Eternal dream (Final)

IX

Alfonso stops by the door of the quick-stop, he stops because of the reflection in the glass of the door. His long, white, gray hair, and his long, singeing beard.

  • Who am I?

A question with no answer. The golden, cracked skin, dry lips, characteristics that do not correspond to any glimmer of unity inside the observer.

  • Dry lips…

The sentence reminds him of something he cannot remember, a faceless nostalgia and a breeze of anguish. He enters the store without answering the question and walks through the aisles full of candy, full of sweet jellybean vapors, and vibrant colors that fill him with wistfulness. Walking down the aisle at the end, Alfonso finds himself facing the row of refrigerators, he stares at a bottle of mineral water for some time, the shape of the bottle reminds him of something he cannot realize, a diffuse memory that leads him to open the door and take the bottle in his hands. The cold escaping from the refrigerator’s interior relaxes him, and it leads him to take a deep breath. The woman at the cash register has been looking at him for a while and takes this opportunity to make her move. Alfonso expected this but he downplays the issue, preferring to open the bottle and take a big sip of water.

  • Hey, what are you doing!

Alfonso stops, the woman approaches him, and brings a red blanket, one that she had kept for the cold, she uses it to cover the body of the old naked man she has found in the corridor of the refrigerators. Alfonso thanks her, but she has not finished, she asks him to pay for the water before consuming it. Alfonso listens carefully and then puts his hands in his pockets, but he has no pants. The woman gets angry and asks him to leave the store, to take the water away but not to continue to mess the floor with sand, points to Alfonso’s dirty feet, feet with which he has painted a trail of sand everywhere he has stepped. Alfonso walks towards the exit, and passes by the woman’s side, she backs up when she sees the depth of his eyes, where she finds the glow of the stars. Alfonso is happy to see her, he remembers her from before, and although he doesn’t know when, he bids her farewell with reverence.

As he walks through the door of the quick-stop, Alfonso sees the next object that catches his eye, an empty gas can, next to the gas pump hose. With eyes full of tears, a smile on his face, and arms raised to the sky in an attempt to embrace the sun, Alfonso celebrates the discovery. He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t remember, but that canister fills his heart with joy, an intense joy that drives him to run to the pump to get it and insert the nozzle of the pump inside of it. Alfonso presses the trigger and the gasoline pours inside. And just then, the bathroom door at the side of the quick-stop hits the frame, announcing the arrival of a man on the scene. It’s a burly guy wearing a trucker’s cap on his head.

  • Hey! Hey, you! Are you going to pay for that?

Surprised by the statement, but even more surprised to see the face of the person who is questioning him, Alfonso kicks on the floor with joy. He thanks the heavens for Pedro, who continues to approach Alfonso and fails to understand anything of what is happening.

  • Did I miss anything? You’re going to pay, right?

Alfonso panics, he grabs the canister with both hands and runs out of the place, releasing the nozzle, which continues to expel gasoline and spills it on the floor. Alfonso hugs the canister tightly as he runs away from the station and into the road and the desert. Pedro runs in pursuit but stops at the pump to stop the gasoline from pouring onto the ground uncontrollably. This gives enough time for Alfonso to reach a considerable distance, insurmountable assumes Pedro, in the midst of the embracing heat of noon, so he desists to go in pursuit of that naked old man with a canister.

X

Alfonso keeps running non-stop, he doesn’t give himself time to look back for even one moment. He doesn’t run because he is being chased, he runs because he knows he still has time, although he doesn’t remember what for. And he runs until his legs ask for a break, until the sun lies down on the horizon once again. It is then that his guts rumble.

  • This is the joy of life.

When was the last time he ate? Blind confidence leads him to go into the dunes of the desert and to wait in silence. And then, between the lines described in the sand, a circular movement, like a whip drawing outlines on the ground, revealing the movement of a snake emerging from the depths. Alfonso observes it and without even thinking about it, he throws himself towards it, hunger drives him, instinct drives him, and love for the imperishable time drives him to pursue it a long way, leaving the canister behind.

  • Because, what will become of the can without someone to carry it?

Alfonso manages to find the snake, grabs it by the tail, and strongly whips it against the ground until life escapes from it. When the killing is over, He says goodbye to the snake, thanks the universe for providing it, takes off his red cloak, and places it on the ground, to deposit the snake’s body there. A furtive look at the canister, arranged on the side of the road, reveals that the object in question is not in its position; a young man has taken it and is carrying it. Alfonso covers the cloth in the sand and gets up as fast as his old body can move, he hurries to hunt down the intruder, catches him, and throws himself at him, managing to knock him down without much difficulty. The canister returns to his hands and Alfonso stays looking at this young man for a while.

The young man spends the afternoon begging Alfonso to lend him the gasoline, he needs it to rescue a woman stranded in the middle of the desert. Words that unleash a series of diffuse, unconnected, but strangely familiar memories in Alfonso. One specific word echoes in his memory.

Amelia.

Alfonso remembers meeting someone with that name, a powerful feeling brings him back to the desert sands but also to the deceitfulness of its surroundings. He prefers not to say anything, he is not sure of these memories, of the story that they link, and for sure that saying things without being sure is a bad idea, he thinks to himself.

Night falls on Alfonso and on the young man, a fire is lit in the dark, and the flames dance to the rhythm of the night winds. Millions of years still unprocessed in his mind, Alfonso does not manage to stay long in the present and with the young man. Even so, he makes the greatest effort to pay attention to the words he speaks, an interrogation about matters whose answer he does not possess. Questions about origins, about destinies, but Alfonso does not manage to position himself in the arrow of time, he prefers not to say more, loses interest in the conversation, and soon falls into a deep sleep.

  • The space is occupied, how to enter?

Among the veils of dreams, a car appears in the middle of the road, a woman opens up whole, her skin falls on the passenger seat, a flower emerges, a thorny rose, the stems grow and the thorns occupy the cabin of the vehicle.

Alfonso opens his eyes in fear, the young man takes the canister, tries to snatch it from his hands, and forces him to stand up and fight, but why fight?

  • Better to let go.

Alfonso reflects as he lets go of the canister, his body now moves thanks to the strength of the young man, the thrust pushes him towards the flames with the canister following him. The touch of the fire and the explosion, as intense as sunlight, envelops him in flames. Alfonso bears the pain in silence, lets himself be burned, and embraces the flames like old friends who come to guide him, angels who come down from the sky to illuminate the path. The fire is extinguished after a while, Alfonso’s body stiff, his eyes lost in the blink of the stars that receive him once more and beyond, beyond the most extensive and darkest depth, he knows that everything will start again.

The first rays of the sun timidly illuminate the contour of the desert and tickle Alfonso’s charred fingers. He agonizes, it is difficult for him to breathe, every breath burns him inside, every exhalation as if it were nails in his chest. He remains still, almost does not feel anything, does not feel the movement of the sand around him, does not feel those beings that return to the surface hungry, in search of food, and that find him lying down, helpless. There will be two, then three, and soon more than twenty snakes sliding through the sand toward the burnt body. The feast begins. Teeth like fine needles tearing the flesh until they are satiated. The snakes finish eating the flesh and return to the sand. Later, a couple of vultures circles the sky over the charred body, taking their time before descending. A peck and another piece of meat get separated from the bone. The vultures devour every muscle with surgical precision, including the eyes and guts. Then, they return to the skies and get lost on the horizon. After a while, a family of beetles makes its way through the sand, reaches the immobile body, and take their share. The days pass and only bones remain.

XI

And Alfonso? Where is he? Alfonso is in the snakes that roam the desert, he is in the vultures that sail the skies, and he is in the beetles that bury themselves in the earth. But Alfonso wants to free himself, the desire to return to that place that he hardly remembers anymore, that place that keeps calling him, persists like the light of the stars. With great effort he manages to free himself from the flesh that imprisons him, helped by the fact that it almost disintegrates in the stomach of the beings that fed on him. One last effort and his soul separates entirely from the material, then he falls, falls as he has fallen before, as the stars collapse and separate in spite of all efforts to endure. But Alfonso does not want to be part of the history of the universe; his desire is to return to his memories, to retain them. And every time the galaxies collapse and everything begins again, he returns, countless times and under a thousand forms. In the beginning, it is difficult for him, he can only be a geometrical figure, he is a triangle embedded in a grain of sand, he is a cube, traveling in a beam of light, between the reflections of the dunes and the sun. A car passes by the road, thundering music throws waves through the air, changing the nature of all things, even of himself and now Alfonso is part of a song, a specific strophe “stay with her”, “stay with her” is repeated like a mantra throughout the song and someone listens, but the sound waves last as long as a blink of an eye and that is not enough for Alfonso. Again at the end of the universe and back again. This time as a drop of rain that falls in spring at the beginning of his life and then is taken, encapsulated in a bottle of water. The same drop that slips gracefully through a woman’s lips and manages to calm her nervousness in a tense situation, Alfonso remembers the happiness, but he wants more, he is not satisfied. This time he is a fly that is born on the putrid flesh of a corpse, as soon as his eyes meet the rays of the sun, his adventure through the air begins. He flaps his wings in search of an aroma that he can barely perceive, which is only an illusion at the beginning, but which, with each movement, grows in intensity. After having lost half of his life on the journey, the fly finds the origin of the aroma that drives him forward. The turbulence of the wind prevents him from advancing, it moves him in all directions. But the fly does not let himself be intimidated; he has been a man, has taken a life, has been robbed of his life, and has traveled this existence countless times, the wind is not a rival, it is himself in another age. This is how he lets himself go and soon finds himself in the cabin of a car, amazed by the man and the woman who now talk and laugh inside. He approaches the man and, with all his strength, shouts at him not to waste time, that destiny can be cruel in the same way that men are or have been. But the man does not listen; the fly flies through the air once more and goes around both looking for some solution. He does not find it; tired he stops at the mouth of the bottle, where he recognizes himself in the form of a drop of rain. Distraction prevents him from seeing the woman’s hand until it is too late, life is lost again. Again the end of the universe and the man returns as an animal, a fox that ventures into the desert dunes, that hunts snakes and faces vultures, that fights to stay alive long enough. Until a thundering sound changes the nature of things, “stay with me” is repeated and the fox knows that the time has come. One look is enough to change the life of the man who until then was walking the dark spaces of his own consciousness and then the epiphany, be an idea. The universe collapses and begins again, this time Alfonso is born from the vision of man, a set of synapses, of electrochemical impulses that form the powerful image of the majestic fox in the middle of the desert sands, a sticky idea that later translates into words that travel through the air and enter her ears.

  • I’ll take care of it, don’t worry.

XII

Amelia settles into the seat and closes her eyes, she falls into a deep sleep. It is a calm dream, like the belly of a whale, warm and protective. Through the thick mist of her restful consciousness appears the image of a man walking along the road. It is Alfonso returning with the can of gasoline in his hands. Amelia watches him from the window and smiles, their eyes meet and they recognize each other as if only minutes had passed since they last saw each other.

  • Maybe it was just a minute.

Alfonso arrives at the car and tells Amelia that he has found the can lying on the side of the road, which has been nothing short of a miracle. She stretches to get rid of her laziness and gets out to stretch her legs for a while. Alfonso fills the car pond with fuel, stares at Amelia, and can’t help but smile.

  • Something has ended.

Alfonso keeps his smile as he returns to the car.

  • Shall we go? Amelia asks cheerfully.

Alfonso nods, he turns the key in the ignition, and the engine starts. The car advances towards the horizon and beyond, there, where the desert ends.

Eternal dream (Part IV)

VII


Hanging out from the strange men, the trip through the desert takes about eight hours, enough time for Alfonso to get lost countless times in recurring thoughts, memories of days gone by when existence seemed superfluous, and unnecessary to him. It is just now that, taken by fear, he hopes to continue living despite, or better said, above all the dangers that for sure await him at the end of this new journey through the desert.

The journey ends abruptly as Alfonso falls heavy on the ground again and his eyes are unblinded, night falling on top of him. There are flames in torches that intermittently illuminate the space between him and Pedro, who’s on the other side of the circle, drawn with white stones, which separates the both of them from the exalted crowd looking anxiously at them by the sides of the improvised quadrilateral. Women, old people, and even children await the beginning of the festivities raising their voices to the stars, and energetic songs are heard throughout, in the same indecipherable language as the one the men spoke early on. One of those men walks among the crowd as they open the way for him to gloriously pass. He carries along two long bones, human femurs, Alfonso horrifyingly supposes. Truth is that having witnessed the dismemberment of Pedro’s brother before was enough of a hint. The man buries a bone in the sand, near Alfonso, and another near Pedro. Then, he approaches the center of the circle and introduces himself to the rest of the people. He bows and addresses Alfonso and Pedro in perfect English, he points out clear and simple rules for the festival to succeed. Both Alfonso and Pedro are to fight with the bones as weapons, only one can survive and the battle will not end until either of them falls to his demise.

  • Tell me, what do you desire?

A question echoes in Alfonso’s mind, words that the wind does not bring with it and that no person has pronounced.

  • Do you want to see?

The voice returns, and a tingling leads Alfonso to raise his gaze above Pedro, further back from the people who are shouting effusively. There, barely visible in the darkness, an extremely thin woman, her long black hair covering her sex and breasts, her arms as thin as branches, her ribs marked, buried. She sits on a structure that Alfonso is unable to decipher. Her feline eyes are fixed on his.

She blinks…

  • Tell me, what do you want? Give me the life of that man and you will have it.

Alfonso can only think of Amelia and the car in the middle of the road. Whether the hours they spent together actually happened or were all an illusion, it is all he can wish for.

  • That even the life of a burning man is not enough to pay for this riddle to end.

The woman smiles and a warm breeze lifts the ashes from the torches to the stars. Time rewinds, the sun rides back from the slept horizon back to life and forth across the sky, the stars regain the intensity lost in movement and the days return to the car and the woman sleeping inside.

  • Life is the choice to move, to move is to stay, to remain.

Standing outside the car, Alfonso prepares to leave in search of help, Amelia sleeps inside. He wants to turn around, get back in the car and see her once more. He stretches out his arms and almost manages to touch the window, but almost is an eternal space that stands between him and the car.

  • What do you say?

The voice brings him back to the dark night, to the burning torches, to the ecstatic shouts of the spectators, and to Pedro, who comes toward him with the long bone in hand, raging in fury he throws himself against Alfonso. Savage, and liberated, Pedro has surely been offered a similar bargain. Alfonso leaves his thoughts aside and jumps to the side to avoid the first attack.

  • Wait! We don’t have to do this.

Useless, Pedro does not listen to Alfonso’s words, takes the bone with strength, and attacks for a second time, Alfonso does not manage to avoid completely the blow, ends up receiving it in the left arm, and falls flat on the floor.

  • He’s hurt.

Breathing heavily, the pain in his arm prevents him from moving or thinking clearly, he has lost sight of Pedro, and his eyes rest for a few seconds on the woman, who is still looking at him.

  • Take what you wish.

The voice sentences, the sands rise, the music drowns, the sun embraces, Amelia sleeps, the fly dies, his feet hurt, and the old man burns. Alfonso receives the next blow directly in the stomach, flies through the air, and falls into the sand for the second time, blood spilled in the sand this time. Pedro balances the bone in his hands, feels victorious, apologizes, and remembers his brother, there is a way to bring him back to life, this is not personal.

  • Take it, now!

The voice returns and a war cry emerges from within, from the entrails of Alfonso, like an intense howl that fuses with the moon and the stars. The roar leads him to get up with new strength, and forgetting about the pain, he leaves all scattered thoughts behind as he delivers himself to the battlefield. A hasty turn leads him to evade another attack and to stand in front of the long bone left for him on the ground. A fourth blow from the right, the bone in his hand and Alfonso manages to block Pedro’s attack, although the force of the impact sends him back to the ground. A supreme effort, propelled by furious breathing, leads Alfonso to stick his eyes to his opponent’s movements. He feels light and prepared, jumps up, grabs the bone, and launches his attack before Pedro can react. The first attack doesn’t have enough energy to hurt, after all, Pedro’s body is more robust than Alfonso’s. However, the clash of forces has an unexpected consequence; now Pedro feels that he has won the battle. This leads him to ram Alfonso with the full weight of his body, confident, throwing him back to the ground, one step forward and Pedro raises the bone in the air with the intention of hitting Alfonso directly in the head to end the fight. The bone falls hard into the sand, however, Alfonso manages to move quickly to kick Pedro’s right knee hard, making him fall to the ground. Pedro rolls around on the floor and is in pain. An agile jump leads Alfonso to get up once more, in front of him, the wounded prey waits. Pedro crawls onto the ground and backs away without letting go of the bone still firm in his hands. Alfonso notices this, he knows that Pedro has not given up, and he is probably more dangerous now than before.

  • What am I doing? Are we really dueling each other to death?

Hesitation leads Alfonso to stop, he’s confused, and observes the expectant public, all ecstatic in the candor of battle and the promise of blood to be fulfilled. Enough time for Pedro to swing the bone in his hands with force and succeed in throwing it into the air, impacting Alfonso in the middle of the face. Blood gushes profusely from the wound, and Alfonso falls to the floor with a lost gaze, hitting the ground he loses consciousness. When he wakes up, Pedro is almost completely up. Blood that flows from Alfonso’s forehead goes into his eye sockets, clouding his vision, the taste of rust in his mouth makes him feel that he has also broken a lip, or perhaps he is swallowing the same blood that prevents him from seeing. Pedro takes advantage of the moment to pick up the bone again. He staggers but manages to do so, hobbling over to Alfonso, squeezing the bone in his hand, and breathing a sigh of relief.

  • I’m sorry kid, I owe it to my brother.

Exhale… the air escapes from Alfonso’s chest and gets lost in the cold of the night, an agonizing moment. The spectators now shout in excitement, expectant of the outcome, the climax is approaching. Alfonso prepares to die, he doesn’t feel defeated or lost, just tired. He wonders about the causes of this tragedy, he does not know, and yet, once again, his hands seem to almost touch the fogged-up window, to wake up Amelia.

  • I would have liked to get to know her, I guess.

The last wish.

  • Why do you want to see her? – the voice returns.
  • I don’t know… I just know that I want to see her.

Alfonso responds without even trying to hide the confusion that has accompanied him all his life.

  • You know what you have to do – the voice ends.

Hope, Alfonso’s eyes open wide, his muscles tense, and new strength leads him to turn quickly, to avoid the death blow that Pedro throws at him. The bone hits the ground and draws a crater in the sand. Alfonso stands up nimbly and his arms swing hard, an almost reflex movement at a speed that surprises the crowd, surprises the stars themselves and destiny awakes as the bone almost burns the air and a low whistle is heard, fast and fleeting.

  • Pedro’s teeth fly through the air and blood accompanies them on their journey into the void.

The bone in Alfonso’s hands shatters, it breaks in two when it impacts the skull of his adversary. One blow is enough to knock him down, Alfonso releases it and his body loses all strength, almost falls to the ground again, but manages to stay on his feet. Lying in the sand, Pedro’s body shakes reflexively for minutes before coming to a complete stop, the battle is over.

VIII


The spectators retire quietly, a few words are heard as they leave the circle of stones. Alfonso stands in the middle of it, his chest swells strongly with each breath, his eyes completely dilated do not lose any movement around him, it takes a while for him to return to a more normal state. The withdrawal of the people reveals the rectangular object, on which, sitting on top, sits the woman with long black hair. The object is a mirror as clear as crystal water. By the angle at which it is placed, it reflects the brightness of the stars, now visible as the light of the torches fades. As he approaches, Alfonso manages to see his bloody face reflected on the surface of the mirror and he is amazed at the clarity by which he can see himself. The woman smiles and then directs others to bring the body of the newly deceased closer to her. Two men take what’s left of Pedro and drag him close to a basket placed just below the mirror. The dark-haired woman gives some instructions, and the men place Pedro’s head in the basket, and the rest of the body in the sand. One of the men takes a bone, and approaches the mirror, the woman screams and the bone falls hard, crushing Pedro’s skull. Again and again, the blows rumble on the ground, Alfonso stares silently, the situation shakes him, but he feels he no longer has the strength to respond in any way to this increasing trauma.

  • I can only hope for some oblivion at this point.

Blood and pieces of skull are scattered on the surface of the mirror. The woman comes down from the frame and spreads the blood with her hands until she completely covers the surface of the crystal. Then, she raises her arms to the sky and takes something, an invisible cloth that joins her to the stars. She uses it to cover Alfonso, circulating around him, whispering words that cannot be heard. The woman returns to one side of the mirror and puts the other end of the cloth near the bloody surface, something grabs it from the other side, tighten it and Alfonso’s body is propelled forward, into the blood, into the darkness, and the light of the stars reflected in the mirror. Alfonso tries to back up but his feet slip into the sand.

  • Now you can see, can you?

Alfonso closes his eyes, and lightning strikes the frame of the mirror, while Alfonso gets cut by the glass passing through with his whole body into the void and the stars break and, from the opening, an intense light receives him, so strong and warm that the outline of his body disappears, vanishes. And for billions of years there is only calm, infinite stillness, full of undecipherable happiness, nourished by a complete existence. However, with the passage of time a memory emerges, like a stain on the surface of all creation, an opening through which energies escape and sprout, altering the consistency of the luminous surface, the intensity recedes and an explosion leads the whole to separate through the empty space that covers it. Alfonso becomes himself again, he recognizes himself as a finite person, as legs, as arms, as his hands that try to hold on to the light that escapes like sand between his fingers. Entire galaxies struggle to stay together, but the repulsion is much too strong, tears are lost in the movement, farewells that last for eons, like raindrops drawing the wake of birth, preparing to move forward, they go deeper, more into the depths. Suns burn and give life to an infinite amount of planets, and they pass by Alfonso’s side, light up with force, and turn without stopping, until losing everything, until disappearing and, with them, thousands of lives are lost once more. Until the whole horizon of events bids farewell to the whole light and embraces a dark mantle. The void is the only thing left and Alfonso keeps himself, remembers himself, and clings to his memories, to the remains of him, and coldness freezes his lungs, his breath stops, and a new calm begins. Millions of years pass again.

– When will it end?

The voice returns to Alfonso’s frozen mind, wakes him up and his heart beats once more.

  • Come back.

Time, previously stopped, now goes backwards, light and blinking, shy on the horizon line, it gains strength and the shine returns, suns burn strongly and galaxies meet again. Alfonso is dragged once more to the center of the whole truth, to the uncontainable, undeniable, imperishable light that embraces him and drives him down, the falling lasts as long as the space between the stars. Alfonso lets himself go, lets out a cry from the entrails to leave aside the nervousness, the excitement, to be reborn. And when the light collapses, his eyes can barely stand the morning glow, but he adapts quickly, looking at the sign in front of him, it’s the name of a gas station and the fuel price list. A sense of familiarity seizes him as the wind moves the sand scattered on the concrete, reminding him that he has already been in this place, but. has he been here?

Eternal Dream (Part III)

V

The impression awakens Alfonso, what was that? A dream? The place he’s in right now is unfamiliar to him. The shelves with candy, the flickering light in the damp sky, and the vibrant sound of the refrigerators on the side. The smell of gasoline in the air gives him a more or less convincing clue as to where he is and who has rescued him during the night. The bell rings with the opening of the door and a woman enters the store. Alfonso gets up to sit on the old red sofa, with some bites in the corners that reveal the boards that shape it. The woman introduces herself as Paloma and informs him that thanks to the big explosion in the middle of the night they were able to find him.

  • You’ve been lucky.

Exalted, Alfonso asks about the old man, Paloma says she didn’t see anyone else, that the place was very dark and repeats that he was lucky they even found him in the middle of nowhere. Hearing about an old man, she remembers meeting an old stranger some time ago, perhaps it was the same person. But Alfonso is not satisfied with this answer, he insists on the old man, explains that he may be seriously injured and that they need to go and look for him immediately. A second voice interrupts him.

  • How long do you think it’s been since we found you?

It is a man with a grey beard and a trucker’s hat, who presents himself as Pedro, a strong man with features that suggest having been beaten by the passage of time. Alfonso has no way of answering the question correctly, he wants to say “a few hours” but the heaviness in his head tells him otherwise.

  • You have been sleeping for a whole week.

Pedro replies and Alfonso gets up completely from the sofa.

  • What happened to Amelia?

An unanswered question, the woman approaches and tries to reassure him, explaining that no one else was found in the desert, which is a very vast place, and sometimes people simply disappear. Confused, Alfonso cannot believe the words he just heard. How is it possible that they have not been able to find their car?

  • This desert is special.

Pedro answers once again, in that cryptic way that already starts to irritate Alfonso.

The sands rise up and sometimes they form figures that seem real, but after a while, the wind blows them away and they don’t exist anymore.

Words that confuse Alfonso even more.

  • Are you saying that I hallucinated everything? That Amelia doesn’t exist? And the old man?

Pedro has no answers as he doesn’t respond to that one. The ground and the sky revolve around Alfonso, confusion, and dizziness lead him to run toward the exit door. The sound of the small bell on the door resonates and merges with the arches that find him outside the quick stop, the little he has in his stomach is expelled through his mouth and ends up spilled on the floor, where the sand twirls in the wind and forms circular shapes. Alfonso stares at the movement, and in his mind, the idea of illusions begins to gain strength over less plausible scenarios. At least it takes away his responsibility for the lives of two individuals.

  • But, is he really considering that it was all an illusion?

Pedro walks out the door and approaches Alfonso, offering him a napkin to wipe his mouth. Alfonso receives the napkin and wipes himself without getting up.

  • You’ll be fine, I assure you.
  • I’ll be fine? We are talking about the lives of two people.

Alfonso responds without hiding his irritation.

  • Two people who may be an illusion.

Pedro comes back to the charge with his theory of illusions in the sand.

  • I understand you, believe me. Something similar happened to me, I also lost a person.

Alfonso wakes up half-relieved that someone else shares the odyssey. Amelia’s face remains in his memory, impossible to believe that it was all just a dream.

  • But don’t worry, there is still something we can do.
  • What do you mean?
  • Well, I saved your life and you can now help me with something that will benefit us both.

Alfonso still can’t believe they couldn’t find Amelia, what about her car? What happened to it? Pedro indicates that details have never helped anyone change the reality of things, but that Alfonso does not need to despair, as there is still hope. It is about the inhabitants of the desert, it is a tribe of strange individuals who share a special connection with the creative principles of the sands. They know about the desert and its illusions, and they can help both.

Pedro goes on to explain the sad story about the disappearance of his younger brother, also “swallowed up or imagined” by the desert. Has he hallucinated him? He doesn’t know, as time goes by he can’t even remember if he really had a brother all his life. But what he keeps in his heart is the memory and affection for him, and that is what drives him to keep looking. Alfonso listens to Pedro’s words with disbelief, reality now seems so much different to him than it was when he decided to make a trip to the desert. Laws of reality seem to have shifted towards the ridiculous.

  • What do you say? Are you with me?

Pedro asks once more and Alfonso accepts the offering, not even sure what the offering is about, both of them face the end of the gas station territory, the beginning of the interminable sands.

VI

Early the next day, Alfonso and Pedro go back into the desert, for a while they walk in silence by the side of the road, but then take the path into the deep desert, leaving all traces of civilization behind, until they find themselves completely surrounded by golden mounds that reflect intense sun rays, indistinguishable from each other. The walk carries on and Alfonso gets invaded once again by that mindfulness feeling that reminds him of the moment he decided to walk away from the car, from Amelia, the starting point of his current odyssey. And then he realizes something else, somehow he has this feeling about Amelia, that no matter how illusory it all seems he will return to her and she will still be alive.

  • No matter what.

Heavy steps in the sand, the tiredness reaches him faster this time around. Pedro walks away in a hurry, sure of himself, of the path. For Alfonso, things are not so easy.

  • Hey, wait for me!

And then it happens, first, a light wind blow raises a soft breeze and moves the surface of the desert, then it grows as a breath that becomes more and more agitated, until raising a wall of sand that moves quickly and wraps Pedro and Alfonso, making impossible to distinguish heaven from earth.

  • Is it all sand?

Alfonso tries to follow in Pedro’s footsteps, but the wall of sand that stands between them barely allows him to distinguish him from everything else.

  • Alfonso, let’s keep going! Pedro yells.

Forward? Where to? Alfonso doesn’t know, it all seems the same to him at this point, either up or down or left or right. Thunder rumbles on the ground around them, it rumbles from either side of the desert. Alfonso manages to get close to Pedro, he shouts to him, and asks about the origin of the thunder, does it matter? Pedro turns and smiles.

  • We are close!

Close to what? A new roar is now revealed as a high-pitched scream and, a little further on, a figure stands on the highest dune on the nearby horizon, almost indistinguishable among so much sand. As they approach, battling the increasing winds, both can see that it is a naked man with his arms raised and his face angry, his words, incomprehensible to Alfonso, yet he seems to be cursing the desert. The sands follow the movements of his yelling; to the left, to the right, the cries of this man provoke the wrath of the winds. Pedro indicates to Alfonso that the guy standing on the dune is his younger brother and that it is time to capture him, to stop him before the desert prevents them from doing so. Alfonso follows Pedro to the dune, but the brother sees them approaching and runs away, shouting louder and raising new storms that make it impossible to follow his trail. Pedro shouts his brother’s name over and over again.

  • Gustavo!

Alfonso orientates himself by following the sound of Gustavo’s yelling, his eyes can no longer see anything but sand fluttering aggressively between the columns of wind that push him in all directions. Then, a sharp sound and an aggressive blow pass furiously through Alfonso’s left side, grazing his bare ear. A fast line that forms a tube between the sands, an opening that points the way of the object embedded with violence, into the center of Gustavo’s back.

It’s an arrow.

Gustavo falls dead in the middle of the desert storm. Pedro reaches his brother’s body a few seconds later, but it’s too late. He takes him in his arms and sobs, trying, without success, to separate him from the arrow that has taken his life. Alfonso turns around trying to track the direction of the arrow, his eyes now set on a group of silhouettes standing about fifty meters away. These people look at him with inexpressive faces and naked bodies, except for the colors they wear on their skin, red some, blue others.

  • They are the people of the desert.

Pedro points to Alfonso and urges him to urgently kneel in silence. By the expression on his face, Alfonso understands that both of them are in extreme danger. Fear leads him to stutter some incoherent answer. Pedro falls to his knees, and the tears that flow from his eyes get drawn into the sand. Alfonso follows him, trembling, manages to kneel down, and lowers his head. A group of naked men surrounds Alfonso and Pedro, they talk in incomprehensible language. One of them takes Alfonso by the hair and lifts him up to inspect him. Alfonso avoids looking this man in the eyes and manages to count five more of them in a quick glance to the side. The men tie Alfonso and Pedro’s hands and feet, while another one approaches Gustavo’s body and, wielding a knife carved in stone, slices him with great skill into several pieces. The blood flowing from Gustavo’s body stains the crimson-red sands, the men wash their bodies with this blood, and looking up into the sky, they sing until the violence of the wind stops. The path clears, and the sky appears before them again. Alfonso cannot move a muscle at this point, as he assumes with enough reasons that any suspicious movement could end up in his death. The men cover his and Pedro’s eyes with cloth cut from Gustavo’s torn skin, then take them away, dragging the prisoners through the sands.

Eternal dream (Part II)

II

Hours pass and Alfonso wanders alone with the desert landscape and between thoughts. Lying down outside on the side of the car, he waits for the announced rescue that still does not materialize. The sun is lost in the horizon, and the lighter’s flame burns the tip of the fourth cigarette, Alfonso takes a big puff and exhales the smoke into the wind to stay calm, as Amelia continues to sleep. He looks to both sides of the road and measures the space separating him from civilization, a situation that reassures him. In a few words, Alfonso does not want to return to the everyday life he has built, he feels trapped in it, squeezed to the last drop of novelty that he could find in the same streets he has walked all his life, in the same living spaces, in the same people with whom he has shared his life. Put it this way, it’s not so bad to be stranded in the middle of the road next to this woman he knows nothing about. Night finally falls in the desert and the cold forces Alfonso to return to the interior of the car, where Amelia sleeps still, surely she was tired after walking who knows for how long through the desert. Alfonso settles into his seat and closes his eyes. It takes him a long time to fall asleep, but he succeeds.

The next day, he wakes up with a sore neck, probably because of hanging from the seat for most of the night. He thinks he should have worn a sweatshirt as a pillow, but he didn’t dare to copy Amelia. He prefers to open the door and stretch out outside, letting the annoyance dry out in the sun. The morning wind receives him fresh, enough to not make such a fuss about the fact that the people from the gas station haven’t shown up yet. Alfonso hoped they would show up during the night. Nothing to do and Amelia still sleeping in the co-pilot’s seat…

  • Will she ever wake up?

At midday, Alfonso has already made more than a few laps around the car, he has walked to the limit of the road and the desert, he has taken the sand in his hands, which has slipped away from his fingers completely, he has remembered the fox that influenced him the day before.

  • And Amelia continues sleeping in the same position.

Alfonso despairs; at least eighteen hours have passed since she fell asleep. Has something happened to her? He doesn’t know and it takes a long time before he dares to check. It occurs to him to move her from her position to try to wake her up. Perhaps she will be angry, but at least he will know that she is okay. He does so, he moves her from one side to another with delicacy, nothing. Then with strength, back and forth, he says her name, shouts her name.

  • Nothing.

Fear takes hold of Alfonso. Convinced that something bad is happening, he takes the bottle and pours what is left of the water over Amelia’s face, but she still does not wake up. No more water and his companion unconscious, Alfonso nervously meditates on the situation, which takes an even darker turn when he notices that the phone has lost all of its battery life. Unable to ask for help, all lines of thought lead him to the same conclusion…

  • the only solution is to venture into the desert in search of help.

After more than a day of waiting, the arrival of external help seems to him to be an illusory idea. To remain waiting could mean not only his own death due to lack of water but also the death of Amelia. A continuously evolving horrifying situation keeps him sited in front of the steering wheel, and it occurs to him to hit the handle to get even with destiny for his present predicament. Already with sore arms, he decides to open the door and walk away.

  • The desert receives him imposing and eternal.

III

One step after another, Alfonso walks through the empty road. His mind clings to the previous vision of the tireless gaze of that little fox in the desert dunes, to the misadventures of Amelia, who walked for God knows how many hours through the same desert.

  • Can he make it too? Can he survive this?

He supposes that there’s no other option than to walk until finding civilization or until fainting from the heat. Yet the situation presents itself as strangely amusing. He feels alive, honest, whole, with a valid mission, with a different objective than the monotonous necessity of simply remaining alive. The sun crosses the horizon with the passing of the hours, the motion tampers the incandescent pale tone that does not give truce to the traveler, light paints now the land with orange tones, then reddish, then shades of purple that make the trip more bearable. At sunset, Alfonso gets out of juice, it’s the tired legs, the feverish forehead, and the dry throat that doesn’t allow him to breathe with the same ease. At the same time, he can’t stop walking, he doesn’t want to, and he assumes that if he stops he won’t move again for a long time, so it’s better to keep going.

The night almost falls completely over him when a new vision appears in his path, this is the third one. It’s kinda a Miracle, there’s a gas can left alone on the side of the road. A mirage? No, it’s really there. Alfonso presses on and walks the stretch to this marvelous vision and finds the gas can, he notices that it is almost completely full of gasoline, enough to give new life to the car, to take Amelia to a hospital even. However, as soon as Alfonso takes the can in his hands, a hidden figure emerges from the shadows of the almost night and throws itself at Alfonso, knocking him down. It’s an old man completely naked, with long filthy gray hair and a pronounced beard of the same color. Alfonso turns and raises from the sands to face this old man, in doing so he notices that the eyes of the stranger shine in pale bright, as intensely as the stars in the sky; this vision amazes him enough to discard any hostile posture. And with those shining eyes, the old man does not stop observing Alfonso, almost without blinking, while picking up the gas can from the sand. Alfonso cleans his clothes fast and goes to the old man at once, seeing he’s about to leave. He tells him about the car stranded in the middle of the desert and the woman he had to leave behind to find a solution. However, after the story is over, the old man does not change his attitude; the gas can belongs to him and he has no intention of sharing it. Alfonso reluctantly accepts and sits down by the side of the road, while the old man ventures a little further into the desert. It really has been a long day walking and the night has fallen on the desert, to continue advancing in these conditions does not seem a good idea.

While Alfonso is lost in thought, the old man gathers some branches and with a bit of gasoline, he prepares to light a fire, his hands descend towards the place where his pockets use to be.

  • Where are my pants?

The old man realizes he has no pants and no way to make a fire. Alfonso notices this, he approaches and lights the branches with the lighter, an object that causes the old man a lot of curiosity. The flames grow with the wind and the fire takes shape quickly. Alfonso and the old man sit by the fire and stare silently, both with the same lost gaze between the reddish crests and the small incandescent sparks that escape from the fire. Alfonso has not forgotten the gas can, he still has some hope of taking it away from the old man. He surprises himself with these conspirative thoughts, assuming they come from the desperate circumstances in which he finds himself. He decides to inquire about the old man’s motives and asks him what he is doing naked in the desert in the middle of the night. The old man scratches his chin and stays a while thinking, he seems not to remember what he is doing. After a long time, he answers that he is looking for someone he lost a long time ago. Alfonso doesn’t know if the old man is pulling his leg, so he decides to ask for more details, but he says that’s all he knows.

  • But I do remember I must not let go of this can of gasoline.

Alfonso responds fast to that one, noting that the old man did release the can when he found it at the side of the road. The old man goes off laughing for a long time, a long long time. Irritated, Alfonso prefers to remain silent. Then, the old man gets up and digs a hole in the sand, takes a red robe from underneath, something is wrapped inside. The old man reveals the content hidden, it is a dead snake, which he presents to Alfonso, without hiding the pride of a hunter. Alfonso doesn’t hide his disgust either, getting to watch the old man grabbing the snake by its head, cutting it off with his teeth right there, and impaling it in a stick, which then puts near the flames. The old man covers his body with the red robe and soon after, the snake is cooked. He takes it out of the fire and bites a piece, his face draws a wide smile. Could it be that he has not eaten in days? Alfonso wonders as he receives the piece of snake that the old man offers him. Both eat in silence, Alfonso says nothing, but the taste of the snake has been way less terrible than he expected. It occurs to him to tell a joke.

  • It seems to lack a bit of salt.

The old man can’t understand that one. Doesn’t he know what salt is? A while later, the flames lose their intensity, the old man’s eyes close and soon he falls asleep. Alfonso settles down on the sand to rest, but he cannot sleep. More time passes, the flames burn agonizingly and Alfonso opens his eyes, in front of him, the can and the old man sleeping, a unique opportunity to get the gasoline and return to Amelia. He rises carefully from the floor and takes furtive, precise steps to avoid excessive noise. He manages to get so close to the old man that he can hear his breathing. Alfonso stretches out to take the can with both hands, almost succeeding.

– But the old man wakes up suddenly.

Frightened, the old man grabs the can with strength, pushing it toward his belly. Alfonso pulls once more but does not manage to take it away from him. The old man gets up and tries to run away, but Alfonso doesn’t let go and, without wanting to, ends up pushing the old man and the gas can toward the agonizing fire.

  • It was just a matter of seconds for it to burn out.

The can falls first and then the old man, Alfonso cannot react, his intention is to help, but the explosion sends him flying through the air, along with a huge flame that rises in the sky, lighting up the night like the breath of a dragon. The cries of the old man wrapped in flames keep Alfonso at the limit of what he can process as reality in the making. Completely disoriented, he can only stay there by the flames until the cries stop and only the flames remain. Confused, Alfonso tries to stand up a couple of times, but he doesn’t make it, time keeps falling out of his fingers and it doesn’t stop until other hands pick him up from the floor and carry him to the back of a truck, where he is carefully laid. The doors of the truck close, and Alfonso hears the voice of two people talking. These people, fuzzy silhouettes in the darkness of the cabin, ask him questions he can’t understand or answer. Tired, he lets himself go and falls completely asleep.

IV

The vaporous lines of mirages, which meet on the horizon of the road at noon, form Alfonso’s body, which becomes flesh, comes alive, and returns to the car in the middle of the desert. Walking he remembers the weight of noon and a bunch of foxes peep out among the dunes and receive him on his return. The vision fills him with joy, he takes the time to revere each one of the foxes and wishes them a prosperous journey, wherever they must go. Smiling, he approaches the car and Amelia, soon he will see her again. A sudden impulse leads him to run the last stretch, and yet when he arrives he does not find her. Frightened, he looks inside through the window; what he finds there presses his heart and leads him to step back. There she is, but it is not her, not the Amelia he remembers but her body as if it were deflated, like her skin and clothes without muscles or skeleton to hold them, wrinkled and piled up on the seat. The vision is like a fabric that folds back but its tones still remember what she was. And then, from the inside, from the darkness coming through the tear in the middle of the body, a red rose emerges and rises, and the stems filled with thorns that accompany it take over the entire interior space of the car until they break the windows and make Alfonso step back with blood on his hands.

Eternal Dream (Part I)

I

Sands, once calm, now rise in the midst of the turbulence, a cloud of dust forms in the middle of the road and separates the desert into two large extensions of space, as wide as the eye can see. A translucent curtain follows the movement of the car that speeds through the place. Through the open window, on the driver’s side, the thunders of rock music merge with the wind.

  • “Stay with me, stay with me”.

The chorus of the song accompanies Alfonso’s journey and the reason he travels through the lonely desert are the same ones that imprint speed to his movement. Situations, decisions, and reasons have led him to part ways with memories as much as possible, in the manner of modern streams of thoughts made melodies that separate a person from timelines different from the present continuous.

  • “Stay with me, stay with me”.

The song ends and another one begins, this one less intense. The stifling heat of midday merges with the heaviness of the new tune, too melancholic, too “trip back in time” to endure. Alfonso’s gaze escapes to the desert, to the dunes, all different from each other. There, he meets a curious figure that catches his attention, a small fox that stands in the sand and watches the car passing by. Alfonso crosses glances with the animal and, in doing so, awakens something inside of him, a diffuse idea, one that will never leave him again.

  • How is it possible that such a small being can survive in an environment as dangerous as a desert?

The question leads him to bow out of respect to the fox as he passes by its side. Looking ahead, Alfonso propels himself forward with a new attitude, the lines on the road now appear as arrows indicating a different path, a better way. His hands cling to the wheel and hope fills his heart. And then, something else happens, the road reveals yet another curious figure. It’s a young woman carrying a backpack almost as big as herself. A backpacker who has ventured into the desert, perhaps from as far away as the city. The revelation leads him to experience a series of sensations he thought he had left in the city when he escaped to the desert. He wonders about the woman’s motives, about the purpose of her journey, he also wonders about the protocol to be followed in cases like these. Is it legal to continue without assisting her? A quick review of the situation leads him to conclude that the woman will probably have to walk a long way before finding someone else who can help her, having traveled for more than four hours in the car without having seen anyone else around. Yet, raises her hand and thumb first, an international sign for help. Alfonso fixes his gaze on the raised finger and immediately feels tied to an unspoken contract between two people, the rational response leads him to ask.

  • How long have I been transformed into such a robot?

There is no answer. In the midst of the tribulation, Alfonso stops the car, almost automatically by the side of the road. The woman approaches smiling, advancing at a slight trot until she reaches the co-pilot’s window and introduces herself.

  • Hi, I’m Amelia.

Alfonso introduces himself and the two look at each other for the first time. In her eyes, he finds traces of that same melancholy that has led him to travel alone through the desert, although he doesn’t dare say anything about it. He invites her into the car, however, Amelia asks to put the backpack in the trunk. An obvious one, Alfonso thinks to himself and gets out of the vehicle to help. Between the two of them, they manage to find the right way to put the backpack inside the trunk, smiling once more, in that awkward way that people who barely know each other usually behave.

The car goes on the road once more and Alfonso asks Amelia why is she walking alone in the desert. She laughs at the situation, calling it “an uncomfortable question”. She explains her reasons with several evasions and generalizations that don’t provide much information. Alfonso prefers not to delve into the subject, surely it’s something difficult to talk about. Now it’s her turn to ask the same question and his turn to respond with the same generalizations and evasions. It has been about thirty minutes since they both met and neither of them knows anything about the other yet, except that they act in the same way when meeting new people. An uncomfortable silence separates them a little more and it’s then that Amelia makes the decision to make a confession, to exorcise the demons that are already taking over the minds of both of them. She says that she was part of a group of people with whom she parted ways after an argument. She then confesses not being sure what exactly led her to travel with these people in the first place. Perhaps she has let herself be carried away, she reflects, by the intentions of others and, after waking up to reality, she has not been able to come to terms with her companions. A failure of hers, she criticizes, for the lack of conviction in the democratic way, and in the end, this failure has left her wandering alone in the desert.

  • Reality? – Alfonso asks.
  • Yes, the reality is that all of this is just a dream. – She answers and goes off laughing.
    Alfonso remains silent; he really can’t process her last sentence.
  • It was a joke. – Amelia breaks the spell.

Alfonso remains thinking for a few seconds, did he really think that everything could be a dream? Shame leads him to move the focus of attention elsewhere.

  • What kind of argument leads a group of people to abandon another person in the middle of the desert?

Amelia quickly reaffirms the point, it was her decision. An impulse without thinking through, he assumes, glad on the fact that he is not an impulsive person. He assumes that this character trait puts him above her, for isn’t it he who is helping her and not the other way around? Amelia feels the fluctuation of power and decides to level things out, to recover that mystique that surrounded her when Alfonso knew nothing about her. She decides to reformulate the initial question, having answered her part previously, she assumes that Alfonso will have the moral obligation to return the gesture. It’s a question that Alfonso cannot avoid in any way

  • What is a young man doing traveling alone on the road?
  • I prefer to travel alone, I like solitude.

Lie, Alfonso is burdened with loneliness, he has become accustomed to it, driven by distrust of other people, which forbids him to do things like travel with a group of strangers through the desert and then dare to leave them stranded, citing his own conviction of being right, imposing, perhaps, innocent tyranny before falling into just oppression. Could he have defended himself to them in the same way? An almost imperceptible movement of his right eye leads him to become obsessed with Amelia’s Machiavellian smile. Amelia feels at ease, she has achieved her goal. It is Alfonso who has problems now, an almost uncontrollable desire not to have picked her up, to turn back time and be alone again, seize him. Paradoxical, and he realizes, to desire loneliness, to obtain it, and then to hate it. Isn’t that the story of his life? Tribulations that lead him to press the accelerator pedal and to take a deep breath next to the window opening, movements that Amelia perceives positively as irritation. She prefers to keep silent and look out the window to get lost in the strange shapes that the sand draws in the wind.

  • They are like emotions – she thinks. Drawings of a reality that does not usually last.

And then it happens, the car body starts to vibrate strongly and an agonizing screech announces the last breath of the engine. The red warning light comes on seconds before the disaster. The car slides lifelessly for a few more meters and ends up stopped at the side of the road. Can thoughts change the course of time? Amelia wonders and wishes she hadn’t thought the last thing she thought.

The dial tone resonates intermittently, Alfonso assumes first that he will not be answered, in his mind exploring the worst possible situations he will have to face if the call does not come through. Amelia waits in silence, her firm belief is that this is not the time to further disrupt the cosmic energies that have decided to abandon both of them in the middle of the desert. The device seems to work, the call connects and Alfonso explains the present situation to the person on the other end of the line. A solution, there’s a gas station a few miles ahead, difficult to know how many miles, the person confesses, because of the lack of distinctive signs between the dunes, the lack of geographical reference points and the inexperience, both Alfonso and Amelia’s, to position themselves on the planet without the help of external agents such as a compass or good orientation. The next call seems more hopeful, Alfonso manages to communicate with the gas station, he repeats the misfortune once again, although this time the story is less dramatic. In any case, the message achieves the desired effect, the woman on the other end of the line indicates that they can approach them by car. However, depending on the position they are in, the operation could take a few hours. Alfonso accepts the proposal and appreciates the concern of all involved, without hiding the disappointment of a city person, used to agile solutions and short waiting times. Amelia senses the bad news by looking at Alfonso’s facial expressions; she prefers not to ask about it. She concentrates on his dry lips and the memory of the bottle of water she has kept in her backpack a few minutes before meeting him in the middle of the desert. She gets out of the vehicle and takes a deep breath, the fresh air leads her to accept what she has not wanted to ask about, the rescue will take time.

Having tried the bottle, she returns to the interior of the car. A big sip of water is enough to bring back a smile and infect Alfonso with it. Amelia offers him the bottle and they both laugh at the current situation, they feel free from an invisible burden that they now understand has been largely caused by the reluctance of both to say anything. Alfonso admits that this whole trip through the desert could have been a mistake, that he is not an impulsive person, but that he really needed a break from everyday life. Amelia nods sympathetically as she receives the bottle of water back.

  • Isn’t that why people go on vacation?

She asks and Alfonso nods, both smiling again and exhaling deeply. The conversation flows uninterruptedly for a long time, during which time a fly moves around inside the cabin of the car, passing unnoticed to them. The fly ends up resting on the edge of the bottle for so long that, when Amelia becomes aware of its presence, she cannot avoid, almost reflexively, to move it with her hand, hitting it so hard that she ends up knocking the fly down. Nervous laughter leads her to hide the guilt she feels for having ended a life, something that catches Alfonso’s attention. Amelia wipes the bottle and takes another sip of water.

  • Live in such a way that your actions pay the debt.

Alfonso remembers the quote from some movie he has seen, Amelia picks up the fly’s body and puts it on a piece of paper. Both remain silent out of respect for the deceased and then let it rest, burying it in the desert sands. Amelia asks Alfonso to say a few words

  • Fly, we didn’t know you and I want you to know that none of us wanted you to die. It’s just that life is so fragile. As someone once said, life is a blink and death is an eternity. I think you are in a better place.

The wind picks up a thin layer of sand and gains some intensity, Alfonso and Amelia decide to go back inside the car. A short time later, Amelia feels the first signs of fatigue, a faint yawn, then a long one. The heaviness of the sunset settles on her eyelids, Amelia says goodbye for the moment and settles down on the seat, using a sweatshirt as a pillow she manages to find a comfortable position and closes her eyes, soon after she falls asleep.