Monday, December 29, 2008

Stars like holographic projections

That same day I saw him again. I spent all afternoon talking to Maria and then we went downtown to buy a scarf, I think, and we kept talking (first about Cesar & Laura, then about everything in existence) and we ended up having cappuccinos at Café Quito, where Maria was supposed to meet Anibal. And Arturo showed up around nine. This time he was with a seventeen-year-old Chilean called Felipe Muller, his best friend, a tall blond kid who almost never spoke and followed Arturo everywhere. And they sat down with us, of course. And then other poets turned up, poets a little older than Arturo, none of them visceral realists, among other reasons because visceral realism didn't exist yet, poets like Anibal who had been friends with Arturo before he left for Chile and so had known him since he was seventeen. They were actually journalists and government officials, the kind of sad people who never leave downtown, or certain downtown neighborhoods, sovereigns of sadness in the area bounded by Avenida Chapultepec, to the south, and Reforma, to the north, staffers at El Nacional, proofreaders at the Excelsior, pencil pushers at the Secretaria de Gobernacion who headed to Bucareli when they left work and sent out their tentacles or their little green slips. And even though, as I say, they were sad, that night we laughed a lot. In fact we never stopped laughing. And then we went walking to the bus stop, Maria, Anibal, Felipe Muller, Gonzalo Muller (Felipe's brother who was leaving Mexico soon), Arturo, and I. And somehow all of us felt incredibly happy, I had forgotten all about Cesar, Maria was looking up at the stars that had miraculously appeared in the sky of Mexico City like holographic projections, and even the way we were walking was graceful, our progress incredibly slow, as if we were advancing and retreating to put off the moment at which we would inevitably have to reach the bus stop, all of us walking and looking up at the sky (Maria was naming the stars). Much later Arturo told me that he hadn't been looking at the stars but at the lights in some apartments on Calle Versalles or Lucerna or Calle Londres, and that was the moment he realized nothing would make him happier than being with me in on of those apartments, eating a few sandwiches with sour cream from a certain street stall on Bucareli. But he didn't tell me that at the time (I would've thought he was crazy). He told me that he'd like to read some of my poems, he told me that he loved the stars of both hemispheres, north and south, and he asked me for my number.

— from The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolaño.

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