It all began in a hospital in Andorra, in room 102. My grandparents, my great-grandmother, and my aunts were all waiting – waiting for me. They already knew me: I was David Aguilar, the strong and healthy child my parents were expecting, whom my grandparents already adored, and the whole family was impatient for me to be born.
My grandmother Basilisa, who I usually just called Abu (short for abuela or grandmother) or Abu Basi, sat there nervously rubbing her fingers, feeling emotional as she constantly twisted her wedding ring. She was waiting for her son, my father, to open the door at any moment with a smile on his lips and me in his arms, wrapped in the swaddling blanket she herself had sewn with such care, and… yes, I suppose that’s more or less what happened. Meanwhile, my father paced the long hallways from the surgery to the waiting room, eyes full of tears, overwhelmed by the circumstances. He didn’t dare enter the room right away. Finally, he opened the door – and there I was in his arms, wrapped in the swaddling clothes. But my father was missing a smile, and I was missing an arm, and the swaddling absorbed the tears that fell from his eyes. Things that happened.
“Why that sad face, Ferran?” my abuela asked, getting up. “Is everything OK? Is Nathalie OK?” But my father couldn’t manage to speak a word, and the others couldn’t stop staring at him in fear. Everyone had paled when they saw him come in, whiter than the coat of any doctor in that hospital.
And there I was, unaware of everything, of the fear my family felt, of my abuela’s unease and my father’s grief. So unaware that, well, I don’t even remember any of that, of course; I know it because I’ve been told the story so many times.
“So David… so…,” he tried to answer. “David what?” At that moment, my abu came closer and uncovered part of the swaddling and saw for the first time my muñón, the stump where my right arm ended.
“Oh, Ferran…” That was all she could say. “Just that… Just that… Otherwise the doctor says he’s perfect.” Basi began to caress my cheeks, my brow, my little head. She grabbed my little hand, the one I do have,
and rubbed it with her thumb. Then she kissed my forehead before saying, “Well, of course he’s perfect. Can’t you see?” Curiously, that kiss I do remember.