After a long separation from her ex-husband, Griselda had finally received the divorce papers. A few days later she was called by René, her colleague from the Peruvian catering company. How long had it been? 20 years? What were you doing in Buenos Aires? Wasn't he gay, Rene? In any case, he found no reason to deny her an appointment.
-What happened to your life? Griselda asked. What brought you to Buenos Aires?
Although both were porteños, René had remained in Peru; while Griselda had been in Buenos Aires for those same 20 years.
"I came to do some studies," René said.
Griselda looked at him without quite understanding.
"I'm going to die," René reported, adding a Buenos Aires sentence: "With all the fury, six months.
Perhaps because she needed some snack in that pathetic exchange, still bewildered, Griselda replied: "I just got divorced. I mean, I've been separated for about six months. But I just got a divorce.
The silence between the two meant that there was no possible answer to René's statement.
"When I got the diagnosis," René said, "I thought of you.
"But we haven't seen each other for twenty years," replied Griselda.
"I never forgot you," René insisted.
"But," Griselda asked, with some guilt for that question: "Was there ever anything between us?"
"No, no," René clarified. But I was captivated by you since I saw you. Right now I'm in love.
And he put the palm of his hand on the back of Griselda's hand.
Were it not for the fact that he had declared himself dying, she would have withdrawn her hand. But the situation paralyzed her.
-My last wish is to spend a week with you. Only one week. Where you say.
"I can't," Griselda said automatically. But I hadn't even thought about it.
"I will stay one more week in Buenos Aires," René said goodbye. He gave her a kiss on the cheek, between the cheek and the neck. René's perfume, exquisite, bought in the free shop, remained in that interstice.
The next few days were a strange loneliness for Griselda. He didn't want to undress in front of René, but he did want to continue talking. Accompany. Somehow, she would also feel accompanied. One night, strictly speaking in a lost hour of the morning, she called him. He didn't think about it. He first typed and then found out it was his number. René attended as if he knew.
"Not a week," Griselda conditioned. But if you want, come here now.
The meeting exceeded all of Griselda's expectations.
Undoubtedly, the certainty of the first and last time, the proximity of an unappealable end, contributed to those hours until the arrival of dawn. They said goodbye against a fable sun.
They hadn't talked about the week or any deadline. But the overthought was that they would not repeat. Months passed. Griselda recalled with a smile, evanescent and furtive, that night that she labeled "my madness". During that period, he did not feel like another romantic episode.
René called her to tell her something news. He seemed content. Griselda agreed to meet again in the same bar. They did not hold hands, Griselda looked at him like an old friend; somehow dismissing him, with less astonishment than when he communicated his misfortune.
"A miracle happened," René decreed.
Griselda felt an anger emerge from the bottom of her soul.
The homeopathic doctor had recommended that I place my mind in a pleasant memory. You were my pleasant memory, Griselda. The clinician, and the homeopath too, tell me that I am cured. The disease disappeared. There is no doubt: I am cured.
Griselda looked around for what to hit him with. I wanted to call the police, report him as a scammer. I didn't believe him a word.
"You're miserable," he snapped. I don't want to see you again in my life.
René's face paled as Griselda left. That pallor, Griselda thought, furious, at least she couldn't fake it. And the man's expression was one of real contrition, but not of repentance. The facial imprint of an atavistic, insurmountable misunderstanding between man and woman.
In the following days, Griselda came to the conclusion that René had told her the truth. The effect of his only intimate contact resurfaced in her, vivid and pressing. It had been the love of the good, as the bolero said, of which he had never met before, he discovered now. He called him without hesitation. But no one attended anymore.
The Buenos Aires line had stopped working. Griselda's body was burning from that event. He wanted him back next to him. He sought it for all contemporary alternatives. It had vanished from the face of the Earth. I couldn't stop thinking about him. The days passed like a barb through a percussive groove. He awaited his call, his presence, as the only food for his anxiety.
In the bottom of her heart, she knew that for her he had died, and she would never forget it.