Carlos Fuentes’ smile On top of El Angel, on top of the Monumento a la Revolucion, on top of the Catedral, Carlos Fuentes was always on top. When he was young, he was afraid of height; even in June 1959, at the time of the Cuban revolution, in the same plane as General Cardenas, he asked: “Do you think it is going to fall? ” We are already flying high. Since he was child, he was destined to be on top. He had just published Where the Air Is Clear, which caused uproar in Mexico City.
Back then, all the writers wrote sad stories. The sad Revolution with its useless massacre, the sad province in which the guava paste was cooked slowly in a perol, as Agustin Yanez wrote; the sad leader’s shadow and of all who had made the Revolution and now, in a luxurious office, they ignored the slow but steady push of their tummy. At this point, Fuentes made burst, he changed our small world as the Paricutin would have made and he reminded us that we had guts. He always has it.
With an ambitious, audacious, agile, and elegant step, he was on the stage in one jump. He always was in a hurry, he always plucked up courage. The word “always” seems to do pretty well to Fuentes and so we can tell to Silvia and Cecilia, in order and with a loud and strong voice, that Fuentes will always live wherever his books are, he will be always with us and that that aren’t words of encouragement, they are a reality. I see him in the distance, standing; I see him here, beside me, he smiled.
His smile was the smile of his father, don Rafael Fuentes, that following the publication of Where the Air Is Clear he said: “Now I’m the father of Carlos Fuentes”. All surrender by the raindrops of Jalapa, that city where the grass grows up among the rocks; Fuentes was from Veracruz from head to toe, from Veracruz with its table-glass full of cafe con leche from the Cafe de la Parroquia that the waiters filled and refilled at the sound of the spoon, ding, ding, ding, like in a Cri-Cri’s song1, as if we were all child without the Original sin.
Fuentes was kind of like that, he had an inner child that was like the apple of his eyes, his eyes shone, within his eyes there was his vigor, his excitement, his desire of embrace everything, his love for Mexico. His eyes cast sparks because Fuentes was a seducer, but as Angeles Mastretta said, “a trustful seducer”. 1 Mexican composer and performer of children’s songs, best known under the name of Cri-Cri: El Grillito Cantor.