session of document signing, my dad started to pay attention to me. Too much I would add. But this attention was not like the tender handslapping going on with his huge sergeants who were over six feet tall. There was nothing I did that was right, according to him. My mother howled in horror as she saw him come in with the best disposition to get his hangover out on me, battering me, and afterwards I would weep on my sister Wilhelmina´s lap(she was three years my senior).
“Soon my outbursts with my mother and sister were not enough for the blonde adolescent that I became,To make things worse my hormones were activating, and it felt like hell candy to have my dad hitting me all the time in public, over things that I hadn´t even done yet. Who could understand what I felt? It wasn´t possible to do it with Doris, the daughter of my music teacher…not alter the beating my father gave me in public and throwing her in jail so that she never CAME too closet o me again) I tried escaping to France. Well, I spoke the language of the Louises better than my own native German, and it could be possible that on one of my dad´s work tours I World take advantage to cross the borders .But I needed the help of some youth who was bold and daring like myself. I spoke of my plans to my friends Keith and Katte, who agreed that I could not continue being my dad´s official punching bag anymore..
“But with Katte, who had stormy skies in his eyes, and they made me think of things that I could not confess, something strange happened. While we were planning my escape, I felt that his silky white skin was more myself than my own body and if I didn´t smell his odor of fresh sweat and incense. I could not find peace neither day nor night. At age 18, my fingers still had the suspicious chubby roundness of my fat childhood, and Katte World chuckle when I asked him to open his mouth and let me rub the edge of my short nails on the living rose satin of his inner cheeks. In fact, it was even too much coincidence that the sound of his last name, Katte, was so like the English word for cat. I always loved cats, and for me Katte was like a big white cat with dark blue eyes, a cat I always wanted to cuddle. Everything was ready for my escape,
I had already cried saying goodbye to my sister Wilhelmina,
When somebody blew the whistle on us to my dad .Keith managed to flee but Katte and I were caught. Days before this happened, my sister had warned us that we were playing a game way above our heads,too bold a plan, and Katte, with luminously shining eyes,had repeated to me that if he lost his head, life and everything for me it was worthwhile. A good thing he had though likewise, for the sake of both of us whose disgrace was about about to come.

“My father interrogated me as if I were the worst convict. I told him I wanted to go because he wasn´t like a father, but like an executioner. He told me I was a disgusting deserter from the glorious Prussian army. And that was the reason why I had no honor. It was then that I told him I had as much honor as he did and I couldn´t bear to be treated like a lowly slave, precisely because I had honor. My father wanted to kill me, and I think his foreign friends really exerted pressure on him not to do so and that saved my skin. He even told my mother he had killed me, although later he had to confess that he had only jailed me at the Kustrin fortress. Perhaps it would have been better if he would have killed me then and there, because I had to be the witness of something that exterminated my soul. Katte was taken before my window at the fortress and I was forced not to close my eyes and watch the horrible reality: my father had Katte beheaded. A true barbarian, right? It is not the same thing reading about this on a text, a cold historical Fac., than to have me tell it to you with tears in my eyes, Vilma, or Wilhelmina, or as you see fit to call yourself. Down there on the courtyard was that beloved body, more adored by me than if it were my own flesh. And the head! A sad and bloodied roundness, the stormy eyes with no final peace, the mouth opened in one smothered scream muted forever! Never being able to put my chubby fingers along his inner cheeks while he laughed. He was taken away and I could never keep his head like when Queen Margot de Valois saved the head of one of her lovers. I was alone now,jailed, without being able to do anything else than fainting after he died, crying and crying afterwards. I hated my own body that continued living, although I told myself that Katte had only loved me beyond measure. I had nightmares, and in them the headless corpse of Katte would follow me, ominous peals of laughter sounding from a head he no longer had, from a bloody mouth that wasn´t there anymore. A chaplain was brought to me so that I got religious books. Do you think at these heights that I had any wish to pray?There was born the philosopher that many insist that I was, but there died the man that could love I could never have a restful sleep anymore,and I couldn´t love anyone after Katte. Afterwards I was wed to a sweet dummy Isabel Christina, and although I was adored by my wife I could never love her nor beget children with her. I ruled and I was called the Great, the forger of what my nation is today, but in truth, although my palace was called Sans Souci(no worries,,I wasn´t but a tenuous peel of what I could have been. In fact, when I left this world, after having hemorrhoids and awful pains on my legs, I didn´t have peace either. And I haven´t had any throughout so many years of not existing except like a reference in history. When I left that time in 1786, I felt that my essence or soul or what you want to call it, fled from my skin through a tunnel that looked like Katte´s open mouth when he died by beheading. I have sought for him everywhere that I go gravitating, in this nothingness and there are no lengths to which I won´t go ,even waking you up from your well earned sleep, so that if by coincidence, like a transparent and gentle entity that navigates among the red hairs of your cats and the subset, Katte returns and he should know I´m looking for him. Let him know that I will never give him up for good, Don´t you think have justified myself for having disturbed you even knowing that I shouldn´t have caused you more pain than what you already have to deal with? You say nothing, Vilma. You just want to cry even though tragedy has never knocked on your life´s door, never like what happened to me. Forgive me, forgive your Fritz for this hassle and continue talking about me to your students the way you have done, with so much love and tenderness, mention that I loved cats like you, I´m your colleague as historian and military. But when you say that Frederick II of Prussia was a great king, think about it. I like the flattery…but remember how much I suffered and still do for what I was. Now, put away your notebook and your pity, go back to your bed, let me place your Pikachu pillow below your painful knee, the pills will start working and your column will straighten again, hug your husband and try to sleep, because later you will pour this nto writing even though you might have smiling desires to cry and tearful cravings to smile, because even though you may peg me as a sadist, we finally met.”

Fritz, through CeciliaLevallois
October 25 th, 2003. I was getting out of my straitjacketed wheelchair

My Specter of the Rose

MY Specter of the Rose
Whether we are a filthy capitalist or a communist now so out of fashion like me, the real thing is that merchants have really spoiled our lives with that custom of having a perfect Valentine´s Day having all the possible gifts that your beloved´s wallet can afford, or if he or she chooses to give you something…and even if you´re poor I stick around. What would handsome Roman Valentine say, he who had the habit of marrying couples even when Emperor Claudius II had the macabre idea of forbidding weddings for his soldiers, if he knew that nowadays we are only in love on his namesake day and nothing more? Was it all in vain, getting killed for being a matchmakers, or wasn´t he aware that a marriage certificate is barely a free license that authorizes people to inflict the largest damage possible onto their spouses without any risk of going to clink for this? All these things were running through my head, through the patient and well-balanced head of auburn hairs, letting you know that the I is s Adrith Fourrel de Méndez, a fortyish teacher who still wears miniskirts because her husband is “updated” and her prodigy of a daughter looks like a Byzantine princess..
But that doesn´t allow me to keep my anger down when at lunchtime, I took out the gift for Valentine´s Day for my husband and he left the soup spoon halfway up to his mouth, staring at me in shame and with an idiotic look which is his trademark every time he realizes he is far from perfect. He almost choked up on the soup, and he reluctantly said he had not yet gone to pick up my gift . which was still being packed at a boutique. I almost died laughing. Boutique. I have never found anything pleasant about them, he wasn´t even able to bullshit properly. He should have rather told me that he would go by the bookstore to pick up my book, my gift, and it would have been more believable. I smiled like Mona Lisa-because poor Gioconda undoubtedly was a Renaissance woman at the mercy of her husband, a receptacle of pleasure-and I wanted no hassle. I had too many things to do. I had to be at the uselessly overexpensive school where I worked on the afternoon and evening shifts, and I wanted to get there early so I could write up a few reports. I faked as if it didn´t matter. It wasn´t any secret that all soups get cold, and that surely applies to marriages, even for those matches that were formed based on a hormonal pseudomagic provoked by pheromones in a state of insurrection.
Once at school, I updated my grades, printed a few English grammar exercises for my students on the 4 pm shift and I tried to digest the slight. It wasn´t worth dying for. At 4 pm, the 10 pre teenagers that I had in my level 11 class gave me a nice surprise. They brought an enormous cherry and chocolate cake, pleasantly heart-shaped, and a few cold beverages to celebrate Valentine´s Day. It was curious, these kids whom I had not given birth to, had remembered it was a day for love and friendship…After the grammar quiz, in which not all of them sailed with high colors, we had the little party.
Jordan Vázquez, my pet student and not exactly because he had the best score, as usual started to behave like a monkey, and he spilled his glass of soda on the hem of my dress. Y went to the ladies´ bathroom, which was 4 doors away from my classroom. After rinsing the hem with cold water and liquid soap, I tried to dry it up by turning one of those hand driers which make more noise than hot air by turning it upside down. I decided that it was useless to dry it this way.
One in the hallway walking to my classroom, I saw at a distance along the hall a figure. It was a man with a huge bouquet of red roses. He was wearing military uniform, he wasn´t very tall but he was brawny, with a muscled build that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would have envied. The uniform looked like one of those worn by soldiers during World War II, and he was wearing a poilu helmet like the ones worn then. As I approached him, I saw that he was very young, maybe around 24 years of age. He was swarthy, with fiery hair and stunning green-blue eyes. I had the impression of having met him ages ago, since who knows when. The man got closer and when he was only inches away fro me, he extended his arms to hand me the roses and he smiled radiantly. At this precise moment, man and roses disappeared into thin air. After a few seconds, I was still open-mouthed, and I managed to run to my classroom..
The students gaped at me, surprised.”Hey you didn´t see the devil himself, teacher!”-said Jordan Vázquez. Another of my students asked me,” Did you find the man, Adrith?”
“You guys saw him too?” I asked while seating myself at my desk..
“Of course, he came to ask us where you were, and we told him you were where the King goes alone,”quipped Almalila, the best student..
Jordan Vázquez approached me with suspicion written all over his face.”Hey, that guy is not your husband.”.
“Of course not, he is my father, ”I replied, recalling my father´s pictures of himself as a young man in the midst of the horror during D Day in Normandie..
Jordan Vázquez sat down next to me and took my hand into his.”Teacher, your dad died in the SAHSA plane crash at Cerro del Hule in Honduras in 1989, you told us yourself. Your mom died there, too.”
“But it was him. Ok, your parents don´t pay ir order to have me speak about ghosts. Let´s go to page 34 in the green book and let´s get down to business,” I concluded.
Concluded? Oh no! Not at all! At 6 pm when the class was over, I knew that the whole thing was far from over. I put my books into the bookbag and I got ready to go to another classroom, where I had a first level to teach to adult students in the shift that concluded at 8:30 pm. I was turning off the fans when Mayra poked in her round Little candy face. She was the chief charwoman.”A man was looking for you, first he came by the administration with the accountant, and he sent the guy over here. Did you see him?”
“Sure, Mayra. I saw him. Did you?”
Mayra slyly smiled.”It was impossible not to see him properly, how would I miss a handsome man, so reddish and hairy and with those eyes?”
“Well, don´t fash yourself. I did see him. Now I´ll go, I have to go and get these photocopies run before I enter the other shift. See you around, good evening, dearest Mayra.”.
Once in my other classroom, I tried to concentrate but couldn´t make it. My dad had had the custom of sending me roses on all Valentine´s Day, even after I had married. He used to tell me that every woman´s perfect man was only her father, and he wasn´t mistaken. He had promised that even after he died, he would come back for me. When he said this I would just keel over laughing, and I would tell him he was just a doting old fart, how was it possible that two materialistic and atheistic old communists like both of us would be believing in specters and clatfart? We didn´t even believe in gods, which was a socially accepted form of hysteria and collective deception..

The simple reality was that my husband had simply forgotten to buy me a gift and although I hated to admit it the idea really vexed me. Frankly speaking, the unique perfect love was the one coming from father, maybe because it had no sex included. Hormones were all to be blamed for this.
But it was really too much coincidence that the head accountant, the chief charwoman and 10 kids had seen my father in all his splendour, young and radiant as he was when he was the European sub champion for weightlifting. Wearing an Allied soldier´s uniform, as he was during World War II. And with 13 roses for me, as he used to give to me every Valentine´s Day. Collective hysteria? Mass delusions? Compensation coming through ESP? Your own husband didn´t even give you salt for a xocote and your father crossed over the Great Divide to bring you roses? Hey, dummy, you aren´t Tarzan´s Mom! I believed only in what I ate, wore and walked on.I believed in my salary because I always had i ton time. But I believed in nothing else.
When I got home, my husband and daughter were all dressed up to the nines.”We are eating out, even though it is almost nine, but it still is Valentine´s Day,”said my worried consort. I saw my daughter´s enthusiasm and I didn´t wish to disappoint her. It wasn´t worth it anymore. I accepted with a humility in which I didn´t believe, because I knew I was not going to forget and least of all forgive. I let out a sound that was more of a snort than a peal of laughter, I put my bookbag on my desk and I went with them to eat 5 blocks away from our house, to eat what they wanted to eat, not what I wanted to eat, of course. It was part of the mantra for family peace. Was it Emperor Tito, the guy who concluded the construction of the Colosseum which was begun by his dad Vespasian, who said “family sucks”?Greetings Tito. I chewed automatically, but I was satisfied. It was ironical, but the Perfect Man had crossed scores of kilometers of inexistence in order to cheer up my life with 13 roses.
Once back home, I brushed my teeth. I felt slow and heavy. I went into the kitchen to drink some cold water. After I shut the refrigerator, my blood ran colder than the freezing water I had just drunk. Poked into a blue Chinese vase, which used to belong to my grandmother, was a huge bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. 13 roses. As I was getting into bed I thanked my husband even while I knew that he would never do something like that.
“I didn´t bring them. At 5 pm they were brought here, without any card. I have no idea who sent them. You were at school teaching. I hope you liked the book I brought you.”
“Oh sure, although this is the first time I hear that books are sold at a boutique. Thanks. Well, good night, we have to get up early tomorrow.”.
The roses took a very long time to wither, one month. I still keep one of them, dry yet still odorous, amidst the pages of a World War II history..

Cecilia Levallois. Managua,7 de febrero 2006



Cecilia Levallois

The first thing my daddy taught me was to avoid trying to hide the sun behind one thumb because of the impossibility of this. That is why today I shall speak to you about War, although I must make it clear that nobody likes to speak about it. Among military terms you can find abbreviations and euphemisms, and in all languages in which aggression is practised. One term in English that has always bewildered me is M:I:A. Missing in action. Disappeared during combat, or while in action.
How much use of abuse was given to this during World wars, or during the French intervention to Chad from where my uncle returned home with no more appetite for red meta, or during the Vietnam conflict from which many blondie gringos never came home, and who knows if it was destiny `s retaliation charging its unpaid bills and on that occasion it deemed necessary that all those lads who went to fight in order to wolf down the southeast should be trapped in tunnels, o water clinks o who knows how…

But War, as I speak to you about it, as I saw it through my astonished eyes, anyways always turns you into a M.I:A. Something from you gets stuck in the slime, which is thickened by blood or that piece of human kidney that you unwittingly stepped on with your boot, over there in the battlefield, without realizing what it was, only that it made a strange and nauseating noise when you walked over it. No, sirs, don `t ever misguide yourselves by humming that tune about beloved, suppose that I go far, so far that I shall forget my own name, beloved, mayhaps I am indeed another man, taller and not as old….

The Sweet Abyss is a masterwork of the new Cuban troubadours, but War is not so. Y beware, the one who stays behind enemy lines is the lady while the male of the species goes to face combat. We always handle War terms in masculine, forgetting the Celtic women who were the best warriors, even outdoing men, or beautiful Boadicea swallowing poison before Paulinus Suetonius could lay a hand on her. Or gorgeous Nzingha of Ndongo and Matamba fighting against the Portuguese so that they wouldn`t convert kingdom into an endless source of slaves for the colonies, or Candace the empress of Ethiopia astride an elephant commanding her troops and scaring away blond Macedonian Alexander the Great, who preferred not to battle than to end up being the laughingstock of everyone because a female would have beaten him.
WE must be clear that War is feminine, it is a man`s game according to sexist males like the paunchy general who, barely fitting into his uniform like a sausage in pork`s tripe, would rudely scold me saying that it was ugly for a women to speak about War, only to mask the fact that he was terribly embarrassed because he couldn`t know who William Wallace formed his troops , ready for battle.

But thus is how things work, and I have told you that we World have a yarn about War and I have been droving the skittish goats of my old spites. There are things in the everyday life of combat, whether you are just a war correspondent as were D`Annunzio or Hemingway, or as a soldier, that turn us into M.I.SA. as veterans of all barbarous actions, we will never again be the same, and no tale ever wrought by Lovecraft, no bizarre tale write by Poe with two liters of moonshine dancing between back and belly, no dead is dead said by Stephen King, can be compared with the horror of War. The photogenic smile stays the same, but behind the light pupil, if we really focus on it, there are the debris of fear, beyond what is never a sweet abyss of memory there is our instinct for survival, tense, drawn tight like a cello string ready to burst. Our bloodiest mementoes are the permanent guests of a memory that still trembles, its mailing address is the last remote corner of our eyelids, next-door neighbours to the oniric World of our dreams. They visit us as soon as we drowse, sometimes in full color, with their own soundtrack and with credits for lights! Camera! Let`s get the action rolling!. All this at the end of the latest session from midnight atwixt the sheets. We arrive punctually for the summons made by our traumas.

And in my dreams I am again in the north, by Jalapa, covered with blood with the rank, dank smell of copper, so drenched that even my bones seem to dissolve amidst the 170 pounds of my Rubensian Venus plumpy, and it is not the wetness of a storm that has abated, but blood, fortunately not mine, but it still pains me. And how can I explain that incident in La Penca, when I spent a whole night gabbing about the most diverse matters with a soldier, in the middle of the darkest night, but when the chopper finally came to evacuate us the man was dead with wide open, and when we brought him to the morgue in Managua the forensic doctors determined that he had been dead for more than 12 hours, and since he couldn `t have opened his mouth to deny that thus ended the story. Conversation with a dead man, and that is not the name of a good Hitchcock flick.

Often, even after so many years after Teotecacinte, Jalapa, La Penca or Operation Danto, revulsion smacks me in the face with its Tyranosaurius Rex visage, between the preparation of the mushroom sauce and the seasoning of the filet mignon with which I Hill agreeably surprise my family for lunch, and the violent and gaping red meat resembles the wide open, always bleeding wound of War. Even after so many years of not wearing a comfy pair of Jungle boots, Way is like an old pal from kindergarten, it returns with its round-trip ticket and unexpiring visa towards daily terror that lives in my nightmares. I want to say that I have gone back to normal life, and I really do enjoy it when my daughter sees the ad for a new war flick and we go to enjoy it together, saying that the bloodier, the better. I don `t want to affirm that I cry ,hiding so no one sees me, when I wake up, shaking and drenched in cold sweat, with Wide gaping eyes, because it is not really that what bothers me anymore. On November 11th, Veteran `s Day because on that precise date in 1918 ended the First World War , I wear a red paper flower on my breast and I want to convey a cheap sentimentality that I am far from feeling but that is very much in fashion nowadays

If my father were alive, he would dig out his medals and he would put baby powder over his tattoo with the number that was engraved in pain on his elbow in Auschwitz, and he would wink his eye at me. But he would, also, caught at that precise moment without warning, be forced to admit that he as well as myself as well as all war veterans,
Up to a certain point continue to be soldiers who are missing in action, no matter if our bodies did come back and that now, we truly enjoy our nests and our families. Maybe we might never know what we left behind on the battlefield, something that Frederick of Prussia didn `t mark on his military maps, nevertheless something that visits us, from one night to another, in our nightmares or during our day-to-day life with our reflexes and fear of having someone approaching you from behind without making noise. We too, even though we may now enjoy the right to live in peace as so Uncle Ho yearned for, are still M.I.A.

5 Oct. 2000


for Chele Marcos
"The bullet which shall wound me shall be a bullet with a soul...”Salomón de la Selva
I do not know why, but since I was born in the United States, I just knew I was destined to live one of the weirdest romances of all times. Nothing in my appearance or configuration distinguished me from so many thousands, so many like me, I was not anything special, but from that very moment I recall that I told myself I was going to be special, memorable, unforgettable. It was not a Mae West syndrome whispering for you to come up and see me sometime. I would have to go and look for that unfanthomable destiny, incredible, unique, unrepeatable and inevitable. I was just one more golden gringa, that was it, but something told me that I was destined to be a one of a kind protagonist. I spent a lot of time just holding on, bored, I felt tied, like stuck in a case of nothingness, gravitating as I waited for the event, for that magical moment in which I would be catapulted into an unique and decisive event, expected and feared, both at the same time. I understood what the ovules gravitating into maturity in a ovary feel, or what a fetus does while he waits for the waters to flow outward and he can dawn into the world. But the date for my encounter was already pointed out by what the Arabs call kismet, destiny. If you please, call it fate.
In 1984 I met the great love of my life. She was wearing loose camouflaged pants, a video camera slung from her shoulder and she exhibited jungle hair in several shades of mahogany. We met in Jalapa, Nicaragua, so far away from my birthplace in the United States. She was being followed and since she was rather chubby, she had a hard time climbing up the ladder that went into the military helicopter that would return her, other militaries and 4 European war correspondents back to Managua. An amalgam of noise which was made of triggers, whistling bullets and the hissing blades of the helicopter disoriented me a wee bit, but when I was able to find myself, the encounter had already happened.
The woman settled herself inside the helicopter next to a blond Frenchman who was stinkier than all the onions of the world put together. This blondie looked at her in alarm and told her to look al the bloody pants. Instinctively, the maiden looked at her crotch, the logical site if you are a woman in a fertile age. The Frenchman had the decency to blush to say no, it was somewhere lower. That was when the woman looked at the left leg of her pants, all torn, and a sea of blood oozing from behind her knee. ”But I felt nothing, merdouze,I felt nothing and they hit me!” she would recite as if she were quoting Walt Whitman or Guillaume D`Aquitaine if that is who pleases you most.
It was as if her dignity was upset because she had been shot and she had been so stupid as no be unaware of the fact. Beside her, a blond Nicaraguan with the rank of captain took out a big bandanna and a tourniquet was firmly tied in order to avoid further loss of blood. The blond Nicaraguan held her head in his arms and crooned, ”That`s it, fatty, stop it, Bat! We will take you to the military hospital but take it easy, okay?” It was pretty obvious that this man had a very difficult time trying to handle soothing words, but it was evident that he was terrible worried. He continued speaking to her in English all along the chopper`s flight, and I was understanding what he was mumbling. Some of the things he said were not to my liking. Who was he to touch the love of my life, and she to allow him to do so? I did not know that she and the blondie, whom many called Eric the Red, were chums since they were both babies, and a gust of jealousy swept over me.
Once in Managua, the woman was taken in a noisy ambulance to the hospital, Eric the Red went right along with her. Far from the foreign correspondents, the man finally burst into tears.”I shall never forgive myself if your leg gets amputated, Bat. Shit, you have such nice legs, you bitch, your father will kill me for this! ”The woman twisted and turned on the stretcher and she had a strange fey smile on her face, but she would utter nothing more than a hissing shut up! Up to this point, a huge anguish was getting into me.
What would happen to me? Getting the woman into the doctor´s hands, Eric the Red stayed outside promising the woman that he would call her parents. The physicians inmediately stripped her of her boots and pants. They cleaned her up and I heard them say it would be a difficult case. It was not until around 7 in the evening, after countless exams, x-rays, hurries and lots of fidgeting that I could be at peace. The doctors` opinion was that due to the way that things happened, and since the bullet was sitting exactly at the point where femur, tibia, fibula and patella converge, it would truly be an impossible task to extricate the projectile from there. There was a man with transparent green eyes who chain-smoked next to her bed.
There was no question of amputation, and nothing about extricating the bullet. The woman would learn to live with her bullet as of that moment. As weeks and years went by, the orifice of the entry would leave no mark on the perfectly formed leg. She would have a bit of pain during the new moon days, with air conditioners and the cool airs of December, and she would set off the alarms when she visited banks or went through the airport check -up, when the metal would be detected.
“At least it did not hit you near the arse, like your uncle who was on D-Day,” said her father when he took her home from the hospital two days later. There had been Eric the Red, whom obviously had not been thrown in jail or anything like it.”Bat, can you forgive me? It was I who took you on mission, ”said the blond, with a tearful look in his gray eyes. ”Fuck off, Eric, stop giving me bullshit ,”said she while I writhed around in jealousy.
From then on I learned to know her. And I started loving her with such a vicious possessiveness that I never believed I could be capable of feeling. She was again out as a war correspondent at La Penca and she almost went lunatic when she yarned with a chap named Rubèn, who had a profound gash on the chest. Bat would affirm that she spent the whole night yarning with him, but it was quite scary when she returned to Managua with the recruit`s corpse and the forensic doctor told her that he had been dead for a good amount of hours. She wept for hours in her father`s lap and Eric the Red snarled at her that if she took the military service recruitsnwho died in combat so seriously, she was going to spend the rest of her life with her stormy eyes as swollen as frogs. Once in a while her mother would have her visit several doctors to see what could be done about her bullet. Once she was given pills which made her vomit even what she hadn`t eaten in centuries, to say the least. I felt guilty because I couldn`t mitigate her pain. I never wished to hurt her, but I adored her so much that I couldn`t bear the thought of being wrenched away from her.
After her parents` death in a plane crash, there was no more mention of going to the doctor. The only one who could have convinced her to visit the hospital was Eric the Red, but the poor chap was so enmeshed in his own troubles because he had to deal with his own psychosis. I get the impression that Bat sometimes got a little fed up of playing wageless psychotherapist, and even though they were together at the same military unit after she decided to become a full-fledged military, Bat never overspent her patience. She deal with Eric the Red with an endless sweetness, just like a mother had to deal with a hyperkinetic baby. Eric the Red would seat her on his long sofa in his bureau, he would hand her a guitar and would ask her to play the instrument. I remembered Farinelli singing to soothe away King Philip V of Spain`s melancholy. “You are my Orpheus and I am the beasts for you to tame...”said Eric the Red.
Years later, when Bat left the army without signing a single document, Eric the Red continued to be hooked on her emotionally. One afternoon, she was translating confidential documents for a multinational when he called her, sunken in despair. Taking into consideration that she had many bills to pay such as energy, water service and phone, with the threat of getting those services cut off, Bat said that she could not abandon the translation because at the same moment that she finished, she would get paid in cash. Eric the Red lost his marbles and he insulted her, yelling at her that if he committed suicide it would be as if she herself put the bullet in his head because she never had time for him. Bat surely had heard similar nonsense after so many years of friendship, so she didn`t do more than hang up. The following day, Eric the Red was dead after having swallowed a bullet in the best Hemingway style. Bat, this time, was unable to cry. She had too many other things to do, and pain was not included n her agenda. She just undertook the burden, a burden which was made of guilt, heavier than anything that Atlas had to carry, including the whole world.
Pain should have been included in her agenda because when many years later she was diagnosed as a diabetic, she would have it. The neuropathies, those shameful bolts of flashing pain that people with diabetes suffer, would be worse in her left leg because of the bullet. Again, it was brought up that maybe by extracting the bullet that she had since 1984 maybe some remedy might be possible. Bat this time wanted to know about the possibility, so she went to the hospital to have an ultrasound performed on her. Lying down on a couch, she turned her duststorm eyes towards the screen. It was the first time that she saw something like that. She remembered her pregnancy, when she was expecting her rowdy twins, and a wave of maternal feelings swept over her. There she was, tiny,well- nooked, shining. Like a fetus. Bat, recalling that on one occasion she was almost aborted, got up from the couch and cuddled her knee. She felt pain, but she smiled. “Under no circumstance am I removing this thing from my body. It would be as if I aborted my kids. I am not a criminal. She stays there. I love her. No more talk about this.”
I could finally breathe, relaxed. I was loved! Here, inside Bat, despite her high glucose level and her pains, I have the honor of being cocooned in an eternal, loving pregnancy. When she dies, I shall be buried in her same tomb, a privilege that not even her own husband will have because he will be laid to rest beside her, in a separate crypt. Well, one thing. Keep me a secret! I will never tell her that the 22- caliber bullet which dashed her friend`s life, Eric the Red, when she refused to listen to him, that bullet was my own sister.

Cecilia Levallois