Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The telephone ringing awakes her, half sleep, half alert she answers:
- Hi, this is Barbara
- Is this Mrs. Roberts?
- Yes! Who is asking?
- I’m afraid I have sad news ma’am…

From that moment the world stop existing, it was like walking through a nightmare from which there was no possible escape. She wanted to believe it was a mistake that they got the wrong identification… but the empty side of her bed and his un-answered phone tells her otherwise. In despair she called her parents, so they can come to her house to look after the children and go with her to the morgue. She can’t do this on her own!
On her way to the morgue she keeps repeating to herself that her husband can’t be dead, that he did not commit suicide… How could he do something like that! How could he betray her that way! She was really distressed; her father was rubbing her back while gazing at her with great concern as she didn’t show any visible reaction… Her face looking like stone made, hiding very well the storm rising underneath.

Seeing the body brought her back to reality, slapping her with the brutal comprehension that he was gone… that he was not coming back. Suddenly she was overtaken by an uncontrollable rage and she started beating the body, crying in despair while asking a thousand times: “Why? Why? Why, did you have to do it? Why?”

Barbara read his “goodbye” letter hundreds of times, until her mother took it away, afraid of what her daughter could do next. She didn’t need it anymore, the words were implanted in her memory forever:

“I’m done with this lie; I can’t keep living like this any longer! I’ve been lying too long that I lost track of what is real and what is not. I’m a tormented soul, who has been searching for happiness endlessly without any strike of luck. I’m tired of living by the book, of doing what is considered right instead of following my heart. When I was young my soul yearned for something different… I wanted to travel the world and paint it all the way through… I dreamt of wild adventures, knowing different cultures, learning different things, falling passionately in love with life and always be able to walk free. But instead I was hooked by life events… married too young to a pregnant girlfriend (who I didn’t love but could not dare to say so). Then getting a dull job to maintain the house and the new family… and there went all my dreams down the drain! I just can’t do it anymore!! I can’t sleep walk every day, I can’t continue hating my life the way I do!
Dying is the only way out!


Not even a single word to her or to the children; until the very end he was thinking of himself! Barbara dries her tears with the back of her hand and with a fierce determination she stands, after a momentary pause -to breath deep and charge herself - she gently looks at her mother and says: “Let’s go mammy, let’s get everything ready for Tom’s burial, we do not have too much time… let’s go”

Tom was buried with genuine sorrow, by his family, colleagues, friends and others but none from Barbara. She could not forgive him for living a deceiving life and for pulling her into it. She ought to have had much more than sympathy from the man she loved. She also sacrificed her dreams for their future together; she carried his children with honor and always put Tom first…. “And for what?” she says to herself with a bitter smile and a heartbroken tear running down her face. “Why did he never share his dreams with me? Why I couldn’t be part of them? Wasn’t I more than a housewife and the woman to relieve his physical needs? Was I the killer of his dreams? Was it all I was? How could he blame me for his “unhappy life”!"
She is the one to deal with the aftermath of his suicide and to answer their children’s questions. She can’t tell them that their daddy killed himself because he considered his family a burden and the cause of his miserable life. With resolution she says to herself: “There is no way I’m going to allow him to destroy our life like this. He will not take us down with him! We are goanna get out of this mess, we’re goanna make it! We lost him but we will not loose the lesson…”
Bitterness, anger and fear dominate her emotions right now, but they will ease as time pass by and as part of the normal cleaning process. The day will come for her to mourn her husband’s death with tenderness and understanding.

“Why? Why did he have to do it?”
She keeps asking herself, aware that the only person who can answer that is not longer there and is not coming back…

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Alberto the dancer

Fotografia " Mario Benedetti" by GORKA LEJARCEGI

The silence is one and then broken by an exclamation, sometimes a happy one, sometimes a disappointed one. The tango “Nostalgias” is playing on the old radio; he is quietly sitting and listening to the lyrics extraordinarily being interpreted by the greatest Roberto Polaco Goyeneche.

I want to sink my heart in wine
to forget a crazy love
that more than love, is suffering…
And that's what I'm here for,
to erase those old kisses
with other lips' kisses.
If her love was short-lived,
why is this cruel obsession
always living in me?
I want to drink for both of us
to forget my passion,
but instead I remember her even more.

Music feeds his soul, transporting him to the past. He just need to close his eyes and let the music magically take him back to the dance place where he use to be one of the best dancers of his time…

for listening her crazy laughter,
for feeling her fire-like breath
next to my lips…
The agony
of feeling dumped
and thinking that soon another will
talk to her about love…
I don't want the humiliation
of begging, crying,
of telling her I can't live without her.
From my sad solitude
I will see the falling of the lifeless roses
of my youth.

His entry into the dance place is always noticed, someone like him can’t be missed: he is tall, well proportioned, dark black hair and green eyes. His hat is strategically positioned so as to give him that “macho” look that every woman loves. Within seconds and almost imperceptibly he scrutinizes the room, looking for her, looking for the one that has stolen his heart. When he notices her, hiding behind her friends, his heart drops, his blood circulation rises and fear takes control.
She broke his heart, she made him believe he was the only one, the man of her life, but that was far from being true. She played with all, put everyone under her dangerous spell but she never commits to anyone… as rumors said her heart was broken too, so now she is taking her revenge.

Whine, bandoneon, your heartbreaking tango
perhaps you also are in pain
for a broken love…
Cry my silly, lonely and
sad soul tonight,
dark, starless night.
If drinks bring relief,
here I am with my sorrow
to drown it at once.
I want to drown my heart with wine
to then make a toast
to my defeated love.

As soon as the tango finishes Alberto returns to the present, stands up and walking slowly joins his friends at the table, they are playing cards, having fun.
He is a seventy-five years old happy man, with three children and eight grandchildren who love him very much. Against their will he moved into the hospice two years ago, when he knew that he could not live on his own any longer. He refused to move in with them, needing to be with people like him, people of his generation with whom he shares similar interests. At the hospice he feels part of something; he found a place where he can give as much as he has received in life. Whenever he sees any of his peers down, Alberto’s mission is to cheer them up. He sings a tango to them while playing an old bandoneon; sometimes he entertains them with his adventures as an international dancer, or takes them for a walk pointing out all the beautiful things on their path. Sometimes he just sits and listens to what they have to say or to their silence… he is there for them and for himself, as he is receiving as much as he is giving!

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

Note: Tango "Nostalgias" - great composition of Argentine musician Juan Carlos Cobian to the poem by Enrique Cadicamo, from the moment of creation (mid 30s) has been an unique expression of a tango

I invite you to listen to the Tango Nostalgias at: I’m sure you will enjoy it very much as you will have a taste of Alberto’s favorite tango.

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