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Josep-Ignasi Saranyana, Professor Emeritus of Theology

Gabo to Macondo

Sun, 18 May 2014 11:33:00 +0000 Published in La Vanguardia

When Gabriel García Márquez was asked what Macondo was, he answered without hesitation: "More than a place in the world, it is a state of mind". A state of mind is never a topographical point, but rather a situation of the mind and, in a certain way, a way of seeing things.

I wandered around this visit, while recalling the good times spent with Gabo's characters, some more familiar than others, and with his magical fantasies. Perhaps the coolest of all, setting up a gel factory in Macondo, an area as hot as Juan Rulfo's Comala, where the sun fuses the living and the dead.

So what was Macondo for Gabo? It was his most intimate secret, only discovered for a moment when, in November 2002, anguished by a cancer from which he thought he would never recover, he wrote a splendid letter to his friends.

I have re-read this letter. Captivated by its sincerity and beauty, I don't want to translate the first sentence, so as not to spoil the text: "If for an instant God would forget that I am a rag puppet and give me a piece of life, I might not say everything I think, but at final I would think everything I say". It is worthwhile, moreover, to reproduce another paragraph, which is missing in some versions: "My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hatred on the ice, and wait for the sun to rise. I would paint with a dream of Van Gogh on the stars a poem by Benedetti, and a song by Serrat would be the serenade I would offer to the moon. I would water the roses with my tears, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the incarnate kiss of their petals..."

I will not continue to reproduce the letter, which is at your disposal. I just want to emphasize one thing. With all his weaknesses, as everyone has them or has had them, he was the husband of only one wife, the very faithful Mercedes Barcha, the girl who went out to the balcony to watch him pass by, when he was going to Europe for the first time.

Per això ell podia recomanar com qui ho ho té ben experimentat: "To men I would prove how wrong they are to think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love!". L'amor, at final, fa sempre rejovenir, fins i tot quan pensem que ja som vells!