Read from Dream of Reason byRosa Chacel, translated by Carol Maier:
"In the spring of 1932 about two years had passed since I returned from Europe. My absence had lasted almost as long as my entire life—when I left Buenos Aires I was only a few months old. Even so, even though that period was not clear in my mind, the idea that I had been here was always with me. The idea? Why not the memory? A memory is passed on, inherited, adopted. Yes, I always remembered having been here and always felt certain I would return. I knew I’d return to the city and the house where I’d been born, knew what the furniture was like in that house, and everything I did when I was very young—the trips and studies—was something I started so as to have it done with before I returned. Then once I was here, it was a question of recovering things, not of becoming acquainted with them.
I don’t know if that initial premise has determined the way I am, because, the thing is, even in other, completely unfamiliar cities it’s always seemed that I was searching for my own footsteps.
But this is already thoughts, reflections, and what I’ve proposed is to make that time, that naturalness, which was so comfortable, present now. I was a boy from Buenos Aires who studied and lived like any other boy, except I had a history. It was a history completely forgotten, not with the unfaithful kind of forgetting that tosses everything overboard, but with a forgetting that had come to be like a state of some body—mine: I had solidified in a body, but all the fluid things composing it were circulating within its tranquil mass, releasing their waves, their currents.
No, no, that’s not it! I simply lived on Juncal and studied chemistry. I lived alone, and I had few friends; my only close friend was Javier Molina, a distant relative. I didn’t have much family.
The first signs of spring had appeared, which had happened other years, but this is about that spring, the spring of 1932. It was late August, and I remember thinking about spring as I crossed the Plaza San Martín. It was beginning to get dark, and a wonderful light seemed to be walking across the grass. Dusk is so short here you can watch it go past. A warm breeze goes by, the sky, very clean and pearly, gives off a bleak light, which slips away toward the trees to hide in the branches, and suddenly, in the shadow of the trees, there’s the glow of a newly lit streetlamp: dusk is gone. At that moment I bought Crítica and continued toward Santa Fe.
Why did I buy Crítica as I was contemplating the plaza? It’s quite unusual for me to read a newspaper, but a kid came up to me, insistently waving a paper. It’s highly unusual for me not to dispatch someone rudely if he happens to interrupt me at such a moment, because I was truly contemplating the plaza. I was standing on a corner, waiting to cross, but I’d hesitated there on the green slope, since I wasn’t in a hurry, and the kid came up to me, shouting right beside me: "Crítica!Crítica!" His shouts didn’t bother me or annoy me, which is how I usually react to any kind of shouting. I let it become part of my contemplation and looked at the boy. I think it was to apologize for my lingering gaze that I took out a few coins and bought the paper. Then, when I reached the La Santa Unión I went into the café, sat down, and started leafing through the paper.
On the cultural page there was a long article about the Ballet Montecarlo. I was skimming it quickly, when suddenly I saw one name: Elfriede Pabst. I read closely and learned that Elfriede Pabst was one of the secondary figures in the troupe, which would arrive that week in Montevideo.
From that moment on I can no longer recount the events step by step, nor is that necessary. The name Elfriede Pabst appeared in the August twilight, fifteen minutes after I stood on a corner thinking about spring. I kept myself very busy that whole week, since I could hardly set out right on the spot."