The hero's relief

On the occasion of the approaching Christmas season, the author relates an event that, with a certain sympathy, will make us reflect on an important aspect of our lives.

Juan Ignacio Izquierdo Hübner-December 24, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

Photo: Carlos Daniel / Cathopic

Taking advantage of the fact that my friend Carlos was passing through Pamplona, I let him invite me to a downtown terrace for coffee. We sat down with the calm and unhurriedness of a silly Saturday afternoon, accompanied by a clear sky and that breeze from here that carries a spectral cold (even so, the terrace was full. Things that only happen in Pamplona). But we had a good coat. So after catching up -he told me about his work and I told him about my studies-, I took advantage of the fact that we were in confidence to unburden myself about certain concerns that sometimes pinch my good mood:

- I'm tired of the model of love that is being sold to us everywhere: it has the glitter and the size of soap bubbles. Many fall in love, go back and forth, and in the end nobody gets married....  

- Stop it, man, calm down," Carlos interrupted me while he put his cup on the plate with a soft blow. Don't get tragic: instead of complaining, we have to move. Like my nephew Miguel.

- The one studying Economics?

- Yes, he did. But he graduated a year ago... man, we needed to talk, eh! 

Well, a few weeks ago the kid had an inspiration.

- Is that so?

- After graduating, Miguel started working at the age of 24 in a consulting firm in Madrid. As he likes to go around greeting people, he is a guy who has endeared himself to his colleagues. About 25 people work (or maybe live) in his apartment. The bosses are at the back, in individual offices, and the employees share the living room, with half-height partitions dividing the tables.  

- As an American film.

- As it is. Apparently the work environment is not so gray. Miguel says that they even decorated something for Christmas: a little tree that you find as soon as you get out of the elevator and red ribbons on the window overlooking the city. 

- That's something.

- One morning the boss summoned the gang to the meeting room next to his office. The most awake ones managed to sit around the table, the others remained standing, forming a second and third row between the chairs and the walls. Miguel arrived a few minutes late, approached the room with his backpack over his shoulder and pressed himself against the door frame to listen.  

The chief gave his speech, "does anyone have any questions?" Cri-cri and "come on, let's get to work!". But before anyone could move, Miguel stepped in:

- Excuse me, I would like to give a warning. Taking advantage of the fact that we are all... 

- Of course," said the boss, disguising his curiosity with a polite bonus.

25 pairs of eyes were fixed on my nephew. And Miguel, holding back his emotion, let him go:

- I am getting married.

People looked at each other and discomfort spread through the room. Miguel became nervous, "maybe it wasn't the right time", and withdrew the smile he had so candidly offered. On the other side of the table, a woman in her 40s, who was particularly uneasy about the situation -perhaps because of her appreciation for my nephew-, asked the question that, it seemed, many shared:

- But, Miguel, why so young?

- Man," I said, interrupting Carlos in a frayed mood, "that woman could have said it more clearly. The woman could have said it more clearly. What Miguel probably meant by those words were other, crueler words: "You're not being reckless, or at least a little naive in pretending to dress up as a hero?" 

- Don't be dramatic," Carlos corrected me. Besides, at that moment, as I was telling you at the beginning, Miguel received an inspiration: he opened his backpack to take out his iPad, looked for something and showed the screen to his colleagues as if he was lifting a trophy. Suddenly the tension turned into warmth. It was a family photograph: in the center, two very elegant grandparents wearing Christmas hats; next to them, 7 smiling married couples; and filling every crack of the screen, some 35 or 40 grandchildren of varying stature and mischievousness. And while holding the photo, Miguel, with a tone of confidence, answered: 

- That's how I would like to live Christmas when I grow up, like my grandfather. And to get there, I'd better start early, right? That's why I'm getting married so young.

- Remarkable," I commented, "And how did people react?

- Several nodded, others smiled and the woman who had asked stood up, put a hand on my nephew's shoulder and congratulated him. 

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