I wrote the following text a year and 4 days ago, in a night of insomnia and high sadness. The original Spanish version can be found at http://turnofftharadio.blogspot.com/2008/03/catorce-14.html. I thought about translating it to English because back then I wrote it with the solely purpose of being an open letter. I wanted this open letter to fly to catch her. I have my doubts whether she ever read it or not. In first place because she didn’t understand so much Spanish (at that time as far as I know) and secondly because I think she was avoiding all means of contact with me. Maybe, and only maybe, a friend of her, who in that time read the article and knew about the both of us told her about this letter and provide her some sort of translation.
Now none of these things matter. The most probable thing is that she never read the letter. And everything that ever existed is gone, and in its the way making sure of smashing a big part of me that took me at least a year to face and start fixing. I am sorry if you don’t understand much of what this post is about, as far as I am concerned it will only be understood by Dokieh, her and me.
So, as Gregory House has thirteen I was allowed to have a fourteen, very teen.
What does it bring this fourteen? -I asked-. An interesting question really, because I always had the impression it was a cranky number. Let’s see why.
It is located between 13 and 15 in natural numbers classification. Just above a prime and… ¡such a prime! Thirteen always had a very bad reputation for being the death carrier (I believe one of the worse reputations together with 666), not in vain, exists Triskaidekaphobia. Also, we have 15, “pretty girl” in games of luck. Those fifteen-year-old that always go around with the forgetful head, lots of time, trying forbidden things, having their first hangovers, walking a wrong path. Have you been contaminated my fourteen, that in games of luck your meaning is “drunkard”. But we can’t just judge the fourteen for the ones around it, can we?
Fourteen, such a difficult number to analyse. Is a composite number and deficient or defective, because the sum of its factors (1 + 2 + 7) is less than the number (14) itself. It is the third semi-prime number and the only Catalan number.
Speaking about basis and numeric notations, it is the base of tetradecimal notation, which, as far as I know, it doesn’t have any practical application. In most well known numeric notation this is its writing: binary 1110, octal 16 and hexadecimal E. Ironically, the “E” of Eternauta. In roman notation it is written XIV (that pronounced in Spanish as it is written it would be “tziv”).
In chemistry fourteen is the number of silicon. Irony again. Silicon… that silicon intimately related with computers. Without him (silicon, male), she (computer, female) wouldn’t be. Without her, he wouldn’t be as well.
In religion has its own symbolism. The fourteen steps of Station of the Cross. Fourteen fires were needed for a synagogue, 14 members of Cathars communities were needed also to make a Chapel.
Supposedly, in South American countries it brings good luck. Not to me, at least. In Chinese modern society means “deep thought”. But also has a negative connotation, for its pronunciation sounds very similar to “I wanna die”.
In tarot it means soberness. It is the number of the verses in a sonnet (Italian poetic form, my heritage, another coincidence. There poetry and rhyme go with me, not alike my self-teem).
In other cultures, February 14th is Valentine’s day. But why not of Argentines, Celestine, clandestine, fluoxetine, guillotine, infantine, intestine, libertine, narcotine, nicotine… come on, all of them are very similar…
Personally, fourteen has me bad. In Spanish, a quincena is a period of 15 days, in English doesn’t exist such concept, instead the “fortnight” (14 days) one. One is the half of an ideal month (30 days), the other the adding of two weeks. If I think it in my language, it has been two quincenas already, but if in your language I say it, it has been two fortnights already… probably with a similar meaning… but still inaccurate.
Today, March 14th , at almost a fortnight, added to another that comes out of borrowing a ten to fourteen, because isn’t greedy, just a bit un… how to say it… anyway, we add it. That new number we got, infinite by its own nature. Yes, the one that separates the moments in which for the X time, The Earth aligns again with the Sun in that day that received us. That number that separates us. More than thinking in terms of “infinite”, I would like to think in terms of eternal. It is a more concise word, actually, even more for ETERNAuta.
It can be strange what a 14 hides in itself. Who was capable of saying it. The only thing I want to state clearly is that my personal appreciation of 14, is the only one real and truly important to me… not the one that other “authors” pretend to “mean” on my behalf.
But as I always write to the wind, to this surreal binary sea, wandering in eternity I will remain. It is what I always do, the reason why eternity traveler I am, hoping to reach that day that I expect so much, to change it and make a better future, to revive it… I don’t know. I am afraid I am not in conditions of answering that.
Probably both of them.
As León said: “I am another warrior of this broken rock, I am for the beggar desire, I am the idol of the forgotten ones, I don’t know very well where am I going, mysteries has this song…”
… I don’t know very well where am I going, mysteries has this decision…”
El Eternauta – 18.03.2009