Mi Amor Española
A tribute to my femme fatal…
I first met her as I flew into the airport. I arrived with no expectations, but after only four days I had fallen in love. I saw her many times after that, perhaps the most beautiful memory I have, is seeing her from a distance as I returned at night from Montevideo, her striking silhouette against the city night lights seducing me as we sailed into the port.
It took me a while to win her over. She was rather distant and snobbish at first, and made no effort to get to know me. I realized I would have to make the moves, if I wanted her that badly. When I approached her, there was no welcome smile, no friendly gesture to calm my anxiety. But I persisted; I had begun to enjoy the challenge, the game added to her mystery and sex appeal. After a while, her cold demeanour melted away and she started to open up, revealing to me what was hidden from public view. At the core of her soul were things I never would have imagined, that few would ever understand. She was known around the world, but she was young and I felt like I was one of the first that really ever got to know her before she became famous.
I wanted to take care of her. At times she seemed so fragile, as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, relentlessly fighting for the cause of those around her. She had once been the admiration of others, but at this time she was naive, and a few careless mistakes had led to her economic downfall. Every so often this caused her sadness but her pride never allowed it to show. She had faced adversity with a courage I admired so deeply. Although as a result of her collapse she was left with very little, she never let this effect her determination to succeed and destroy her hope that one day, in the future, she would be returned to the status she achieved before she had fallen from grace.
Her most turbulent side was that you could never predict her moods. Some days she was a kaleidoscope of pure ecstasy, warm sunshine and endless blue skies. We would walk as one down the streets, sharing each other’s happiness, passing slowly under the shady trees and sitting together in the park, eating ice cream or just silently watching the people walk by. At times, she had a dry and arid air; as if she was tired of the constant strain of activity that life dealt her. Other days she changed unexpectedly from this serene state, into a thunderous, volatile monster, drenching everyone around her with her stormy behaviour in a matter of seconds. But after every one of her tantrums, as the sun would set on the horizon, her mood lifted and by midnight she was there to share a glass of wine or two, as the night breeze floated in to dry up the damage left by her destruction. By morning, any evidence of her mood the day before had disappeared, replaced with a soft, sensual awakening in the early hours of dawn, that I always loved to wake up next to.
On weekends she changed altogether. Her usual exterior, of routine and work, became completely relaxed, and lazy afternoons in the old neighbourhoods of San Telmo and in the markets of Recoleta took her fancy. She loved nothing more than to be amongst families, students and artisans, and share their laissez-faire approach to life as they played music and danced Tango on the streets and the park squares. She watched for hours as they smoked, drank and laughed together, until the stars came out and she suddenly became a seductive woman of the night, hosting wild parties that lasted until the next morning, when the sun was already high in the sky. And, as every weekend passed, I fell more deeply in love with the way she invoked happiness in the heart of myself and of those around her.
You could call it an obsession. I studied her every move, I knew every part of her, from beginning to end, how to navigate my way across her elegant design, and the times she was better left alone. Of course, during business hours, the mornings and the evenings she was usually busy, and sometimes, if I was awake, I liked to listen as she negotiated the comings and goings of the people she organized. But, what I loved the most was that at the end of the day she always had time for me, and bit by bit she introduced me to the barrios where she had been raised until now. She was an enigma; there was no doubt about it. Many others, like me, fell in love with her charm and sophistication. They wanted to care for her, live by her side, and never leave her. I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I was just another infatuated lover. I just feel lucky to have known such a love, and I hope that I was loved back. And maybe, once the grief of saying goodbye slowly fades, I can believe the words of my friends – who said when I left, a tiny part of her changed also, and she was not the same city she was when I was there. And that, in her heart, my love, Buenos Aires will be waiting for me to return one day, ready to show her soul to me once again, as she did during the year of 2006, the summer when I changed from a young girl into a woman.