Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Of balconies and memories (In Memory of Héctor)


When I was still studying in Spain, I lived in the university dorm reserved for graduate students. It's called Residencia Reyes Católicos, located on Calle Teresa Gil, Valladolid.

I was a nomad for the first 10 months of my stay there, since I was originally assigned to a first-floor room, traditionally reserved for transients. Then I was moved to a fourth-floor room, a small space for students who stayed longer. Finally, I was transferred to Room 307 that had this beautiful and spacious balcony where I used to hang out, cook using my electric paella dish or dry out shoes and clothes. This was where I would stay until I finished my Master's.

In 309 was a Spaniard from Burgos. His name was Héctor. At a young age he was already doing his PhD in Physics. He had studied French, gone to Italy to feed pigeons, tried to date girls, become a member of the Science Museum in Valladolid... too many achievements so early in life. He was a bit weird, too: delayed reactions whenever we told him stories, topics totally unrelated to the conversation, debates over the mundanest topics, a curious gaze, perhaps.

But deep in him was a beautiful soul of a person struggling to fit in while trying to be true to himself. When people began laughing behind his back or started imitating his antics, he was oblivious. He was there to study and study he did. When everyone tried to push him away, he tried his best to move in closer, although he was not successful in every attempt. And when he sensed it was futile, he kept to himself and did not say a word.

The last time I saw him was on the day I left for the Philippines, although I had the opportunity to exchanges a few e-mails with him and chat a bit afterwards. Last Thursday, Héctor passed away after falling from his balcony, the same balcony that we all had in Reyes Católicos where we hang out, cook and dry clothes. No one may ever know what's going on inside his head when he fell -- it was so characteristic of him to be secretive -- but I hope that he was not thinking how lonely and oppressive life could be.

And I hope, too, that somehow, somewhere, Héctor could read this and know that he would be sorely missed, and that other people who may be going through rough times and feel that they do not belong know that there's always a willing ear and a helping hand out there to help.

Descansa en paz, Héctor. ¡Hasta la vista!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So sad. Was it an accident?
roy

Marlon said...

hello, roy! no, he did it on purpose :-(

Maraki said...

Hi Marlon

Pilar told me about Hector last week.......
I cant find words.....

Begoña said...

I can anderstand Hector so well...:

"... that other people who may be going through rough times and feel that they do not belong know that there's always a willing ear and a helping hand out there to help."

No, not in Germany: sadly I am looking for help since 6 years and nobody hears, nobody knows, nobody asks, nobody bother ( even having family and friends here), nobody has time,nobody really cares, nobody calls my phone, nobody listen to my pains ( But they always enjoy only when I'm witty and I show them how to solve their problems, nobody is interested what happen to me....
I am always alone fighting by myself against thoughts about how to die without this having consecuences for my two daughters ( 21 and 23 Years now) since 22th. May 2004 ( I tried that day to die taking pills to sleep and not to wake up anymore).

I am fighting against the same choice, this idea since 6 years alone but I feel I can not anymore: I only desire to disappear... I can not hope anymore.

Marlon said...

Dear Begoña, I really hope that you realize that there is more to life than the things that surround you, and that life is worth living no matter what.

You may probably see what's bleak and negative right now, but I assure you that there are a lot of people who care and love you, who appreciate you for what you are.

The first step is to learn to love yourself before searching for that love in other people.

Here's hoping you're well.