Hispanic literature Literatura Hispana


A short story by Arancha Naranjo.

Therapy for a wedding

Arancha Naranjo

There are three things I am not able to do:
First, to take a plane. Luckily, I don’t like to travel and what I enjoy the most are short bike rides. Second, to orient myself. I always end up calling a taxi to pick me up. And third, to find a job. At thirty-five, I still live with my parents. It is not an issue that worries me excessively, because my grandmother, Cayetana, left me her inheritance with which I calculated, I can live peacefully until I am one hundred and six years old. Yes, in my family we enjoy a very long life, thanks to the fact that we do not work much.
The problem is that my parents are tired of me leaving all my future wives because I refuse to travel by plane during the honeymoon. Vera, for them, is not just one more, and the result has been some therapy sessions to overcome my phobias.
On the first day of the consultation, I left disconcerted. The guy made me talk for forty-five minutes without giving me any advice and he let me leave with three assignments. In the course of our appointments, I must write three self-help manuals, one for people with a fear of heights, one for the ones lost in the world, and a third for the nation’s unemployed.
I’m not good at writing, and I haven’t read this kind of literature either, so I asked Vera for help. She explained it to me with ease:
–You have to write instructions without seeming so; use some lapidary phrase of some philosopher or make it up and attribute it to anyone. Nobody has read the complete works of Humanity. Always use slogans such as “you can”, “you are going to achieve it”, and “you know your limits better than anyone else”.
Passing by, she dropped a couple of books on emotional intelligence for me to get to the bottom of it. Actually, my parents are right, I can’t let Vera escape.
In the following days, I dedicated myself to reading with delight and taking notes just like a professional writer. Now they call Emotional Intelligence what Machiavelli had defined as the qualities of the Renaissance prince. Never mind, I wasn’t in a college seminar, I was focused on writing my manuals.
To analyse my aversion to flying, I bought a ticket from Barcelona to La Coruña. It was better to start with short trips before daring with international ones, and I’m not discussing intercontinental ones anymore. It is best to set small goals, they are always easier to meet. You can, brave one!
As we took off, I felt a sense of well-being. First ascending done, gaining altitude was not my problem, and I breathed a sigh of relief. As soon as the turbulence began, not even the stewardesses dared to go out with the carts to sell duty-free perfumes or alcoholic beverages. All were well tied in their seats and I with my head between my legs because I couldn’t stand the pain in my eardrum. It didn’t matter that I was chewing gum, that I held my breath to fill the Eustachian tubes, it was an unbearable pain. Surely it was a trainee pilot, I never thought that so many turbulences could be caught in such a short journey, he skipped none. What a kamikaze. My seatmate explained to me that it was a normal occurrence on this line, due in part to the orography of the Peninsula and the type of plane. Possibly, in my case, the Airbus would be more recommended to avoid the pressure of the cabin. I thought it is best to ask for the pilot’s flight history before boarding. And so, I wrote my first book: How to deal with flights? Always check the experience of the pilot, you are not the problem.
For the second trauma I tried to find the root in my inner self, but my sister, as sharp as ever, explained that I had a tendency to mistake left and right and that I only managed to coordinate the word with gestures when I spoke in Russian. When I mentioned it to my psychologist, he hinted at the political connotation of the right and left. That afternoon I was very pensive during the session, but back home I discovered that not everything was inside me. As soon as I walked in, my mother told me, “Julián, there I’ve left you your freshly ironed shirts.” The next eight days I spent analysing her way of speaking: everything was there, a little further, and there in the background. That I knew how to orient myself with a map was more or less miraculous with those indications.
As for the third problem, I suppose that by now you have guessed that I am Julián M. and that I make a living writing self-help books. You can too!

Art by: Martin Andrade

Arancha Naranjo Lumbreras (Palencia, 1969) is trained as a historian and librarian, but has also ventured into the world of Law. She is currently dedicated to writing, having published stories in several collective anthologies.

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