She worked in la Guerrero, a few streets down from Julian’s,
and she was 17 and had lost a son.
The memory made her cry in that Hotel Trebol room,
spacious and dark, with bath and bidet, the perfect place
to live out a few years. The perfect place to write
a book of apocryphal memories of a collection
of horror poem. Lupe
was thin and had legs long and spotted
like a leopard.
The first time I didn’t even get an erection:
and I didn’t want to have an erection. Lupe spoke of her life
and of what, for her, was happiness.
When a week had passed, we saw each other again. I found her
on a corner alongside other little teenage whores,
propped against the fender of an old Cadillac.
I think we were glad to see each other. From then on
Lupe began telling me things about her life, sometimes crying,
sometimes fucking, almost always naked in bed,
staring at the ceiling, hand in hand.
Her son was born sick and Lupe promised la Virgen
that she’d leave her trade if her baby was cured.
Soon after, her son died, and Lupe said the fault
was her own for not keeping up her bargain with la Virgen.
La Virgen carried off the little angel, payment for a broken
Promise.

I didn’t know what to say.
I liked children, sure,
but I still had many years before I’d know
what it was to have a son.
and so I stayed quiet and thought about the eerie feel
emerging from the silence of that hotel.
Either the walls were very thick or we were the sole
occupants
or the others didn’t open their mouths, not even to moan.
It was so easy to ride Lupe and feel like a man
and feel wretched. It was easy to get her
in your rhythm and it was easy to listen as she prattled on
about the latest horror films she’d seen
at Bucareli Theater.
Her leopard legs would wrap around my waist
and she’d sink her head into my chest, searching for my
nipples or my heartbeat.
This is the part of you I want to suck, she said to me
one night.
What, Lupe? Your heart.

By Roberto Bolaño

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