Today is June 30, 2016. It’s a Thursday not a Saturday.
It’s been four years.
Today is one of my last days in La Condesa.
It was your last day. Period.
My 22 year old legs spent hours walking the crooked sidewalks, the pee stained camellon, and thinking of you. It was the last place your 22 year old legs walked, after all.
Which apartment building was it?
Apenás my legs carry a 23 year old body. Although you never got to experience 23, somehow you have been walking with me all year.
Did you feel like you were being watched? Followed? I do, and have been.
God, maybe you understood how exhausting it is too keep watching your back.
“México es el tercer país con más periodistas asesinados en los últimos 25 años” dice un artículo de febrero del 2016. Eras uno de los 120 matados.
You were one of the 120 journalists killed in 25 years in Mexico, one of the 20 that year.
Can I tell you something? I’m proud of your journalism and its courage.
Make no mistake. I wish being a true journalist didn’t set you on death row and a victim of their deeds.
Oh right. Excuse my “assumption”.
Due to the impunity in this country we still don’t know what happened to you for sure.
It breaks my heart.
I remember the day I put the puzzle pieces together. I shook cold in that white, white office I just left.
Suddenly the facts and figures I kept(keep) hearing in my job, there in La Condesa working on human rights became real.
It happened within 20 minutes walking of where I was.
The horrific news drenched me all over again.
And the numbers of threatened journalists and human rights defenders?
They became a shining smile that could always make us laugh. Me laugh.
It became that hairy and handsome senior who was ahead of his time in being so authentically him. Authentically you.
You. I knew you on those earthy red cross country trails and by the tales told by teachers. You know, they didn’t tell many stories about alumni but they did about you.
There was a man practicing trombone on a bench in Parque España today.
Did you ever walk there, an oasis of green in the mass of grey?
Did you giggle like I do at the jovenes walking 9 dogs and going bien loco as the dogs run in 9 directions and bark at the other dog walker handling his pathetic pack of 5?
Did you feel safe? I’ll tell you something you intimately know: Condesa is not safe though it feigns security fearfully well. It coaxes you (me) into dropping your(my) guard.
Not that knowing that would’ve helped if they wanted to silence you forever.
Forever is a long, long, long time.
Did you love the fresh juices and smoothies on almost every corner? Did you ever eat the tacos de bistec on the corner of Nuevo Leon and Fernando Montes de Oca or the tortas de chilaquiles on the corner of Alfonso Reyes and Tamaulipas? They’re famous. The lines are always down the block.
An elevator shaft?
I can’t even imagine what your last moments were like. I do sometimes when I try to pick which apartment building you lived in. Which apartment building was it?
I’ve had to stop that kind of daydreaming.
I pray they were quick and thank God you weren’t a woman.
Did you fall in love here like me?
I wonder if you felt how strong the homophobia in this Catholic country is. (Ojalá que no) I wonder if you discovered Zona Rosa, and or went to the Marcha del Orgullo Gay held on Reforma.
I wonder what you’d be writing about now if you were in México.
The state of journalism in this country at the moment shames me. It’s riddled with big dollars and fear.
There are teachers protesting all over the country and the military is attacking them, killing them. What are the newspapers saying? Photos are faked.
This country needed a brave, honest and talented journalist like you.
I think of you a lot here
in this country, so beautiful and broken.
A country I fell in love with.
But country that protects such a strong level of injustice that it swallowed you up in it.
Did you love Mexico? Its food? Its sounds? Its pace? Its cultural richness? The metro?
Nah, I have mixed feelings on the metro too.
Was it raining when you got home? It rains a lot this time of year. Was the contamination yellowing the sky and hiding the ring of mountains? Al respeto a la contingencia ha sido bien fea este año.
But I wish you could see it.
I wish your should-be 26 year old self could be here to see it.
Today is one of my last days here in La Condesa.
I don’t know where your soul roams but I felt it a lot here. Thanks for being here.
I guess this is sort of a hello and good bye letter, you would know how to write it better than I.
I ask that your brilliant mind accepts my attempt to tell you how important you’ve been to me this year.
May you continue resting peacefully, querido.
Gracias por compartir tu vida que era tan increíble que pensamos en ti años después.