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paper couple

This foolish desire to read you from afar. Every dawn in sleep and dawn whispers insomnia. Having greeted him as he left the house, the doorman appears on page 62 of a book by Samantha Schweblin who is carrying in his hands a young man who buys in his grandfather’s name and in the following paragraph by Joseph Conrad I clearly read the face of an old woman who stares in the window at the album of her own life. On that shelf the entire Gabo jungle continues to flourish and if Lichi were alive, he would not be involved in the chronicles of him that appear between the spines of some worn volumes; Don Carlos Dickens roams freely and crosses Sir Benito Perez Galdos at right angles and it rains the laughter of children with picture books that jump from the pages in three dimensions and spin all the plots of the books that inhabit my library… and no one understands that we are a couple on paper.

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We read each other all the time, even before we met. We silently reread the best paragraphs and have edited with immense ease the most horrible passages in our history. We know by heart the quiet moments, the rain and a cobbled street at dawn; in case you forget, the taste of coffee remains there. We are papers in folded paper of folded pages like origami doves and we are the intact memory of the verse that hung on a white cliff; we are the entire poem that someone tried to sing in a madhouse and the endless novel of the two who become one as soon as they became three and then four. Plurals in the singular, we read ourselves by heart in the mirror and the third person singular vanishes in ink as soon as the fingertips caress each other like lips.

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It rains without raining in the bookstore where no one informed me that the characters from all the books appear to ask for their own titles: the Lolita who plans to flee Madrid today with the mature man who looks like Belmondo and the lady with wide glasses who thinks Jackie or Callas with a paper hat over her collected hair that waves in esdrujulas when she raises the volume of her literary comments in search of “a writer who can tell me about characters that are described throughout the pages” and the old man, Bukowsky type, who celebrates today a hundred years of solitude pasted on worn skin, speckled with moles, which are the same stains that clouds leave with their shadows on the sidewalk, on the edge of the bookstore where some coffee stains support the translations of English and Italian, the codes of the catalogs and the delivery notes of so many boxes of books that all contain the incredible story of an intangible love where I read you from afar.

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