The Real Life Of Alejandro MaytaMonday, September 27, 2010
The houses are ugly, imitations of imitations. Fear, in the shape of gates, walls, sirens, and spotlights, suffocates them. Television antennas form a ghostly forest. Ugly, too is the garbage that piles up on the outer edge of the Malecón and spills down its face, Why is it that this part of the city- which has the best view is a garbage dump?
I’m looking for Mayta, does he know where I might find him?
He’s a respectable-looking guy, dressed relatively well. He listens without asking any questions. But I see that he has doubts, and I’m sure he’s not going to tell me anything. I ask him to give Mayta my telephone number, the next time he sees him.
Suddenly he decides. “He works in an ice-cream parlor,” he says. “In Miraflores.”
It’s a small ice-cream parlor which has been there for many years. It’s on Bolognesi Street, a street I know very well because when I was a kid I knew a beautiful girl who lived there. She had the improbable name of Flora Flores. I’m sure the ice-cream parlor was there then and I went in with the beautiful Flora Flores to have a sundae. It’s and unusual place for a street where there are no stores, only the typical Miraflores houses: two stories, front lawn, the inevitable geraniums, bougainvillea, and poincianas with big red flowers. I have an attack of nerves as I turn off the Malecón onto Bolognesi. Yes, it’s exactly where I remember it, a few steps away from the gray house with balconies, where Flora’s sweet face and incandescent eyes would appear. I park a short distance away from the ice-cream parlor, but I can barely get the key out of the ignition, because I’ve suddenly become jittery.
“Alejandro Mayta,” I say, stretching my hand. “Right?”
He looks at me for a few seconds and smiles, opening a mouth not overpopulated by teeth. He blinks trying to remember me. Finally he gives up.
Chapter 10, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa
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