Summer '18

Summer '18

 

Crucifica a tu salvador si no obtienes resultados favorables

-Mente Sabia Crú

 

There’s things to address.

Since April 19th of this year, 351 people have been murdered by the Nicaraguan government.  

Start googling, gringos.

 

My sister and I returned to our parents’ house in Costa Rica for the summer.

We came back home in a well-intentioned yet ultimately fruitless attempt to get clean.

So while Daniel Ortega signed reforms to the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security that would lead to one of the largest Latin-American humanitarian crises of our lifetime, my sister and I cleaned the cobwebs and ashes from our childhood closets. And when we found the pictures in the attic we didn’t recognize the people in them anymore.  

The house our parents lived in represented a version of our family that had ceased to exist since long before my sister and I left. But we were all better versions of ourselves while we were there. Versions who saw good movies and discussed them at dinner. Versions who did yoga and drank juice cleanses. Versions who hadn’t been in ambulances.

My sister and I went back to the house that made us what we are in an attempt to become versions of people we didn’t like in the first place.

Our return to their house was presented to our parents as a bid for sobriety, but we were also pursuing normalcy. We tried to avoid our parents’ liquor cabinet as much as we tried to make sure we brushed our teeth. We read books and kept count of the good pages and we played music on the roof and kept count of the good days. We forgot about our immediate past by making plans for our immediate future. We made a lot of salad.

The mornings eventually started getting better.

 

Then on April 19th, day 2 of the Nicaraguan crisis, Franco Valdivia Machado was shot in the head while protesting peacefully.

He wrote rap songs and had a four year old daughter.

And nothing was normal.




 

We left the house a year ago, leaving our parents childless again.

During our childhood summers, our father would arrive in the evenings and we’d have dinner on the deck and later in the year our mother would leave to the beach for a month to collect her thoughts. We were born into parties that were loud and went on for days, and by the time we left the house our life had become a party and it had gone on for years.  But by the time my sister and I returned, the party had begun to die down and people were leaving.

During the summer we sought normalcy in Costa Rica we slept in our childhood bedrooms.

During that summer in Nicaragua students bled to death.

And on the 20th of April, day 3 of the Nicaraguan crisis, a sniper shot fifteen-year-old Alvaro Conrado and twenty more people were murdered by the state in a clash between protestors and the riot police.


 

We worked on novels and essays and songs while all of this happened. We made vegan dinners and then we retreated into our rooms to get high alone and listen to music until the vibrations in the mirrors made sense and we could fall asleep. Sobriety often seemed tasteless more than elusive.

And on April 21st, day 4 of the Nicaraguan crisis, eleven more people were murdered, including journalist Angel Eduardo Gahona, who was shot live on Facebook.


 

As the crisis was happening less than a seven-hour drive north of us, my sister and I were buying weed from a dealer called Jesus.

After breakfast she would ask if we were going to mass, and then I’d drive us down from the mountain to the small town where Jesus would be waiting across the street from the church. By midday we would usually be stoned and hungry.

And by midday on the 22nd of April, day 5 of the Nicaraguan crisis, sixteen-year-old Jesner José Rivas had already been shot by the police.



 

But we were writing books. We were getting college degrees. We were making songs for our friends to dance to. We were trying to stay clean.

It was this minutiae that we stacked strategically to ignore the outside world. We created the illusion of commitment and put tinted sunglasses on to mistake it for an excuse to renounce compassion.

We sprinkled our joints with the upbringing that our parents painstakingly labored over in order to make us socially conscious individuals. And we smoked those joints as students started disappearing in Managua.

We made pot brownies in our cousin’s house as paramilitary and police forces invaded León, injuring more than 100 people and shooting Manuel de Jesús Chávez Ramírez in the head.

We laughed at memes on Instagram as the Mother’s Day March in Managua was attacked by state forces and a fifteen year old boy died in front of his mother after being shot in the neck.



 

The more tan our skin got, the more we realized that our money and our mouths lived in different countries. The more our brains grew accustomed to the sudden lack of cocaine and Prozac, the more difficult it was to reconcile our lifestyle with our ideals. We became aware of the complete uselessness of our ideology. The uselessness of our passive outrage.

Our sobriety gave us clarity and our clarity made us weak because our privilege made us complicit.

Complicit to the fact that on the 2nd of June, day 46 of the Nicaraguan crisis, in Masaya a fifteen year old boy bled to death after being shot in the thorax.



 

On the weekends, there was a flashing disco light on the porch and we’d dance until our parents came out for breakfast and then the strangers would leave and the withdrawal would creep back in. Sometimes we’d go to the roof to watch the sunrise. And I believe that it was in these moments that I realized how profoundly we had fucked up.

I believed that writing about injustice was as good as doing something about it. And now I don’t.


 

I need to put distance between the person I’m writing about and the person I want to be. And now I realize that I need to put distance between the person that wants to write and the person that I am.

Because the police chased Celso Diaz Sevilla and shot him in the face and the chest. And the person that I am needs to do something more than write about it.  Anything.





 

We keep each other company, cooking dinner together, trying to get sober. We eat well, and we work hard, and on the good nights we ignore the constant foreshadowing. We say goodnight to each other with a hug and try to erase our pasts and our presents with jokes and poems and lies. The stories we tell about each other are false until they aren’t.

My family has created a comfortable nook within the context that is the outside world, and we forgot that if a book burns so do all its pages. We forgot that a page doesn’t matter. But a book does.

So I hope you’re keeping count of the good days.

 

 


 Ivan Solis is a Costa Rican writer and musician. He lives in Rome.   @spoonfeed_me

Ivan Solis is a Costa Rican writer and musician. He lives in Rome.  @spoonfeed_me

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