My mother would take the bundle of clothes to the cement laundry room, where with a brush and soap she would bleach the shirts and clean the trousers. My sister and I would be alarmed to see the danger faced by the naïve ants, crossing under the still dry sink. We’d then start a race to save part of the imprudent anthill, unaware of the extermination that my mother would cause with her water and suds. Those girls are a little crazy, the neighbors would say, seeing us collect the minuscule insects that they didn’t even notice against the grey cement.
Given the time and the thousands of ants I couldn’t save from the debacle, I understood that the insignificant thing is always in danger of being swept away. The revolutions and the wars sweep away the small, everything that doesn’t appear in the statistics or in the great history books. The tiny things that give body and life to a society die when the faucet of violent changes and warlike conflicts is turned on.
The taste of a fruit lost to memory, an afternoon talking in the neighborhood with the mask removed, a calf trotting in the countryside without fear of being illegally sacrificed, a cold lemonade that doesn’t cost you an hour standing in line. All of this is also part of the anthill, even these “cleaners” who want to clean up and shake up a country create what are the ills of tiny bugs.
I’m still that girl, frightened of those who want to change everything, distrustful of those who propose to sweep away traditional structures. I trust the most the smallness of the ants, their constant walking and their slow possession of spaces. They, who are still swept away by the streams of water, one day will turn off the faucets themselves.