Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez

  • Symptom of old age is when you begin to resemble you father.
  • I never had intimate friends, and the few who came close are in New York. By which I mean they’re dead, because that’s where I suppose condemned souls go in order not to endure the truth of their past lives760
  • Unlike the rest of the furniture, and unlike me, the large table on which I am writing seems to grow healthier with the passage of time, because my paternal grandfather, a ship’s carpenter, fashioned it from noble woods
  • The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia
  • He was wearing a sports jacket with a live orchid in the lapel, and each article of clothing suited him as if it were part of his natural being, yet nothing was made for the climate of the street but only for the springtime of his offices
  • of the forty-eight original employees, only four were still alive, and the youngest of us was serving a twenty-year sentence for multiple homicide
  • And in my throat I felt the Gordian knot of all the loves that might have been and weren’t. I could not bear any more
  • When the storm had passed I still had the feeling I was not alone in the house. My only explanation is that just as real events are forgotten, some that never were can be in our memories as if they had happened. For if I evoked the emergency of the rainstorm, I did not see myself alone in the house but always accompanied by Delgadina. I had felt her so close during the night that I detected the sound of her breath in the bedroom and the throbbing of her cheek on my pillow. It was the only way I could understand how we could have done so much in so short a time. I remembered standing on the library footstool and I remembered her awake in her little flowered dress taking the books from me to put them in a safe place. I saw her running from one end of the house to the other battling the storm, drenched with rain and in water up to her ankles. I remembered how the next day she prepared a breakfast that never was and set the table while I dried the floors and imposed order on the shipwreck
  • My heart froze. That’s the last straw, I protested in horror, I want the same one, the way she always is, without failures, without fights, without bad memories
  • As I was reading The Ides of March, I ran across an ominous sentence that the author attributes to Julius Caesar: In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are
  • Stayed with even the worst of them. Thank God I found my Chinaman in time. It’s like being married to your little finger, but he’s all mine.
  • In better days, the governor had made me a tempting offer to buy en bloc the books of Greek, Latin, and Spanish classics for the Departmental Library, but I didn’t have the heart to sell them. Later, given political changes and the deterioration of the world, nobody in the government thought about either arts or letters
  • I was shaken by the stunning revelation that I was listening to the last concert fate would afford me before I died. I did not feel sorrow or fear but an overwhelming emotion at having lived long enough to experience it.
  • Everything about her contradicted the rumor that her mind was becoming a blank through an unredeemable erosion of her memory
  • From then on I began to measure my life not by years but by decades. The decade of my fifties had been decisive because I became aware that almost everybody was younger than I. The decade of my sixties was the most intense because of the suspicion that I no longer had the time to make mistakes. My seventies were frightening because of a certain possibility that the decade might be the last. Still, when I woke alive on the first morning of my niceties in the happy bed of Delgadina, I was transfixed by the agreeable idea that life was not something that passes by like Heraclitus’ ever-changing river but a unique opportunity to turn over on the grill and keep broiling on the other side for another ninety years.
  • Her last steady stud, a fortunate black from Camagüey called Jonás the Galley Slave, had been one of the great trumpet players in Havana until he lost his entire smile in a catastrophic train collision.
  • I went out to the street, radiant, and for the first time I could recognize myself on the remote horizon of my first century
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