One day I was sitting in the radio studio, in the mornings, just one of the many that I occupied, and my greatest accomplice at the time, the one for whom a coffee that was sweetened by a brief conversation was worth it, sits down in front of me and starts to cry. He was crying because he suspected that his girlfriend was cheating on him. It felt like the end of the world, just the beginning of another day. I listened to him and on the way I was also moved by my mistakes and my weaknesses. Then I was moved that he was there, giving me his vulnerability. I will never forget that morning, even if the path is no longer common to us. It was a beautiful moment – I’m ashamed to use the adjective, but I can’t find another one that does it so much justice. It was beautiful what happened there between songs, which almost lost their meaning for us to gain that moment.
So many years have passed and I know – despite the distance – that this man is the same. He is strong and he is weak. The weakness here is to reinforce the antithesis. I saw him being strong when he weakened before me. Many years passed. We are still the same, I believe.
I’m in the kitchen. My daughter walks past me and points to the folded napkin. “It is clean?” I almost was, but my moist eyes had let themselves touch the paper, and so we were in a kind of dance while the vulnerability showed on my face. A waltz, perhaps. We hit the stride as the eyes let go. And it wasn’t even a scarf worthy of a waltz, but a napkin without a story. I replied to my daughter that it was not clean. A salt seasoning – mine – had been left there. Sadness – joy too – is salty, so I always put off sweets.
I like talking more and more about vulnerability because only women were given the chance to cry and say “I’m sad”. And in that, of course, was weakness. “Weeping ones.” Way to reduce feelings. Way, once again, to call complex things easy names with which we don’t want to waste time, even when we have plenty of it. Sometimes, faced with the possibility that we perceive certain things, and they become clear to our eyes, we retreat full of fears. Men back off much more. It’s not true that women (or other men) like thugs who specialize in breaking other people’s hearts. The world is made for the vulnerable because they have the ability to see beauty and do anything for the days that remain cloudy.
I often say that I am sad. I let vulnerability then attack me on all fronts. Cold fronts without a coat possible. A continuous line of melancholy runs through my days, which then experience a startle of joy. The joy when it comes is torrential. Then I dance in the kitchen. I dance even without touching the napkin. It’s not waltzes, it’s euphoria. Feeling everything and not being ashamed to realize what we feel is one of the achievements of this time. I don’t care about poets who think they have a monopoly on chosen words. We are all poets when we allow ourselves to feel. This contract made with life is plotted without having had the possibility of signing it. “In joy, in health, in sadness, on foggy days, all the times when outside nothing seems seductive enough to push us out the door.” As soon as we had the discernment to understand all this, we would sign
pact, contract. Or not. A difficult contract. The hardest. Maybe we postponed it.
The vulnerability. Napkins in the kitchen that wipe away tears when all you have to do is revisit a recent memory: my mother always had a crumpled tissue with her. How can I not remember her at all times? Even in the kitchen, especially there, when I want to ask her how to cook the octopus and she can’t explain it to me anymore. But vulnerability is also waking up and seeing the sun reflected in the window and another orchid that opened during the night. They are magnificent things that we see and feel. Within us, this poetry of moments is made that does not need a page or printing.
Women don’t give a damn for keeping the exclusivity of tears, knowing how many men cry. Some sadly cry inwardly, fearing the gaze from the outside, others burst into tears when they are alone.
There had to be a day of vulnerability so that men, especially men, could shed the pent-up tears of a lifetime.