Joaquín walked silently and with a fake smile through his son’s wedding room, with the sole premise of not running into his ex-wife. He had paid 50 percent of all party expenses, but his position was practically that of a shipwreck.
They had already congratulated him, he had already cried, he had already drunk. But he was inappetent. She had never danced in her life and was not going to start now. Luckily his Australian in-laws didn’t bother him: they shared the table with Mariana, his ex.
Somehow unspoken, he hadn’t agreed to attend his most recent girlfriend’s wedding. Neither she nor Joaquín himself had suggested it. Perhaps, even tacitly, that non-agreed absence was the end of the relationship. Who could know?
He might find her at his house when he got back, if he could get drunk enough not to think about that possibility. It would only happen if you weren’t expecting it. Suddenly a face caught his eye. Where did you know that face of hers, “that gesture”?
It looked like a wax portrait on a real body. A face that would have remained in the past, with typical high school expressions, but implanted in the body of a contemporary adult. From the mists of time the surname has emerged in Joaquin’s memory: -Balicelli.
He uttered the memory aloud, without deciding, as if he were taking the list.
Balicelli smiled. He nodded.
But… before closing himself in an awkward forced embrace, Joaquín wondered who had invited him. Was he a friend of Mariana? He couldn’t be. From where? Or your in-laws? Impossible, they had participated directly from Australia.
– Balicelli – finally repeated Joaquín, making his question as friendly as possible (thanks also to the whiskeys supplied directly by his in-laws) – What are you doing here?
“I found out it was your daughter’s wedding,” Balicelli replied matter-of-factly.
“My son,” Joaquín corrected him.
Balicelli slapped his forehead as if he had forgotten something important.
“Son, son,” he apologized.
Joaquín didn’t know how to proceed. What he had just reflected, being a cast in the marriage that he himself had paid for, materialized in Balicelli. The Universe gave him those traps permanently.
“I wouldn’t have missed it,” added Balicelli. You come home tomorrow. quid pro quo.
Joaquín reflected on the alternatives: asking him to leave, asking if there were security personnel to expel him, continuing to drink until he forgets that meeting. He opted, by default, for the third option. What is good, there is no need to improve it. What is wrong should not be made worse.
Indeed, at the end of the party, Natalia was waiting for him at home. The next day, in the healthy hangover of the Australian single malt, she discovers Balicelli’s address on her WhatsApp. She was waiting for him for an evening roast. “I won’t tell you at noon because you will be destroyed by the party. What a party”.
THE The mere mention of a barbecue at this time and after that night made him nauseous, but he was driven by the curiosity to reveal the mystery of Balicelli. After all, he’d just eaten at the wedding.
He arrived at Balicelli’s, in Benavidez, at sunset – he also freed Natalia from that commitment. She has received another surprise for over the years: Mabel, the most beautiful student of the last year of high school, with whom Joaquín had been madly in love.
Balicelli barely let him in, didn’t put him through the pathetic “showing him around the house” ceremony and immediately unrolled the Russell Yo-Yo. A red Yo-Yo, with white lettering, and also a brand new white thread, perfumed and new, impermeable to time, like the face of Balicelli on her body.
Only then did Joaquín remember it in high school Balicelli was the king of yo-yo. Even the promoters of the Yo-Yo, true artists, Soviet athletes and prodigies in the art of that sliding sphere, with their red jackets and their youthful smiles, recognized in Balicelli a colleague, an eminence of the Yo-Yo.
On one occasion, Balicelli had deliberately hit Copero, a bully from the opposite grade, with a yo-yo on his forehead, leaving him with a sizeable bump, and beat him for the rest of the school year.
Just then, to Mabel’s astonishment, he demonstrated the main tests of the Russell Yo-Yo in front of Joaquín: the tour of the world, the little dog, the mongoose, the missile, the bell in the air. For some reason, Joaquín has been portrayed as a Chinese table tennis champion. But it was Balicelli who played Yo-Yo.
– Amazing, right? Mabel pointed out.
“Incredible,” repeated Joaquín. Truly amazing.
Balicelli had dedicated the rest of his life to exercising the Yo-Yo. Mabel was the daughter of a top record company executive, who had transformed his industry into an amphibious business between food and entertainment. And in her turn, Balicelli had received a modest but persistent inheritance from an aunt, whose assets included the very house in which they lived. They lived comfortably.
Balicelli was still the king of the yo-yo.
“This test is new,” announced Balicelli.
He threw the Yo-Yo and the red ball flew across the ceiling, like a fancy fly. He circled behind Balicelli and returned to his place, caught up in the wire.
“Outstanding,” praised Joaquín. But actually, I felt a little scared. The whole scene was elusive to him. What if they try to kill him or accuse him of something?
– Which, I didn’t want to disturb because I thought more people would come. But I don’t eat barbecue: I’m vegan,” Joaquín lied.
– No problem – Balicelli understood – There are finger-licking salads. Mabel tends her farm.
His outrageous lying worried Joaquín too. He sent Natalia a WhatsApp:-Call me and tell me someone died.
But the girl didn’t answer. He only appeared when I didn’t summon him.
– Want to throw a thrill Yo-Yo? Balicelli invited him.
“No, thank you very much,” replied Joaquín. The truth is, I completely forgot about it.
“I’ll refresh it for you,” Balicelli insisted. Mabel nodded with him. But Joaquín refused with her hands.
When he finally managed to escape from that closed neighborhood, without even an alibi for drinking – the party had annihilated him in this regard – he breathed the night air of Buenos Aires. It wasn’t his favorite, but it was so much better than being locked up with the Yo-Yo King.
He longed to go back to the city. She reflected for a long hour on her whole life. He had never been the king of anything. He had spent his entire life in solitude. He simply had not accepted the legitimacy of any kingdom. He went downstairs to eat a slice of pizza, with a sudden and incomprehensible appetite.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.