I CHERISH BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES
(by María Kodama)
Maria Kodama, widow of the brilliant Jorge Luis Borges, writes as an exclusive for the magazine EPA. Her friendship with Camilo Aldao, the coincidences which magically entail the expression of the labyrinth and a testimony to the man with whom she shared a “will of iron” to reach a dream, which has today come true. A document of historic value.
In this garden of diverging paths, which is life, the destiny devises the plot where certain people will meet in a specific moment which will change and enrich their lives.
This happened first when Borges met Susana Bombal, when Susana and Borges met Randoll Coate, when Borges met me, and when, through Susana and Borges, I met Camilito. That wonderful person, that grandnephew who could replace in Susanas’s heart the son she always wanted to have.
These words which should be words of joy for Randoll Coate’s wonderful dream which finally came true, for that labyrinth inspired by “The garden of diverging paths” imagined and devised as the finest homage to Borges´s memory, were converted by that inscrutable destiny into an elegy.
However, it is said that our memory is selective; my memory, maybe due to the influence of Shinto, cherishes the beautiful and constructive things, the strength of faith, the indestructible love. This may be the reason why I remember Camilo’s rejoiced voice when he told me about the donation by the labyrinth maker to Fundacion Internacional Jorge Luis Borges (International Foundation Jorge Luis Borges) so that his creation could be built in Borges´s emblematic places.
Camilo´s will of iron and mine to make this dream come true, the support of Carlos Thays, Elise Rivero Haedo, the Embassy of England, the Embassy of Greece, and the British Council who encouraged us to go on, unfortunately, maybe due to the bureaucracy and all the negative things that it implies, were not enough to carry out this in Buenos Aires, the city to which Borges dedicated his first book “Fervor in Buenos Aires”
I remember Camilo´s enthusiastic voice when he called me in the dawn just when I was closing the folder with the papers about the labyrinth which I thought it was all lost, and he invited me to Isla martin Garcia where we would have a photographic production to make the project reappear. We went there in a light aircraft where there was only space for the pilot, Camilo, the photographer, for me and for the venetian dress which I would wear while walking through a labyrinth which was in the island. The labyrinth, with the paths blurred by the weeds, was like a vision in a dream, like a mirage. When we finished, the owner of the labyrinth invited us to have some tea and told us how a group of friends had decided to live in the island and built for fun the labyrinth. After some time, her friends left, but she decided to stay. She brought some pictures to show us the building process and the labyrinth finished. Due to the light of the picture that was just taken, the photographer realized that it was taken at the same time as the pictures shown by the owner, and also in the same day and month. We were very happy about this and we considered it a precious talisman. Meanwhile, the photographer took pictures of the picture that was proof of this mysterious coincidence.
Time went by and during another dawn again Camilo´s enthusiastic voice invited me to choose the place in the land surrounding Susana’s ranch where the labyrinth would be built. Camilo had proposed this to his family and she had accepted.
I remember the thrill to put the first stake which would start the complex drawing made by the name of Borges, by my initials and by Borges’s symbols, the clepsydra, the walking stick, the eyes of a tiger …
Finally, the dream was coming true.
Through the pictures, I could see how the miracle was being built. I could see the trees planted, small and defenceless trees, but with the strength which gives the fulfilment of a wish kept for a long time.
During my hard life of nomad, friendship and meeting those chosen persons, the family of the soul, is a priority. Therefore, each time I come back, I talk to them so I can hear them telling me their happiness, misfortunes, projects, that is to say, their lives. When I got back from one of my trips, I phoned to San Rafael and since there was no answer, I phoned Runno, a friend of Camilo, who told me that he was just about to call me because Camilo had died.
I was astonished, I did not know what to answer, I hung up. On the next day, I talked to his father for a long time and he told me that if I agreed, Camilo´s ashes would lie in the labyrinth. Of course, I thought that this was not only logic, but also natural, as something established by the destiny.
Dear Cami, now that you have entered into the Great Sea, as the Florentines call the death, you are the owner of all the keys and the labyrinth, not only of the one which was created thanks to the love and wish of all of us, but also of the labyrinth where “no limits” are the universe.
Dear Cami, the same sound of your name abbreviated in Japanese means “gods”. Now, you are one of them to protect the labyrinth and all of us because your ashes, the dust of your bones, the most immaterial and strongest thing of your being, as some of Quevedo’s verses say … “dust they will be, more dust in love”, of how life was for you and will keep being a ludic and infinite adventure.
Dear Cami, receive, in somewhere in the space converted into light or energy, all our love.