On the 15th of August 2020, the world bid farewell to the wife, the friend, and the muse of the renowned Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez.
Mercedes Barcha Pardo once pawned the heater, the dryer, and the food processor in order for her husband to be able to mail the manuscript of his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude to Argentina.
Pardo endured more than financial struggles. Some of us might have an idea of how hard it is to be the partner of a writer, and in this case, it is not just any writer.
This great woman was always the number one supporter of Latin America’s literary icon and his partner for 56 years till death did them part in 2014.
To remember her, I would like to share some of Márquez’s quotes who, in one way or another, based many of his female protagonists on the character of his beloved Mercedes.
“He would wake for no reason in the middle of the night, and the memory of the self-absorbed love was revealed to him for what it was: a pitfall of happiness that he despised and desired at the same time, but from which it was impossible to escape.”
“Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.”
“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
“He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: ‘Only God knows how much I loved you.’”
“He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him, he ended up falling in love with her.”
“It is incredible how one can be happy for so many years in the midst of so many squabbles, so many problems, damn it, and not really know if it was love or not.”
“It was the year they fell into devastating love. Neither one could do anything except think about the other, dream about the other, and wait for letters with the same impatience they felt when they answered them.”
“There was no sleeper more elegant than she, with her curved body posed for a dance and her hand across her forehead, but there was also no one more ferocious when anyone disturbed the sensuality of her thinking she was still asleep when she no longer was.”
“If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
“She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent.”
“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”
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