Skip to main content

«Yunet doesn’t look like the others». It was funny because I had not noticed the detail. Or maybe I dit it, just without giving it importance. From then on, the questions began. Where was she looking? The girl who pays no attention while the group smiles at the photographer who eternalizes happiness. The girl who moves her eyes to the right or to the left, why was she so serious? Was Yunet looking or did Yunet not want to look? On the back of the photograph you can read «End of the school year party souvenir. José González Guerra School. June 13, 1991. Nuclear City».

Yunet wants to or avoids looking at the monster. At the iron mass. At the reactor. At the freak. Yunet (maybe) looks or avoids looking at the monster on the most important day of the year. The day of freshly cleaned uniforms. The day of impossible futures. The day of children framed in happiness as everything changed around them. In a short time the construction of the reactor would come to a standstill. And the past (like that photo where a girl looks to the other side while the others in front) would become a broken heart, a country or a dream of a country.

Perhaps at the moment of the click the monster looks back at her and winks. «Monsters can love too», but only sometimes. Like when Yunet thinks of the relief of distances filled, of the ways in which a heart can break as a country or a dream of a country is broken.

«He who loses a country gains a trade». An obsessive relationship with the past. Something that often comes close to pain.

Then Yunet, the girl who looks at the other side, would be the freak, the iron mass, the monster who cannot detach herself from the city or the sea. Yunet could be the girl who contemplates that image, and the image makes sense because it is being observed by her. Perhaps that is the moment of authenticity: the instant when Yunet looks at the monster and the monster is unable to miss the most important thing: a girl preventing a broken heart, a country or a dream of a country from being thrown into the sea.

But maybe there is something else. Something related to what was in front of her. In a photo, as in happiness, there is always someone left out. That day Yunet, like the rest of the group, attended the party with her parents: the builders, the scientists? The ones who went on with their lives as if life was the same. The monsters, the freaks. What were they thinking at that moment?

When there is no knowledge about something, it does not exist. It is the same with the past. But sometimes the past reinvents itself. Other times Yunet, the girl who looks the other way while the others look straight ahead, has a quiet and happy life. Yunet travels into space. From there she takes a selfie and behind it appears her favorite place on the planet. The amusement park where her parents worked all their lives. It seems impossible to her, but from weightlessness she can also see the star that dominates the place. Its construction began more than forty years ago. It was called the Work of the Century.

The rotating star is the monster that the girl contemplates while waiting for the click of happiness. What happens a second later is that Yunet smiles at her iron mass, at her freak while at night she dreams of reactors that illuminate the bay and the city.

«The girl who was looking at the other side» is part of the book The girl who was looking at the other side (2019).
* The author of the image of the amusement park is architect and designer Daniela Bright.