Fosbury Flop drawer #04 [XMas Edition]
In the Fosbury Flop drawer I keep with a lot of appreciation this story that happened on August or September 1997:
“My parents had been told that my brother was dying. He had been in a wheelchair all his life and at 16 he had developed cancer in his throat. Thyroid. He had weeks left. It couldn’t have happened at a weirder time. We lived in a house that my parents had been building while we lived in it. And one of the few things left to be done was the ramp. The ramp that was going to allow my brother to get in and out of the house without help was going to be built when the doctors had given him up.
I imagine my parents in their bedroom those days without daring to ask themselves what they should do. I imagine them looking into each other’s eyes and deciding, at the end of the day, whether to give up. If they assumed that it made no sense to build that enormous ramp that surrounded the terrace.
Then they did something absurd, something beautiful, something about parents: they decided to build it. It was a Saturday, a summer Saturday when the concrete mixer, old, green, iron and diesel, started to work very early. My brother was dying in the hospital, but my father, Chichi, who was never missing, my uncles and I, at 14 years old and wearing a Pryca t-shirt, were there. Without speaking. Listening to the concrete mixer. Shovels. Sand. Stones. And some moan from me when lifting the bags of cement.
Then, it happened. It was eight in the morning and men began to come out from all the houses. They came to the sound of the concrete mixer. Men of 40, 50, 60 and 70 years old coming down in work clothes. I remember them putting on gloves, joining the pit without asking, passing huge hands over my head in greeting. All the residents of Lluja, which is the name of my neighborhood, telling my brother’s cancer that not yet, that that evening, at the hospital, we could tell him that the entire neighborhood had come: “Everyone, Ricardo, has come to do the ramp”. «Is the ramp already done?» “You already have it, for when you come home.”
No one could explain how, my brother began to improve after that day. And he lived almost another year. A year in which sometimes he was able to use the ramp without help and other times he had to be pushed. I tell this so intimately because since then, when things go wrong, I tell myself that the ramp has to be built. Because, for me, those men coming mean the word neighborhood. Because in Lluja they have never let us feel alone. Because that morning almost 20 years ago contains everything that makes me fall in love with human beings.”
—Javier Gómez Santander
Although it happened in late summer, few stories give me more Christmas spirit than this one. At Fosbury Flop, Christmas is about loving and helping each other, coming together, apologizing and building ramps... not the consumerist crap they sell us nowadays.
I wish you way more than luck, a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Martí Cañellas | Fosbury Flop
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