It's my son's birthday. He turns 12.
When I was 12, my dad gave me a perfect replica of a red Ferrari, a 1956 860 Monza. All in painted metal, duplicating with extreme perfection each detail of the real car.
It was a ruby jewel that should have been kept under a glass dome. That dome should have been kept in a safe and this inside of an even safer safe.
On the list of things to do with a perfect replica of a Monza Ferrari, the last item is gifting it to a 12 year old boy.
The car, obviously, turned into a cheap toy on my little agitated hands. Small pieces were soon broken and in the first few months the thing was ready for collectible's heaven.
To this day I recall the red Ferrari, and agonize in pain, unable to forgive myself for breaking it, or my dad, for his complete lack of timing. I am almost 40 and still don't think I should have gotten a gift like that.
All my childhood happened when I was 12. At least that's how I remember it. All my memories come from that age. Even those things that happened before or after it. To me, they were all from my golden 12, half 1988, half 1989.
At that time, I was already in love with many women. Not girls of my age. No. They never enchanted me. It was only the older and more mature that managed to catch my attention. Friends from my building, school and a handfull of teachers. To some of my crushes I even made the bold move of stating my clear intentions, which gave me the outstanding score of 100% in the broken heart category.
But it wasn't always bad. Once, during a camping trip with my family, my mom thought it would be a great idea to give me a proper and much needed bath in the ladies locker room. You know, kids are apparently allowed that (thanks, mom, for noticing).
I then had the most important, magical and poetically frightening vision of my entire existence. I saw two older girls, sisters, twins, with the most angelic faces. Showering together and smiling at that little boy with the chin fully attached to the ground. And that's how, my first ever naked women sight turned out to be a double pack. Thanks to my good mother.
From there to finding a bit more about my penis was a quick jump. Until then it was only good for peeing and that was already too much. I was always holding myself. You know, less pee time, more play time. Basic rule of life. One day, however, it asked for my attention and I gave it, providing myself with the most important of the joysticks.
It was also on my 12s that I discovered my absolute lack of talent for any sport. I was always the last one to be picked for any team of any game.
To play soccer I had to own the ball. That worked really well. From that time on I am always trying to own everything I can. If I have any entrepreneur talent today, that's because I suck at sports.
I was a permanent member of the cheering crowd. Learned to watch and broadcast. Years later I would graduate in journalism. Also a triumph of my athletic failure.
Fragrances of 12
Everything I try to remember from my childhood takes me back to 12 years of age. That's where I find my father smiling, feel my mom's lovely kisses and see the spaced out teeth of my young brother, lighting up his fat angel face.
I can close my eyes and hear the ocean, frequent guest of our family's vacation trips. I smell fried fish in the afternoon. I feel the salty tears that would come out of my eyes, for no reason, from time to time.
I see my grandparents, with their hats, weird habits and eternal sense of care for the others. They were beautiful, loved and full of life. Didn't want the time to pass. And they were right.
That was the ideal year to freeze time. And let everything like it was, forever. Me, with my 12 years, and the rest of the world existing solely for the happiness of everyone.
In my world, all of Earth's inhabitants were truly happy then. Except fro my dad's major mistake, no sins were committed between the winters of 1988 and 1989.
It's my son's birthday. He turns 12. I am giving him a perfect replica of a red Ferrari.