By Lorenzo Arturo Camacho
Translated from Spanish by Milena Sanabria Contreras
The events are not dependent on each other, but they’re simultaneous. A hummingbird flapping its wings before a window can also be a dirty napkin falling from a table.
On the one side, your planet will be invaded by another (planet), or by its beings, which is not the same. It’s also not specifically an invasion, but of course from your point of view, it doesn’t matter. Someone else might call it contact, or even an intrusion. Your mother, for instance, will call it an experience in the future, and sometimes, when she won’t stop looking at herself in the mirror, a blessing. Anyway, you will resist it at home in the country, next to Simón, and that in itself will be frustrating. With the time you have left, you’ll want to watch a movie, any movie, but he’ll grab the remote first. Mocking you, he’ll start changing the channels indiscriminately, cruel and childish, so that you’ll only see fractions of shows, interrupted laughter, eyes lost in the horizon, instants of pure martial-arts action, sacred speeches on the religious channel, etcetera. Simón, however, out of the corner of his eye, will see you trembling a little with every channel he changes; on that sunny day, he will also see you reflected on the screen and hold back his laughter. You’ll leave, decide to shower while you think of the time you have left, of how things always end when you’ve taken them for granted; you’ll walk down the stairs looking at the ceiling, following the spiderwebs to the bathroom, and when you get there, Simón will have already locked himself in, and he’ll turn on the hot water. According to the cat sitting next to you against the closed bathroom door, you won’t have insisted enough, you’ll be weak, you won’t remember your bloody abusive past to gather your strength, you will perish in the invasion; besides, you won’t have fed it fresh food and that will settle it. Behind the window, you’ll see the sky, and in the sky a huge shadow.
On the other side, everyone–Simón, your mother and you–is sitting in a restaurant full of yellow lights and waxed wood. The table invaded by dirty dishes trembles a little when you get up to wash your hands. If the rice left on your plate could have seen you, they would have thought you were making the planet itself shake, a terrestrial movement favorable for dancing in honor of their disappeared, their devoured, and close to the plate the glass of juice, a desolate empty tower, might have thought the same. Your mother rushes Simón so he’ll also wash his hands, and he gets up lazily, grumbling, but catches up to you. Your mother sees you two walking away into the dense labyrinth of wooden walls, meaning the entrance to the bathroom. The walls watching you like intruders on their freshly mopped floors. You turn on the cold-water tap, and while both of you look in the mirror and the water flows down your hands, you push each other, elbow each other, insult each other. All brotherhood is the seed of some war. In the mirror splattered with water, your gestures are distorted and stained, your punches curved. All war moves towards some brotherhood.
The invasion will begin with the shadow pasted onto the sky. The other planet will actually come close enough to yours to make the concrete road slabs break while you impassively look out the window. Something like a colossal, fervent howl will sprout from the air, and you will cover your ears. The houses will begin to fly, detached from their places, their roots dangling out like seedlings. Cell signals will fail; you’ll need to get ready for battle, clench your fists in front of the door, Simón will need to stop singing in the bathroom and turn off the hot water.
You turn off the cold-water taps. The restaurant lights flicker hesitantly before they die out entirely, the mirror breaks. The whole labyrinthic wood segment in the bathroom detaches from the floor, and as you take your brother’s hand, you think of your mother sitting alone at the table. The piece of paper with the check flying around somewhere.