Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On an old Barcelona friend
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE EIGHTEEN)
By any standards, my friend L. has had a tough life. She left school at fourteen, and has spent most of her working life in what she herself describes as dead-end jobs. She was brought up by a mother who wasn't good at showing affection (L. can't remember a single kiss), and a mentally backward aunt who died a few years ago.
At the moment, L. is having to cope with a series of problems on different fronts. Her mother has sunk into near catatonia, and is clearly on the way out. L. herself is taking medication for her recently-diagnosed hepatitis C. As if this wasn't enough, her boss treats her like a nincompoop, thus making her poorly paid job less bearable than it already is.
When I invited her round for the night of Sant Joan, she told me – without one iota of self-pity in her voice - that she was toying with the idea of putting an end to her life. She added she wasn't intending to leave her flat during the weekend.
As I insisted with a certain urgency, however, she did come round on Friday for a sip of cava and a bite of coca. Far from subjecting us to a litany of her ills, she was funny, cheerful, stoic, and wonderful with the kids to boot. As we talked, I remembered that this was the same L. who had fled from Horta to Menorca at eighteen to wash away a dreary adolescence, with whom I and other friends had had such good times in our late twenties (when we still clubbed through the small hours), that she was one of the very few people I find it easy to laugh with.
It dawned on me that L. has got over a hurdle many people fall at: she has proven herself imperturbably tougher than the life she has been dealt. All she needs now is to accept the fact that her friends love her more or less unconditionally, and I'd put good money on her soon becoming, well, happy.