Esteban Jaramillo


Esteban Jaramillo is a recent graduate from NYU with a degree in Media and Communications. However, if he had to describe himself he would confess that, at heart, he is a writer. There is nothing that makes him more passionate than storytelling, classics and the world of literature and publishing. For the past four years, Esteban has spent days on end reading and analyzing the work of Jorge Luis Borges and striving to join the large community of Latin Americans trying to write a future for themselves in New York. Despite spending most of his life in Panama, Esteban is originally from Ecuador.



The surreal nature of life can only be captured through something as elusive as reality itself, this is why I have only found it on truly great literature. The elemental truth that there is no single reality, the ambiguity of the sensorial, has only ever been present in fiction; the idea that there is no reality without consciousness.

-       Anonymous


         “To not falling into sophistry!” That last toast echoed on the intellectual man’s mind as he opened the door to his bedroom and crumpled to the floor. Had that been his last shot? He thought so.. Did it matter? Not really. As he crawled his way to the bed, that final stretch that felt like a mile on a war trench, the man tried to piece together the events after the five, six (eight?) tequila shots from the night before. Man… had that girl been hot. Her hazel eyes, that flowing auburn hair, that smile – more than provocative, playful; in every sense of the word, she had been the girl of his dreams. He fell flat on the safety of his bed, relieved, breathed-in the familiar fragrance of his mattress. And then waited, waited and hoped for everything to come back to him.


         “You are not gonna screw it up this time!” Tom made it clear to him, “no philosophy, no weird-ass story, no bullshit.”

         “Ok, I get it.”

         “Alright then, to a good night!” Tom exclaimed as he raised what was their twelfth tequila shot of the night. “Now, let’s look around?”

         “Yeah,  let’s go back to the bar.”

         “The blonde to the left just smiled at you,” Tom said.

         Night outs with Tom always turned out to be awfully similar, Theodore thought. As he was about to voice his lack of enthusiasm for the procedure that lay ahead, however, he saw her. Trying to steer his sight as subtly as possible towards the group of girls laughing by the bar, the philosopher focused on the girl that he now realized he had been waiting for the entire night; her hands held a black leather jacket, she was wearing an emerald, cocktail dress - it complemented her eyes.

         “Let’s go,” Tom said while shoving him on her direction, “This was all about you tonight, man, but if you’re not gonna go for the blonde then I’ll do it.”

         Tom had always displayed that confidence that he lacked, that one that he hoped laid dormant somewhere inside him, that I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that characterized all those guys that were always around girls and that supposedly had insane amounts of game. As they approached the group of girls, the shy bar-hopper felt his legs go weak, his voice lose all traces of stereotypical masculinity. I am a man born out of my time, he pondered. I would have thrived in the 60s. Or maybe I am just too much of a philosopher. I am way too into my books, I should go out more often, live real life. But then that would go against my very principles, my mind is real life, as real as…

         “Hi,” she awoke him from his trance-like state (he probably just looked drunk either way). It was her.

         “Hey, how are you?” He replied in an awkwardly surprised tone.

         “I’m fine. Were you just going to stare at me from over there?” she asked while shifting her stance, tilting her head just so slightly.

         He recognized that accent, the playful dance of her eyes, and that tone of voice. She was from Spain, he knew it, of course he knew. Damn, the only thing that was missing, he thought.

         “I was just admiring you,” he remembered to reply.

         Admiring me, wow,” she laughed.

         Damn, I fucked up, his instincts told him. It was usually at this point that her or any other girl would usually leave, but this time, of all times, he had to man up and save the situation.

         “You’re from Spain, right?” he blurted out in what he felt was his last chance at keeping her in the conversation.

         “Yeah! How did you know?”

         “I was there last year,” he answered, when in truth there was no way he would not know.

         “What did you like the most?” she carried on.

         “The people,” he replied.

         Her next laugh was the sweetest melody he had heard since his last visit to Madrid.

         “I’m Maria by the way,” she said while extending her hand towards him.

         “I’m Theodore,” he replied.

         “And besides that?” Maria continued, her smile a ruby crescent-moon, her entire countenance shinning with delight. “What did you like besides us Spanish people?”

         “I am actually fascinated by the link between Spain and the Catholic Church, I’m really into philosophy and religion,” the philosopher stated with an enthusiasm that for some reason he wished he could blame on the Patrón. As Theodore finished the sentence he could almost picture Tom rolling his eyes behind him.  

         “Are you Catholic?” Maria asked, her voice inquisitive this time, her eyes – a more intense green from up close—serious rather than playful.

          “No,” Theodore answered, for a few seconds he could not stop staring into her eyes. Until then, he hadn’t noticed she wore a cross around her neck, it was just big enough to be noticed, golden, shimmering. This time, Maria pretended not to notice what he was staring at. Out of the corner of his eye, the philosopher could see Tom whispering something into Lisa’s ear (the girl he had been talking to, now promoted from “the blonde girl”), then taking her by the waist away from the colossal failure that – from his eyes—his conversation had probably become. Tom was a good friend, but he also knew when to abandon ship and fend for himself.

         “Teach me something I might not know about my religion” Maria requested. She was smiling once again, something about her seemed to want his attention back. The rest was probably just trying to hold back a laugh.

         At this point, it might have been the alcohol, or it might have been that smile, but everything about the situation encouraged the young philosopher to go on with what had immediately come to him as the right answer to that question. “Ok,” Theodore began, “this is kind of a long story.”

         Even if we have not read it, we have all heard about the Biblical myth of creation. Whether we believe in it or not, in face of the not so recent development of the theory of evolution, is beside the point. Nonetheless, everyone knows the usual story, Eve succumbed to the serpent’s temptation, she bit the forbidden fruit, “the apple,” and therefore became the perpetrator of the original sin. What some people do not know, is that the concept of “original sin” was not introduced until Augustine came along. An influential figure as any other, Augustine of Assisi reformed Christian doctrine to an unprecedented degree, establishing his reading of the Bible as the definitive interpretation of the Holy Book. However, as the Protestant Reformation would partly demonstrate, the Bible is not a work closed to the interpretation of a few, but a work that - if anything – should at least be read by all. Constantine’s dream was for everyone to follow and live in accordance to the Books and gospels that he deemed canon, it would only make sense for people to read that which they were meant to follow.

         If we look at the Bible in this sense, it is a literary work like any other and, in a way, its influence in spite of this is what makes it so majestic. Anyway, returning to the Book of Genesis, if we are to treat it as any other book open to interpretation, there is a particular reading of this work that is particularly illuminating, one interpretation that is worthy of being spread, aloud or through written word, a story so intricately complex and yet so refreshingly simple that it could use any excuse in order to be told.

         In this interpretation, what Augustine referred to as “the apple” re-attains its literal name, the “fruit of the knowledge of both good and evil.” Nowhere in the Book of Genesis is the fruit of Eve’s temptation referred to as anything but this. In this story, the Fruit, the Serpent, and Original Sin, are simply metonyms for something else, something perhaps more real, more relatable, more humane. It is clearly stated in Genesis, that the serpent’s original form was not the one we know today. It was God's punishment to this creature that deprived it of its arms and legs, what condemned it to roam the earth by slithering on its stomach. It is commonly said that the snake seduced Eve into biting the apple, the Fruit of temptation. It does not take a deep knowledge of psychoanalysis to see the serpent as a phallic symbol. What if, the serpent was nothing other than a man who was not Adam? What if the "biting of the Fruit"- succumbing to temptation- refers to adultery? Augustine would come to label the snake as the personification of the devil, but what if the devil was meant to represent nothing but sin itself? Before betraying Adam, Eve had been pure, had known nothing but 'good.' Only after tasting and giving in to lust did humanity meet shame, did mankind lose its innocence, only then did Adam and Eve meet the other side of the coin, through 'the Fruit of Good and Evil.'

         Then Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise. Then came Cain and Abel, the evil brother and the good brother; the fraternal twins, one the son of the serpent, the other the son of Adam.


         As sleep began to subdue the intellectual man, the events of the last night began to lose meaning. He spread out on his bed, then groaned and laid on his side. On his desk rested his unfinished dissertation on Christian theology and the Old Testament, right next to a glass of wine. The last sound he heard that night were the footsteps of someone down the hallway, they were high-heels. A beautiful woman in an emerald dress entered the room, she had hazel eyes, smiling at the scene in front, she closed the door behind her.

© The Acentos Review 2017