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Perforated reality

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It’s a sunny and windy day in May. I leave my house and go down the street towards a nearby public square. I walk with a certain briskness, since I have to take care of some daily errands before keeping an appointment with my friend, Eugenio Castro. I scarcely walk any distance from my doorway when I see some postcards that have been thrown onto the sidewalk, which grab my attention. On first glance I perceive two identical cards that show a panoramic view, in black and white, of the old or historic part of a city. Both appear to have been perforated by a drill or similar instrument.


Immediately I stop, with the intent of gathering these postcards from the ground. Consequently I bend down and pick one of them up. My first impressions become confirmed as soon as I contemplate the nearby postcard: effectively, the image shows an impressive stone bridge over a river whose railings are crowned with statues, and with a tower standing at the far end whose characteristic shape I immediately and excitedly recognize as the Charles Bridge, in Prague. This is a city that I have visited on various occasions, under different circumstances, and which has captivated me. As it had appeared to me from the beginning, the post card is perforated, having some curious punch-marks that augment its attractiveness and its mystery.

I get ready to pick up the second postcard, which is found a little bit away from the first one – scarcely half a meter – but it is upon reaching down again that I verify it has disappeared. I look around but find nothing; there is no trace of it. Barely have a few seconds transpired between the first and second gestures. Therefore I remain surprised by the sudden disappearance. Then I remember that while I looked at the first postcard taken from the pavement, a group of adolescents passed very close to me (there is a nearby secondary school), and then I think of the possibility that they had been able to take it with them, although I have the impression that they hadn’t had enough time for that. The sensation of anger and irritation overtakes me, so the idea of possessing these two postcards with identical appearances attracts me greatly. I look again, but my search is fruitless. Since I don’t see anything in my surroundings that reveals the whereabouts of the postcard, I continue my walk. I keep the card that I found in the pocket of my jacket.

About an hour later I take the same route from my house towards the square, but this time accompanied by my friend Eugenio Castro who has come to pick me up at my place. As we approach the location of the encounter with the postcards, I remember the event, and while somewhat agitated, I tell my companion what happened, taking out at the same time the postcard from my pocket in order to show him. I haven’t finished telling him about it when he, in a very calm and absolutely natural tone, points with his hand towards the ground right in front of our feet, exactly in the same place where I had seen the postcards scarcely a little while before, showing me the absent postcard. He picks it up and we compare it with the one that I have: there is no doubt; they are identical; everything coincides absolutely, including the positioning of the perforations. It is its twin, its double.

Finally, upon writing the report about this encounter, I notice the date on which it was stamped: the 5th of May.*

(Published in Salamandra #17-18, 2008)