Jorge Milanes Despaigne
Any similarity to reality is pure coincidence.
Friday was the last time I saw my friend. She had called early in the morning saying that she had a suitcase full of books that she didn’t want any more and that to keep from having to throw them out, she had thought about me.
Her library had its surprises and I got several of those when just before noon she appeared in my office with the books as we had agreed, after I told her enthusiastically that yes I wanted them..
There I found early editions of Ballagas, Luisa Perez de Zambrana and Jose de la Luz y Caballero. A gift like that demanded thanks, but at that hour I couldn’t find the words to express my gratitude.
A co-worker wanted to pick through the various volumes, and my boss — in his way of saying hi to my friend, known for her exuberance — asked if all of these were a donation to the company… After emptying the suitcase and checking all its content, we went to the bathroom to wash our hands while we contemplated the beautiful ninth-floor view.
As I couldn’t hide my elation over such an extraordinary gift (there were works signed by the authors and other dedications) I accompanied her to the lobby and at the door I said goodbye with an effusive hug.
It seemed that my friend was a little nervous. She had to come back because she had left her ID with the people at the front desk. However, I soon shrugged off the possibility of anything odd, considering her to have been just a little absentminded, something that happens to everyone.
But my surprise didn’t end there. This past Monday I found an e-mail message in my inbox, written by her youngest daughter. It said: “Dear friends, I am writing to inform you that my mom is now in Amsterdam. She hopes to get mail from all of you sent to this address: [email protected].”