The lady at the top of the building

By Iris Mónica Vargas

When the winds had made full display of their fury, on September 2017, and silence had befallen, a hurricane had only then began its onslaught. It is what happens after, what changes you, and not the roaring of the invisible, wide, spiraling mouth arriving from the sea.

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This essay was originally published in the journal of Social Medicine, by the Department of Social and Family Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the Latin American Social Medicine Association (ALAMES), in Mexico.

Credit of photography: Iris Mónica Vargas


Iris Mónica Vargas wrote this, yes. And who is she, you ask? Well, a human being born in Puerto Rico, who grew up in the town of Vega Alta in a Barrio she wants desperately never to forget because she thinks that if she does, she’ll be in danger, for she would have forgotten, really, who she is. Did she get a degree? Well, yes. A few, perhaps, but nobody wants to hear about that, but yes: she’s paid her dues, and sometimes she is convinced that she must continue to pay more. (She doesn’t, but she will because of love —the love for learning that she feels. She can’t explain it, if you ask her. You love what you love. And that is it. Isn’t it?) Poetry, and Science —what a terribly weird mix. Ah! But she adores both. And yes: she did write two books. Her second won an award, but if she tells you that, you’ll get all nervous and anx-y and stop reading this just because she’ll start seeming “smart” and girls are just supposed to be “cute,” right? No. They’re supposed to be whatever the hell they want to be. And yes: She is Smart. She is also, pretty happy these days. And she’s the happiest when she can be reading a book, hugging a tree, helping a person or all three. This photo is of her. She has curly hair. She just blowdries it—but don’t take that against her, she is working on that one.

Ah yes: books can be found here: La última caricia and El libro azul. Complicated stuff can be found here: Mónica 🙂

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