If there's one thing you absolutely need to know about me, it's that I don't like submarines. I hate submarines, actually. Not because it's ugly, it's shaped like whales, and it must be scary to travel leagues under the sea, no – yes, a little, but that's another story. Rather, it is because I myself am.
I have known by heart how these devices work since I was seven: engines, systems, Archimedes' principle, depth and way of life underwater. I even made models of it at the time. I was the kind of kid who would stun adults with questions about this stuff, force others to watch boring documentaries, and think mechanically when I woke up. Basically a chronic fan of scrap whales and artillery.
And then one day my mom took me by the arm and told me that I was going to have to become a submarine.
I was nine years old to break everything, needless to say that I had the biggest shock of my life. I almost started to cry, but my mother quickly reassured me; no, i wasn't going to swim in the water of the pacific in the middle of sharks and not very recommendable creatures with my buoy and my mini-snorkel. I was just going to become a submarine in my everyday life. In Atlantic, our predominantly white city. Living a million miles from others, alone, not worrying about myself, or interacting with the surface if I didn't want to end up mad. Or dead, your choice.
It took me a while to figure out why she told me that. Why did I have to change my behavior? Was I too loud for her? And why a submarine? It looked really unfair. Then, I ended up grabbing when someone spat on my shoes as I approached a group of teens to sympathize. It was immediately clearer; in Atlantic, the majority of people felt disturbed, attacked by our skin color. I understood that it was her way of explaining to me how to react in the midst of sharks. Dive underwater, do not pay attention, be silent. Like a submarine. So I got into the habit of fading under the sea, staying away and limiting my relational circle to my sisters and my parents. To be honest, it was extremely restrictive, and I always felt like I was missing out on my existence, all the little pleasures that a real social life could offer me. So, in anger, one fine morning, I destroyed all my models, threw away all my magazines and devoted a vermin cult to submarines.