October 4, 2005

Califas (Segunda entrega)

Por: Manuel Clavell Carrasquillo en extranjería

Especial para Estruendomudo
De Tomás Redd

 

II.

Caminé diez pasos antes de que un afroamericano me quitara una de las maletas de la mano y me dijera "where are you headed, sir?" Me tomó un tiempo responder. La dirección y las llaves estaban en la valija que había cedido y todavía estaba acostumbrándome a la sensación de estar perdido y no tener rumbo. Se me hizo difícil registrar que aquí nadie me espera. Me senté solo en la tercera hilera de la van y me puse cómodo pues Darnell me explicó que llegué para presenciar el "rush hour". No hablamos mucho. Cuando le dicté la dirección del apartamento de la hermana de mi ex novia, me hizo un par de preguntas sobre la salida en la 580 y, como no pude contestarle, entendió que igual podía dar un par de vueltas antes de llegar al destino final. Si no fuese por el agua al lado izquierdo de la carretera y los letreros que decían Richmond, no hubiese sabido a dónde iba. Aquí los expresos no revelan mucho.

Entrar en una casa ajena sin alguien que te guíe es una experiencia totalmente reveladora. Tienes a tu disposición el espacio íntimo que forma a y es formado por alguien a quien quizás conoces, pero no tan bien como ahora. En esos momentos te concentras en verificar lo esencial: qué libros leen, a qué huele el apartamento y qué hay en la nevera. Entre el polvo y la madera de los estantes me topé con Franz Fanon, Cien años de soledad y Yoga for Dummies. En la nevera algo similar: Tofú, leche de soya y una botella de vino a medias. Había fotos por todos lados y pude reconocer a unos cuantos amigos comunes y a par de personas que parecían conocidos. El olor a incienso que se había apoderado de los almohadones del sofá me tenía aturdido. Alguien se había dedicado a ambientar la sala con una explosión de artefactos que demostraban algún grado de militancia globalizada, muy mal gusto, o ambas pues nunca había visto una bandera de Ghana y otra del Municipio de Vieques en paredes opuestas y rodeadas de fotos de Bob Marley, Mumia Abu Jamal y Albizu Campos. Al despertar de una larga siesta caí en cuenta de que había viajado no sé cuantas miles de millas para encontrarme no muy lejos del ghetto isleño que había prometido dejar atrás.

Mi corta estadía en aquel recinto me reveló una lección importante: el nacionalismo y el exilio son perfectos complementos y rara vez se practican con mesura. Una noche de tertulias, bajo la influencia de un supuesto pitorro curado con higos y entre bocanadas con olor a tierra, me senté atentamente a escuchar a mis compatriotas en tribuna. Me explicaron el rol de la juventud revolucionaria en los tiempos del neoliberalismo globalizado y cómo la lucha de Vieques "nos" había dado la razón. Entre discursos, se escuchaban tonadas de plena, bomba y descargas guturales de instrumentos artesanales que se mezclaban con el sonido de una bonga en pleno uso y el paso de los carros por la avenida principal.

Al pasar las horas, y luego de varios shots de Hennessy, las conversaciones se tornaron nostálgicas y afloraron recuerdos de abuelos y casitas en el barrio Mameyes que sólo conocían a través de fotografías gastadas. Sólo uno de los compañeros había ido a Puerto Rico, de camino a Quisqueya. Esa noche comencé a odiar al tambor. Al otro día salí temprano en busca de un apartamento.

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