Friday, april 19th, 2002.
Sunday, 04/21/02 - 6:57 pm.

I woke up at 5:15, strangely conscious. When you wake up in a different place, it usually takes you a few seconds to realize where you are. But I knew where I was, I had no question. I looked out the window. I saw hall B. I asked Carmen what time it was, and I headed to the bathroom. At this time?!?, she asked. I wanted to be one of the first people out there in the morning.

After an extremely cold shower, I got out of the room, drinking my nice, heart-warming Hershey's chocolate milk. I walked around the hall, and some girls were taking a bath, others were coming out in their PJs....I wandered for about one hour. In the meantime, people visited people from hall to hall, seeing who was up and who wasn't (so they could wake them up).

Breakfast, a little recess, and then it was time to start "working on the spirit again". The first sheet that was given out to us that morning was about Jesus. Who he was. I thought of all the things the Bible doesn't say.

You know, reading The Bible is not as bad as many people thinks. In fact, it describes astonishing carnages and delicious sins, beautiful love stories and very smart jokes...I mean, it's very Hollywood-esque, I don't know what else you could want in a book, it has all the guilty pleasures. And it doesn't save your soul. It's not like inside every Bible there's a coupon that will save your soul if you fill it in and send it out. It was written by men, for mankind. I forgot to ask God what He thought of it.

Anyway...I focused more on the meditation that day. It's not boring at all. Some people think that mediation is terribly boring. But it is not. You do get caught up, you get lost in thought, a very unfamiliar territory for many average people.

As the day went on, I kept feeling worse and worse. Every break meant loneliness and isolation for me, because I didn't have any other choice. So I couldn't really call it "break". "Break" meant breaking your silence and hanging out with your friends. I didn't break the silence.

I can remembers I was going up the long stairway to the forest (114 steps) and all of a sudden, feeling one tear out of my eye (aaaw, it was the right one *tear in left eye*). I can't handle it....I need to cry. I need to do this now...I have to do it, I'll never have this chance again, I thought. I don't know why, but I felt a heavy wheight that was making me slow down. In every possible way.

The 6th mediation was about what Jesus wanted from us. We'd already found out who He was, and who we were, and it was time to find out who He wanted us to be, how He looks at us. I went up to the forest. This day I'd chosen to go up there on every mediation. I'd found a shortcut.

So...God. What you up to?, I asked. Only the wind blowing. But then I noticed, the sun was right on top of the tree I was under. I saw a big black bird, being followed by a little one...I was dying to call someone to show him that, but I couldn't. I stared at the scene, idiotized. That place is very meaningful. What I saw was incredibly meaningful, and...solid. I mean, you couldn't even question what you were seeing and thinking. And I can't tell anything else about it because you wouldn't believe me.

He was there.

After group work finished, we had some free time to eat, pack our bags...I went to the forest again, with my bottle of bubbles. And I cried. I cried. I cried so many times. For every little thing. Even for things I was making up. I'd feel hot tears running down my face, and they'd suddenly stop. Then it'd happen repeated several times. I was feeling so bad, so, so bad...I didn't want to stop. The wind started to blow, and I lifted the wand...God, wanna play?. He couldn't blow the damn thing. It was funny to see Him try though. At times I got the impression He didn't want to. C'mon some love for this me some me the love!!!, I screamed in my head, like Jerry Maguirre. He showed me some love...but the wrong kind: a few minutes later, I saw Elsy and Pablo, and a couple of friends of them (that were boyfriend and girlfriend also) climbing up through the shortcut and sitting all together a few trees away from me. I didn't mean that kind of love, and You fuckin' know it. -I said to Him- Stop laughing, it's not funny. But I couldn't help smiling. I was crying, but I was smiling. He's a very funny, sarcastic Guy. He's got a wicked sense of humor. If any of the four saw me, it's beyond my knowledge. Never saw a sign that'd let me know they noticed me, but at the same time, I wasn't hard to notice, I was sort of close. By the way, He did make some bubbles. Very nice ones.

The time to get together in the chapel was approaching, but I didn't want to see people. Adriana, one of Veronica's roommates (and best friends) asked me to sign her folder (they'd given us folders to keep all our sheets in one place and not lose them). Aaaawww, what's wrong?!, she said sweetly. I said it was nothing. And I wrote one of the happiest messages on her folder. She said thank you and that she loved me and walked away. Later on, Veronica walked up to me, when she found out I was crying. She asked me why. For nothing, I said. That's not true...that's what I say when something's wrong with me...don't cry, pretty girls look ugly when they cry, she said. Then they're not pretty, I replied. She said I was cruel. Is there anything I can do? No, fuck you very much.

Eventually, I had to get back to my group. Then we went to mass. Hector, our principal, sang our favorite song...I was sort of uncomfortable, because that's the song I like to hear from the guy the best. I didn't like it this time, because he wasn't there, because he was not the one who was singing.

All in all, it was very emotional. Everybody cried at the end, when everybody hugged everybody. I didn't cry. A guy named Pereira (like Joe Perry's family *smiles*) asked me: hey, aren't you supposed to be crying?. I answered that I already had.

And tell you what....I was feeling awesome. Light. Free.

I had one regret: I didn't take a camera with me. I wanted to take a pic of the forest. Not of the people (though during the hugging, I felt very connected with mankind)...of the forest. I was terribly surprised when Mynor gave to each of us (the group members) a bookmark. Every guide gave one to the members of his/her group. I saw some of the bookmarks, beautiful sightnings: the sunset, the ocean...I received mine. And that's when I was shocked...mine had the picture of a forest...not a simple forest...the trees of the picture were amazingly similar to the ones in Loyola's forest. And I looked at Jesus. He understood. I understood.

Then I went to pick up my stuff. And I ran into Veronica, who had been bothering me these two days to take a pic of me. Her friends and Carmen started to beg me, too. Pretty uncomfortable. But I couldn't say no. I wasn't feeling that sick, and like Veronica said: "it's our last retreat". She stood next to me, I faked a smile and Sophie, one of her friends, took the picture. Carmen said she wanted a copy so she took another one. I got my stuff and left Loyola.

You just wouldn't believe.

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