I met Cecilio while visiting my friend Margarita. We were hanging out with other friends around her building. I remember seeing a set of very good-looking twins walking over to where we were. I asked Margarita who they were and she said they were Cecilio and Fernando. I was intrigued. I know, curiosity peeked. They turned out to be very nice. After a few weeks, they were regularly hanging out with us.
I found out their mother had delivered seven sets of twins, and they were the only ones that both had survived. All the other set of twins, had one die at birth. It was amazing to me that their mother always had twins. They seemed like normal, healthy teenagers. They were mild mannered, polite, and caring.
Soon, Cecilio and I developed a special friendship. We started separating from the group and doing things just the two of us. We would go to Parque Maria Luisa. One of the most beautiful parks Seville had to offer. We would spend endless hours walking around and having a good time. Other times, we just sat to the side while everyone else hung around. Cecilio seemed to take a liking to me. I was very young, and thought I had some sort of feelings for him, even though I did not understand them. I guess you could call it a young crush.
A few months passed and we both continued to spend time together with the group and on our own. Cecilio never made an inappropriate pass at me, nor made me feel uncomfortable. He did tell me that it was a shame I was so young, because he had feelings for me. He said he knew it would not be right to date me, but that he was willing to continue our friendship until I was of age. He was every girls dream. My crush had grown into feelings for him, feelings I did not understand. I did know that I liked the way I felt when I thought of him, or when I was next to him. He made me feel special.
I was shopping with my dad on February 28th, 1976. We drove by the baseball park. My friends where there playing ball. I saw Cecilio on base getting ready to bat. My heart skipped a bit. He was so handsome. A few minutes later, after we were home, the phone rang. It was Margarita. I heard her on the phone, frantic, barely saying anything. I could hear her sobbing, and then I distinguished her words, “Cecilio just died.” I thought she was playing a very bad joke. What was she talking about? I just saw him playing baseball.
I heard her say, “Cecilio was on base getting ready to hit the ball, when he fell to the ground. He started convulsing, and then blood gushed out of his mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. They said his heart exploded.” I put the phone down, and ran to the park. I did not believe her. I was there in less than five minutes. When I arrived, all our friends were gathered, all crying in disbelief. I saw them and realized that it was true.
By the time I arrived, the ambulance had already taken him. My friends told me he had been pronounced dead. Nothing could be done. I started to cry and sob. I felt like I could not breathe. My chest was tight, my hands were clenching, and my heart was beating extremely fast. I was falling apart. My mind could not comprehend what was happening. It all seemed like a bad dream I could not wake up form. Cecilio is dead.
At my young age, I had never experienced the loss of a friend. Nevertheless, the loss of someone I may have loved. I was heartbroken. I went home. My brother was there, he already knew. He came over and hugged me. He said he was sorry. He said he knew I cared for him and asked if there was anything he could do for me. I asked him to take me to the hospital. That was impossible. He was not at the hospital; he was at the morgue.
My brother sat with me for a while until I felt better. He would find out the details of the funeral, and make sure I attended with him. He did just that. That day, I was a mess. I stayed in my bedroom and did not come out until the next day. That next morning, I got up, and was ready to face the day. My brother had kept his promise and was ready to take me to the funeral.
He said to me, the funeral is going to be In Toledo, Spain. Toledo is close to Madrid and very far from Seville. We will not be attending, but if we hurry, we can make it to where they are holding him for transport. We arrived at the place. We entered a door that led into a small room with three chairs. A few other friends were there. I looked to the right and there was a brown wooden casket. It was sealed. Cecilio’s face was unrecognizable and could not have an open casket. Last memory I had of him was at the baseball park, now all I saw was a wooden box.
I walked over to the casket, and fell apart. I wanted to see him one last time. I looked at the casket, leaned over, kissed it and said, “Cecilio, I love you. I hope you will still wait for me.” As I said the words, I walked away, and stood by his side. I stood there until they came and took him away. I followed the casket and watched the men place it in the Hurst. I watched the doors to the Hurst close; the men get in the front and drive off.
There went he, who could have been my first love. There went my friend. I never got a chance to say goodbye. I never got a chance to tell him he was gentleman. I never got a chance to thank him for respecting me, showing me what a friend is, nor for making me feel alive around him. I never got the chance to tell him I loved him.
I was only a teenager, but I felt the pain of his death, the hurt of his loss, the emptiness in my heart. I ached for his friendship; I yearned to hear his voice.
A few days later, I walked over to my friend’s house, and there was Fernando, Cecilio’s twin. He came over to me and gave me a hug. He said to me, “Cecilio was happy because of you. He told me he loved you, but never knew if he should let you know. I thought you should know.” It was good to see Fernando; it was hard to look at him. They were identical twins.
After his death, he found a way to let me know he had loved me. I wondered if he died knowing I loved him, too. Many dismiss love at such a young age, as a crush, or fantasy, but losing him made it a love that stayed with me, always. He still lives in my heart. He still lives in my memories.
The experience of losing a friend at a young age is as painful as any other age. As a teenager, I felt empty, alone, desolate and helpless. It took months to get over his death. The sudden loss got a hold of me and made me think that life is but a glimpse. It made me think of how precious it is. How it is here now, yet can be gone in an instant. Because of that experience, I changed the way I live.
I thank God for every day I live, and for every breath I take. I no longer take life for granted. Every day, I make an effort to let those around me know that I love them and that they are special to me. I do not let a chance go by, that I do not to let them know. I do not want to lose them without them knowing they mean the world to me.
When a friend or loved one dies, it is important to have closure. It is important to have no regrets. It is important that the last words we remember are kind. So many people lose a loved one and can be heard saying, “I should have told them…”
I was lucky enough to have his brother tell me that Cecilio loved me, but Cecilio never knew I did. Even though we were young, at least he could have died with the thought that a girl he loved, loved him back. I am not sure it would have made a difference.
If there is anything, you can get from this story; let it be that each day is a blessing. Live it like it could be the last day you live. Do not leave for tomorrow, what you can do today. Do not leave any words unsaid. Be there for each other and count your blessings. If you love someone, let them know, it could be the last words they ever hear, it could be the last words you ever say.