I touched the swinging half-door, as if I could make it real with my hands, as if I could take it with me into outer space. But my fingers lacked the necessary magic. I was there only to see -- and to remember. Some visits are made to recall a life that does not exist, someone else's past. And yet, how familiar was the opalescent crystal, the voluptuous wood. Memory makes use of such tricks to resist us. And it has buttresses of concrete appearance that vanish when we attempt to give them a place, an owner, a space they don't need. This house seemed to me to be just that. Particularly when I began to feel that I could go through walls. That one of us (the house or me) was in the wrong dimension. I was terrified by the thought that I might be but a dream of the house, a fleeting part of its memory. It was like living a Bradbury story, in which my existence always depended on being thought of and remembered by an entity whose reality escaped my control, and which furthermore endangered my very reality. Beyond metaphysics, this is an allegory of the mutation experienced by cultural objects once they have been displaced. They begin to have an existence of their own, disconnected from collective consciousness. I was an excrescence within that fragment of history, which took care only of the physical attributes, as if tangible things were the most important, as if life and death were not something beyond matter, persisting in the spirituality of gesture and not in the consistency of its outcome.

night is intuited in her mouth. The smile is full of sharp stars. All tides flow therein with their frothy texture. They flow into her yawn through unknown channels. Everyone leaves, perhaps because the limelights have been turned off. The ocean's echo is too much for their weak souls. The surface of the sea is too vast for their timid steps. They trust their eyes too much. They're not ready for the immense blackness of the fish's mouth. Their ears praise the waltz, but they're needed in twos, at least. Only she dared, fearless. But prophets don't choose their solitude. It is revelation that opens a chasm between the chosen ones and the crowd. She moves forward, but no one sees her. She speaks, but no one hears her. Only the fish borrows her tears. Hypocritical, it fuses her into an embrace. The house is empty. Like a cadaver that has been embalmed.

"I come from Havana," I said, not knowing who had spoken for me, or with whom, because I was back on the sidewalk. The visit was over. Rather, the unvisit, because my passage through the house had been like an escape. My brief stay had not been a meeting but a dispersion. One second has gone by and I'm again walking through the clean streets of La Vibora. A century ago there were empty lots here, vegetation, open fields from which you could see the lights of Morro Castle marking the entrance to the harbor. The city then leaned over the sea, as if lapping it up. I begin to walk and think about this city, which becomes ever more thirsty, ever less visitable, where every contact hides a loss, where every stroll is labyrinthic, where every entrance could be an exit. The number 37 bus stop awaits me -- a Hungarian bus full of yellow flowers in the middle of a still life with melons.

Translated by Narciso G. Menocal and Renato E. Perez

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