—Is it Christmas already?
I wondered when I saw that the detergent mascot was already wearing his Santa Claus suit on the packaging. On my cell phone I checked that it was already December. I looked around. Every aisle was decked out in all the classic colors and symbolism of the season.
I finished shopping and arrived at my apartment. Why hadn’t I noticed? How long had it taken me to finish that report? I looked at my altar for the day of the dead. The leaves of my cempasúchil flowers were completely dry and all my food had spoiled and worm-eaten. I put away the things in the pantry, got out the detergent and set about cleaning my mess.
As I picked up, I remembered that it hadn’t been one report, but a series of them that came out after the first of November. One after another. My feedings and departures were short, quick. After all, if I didn’t finish on time, I was going to lose my job because of the cutbacks they started making in the middle of this year. Being punctual and efficient was no longer good enough.
But is it really possible to live a month and a half away? Well, all my payments were directed to my credit card, and since I don’t have credit cards, I never had to go and pay, as my debts were automatically settled in my debit account that never lost funds because the company’s project deposits fell on it.
And the people around me? I opened my social networks and noticed that there were no notifications. I guess if you don’t write to your contacts, they forget you exist. Since I became forcibly independent, I became independent of human contact. Perhaps because the only people I had close relationships with were already in my altar. Wow, I could have died and no one would know, not even at work. They would fire me rather than investigate why I don’t answer messages. After all, in this day and age, what they want is to have pretexts to run people off and they don’t have time to worry about them.
I finished all my cleaning work. My apartment was beautiful. I sat down and looked out the window at the Christmas hustle and bustle downstairs.
—Aren’t you going to put up a tree?
—I don’t believe in God and I’m not Celtic… what is the point?
—If you don’t believe in God, why were you putting up an altar?
—Because while I’m putting it up I remember every single person there.
I got a lump in my throat.
—And don’t you have nice memories putting up the tree?
I smiled, went to the bedroom and looked for my mom’s Christ Child. I had kept it, I don’t know why. No, wait. I do know why! I just remember every twenty-fourth of December, my mom and dad cooed over their Christ Child. Suddenly, I couldn’t help crying. I kissed the child’s foot and walked around cooing to him.
—See, you can remember us with this too.
Why are these random memories the ones that make us cry the most when we get old?