• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 11

La Vida es Breve

We’ve had a row, Gabriela and me. She’s waiting for me to apologise, but the way she waits is to fill the space between us with talk.

See? That’s her making hot chocolate, behind me. We always drink hot chocolate at night. She’s making it with cinnamon, my favourite. She’s trying to tempt me. But if I say a word I’ll be halfway to saying I’m sorry. And I don’t feel like saying I’m sorry.

She says, ‘It’s going to happen tonight.’

I don’t say a word.

She says, ‘They’re so brave, don’t you think? Flowering just for a day.’

I refuse to think about what she means.

She says, ‘Do you remember last year? When we danced under them?’

I remember. Very well. But I’m not about to say so. We watched the cactus bloom in the dark as we made love. In the morning we danced under the flowers because Gabriela said we had to show them we knew they were going to die.

She says, ‘You were my hero. You never stopped.’

I look sideways and stifle a laugh. I don’t know if she means I never stopped making love or I never stopped dancing. (Both are true.)

And then the space between us fills with the fragrant scent of the cactus flowers as they open and my mind fills with memories and I can’t help myself.

I turn to Gabriela and even though I don’t apologise I say, ‘La vida es breve.’ Which comes to the same thing.