Memories of my Melancholy Whores

Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez Read Free Book Online

Book: Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gabriel García Márquez
Tags: prose_contemporary
identity of pedestrians before allowing them to walk through San Nicolas Park. I had never seen anything like it and could not imagine anything more disheartening as a symptoms of my old age. It was a four-man patrol, under the command of an officer who was almost an adolescent. The soldiers were from the highland barrens, hard, silent men who smelled of the stable. The officer kept an eye on all of them with their bright-red cheeks of Andeans at the beach. After looking over my identification papers and press card, he asked what I was carrying in the basket. A cat, I told him. He wanted to see it. I uncovered the basket with as much caution as I could for fear it would escape, but a soldier wanted to see if there was anything else on the bottom, and the cat scratch him. The officer intervened. He’s a gem of angora, he said. He stroked it and murmured something, and the cat didn’t attack him but didn’t pay any attention to him either. How old is he? He asked. I don’t know, I said, it was just given to me. I’m asking because you can see he’s very old, perhaps as old as ten. I wanted to ask how he knew, and many other things as well, but in spite of his good manners and flowery speech I didn’t have the stomach to talk to him. I think he’s an abandoned cat who’s gone through a good deal, he said. Observe him, don’t try to make him adapt to you, you adapt to him instead, and leave him alone until you gain his confidence. He closed the lid of the basket and asked: What kind of work do you do? I’m a journalist. How long have you done that? For a century, I told him. I don’t doubt it, he said. He shook my hand and said goodbye with a sentence that might have been either good advice or a threat:
    “Take good care of yourself.”
    At noon I disconnected the phone in order to take refuge in an exquisite program of music: Wagner’s Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra, Debussy’s Rhapsody for Saxophone, and Bruckner’s String Quintet, which is an edenic oasis in cataclysm of his work. And all at once I found myself enveloped in the darkness of the study. Under the table I felt something slip by that did not seem like a living body but a supernatural presence brushing past my feet, and I jumped up with a shout. It was the cat with its beautiful plumed tail, mysterious languor, and mythic ancestry, and I could not help shuddering at being alone in the house with a living being that was not human.
    When the cathedral bells struck seven, there was a single, limpid star in the rose colored sky, a ship called out a disconsolate farewell, and in my throat I felt the Gordian knot of all the loves that might have been and weren’t. I could not bear anymore. I picked up the phone with my heart in my mouth, dialed the four numbers with slow deliberation in order not to make a mistake, and after the third ring I recognized her voice. All right, woman, I said with a sigh of relief: Forgive my outburst this morning. She was serene: Don’t worry about it, I was expecting your call. I told her: I want the girl to wait for me just as God sent her into the world, and with not paint on her face. She laughed her guttural laugh. Whatever you say, she said, but you lose the pleasure of undressing her one piece of clothing at a time, something old men love to do, I don’t know why. I do, I said: Because they keep growing older and older. She considered it settled.
    “All right,” she said, “then tonight at ten sharp, before she has a chance to cool down.”

    What could her name be? The owner hadn’t told me. When she talked about her to me she said only: the girl,
la nina
. And I had turned that into a given name, like girl of my dreams, or the smallest of the caravels. Besides, Rosa Cabarcas gave her employees a different name for each client. It amused me to guess their names from their faces, and from the beginning I was sure the girl had a long one, like Filomena, Saturnina, or Nicolasa. I was thinking about this when

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