Book I bought in Cuba last summer of all of his collected stories.
“Over the years they both reached the same wise conclusion by different paths: it was not possible to live together in any other way, or love in any other way, and nothing in this world was more difficult than love”- Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Time of Cholera).
To say that I will always remember his death is an understatement, but what I will always hold on to are his beautiful phrases whispered for the dreamers at heart. He touched my life to such a degree that I would not know love the way I do if it weren’t for him, his writing and all his magical stories.
When I was eighteen years old and I was ready to conquer the life I had ahead of me, one book in specific was the first one to truly inspire me through the high tide and the floods that invaded my life at the time. I remember vividly being at my best friend Karly’s house and seeing the book on her living room coffee table. I glanced through it and she mentioned it was her mom’s and I was welcomed to borrow it. I went home that night and submerged myself into his world of magical realism, lustful stories, and melancholic yet loving words. My eyes scanned page after page and in every chapter I found inspiration, sadness, hope and relief, that I too could find love, even if it meant waiting years or even after experiencing loss.
I jotted down every single quote I thought sounded beautiful when read out loud and every single sentence that brought tears, confusion or laughter to my young mind. At the time I did not even have money to buy his books, so I would go to a public library and check them out. I would have to fight myself to not write on the books or highlight them, as I would typically want to because they were not mine.
Gabo helped me understand that the mistakes I had made were a sacrifice I had made erroneously thinking I had to stay with someone even when I did not love them anymore. He showed me that if we go through a shipwreck, that it all passes and that I too will find the person I would go in search for, even if it meant solitude and patience. Gabo truly grasped the difficulty that it is to find true love, the love that makes you feel crazy and invincible and the one that keeps you alive. He understood that monotony drives a person insane and that an unexpected or non-traditional life will bring more joy with its difficulties than a traditional path filled with unhappiness and settling. He understood the dreams that lovers dream of, the drug that love becomes and the need for companionship. He understood me and my young mind as it grew older and understood the importance of having love and being loved in return.
That twisted yet magically beautiful story that it was Florentino’s and Fermina’s love, I wanted that and I never gave up. It was all about second chances but most importantly realizing that one should never give up on someone you truly love, regardless of the circumstances.
I will forever remember the night I finished reading Love in the Time of Cholera, how I sobbed and had an epiphany that if there was one thing I had to have in my life, it was LOVE.
So Gabo, thank you for all your words, they moved so many people and brought so many more together.
“Cada quien es dueño de su propia muerte, y lo unico que podemos hacer, llegada la hora, es ayudarlo a morir sin miedo ni dolor”.