An excerpt from “Memories of my Melancholy Whores” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (my latest obsession)
At dusk I faced the rainstorm, whose hurricane-force winds threatened to blow down the house. I suffered an attack of sneezing, my skull hurt, and I had a fever, but I felt possessed by a strength and determination I’d never had at any age or for any reason. I put pots on the floor under the leaks and realized that new ones had appeared since the previous winter. The largest had begun to flood the right side of the library. I hurried to rescue the Greek and Latin authors who lived there, but when I removed the books I discovered a stream spurting at high pressure from a broken pipe along the bottom of the wall. I did what I could to pack it with rags to give me time to save the books. The deafening noise of the rain and the howling of the wind intensified in the park. Then a phantasmal flash of lightning and a simultaneous clap of thunder saturated the air with a strong sulfur odor, the wind destroyed the balcony’s window panes, and the awful sea squall broke the locks and came inside the house. And yet, in less than ten minutes, the sky cleared all at once. A splendid sun dried the streets filled with stranded trash, and the heat returned.
When the storm had passed I still had the felling I was not alone in the house. My only explanation is that just as real events are forgotten, some that never were can be in our memories as if they had happened. For if I evoked the emergency of the rainstorm, I did not see myself alone in the house but always accompanied by Delgadina. I had felt her so close during the night that I detected the sound of her breath in the bedroom and the throbbing of her cheek on my pillow. It was the only way I could understand how we could have done so much in so short a time. I remembered standing on the library footstool and I remembered her awake in her little flowered dress taking the books from me to put them in a safe place. I saw her running from one end of the house to the other battling the storm, drenched with the rain and in water up to her ankles. I remembered how the next day she prepared a breakfast that never was and set the table while I dried the floors and imposed order on the shipwreck of the house. I never forgot her somber look as we were eating: Why were you so old when we met? I answered with the truth: Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.