the note

On Monday morning

The phone rang,
but I decided it was my daily sales pitch from Telefonica.

There was a knock at the door,
but I imagined it was Nora and Lilli beginning to clean the bedrooms.

Later on, I left my apartment to go for a coffee fix at Café Nacho. Someone had left the bathroom light on. Annoyed I stuck my head round the corner to find the switch. There was a note taped to the mirror.

"Rachel", read the note, "The reading for class today is pages 21-9 (underlined)."

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, or Challenge Anneka at least!

This week, I've been thinking about that note a lot. Not only that someone was kind enough to try three times to warn me about a change in the class reading, but also how the note interrupted my view of myself, reflected in the mirror. It put me in a relationship with someone else who was looking out for me.

It's the same with text messages, or scribble post-its. They too can connect us, remind us of the people we share our lives with, who make us who we are.

Desmond Tutu describes Jesus as God's graffiti: scribbled, stenciled or spray-painted onto a wall. Bs As is a city covered in graffiti. The majority are anti-Bush slogans but alongside are declarations of love and shared jokes, the voices of those who find little official space in which to speak.

Graffiti speaks of things we prefer to ignore, or wish to forget. It offers us new perspectives on the world and our place within it. And yet, our instinct is to paint over the messages, restoring order from messy uncertainty.

Jesus graffiti shouts from the walls, reminding of what we are and hope to be, of the realities of our world, and those who share it with us.

During their visit, Mum and I went to an exhibition on remembrance at the Centro Cultural Recoleta One of the exhibitions was a series of photos from Rosario. They showed the same stenciled bike repeatedly sprayed across the city.


During the military dictatorship in Argentina, Fernando Traverso worked in the resistance until he was forced to go into exile. Bicycles were a common form of travel for members of the resistance. An abandoned bicycle was often the first sign that its owner had been kidnapped, or disappeared.

Three-hundred-and-fifty citizens of Rosario were disappeared during the Dirty War, as it was known in Argentina. Traverso spray-painted that same number of bicycle images throughout the city of Rosario, acting after midnight or at noon when most residents were in their homes for the noon meal and a siesta.

Walking through the streets of Rosario and seeing a bicycle leaning against a wall does not seem strange. Except, when one gets closer one can tell that it’s the black silhouette of a bicycle, a memory of a life erased.

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