To Sleep Less
Gabriel Garcia Marquez has retired from public life due to worsening lymphatic cancer. Recently, he sent this farewell letter.
If for a moment God were to forget that I am a rag doll and granted me a piece of life, I probably wouldn't say everything that I think; rather, I would think about everything that I say.
I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean. I would sleep less, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes, we lose sixty seconds of light.
I would walk when others hold back, I would wake when others sleep, I would listen when others talk.
And how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream!
If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but also my soul.
My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show. Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream a Benedetti poem, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I'd offer to the moon.
I would water roses with my tears, to feel the pain of their thorns and the red kiss of their petals... My God, if I had a piece of life... I wouldn't let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them.
I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love.
I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to be in love!
To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own. I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting.
So much have I learned from you, oh men ... I have learned that everyone wants to live at the top of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled.
I have learned that when a newborn child first squeezes his father's finger in his tiny fist, he has him trapped forever.
I have learned that a man has the right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet.
From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won't be of much use, for when I keep them within this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying.
--- Gabriel Garcia Marquez