12/25/2012

Llorona


They call me Llorona, the one who weeps. For centuries they have been closing their doors and windows, keeping the children well away when I come. As if I had any interest in them! No, what I want is to bring my own children back. But of course, that's impossible. I drowned them four hundred years ago and there is no power on earth to render them unto me. Hence the weeping.

All this time I have been wandering the streets of my city. This has been my penance. I have seen the lake drained, that lake where we had built houses, markets, pyramids; the beatiful flower markets grow ever smaller; the people become grim and gray. In their place came grand buildings, so grand the city was called “City of Palaces”. Red stone and grey stone, some covered in blue and white porcelain. Horse-drawn carriages drew the Spanish ladies from their own houses to the parties and back again. For a time I wished I could become one of them, alive.

Now, the new people erect ever taller buildings, as if trying to reach the sky. But these are not majestic or imposing like the ones before. They are crowded, busy, and cold. Sometimes they are covered in glass, reflecting the world around them; others, they are painted in any color, white, pink, blue, purple, which is better, I have to admit. Yellow and white lights illuminate the streets, where self-powered carriages move at top speed all the time. At night, they become a blur of white and red, the lights these vehicles have attached to them, front and back.

Most of them now dismiss me as a folk story, one to scare the little children with or something not to be believed. It is true that it is partly my fault, as my voice has weakened, but they live surrounded by noise, day and night. They cannot distinguish anymore between a police siren and a heart-wrenching wail. It seems they have no feelings left.

Perhaps they have no feelings left inside of them because I have drained them all. I can understand that, after so many centuries of being terrified of me, with my long black hair and white dress, they decided not to be terrified of anything.

These days I don't float around the streets as I did before. The city has changed so much I get lost all the time. I guess I am growing old, if ghosts can grow old. I am definitely tired and weary of finding no repose. Occassionally I will cry out again, “Aïe, my children!,” but I don't know anymore whether I weep for the children of my womb or for the children of my country, this country that seems ebullient with life and drowned in misery all at the same time.

If I am lucky, someone will hear me weep and lock her doors and windows, turning on the lights and the noise, to drown me out together with her fears and her hope.



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