"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bloodline: An Introduction

My family on my mother's side has owned horses for centuries. I am the last in the line to have them. There are so many stories surrounding my grandparents and great-grandparents, many of them including the horses that made their lifestyle as hacienda and plantation owners possible! And I want to tell you guys these stories. I have been wanting to put them in writing on the blog for two years now. And the catalyst to begin telling them finally happened.

My uncle Rafa, my mother's brother, recently came to visit. It was a last-minute impromptu visit spurred by the emergency of a close friend of his that lives in D.C. Rafa crashed at our place. I had been bummed that we would barely get to see him, since he was going to spend his days at the hospital with his friend and Carlos and I were both working our crazy schedules. But as always, destiny worked  its magic so that both Carlos and I DID get to spend a lovely one-on-one evening with him.

My uncle and me.
I had not seen my uncle in 12 years, since leaving the island. He has always been a huge fan of my endeavors, especially the equestrian ones, to the point of taking on part of the financial responsibility of my first horse Lucero when I moved to the mainland and had to leave him behind. My uncle is the only male among four siblings and like all of the Torrech family, he is as stubborn and willful as any of us. We are dreamers and the majority of us have one foot in the arts and the other in the sciences. We can let our heads get lost in the clouds, but we will work hard until the day we die. When we put our minds to something, you better jump out of the way because we are like bulldozers: unstoppable. It is a family trait.

The last time I saw my uncle, I was in my early twenties and still functioning at "child" level: I was by all means an adult (I had a college degree and a full-time job), but I still lived at home with the family and you honestly don't really grow up until you have to fend for yourself in the world.

This was my first time hanging out with Rafa as an adult myself and it was...fascinating. We took him to our favorite bar and had pizza and beer and laughed and talked way past the time I should have gone to bed in order to work the next day but it was well worth it. We talked about his kids growing up, my cousins. His eldest is 15 years younger than me and she is very much like I was at her age, so I gave him an insider's view on how to deal with that. We talked about the old house, the old magical house that my grandfather built and that we grew up in, that my uncle now owns.  The house doesn't like when my uncle leaves and consistently pranks him: every time he goes away for a trip, something happens. During this visit, a water pipe in one of the upstairs bathrooms broke and flooded part of a bedroom. We talked about the spirits that roam that property, including the dark beast that used to haunt my brother. My uncle sees them and his SO feels them. We talked about these things in the same manner anyone else would discuss the weather.

My uncle and Carlos sitting outside on our balcony, talking the night away.
It was interesting, to say the least. Not only to talk to him as equals but to confirm that really, our entire family is not quite what most people consider "normal". My entire family would have been accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake during a different era. The men, too.

Magical realism is a huge component of Spanish literature and by definition is: a literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy. You've seen elements of it if you watched Pan's Labyrinth or Amelie. If you read Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate (the original version of the book is in Spanish) or 100 Years of Solitude (also originally in Spanish) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you'll know what I'm talking about. Gabriel Garcia Marquez basically invented the genre.

The exception in this case is that magic realism, when it comes to my family, is not just a literary/artistic genre...it is our reality.

I've written about our scientific side, and mine especially since I work in veterinary medicine. Now I want to introduce you to the mysticism of being a Hispanic of Spanish and Caribbean origin, growing up surrounded by adults that basically had the equivalent of superpowers. And yes, it all ties into the horses.

And that leads me to this new series of posts that I am planning on doing every once in awhile, that I will be calling Bloodline, with the corresponding label. If you want to dive off of the deep end of reality with me, you're welcome to come along when I publish these. :)

More to follow.