At that time he wasn’t speaking in full sentences, but he was a big fan of sound imitations. Sometimes we exhausted our repertoire, and then we made up the laughing and crying of animals. We spent hours imitating a laughing dog, a crying horse, and the game went on and on until we happily lost our way in nonsense: a stuttering crocodile, a yawning magpie, a sneezing possum.
I have 1,422 Photos on my phone, and my son shows up in almost every one of them. He was born 1,266 days ago, which means I took an average of 1.12 photos of him every day. Add to that the pictures of his mother and his maternal grandmother and his uncle, who is a photographer, and … suddenly it seems unfair or exaggerated to believe that he will have access to these photos and the books his mother writes and those who that I write, books in which it appears more and more, and when it doesn’t appear, it’s still there, lurking in the background. I feel we should destroy these records to make way for a shiny new oblivion. And another, contradicting idea is great, because lately I’ve got the feeling that I’ve been writing for him, as my son’s correspondent, pretending to work when I’m actually only writing cables for my son. My writing has never been more legitimate because, in a way, I am writing the memories he will lose as if I were an educator or secretary for some toddlers named Joe Brainard, Georges Perec and Margo Glantz, and I wanted to continue writing their “I. Remembers ”make it easier.
It’s 1978 or 1979 I’m 3 or 4 years old and I’m sitting on the sofa next to my dad watching a soccer game on TV when my mom walks in to refill our glasses of Coca-Cola. I consider that to be my first memory for decades, and it doesn’t seem suspicious at first: I grew up in a family where not only my mother but all women visited the men, and in a world in which the television was in the living room and ran permanently, and the children were allowed to see it almost always, just as they could always drink Coca-Cola. This memory is not associated with any photo or family history and maybe that’s why until now – until I got the idea to write this article, I mean – I thought it was a pure, unambiguous memory. Even so, it’s not difficult to untangle this confidence: I’m sure my father and I have seen 100 or 500 or 1000 football matches in the 20 years we’ve lived together, and yet I remember this scene as something that only happened once is. I have the impression and my father the certainty – as I have just confirmed on the phone – that my passion for football did not start so early, but when I was 6 or 7 and we lived in a different house in a different city, therefore it is strange that I would have stayed there in front of the TV.
In any case, my memory doesn’t say that we saw a whole game or that I was interested in football. In fact, it’s just a flash of lightning that lasts two or three seconds and expires in complete silence. However, this silence is perhaps more suspicious than the memory itself, especially my father’s silence – he was silent when watching normal television, especially the news, but was unable to remain silent when watching football. There is still a big difference between us today: I watch games with absolute tension and only comment every now and then while my father screams and cheers as if he were on the pitch, giving instructions and cursing the referee.
I think of the extraordinary beginning of Nabokov’s “Speak, Memory”: the “chronophobic” boy who watches a home movie from the time before his birth and sees his pregnant mother and the waiting stroller, which seems like a coffin to him. I think of Delmore Schwartz’s devastating primal scream “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”, one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read, or the brilliant crushes of Vicente Huidobro in “Mío Cid Campeador” or Laurence Sterne in “Tristam Shandy”. . ”I think of the terrifying“ invented memory ”that gives shape to“ The Tongue Set Free ”by Elias Canetti. I am thinking of certain fragments by Virginia Woolf and Rodrigo Fresán and Elena Garro. The list seems to get on and on and I comb the shelves for books that I want to read again – but suddenly I realize that my son has been silent for too long. I turn around and see him sitting on the floor. After spending several months drawing smoothies, he is now working diligently on his current drawings of pizzas and planets and pizza planets.
My own first memory does not appear to be traumatic, yet I now realize that in my memory it is possible that I feel compelled to watch this game; I feel exposed to television and soccer and sexism and sugar and phosphoric acid so the scene acts as a foundation and possibly even an excuse or justification. A generalist interpretation would also lead me to compare this memory with images from the time: streets devastated by military violence, in which some men and women resist with suicidal and idealistic courage – but not my father, the one with me watching a soccer game or my mother serving us Coca-Cola.
I trust the satisfaction I feel when I know that such a scene in my son’s life would be impossible because he grew up in a world, or at least in a household, where no woman is in the service of a man and where everyone is Tomorrow it will be his father who will prepare breakfast for him in a kitchen whose refrigerator does not contain Coca-Cola bottles – in fact, he has never tried Coca-Cola (normal or light or zero) and he has never seen a soccer game, because he has never watched television and football is now played in empty stadiums.