Evening Walk

(from my journal, January 2013)

It is always strange to be out in Sunset Park at night and feel it so powerfully like a setting from Love in the Time of Cholera. There’s a “we” at work at such times that thrills and mystifies me. I am never prepared to see these peasant faces, dark and busy with worry, or to encounter at my doorstep this antique Latin American world in which one inhales the smoke from frying dough and root vegetables and overhears conversations that are opaque even when some of the words are familiar.

Tonight at the photo shop where I was picking up some rolls of film I’d had developed, there was a fast-talking grandmother with a cast on her arm, the cast like something pulling her back into childhood, and at the food vendor near the mobile phone merchant there was a woman with an angelic face who was dressed in black and was as short as a child.

They say García Márquez is “gone” now, no longer able to recognize anyone. To think that he’s out there, at this very moment, in this world, this man who is one of the minds of the age. I wonder if there’s ease and mercy in his senescence, I wonder if it is as soft as a second childhood, or whether it’s the case that some fierce small intelligence still avid in him rages against the dwindling of itself, an intelligence that daily and helplessly wishes itself already dead.