The age of jumping the fence

The humidity of the park invited to walk quickly, but that was a timeless reunion.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
26 May 2023 Friday 16:23
17 Reads
The age of jumping the fence

The humidity of the park invited to walk quickly, but that was a timeless reunion. It had been almost six years since I had seen my friend Silvana and we had to see how much we had changed after the pandemic and the threat of a third world war. From the fountain in the park in Berlin gushed gray water that reflected the changing May sky, and its light exposed our duly sculpted crow's feet.

Silvana told me that she felt in Buenos Aires the same thing that often happens to me in Madrid in the late afternoon, when I breathe the air of the end of the party. A galloping strangeness in front of the profiles of the new world has amplified the feeling of farewell to everything we are playing.

Silvana and I were born the same year and gave birth for the first time at 31. We met at the door of a nursery school; we were a couple of workaholics who closed our eyes while dancing soul. So, getting breathless acting as seven-headed women was almost a will, a sweet masochism. There was so much to do that we licked the idea of ​​the future like a candy. We fled forward because it was the way to advance without qualms. “Do it!” our mothers, teachers, and literary saints had told us.

“When you get older you want to be left alone”, Alejandro Gándara had confessed to me a few days before. We were talking about his latest novel, First Love (Alfaguara), in which he recounts the story of the construction of desire at the age of 18 with tinkling beauty. The writer recalled that the actor Jean-Louis Trintignant said that between the ages of fifty and sixty is when he was most afraid. Perhaps it is an age in which you believe that everything ends.

Silvana, Argentinean and descendant of Ukrainian Jews, and my servant, with twenty Catalan surnames, we feel more alike than ever, traversed by the same climacteric hot flashes, identical guilt, and in mourning for having lost that talisman that –more than youth in itself – gives the power to ride the waves with vision and boldness.

The so-called generation X gallops into seniority humming the darkest songs of The Cure. We are not old yet, but we have been surpassed by the brilliant minds of digital natives who speak another language. We are exhausted by the mellifluous little voices of contemporary self-tuned music, the obsession with tattoos, or that our children repeat obvious or literal out of context. Our artistic fathers and mothers have been dying, whom we believed to be immortal. But as creatures who drank from the postmodern chalice, we loathe lamentation. “Perhaps we are the missing link”, Silvana told me, whom her daughters reproach – like me – for a fierce commitment to her trade that she has not changed over the years.

So many hours spent planting a flower and, now, this desire for an electric blanket that soothes our joints. Time passes us by, although we manage to ride it between impetus and laziness. Last summer I read From Within (Anagram), by the recently deceased Martin Amis, an author who meant so much to my generation and literary dandyism. On the pages he recounts a creative block when he went through middle age, and suddenly felt that he was finished. And he refers to it as "a wicked mental period" and "a vertiginous collapse of self-confidence", to end up defining it as anti-inspiration. That is what for Trintignant was fear. We will have to jump another fence.