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The message.

I CAME TO SEE YOU, Martin, and you are not here. I am sitting on the front step of your house, leaning against your door, and I think that in some place in the city, as if by a sound wave that passes through the air, you should know that I am here. This is your little garden; the mimosa is stretching and children passing by pull its closest branches. I see scattered around on the ground around the wall some very straight and formal flowers that have leaves like swords. They are navy blue and look like soldiers. They are very important, very honest. You are also a soldier. You are marching for your life one, two; one, two . . . Your whole garden is solid; it is like you with a strength that inspires confidence.

Here I am against the wall of your house, the way I sometimes lean against your back. The sun also strikes the windowpanes and because it is already late, it is gradually fading. The red-hot sun has warmed your honeysuckle, and its fragrance becomes even more penetrating. It is twilight. The day is drawing to a close. Your neighbor passes by. I don't know if she sees me. She is going to water her little garden. I remember that she brings you noodle soup when you are sick, and that her daughter gives you injections . . . I think about you very deliberately, as if I drew you inside of me and you remained drawn there. I would like to be sure that I am going to see you tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow and always in an uninterrupted chain of days; that I will be able to look at you slowly, even though I know every little corner of your face; that nothing between us has been provisional or accidental.

I am leaning over a piece of paper, and I am writing all this to you, and I think that now, in some city block where you may be walking in a hurry in your usual decisive way you are on one of those streets where I always imagine you to be; on the corner of Donceles and Cinco de Febrero or Venusiano Carranza Street, seated on one of those monotonous gray benches which are broken only by the crowd of people hurrying to take the bus; you must know within yourself that I am waiting for you.

I came only to tell you that I love you, and because you are not here, I am writing to you. I can hardly write now because the sun already set. I'm not sure what I'm putting down. Outside more children come running by. And an irritated woman carrying a pot warns, "Don't shake my hand because I will spill the milk . . ." And I drop this pencil, Martin, and I drop the lined paper, and I let my arms hang uselessly along my body, and I'm waiting for you.

I'm thinking that I would love to hug you. Sometimes I would like to be older because youth carries within itself the imperious, implacable need to relate everything to love.

A dog barks; a hostile bark. I thinks that it's time for me to go. In little while the neighbor will come to put on the lights of your house; she has the key and will put on the light in your bedroom, which faces out on the street, because in this neighborhood there are a lot of assaults and robberies. They rob the poor often; the poor rob each other . . . You know, since I was a child I have sat down like this to wait; I was always docile because I was waiting for you. I was waiting for you. I know that all women wait. They wait for future life, for all those images forged in solitude, for all that forest that moves towards them; for all that immense promise that is a man; a pomegranate that suddenly is opened and shows its shining red seeds; a pomegranate like a ripe mouth with a thousand sections. Later those hours live through imagination, made into real hours, will have to take on weight and size and rawness. Oh, my love, we are so full of interior portraits, so full of unlived landscapes.

It is now nighttime, and I almost cannot see what I am scribbling on the lined paper. I cannot perceive the letters. There, where you may not understand, put in the white empty spaces: "I love you . . ." I don't know if I am going to slip this paper under your door; I don't know. You have made me respect you . . . Perhaps now that I am leaving, I may stop only to ask your neighbor to give you the message; that she tell you that I came.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Organization of American States
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:short story
Author:Poniatowska, Elena; Benjilian-Burgay, Joy
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:801
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