Dirección General de Tráfico suggests adding “Aa” in front of the name of one of your contacts in your phone address book. In case of an accident, whether its cause is recklessness or force majeure, use of this safety measure can quicken identification and treatment. “Aa” is an abbreviation of “Avisar a.” In English, “avisar” means “inform” or, alternatively, “warn”.
AVISAR A: Next of kin, a living blood relative, lady or gent in seashell sleeves and moccasins, sharing pulpy warmth and the orange glow of intimate space. Warn, inform, a somebody who’ll sit in the spring green waiting room with collar unbuttoned and shoulders like crumbled cliffs. AVISAR A: Somehow who, without you, hovers nervously, cut off from the rest of the meandering river, an oxbow lake in a secluded glade, swollen and stagnant.
It is Christmas Eve, and it has been six hours since my mother left, four since her last call. Her “hello?” had plucked at me, plunging into the ridges of my bodily tissues and fluids.
“I’m at the sea.” she’d said. I’d recalled our summer house, the Isabelline white hut with rooms like smoking dens, shrouded by the crystalline ocean. Did she stand beside the waves and think them beautiful? Oh, but, the water is very cold this time of year! I am the aging owner of a shore side souvenir shop, crouched underneath the windowpane as my mother, hair aflame, hurls stones at my glossy postcards and carefully glued together baubles.
Phone conversations with my mother tend to end with my delivery of a monologue, freshly cooked on a gas stove, my fingertips dripping faucet water onto sauce pans, enticing the maternal blue flame. “Please come home when you’re ready”, I’d said, keeping it as brief as possible, “You are not alone!” But despite my precautions, the speech was long and wordy enough to give her time and reason enough to cry. Her “okay” hung in the vacuum of the telephone line, in between twin sobs, hurricanes in which her sentiments solidify like eyes.
If one day I am hit by a force greater than one I am able to assimilate, if an act of God leaves me split open by a country road, perhaps some insightful paramedic storing my belongings in plastic bags will encounter my mobile phone. If he does, and if he thinks to go through my address book and begin dialing numbers, this is the first thing he’ll find:
AVISAR A, followed by a discrete colon, and then –