All the Dead

La Voz de Galicia – October 29, 2021 →

Cristina PatoToday a street band went by Eleventh Street. I poked my head out the window to see if I could see it play, and facing the ground from the fifth floor of my old building, I imagined the musicians walking on the sidewalk. And I smiled, and I believe I also sang. And when I went back inside, somewhat dizzy from staring downwards so intensely, my father suddenly appeared. «We should light up some fireworks,» he said with that smile that lit up our lives. But when I was going to respond, he had already disappeared from my living room.

It is curious to see what are the things that lead us to remember our dead. Since Dositeo died eighteen years ago today, he appears in my memory every time I hear a street band. Sometimes playing his accordion, others sitting on the sofa of the family home, and many times lighting up fireworks in the middle of Armariz. But I never imagined him lighting up fireworks in the middle of Manhattan. Perhaps in dreams, but never awake. And the simple idea of doing it began to take root in me: Dositeo, after lunch, cigarette in hand lighting up a sparkler from Eleventh Street. Dositeo with the knotted kerchief on his head to protect his bald spot from the sun, walking before nightfall by the edge of the Hudson River. Dositeo with his spotless suit accompanying me to the Metropolitan Museum…

PFor me, there is something magical about the sound of street bands. Whether I am in Galicia or New York, those small groups have the ability to revive my father’s memory. And now it seems that they also revive in me memories that did not exist, memories that make him form a part of this other life that he did not get to know. Memories that in the future I will mistake as real because they already are a piece of my history.

For all our dearly departed, and still alive in our memory.

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