Mexican artist living in London, UK.

Joyful Feeling

Joyful Feeling

On Compassion

I have been walking around the university all morning. I have never realised how stunning this building is; there are so many parts of the university that I do not know yet. My mom will be happy to see me studying in such an elegant building. There is a room that faces the garden; everything around me is just precious, the walls, the trees outside the window, the dark green velvet curtains, the luxurious wallpaper on the walls with drawings of flowers and leaves. No one can see these good-looking rooms but me, but one day I will describe this refined University’s building to my whole family.

Yesterday, I was in another room, the red room, the roof was brimming with rich and opulent roses; they were wall reliefs from the Victorian times. Roses with their steams and their leaves all over the place, so wonderfully shaped. I was looking up at them while holding my partner’s hand. His hand was so soft, I felt as if I was touching a fragile and delicate silk pearl veil. This is such a joyful feeling, holding hands with my partner when looking at the colourless roses on the ceiling.

Today I must hand in an essay about the wonderful times I have spent at this University. I am in my second year. I am studying law because I want to help the women who have been going missing in this city.

I found about the missing women when walking the streets: there were images of women pasted on the walls everywhere. I was actually looking for a gig to go with my partner. I wanted to see a band called ‘The Fall’ a British post-punk band that discovered at this amazing music exchange shop in crowded Nothing Hill Gate Avenue, London. I was looking for their poster because I knew that they would be visiting my city. The idea of going to one of their concerts blows my mind. I want to see the singer right in front of my face to show him that I am one of his greatest fans and to show my partner that I actually know how to dance to post-punk music.

Sometimes I wish my whole family were here, so that I could show them the extraordinary sceneries that are in this city. It is magnificent in many ways, but it has also become frightening in many other ways. I am very glad to bfinishing my thesis here and even though I love my partner, I think I should go back home.

There is always a new poster somewhere depicting a missing person. Everybody starts to suspect their neighbours. They give them a careful look; people dare not talk to each other. I guess people are starting to feel anxious that something may happen to them. There are so many people on the streets; what are they are doing here? What are their lives about? Some of them just seem to sit on the corner of my street, or sit out their porches just to watch passer-by. I always pretend not to see them; I walk quickly and straight on as if nothing was happening and as if there was was something else very beautiful on the other side of the road that needs my attention urgently. I am so glad I can turn my head to look someplace else. I am so glad there are trees and open spaces where I can go and lose myself in the nothingness of the landscape. The other day I found myself at the wall with all those missing people posters but I looked at the other flyers with all the gigs that would be happening and I thought to myself “Oh, what a nice design; I wish I had studied graphic design so I could help them with the advertisement of their gigs.”

Suddenly I stopped when I saw a very young lady who has been missing for more than three years, she looked very innocent, sweet eyes and a shy smile. I wondered who took her that picture. She liked furry jackets: the sort of clothes I would never dare to wear. She looked as if she really was into fashion and selfies. But those are my preconceptions, because who knows where she is now and how she is doing.

The essay I wrote for my assignment dismisses all these images of missing people. I just wanted to focus on the positive aspects of my residency at this University. I just want to talk about the splendour of the buildings, my supportive peers, the considerate tutors I had. The hardest things for me about studying law is that you have to be very focused on the important things and try to not be emotional. I need to build a reputation at this university because I want to be able to talk to many people in the courts and to enforce laws that will protect people from this forced disappearance.

Although I have been actively avoiding all the terrible things that are happening outside the academia, I have heard in the news that some women have been found in the outskirts of the city, in very atrocious conditions. They are not alive. I do not dare to study the news closely.

I simply do not want to know. I just want to study law to see what can be done within the police. Who knows? One day I may become a detective and be in charge for a small team, a powerful one who could shed some light on this situation. I do not want to see to the news now, but when I have already graduated.

My family was so happy to send me abroad to study here, in a city, such as this one, an old city with such a nostalgic landscape but now it is getting a reputation because it is a city in war.

But, my parents do not know what happens here. I tell them that we go to gigs and barbecues sometimes on Sundays.

I wish my family could see this ravishing Italianate mansion surrounded by flowers, trees of all different colours, some of them green and some actually red despite the fact that we are not yet in autumn.

People often ask me where I am from, especially men who think I am very naïve and will go out with them straight away. They have no idea I am studying law, I am not just another random off the street.

Yesterday, there was a party in my house but I was not invited because I refused to pay council tax. As a student in this country you do not have to pay council tax anymore. I felt very sad to be excluded from this celebration. Never mind, I know that I am strong and that I have other friends who I can party with, that offer nice meals and tea when I am at their homes. Sometimes, I feel rejected in this city, I wonder if it is the colour of my skin, the way I speak, or if I look pretty, ugly, or disgusting. Then, I remember who I am and my body that is very strong, it wakes me in the morning and takes me to work and to the University. Maybe it is the way I look at them, little bit suspicious, of their hostile behaviour. I wish I could trust them more, but how can you trust someone who sees you as an unwanted foreigner.
I wonder how it can be that there is such little empathy in the inhabitants of this city. Then I remember that I am here to study not to socialise.

Sometimes, I wish I was home. I am on my way to University to hand in my essay about my wonderful time in this city. It is very hot today, so I am wearing this nice short skirt.

I am glad I bought these shoes. I know that they must be little bit odd because a man at the airport told me that he had never seen shoes like mine before, What an idiot! How dare he talk to me like that! I wonder if he goes around judging all the airport users shoes. In any case, better not to think about it. The sky is clear and blue today, how wonderful. Oh, and look at the nice flowers, over there on the other side of the road, how lovely! I wonder how they smell! I have never seen such enormous petals! Maybe I should cross the street and pick one! That is what happens when you focus on a flower that you can see in the distance. It seems to be very small, a soft image, but you can still see the flower. When I am close I am sure I will see it better, but I will be in a different place. I wonder if this is a wild flower or if someone living in one of those houses planted this flower. Oh! There are more flowers. But, yes! It may be a good idea to try and cross the street now.

Belle always loved flowers; she wanted to be a lawyer to help other missing women, she believed in the justice and beauty in the world. Now, we are deep in debt, we have sold all our properties; even our car and I have lost my job. Since she went missing we can no longer sleep and we have spent all the money we had left to pay for a lawyer to help us find her. She was so happy studying law at University, but she went missing on her way to hand in an assignment. The last thing we knew about her was that she was fine and that she and her partner we’re going to see a band in London. She told us that the last time we spoke on Skype. Last week, I planted a pink rose for my daughter as symbol of the beauty she brought to our lives and as a symbol of hope. We are sure we will find her soon.

Monica Janeth Alanis Esparza, went missing when she was 18 years old in the city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the 26th of March of 2009. She disappeared outside the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez. She was doing a degree in Business Administration.

Lately, the independent newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, ‘Juarez Dialoga’, reported that Monica Janeth’s remains were found in 2012 and her parents were notified almost two years after the breakthrough. The parents demanded two DNA tests to confirm it was their daughter. Her father had refused to accept the remains of his daughter, due to the uneasiness of burying a leg, a bone, something that is not even a corpse.

Monica’s mother tells us that her daughter let the house the 26th of March, 2009, at eight o’clock in the morning. They know that her daughter was seen at the university at 1:00 p.m. By 4:00 p.m. her daughter had not arrived home so she called her mobile and she answered saying that she had gone to work with another student in a different part of the city. At about 7:00 p.m. her mother called her but the mobile had been switched off. 

I have written this fictional story based on a real story about a missing young lady from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. I have included some news’ information about the disappearance and appearance of some of her physical remains in an abandoned farm in Ciudad Juarez. I have written this story as an attempt to change the space and narrative of the information provided in testimonies and in the news as a way to bridge the gap between her reality, her parents reality and my reality as a student in England, where I was doing a research on images of violence from Mexico within an artistic approach. I get close to the material through my own reality and then I react with a creative act, in this case an act of writing, through my own understanding of the issue of missing women in Ciudad Juarez.


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