Illa quae est?

Photo by LUCIANO BESERRA on Unsplash

I didn’t learn Latin. I understand some things, very few. But beyond verbal language lives non-verbal language (corporal and signed), which for some represents 80% or 90% of human communication. Languages words are born and die. Languages disappear, but non-verbal communication remains, the acts remain, the images remain imperishable over time.

Before social networks like Facebook and YouTube; before the technological, financial and cultural revolutions of the blockchain and its daughter Web3; Before cryptos and FOMO, there was an event that marked me. Few images with some unintelligible words: Illa quae est?

A woman, a mother, helps her son to cope with a moment of enormous difficulty. She tells him ‘Here I am’. Her son contemplates her with love despite the enormous suffering he suffers. Mother and son look into each other’s eyes, the latter soon to get up. He finally gets up.

A spectator of the scene observes in dismay what happens. He asks another ‘Who is she? What is she?’, and the answer is that she is the mother of that man. He answers the question with a filial relationship, neither more nor less. The spectator remains looking at her, surprised, stunned, admired, in love with her?

I, the spectator who looks at the surprised spectator, freeze. A tear falls from one of my eyes that carefully observes the scene. I also wonder who she is, what is she. I also contemplate it and discover it. She is dirty, tired, stunned for a moment, with blood on her face, carrying her poverty garments.

She tries to help her son. She does it. She follows his path, a true ordeal. So much pain, suffering and anguish. Being born to die, that is life. An instant. There her son goes to die, she suffers.

Nobody notices that poor little woman in the crowd. She doesn’t attract anyone’s attention. She silently accompanies her son during the journey, but now she intercedes for her son. Alert and curious eyes discover her.

She is that small and gigantic woman, humble and admirable, good without comparison, kind, generous, simple. ‘Who is she?’ I ask myself again. She is a mother, nothing more (and nothing less!) Who doesn’t want a mother? Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to have a mother like that mother? I wanted and I want. But I didn’t know her even when she treated me like her son. I ignored her affection and her help; I didn’t even know how to see it in my own biological mother.

She is the mother at the door. She awaits the return of her children to the house, to her house. She keeps the door ajar, she smiles at the one who comes from afar, she goes towards the one who stumbles. She never gets tired of reaching out and helping. But who is she. She is the mother of a man, of all men. Nothing more and nothing less!

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Writer. Pic of abuelo (c.1930)

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