The widow of widows

I try on a size forty-two shirt, it’s small, the button that falls in the middle of the breasts pulls, it seems like it’s going to burst; Half-naked, I barely open the door and look for a saleswoman to give me a larger size. A woman coming out of another fitting room looks at me and says: “Forgive me, I know you, didn’t you writeThursday’s widows’?”, I say: “Yes”, I try to smile and try to get back into the fitting room, the woman stops me, talks to me about the novel, who gave it to her, how long it took her to read it, and I listen to her. , in panties and a bra, trying to cover my belly with a size 42 shirt.

There are just a few days left until the end of the year holidays, I’m going with my daughter to the cinema, next to the cinema there is a bookstore where they put together a Christmas tree taking advantage of the green color of the cover ofThursday’s widows”, and on the book pine, instead of a gold star, a photo of me; We are paralyzed, we turn around and return home without seeing the movie we thought we would see. Someone on the street tells me that they know the Tano Scagliathe protagonist of “Thursday’s widows”, who lives in Luján. “Were your neighbors angry?” I answer: “No,” but they don’t believe me. A high school classmate I haven’t seen in twenty-seven years calls me to congratulate me. She doesn’t say, “I congratulate you because you wrote a book.” She doesn’t say, “I congratulate you because you won an award.” She says: “I congratulate you, you were on television.”

Thursday's widows

My nephew goes to a kindergarten, room of five, They are talking about books, they write books, they paint booksmy nephew tells the teacher that his aunt is a writer, he asks if he can invite me to speak with his classmates, the teacher says yes, I go, I introduce myself, I answer the questions of children between three and five years old, the teachers cordially they help them each to speak in turn, to raise their hand, not to repeat the same question, to ask please and say thank you, until a child asks me: “With which of all the books you wrote did you earn the most?” silver?”, I am shocked by the young age at which this question comes to him, I tell him that with “Thursday’s widows”As soon as I name that novel, all the teachers stare at me, one dares and asks: “Did you write ‘Thursday’s widows’?”, they forget about the children, they get excited, they get agitated, the director goes to her office and brings a copy of ““The Widows” that they lent him so he could sign it. It seems that Tano Scaglia now lives in Escobar, someone tells me that he played golf with him. A journalist asks me: “Were your neighbors angry?” I say: “No”, he insists: “Surely they didn’t get angry?” ?”, I get tired and give in: “Well, someone must have gotten angry,” and he or his boss says: “Some neighbors got angry with me.” The phone rings at seven in the morning, they killed a woman in a country in Córdoba, they ask me what I think, do I think? I don’t understand what they are talking about, a minute ago I was sleeping and now they tell me that they killed someone, They ask if I believe in premonitory literature, I get angry, but I don’t dare to let it show.

film version of

I travel to Spain to present “Thursday’s widows”, they invite me to give a talk in a town lost on the mountain road that Mío Cid is supposed to have made, the mayor is waiting for me and in the assembly hall there are about a hundred people, each one with his book, they listen to me talk about the decade of the 90s in Argentina, they listen to me talk about gated communities and country houses, I explain to them what country is, each one brings me their copy so I can sign it, I wonder if what I’m doing is right, if those people don’t I would be better off reading something else, they invite me to dinner, they entertain me, I feel like I am stealing something that is not mine, they are happy, they thank me, I let them hug me undeservedly. “Were your neighbors angry?” someone who readYours”my first novel, he stops me on the street and asks me: “Is it autobiographical?” I am left thinking, wondering if that man realized that if my answer was affirmative he would be standing in front of a murderer. A friend returns from Dallas by plane, with a man traveling with him who reads “Thursday’s widows”, my friend tells him that he knows me, the neighbor in the seat answers: “I don’t know her, the one I know is Tano Scaglia.” My thirteen-year-old son asks me: “Is it true that in your novel a man fucks a dog?” that he masturbates in front of a computer and a dog appears, that there are certain things suggested but at no point does the novel, or its author, that is me, the author or his mother, say exactly that the man had sex with the dog , I say “he had sex” instead of “he fucked” and it sounds strange to me, it also sounds strange to my son, I ask him how he knows about the dog if he hasn’t read the novel, he tells me that Laurita, his classmate, told him about it. school, I think about Laurita and Laurita’s mother and the mothers of Laurita’s friends who are also friends of my children, I think if someone will ever ask me about this scene: “Is it autobiographical?” I ask myself. Son, if Laurita was bothered by reading about the man and the dog, she answers no, she loved it.

Elena Knows

I publish another novel, there are no countries, there is no Tanos Scaglia, a woman with Parkinson’s wants to know who killed her daughter, Elena the mother, Rita the daughter, I am glad that they will no longer ask me about the neighbors. Someone is surprised that she dedicated him ““Elena knows.” To my mother, it seems harsh, she is wrong, she doesn’t know us, my mother laughs in her grave. A woman asks me if the novel is autobiographical, I point out that if that were the case I should have been found hanging from a bell tower, dead, the woman laughs, not me. A friend brings me a copy of “Elena knows.” so that I can dedicate it to her, I do it but I make a mistake and instead of her name I write my mother’s name. A critic complains that the novel repeats the drool and the handkerchief that collects it. I remember my mother and her handkerchief, always the same, always full of drool. I wonder where it was, if I had thrown it away. or if it will be dry and dented in any of the boxes, I can’t remember. “Were your neighbors angry?” A woman asks me why there is always a dead person in my novels, and I answer: “You are going to die too one day.” “Is it autobiographical?” Tano Scaglia lives in La Martona, Cañuelas. A woman hands me a copy of ““Elena knows.” for her to sign it, I do it and give it to her, she tells me: I have Parkinson’s, I would like to take the copy out of her hand, but I let her go without doing so. I read in a magazine that my neighbors were angry. They call me from the university, not from the faculty of letters, from the faculty of medicine, they want to know how I know so much about Parkinson’s, I wonder if I will lie or tell the truth, my mother laughs. My brother read ““Elena knows.”I had not read ““The Widows” neither “Yours”, he calls me and tells me: “I read it, one day we got together and I’ll tell you what I thought”; That day she doesn’t arrive. A writer tells me that another writer read “Thursday’s widows” While she was admitted to the hospital, shortly before she died, I remember her and it makes me infinitely sad. I start a new novel, the protagonist is a man, the antagonist is a man, I wonder if this time someone will ask me: “Is it autobiographical?” I wonder if it will finally be. I meet an ex, he tells me that he read ““The Widows”he doesn’t know it exists ““Elena knows.”, he asks me if I made money with the book, I evade the answer, he insists, I evade again talking about percentages and cover price, he insists, he wants clarifications, he wants the exact amount, I get fed up, I exaggerate the amount so that he doesn’t insist anymore, He asks me: “Nothing more than that?” They saw Tano Scaglia in a country house in the Garín area. My mother’s friend gets angry with me. “Were your neighbors angry?” I present the book at a fair in the suburbs, in the front row a very nice lady nods her head to everything I say, she seems attentive, entertained, at the end of the talk she asks to speak, she asks me what my name is, and What book I came to present, she tells me that she has been sitting in that same chair since the early hours of the afternoon, no matter which writer enters the room, she keeps her place, listens attentively, then asks and thanks. “My son wants to know if I have already sold the book.”“Elena knows.” For the cinema, I tell him no, that I sold the other two previous novels, he asks me not to sell this one, that he wants to make that film, when he grows up. I read the beginning of the novel of someone who wants to be a writer, the beginning does not work, I tell him, he listens attentively to my criticisms, he writes down, before leaving he tells me that he is going to give me a criticism about my last novel that came out in a newspaper, I tell him not to bother, he insists, I know it’s the one from the critic who complained about the slime. I present ““Elena knows.” in a downtown bookstore, when the presentation ends someone hands me a bouquet of flowers, I rule out that the flowers were sent to me by the same bookstore, when I arrange the bouquet in my house a card falls out, I read it, it is from someone I knew for twenty years back and never saw again. “Is it autobiographical?” My mom laughs. Tano Scaglia too.

Originally published in “Gata Flora” and revised for the edition of “Writing a Silence”.

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by By Claudia Piñeiro

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