I looked around the room, now illuminated by the bright yet unforgivingly cold April sun. It is always chilly in Chile, and in this room, the bright sunlit day mocked the coldness of the room. To be sure, there was nothing cold or uninviting about the room, that is, unless you took exception to the clutter, and the room’s lone occupant, busily typing away at the keyboard, definitely seemed at ease in the room.
One could assume that the room was inhabited by a person who had learned to locate objects by some sort of internal filing system, a labyrinth of locations that only its inventor had access to. Obviously, only its inventor would understand the choice of objects used to decorate the room.
The object that was sure to grab your attention and hold it was a central piece in the room. It sat on a small, white four-legged table, which seemed to be ready to walk away at any moment. You would most likely not be surprised if it did, either. It would have been a fitting protest to reject the clutter of the room by its only occupant, human or otherwise, that gave a sense of order, of stability, of decency to the room.
Not to say that the room was indecent. No, far from that. The figure of Don Quixote, adorned in full body armor, with his head protected by a shiny, silver Conquistador’s helmet, would definitely have nothing to do with any indecency. The spear he held in his left hand was long, extending from the base of Don Quixote’s left foot to the top of his head gave. It gave proud testimony that this room, clutter or no clutter, was a place of honor and decency.
Lokking up, above the head of the writer and to the right, on the East wall of the room, there was another picture, of days as much gone by as Don Quixote’s day. In it, the two people were dressed in the clothing of the Confederate Army and the Rebel Army. They would have surely faced one another if they had lived in the Antebellum South. With the advent of war, the Civil War that is, these two would have joined different sides.
Had they taken such a picture, surely it would have been before marching off to join the side that each had chosen to defend. Mr. Lincoln’s War, some historians have called it. A war that often pitted son against father, family against family, and with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, at the latest, slave against master, that is to say, newly freed man versus a man who had always been free.
By freeing the slaves, Mr. Lincoln gave them something to fight for: their freedom. It is with little doubt that the former slaves, now turned soldiers, would have been fighting with the urgency of the moment, with ardor to win that which had been unjustly denied them, their freedom, due to an accident of birth that left them with less value than that of an animal.
Again I say, the presence of Don Quixote, as the principal character in the room, conferred honor to the room, elevating it above its cluttered state. I had been thinking, for some time now, to declutter the room. I hesitate, wondering if a little bit of order, in exchange for less messiness, would be proper. My wife would be happy, true, that was indeed a benefit. However, looking at Don Quixote from the corner of my eyes, I could see the figure looking back at at me with a reproachful glare, and I knew that on this day the clutter would remain…