I think of Miguel often
and at very odd times. I am always haunted by who he was and his
memory. I think of him so much now as I dress and prepare to go to a
party at the Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. Miguel was one of the
most remarkable people I have ever met in my whole life. To me he
still retains a lifelong ambivalent quality to him that no one will
be able to take away from me. He comes back to me in my mind always
in ever present illusory and recurring dreams. As I sit still, I
remember him since it was so long ago I wait for a minute looking at
myself in the mirror all those years later and wonder how I have
weathered the years so well and if Miguel was still alive where we
would be living today.
I know very little about Miguel and what became of him. I have often always wondered if anyone today does know where he is. My very first meeting with him at a Theater hall in December of 1955 in Madrid. The place was called the Le Revue Villa right there in Downtown Madrid. It was a cool fine day. Christmas was fast approaching. Very few places are as beautiful at the Spanish Countryside where the Villa was located. I would always picture it in my mind. The rugged green hills and the narrow winding road down Carmenita way through the street to the Theater.
The usual people that hung out at the theater on those cold winter nights back then were an unusual bunch of people. You had German scientists, Spanish and Italian movie stars political refugees young expatriates, artists, French, American, English, Swedish, and Austrian adventurers. It was as one of the Grandest Annual Parties in all of Europe. The woman who threw the party was known as Princess of Gibraltar because she was born there. She was there with her giggolo Raul. They were both talking and laughing. The Princess had two small children. My friend at the time Colette was the governess to the Princess' children. Colette had invited her friend Miranda and three pilots to the party. As I looking around that night I thought to myself all roads in Spain must lead through this place in one way or another with such an odd assortment of people.
Here, there, and everywhere I looked among the sea of images and faces at this party there were some clearly stood out. One face in particular was that of a man who was about forty years old with black slicked back hair. He was dressed very elegantly with a neatly trimmed beard and a black and white suit. He seemed to be a very affectionate man and was very well dressed compared to some of the other men there and from my perspective looked to be the best looking one at the party.
This man also had another quality that also drew me to him. He seemed to have an ageless survivor of life quality about him that I hadn't seen in other people before. I had seen that look in the faces of other men at those prisoner of war camps during the great war years earlier. His eyes were black and burned in me as we stared at each other.
As I was standing by a pond in the back near the garden steps talking to Colette, Miranda and Raul, I was thinking. This dinner party is better than any other I have ever attended and quite unlike any one I have been to before. Miranda was an avid art lover and appreciated all kinds of great works that were all over Europe. Me and Colette and Miranda would frequent a lot of the galleries together in places like Barcelona and Seville. We would also exchange ideas about the latest and most artworks that were being completed by these painters.
As the band began to play a song I really liked to listen to, Miguel walked over to me and bent down and kissed my hand. He said with with an soft voice. What is your name? I answered it was Marcie Oh he said. You have an English accent.
No it is an Australian accent I responded.
I was in Australia once he said. As I looked at him with intensity I good tell there was an immediate attraction between the two of us that I have never experienced with anyone else before. His thick hair was curled back from his ears and the rest of it was combed back. I was in Australia he once replied. Sydney over fifteen years ago. I was stationed there during the early years of the great war in the Pacific fighting against the Japanese.
He smiled and looked and said. You must have been just a child then Marcie. Wow I said. I can't believe you were in the war? I asked. He looked away.
Ya Miguel said. I am glad I was. It was a great experience for me.
I then replied. It seemed everyone wanted to serve their country in the great war. He then shrugged, pouting his lips again and again then smiling disarmingly to show his white well formed teeth. I always liked men with nice teeth, but then it also occurred to me that I was unable to draw my eyes away from his for what seemed like a long moment in time. I realized in that brief moment that Miguel fulfilled my ideal of what I wanted in a man. We walked around the side of the villa, past groups of different people which included some Spanish and Italian and Princes British royalty as well. They all glanced at us as we passed. Miguel was oblivious to them however and pulling on my arm really gently we eventually made under a tree in the yard alone where nobody else at the party could bother us.
Where do you live Miguel asked pointedly. Trying to sound more sophisticated than I really was I said, Oh here and there I said but I live in Madrid now. I used to live in Rome a while back. He then smiled, showing deep curved lines in his face around the corners of his mouth. This was incredibly attractive to me. I have a tendency to judge a man by his mouth. The eyes maybe a window to someone's soul, but to me the mouth indicates one inner emotions, and ones inner depth of feeling. I never did end up giving him my address while at the party. I had had some bad experiences doing things that way but to Miguel I now replied inventively serious. Pulling out a piece of paper Miguel then wrote on it and split it in half and proceeded to hand one half to me. At that very moment some blond haired German Albino looking man turned the corner to where me and Miguel were talking and turned his back to us and suddenly flashed a light in our eyes. Miguel responded angrily to him. It was the paparazzi taking pictures. Miguel grabbed the man's camera and saying as he rushed off., I must go now. Much to my dismay, after squeezing his hand firmly, he then ran off with another photographer yelling and chasing him as well. I guess he didn't like the media.
As I watched Miguel and German Albino man disappear, I felt totally frustrated. Miguel excited me, intrigued me and now he was gone. I felt completely deflated. As Raul and Colette approached I stuck the piece of paper in my purse after first glancing at it. It said simply, Plaza Del Oro. He wanted to meet at a place called the Plaza Del Oro Restaurant in Madrid on Friday at 1:00 for lunch.
Later that night at the party, I met a famous director named Rosarita Brazzi and her charming assistant Lisa Harrison. She was a famous film director at the time in Europe and was a protege of Alfred Hitchcock but I kept thinking about Miguel. Even later, when I met with my friends and some wine and appetizers I kept thinking about Miguel. The airline pilots at the party were very boyish and entertaining, but Miguel was all I could think about and the thoughts would not leave my mind. His image was like a fuzzy picture which at times grew clearer and more concise and at other times faded into just a blur of blankness.
I thought about Miguel constantly before that Thursday I was supposed to meet him. I was mulling over my decision and whether I should go meet him, and when I knew and decided I ultimately would, and did, a sixth sense sort of told me that door had opened which I may very well never be able to close. I finally arrived at the Plaza Del Oro just shortly before 1:00. I sat down and waited for Miguel to arrive. I was feeling both apprehensive and excited. I looked like a Spanish girl in my Italian looking clothes I had purchased. I was young and pretty at the time and I also felt good about myself as I arrived at my destination.
A little after 1:00 as I sat on the edge of the fountain waiting, and sitting at the table staring at the old church across the street from the restaurant I decided to order a drink. All of sudden to my amazement of the church stepped Miguel dressed as a priest. I was absolutely in a state of complete shock. I stared at him transfixed as he came across to the restaurant and walked directly over to me and without saying a word sat my table and ordered some spaghetti and wine for us for lunch. My curiosity finally got the better of me and I said to him. Miguel I said, or should I should call you Father Miguel?
He proceeded to smile at me enigmatically, Yes my child....
This is becoming to much for me, I continued, I am perhaps naive he said.
I am sorry he said, I am not Miguel, that is I am not the man you met at the party the other day. I looked at him closely. His face looked like Miguel's face. His voice sounded exactly like Miguel's voice. If he was not Miguel then who was he? Then again. I started wondering who I was for a brief minute. My mind swirling strange thoughts. How in the world did he know me, who I was or where I would be at. Why would this man who is a priest arrange to meet me where Miguel was supposed to meet me. Now I wanted some answers from him. I stared into his eyes and asked him point blank. I feel like I am in a maze and I can't find my out, I said, as if almost regretting I had come yet in a strange way excited by the whole episode of how the day was going and where it will lead to next.
I am Miguel's twin brother and I know that he arranged to meet you here. I have his diary and whether or not you know or are aware of it or not, there is a picture of you taken at a party that he met you at in his diary with the name of this place and time he was supposed to meet you written on it. I was totally surprised by what Miguel's supposed twin brother was saying. My mind started racing and then I took a couple of deep breaths and started to slow my mind down and think logically. Should I believe or not believe what he was saying. I was very confused.
Now, if I had not 've come, would you have tried to find me I asked him. Why did you come instead of Miguel? Where is Miguel? Are you really Miguel and could it be that you are lying to me? These were all questions that I was pondering at that very moment.
He hesitated for a moment and did not immediately answer my questions. He stared around the restaurant and plaza while I stared back at him and eyes started lingering on his mouth. He finally opened his mouth and spoke. My brother is dead he said. He died in a car crash. Don't you read the paper young lady. It was on Monday when it happened. The day after the party. I was completely shocked by what this man was saying to me. I don't read the news much anymore, I stammered. I am sorry, to hear that news but you are the exact of image of your brother Miguel the man I met at the party.
Si, Si, he said, wiping his brow dramatically. I to my dear am also very upset. I don't know how well you knew my brother but he was a very good man and I felt you should know. That is why I have come to see you today. To give you this message. He proceeded to sip his wine slowly from his glass, his long brown fingers circling the top it. I downed the wine in my glass in one gulp and asked him. Father could I have another drink of wine. He got me another and sat down watching me closely as I drank. I was incredibly upset and obviously very saddened by what I just heard. How could I be sure however that this man who claimed he was a priest and who looked exactly like Miguel was not really Miguel even though he looked like his spitting image. I then said to him. Oh my god, I thought, I have heard of identical twins. On one hand I felt like saying to him. Come on Miguel what kind of game are you playing with me. Off with the disguise. On the other hand I looked into his dark eyes which were so cool and distant and I thought. No. This whole thing is to much for me. I just wanted to go home and take a reset and forget this man and his twin brother, forget the whole thing in fact. I began to feel ill. I asked him to see the photograph of me that Miguel had took at the party I had originally met him at. I asked him if he would give me the picture and let me keep it. I was kind of surprised by own feelings of ambivalence I was having at the moment on the whole matter.
He then reached into his pockets and said. Oh my dear, I don't think I have it on me. His English for a Spanish Priest was impeccable just like his brother's.
The two of us then walked outside the restaurant into the daylight of the plaza where some small children were playing with a dog in the street. Two old ladies across the street were sitting on the edge of a fountain just chatting and waving their arms as they commenced with their conversation. The priest then held my hand and squeezed it hard. I then began to have a strange feeling and sensation all of sudden like this man really was Miguel but the look in his eyes were still dark and subdued.
I then asked him. Is Miguel, is he I mean, is the funeral going to be held here.
No my dear, he said. I am shipping the body back to Barcelona. My father is half Basque and half Sephardic and my mother is Italian. Originally from Naples, but she too lives in Barcelona. We don't have any relatives living here in Madrid. They all down in Barcelona now.
Oh, I said quietly, kind of hoping in a way that I had never taken the offer to come down to the restaurant anyway.
I hope this not been an upsetting incident for you. This whole thing he said. Staring right at me as a tear formed in my eye. I shook my head, still and dumbfounded waived Adios to him and walked off.
Back at the office a couple of days later I wondered how many Sephardic Spanish Basques there were in Madrid. And I then asked one of the secretary's what Sephardic means. She told me It means Spanish Jew. How could a Spanish Jew also be a priest. I had checked Monday's Barcelona Newspaper which my employer always kept plenty of issues of from all week long and which he kept stacked in a neat pile on his desk. I looked through it carefully and could not find any news of Miguel's funeral in Barcelona taking place yet. So I continued to research and asked Antonio, the office boy who had a crush on me to look and see if there was an accident where someone named Miguel had been killed. No Miguel Antonio said after doing some checking for me. But there was a bad head on collision where two different parties where injured near City Hall on Monday. On of the cars held a couple of important German and Russian officers. The man in the other car is as of yet unidentifiable. He was half Spanish and half Italian he said quietly.
Oh, I whispered. All afternoon while I worked, I kept thinking about Miguel, the priest, the accident and other things. Later when I arrived at my house my housekeeper told me that the Police had come by earlier to ask her questions about me and where I was.
The Questioners and the Police were today asking about you she said. Is your house of cards in order. Do you have any problems that I should know about she said. No I answered. But are the police going to be coming back here? I said.
They did not say she said, looking at me curiously when a knock came to the front door. The Housekeeper opened it and came back saying it was the investigators and they want to talk to me.
Senorita one of the men said, may we speak to you in private?
Yes, I said . I looked at my housekeeper. She winked and went into the kitchen to cook dinner.
The man continued: Were you at a party at the La Revue Villa in Madrid on Sunday night?
Yes, I said.
Did you meet a man who called himself Miguel?
Yes, I said
What do you know of him?
Have you seen him since?
No, I said, thinking of the meeting with the Priest, Miguel's twin at the Restaurant the other day
Can you tell us anything at all about him, anything that you might have said or spoken to him about at the party the other night?
I had just met him, we spoke together socially, but he left the party alone and I left with my friends, I said.
The investigator gave me a stern look and then asked me. Are you telling the truth?
I was now in a dilemma. I knew I should tell the investigator the truth on the one hand but on the other, I learned in my travels and with my experiences dealing with people over time never to volunteer information because it can be used against me later on and lead to more trouble.
Si, I said, trying to look at the investigator with my most innocent possible face I could put on.
Are you aware that we can deport you within twenty-four hours if you knowingly lie to us?
No, I answered, becoming nervous, as my housekeeper burst open the kitchen door.
It is quite the possibility, the man continued, looking ever more serious with each passing question.
The housekeeper began to yell at them for me. Look you fellows, she said, this lady is a good girl, and she has been like a mother to me. She is a great honest person and a wonderful woman to work for so why don't fellows just get out of here and leave us alone and mind your business.
She is a student at the the local college. The housekeeper then lashed out at the Police investigators showing herself to be very protective of me. Why don't you guys get out and find Miguel yourselves instead of bothering a poor student who knows nothing about whole thing. If they had found out I was working at the local magistrates office in Madrid they would have probably deported me immediately. Ignoring my housekeeper the investigator then asked for my passport. Passport Please, he said while my housekeeper continued to scream at them for their nosiness. I went upstairs to retrieve my passport and immigration and naturalization papers. After checking they handed the papers back to me.
Looks like all is pretty much in order here the man said. Thanking me as they walked out but also warning me about the twenty four hour deportation policy that Spain had in effect. They then left. After that whole incident I was no longer bothered by anyone from the local authorities regarding Miguel anymore.
Five months later I left Madrid to return to the United States to see my friend in Washington D.C. and from there catch a train up to Quebec . An American girl I had met on a trip from the previous April in Vienna Austria lived in Montreal. I was going up there to see her. She had written me a telegram to come visit her if I come over to North America and that it was I now planning to do. She had written to me while she was in Berlin but before I had left Madrid to go to America. A man named Simon had shown some romantic interest in me when I had lived in Vienna and I written to him telling him that I was going to come and see him when I came back from my trip from North America. I stayed in Washington for five months with my friend and some relatives that I had there and then I went up to Montreal for about three months to visit my girlfriend up there and stay with her. I was now back on my way to Berlin, Germany. I was headed to the Russian Sector of Berlin. When I had lived in Madrid I had read about the Russian occupation of East Germany and how it had affected the population of that country after the great war. I had remembered hearing about East German escapees who had been shot and killed by Russian troops when they were trying to get over the Brandenburg Gate into West Germany. I did not think much of this and doubted that I would have any trouble or foresee any problem when I got to Germany. As I found out later my assumptions about the country were wrong and I almost ended up paying for my naivete.
After I arrived in Germany I left Munich on the train and went through East Germany. I was then checked many times by Russian soldiers as we stopped at stations along the way during the night. It was very cold that night long ago and as I slept all I had on was an overcoat. Constant stops had me after each stop being taken off the train and into mail rooms with overwhelming bright lights being shined in my face and then being forced to show and produce my passport on these numerous occasions and being asked where I was going as well. In all of these half lit rooms I was being forced into on this trip i constantly found myself among soldiers with rifles, who had an unusual look on their face. I slept intermittently and I was incredibly overtired, but I did not wake up in time to get off the train in the American sector of Zehlendorff at Berlin, and instead I didn't wake up until the train reached the terminal of the Russian Zone in East Berlin. It dead ended when the tracks came to a halt at the railroad station.
When I arrived late at night, with the help of two German men, I had a lot of trouble getting my heavy suitcase on a commuter train that was going to back to the American sector which is where I wanted to go. I felt very afraid and was anxious as I jumped aboard the next commuter train that was headed back to the American sector of Berlin where all I saw was all these blank-faced Germans. It was in that one fleeting moment, however when I was boarding that train that I swear I saw a man who was dressed in Russian Khaki attire and who looked exactly like Miguel. But just then within minutes he was gone and I had realized I was probably just seeing things because I was very tired.
I continued to be haunted by Miguel. This strange man who was supposed be dead and who I had met that night at the party in Madrid. This unfinished business bothered me deeply. I had a strange feeling one gets when something of great value is missing and cannot be replaced or found. That night I slept in a small hotel in the town of Kurfursendam constantly dreaming of Miguel and wondering about those Russian soldiers with rifles.
The next morning I ended up calling Simon and we spent the day seeing all the sights in town. He took me to the airport and then to the monument near the Brandenberg gate which the Russian soldiers patrolled with consistent precision. We then saw the Library, and that last night we went to a nightclub that played German Jazz. We sat and laughed and began talking about the good times we had spend when we were in Vienna and when we had gotten drunk on wine and smoked till the wee hours of the morning. He reminded me of the time that I stole posters from a wall in the town of Grinzing and in the museum there only to be stopped by police who were outside the station. They ended up letting me keep the posters and then Simon and I danced up the floor the rest of the night.
Suddenly as were the sitting in this bar the musical band began playing a song called Amena De Coure and I began to grow reticent. Quite drunk by now, I got up and danced close to Simon. I had begun to glance over towards the bar when I thought I saw a Shadowy figure smoking a cigarette and leaning against the bar watching me. A sudden cold chill began to run all the through my body and I hurriedly pulled myself away from Simon.
Just a minute Simon, I said, in a silly way as I ran to the bar. The man at the bar was in a green German uniform and was clean shaven. His hair was a brown color or so it seemed in the darkness of the light. It was not black colored. His eyes had a glow color to them as he was looking right at me.
Miguel! I breathed dizzily leaning against him. He pulled me outside and we both quickly jumped into a car which was waiting right next to the curb. As the car proceeded to turn and head down the street I looked out the window and saw Simon out of the corner of my eye, standing at the curb, looking around for me. Poor Simon, I thought.
The handsome face man in the cab with me looked into my eyes. Marcie, he breathed, kissing me softly, how are you?.
Oh my God. Miguel, I closed my eyes, leaning heavily against him holding him very tight. Fearing he would vanish. You have more than lives than a cat I said. Nine lives. And you have used almost every one of them. It seems you are almost like a ghost, I said to him. The hard vodka I had been drinking in the club began to blur my the vision in my eyes, but I did see the look on his face, especially his lips. That was you Miguel, the, dressed as the priest, I mean. Miguel did not speak. He began to put his arm around my shoulders and he then looked out of the window of the cab.
Then he said to me, No, I forgot to tell you. I have a twin brother. He then asked me. Did you tell the investigator that when they came to question you at your house in Madrid?
I began to feel so happy as I held his hand, not wishing to answer, but it then struck me. How did he know that someone questioned me about his so called death when he didn't die at all?
Miguel ran his fingers down my face, kissing my lips and cheeks. I never did forget you my dear, he said, this has never before happened to me I was silent closing my eyes. My body began to tingle with a magnetic physical pulse of energy that emanated from him.
We went to my hotel afterward. He came to my room and inside, he took off his jacket, unbuttoned his shirts, then turned and cradled my face in his hands. Do you know my dear, you have many different faces to your personality?
Kind of like you Miguel, I said.
One face is a day face, it is kind of good and and sweet and the other one you have on now is a night face. But it can be a little nice to, and it also be a little naughty to, He said. He then began to hold me tight. I like to have both faces. I said. Sighing as he held me, he then said, Marcie, life can be unkind sometimes. We then looked at each other. I wanted to imprint his face forever in the memory bank of my mind. In this dark hotel room, the flashes of fluorescent light of the cafe across the street from our room lit up his face. He flashed kaleidoscopically in front of me on and off, off and on. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but just filed them away in the bank of my mind. I couldn't think. He was to close to me. Miguel, I whispered, Oh, Miguel. We began to kiss. I had known love once before, but it was never like this. I felt complete bliss in his arms. I also felt myself drifting on waves, and different tides of emotions, some that I have never ever felt before and up until that then a had never experienced before until that very moment with him in the hotel.
At that very moment as we were kissing the door suddenly burst wide open and it hit the back of the wall behind it. Two men came in and were both holding revolvers. They both stood silently, pointing the guns at Miguel. They spoke in what I thought was a Russian type of accent and were telling Miguel to get out of bed. Miguel then kissed me and as I pulled the sheets over my body and he began to dress hurriedly. I was in total shock and was also dazed, watching him come to his senses, I then jumped up and pulled on him not to go. No Miguel, I cried, I will never find you again, I know it, don't go, don't go! One of the men then pushed me roughly back to the bed and told me to stay there or I would be in trouble as well. Miguel angrily snapped back at him and said something to him. The man answered him in clipped and chopped up syllables. He then pushed Miguel out of the door and Miguel glanced back at me one final time. I could see the pain and uncertainty in his eyes as he was leaving. That expression I will always remember. After he left I cried in bed for several hours and I was shaking hysterically in pain. Then I sat down in the flickering lights of the room and finally dozed off.
The telephone ring woke me up the next morning. It was Simon. What the hell happened to you? he asked. I called the hotel, and the said you were not there. I got sick, I said to him. I had to lie to Simon. I will make it up to you tonight. I told him. I eventually made it up to Simon that next night but my heart just really wasn't in it. Simon's face kept turning into Miguel's.
The next day, Simon saw me off and took me to the train station. See you in Washington D.C. in six months, he yelled as he looked at me his face showing a concerned look on it. Maybe I will see you I thought, maybe Simon.
When the train finally reached the German border, it stopped all of a sudden. Seven armed soldiers with rifles and a machine gun came on board, and going around walking slowly around the train with rifles, they began to check passports. You have no exit visa, they said to me and they dragged me off the train along with my suitcases as well. You must go back to Berlin and get your exit Visa.
But my boat leaves tomorrow from Hamburg. They shrugged their shoulders. Berlin exit visa, they kept repeating over and over again. Out of my blurred memory I recalled one little man in one of the towns that I passed on the train in East Germany who kept saying to me: You must get an exit visa in Berlin to leave
Oh hell, I said as the train to Hamburg took off without me.
Two huge looking heavy set German women were standing on the platform next to me. Berlin, I said to them, train, Berlin. Just then a funny little box like train came along rolling down the tracks at a slow speed. The two women picked up my bags as if they were packages and threw them on the train to Berlin just in time for me get on it. In what seemed like an eternity I was back in Berlin. When I got off the train the first thing I did was to check my bags in with a porter and went off to find where I should get my exit visa. God help me, I said aloud. All of a sudden a young German man appeared. His name was Horst. He told me after where I should go to get my exit visa. Unfortunately, He said, I cannot help you, the place you need to go is in East Berlin, He wrote down and gave me directions on a piece of paper, and his address in Berlin in case for whatever reason I had to contact him and if I also didn't take the boat. Perhaps we will meet again. I caught the commuter train to East Berlin and after an hour or two of waling along across many streets I finally found the place that Horst had told me about.
As I walked inside, I went in total shock. There were many hundreds of people inside the room. I will never get that train now to Hamburg I thought to myself. While waiting in line I began to think about Miguel. I did not want to leave Berlin but I was running out of time and money and I did not want to be stranded in Germany in any more messes than I was in now. Where was Miguel I wondered and who was he and what did he get into trouble for. These were all questions I pondered on as I was waiting. By now I began to have my suspicions but suspicions are not really facts. However I knew that Miguel was into something beyond my comprehension since I was just a naive young Australian girl. All of sudden I looked up in line and old man was right at my elbow. Are you from Australia? he asked. I heard you talking to yourself. Do you have a problem? Do you need an exit visa, he asked me. I told him recognizing a disguised Australian accent, I am a new Australian, he told me, just got back in Germany and I am visiting relatives here, he said.
You are going to need a blue card like me, he said. He took me over to a desk where an official sat, and he said something to the man in German. The official asked him for our passports and then the told us to wait for a few minutes till he came back. How about all these people? I asked looking around. They are Germans wanting to go from East Germany to the Western Side. They will most likely never make it you and I will however, he said. Before I left, after getting the blue card, which in those days was the same as a passport today, the old man gave me his name and number of where he lived in Perth, Western Australia. It is a small world, he said, perhaps we will meet there someday.
On my long trek back to the train station, I passed an old building where outside of which there were several Russian guards in uniform. They all stared at me with their crooked looking faces as I walked by them. I went passed them as quickly as possible. A car then pulled up with some Russian officers in it who were apparently very high ranking soldiers. They were wearing light colored brown uniforms and had red braided gold symbols on their shoulders. The soldiers at the door of the building clicked their heels and saluted as the men walked in. Oh my God, I breathed as one of the men briefly glanced by me in my direction and I caught a part of his profile as he did pass me. Miguel? I thought to myself, walking back. The man then vanished through the doorway. Now, I am seeing him everywhere, I thought to myself. I then ran into the doorway to see if I could get in the building but the guards there pointed their guns at me and wouldn't let me through. Power, I thought, the effects the paralyzing effects of power and fear. Fear, a million different kinds of fear that was running through me right now. I then began to think of the incident with Miguel at the hotel room and what had happened with us there when he was apprehended by the officials. In the weirdest way. Love can paralyze that fear even if just for the briefest of instances in life. Power, fear, love all work in different ways to paralyze ones emotions at any given time.
The next day I was in Hamburg and finally on my boat to Quebec Province in North America. A week later I reached Quebec City and took the train to Montreal. I then finally made it to New York and back to Washington D.C. where I stayed with some friends and later with my relatives.
A few weeks after I arrived in Washington where I was able to get a job with the British Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue for almost a year. I was still working there when the Suez Canal crisis erupted in July 1956, and a mail girl that was working down the street from the Embassy where I worked at blew up and got killed. The incident attracted headlines all over the world. Somehow I got into one of the pictures and saw myself and my horrified face staring back at me from the front page of the Washington Post. I left Washington shortly after the incident and came to Los Angeles. I got a job there in L.A. Working for the British consulate for a while which was located in Pershing Square. One day I received a package in the mail while I was working there with no return address on it. It had been forwarded from the British Embassy in Washington D.C. and it had some French Stamps on it as well as a Paris Postmark. I thought it must be from my old friend Colette back in Madrid. I opened it up to find a black colored ring with a large pearl in the middle of it. Inside was a note that said simply in Spanish. To my dear. I knew immediately who had sent it.
Things in my life after that began to happen quickly. A year later I married an American. I have lived many years now now since that time. I have been married over twenty six years. Time and the years have gone by quickly. There have been good years and bad years. I have always felt that life should be judged by events that happen and not by chronology. I often think of something a teacher once said to me years ago as a child: One age of crowded life that is interesting is worth more than a whole life that is boring. And then I think of Miguel and that one moment years ago in Berlin and what almost could have been.
Tonight however being Christmas Eve 1981, I will dress very fashionably and go with my husband to a cosmopolitan business party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. At the party my husband is busy talking business deals with fellow confidants and partners who he works with while I hear the band start to play something to my liking. I look up and they start playing something I have not heard in years. It brings back memories that are very sentimental to me all these years later. Through the crowd of chattering people, I look across the room to catch a glimpse of a silver-haired elegant man leaning against the bar who is having a drink. I think of the word in Spanish and Italian both that means affectionate and I finally remember it. Affascinante I think of it in Italian.
The man begins to look at me as I am having a drink and I feel there is something deeply familiar about him. I begin to have a weird sense of deja vu. As we walk closer and stand still for a moment his look becomes more piercing. Suddenly my husband returns from his conversation with his associates and asks me if I want to dance. He says they are playing that old favorite of yours.
Anema e cuore I say looking over his shoulder at the silver haired man.
There a lot of European political refugees here tonight he says to me. Some rather new ones as well, he also says. We begin to dance. Really, I say. Some Russians who have political asylum too are here ...seems like an interesting bunch.
My hand with the black ring that I got years ago rests on his shoulder. I twist around to see the silver-haired man. He still staring at me. He looks at the ring. My heart begins to jump very fast and a tingling starts to run up my body. I hurriedly excuse myself, I have to go the bathroom for a minute, I tell my husband who returns to his table and his friends. I am magnetically impelled towards the silver-haired man, and the all of a sudden the room begins to shrink in size with everybody dancing and fading out as me and man draw closer. I see his lips pout. My heart begins to jump in my mouth and I whisper. Miguel? Miguel? Miguel!
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