Excerpt by Beatriz Salcedo-Strumpf
Well, I’m quite pleased that you’ve agreed to give the conference. The dates you gave me are acceptable. The only thing I have to do is a proposal to the department chair and ask the various organizations to cover your expenses. Don’t worry, because I’m an expert when it comes to public relations. I’ve never done this sort of thing before, but I haven’t the smallest doubt that all will turn out wonderfully. Okay?
It would be a good idea to think about a title for the symposium. Let me know what you’d like to talk about.
Regarding your novel I’m yours, I see the narrator was unfaithful to one of his girlfriends in those days. He is very much like the author who recounts the story without any remorse. I’m glad I broke off our relationship back then.
I’m of the opinion that you’ll never forgive me for rejecting your advances that first time we met at college. The two of us barely beginning our professions. I believe what hurt you the most, when you told me that you were interested, was that I said that I would never go out with you because writers starve to death. At the same time, I was studying languages, in my opinion, was, of course, lucrative. And now I realize just how much this offended you and I admit that I committed a grave wrong. However, in those days you weren’t aware of the material and emotional needs that I suffured. I desperately crave a career that could yield me the greatest economic benefits.
By the way, the fact that I can cook has nothing whatsoever to do with my accomplishments. Right now I’m listenig to a song that absolutely delights me. Look at these words:
“You’re just to good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you./I want to hold you so much./I love you baby,/and if it’s quite all right, I need you baby.”
I don’t know who the singer is, but she expresses my feeling towards you precisely. I realize that you don’t like American music and that you aren’t fond of dancing. I can’t believe it! I’m totally screwed! None of my boyfriends ever danced.
I’m going to relate a funny story to you. It happened to me in Italy when I was still single. How enjoyed that summer. It was the best one of my life. While I was in Perugia, in the house where I was staying I met an Italian named Francesco. One day, he invited me to go to Ancona, where his parents had “retreat” near the beach. And I declared that I’ve never had attention from anyone like I had from his parents: his father wanted me to stay and live with them. He promised me an excellent job, and the mother, with the face of a madonna, brightened up with pleasure when she saw me. I was rather confounded because Francesco was an extremely good looking guy, sensitive and with a wonderful good sense of humor. But I wasn’t sure if he had a romantic interest on me. That same day we went to walk along the beach, and he took the opportunity to talk to me: “Mila, debo dirte quallcosa molto importante”. And excitedly I thought: yes, he is interested in me. He continued asking me: “Sai che cosa e un finocchio?” Yes I answered. “Io sono uno.” I swallowed with great difficulty and told him that I respected human beings regardless of their sexual preferences. Of course, I wasn’t totally honest with him. I reflected for an instant and silently thought: What a waste! That was why his parents acted the way they did. When I returned to my own country, we continued to keep in touch, but then one day he stopped writing. Once in a while I wonder what became of him. I hope he is okay.
Well, I’m signing off, but not because I want to, but because I have so much to do. You’re invited to dinner, as always. I will prepare a stir-fry with vegetables and rice.
A strong hug,
PS. Thanks for your advise about my thesis. I promise I’ll follow up on it. And as for the tortillas, you’d learn to make them too, if you had to eat what the sell here; the taste like shoe leather. But I’ll tell you that making the consummate tortilla is an art. It took me a long time to prefect the method and now I’m happy I’ve mastered the difficult art of the tortilla. And to provoke you all the more, I can also make flour tortillas. These are more complicated than the corn ones because the dough hast to rest and then you have to flatten them out delicately with the roller. And as you know, I live in an area where there is a dearth of Hispanic. Therefore, there is no demand for tasty tortillas.”