Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Traveler's Rest": A Puerto Rican Family's Ordeal (1920 - 2005) - By Jonathan Marcantoni

The following excerpt of Traveler’s Rest (Savant Books and Publications, 2012)  is published by permission of the author. 

We went to different schools. I would get my studies done early so I could see her every day. I was her first kiss, her first fondle, her first everything. We had so many plans and dreams and then … then she lost interest. And, when I asked, I was told that's the way life goes. It was a clear message incubated for me: we grow up; sometimes, we grow apart; and all we can do is move on. We meet new people, go to new schools, visit new places. We find a job in order to start a career, and if we don't know what career we want we can have several jobs. They say that there's all the time in the world to figure out what we want. And, what they don't say is this: In the meantime, we slave at this job and that job because we gotta keep a house, and we gotta eat, and we gotta have furniture for it all, and we gotta take women out on dates, and sometimes there's more than one date with a single woman, and each date has to be a little better than the last to keep her interested, so we work and work so we can have plenty of money and plenty of women and in between we go to sleep alone, we wake up alone, we eat alone, and we think, we think a lot about how unpredictable life is and how, no matter how hard we plan and how hard we try, life will do what it wants. Life doesn't give a damn about our goals, but we try anyway. 

We nearly kill ourselves trying to hold on, for a moment, one more moment before it all collapses; it all goes to pieces so you gotta hold on, but it gets harder and harder to care, to really want to continue in this cycle that will not break; it will never break, though, because we are stuck in every minute of every hour we've lived; we can see the progression of our life and it makes us sick, every person and place and errand we've to run because it is expected of us. The whole world expects us to behave and follow orders and be a good citizen and get that job and that wife and those kids and that house and be responsible, but it's so hard; the weight of it all beats on us until we can barely lift our heads, until we know our necks will break if we do, but we can't give up, not yet, we have to move forward because it will get better,we'll pull through just fine, right? Right? 

But, we don't know that then, not when we were young, not when we've got a woman who loves us, who touches us, who is there for us. Not when we're filled with desire. Not when we have dreams, and the world is still an open book of pleasure, of intoxication, of a glimmering promise of transcendence.


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