I was around 10 years old. I was an avid watcher of a Venezuelan soap opera called Kasandra – Kasandra was so popular that when the air time came, it emptied the city streets, closed down the shops and services; You literally could not reach nor find anybody.
Except… for tall black people in black leather jackets. You could find them as easily as I found one that night when Kasandra was airing.
This post is for people that were once kids and a soap opera changed their lives.
During that time when Kasandra reigned, we, the kids, exchanged collectible sticker cards with the characters of the cast. We would do anything to get our hands on the latest cards.
It was around 6:30 pm winter time. The new collectibles always came just before the show and I wanted to get them first and show off after the show to my friends. I knew I had little time before Kasandra started so I got dressed and headed out.
The streets were already empty. And the only shop that sold the collectibles was guess where? Across the light-less street. Just like this one.
I was excited. Having the latest collectibles meant a lot for a kid my age.
I ran towards the shop, and visualized the faces of my friends when I would show them the new cards. They would be so jealous.
The store was 2 minutes away but I got there in less than 30 seconds. Boy was I disappointed at the sight.
It was closed. I was sad. What will I show my friends now?
Slowly, I started going back home thinking what to do.
I crossed the street when I heard the sound of a car honk. I acknowledged it, but did not turn. Then the second and third honk came and it got my attention.
The car was 20 meters away. The drivers window was open and I could see the driver waving as if trying to tell me to stop and wait for him.
I stopped just because he looked familiar. He looked the same as the shop owner. The excitement came back.
“Yes! He knows I am looking for the collectibles and will probably open the store so that I will get them! Yeeeeeeeee, I am so happyyyyy!!!!”
I was ecstatic. Right there at that time, he was the only person that I loved in the whole world.
Now I was actually waiting for him to park his car.
He did park his car and stepped out. He was taller than the shop owner.
He was walking very confidently towards me and had this very gentle but uneasy smile and sleepy dark eyes.
5 meters away and I could see that his face was not the face of the owner.
4 meters away and I could see his black leather jacket and black pants clearly. His Steve Jobs style turtleneck was popped and completely covered his neck.
This was not the shop owner. He didn’t have the style this guy has.
3 meters away, and I saw his hand, palm upwards,slowly headed towards me. The 4 words that he spoke right there and then made me stop watch Kasandra afterwards.
Don’t be afraid son.
The last thing I saw was his smile spreading across his face and his eyes becoming lit.
I turned around, and in 2 seconds I was back home in a corner, staring at a dot on the wall with a blank expressionless face. Inside of me, I was experiencing the start of the Big Bang of emotional states.
It’s OK, dont worry. It was just probably Mr X (a neighbour)
This is what my parents were trying to convince me.
It wasn’t him. But in the state I was in, I accepted that as the most viable option, while at the same time completely masking the reality that happened.
What was the result of this encounter?
I avoided talking to people I did not know. The excuse for not talking? I convinced myself that I already knew them and I knew they were not good for me due to reason x (mostly these reasons were physically). Sounds familiar right?
The more the person meant to me, the more I wanted to flee and get away from him, out of fear that I might get hurt.
What can I learn, now that I look back?
- Impatience does not pay off.
- Showing off does not pay off.
- Watching Kasandra does not pay off.
- Leather and turtlenecks are OK only if you are a kidnapper.
Also, moms and dads:
The most important lesson?
Don’t be afraid son.
Confront the black leathered man everytime he appears. The more you fear him, the more he means to you.
I don’t know what happened with that guy after I stormed back home. I only have this faint memory (or made up memory) of him slowly walking towards the car and entering it. He did not seem disappointed at all.
It’s a numbers game – he might have thought.
Or , maybe he was the neighbour after all.
Or maybe, just maybe, he was a good samaritan that saw me from afar, realized I could be afraid of something, and just wanted to tell me “not to be afraid of whatever it is I was afraid of”.
Either way he was right – don’t be afraid.
P.S. The bbdirector told me that I was nostalgic for this event.
How can you be nostalgic about an event like this? It turns out it is possible.
Nostalgia means not only yearning for a happy and fulfilling time in the past but also a memory of the pain of an old wound.
According to him, this wound has not healed yet. In fact, now that I have realized and learned from it, it has just started to heal.