The nights of insomnia were ongoing and the light of day often surprised Lian with its painful burden. Night after night, she imagined a universal, infinite man. The image was so powerful that, from the depth of darkness and her mind surged a light. From her mind sprung a being of flesh and blood who walked toward her. Could it be her creation? She was proud of it -- of its face, and that it didn't look like anyone but himself. His name was Christian. Her encounters with Christian where frequently made at midnight. She actually looked forward to closing her eyes in order to have their encounter. His words were laden with symbols and his strange presence brought magic and optimism to her life. At dawn, when they said goodbye, a sense of joy and good fortune washed over her softened spirit. Loneliness and solitude no longer terrorized her and, strangely, she even preferred it because he emerged from that solitude. Solitude itself was Christian.

With the morning returned the reality and the memory of what her mother had said to her.

"Don't get married," she had said. "Don't marry that man,O her mother begged her with a halting voice. "He is a hardened, tough man. He will make you suffer because you are sensitive and delicate. You won't be able to endure life's blows if you're far away from us," she added.

Lian was 20 years old at that time. She thought she had enough courage to open up a new direction for herself.

Over the dark roads, the rattling of the license plates and the sound of little stones hitting up against the bottom of the car accompanied her voyage. With the exception of the twinkling of the stars (so close it seemed one could reach them with one's hands), there were no lights to bear witness of the presence of beings in the environs. They were hurrying -- Marcos, her husband, and she. The arrived at the house in the small town. In the poorly-lit corridor one could see pillars and two figures. Lian stayed behind. The rest of his family had not taken notice of their arrival.

"She is my wife," he said, signaling her to come close. The mother looked at her enigmatically. She didn't open her mouth. With a harsh, penetrating look, tried to strip LianOs psyche down to the soul.

Marcos, her husband, began to weep, hurt by the reaction of his mother. His mother also wept.

"Don't suffer, please, Marcos," Lian said to him, caressing his head. The woman cast her a look filled with hatred.

It was then that Lian understood that it was the beginning of another long battle. The interloper, the intruder, the stranger... that is how they classified her and that is how she felt. Lian had gotten the best catch, the most interesting, the best placed. They say the mother almost died, and according to them, Lian was to blame.

When they moved to the city, the couple's small apartment was barely decorated -- just with plants that grew vigorously. They had decided to make of it a world, to create a highly-desired world. For Marcos, she cooked the best meals, and for him, she put on the happiest of smiles. But a strange silence weighed heavily on both of them.

"I have to be strong. The current is dragging me away," she said to herself.

It was evident that he could not count on the approval of his mother.

That was the way Lian found an explanation for his absences: meetings at work, sports, overtime, visits to relatives and many other pretexts. She didn't realize that the hours accelerated inexorably toward twilight.

The first baby they had passed away shortly after its arrival. Lian wept so much for him that her tears finally ran out. Her heart returned because its home was shattered.

After awhile, two sons arrived. Lian tried to weld herself to that happiness so it wouldn't pass her by completely. They moved to a spacious and well-lit home. She felt the morning sun each day -- renewed and diaphanous-- and it swept the shadows of the night and it consoled her in the winter cold. Nevertheless, in spite of the morning stimulus, something tormented her heart, as if several pairs of eyes that could look through the walls were examining her without pity. She felt suspicion about everything that was happening.

He was so far away, her dignity was so stained, her world scattered about like autumn leaves at the mercy of the wind.

"Perhaps I could understand it better if I had someone in which I could confide and someone to listen to. Perhaps a friend." That is what Lian often thought and dreamed.

Years passed. She did not remember how many. The attenuated spring suddenly regained force and the last twenty years of marriage of Marcos and Lian were lucky; they had freed themselves of all the old ties of the past.

The afternoon wind caressed the tips of the branches of the cypresses planted along a wide street. Lian had gone to take flowers to Marcos and to pray for him with her heart, without words. Lost in reflections over the process of life and death as one of the most profound realities, she walked slowly toward where the car was parked. It was then that she felt that someone was synchronizing the rhythm of her walking with his. She turned. It was he -- it was his lost face, far away, lost in oblivion. It was Christian, Christian, Christ...