Posts by: Cu Tèo

Ice cream and the Dark Space in Heaven

My memory began when I was ten. The year was 1978. School was out. It was the beginning of summer vacation. It was a peculiar day that day. My mom called us in to have dinner. I was reluctant from having to wrench myself from a game I was playing with the neighborhood kids. What game? That I couldn’t remember. I think it was “it”—as in “Tag! You’re it!” I grudgingly came inside and took a quick bite—literally one bite—of the fish fillet that mom had made. Until this day, I wish I had eaten that meal completely, down to…

Caterpillar on the Horizon

The agitated waves and the sporadic sputtering engine woke me. The sun was glaring and the heat made my ears felt hot. I picked up my head and looked around. There were already people shuffling about, mostly adults. The other kids were still asleep, feeling sea sick or like me taking in the situation. I made a 360° scan of the horizon—no land to be seen. We were way out at sea. “May I have some water?” I asked someone. “Wait a little bit, child,” she responded, “when we pass it around. We don’t have much of it.” I surveyed…

Three Rages and The Whale

It started to rain. The sea seemed angry, and this made the adults really nervous. There was a familiar smell in the air, that sultry smell of rain as it evaporated from boat’s baked surfaces. I can’t remember much as to what happened next, but I do remember what ensued was very frightening. It wasn’t the usual fears that I experienced: not the one of ghosts that walked the steps leading up to the temple behind my house, nor was it the fear of facing the bamboo stick for having done something bad. It was a new fear. It was…

Silk River and Steel Garden

Everyday on the open sea was a theater between frenzy and listlessness. We were hot and just barely on the threshold of hunger. Our hunger, actually, was distracted by our thirst—an unquenchable thirst. I constantly desired to take gulps and gulps, and unreserved, overflowing gulps of water. Instead, we each took a couple of sips from a shallow lid of water that was infrequently passed around. When it came, I eagerly awaited its balmy relief, but at the same time repulsed it. I could smell it before it reached my parched lips. The content of lid was a mixture of…