From dream to freedom (part 1)

September 30, 2017

By Eddy Montilla

(Taken from Real stories told as fiction)

When I was a child, my mother told me more than once that the difference between a dream and reality was only one step either forward or backward. During my silent nights, with only loneliness for company, I always wonder in which direction I gave mine.

I have thought about my mother several times today. She could not finish her schooling, but she loves reading, making orange preserves and talking about politics. I think it was for her great ability in her second pleasure that the philosophers and intellectuals of my small town used to come almost every Saturday at twilight to the backyard of our small house for their gatherings. One day, during one of their customary conversations, one of them noticed how simple my mother’s garden was, only surrounded by roses, and paradoxically, how the beauty of our garden was, nourished by the same characteristic.

”What is the best place for a flower?” He asked, while rubbing his hands and looking at them with the same expression as scavengers usually have.

And their answers were as varied as contradictory: “Fallen petals floating in the still water of the bathtub.” One said. “On the bed, over a white sheet.” Another said. “How about in the kitchen to make a mother’s job more bearable or in a crystal vase in the living room to welcome the guests?” They continued their brainstorming sessions until it occurred to one of them to ask my mother the same question, I don’t know why, perhaps because he wanted to know how those who have never heard about Nietzsche or Hegel or have never read Oscar Wilde think. My mother, who came out the kitchen at that time with her preserves in hand, answered him quickly and naturally:

”Right there.” She said, while pointing out to them the stems. “The place where it was born.”

My mother, without understanding the reason yet, sold few preserves on that day and, as spontaneously as her answer was, they gradually began to leave our house, like the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees in the biblical passage of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery: “…beginning with the oldest.” (TO BE CONTINUED)

Copyright 2017 All rights are reserved.


Last Love Poems: Between love and friendship

July 22, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

If you see her someday, there is nothing you have to say.

When time and distance presage the worst,

bare silence is better than plain words.

Show her your best smile, raise your head

and keep calm instead.

And she will come to understand

how sad sadness can be,

how deeply it can bore through your soul.

Talk to her about everything, but don’t tell her anything.

A long time has passed

and time says things, and it also betrays…

Please, don’t tell her anything…

don’t tell her how I have been,

If I smile or cry, if I cry or smile,

if I still go out in the evenings

for my long walks,

not a single word to her.

Don’t tell her the way I live; don’t tell her the way I’m dying.

If I can neither live in the present nor forget my past,

if I buried my future or I’m still looking for it,

if I joke as I did to make people laugh,

to hide my taciturn heart,

If my saddest poems come in autumn or spring,

just raise your head, show your smile, don’t tell her anything

because dry leaves are blown by the wind,

but the wind is also blown by the dry leaves.

If you see her someday, don’t show her anything.

Neither show her pictures nor videos.

That only helps to engender rumours

that will die at first light.

To recall distant memories and surf on the waves of nostalgia

will not make me grow, will not increase my hopes.

Today, at this point of my life,

I leave those things for a special night:

My room in half-light,

with Spanish Serrano ham and Manchego cheese

and a glass of red wine to nurture treasured memories.

If you see her some day,

keep walking forever, but stop for a while.

We both loved her and neither of us had her.

We both lost her. It’s time to forget.

You loved her outside; I loved her inside.

I loved her soul; you loved her smile.

We are friends, friends with ties,

ties that bind us to a friendship that will never die.

Copyright 2017 All rights are reserved.

Hell only lasts twenty years (last part)

May 6, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from Real stories told as fiction).

Chris ran his hands through his hair and later used them to cover his mouth. The back-and-forth movements of his eyes betrayed his calculations and skepticism. On their way back, Chris and Erika were both physically and emotionally separated.

”From here, I will go home alone. The dinner was good. Thank you very much for everything.” She said and went away while Chris stood frozen there, watching her become smaller through the distance until disappearing into the darkness. He did not know what to think or what to do. He just stood there completely indifferent to time, to the snow that started to fall, indifferent to that place and beyond. Some time later, once at home, he lay down on the bed, unable to sleep that night. His action did not worry him so much as the indelible impression that Erika’s impassive face and her twenty years of forced abstinence made on him.

”How on earth could her husband sentence her to something like that for a reason like that? How many Erikas are living here?” He asked himself.

The following days were long and confusing for Chris. He decided to make a long trip to think deeply about his future and, above all, because a bad experience is more traumatic when you are closer to it. At the station, his patience was tested when he couldn’t read the instructions on how to use the ticket machine. He was good at controlling his emotions, but always had difficult times when he had to conceal them. So, the customer behind him knew exactly what was going on, and with little spontaneous but correct English, helped him buy his ticket.

”Thank you, and you speak very well.”

”Oh, no! We can’t speak English and you know that, Chris. I am a psychologist. By the way, my wife told me that all the students had a wonderful time during the party the other day.”

”Why does he know my name? Is he Erika’s husb…? No way, Chris. He said clearly: “All the students…”

Chris felt safe and breathed a sigh of relief. He said goodbye to him amid the noise of trains that were coming and leaving the station.

”Thanks for helping Erika with her English!” He shouted.

Chris was petrified with his right foot on the ground and his left leg motionless in air like flamingoes fleeing from cold waters. He glanced at the sky, went back to where Erika’s husband was and while shaking hands with him, left the ticket on his palm.

”I return to San Antonio right now.” He said with his hands into his pockets and walking away calmly while Erika’s husband found himself dumbfounded for seconds trying to figure out Chris’ actions.

”Chris, are you all right? If you have problems, I can help you. I am a psychologist. Chris さん(san), Chris さん(san)!”

Chris stopped walking, turned around and told him: “Do me a favor, please. Use that ticket and go immediately to see a doctor, I mean, another psychologist, but more normal than you and ask him: “What’s Hell, doctor, twenty years without love when you are still young or the next twenty years when you realize you can’t make love?”

Copyright 2017 All rights are reserved.

Hell only lasts twenty years (penultimate part)

April 29, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Taken from Real stories told as fiction

”I think it is a little bit late, Erika. Your husband must be impatiently waiting for you. So, I’m going to…”

”Not today.“ She interrupted him before he could start what he had in mind. “He went somewhere to participate in a conference and will be back tomorrow. I didn’t have to prepare dinner tonight.” She said, struggling to hide her happiness for that.

Her last comment let them extend their conversation till the “the breaking point”, this one that usually comes when silence turns into long and undesirable time intervals indicating that the moment to leave has come. In the second bar, Chris won the courtesy battle and paid the bill. When they left, there was not a soul (neither a good nor a bad one) on the streets. Time and the cold of that night had undoubtedly done a good job. Erika, however, led Chris through the most isolated and narrowest corners over there trying to make her best night in many years longer to no avail. In the worst-case scenario, she didn’t want to see it die there, in front that bar. Unfortunately, silence became quickly her worst enemy. The wind was howling around the streets, which led to the impression of being in a phantasmagorical place.


They heard a dreadful and deafening sound of a metal advertising board blown off by the wind. They looked back quickly, but before they could understand what really happened, a big and black stray cat came from nowhere meowing boisterously from the gloom. There was not time for anything, and Erika did what a lot of women usually do in cases like this: She seized his arm. After the sudden scare, they both giggled and did what people do not usually do: They began to walk hands entwined.

”Wait a minute. What’s going on here?” He said to himself.

In his country, perhaps, he could find an explanation to that confusing situation, but there everything looked like a Gordian knot. They walked in silence and only when got to the end, they realized that it was a blind alley. Chris felt the same: “I had reached a dead end.” He thought. That was the moment when the unlikely turned into reality. The man who always weighed everything on the balance of reason, could stand no more and, for the first time in his life, he decided to feel the inscrutable ecstasy of betting on luck, and you know what? He won: He kissed her.

”She said and did nothing. What should I do now? To say I am sorry? That would bring more problems than solutions. Her feminine sense will make her think that it was only a whim for my part and her woman’s pride would be hurt, and once that happens, then it is when the war really breaks out. I have no choice but to continue what I started.” He thought.

But this time, Chris and his ineffable logical thinking both failed.

”No, Chris, please. That’s not right. Besides, I have forgotten how to do that.”

“Come on, Erika, you are exaggerating. Giving a kiss is not something people forget, let alone in a couple of days.” He said while thinking a way to leave the cumbersome situation he had made himself.

“And in 20 years?” Erika asked with an unfathomable expression. “When my husband knew that I couldn’t have children, he told me that it made no sense to make love. Since then, it has passed 20 years, Chris, 20 years… (TO BE CONTINUED).

Copyright 2017 All rights are reserved.

Hell only lasts twenty years (part 2)

April 21, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from Real stories told as fiction).

Erika began to explain the long history of that tavern to Chris and the reason for its fame too. She taught him how the fishermen of the region use lights to attract squid since remote times and those superstitions that always spin around seafaring work. She told him about the small crafts, nets, weather and many other things that were somehow a portrait of the paintings on the wall. Between one explanation and another, few minutes barely passed, the exact amount of time she needed to make her first beer disappear as if by magic.

“Ohisashiburi! (The first good moment in a long time!). She said after sighing with contentment.

Erika talked more than usual, and usually, she did not talk more than necessary. Her last phrase along with the subtle gestures she made photographed what was going on. Then, Chris could see clearly why he was invited that night: By doing so, she invited herself too and that was the only way and excuse she had to go out for a while in the evening. Chris kept listening to her courteously and performed like a good actor to evince strong interest in her stories when, in fact, his mind and heart were utterly distant from there. Where? I do not know. In his hometown? Perhaps. What I certainly know is that Erika started a new topic as soon as she finished the last one and the same applied to her glass of beer.

“Well, it’s time to change…”

“¿Seats?” Chris asked. “All of them are occupied already”.

“No! I meant to change place.” She responded with a tender look and smile on her lips because of the naivety he showed for his little understanding of that culture.

“If you don’t like horsemeat, believe me, I don’t blame you for that.” He whispered to her for fear that the elderly lady could feel offended by his comments.

”This is not the point, Chris. I can eat anything and so can all those people you can see here. Look at their rice bowls without a single grain of rice. Remember, Chris, this is the way you have to eat. Otherwise, people will say that you had poor parenting.” She said with scarcely concealed pride for her culture and explanation. “We have to change bars because it’s part of the tradition in these cases.”

Chris nodded his head in agreement and dissented with his heart. If everybody likes some artists and dislikes others, loves some people and hates others, then, what makes food any different? They were celebrating the year-end-party called “bounenkai”, that is, a party held to help people (especially workers) to forget the troubles occurred during the year and start the next one from zero. Despite that, he felt uneasy. After all, how could a party for twelve people ended up as a meeting of only two?

When they finished their dinner, Chris insisted on paying the bill. She thanked him for his kindness, but made him realize that there was no point in doing that since they had to go to at least two more places, as is customary. So, they decided to go Dutch and leave that bar. Minutes later, they got a place full of contiguous taverns, so similar in their external aspects that Chris wondered if it was necessary to have more than one. It was a place divided into narrow alleyways, half bathed in moonlight. The rest came from hanging lanterns near the doors of the taverns, which made the place fall into semidarkness. By giving free rein to our imagination, everything could be seen from there, and that’s why Chris loved the place from outside because the second bar (and what happened inside) was not quite different from the first one. The night for them, therefore, should come to an end right there, after saying: “I had a lot fun, thank you.” But this end never came. Was it because of Chris’ last question? Was it Erika’s reaction, perhaps? For me, it was a sum of all and a subtraction of nothing. And if one of you needs inevitably to find someone to blame, remember the cat. Yes, the cat. TO BE CONTINUED…

Copyright 2017 All rights are reserved.

Hell only lasts twenty years (part 1)

April 6, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from Real stories told as fiction).

“Horsemeat”. The elderly lady said indicating with her curved and wrinkled hand the food over the counter while her countenance reflected an odd contrast between the pride she felt for her dish and her astonishment for the presence of that unusual client.

“What am I doing here?” He thought.

And now, I am not sure if someday we will know what he was exactly referring to. The tavern where he was or the remote part where he ended up in?

A windy and bitter cold night… The tavern was small and old. Its wooden walls and faded color made customers remember the scars left by the passage of time. Right in the center, an age-old stove did its best to heat the place, but customers, most of them fishermen, preferred the hot “sake” that flowed slowly through their throats.

The daughter and, above all, the granddaughter of the elderly lady were in charge of serving the food and alcohol there. The girl was really beautiful. She had black and long hair, full lips and pronounced curves that could be imagined rather than seen. She was not sexy; she was beautiful. But what it really sets her apart from everybody was her deep and naive look, a look that she usually fixed on the roof or on her own thoughts, trying to avoid those old fishermen who could not gaze at her discreetly while they had the best of their dreams: Something beautiful, but impossible.

“You miss her a lot. Do you?” Erika asked him.

“That’s not a problem”. Chris said.

Of course, that was not. He was a man who always proceeded circumspectly, and those kinds of men never miss or love a woman one hundred percent. He took his time to look closely at all small details around that place: The Lilliputian dishes they had on the table, the traditional curtain hanging on a bamboo stick in front of the door, indicating that the place was open, a couple of old paintings on the wall and, of course, he also looked at the girl, but not with the same intentions as the fishermen had. He just wondered if she would find a way to leave that place, anchored in time, to go somewhere and try to do something else, something different or she would stay there serving drinks to customers for the rest of her life until becoming a grandmother like her grandmother. TO BE CONTINUED…

Thought of the day: Happiness and pain

September 1, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.


Happy and sad moments share something in common: They always come to an end and they always revive. The biggest difference is that when your happy moments die, not always sad moments are born as result of it, but when your sad moments die, as a reward, your happy moments are reborn to bring you consolation, peace and, above all, to make you feel happier. If you are sad because you lost your job, someone very important to you passed away or for any other reason, remember that happy moments die, but so does pain. Be patient, hold on tight, hang in there. Sooner or later, your pain will die and your good moments will be reborn to be at your side.

Copyright 2016 All rights are reserved.