People are in a truly awful state. Wherever I look, I find someone tottering toward a void.
In the bar where I was yesterday, a girl fell asleep on her table. Just before that, she took one look at my son, Joan, and gave him a faint, nondescript smile. I was amazed she still had the strength for such tenderness, or even to put makeup, however poor the result. I ached just watching her.
Today on the street it was an ugly woman, struggling to put on her coat. I imagined the staleness of her life and the wretchedness of being without sexual attractiveness.
People that talk to themselves in the street; people just letting themselves die; mistakes not corrected now taking their toll in mid-life. There's no going back. The bitterness of having wasted one's chance to live has marked their features. They are drowning in senselessness, and only short-term solace will relieve the sting: a beer, gambling at the arcades, watching peep shows, drugging oneself to death ensues, a weekly spell of the idiotic, underhand boxing match of Moros y Christianity1 , vainly attempting to persuade someone in a bar that you are an expert on politics; avoidance, self-deception, watching others suffer; attitudes so often shown by many of those around us.
I get dizzy just thinking about how commonplace unhappiness is, how many unhappy souls cross my path every day.
And the girl I saw yesterday... where did she find the strength to smile at my child? In any case, thanks for passing the baton on to him. Joan, it's your turn now. Don't stumble.
1 Moros y Christianos is a talk show on Spanish television.