“Archeology of love”, Marcelo Birmajer’s new story. Illustration: Hugo Horita
That morning, Jonathan Malstrom awoke with an unusual activity in more than half a century of his existence: deliberately saying goodbye to a beloved woman. For that, he called a cell phone from the remises agency and gave him the address of the remote site where Nina conducted her archaeological searches. They will pick him up in half an hour.
None of the private car apps suit him for breakup. An old remise, as old as the tides that separate the lover when love stops. Because it’s not over yet. No. He still loved her: but he could no longer be with her.
Nina was jealous of him and rejected him at the same time. He refused to see her and then called her desperate. He apologized for his rudeness, and that night he preferred to sleep alone. He questioned her every move, but she refused to give an account of her travels.
Malstrom finally couldn’t take it anymore. Nina’s arrival and departure They left his heart like desert rocks split by the sudden transition from cold to heat. Stop. He would show up to the quarry where Nina was digging the ground in search of the last traces of the Ranquel Indians and would tell him, virile and short: – It’s done.
I have never experienced a situation like this. Much less an archaeologist. Incidentally, Malstrom was a surveyor. howsoever lived on the surface of the planet, while Nina explored the mysteries underground. They are not for each other.
Malstrom recently discovered on a newsstand a magazine titled Secrets of History, whose cover has a picture of a Chinese vase and the headline: Ming Vase, the return of the past. If I passed a kiosk on the way to the excavation site, I would buy a copy. A great gift in separation. But if they just cross the road to the highway. I don’t want to get lost.
Nina traces the underground ranquels in a town called Naraspo, which Malstrom has not only visited, but has not even heard of. All he knew was that it was west of the province of Buenos Aires, but it wasn’t too long before he got there.
The new house Malstrom-nina moved into was never visited, not even given her address — fifteen blocks from the freeway. The remise came on time; Malstrom indicated the street and number to Naraspo.
“If we pass a magazine kiosk on the way to the highway,” he asked, “stop for a moment.” But if we pass: do not deviate please.
– Do you want me to ask for a newspaper for the newspaper? friendly question of the driver.
– Nerd. I would like a Chinese vase magazine. But don’t worry: if we pass a kiosk, that’s fine. And if not, straight to the highway.
Because of the instructions, Malstrom immersed himself in the contract and project, on paper, of the cucumber plantation in Moldova, for the company to launch sweet and sour cucumber snacks.
It was a perfect plan: say goodbye to Nina, give her the magazine, go back to the house she didn’t know; and less than 48 hours later, left for Moldova. I can’t even call him on the cellphone. The vase of those Chinese from the Ming dynasty would be the last contact between them.
He was referring to a mistake in the land extension of his contractors, when he noticed that more than fifteen blocks had already passed.
“Sir,” he asked the driver. What if we don’t get to the highway?
Only then did he notice the driver. A man who was probably his age, in his fifties, with gray hair on the side and a jopo with hair gel.
“I’m sure there’s a kiosk on this avenue,” he replied.
And since Malstrom was speechless in the commotion, the driver added: -Hell the kiosks are gone.
“I don’t know the demographic evolution of kiosks,” Malstrom tried to control himself. But I asked him not to get lost. If we only saw something …
“It’s not a demographic problem,” the driver snapped. But I’m sure on this avenue …
Malstrom, scared, Corrientes Avenue acknowledged: there is little to do with climbing the highway.
“Sir,” he insisted. I beg you to leave finding a kiosk and go immediately to the highway.
– But on the highway we can’t find a kiosk, eh? insisted the driver.
“I know, I know,” replied Malstrom, resigning himself to pretending they shared a language. I prefer to get there quickly, before looking for a kiosk.
But the driver obviously did not understand. He was not heading for any highway climb. Parang a programmed robot that cannot be countermand: once the message has been delivered, no retrieval or condition is possible.
– An open kiosk! Malstrom shouted. The driver slammed on the brake, forcing the passenger to bend due to inertia.
– Where? he asked cheerfully. I did not see.
“There,” Malstrom vaguely pointed out. About Reconquest.
Just a moment.
The driver, satisfied, momentarily parked at a corner. It’s not obvious that Malstrom left enough money in the backseat. He got off, walked a few blocks away, went to a bar, ordered coffee and asked for a mobile app. The journey was long, but he got there.
Nina appeared particularly beautiful, dirty on the ground and shiny at the same timeIt’s like he’s the only one who can. An amber goblet amazed him: how did it appear on the furnishings of the ranquele? Mansilla said nothing about it.
Malstrom thought, as he announced that they would never meet again, that it was a kind of metaphysical message from some distant Chinese sage: don’t take the magazine as a farewell gift. For some reason, the farewell event is better this way: no subterfuge or mitigation.
Nina let go of him, paying more attention to the glass than the sentimental epitaph. That was her routine distracted nymph reaction. A few days later he would call it plaintiff. But this time there was no benefit, because Malstrom was in Moldova, without any communication links, overseeing the cucumber plantation for snacks.
Malstrom carefully packed his suitcase: any detail missing, he would buy in Moldavia. He was careful about changing his cell phone number. The next day, early in the morning, he went to Ezeiza. That night the electric gate rang unexpectedly: a relic. An evangelist? A junkman? Rarely at sunset time. The voice sounded familiar.
“I’ll bring your magazine,” said the driver.
When Malstrom got out, he was greeted by a Dantesque spectacle: the gray -haired driver, smiling, held up the magazine, curiously lit at that time of dusk; Beside him, Nina watched him with a vague expression, more beautiful than ever. Is this a nightmare?
“I don’t know how we missed each other,” the driver detailed. But there is no magazine kiosk in that corner. You are definitely confused by the candy maxi kiosk. Fortunately, Naraspo’s destination is on the GPS. I wanted to give the magazine to the lady, who knew her name. Here we are. The trip is already paid.