pearls around the neck • 211
She runs by the edge of the river. The water refreshes her feet.
She splashes her brother with a curtain of wet crystals, forming little rainbows in the air.
Mirrors of water and light multiply their smiles.
Well-being so rarely felt, so deeply felt, that such happiness appears real.
Suddenly, a piranha born in her guts grows in her stomach and painfully invades her entrails.
Placing her dirty little hands over her tummy, she writhes in pain.
She opens her eyes, and awakens on the floor of a train among bags of trash and cardboards.
Dawn begins, and morning light filters through the car window. Blinded by the light, she stands up
and crosses the rails half asleep. The whistle of an oncoming locomotive makes her shudder.
He is sitting next to a bar window in Retiro. His gaze wanders and pierces the reflection of the opaque
glass, depicting a humid Buenos Aires that sticks to the skin and to the houses. Waves of humans
parade in front of him.
Among thick droplets that paint streams on the teary glass, he glimmers her eyes.
“She is starving”, he thinks, and with a gesture invites her to have a seat.
Hesitating, she pushes the revolving door at the entrance. She pushes it with her small shoulder and
half of her body. Once she gets through, he notices for the first time her numerous colored skirts,
which swirl in the air in a balancing act, and her small legs, covered in layers of socks.
She is inside now and the bar lights shine over her whole body.
He discovers her headscarf of lilac, white and light blue flowers, and a crown of golden medals on the
The petite gypsy approaches his table, thinking it is a miracle that the waiter who just brought a coffee
and two croissants did not send her out.
Grave and serious, her lips are tight, and her eyes are fixed on the table; she sits in silence. He moves the
plate towards her, and she eats eagerly, and drinks until she chokes, while he appreciates the brilliance
of her black eyes, and the glow of her golden skin.
Thick, black eyebrows, almost blue, like velvet cloths, circle her eyelids and countless jet black eye lashes.
He feels happy watching her eat, and he smiles at her.
So does she, and she looks at him gratefully.
She is a young girl, and yet she speaks like a mature woman.
“A good man who is alone. A man who waits. Do you want me to tell you what else I see in you?”
Her female eyes scrutinize him, and the words flow from her mouth with a confidence disconnected
from the small person that now, with a slightly sad smile and a nod of the head, invites him to say yes.
Doubtful but interested, he accepts, while two winged birds meddle on the back of his hands, lifting
them and placing them on the table like maps.
While she holds them, she contemplates in silence for a long while. After inhaling and straightening
her back, she says in a grave voice:
“I see a night in which, like every night, you returned from work to your house, on foot.
The black leather of your shoes shined against the cobblestones, your cigar clouded the moon splendor.
You imagined yourself sliding over an infinite hopscotch, avoiding the limits of the stones.
The game relaxed your mind, and detached you from the real world, which you attend during a day’s
Your steps echoed against the silence of the late night. And the echo stopped when you arrived at
number ten, Los Tilos street.
You had a key, and entered. Thus easily negotiating the first obstacle that appeared between the two of