Line seven goes through some districts close to the suburbs of the city, most of them reputated upper-class neightborhoods. However, it wasn’t so decades ago, when families linked to crime, humble men that earn a little salary to pay their debts by performing over and over tiring physical labors and people who gave their youth to drugs and the tragedy of a life too early truncated used to live there. But time and elegant, new constructed buildings have closed the wounds of that place, healing its scars and burying its pain, until its disrepute has also dissipated into the darkness of time. Now, wealthy people, wearing expensive clothes, of dainty voices and manners walk the streets, while spoiled children with bitter faces carry their bags to high school, making up unreal sorrows and unjustices with which to fill their empty and selfish teenage years. Just the people who spent their childhood in those neightborhoods know their secret, and shake their heads and hearts, not knowing for sure if they like the change or still miss the rawness of the place where they grew up.
Hundreds of meters underground, the hollow floor that gives support to fenced buildings watched by security guards and doormen, there’s a parallel city of tunnels, fluorescent light, rush and forced waits. Line seven it’s not one of the busiest, at least in the first part of its tour, wagons are always almost empty but for three or four people. What makes this line peculiar is that, soon after leaving the first station, it goes through an abandoned station. Street artists, always eager for some meter square of free wall to make their works real, have covered its walls from floor to ceil with all sorts of graffitis. There’s even no place for just another one. The furniture and information panels look modern, like the ones in the rest of stations, what make us think it was closed no long ago. It’s lit by a soft light that comes from nowhere, although it’s possible that it’s just the one coming from the inside of the wagon of the train when it passes at full speed, lighting it for some fleeting seconds ant then leaving it again in the darkness. There’s something lonely about an abandoned station… or, disquiting? Because, in our case, one of the benches in the platform is occupied by a person who seems to be waiting.
She’s a young woman, and is sitting on one of the benches in the middle of the platform. Although she’s clearly an adult, wears childlike clothes: a shirt buttoned up to the round collar, a cardigan with too long sleeves, pleated skirt, white shocks and a pair of shoes like the ones young girls wear to schools that requiere uniform. Her black and long hair falls over their shoulders, partially hiding her face. The color of her skin is unusually white, but doesn’t have the bright of a regular white skin. Instead, looks artificial, unhealthy, like when someone has spent to much time without going out. With her hands peacefully folded, she doesn’t move at all, neither her face reflects any change when the train passes her by. Just her hair stirs a bit because of the little wind caused by the train. Some pair of eyes from inside the wagons look at her, but they’re too blind to actually see her. And her, she doesn’t seem to give a damn about trains passing in front of her eyes, again and again, without stopping to pick her up.
Her absolute immobility could lead us to think she’s a groulish statue that a tormented artist left there, a place as dark as his creation, to get rid of it, or that she’s dead, but if we watch her during enough time, we could appreciate how time to time the fingers of her folded hands move nervously, or how she pull her skirt trying to cover her knees. She also turns her head to look at the panel where the arrival of trains used to be displayed. Then, you’d think that maybe she’s there because she keeps a stubborn hope that one of the trains will stop, or that the station will be reopened again. Perhaps it’s a meaningfull place to her, where she saw for the first time or said goodbye forerever to a lover, where she got her heart broken… But nothing further away from reality.
When someone commits an excessive or radical act, we usually say that’s because he’s desperate, without realizing how wrong we are. Despair is not about that. In my mother tongue, hope is ‘esperanza’, that comes from ‘esperar’, which means ‘wait for’. And if someone is waiting for something, it’s because he believes that eventually that wait will be over and what he waited for will become real in some moment of time. If someone acts in a radical way in order to make real their hopes, definitely that’s not because he’s lost it, but because it’s still alive in his heart, torturing him, assuring him that the object of his desires remains possible. However, despair encloses impossibility, and with impossibility comes the no-action and resignation. Despair is the calm port, lost in the innermost corner of the heart, where the tired fighters from a lost war arrive to rest forever. In its arms, unlike in hope ones, there’s no cruelty, no agony, just emptiness and silence, lack of meaning, while what is not, but could have been, becomes forgotten. Reality reigns in the domains of dispair, and the woman on the platform, she’s one of the subjects of this kingdom. She doesn’t wait for any train to stop, doesn’t believe that’s possible, but has found a comfortable home in dispair.
Where did she come from? How did she end up here? It’s not difficult to picture her, walking with her head down, between the tide of people at rush hour, going down the stars that lead to the centre of the Earth, or going off the train on the other side of the platform , coming from nowhere. She saw the free bench and decided to stay there. Around her, people of all conditions would carry on with their lifes, from workers to bussinessmen during the day to beggars and rogues that would harass her at night. The difference between the other people and her would be that those ones had goals and proyects, their lives had aparently plenty of meaning and objectives to achieve. And so they took trains constinously, from one new horizon to another, non stop, leaving no time for anything but moving forward. Instead, she let go of all the trains full of possibilities that passed by her side in the platform. She didn’t believe any of them would take her to a different station, but to another one so similar to the one she already was in: the same benches, the same information panels, the same trains and synthesized voice announcing arrivals… the same people. No train would take her back to the surface. There was no hope, so she let resignation to permeate her heart with its bitter kiss, and refused to feel any other thing again. It wasn’t that bad sitting on the bank, the emptiness of her existence wasn’t as dizzying as she had thought.
What I meant is that there are certain acts and ways of life that cannot be understood if they’re not seen through the lens of dispair.