memory: contention


March 2012

I hardly remember when they took the crib away. They simply said I was big enough to sleep on a bed, and the next thing I knew was that they brought in all these boards and started assembling my very first.

It was not of the conventional kind, though. Not four legs and a base for a mattress, no. This one had a large drawer underneath (toy storage), a side table with still more drawers integrated to the mustard colored carpentry of the whole thing, and behind it, a rack for my valuables. A big piece of furniture it was, indeed, all yellow and white, in the style of the colorful seventies.

At first, I just slept on it, and kept my stuff (a plastic replica of Evel Knievel’s motorbike being my highest treasure, followed by an action figure of the Six Million Dollar Man and an elastic Plastic Man I stabbed in the center of the chest, only to discover full of a mysterious green gel) organized on the cupboard. Later, though, I discovered my hole.

Since the ledge had a dept to it, and was placed over the headboard, the actual bed was set at some distance from the back wall. Under the shelf, behind the bed, was a long and narrow hole where only I could fit, being myself so small.

What this place had, I don’t know. I simply felt more comfortable in it than anywhere else, and spent hours on my own, playing with smaller toys, or imagining I was in some kind of cave. I used to take a blanket into this den of mine, sometimes even food (canned sausages, chips or cookies); somehow thinking (or feeling, maybe) I really lived there, and the rest of our apartment was something different.

My parents used to get angry at me for digging myself in there. They insisted on proving this infinitesimal parcel was full of dust and even small spiders. It wasn’t true, of course. I knew perfectly well the only smell was that of my clean, infantile sweat, and perhaps some dry crumbs.

Time went by (it always does, so quickly) and at some point I outgrew my hole. The world was kind enough then to provide me with new, different containers, to replace this very first. The tall Cerros on the east side of the city became the back bedroom wall, while the smaller streets and alleys, tiny bars and densely packed libraries, completed the operation.

This is where I live now. The rest of the world is still something different.