Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gabriel Garcia Marquez | "Eva Is Inside Her Cat" | 1948

Dear Eva,

The other day I was eating an orange and I thought of you. How could I not? My cat was not in the room. It was in the other room, sleeping with my girlfriend. Her name is not Eva. It's Melissa. I like your name better than hers. Please don't tell her I said that. She'll know I've been drinking. It's whiskey, like always.

I am not a man who is given much to flights of fancy, to be honest. I turned forty-five last week and didn't even have a party, because I didn't want people asking me things like "What are you going to do this year?" or "What are your regrets?" Both of those require imagination, and imagination is taxing. Already, this letter is a little flowery for my tastes. I blame you. In my normal life, I write lots of legal disclaimers for the company where I work. An example of something I might write is "We do not collect personal information unless our visitors voluntarily provide it to us."

A while ago, when I was younger, I used to do quite a bit of reading. I don't anymore. One of the things I read, and loved, is the story you're in. It disturbed me deeply. I'm not even sure I remember it perfectly, but when I was asked to write a letter to someone from a story, you're the first one who sprang to mind. As best as I can recall, you wandered around your house, oppressed by the fact that you were so beautiful, thinking of a boy who you loved but who had died. He was buried under an orange tree so oranges became a big obsession for you, and you decided that you had to have one to remember that bond. At some point along the way, you died. I think you killed yourself with rat poison. Your spirit or soul floated around the house, and you became more and more fixated on the orange. The only way you could eat it was to enter a body, and there weren't any people in sight, so you went into your cat. The cat liked mice so it didn't want the orange.

This is all I remember about your story. Like I said, I have a pretty boring life these days, me and the law, me and the girlfriend, me and the cat. I never married, you know. That seemed like an act of imagination that was beyond me.

I don't know, Eva. You are beautiful and I've been drinking and it's time for me to go.