First piece of a series of three
Medellín, 2003. Luis said I could only understand Colombia if I were to read Gabriel García Marquez in Spanish. He gave me three books: One Hundred Years of Solitude, News of a Kidnapping and En Secreto by Germán Castro Caycedo. A book about the most prominent figures in the guerilla, the paramilitary and Narco-terrorism.
Luis studied German to become a teacher and constantly asked me for translations. In reverse, I wanted him to teach me the kind of expressions my Colombian mother never taught me. But that wasn’t Luis’ cup of tea. Unlike Luis’ father Carlos. A colossus of a man, a mechanic, a jack-of-all-trades. At nighttime, he would get me drunk on brown rum. I gave my best to keep up, while we giggled about swear words. I think we had a great time. At the same time, I shot a film, collected stories, and in a moment of romance I did what I had never done before and never did again: I collected flowers, which I dried in between the pages of the books Luis had given me.
Only when moving houses I recalled the books’ existence. They remained half-read. The flowers were too big. The pages were stuck together. At the beginning of the year, they came back to my mind, when my father called to ask me whether I remembered Luis. His father had been shot. Right in front of their house. They said he attempted to chase some thugs, who had tried to steal his car. These days, the suburb is in the hands of the paramilitary.