translated by: Eric Barenboim
(any improvement or advice on the translation will be appreciated)*
– in gratitude to the libraries named after me –
Dear people from the 15th School in District 20 “República de Paquistán” (Liniers, Bs. As., Argentina),
thanks to Horacio Rozenwurcel I found out that your school library is named after me.
From now on, a piece of my heart is named after you: “children and library from the school República de Paquistán”, which means my mind was somewhere else, or who knows why, but I wasn’t expecting the surprise that morning, so I was deeply moved.
When you are a kid you dream about doing stuff and, in my case, I walked around my town dreaming that one day I would be interviewed, and even answered those imaginary interview questions.
Harry Potter was really lucky, not only for being invited to Hogwarts, but because the invitation was delivered by a white owl. That way anyone could recognize the call to become what they’ve always dreamt, or that which they hadn’t dared to dream.
Usually, you don’t even find out what it is which appears or you miss, that will ultimately turn you into… whatever you like. That seemed unreachable: I was eight years old, didn’t study literature, nor music, I was just going to grad school, I didn’t shine out in sports… uf, there was nowhere to find the thread which would lead me to fulfill my dream.
But now I realize what it was that made me do what I did… it was already present. The seed, the hidden threads, the secret clues, they were there, even though I couldn’t recognize them.
I wish a white owl had arrived with a letter, or a dog, or a frog – something! Instead I saw my mom laugh, or the way my dad didn’t like the music I listened to, and said: “You should listen to something happier”.
Or my mom asking me to help her dry the dishes, or my dad, mechanic: to sit in some car and step on the brakes and release, step and release, while he was adjusting it. Oh, how I hated those tasks!
If I had known that those where, let’s say, some white feathers from my Hogwarts’ owl, I would have done them with a lot more enthusiasm (but if I had done it that way… who knows if they would have been my Hogwarts’ owl).
I worked with a bicycle which had the rubber so worn out that two tiny balloons reached out. I was given a prize for a short story at the age of twelve.
When I was ten some teacher didn’t believe that I had written a short story (and I had done it!) My mom cooked wonders and my dad made a pair of stilts for me unlike anything you could buy.
The girl I liked, when we were 7, liked someone else.
One day, running, I crashed against a glass door and it shattered to pieces.
I was the flag bearer, but also because the student who should have done it wasn’t allowed by her religion.
How was I to recognize there my Hogwarts’ owl? But it was that.
A piece of advice, kids, and not for one and everything that happens (you will be taken as crazy); but to whatever you can, lean forward and ask: are you my Hogwarts’ Owl?
At nine in an exam,
A thump in the bike,
Some new shoes,
A ride with dad,
A walk with mom,
A meal with the grandparents,
A friend getting close
A love going far.
-Are you my Hogwarts’ owl?
Important: if the actual Hogwarts’ owl arrives, don’t ask! – Imagine if it thinks “well, this one is kind of dumb, we’d better not invite him to our school”.
Be careful not to be taken as nuts, but do it. You don’t know how much our luck changes when you ask it that way.
That’s my story. And I worked very hard, met excellent people through the way, and I was also lucky.
Then one day an e-mail comes where they tell me a library carries my name…
It carries it…
Like a San Bernard, hanging from its neck?
Like a messaging dove, tied up in a leg?
Like a bird in its peck?
Like an ant with a leaf,
A stroll with a baby?
Like a player with a ball?
Or like a mother and her belly?
Or maybe like a sandwich?
I thank you, then, and I hope your school carries it very far, far, far, far away.
So it can send me letters from wherever it is the school carried my name.
Around you there are, too, the secret threads of what tomorrow could be (even though today it may seem unlikely), your own Hogwarts’ owls.
Thank your very much, and good luck.
* Thanks Jorge Pablo Bourdette for improving the translation!
© Luis Pescetti