When we were 14 years old and we were on the beach at 10 at night, and it was still daylight, and the terrifying hour of the kiss, truth or dare, began one day a man from the summer, one of those tanned and mature men loaded with a chair and a smile, a man with poor hair, and kindly told us: “We must thank the Nazis.”
We were petrified, not because we knew very clearly who the Nazis were, we more or less knew what they were about, but because there was nothing in that magnificent postcard from the end of June that in our opinion evoked National Socialism. We looked questioningly at the summer man, as he intended. And he told us, with the typical manner of an idiot who believes that life is a TV game show, that if we enjoyed this time zone, which in Galicia was more accentuated, a time zone that allowed such long days and such short nights, it was thanks to Hitler. We insist, then. And he gave us his lesson (almost all these gentlemen who approach adolescent boys have a mischievous motive that is sometimes worse than sexual: they come to play smart): it turns out that Franco had changed the time at the time to please Hitler and, when World War II ended, half of Europe returned to Greenwich except for the dictatorship, which returned to its own. So there we were in a bathing suit in the middle of a Social Sciences class, freaking out about the man and freaking out about Hitler, not knowing what to say. I guess we thanked him, of course. Then someone from the gang, I think Coto, suggested that perhaps the man was a Nazi, or sympathized with them, since he not only seemed to be grateful for the white nights, but encouraged us to thank the Fürher for the gift. A small debate ensued in the group about whether it was worse to be a Nazi or an insider.
That did not cloud my summer pleasure: the sunsets until 11 at night, the light that ends up being completely extinguished around midnight. They are fairytale afternoons, nights that refuse to start. At some point we Spaniards wondered what to do for dinner during the day, like civilized people, and it occurred to us to move the day.
But beyond dinner, without a doubt the most fun and intense pleasure is that of the beach. The beach is an entire ecosystem that is worth stopping at. The idols, the veteran beachgoers who show their callouses and charisma, are the ones who watch the Tour stage, then take a nap (never during the stage, that’s out of style) and, finally, between the seven and at half past seven in the evening, they go down to the sea with all the pachorra. “The night is ours,” they say. And it is while they are on the beach taking advantage of the best sunbeams, which are the sunbeams that take time to say goodbye; the rays going down, those that shade and soften the tan, not like the rays that turned the Nazi of the time zones into an eggplant.
I have three recurring dreams, two of them due to trauma. The first is that I’m in an exam that I haven’t studied for and the second is that I’m in a tennis match, but I forgot to run, or to hit the ball, or I just don’t know what I’m doing on the court. In my particular psychoanalysis, the two dreams are due to the fact that I stopped studying and playing tennis, after many hours doing both, from one day to the next; abruptly and forever (studies in the sixth year of EGB and tennis three days after having my first racket —can you imagine?—).
But the third dream is the one that worries me: I dream that it is daytime, I am on the street, I look at the clock and I see that it is two or three in the morning; I dream about it a lot, constantly, and I have never had a watch in my life. There is no trauma there, but a very great pleasure: the moment of the day when you say “today never ends” and everything, from the streets to the people, has the color of things that for an instant will last forever. I like the light of summer, the light of the nights that never start or start so soon that it is still day. And I like people who at that time seem like people trapped in a sunset, the infinite sunset, the moment when the sea takes so long to digest the sun that it seems that it can vomit it out at any moment, and start the day again. again, stopping.
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