Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Last May Day at the Plaza...

Image: Garrincha

It was April 31, I was seventeen and was walking in celebration with a friend. She studied medicine and was obliged to go. She insisted I accompany her and I couldn’t resist: I gave in.

At about three o'clock in the morning we reached the point where we would meet up with the rest of her department. Unfortunately the Girón students – along with the unlucky Lenin students – belonged in what we jokingly called “the infantry battalions,” that is at the front of the march.

It was not yet dawn when we reached the Plaza and as it had been several years since I’d been to the marches I was behind the times. The first shock was a man in a red T-shirt who came out of nowhere and shouted at each student, “Put this on!” while handing over a red shirt identical to his.

I didn’t want to put it on and then the incredible happened: two strangers parted the Red Sea, picked me up by my shoulders, deposited me at the edge of the group and before finally letting me go declared, “If you don’t want to wear it you can’t be here.”

Feeling different among the sameness, colorless among the red, alone in the crowd, and young, I began to whimper.  Interestingly I wrote everything that happened on the 486 computer I had at the time; now I think that perhaps that could have been my first post...

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