Guadalajara to Azuquequa de Henares, Cercanías Train
On the train a young punk girl sits across me. Her presence is anachronistic because punk “belonged” to the 1970s. Her presence is also common, all too common and not anachronistic at all, because the statement she’s making -- of not fitting into the Spanish mainstream -- well that’s as old as the first gypsy that set foot in Spain.
Her dark, short black hair and overly-done eyes don’t distract me. It’s the cheap cloisonné pendant with the image of Che Guevara that makes this ordinary train ride seem like a colossal tear in the fabric of time: if she only knew what my parents went through to flee communist Cuba. She’s wearing an emblem of a history she never lived.
How easily teenagers adopt the struggles of others, when they’ve got no struggles of their own. Some day she’ll wipe that make-up off with cold cream. Yes, I see it clearly: some day she’ll wipe that make-up off for the very last time and she’ll see her own face for the very first time. She’ll have her own struggles, with her own beautiful, tired face as its symbol.
In Memoriam March 11, 2004 Victims of Terrorism