Kodama is dead Mary Kodama, a major segment of the life of Jorge Luis Borges, whom he cared for as if he had all the kinship with him, also those rare kinships, not yet named, and that perhaps he had found to define it. She was like immortal, white, scared that she scared, a delicate and subtle woman, she also endowed with an inner command, capable of destroying a certainty with a glance, if it was referring to Borges’s life, or to her personal life with Borges. One of the times when I myself was lucky enough to meet her without Borges already being there, tied to her memory and the reality she wanted for her biography, as lifeguard for the most important writer in the Spanish language of the 20th century, i I screwed up, and it was forever. Although she was not right.
It was for varied reasons. Mary Kodama he had made many friends in Spain, in Madrid and also in Córdoba. Here the wrong occurred that now, so many years later, I can tell, oh, without her getting angry. Borges was in Madrid, invited by his publishers, then Editorial Alliance. And the publishing house, whose director was Javier Pradera, found that the illustrious blind man had no company to walk around the city, for dinner, for example. And to Pradera, who was also a high-ranking The country, it occurred to him that I myself should fulfill that role of cicerone.
And Kodama? I asked the editor. “Kodama is in Córdoba & rdquor;. So I supplanted her, we supplanted her, because even my daughter, who was six years old, accompanied that wonderful man to a restaurant where, in addition, they served a forbidden dish for a blind person: Vichyssoise. In the car he was singing Icelandic melodies, asking for the surnames of each one (he liked my mother’s, Calzadilla, because at some point in your own genealogy journey there was one just like it), and, of course, for everything that occurred to him. He was as funny as he was indiscreet, so at some point he even asked me to air out his underwear and shirts so that the next day, when he left, they would be well cleaned.
In any case, it was time for lunch, a dinner that had to be frugal because he couldn’t carry the food. But what he asked for was the riskiest thing for a blind man: the cursed Vichyssoise. That French food made of lint could only be eaten if someone had dexterity with a spoon, and he was prevented from doing so. So this chronicler was spooning that wit, while he interrupted whatever it was as long as tell their occurrences.
The next day I was still with him, and I got the best impression of someone who, due to his quality and his height, could have sent me to leave as soon as I left him in the room. What happened to Mario Vargas Llosa did not occur to me, whom I had asked in Lima to take him to pee (“You are going to be my captain& rdquor;) to then tell him that, since he had spoken to him about house matters, he should have been, in addition to the novelist that he was, “a real estate agent & rdquor ;.
There were many anecdotes from those hours with Borges. And since we journalists are busybodies, I wanted to tell Kodama about them that day we met at the Palace in Madrid. I started by saying:
-Once you were in Córdoba and Borges was alone in Madrid…
He stopped me in my tracks (in my tracks) and gave me this warning:
– I have never left Borges alone anywhere.
It was true. those words were true. Before her, anything that would stop her relationship with Borges had to be part of her decision, and immediately, and forever, I never told her again what happened to the commission, so pleasant, so unforgettable, on the other hand, by Javier Pradera. .
Now that she’s dead difficult and wonderful woman, that so fragile seemed immortal, I remember her in other happy instances, although that one did not stop being happy either, because Kodama later took me to pleasant hours of reasonable confidence. Once he returned to Madrid, years after the death of Jorge Luis Borges, was to present a Spanish edition of that book that looks like a work of art for a blind man, the graphic chronicle of his balloon trip through the deserts of Mexico. There she told me that the kings of Spain, the previous ones, had told them to be careful, because the bandits were there in guerrilla form and anything could happen.
“It’s just that they don’t want us to go,” Borges told Kodama. “Let’s go the same!, he continued the intrepid poet.
On that occasion he spoke to me a lot about Borges. Some things I underline. It was hilarious because it wasn’t scary. I was looking forward to getting on the balloon. That night she didn’t sleep! She asked me if she thought the basket was going to be plastic or wicker. Suppose wicker, I told him. A car was following the route, and there you had to take a box of champagne bottles for the people of the land where you got off and a separate one to toast for having arrived safely. He had to step on a stirrup, and he remembered that, as a child, he had been “an excellent rider & rdquor;. He told the person who helped him get on the stirrup: “You are very big, you can step on me if I don’t manage to pass & rdquor ;.
I told Kodama that this trip represented Borges. She was already at the stage where she told the journalist whatever, because she was no longer that gossip that she kept telling him that one day she had usurped Kodama’s presence. So she told me things that later went through my head like the simplest explanation of his love for Borges, for taking care of him, for pampering him, for not leaving him in the sun or in the shade, taking care of his rights as if they were his soul, and his soul as if they were his poetry. “He was never interested in other things,” he told me, “other than discoveries or things he had read and that later became a reality that fascinated him.”
That infatuation with Borges was similar to that of Borges for life. For years I held among those who continue to be tempted to dismiss it, because it was or distant or unfriendly, that this was because she was in charge of a treasure. And that man was a treasure that had no better guardian than this woman who now, in the stars, will continue to watch over Borges, who will also be awake aboard a paper balloon that holds the verses that made him the most amazing manof the most beautiful imagination, most emphatic and sensitive, of those that were made in the century that Borges did better than what he was.
Thanks to Kodama, too, in the decisive part of goodbyes. This time he touches her, and I see her shake her head, possessed by Borges, encouraged by Borges, her eyes dressed as Borges, in the place where she wanted to sit because it was the only place in the world where she could see yellows well. .