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LIFE IS A CIRCUS A few weeks ago as I was on my way to meet some friends I came across a man on a monocycle…or I thought I did because it was sort of an apparition. Quick as the blink of an eye he disappeared round the corner and out of sight. “Did you see that?” I wanted to ask but I was alone and couldn’t. This put a smile on my face and I started imagining clowns protruding from the sewers, tamers facing savage cars making them flash their lights, beep or follow the road orderly, dainty acrobats and wire-walkers balancing on the clothes lines skipping the colourful pegs, strongmen helping old ladies to cross the road carrying them high on top of their weights…I do this a lot, keeping my feet well on the ground but letting my mind go wandering like a loose balloon. I know it is not proper but it’s something I can’t help. “Wouldn’t it be funny if we all became one of these circus characters one time or another, just for a while?” I was asking myself. “But we already do”. That was the voice at the back of my mind answering; you know the part of me that holds my feet to the ground. It has that nagging habit of answering all questions. That little know-all. “At some point of your life you’ve become a clown to cheer up a moody friend; you’ve been the tamer fighting for reason against a stubborn opponent, using your wit and tongue as a tamer would use a whip and chair when confronting a lion. You’ve been the strongman pushing yourself hard trying to reach your goals and dreams, and you’ve been and still are the dainty wire-walker balancing on the tightrope of life, with your heart and your reason as the umbrella that helps you keep your balance and avoid plunging”. And now, I am the master of ceremonies, right in the middle of the arena presenting you my thoughts. All this makes me draw one conclusion: life is a circus. Roll on and enjoy the show. Ana Bustillo

A long time ago, when I was a teenager, I went to Ireland for a month and so did one of my sisters, Gloria and some of my friends. Gloria was staying at the Dunnes and I was staying at the Lynches. There were about fifteen minutes’ walk from my place to hers and that was about the time my joy lasted that day. At that time kilts were very fashionable in Spain and if they were Cashmere they were "the top of the tops". Our family didn’t use to give us a lot of money to go abroad, so I spent a fortune on a marvellous blue and green Cashmere skirt. One Sunday Gloria invited a friend of ours called Anais and me. I put my brand new Cashmere skirt for the occasion, feeling really cool and headed for Gloria’s. Anais and myself arrived there and had some tea and biscuits and chatted for a while. Gloria told us about a nice terrace she had next to her bedroom and we were looking forward to seeing it. So we decided to go upstairs where she had the enormous terrace with a very low handrail. I used to be very restless and when I saw the terrace I wanted to jump from the window (the window had two hooks to keep it open). So I got ready to jump, in the middle of the action my kilt got hooked and so did I and as I had a safety pin on the front of my skirt there happened to be three or four holes altogether on the front and the back of my new brand Cashmere kilt. What do you think? Finally I managed to get on the terrace. I was quite upset and led myself to the handrail to sit down and think about Shakespeare’s sentence "to be or not to be...". My sister and my friend were watching me and started to shout at me to tell me not to do it. I couldn’t understand but finally I heard them telling me not to jump, not to jump from the terrace. Are you crazy?, I said and jumped to the bedroom again. My sister and my friend were bent down, throwing shoes around the bedroom, so that I couldn’t see them laugh... Seriously I really understood their laughter.

Sometime in January many years ago. It was about 5 o'clock London time. Dark cold and drizzling. I had just arrived at Victoria Station for the first time in my life. Knowing not a single word in English, two big suitcases and not a clue where to go. I didn't have any accommodation either. I had the address of some nuns who provided cheap accommodation and helped you to find a job. I managed to make my way to the "convent" and they gave me shelter for the night. My first job in London was in the home of some Greek people. I lasted only a day because they treated me badly and they didn't speak good English. After wandering around I ended up in a nice cosy home near Camden. The owner was a New Zealand lady divorced with two girls and a young American boyfriend. I felt at home so I settled down and I started English lessons and I met British people and I made good friends with them. They have never ever let me down. Among all the people I met in London I had a friend who had an acrobatics plane. He invited me several times to fly. That was very exciting and a bit frightening but I really liked it. When you are upside down or doing loops your adrenalin makes you feel alive and free. Another very good friend of mine was into antiques and thanks to him I have got to know that marvellous world. It is very common in England to go around auctions (where you can find nearly everything, even the oddest item) and leave a bid and come back the following day to see if you have been lucky. You can also stay during the auction and bid against the others trying to get the best value for money. Living in London has been one of the best experiences in my life. I found English people nice, honest, hospitable, and friendly. I also like their sense of humour. Of course they have defects, but anyone who has an English friend has a friend for ever. Since then I go back to England at least once a year and although I know them quite well they keep surprising me. We shouldn't criticize them so easily (as we often do in this country). I have always had good experiences all over England but that is another story. Eva Ortiz

-GOOD IMPRESSIONSA few months ago, I went into a shoe shop in Santander to buy a pair of sandals. “I need a pair of smart sandals. They must be very elegant and fashionable; I want them for my best friend’s wedding”- I said. The shop assistant showed me several shoes. After trying on different ones, the woman, very nicely, advised me: “Well, now it is up to you. I really do not know which one suits your new dress best. Besides, you should be careful, you can easily fall over with those high heels if you are not used to wearing them daily”. -“Well - I said - I don’t mind. I have been told that it is going to be a posh wedding, especially from the groom’s family side. I want to give a good impression. I will be careful but I need smart shoes. All eyes are on clothes and shoes among posh people”. -“Oh, yes, that’s true. Maybe you’d better try on the two pairs of sandals you fancy the most at home while you are wearing your new dress and after that you can make a decision”. -“All right - I said -Thank you. I hope I will manage to wear these high-heeled shoes!” The wedding day came. When my friend saw me, she whispered in my ear in a funny way: “Oh, you are looking amazing. I really like your dress and the shoes are not that high! Come on. Let me introduce you to my mother in law”. An elegant woman in her sixties turned up “I like your shoes! - she claimed- They are definitely a good choice”. When my friend and I were alone again, she jokingly began to remember all those comments: “You didn’t tell me that you spent all your money on your shoes. You are giving a very good impression with them. Did you hear what she said?” “Yes – I told her - and you didn’t tell me that your mother in law works as a shop assistant in a shoe shop in Santander!” Inma Uslé

The blackout It was a cold winter evening, at around eight o'clock. The lights of the corridor, hall and rooms were on. We were moving house and thus were packing our stuff in boxes and placing the landlord furniture and household equipment back in its place. It was hard work. One of the rooms was filled with chests and objects we had kept there because we didn't like them. I was hanging some pictures in what had been the living room when he suddenly appeared. There he was, my boyfriend, holding a big crucifix in his hands which in a flash was in front of my nose. I screamed at the sight of it and began to scold him. Crucifixes have always scared me. I don't know why but I can't sleep in a room if there is one. I snatched the crucifix from his hands and hung it from a nail I found on the wall. No sooner had I begun unpacking again than a light fused. Strange, isn't it? A few minutes later who do you think was standing at the door fussing again. The crucifix was bigger than the other one. I ran after him and chased him along the corridor. We were there struggling for the crucifix when a second light fused. The struggle stopped on the spot. We looked at each other and I said: "I could see it coming; you shouldn't play with these objects. They have something that I dislike". I was making my way back to the living room when a third light fused. I froze with fear, went to him and said that I wasn't staying any longer in a place where strange things were happening and that I would come the following morning to carry on with the removal. He didn't stay. Oh no! He followed me. The two of us left the house in a hurry. There were more crucifixes in the chests to be hung but we couldn't cope with more frights. Jackie Ibarg端en

SLICES OF LIFE: IS CHILDHOOD A DISEASE? I know it’s not easy to bring up children, but the excess of consciousness is no better than common sense and, partly, tradition. When my daughters were little girls I thought that not everything was good or convenient for them, things like too much television, Walt Disney films or the ancient tales full of blood, cruelty, little children left out in the woods by their own parents, or working hard like adults, without time for themselves, time to play. I wanted to show them the shining face of the world. So, my first experience, the first time I took them to the cinema, I selected a film,”Colmillo blanco”, based in Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. For me it was a vision of nature, unprejudiced, respectful with animals. I considered “wild” as virgin, not spoiled by civilization. We entered the cinema, one afternoon, after school, and the place was nearly empty, and suddenly many children entered, only boys, because the cinema was part of a school, a religious school. We became surrounded by the voices, running and emotions of the group, my daughters also felt the children’s thrilling enthusiasm. And the film started, I quickly became horrified by the fights of the dogs, blood, extreme rivalry, innumerable white fangs, what could I do? Not going out as running away from a fire. When I looked at the girls, they were not looking at the screen but upright and very near the heads of the children seated before us: Mmmmm... how this boy smells! said the elder one, all the time they enjoyed the delicious smell, really the call of the wild, or at least, a strange, unknown experience. This was their first film. By the way, my elder girl, three or four years old, asked us to take her to a burial, she wanted to see how it was. And me, I didn’t learn from the experience, years later I took them to “2001: A Space Odissey”, to warn them about cheap science fiction films. This time they sat on the floor, didn’t look at the screen and asked me : Is this really a good film for you? Margarita Martín May, 1st 2008


When a year is going to finish, we think about the plans we are going to make, the trips we are going to take, in a word, we hope our dreams are coming true. The year 2007 was an “expecting” year, my husband was going to be transferred from Las Palmas, my older daughter was going to Africa as a trainee nurse and my mother was keeping an eye on some results to be diagnosed. In the meantime our lives continued with our duties, work and study. As the year was passing the events were happening silently without making any noise at all. In February my husband was transferred to Toledo, so my younger daughter and I stayed in Las Palmas until June to finish our courses. Loneliness was again with us like a friend who sometimes lets you reflect on the way our life was going on. However, we did not lose our hope that everything was going to be successful and we took it for granted that our experiences would teach us good lessons. In March my daughter travelled to Africa, Benin, with a group of “trainee” nurses. They were young and determined and looking forward to helping people, children and women there. It was being a really good experience but fate sometimes plays dirty tricks. In May the “leader” nurse died in an accident and my daughter was with her and another girl from Benin. I wondered “did the difficult lessons always teach”? “what about the good lessons”? Happiness is very fleeting and sometimes we don’t notice its presence, but time passed on and we said to ourselves: “go ahead”. June came, my daughter got her degree and very soon started work, her dream had come true. My younger daughter and I said goodbye to our friends in Las Palmas and came back home, to Cantabria. At last I was with my daughters and my family and thanked God to let me stay and look after my mother. This story is coming to an end as did the year 2007. It was a year with a lot of events that made me laugh and cry. I shared happiness and sadness, I felt life and death, but always saying to myself: “GO AHEAD”. Marivi E. Hernando


About twenty-five years ago, my elder brother went to the United States with a youth Exchange program. He stayed in New Jersey with the Wuerker family for a month and then he spent a week in New York. When he came back home he left his luggage all over our apartment. It was a total mess! Two weeks later all the family was sitting at the table and we were just about to eat the lovely chicken my mother used to prepare in those days. Someone said “it is unsalted” and the rest of us agreed, it was really unsalted. My mother took a salt pot from the kitchen and put some salt in each plate. “It is still unsalted” was the fact. We looked at what the pot was containing. “What kind of salt is that?” asked my father. “The salt Pedro brought from the United States” replied my mother. My brother was astonished “I didn´t”, he said, ”you did”, she replied. We went into the kitchen and saw a plastic bag with some white powder in it. “It was what Mrs. Wuerker gave me to use in New York” What you could still read on the bag was just one word: “soap”.


Back to my Family Family: a group of people who are related to each other, especially parents and their children…… Just a word might have so many different meanings for you or me.… What is family for example? Can you really say what this word means? Can you really feel the word family in your heart? My story is about "the meeting" with my father and my grandparents. This could be anyone’s story, the one you are going to read is my personal one. After living in England for several years I took a decision. Coming back to Spain would be coming back home; a place, people, a sense of belonging…. This was my personal project, on hold, waiting to be unearthed… and I did it. It did take place. The meeting happened a year ago…. Twenty years had passed since we had last seen each other. Twenty years with no letters, no phonecalls, no news from our father, no news from our grandparents, no news from anyone, no news….no birthday cards, no Christmas presents for the children…. Just Silence. We did get lots of that….. We were four children, three girls and one boy. Too young to know what was going on. Now, we are four adults, three women and one man, still too young to know what is going on. We got the news “your father is not living with us anymore” I am here, on the train, going from Cataluña to Castilla la Mancha, going back to the past, going back to my family….feeling scared of meeting my past, my past that comes back to me to confront my life. -

Am I ready for this? - What am I going to say? Am I looking pretty enough? - Shall I stay in a hotel? Am I really the representative of my mother, brother and sisters? Who am I? Where do I come from? Shall I get off at the next station ?????? WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?

So it happened, the trip to the past arrived at its destination. “I am here, at last. On my own. How old am I? Oh yes, I'm eleven years old….today is a nice day. I might take my bike and go to the swimming pool

with Margarita. Need to do my homework..…mummy won’t be very happy if I don’t do it before dinner…” "El pueblo" is here, it had been waiting for me. There are so many changes….The bakers! (The same shop assistant…… suddenly time freezes ) Shop assistant- What do you want, girl? Me- I want to buy a “torta” for my school break, please. Shop assistant - Yes madam, can I help you? Me- Can I have one of these, please? I am at grandpa’s house. I am going to go upstairs to get “mi merienda”. My grandparents' house… I am going to go stair by stair to get back twenty years of love. Grandma, you look much smaller …. grandpa, you are so thin. Dad… who are you? All of you are here, I am so pleased to see you. Something in my heart hurts, not sure where exactly. Our eyes had met, our bodies had touched. A mixture of feelings. I am sad and happy. I am angry and grateful. I need to, I want to accept… but everything seems so confusing…. Have you ever felt that you are watching a soap-opera when a situation is happening to you and you think that it is happening to someone else? It is raining now while I write these words… it seems so far away. I feel good. That was one of the best trips I have ever made. Back to the train, back to the present… I can cry now. It is okay. Everything is okay…. …and I thank myself for the woman inside me who was so scared to face her fears, her ghosts from her past but despite all of that, she did it in the end. Sometimes, this song comes back to my mind… “volver….con la frente marchita….sentir que es un soplo la vida, que 20 años no es nada…..” and I smile. My past is part of me, I accept it and moreover, I am creating a future, since that day I have been back a few times….since that day I am not an eleven-year-old girl anymore. Thanks for reading my story. Mayte Muñoz


It happened in Venice during the Carnival Festival. For many years I had dreamed of that particular event which I longed to see with my very own eyes. The opportunity presented itself sooner than expected. I was told to take care of a group of young people who were planning to visit the city at that particular moment….. I couldn't believe it when I first heard the news….. Was I going to be able to be there for the celebration and still get paid on top of that? Once again I thanked my lucky star and started to get ready to go. It wasn't my first time in the city, but the occasion seemed an extraordinary one, something that could happen once in a life time and indeed I was ready to make the best out of it. Can anyone imagine what it is to be in the middle of St. Mark’s Square, masses of people everywhere, admiring Venetians wearing those fantastic masks? Live pictures on display, posing elegantly, with all their pageantry, exposing themselves to the crowd and at the same time looking at you from behind their masks without knowing whose eyes are watching you…….that combination of times gone past , full of secrets and mystery …. and the present day. To me it seemed like taking a walk through the tunnel of time reliving some other life I might have had in the past , and me of course in the middle of the scene as the daughter of one important “DOGE”, “DUCE” ( Duke)….. It all seemed like a reverie in a time for revelry. ……. We spent three days indulging ourselves, enjoying every minute of it…. But as the old saying goes…. “All good things must come to an end” and unfortunately it was time for us to go. I gathered the group around me in one of the crowded squares in order to give them instructions before leaving. I was carrying with me a heavy bag full of souvenirs and other important things, which I confidently laid down on the ground so that I could express myself better in front of the group and also because of my sore shoulder, after so much carrying it, when all of a sudden I look down and find out that my bag is not there any more…. It all happened in a matter of seconds and so I look up nervously with a worried look in my eyes and see someone running ahead of us carrying something under his arm…. And believe it or not my first reaction was to run after him, which I did, warning the group at the same time, out loud that I had been robbed. The boy took a turning through a small alley that led directly into the Grand Canal and realized that someone was after him…. It was me all the time followed by two of the boys in my group… something I learnt later…. and then the incredible thing happened¡….. When I got to the end of the alley I saw someone jumping into the Canal and disappear….and there I stopped out of breath and in despair not knowing what to do…. I could not get rid of my rage and impotence in spite of the group's words of consolation…. Nothing could calm me down …. All my documents were inside the bag, the presents I had bought… my own things … I felt humiliated, violated…. All my possessions were gone at a snap of a finger…I could not accept it…..The next thing to do was to tell the police and there again appears my lucky star for some minutes later I see a couple of policemen walking round the corner…… I run towards them and in my poor Italian (at the time) I try to explain what had just happened……They look at me bewildered, as if I had gone mad …. I don’t blame them; the state I was in was far

away from being normal…. In any case I keep on trying and ask them for help …. I become aware of the real situation and the difficulties involved… what could they do? Crowds of people everywhere, somebody who had jumped into the canal….. So what? Would I like to go along with them and make a report?........ Suddenly while they are talking to me I look down in distress and there again something catches my eye….could it be my imagination or was it for real? for…. down there on the ground I saw the track of some wet footsteps…… All of a sudden I felt the urge to follow them ….. It was so funny now that I think of it, seeing myself so determined, acting like a real Sherlock Holmes, always looking down, followed by two policemen up a busy street in Venice, then crossing over a bridge, take a turning to the right and finally finding myself in front of a big door where I saw the last of the footsteps …. ….. I push the door open and there he was, a young boy almost naked (supposedly he had taken most of his clothes off being soaked as he was) looking at me and the two policeman as if he had seen a ghost, shaking all over and covering himself with both arms…… and what's most important¡ I see my brown bag next to him on the floor….. I reach for it, grab it and feel the happiest girl in the world….. The two policemen were not able to utter a word….. I bet nothing of the sort had ever happened to them, nor me….. They took hold of the boy and insisted on my accompanying them to the police station to make a report. I voluntarily agreed feeling as light as a feather walking down the street with them, this time with my bag on my shoulder again. Pilar García


A Day of Glory

That afternoon was the best sportive moment in our lives. Surely there had been other great moments before and there would be some comparably intense moments afterwards, but this time we just happened to be there, in the right place and at the right time. The previous week we had been talking about it, but I wasn’t sure what to do. So far we had only watched it on TV, but this time we felt very much like going to see a full stage on the spot. The 1991 Tour de France had started and everybody in Spain, well at least every sport lover, was expecting one of the Spanish cyclists to finally achieve something really big that year, as it was already a long time since our last triumph in the world’s top cycling event. We were already heading into the second and hardest week of the race, on the dreadful Pyrenees, and by then our best option was Perico Delgado, who occupied a good position in the overall placings. He had been the last Spanish winner (in 1987), and after some unexpected consecutive failures, this time he stood reasonable chances of winning his second Tour. With these expectations, my two teenage nephews and I decided to set off for France on that mid-July day. Our destination was the Tourmalet, one of the five mythical mountains the cyclists had to climb the following day. So we prepared everything and after lunch we began our five-hour journey to Tarbes, where we would camp that night. My nephews put up the tent for me (I must say I’m pretty bad at it myself), and with all the excitement we couldn’t sleep much that night.. The next day we had to get up at five and drive two hours to the Tourmalet. After parking the car half way up the mountain, as no vehicles were allowed any farther, we had to walk another four miles to the summit. So there we were, at 10 in the morning, waiting in the boiling-hot, merciless sun, ready to see the most important day of the Tour de France.The stage had not yet started, but on such important events the mountain roads get crowded with fans from all neighbouring countries, so it was essential to take a good position at the edge of the road in order to have a good view of the cyclists when they came. During the two-hour colourful publicity parade that preceded, we were able to befriend a few other watchers of various nationalities, each of us supporting his own favourite. But it wasn’t until 2 in the afternoon that the first heroes appeared, cycling slowly up the bending road. The first to show up was Claudio Chiapucci, the best climber of the 90s. We were expecting Perico Delgado to come near behind, but much to our surprise, it was Miguel Induráin who was following the Italian. The Navarre-born cyclist had been showing a high profile during the previous days, but so far his assigned role in the team had clearly been that of helping Delgado to win the final triumph. Well, from then on he was going to work just for himself.

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The two cyclists were well ahead of the others, some of whom just managed to get to the summit panting painfully. In fact, it took the last ones nearly an hour to reach the top of the mountain, one of the highest in the race, over two thousand metres above the sea level; for the very last to come, the sprinters, it was indeed one of those few awful days they had to be able to ‘survive’, but with no further aspirations. As it happened, Chiapucci had been leading Indurain in the climb up, and the Spaniard would take the lead on the way down. They carried on like that in the three mountains which remained, relaying each other in turns. They got to the finishing line a good seven minutes before the second cyclist, and ten minutes ahead of the third. At the end of the stage, we learnt from Radio Tour that Indurain had taken the overall lead by three minutes. My nephews and I were overjoyed by the news. We just couldn’t have chosen a better day to come to the Tour de France. That day was the ‘revelation’ of a new figure. Until then, Delgado, Greg Lemmond or Laurent Fignon had been the best. But that afternoon Indurain beat them all for good. He had become the new idol for the public, taking over Delgado’s splendid legacy of the late 80s. The Spaniard was to increase the advantage over his rivals in the following days, specially in the long time-trial two days later, and arrived first overall in Paris after the final stage. In fact, he would win again the next four editions, being the first cyclist to achieve five consecutive final victories in the history of the world’s most prestigious race. So a lot of things changed on that glorious midsummer day, and looking back after so many years we still remember the experience vividly. My two nephews are in their late thirties now, but they keep asking me when I’ll take them to see anything similar. Maybe if the Olympics are held in Spain again in the near future …, but this time they can take me, and we won’t have to put up the tent, that’s for sure.

© Rafael del Río Caldera 30th. April 2008

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"All's well that ends well", that's the title of one of William Shakespeare's famous comedies and it may also echo the way I went through my studies in the subject of French language at high school. I remember starting the first French course when I was ten years old, because at that time everybody studied French or nearly everybody. I remember in class we were 40 students and only three took English as a foreign language. My first months at high-school were quite easy, except for French. The marks were over 8 in general, but in foreign language I could not get a mark over 1. The situation was not very promising, I had no idea of what the teacher said in class, therefore I was not able to do the exercises at home and besides, I did not feel like asking anything in class, as I thought that everybody understood the normal development of the classes and that it was only myself that did not catch up with the subject. Suddenly one day I decided that I had to gather courage and go as a "volunteer" as three or four students did everyday to read, translate and ask some questions about the text. So I did and when my turn arrived, I performed it very quickly, and trembling to say the least. Then an ominous silence pervaded the class, the teacher kept looking straight at me and I felt that something strange, probably wrong, had happened. At last the teacher spoke and said "you have improved a lot"; well, you can imagine what those words meant to me. From that day on I set to myself the aim of studying French very hard, so I did and at the end of the course I got a mark of 10. Later on I took up other languages such as English, German, Italian, Russian and lately Arabic and Chinese. To sum it up, I gather that everything is possible if we try very hard. Moreover, I would like to add the need we have as teachers of taking much care with the words we use with our pupils; it could be an excellent way of improving their performances or, on the contrary, it might as well be a way for them to lose their confidence and interest in studying. It is up to us to follow one or the other direction.

RaĂşl Arce

The Way Back: a story by Raúl Márquez

I always knew that the way back would be shorter. I had done the same thing for twenty years driving home from work: thirty minutes of going, and slightly less than twenty-five back. Now, I was dressing up at the wardrobe of the hospital. It had been a hard day of work and I felt tired. María was waiting for me in the restaurant; we were going to celebrate my promotion. And while I was knotting the bond of the tie I noticed a slight twinge in the center of my heart… I went to the parking lot where my dream 2009 SL-Class Mercedes was parked. Her leather seats were embracing me like a woman and made driving such a pleasure. I put it in first gear. An acidic puff came to my mouth. I felt a prick in the jaw while eating a sweet. My childhood came to my mind as I was changing to second. Endless hours in the park just playing until you get exhausted. Nutella sandwiches. A soccer ball trapped in a tree. I started sweating in the car. Perhaps I did not wrap myself up well yesterday while I was jogging. It is curious that I did not like sports during high school. I was more interested in books than in girls. My heartburn was getting worse. Perhaps I would ask for something light to eat in the restaurant. I admit that I had not taken care of my stomach during College years. Pasta and fast food were my staple. You think you have little time and so many things to to do when you are young. The radio was playing a song by Silvio Rodríguez. It was Oleo de mujer con sombrero. I seduced María by playing that song with my guitar. I always thought that I would have been a good songwriter and I would have earned enough to live on from it.

As I was going through my memories I was feeling more and more tired. I had shortness of breath and my chest was squeezing. The highway was strangely empty, there was no traffic. Till that moment I had not realized that it had got dark very quickly. I had the feeling that the trees and the houses were fleeing from the highway. Nevertheless a sensation of happiness was invading me; I was not scared of it. Then, I was feeling very sleepy and I removed the hands of the wheal ‌ and suddently I was blinded by the headlights of a garbage truck.

This story talks about my death from a heart attack, so it is not a real one, so far. The memories that come to my mind before dying are true‌

Who has never felt a special emotion admiring the might of lightning? They are born from nothing and suddenly they are everything, and then they turn into nothing as fast as they came... You cannot even compare it with thunder; actually, thunder always follows lightning, in the background, and although it can be considered the voice of lightning... A picture is worth a thousand words! The only thing that can be more exciting than seeing lightning is facing it all of a sudden, listening to its voice whispering in your ear; in fact, the most fascinating lightning is the first one. From the sixth on, skies look like a photograph session. Instructions to live lightning intensively First you have to look for a cloudy sky. Lightning can also show up in clear skies, but not so often. Second, find good company. Sometimes you have to wait for quite long, so if you can spend your time enjoying something else, much better, though you should not get too distracted just in case you miss the event. Third, you have to keep your eyes wide open. It is said that some people have seen them with their eyes closed, but it is also said that if you mix “Peta Zetas” with “Coca Cola” you can die. That does not work with “Coca Cola” really, but “FreeWay Cola”, and you do not even need to mix it with “Peta Zetas”, it works by itself. Forth, the emotion can be amplified adding some other factors to the waiting scene, like for instance making love, eating popcorn or flying on an airplane. (You can also eat popcorn while making love on a plane... if your heart is healthy enough, of course). Fifth, fear. Or someone afraid. Everything looks more lively, more exciting, with fear around. If you can feel fear, much better. I followed these steps and did it quite well. I chose a Friday, 7 A.M. in Bilbao. It was a gray cold morning showers were threatening. I decided to go with my girlfriend Saioa, and we kept our eyes open most of the time, though we caught lots of worms that day. As it was very early we decided not to eat popcorn. There were a lot of people around and making love before them would have been extremely uncomfortable, so only taking a plane remained to intensify the experience. Saioa began to feel fear as the plane gained speed for the taking off. She held my hand so strongly that my blood stopped flowing. I was telling her how safe planes are when suddenly the happening happened, the apparition appeared, we experienced the experience: The lightning in person. To be true, I must admit that we did not see it very well because the airplane windows are rather small and we were a little bit distracted by the taking off . We had hardly been 20 seconds in the air when the lightning showed up so we were about to miss

it. Thank goodness that the lightning was a great gentleman and did not want to disappear without leaving a trace on our minds so it reminded us of its presence by hitting the plane, rocking it side to side and causing a sudden lost of height, all accompanied by the loudest orchestra tuning you can imagine. Next we experienced the most silent silence I can remember, maybe due to temporary deafness. I heard that Sondika Bilboko Aireportua was closed for the rest of the day while an enormous hole in the ground was repaired. How beautiful lightning is!!

VĂ­ctor SĂĄnchez MejĂ­a

2007-2008 2nd term  

2007-2008 2nd term

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