Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La mal amada / The Unloved Woman

As salaam alaikum,

I wrote the following (in italics) while I was on the bus to class this morning. But first, two quotes that I feel go a bit along with this:

"Consider the bright morning hours, and the night when it grows still and dark. Thy Sustainer has not forsaken thee, nor does He scorn thee. For indeed, the life to come will be better for thee than this earlier part [of thy life]! And, indeed, in time will thy Sustainer grant thee [what thy heart desires], and thou shalt be well-pleased." (93:1-5)

"Dark skinned women can sometimes turn rejection into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a woman assumes she won't be heard, she will shout when perhaps she could whisper. If she fears she won't be loved, love will become impossible. If she fears she is not beautiful, she can never see her own worth in her eyes or the vision of anyone else." - Marita Golden, Don't Play in the Sun

Consider these two things, and now..."La mal amada." Written from a theoretical dude's perspective...the Spanish isn't that great because I didn't have a dictionary.

La mal amada. Todos la conocen. Ella puede ser visto en cualquier lugar, público o privado, no importa. Ella viaja en el autobús por las mañanas, por el fondo del vehículo con audífonos, tentando de leer un período, quizás el período del día, pero se da cuenta del hecho de que ella sigue leyendo la misma página, momento tras momento, y que, en realidad, ella está mirando por fuera, afuera, por la ventana. Ella viaja por carro, solita, por supuesto, por las tardes, quizás para almorzar en su restuarante predilecta, otra vez solita. Ella está escuchando la misma estación de radio de siempre, de jazz, el tipo de que ella burlaba mucho como adolescente pero de que, en esta época, ella está encontrando algo de inspiración inexplicable. Y ella sigue cantando las palabras de una canción, una rendición que no tiene palabras y uno se da cuenta de que esta es una canción de su juventud, convertida en Musak, como se dicen. Puede verla por las noches, en los trenes, con su cuaderno de papeles, del trabajo, de la universidad, de ambos quizás, en un orden impecable que sólo puede ser de una mujer solterona que no tiene nada que hacer menos poner en orden todo en su vida, entre papeles y cepillas y fotos y toallas y melancolias y lágrimas particulares, personales...todas las cosas de vida, de su vida, de la vida de una mal amada. Pero sí, se sienta ella allí, en el carro del tren, otra vez y predictablemente solita, ojos fijos pero mente afuera, pensamientos por fuera del tren, del tunél en que viajamos, de la ciudad, del país, de la misma realidad. Ella sigue solita y se convience que ella está encima de esto, mejor que eso, mejor que todos. ¿Todos quienes? Todos los hombres que no la miren, todas las amigas que no puedan entenderla, toda la familia que ya resigasen al hecho de que quizás ella nunca se case...todos de todos. Ella es, por hecho, la mal amada, y ella no puede entender el por qué.

¿Soy yo bastante interesante? ella pregunta a si misma, sin duda, en su cabeza, una pregunta mudada por el ruido del tren y sus pensamientos, siempre competiendo. ¿Soy yo bastante interesante para conversación, para comedia, para romance? ¿Soy yo bastante? ella se pregunta. ¿Soy yo bastante por un hombre, por casamiento, por amor en general? ¿Soy yo? ella pregunta. ¿Soy yo humana misma, mujer misma, hermosa quizás? Quizás, ella resuelve. Ella es más cómoda con la noción que ella no merece lo que otras, tantas otras, merecen, simplemente por ser la mal amada, esta característica intrinsica, con que ella fue nacida, en la barriga de su madre, en sus genes, sólo puede ser, ella resuelve, no razona, sólo resuelve.

Dios no quiere que todos sus servientes se casen, ella se convience, a pesar de todo lo que su religión la enseñó, o a pesar de que ella no tiene su propia religión, de verdad, asumiendo así un fatalismo en que ella nunca creyó.

La mal amada encapsula muchas, muchas mujeres de varias edades, de multiples fondos, pero yo la veo. La veo triste, distraída, destruída, disilusionada, pero sí, amada. Amada por mí. ¿Quién soy yo? Ud. quizás pregunte. No importa. ¿Por qué? Porque ella no me ve. Ella no me mira, porque ella sigue existiendo por fuera, y entonces yo soy siempre afuera por ser mismo dentro de su realidad actual.

Y yo sigo esperando que ella regresa para ser amada por mí.

For my non-Spanish speakers:

The Unloved Woman. Everyone knows her. She can be seen anywhere, public or private, it doesn't matter. She travels by bus in the mornings, in the back of the vehicle with headphones on, trying to read a newspaper, maybe the day's paper, but one realizes the fact that she keeps reading the same page, moment after moment, and that, in reality, she is looking out, looking outside, out of the window. She travels by car, alone, of course, maybe to eat at her favorite restaurant, again, alone. She's listening to the same radio station as always, a jazz station, the type that she made fun of as a teenager but now, at her age, she's finding some sort of inexplicable inspiration in it. And she's just singing the words of a song, a version that doesn't have words and one realizes that this is a song from her youth, converted into Musak, as they call it. You can see her at night, in the subway, with her notebook of papers, from work, from college, from both, maybe, all in an impeccable order that must only be from a single woman that has nothing else to do but put everything in her life in order, between papers and brushes and pictures and towels and melancholy and specific, personal tears...all of the things of life, her life, of the life of the Unloved Woman. But yes, she sits there, in the car of the subway, once again predictably alone, her eyes fixed but her mind outside, her thoughts out of the train, of the tunnel that we're traveling in, out of the city, out of the country, out of reality itself. She's still alone and convinces herself that she's above this, better than this, better than everyone. Better than who all? All the men that don't look at her, all of the female friends that don't understand her, all of the family members that have already resigned themselves to the fact that she'll maybe never get married...all of them. She is, in fact, the Unloved Woman, and she can't understand why.

Am I interesting enough? she asked herself, without doubt in her head, a question muted by the noise of the train and her always competing thoughts.  Am I interesting enough for conversation, for comedy, for romance? Am I enough? she asked herself. Am I enough for a man, for marriage, for love in general? Am I? she asked. Am I actually human, actually woman, maybe attractive? Maybe, she resolves. She's more comfortable with the notion that she doesn't deserve what others, so many others, deserve, simply by being the Unloved Woman, this intrinsic characteristic in which she was born, in her mother's womb, in her genes, it must be, she resolves, not reasons, just resolves.

God doesn't want all of His servants to marry, she convinces herself, in spite of all that her religion taught her, or in spite of the fact that she doesn't have her own religion, actually, assuming this way a fatalism that she never believed in.

The  Unloved Woman encapsulates many, many women of various ages, of multiple backgrounds, but I see her. I see her sad, distracted, destroyed, disillusioned, but yes, loved. Loved by me. Who am I? you may ask. It doesn't matter. Why? Because she doesn't see me. She doesn't look at me, because she's still existing on the outside, and so I am always outside because I exist in her actual reality.
And I keep hoping that she comes back to be loved by me.

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