Way Out

  • Published by SN Review, 2010
  • “I’m leaving, Fer…” Me voy, Fer.

    “¿Cómo que te vas? ¿Adónde?” What do you mean you’re leaving, where? Fernando halted suddenly and faced his girlfriend, who was walking beside him. Hadn’t she been the one to suggest they go for a walk? They hadn’t done even five blocks yet and she already wanted to turn back, he couldn’t believe it, who understood women?, and yet…and yet there was something in that phrase—perhaps the silence that followed it; or her shifting and evasive look upon saying it; or something else that he could not quite pin down—which made him feel that Luciana’s cutting remark had nothing to do with the stroll they were taking under the shady and blurry autumn sun in the parks of Palermo.

    “Me voy del país, Fer. I’m leaving Argentina. I can’t stand it here anymore.” Now Luciana was facing him, her eyes framed by tears like a pail about to overflow. The pail spilled over and the tipas and jacarandaes of the Rosedal began to whirl around Fernando, like in a children’s play where the main characters are trees, chairs and doors that move about the stage like cynic and exalted human beings. He felt the cool and black soil around his feet crumble under him like they had told him happened during earthquakes or in quagmire sands. He paused. The sweet and solitary fragrance of the eucalyptus and Madonna lilies, until then as familiar and known to him as the choripán posts at the edge of the sidewalk, became unrecognizable, foreign, perverse, stale. He knew people who had left the country or had intentions of doing so, but he would have never imagined his fiancé would be among them. Luciana, who, in spite of her economic difficulties—not unlike those of most people—he believed tightly mingled and confused with the swayings and strong temperament of her city: her pride and coquettishness were Libertador, Callao and Alvear, daunting avenues that had nothing to envy the style of the Champs Ellysée; her quietness and magnetism the narrow and badly paved callejuelas nourished by bars, boliches and—since a few years ago—maxikioskos; her defiant and self-assured attitude the legions of stubborn and untiring smokers who populated them; her tapered and young chestnut body represented the pleasant decadence, the disenchantment, the impenetrable melancholy of Buenos Aires; her long straight hair the brown movements of the Río de la Plata, and her warm and unapproachable eyes the infinite and deserted Llanura Pampeana (…)

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