It happens to me lately: when I travel out of the city I live in, I like to save a couple of nights to have dinner alone. For a time I was devoted to room service, having dinner at the hotel watching movies. But now I look for silent restaurants. I like to sit among all that glass, all that golden light tinkling on the glasses, put on good clothes, make slow gestures, smile at the waitresses, become invisible, breathe the neat air of the tablecloths. Immerse myself in an elastic, smooth, precious time that has density and, at the same time, sings with the frivolity of a Martini on the terrace. There, fortified in the gentle aroma of solitude, I feel something similar to beatitude, to what happens to me when I contemplate the calligraphy of the wheat fields in the pampas: the advent of calm. It is my hunting season, a small game, decent, that does not destroy anyone’s life. I listen, I observe, I dream. I dined alone in Bern, in Paris, in Miami, in Guadalajara. Months ago, in Madrid, I dined alone in the Las Letras neighborhood. My table was next to the window, a neat, youthful glass eyelid, and I saw, across the street, a summer night that passed more than 30 years ago. I was walking with my father along the Gran Vía. He was wearing a long, white skirt, an anklet. He was wearing inappropriate gold suede shoes. Or maybe my Greek strappy sandals. In any case, my feet hurt and I didn’t care. My father wore a red sweater, he was tanned, beautiful. We had been drinking, we were laughing, we were walking fast. I knew that all of this was a cloak of love placed on the shoulders, something unstable that could fall off. But we were young, my heart a caravan that went after his heart. My father stopped, pulled me away a bit, looked at the bracelet he was wearing on his ankle and said: “It looks beautiful on you.” The world seemed newly made. We had already done all the damage but the love we pretended was real.
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