Let me tell you about the first time I made somebody cry:
On a rainy afternoon in my mother’s office I was playing with two completely random things. It so happened that those two things were a telephone and a pair of scissors. There, I would sometimes become an operator. Or, I would become a barber, a barber or a tailor.
Cesar Patricio was a salesman in my mother’s office who had to make a telephone call; a salesman who took away my temporary dream of becoming a telephone operator.The chaos that followed, I do not remember well — scissors and his necktie — his necktie with some kind of pattern, not argyle or houndstooth, but a pattern.
If days were to be remembered in pictures, that day would have been:
Cesar Patricio holding his necktie in his cubicle.
Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, looking at pictures of his family in his cubicle.
Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, which was patterned, against his forehead.
Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, shoulders slouching in his chair.
Cesar Patricio holding his necktie, his hairline crawling upwards with grief.
Because there is nothing else to remember but a necktie — a pattern.
So maybe I am just remembering a pattern —maybe the necktie I cut open was dressed in some pattern of loneliness, or some pattern of inheritance? All those filial misjudgments and fatherly insecurities may have gushed out in front of eyes too young.
Maybe I am remembering because nobody else does.
Maybe I am remembering, or trying to remember the pattern (or a pattern) because like all broken things, the necktie must have been thrown into the dumpsters and burnt into air pollution like every other thing forgotten and all that’s left of it is its pattern dwelling in a couple bad memories.
Maybe it’s because I imagine Cesar Patricio now. Long retired, wearing a necktie my mother gave him instead of an apology (He is still wearing an apology, she gave him five of them). He is also wearing a suit, pretending to be a salesman in a cubicle before his son, a real salesman, sits down with him in his room to begin two hours of patronization.
I imagine Cesar Patricio: the best-dressed man in the hospital, selling dental equipment to the neighboring lolas.
I probably imagine Cesar Patricio, the salesman, better than he does himself.
I imagine Cesar Patricio, smiling at me from his bed, claiming to have forgotten about the necktie. I imagine myself believing him — sat in a chair with a pair of scissors, cutting into his necktie oh so sudden tears.