Though, for a while, he would be the first to admit, after Angelina had joined the
disappeared, if not the machine gunned or the executed, Afinado’s art got not worse, but better,
as if he were calling, calling to her, and his notes had a plaintive note that was not abominable
self pity, but only loss, loss itself and, hearing it, people for meters in every direction–not all, but
some–would stop, stand still, look up, or down, and even, sometimes, place a hand upon the
It was as if Afinado had discovered his first aria, if one could play an aria on an aging,
even breakable instrument, and it began “oh my dear Angelina, my dear, dear Angelina,” but
only he knew that.
Strangely, their loss did not draw Afinado and Fabiola closer, but further apart, as if, as
the ages called him–maybe well before Fabiola, but not so long after Angelina–Afinado was
suddenly five times the enduring woman’s age as well as the lost girl’s. But they too, the aging
couple who would never couple, were on the way out. And, in time, the man’s aria too flew,
flew away from him. There was no longer any angelita to call out to, not even a thousand meters
up; far, far above the befouled air.
Afinado’s art had left him, everyone knew it and, to add to his misfortune, it wasn’t long
before Feo–after an extended period of strangely regarding Afinado as if he, the dog, knew
something he, the man, didn’t–died.
With help Afinado got the reeking old body up into the truck and three men returned to
their routine, #1, el alcoholico, in front, ringing his relentless bell and crying his all-too-familiar