…A Fistful of Dirt.

Tuesday Last Week
7:26 pm Zacatecas Mexico. Cemetery
….A fistful of dirt.

The tomb looks lonely and the wind is cold. The faint sound of a mariachi band playing at another grave up the hill tries to warm your heart but the cold makes it useless. The asymmetric shapes of all the tombs makes it weird to stand up straight. You need to put one foot on a platform and then concentrate to put your other foot on a different platform there isn’t a smooth surface in miles. Not a single grave is doubled, every single tombstone has a different shape, different markings, different smell. The cemetery Is collocated on an uphill which makes It impossible to see the whole thing in one single place, but the closeness of the graves makes it feel more like a maze with the sound of the mariachi leading you to life. The only thing that is not covered in dirt is the main rocky road. I hate being here again. I swear I was never going to return to this cemetery. It’s been 6 years since my father died. My sister bought the lot and order to built the mausoleum but she never did. I only contributed with the money for the lot; She did all the arrangements. When my father died, they bury him down on the ground, at that time there wasn’t anything built today we have only two walls and the space where the mausoleum should be. We didn’t know time was limited for mother. I remember getting dirt on my suit when carrying his coffin to the sound of Antonio Aguilar’s “Un Puño De Tierra.” Every time that song was tune in the radio my gut revolted like it was collapsing. I didn’t want to think about the lyrics of the song because at that point they seem to sound too real when I was at the funeral. One of the few cassettes that my father used to listen to when we drove through Mexico to get to California was a live concert by Antonio Aguilar put in repeat. He put it on repeat listening to the concert at least three times until changing the cassettes to one of the 4 cassettes filled with Mexican singers. Piporro, Jose Jose and another Juan Gabriel concert was his only casettes we had to listen to the 34 hour ride from Zacatecas to Los Angeles. I can still vividly remember vividly driving through the fields of wheat grass hearing the concert singing it with my father at full voice.

♪ Cantando voy por la vida♪
♪ nomas recorriendo el mundo♪
♪ si quieren que se los diga ♪
♪ yo soy un alma sin dueño ♪
♪ a mi no me importa nada ♪
♪ pa’ mi la vida es un sueño ♪

♪ Yo tomo cuando you quiero ♪
♪ no miento soy muy sincero ♪
♪ y soy como las gaviotas ♪
♪ volando de puerto en puerto ♪
♪ yo se que la vida es corta ♪
♪ al fin que tambien la debo ♪

♪ el dia que yo me muera ♪
♪ no voy a llevarme nada ♪
♪ hay darle gusto al gusto ♪
♪ la vida pronto se acaba ♪
♪ lo que paso en este mundo ♪
♪ nomas los recuerdos quedan ♪
♪ ya muerto voy a llevarme ♪
♪nomas un puño de tierra.♪

Its translation.
♪ I’m singing through life ♪
♪ just traveling around the world ♪
♪ If you want me to say it ♪
♪ I am a soul with no owner ♪
♪ I don’t care about nothing ♪
♪ to me life is just a dream ♪

♪ I drink when I want to ♪
♪ I don’t lie, I’m very sincere ♪
♪ I am like the seagull ♪
♪ flying from port to port ♪
♪ I know life is short ♪
♪ in the end that this was a lending I owe.♪

♪ The day I die ♪
♪ I’m not taking anything ♪
♪ so I give into pleasure ♪
♪ life is ending shortly ♪
♪ whatever happened in this world ♪
♪ only memories are left ♪
♪ when I fall dead the only thing I will take ♪
♪ is a fistful of dirt. ♪

I didn’t get very well with my father. There was nothing in common between the two of us. He was an alpha male and I was a beta kid. To a certain degree it’s more weird statistically speaking to not have anything in in common than to share something. He spend his whole life trying to impress his family who seem to not give a damn about him to his materialistic accomplishments. He wanted to make a true man out of me. A man that would bring economic stability to my family. I never won a penny by my own hands up until I was 28 when I sold the novel. Before that I worked at McDonalds; a job my dad thought shameful. He already being dead for several years. He never had the opportunity to see me become a “real” man in which a man wins a decent amount of money to be able to be called a man. Why the did you had to die before you see me stand on my own two feet? Do you have to win money to really be a man? Do you really need money to get a wife and kids? I know the answer is no, but I still feel like my father corrupted me to answer yes to those questions. And its not my father its the whole world. It’s not really his fault, its the way that things seem to work. Here I am looking at half the mausoleum with my father grave and I still can’t believe he is not alive. I have to remember myself he is dead; there wasn’t much change in my life when he died. It feels like no matter what I do now, I won’t be complete. He didn’t saw his son turn into a productive being in society he probably wouldn’t understand my work anyway, yet I feel a hole in my mind.
“Vamos a rezar un rosario”
My sister want’s to prey a rosary. It’s been a while since I pray. When I was a kid every time there was a situation where someone made me doubt the existence of God I remembered my fathers advice. “People are going to try and convince you that there is not a God but you need to keep believing. Never trust any man, only God”. This advice in the end made it worse. He was the man who made me be skeptic out of any man, and made me doubt the existence of God. I think deep down in his conscience, he was an atheist and secretly struggle himself in believing in God, yet he wanted me to become an a devote Catholic. He wanted me to go to church, yet he always badmouthed the priests and all of the fancy protocol.
“Every time I see a father giving the communion I’m pretty sure they masturbate with the hands they use for giving the hostia. Son, don’t trust in no one, only God” he would say to me, but the notion of a God was already fading away in my mind. He was a living contradiction, but all of this badmouthing made more sense than his righteous advice. He tend to say things like that. Which makes perfect sense.
The definitive day I decided to renounce being catholic was the next day after a cousin of mine was sexually harassed by a catholic priest. A daughter of one of my fathers sisters decided to bless her house by inviting a priest to bless it. The priest prayed and gave explanation of the five gospels. After the explanation he started explaining how people don’t think that a lot of what a church is made out is expensive, and that he needed money to buy the lot used to build a new church for the new colony where my cousin Leticia was living. When everyone was leaving I saw the father try to kiss my cousin in the mouth but Leticia backed away from him turning him down. I don’t remember much about the incident but the next day my dad remembered that there was a father collecting money for spots that were already donated by the state to build a church in them. The lies on top of benign efforts to build something is what open my eyes to how religion is used to manipulate people, especially the innocent and not educated.
The conclusion I got to, is that God is responsible for all of the good in the world and at the same time god is responsible for all the evil in the world, if you add up everything you realize that there is no difference between the two of them. It doesn’t matter if he exists of not because in the end everything adds up to zero. It’s not even worth fighting for it. I think the hardest part is to accept that there is no heaven. Accepting that there is no God is to accept that there is no heaven and everybody is terrified of the idea of dying and having your conscience fade away. That is the true terror that religion has manipulated ever since they notice fear was an easy way to manipulate people.
“Ahorita vengo” My sister said leaving the grave.
“A donde vas Sandra?” I ask her
“Con Elvira“ She says.
If there is a God I could only consider him a cruel being that is using its creation as a joke to amuse himself. The proof is the grave my sister is visiting right now. My sister lost a friend when she was in Elementary school. She used to come to the house all the time. I could see them play my Super Nintendo not even asking me to let them play, a bad habit my sister never lost. I remember the popcorn Elvira and Sandra ate when they rented VHS tape movies from blockbuster near our home. I don’t think there was a huge difference between the American household and our Mexican one in the 90s. It was one sunny day when my mother said “Sandra is going to her friend funeral we are going to take some time take care of your grandmother” I didn’t understood what was going on. At that age I have already been at my other grandmother’s funeral but I couldn’t even consider it possible the death of a child as young as her friend. They both were on eight grade and 13 years old when this happened, needless to say the parents were destroyed when their daughter fell while riding a horse In their ranch. I think the parents not only lost their child they also lost their faith in a God. For what my sister told me they decided to move out of Zacatecas and leave their memories of their daughter in the past. The only thing that remains is a tombstone with the inscription “Dios no la dio, Dios no la quito. Bendita sea tu santa voluntad” with meaning “God gave her to us and God took her from us. Bless it be your holy will”
The mariachi bands stop playing and the clouds are black. Its only 7 but the sun has already set. A group of people dressed in black pass us walking down the hill. A mature mother keeps crying with all of her heart and a young male dressed in gray is hugging her with only his right arm while walking at the same pace. The obvious cry is the one we spend our entire lives denying. We walk down the hill to reunite with my sister. The sound of a radio playing electronic music brings us again to the “living world”. In front of the cemetery a row of food stands with traditional sopes, is filled to the fullest in a cacophony of aliveness just to remind us that the world doesn’t stop for no one. Yet the world is the one who died.


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