The day I met the Nobel for gastritis –

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Early this morning, when opening the mobile chat, I found a question whose origin I never questioned because I knew that the only one who could have gone to such trouble was her.

The question ran like this: Where were you forty years ago at this time? And then I saw myself in a long line in front of the University Welfare offices of the University of Antioquia, ready to become a patient of this health system for the first time and listen very attentively to the origin of my ills.

Because barely four months after arriving in the city of Medellin, my contradictions with Paisa food began to emerge, which resulted in intense stomach cramps suffered in that last week.

It was Thursday, and the clocks seemed stuck at a time that was not exactly knownbut it was between seven and eight in the morning, until one of those in line he screamed like the ones you hear when your favorite team scores a goal.

He said something like this as he turned away from his little radio clipped to his ear: “Don’t fuck around, we finally have a Nobel” and the news seemed to have produced the miracle of curing him because he left the shift and left the rest of us with half the news started.

For many of us who at that time were waiting for a turn for a medical appointment, we could have let that reaction pass as one more anecdote of the new times of youth, until when we saw leaving one of the offices of the first floor a doctor already advanced in years, who out of the blue asked if perhaps there was a coastal person there to congratulate him because a Colombian, son of Aracataca, Magdalena, named Gabriel García Márquez, had been recognized by the Swedish Academy of Letters as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Although I have coastal ancestors that come from my parents, my Antioquian condition was more than evident: I was born in a town on the banks of a river in the Bajo Cauca area and despite the fact that my way of speaking had served to pass me off as countryman of the award-winning writer, someone from beyond made me avoid the mishap.

But I think that what saved me from that farce was the shyness that I have suffered since I am aware of carrying that evil, but this time finally and forever it prevented me from committing a disgrace of monumental magnitude with just a few months of being the card holder 28211530 that accredited me as a student of the first center of higher studies in Antioquia. Today, forty years later, I thank the angel who prevented such an episode.

I return to Thursday of the news. Then the sky and the rest of the environment seemed to become something else and a new air began to breathe in all the more than 15 thousand inhabitants of the beautiful University City; and those of us who until recently had wrinkled our faces due to internal ailments, were able to endure the rest of the time that was missing to receive the card for the next consultation, so we decided to gather as one around the news that I had already given him. at least seven times around the world.

That was when many like me, from Antioquia with Caribbean roots, we feel like ours that award for the best universal lyrics; almost the same thing we do today when the black Linda Lizeth Caicedo Alegría scores a goal for Deportivo Cali or she does it in our Colombia National Team, as I hope she will do tomorrow Saturday against the gigantic players from Tanzania.

No one said how or why, but the rumor was that some faculties, especially Communications and Social Sciences, decided to suspend classes for the rest of the day in solidarity with the great event that took place in the country for the first time, and I went out to meeting of my new friends that we always made in the Tronquitos cafeteria to celebrate an event that for new nobody knew how to do it. –There were the two Carlos Mario, the blind Héctor Javier, Luis Horacio, Luis Guillermo and the usual ones: Diana, Luz Marina and Ángela–

In the Spanish classes and with the help of the teacher Clara and another teacher with the surname Restrepo, we had the privilege of knowing to the core the stories and novels of until now one more of our Colombian writers, and there I learned the ways of what is known today as magical realism and I have in mind the lieutenant of the bad hourwhich is the same as the story Tuesday nap whom he related to an arbitrary and savage policeman who took to the streets of El Bagre to snatch the ball from the boys and break it in their faces, just because this prevented them from doing the same with the windows, when glass was not even used because it was not needed.-

All of us, as always happens, became the best “gabologists” of the moment and there was no lack of someone who said that he had the telephone number of the house where the new Mexico prize lived and was able to name him as only his true and closest friends did. : Gabito.

But that did not matter to us because a teacher who no longer accompanies us in this world, named Jaime and surnamed Vélez, had the good idea of ​​making us feel favored by the choice of academicssince after all the only thing that Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez could show as a citizen was his Journalist card and that literature had come to him that way.

A small parenthesis, that year we could hardly assimilate ourselves to some journalists in diapers, but that did not matter.

And so it was that among all the troops we made the wise decision to go listen to vallenatos at the Villamil ice cream parlor, a place located in front of the University on Barranquilla Street, very visited by students on Fridays, as a way to extend the routine classes of the week, to the point of earning the title of block 32, and that that celebration would serve as a preamble to the great ceremony that has already been announced at the Stockholm Concert House scheduled for December, which, like now, is just around the corner.

That time the ritual that has been carried out in a timely manner since 1901 was fulfilled, and that time the privileged ones were six scientists and a novelist who received from the hands of the King of Sweden, Carlos Gustavo and his wife Silvia.

For the forgetful, this first event, because the Nobel has several stagings, was on Wednesday, December 8 of that memorable 1982.

Today, forty years after that historic October 21, someone made me go back to the Thursday of the victory of the Letters and I tell him that that time the doctor diagnosed me with gastritis from eating at indefinite hours, when the truth was that in those days I went to live in my aunt Clotilde’s house in the El Salvador neighborhood, but I refrained from telling her that it was that I was beginning to detoxify myself from the diet of three meals a day with beans, because when the time came, my aunt made me return to the foods of our land and abundantly and with the best seasoning.-

I take this opportunity to remind the author of this morning’s question that Some time later, the great Rafael Calixto Escalona Martínez recorded in a beautiful Vallenato chronicle what happened months later at the Nobel Prize ceremony.. He says like this:

Gabo sent you from Stockholm
some very nice things
a yellow butterfly
and many gold fishes.

Gabo knows what you like, that’s why he sends you with me
the unknown perfume that smells like guava

He also sends you the yellow butterflies
by Maurice Babylon
I showed him the beautiful phrases that you wrote on a piece of paper
so that Gabito realizes that I do have someone who writes to me

In Gabo’s new book he said that he was going to publish
that I look like a gypsy and my heart like a magnet.

You know that Stockholm is far away, it is very close to the Pole
there you walk on the ice that a gypsy brought to Macondo

Gabo has invited me to his party and this is a great honor for me
I went with the Zuleta Brothers so that the King could hear the accordion.-

You know that neither one nor the other are here to celebrate such an achievement, but they left us their lyrics; a hug forever.

|You may be interested in: Gabo’s mother’s reaction when she found out that her son had won the Nobel

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The day I met the Nobel for gastritis –