"If you walk through life with pride and courage, the lord of thunder will give you strength and virility."
At the very instant that the knife pierced Conrad's chest, lightning, followed by a loud crash of thunder, flashed, illuminating the entire city. Sad end for a world youth boxing champion, considered at the time the best prospect in the world, but from that perspectiveaña Ten years had already passed, at that time, an almost unknown adolescent, coming from a town rich in misery, anchored in a country whose name almost no one knows, defeated his opponents one by one, trained in the best academies in the world.
But that is a story for another chronicle, the truth is that, at twenty-seven years old, Conrado Mendoza was on his way to the hospital, with death about to close a contract, except that this client still did not have permission to die.
__ Not yet… “Seven Rays” __
They were the first words he heard when he woke up, it was hard for him to open his eyes, but he didn't need to see, the voice was unmistakable.
__ Teacher...__, she knew that Professor Salcedo was next to her bed and that was a relief. What a first visit for someone who never liked hospitals because he never needed them, seeing himself lying down, full of serums and medical equipment gave him a feeling of weakness never known before, he wanted to get up, but he had no strength.
__ Don't worry, Seven Rays, there's a long way to go before you can get out of here, now it's time to rest, and above all… to settle down. __
Despite the painkillers, the wound caused a stinging discomfort, but the real pain was about to show.
__ And where is Tata...? __, he asked looking for the figure of his old and unconditional mother, the face of the also old Salcedo redoubled the darkness of a latent presentiment, the confirmation collapsed all his spirit.
__ He couldn't take it boy... this time your old lady couldn't take it...__
Until that moment, Salcedo was unaware of how much he loved his mother, the cry that came from within his soul made the walls of the hospital resound, nothing made sense, nothing had value, in one fell swoop the desire to live was erased.
__ It was my fault, I killed her, I killed my Tata…__, he repeated over and over again waving his arms, trying to disconnect from those devices to end an undeserved existence.
__ I killed her Salcedo, I killed her...__, he shouted inconsolably, remembering the woman breaking her life between washing, ironing, sewing, and even cleaning houses, any easy or hard job had in her Tata the blessing of giving her a plate of food daily and the joy of seeing him grow healthy, robust and beautiful. And when the teacher Salcedo took his eye and said: __ "I'm taking this Seven Rays to the gym..."__, Tata, with a handful of years on her shoulders, squeezed her knees so they wouldn't fail her, she forgot her bone pain and migration.aña recurring, and like a brave mambisa she threw the war at work.
__ "When I'm a great boxer you won't have to work anymore."__, the size of that promise fueled the forces of the mother, proud of the immense future that the Orishas had reserved for her son, and when the triumph came and the champion's crown brought home, she imagined a path full of happiness for him and the long-awaited rest for her... but it was not like that.
With glory came fun, partying, vices, easy women, banality and... oblivion. He no longer came home, he preferred the bed of a mature and rich woman who promised to have him as king, as long as he had her manly fire within him.
__ "Straighten up Seven Rays, even Changó knows when to stop."__, in vain the words of the teacher Salcedo, neither scolding nor complaints could more than Conrado's easy and libertine life, that's why when he traveled to defend the title, the lack of training took its toll, he returned home with the shame of a knockout in the second round, even so, his Tata was waiting for him happily to comfort and bless him as always, but he never came, he preferred the rich woman's arms and alcohol to drown his sorrows.
The years passed and the vices grew, boxing was left behind, the dreams of a champion and the promise to his Tata, older and needier, but unable to bother him with his ailments. Yes, the years passed until he turned twenty-seven, only to discover that the rich woman no longer had him at the top of the machos, in his place, another younger and more virile boy occupied the bed after the beating of that poor wretch, the family took revenge. It took four burly men to neutralize Conrado, but in the end, the knife in his chest tore through his flesh and arteries, just stealing his Tata's last breath.
__ I should have died... I have to die. __, a conviction that nothing and no one could change if it weren't for the teacher's words.
__ You have to live... you have to succeed... you owe it to her, it's the only way to pay your debt... going back to being the Conrad of his dreams, going back to being... Seven Rays...__
No more was said, Conrado changed his voice for action. When he received the certificate, he did not go to the rich woman's house, nor did he accept Professor Salcedo's invitation, he returned to the old and worn-out house, loaded with memories and the spirit of her mother. In front of the altar of the Orisha to whom his Tata asked so much, he knelt down and sincerely pronounced a new promise.
__ Changó, guide my steps, protect my path and let me regain my pride... for me and for my Tata. __ And a new cycle began.
Step by step, day after day, the teacher's hard training made him sweat until exhaustion, little by little the athletic form returned to Conrad's body.
__ You're ready. __, said Salcedo and they went to the next phase. Fight after fight, the victories put him back in the ring to discuss the world championship, each punch, each dodge had the aura of his Tata. Like the irony of life, he knocked down the opponent in the second round, the teacher's joy was infinite, he too, not only for obtaining the title, but because he had recovered his confidence, self-esteem, and mainly because he knew that since his sacred place was she looking at him, proud of a son who would never again lose his way or the right to be nicknamed the great Orisha of lightning and thunder: "Seven Rays".
"Changó is the King of the Yoruba religion."