PASSENGER NO. 5
One afternoon in April 2006, when I was strolling through Old Havana, I stopped at one of the many easels where the sellers of old books exhibited their relics. It was a day after my birthday and a few hours of traveling to Federico's Granada. I had just reread Claude Couffon's book on the life of Lorca, which occupies a privileged space in the bookseller where I keep the most beloved texts.
I continued my tour of the Plaza de Armas by reviewing titles. Then I saw it: a small, well-preserved book of poetry by Gongora, which seemed to hide behind a volume of an incomplete encyclopedia. I accepted without warning the somewhat excessive price and left the Plaza.
So long without its pages being tampered had left in the book some rigidity that made it impossible to naturally scan it. I began to take off its pages delicately and from the inside of the book a paper fell to the ground, an old green rectangle. I picked it up intrigued, and when I noticed it, I could not believe my eyes. It was the ticket of the steamer Manuel Arnús, the ship that Federico García Lorca boarded in Havana, heading for Spain.
Life is full of signs; only that we, sometimes, are unable to perceive them. I could have selected a book I did not have, and I chose Gongora, whose poetry admired and studied by Federico in detail.
It may be a coincidence that I was on April 5 and bought a book by Góngora that probably accompanied Lorca on his journey to Cadiz, where the Arnus made a stopover to leave the poet, but on April 5, 1930 Federico writes to his parents: “This island is a paradise ... if I get lost, look for me in Andalusia or in Cuba”. Yes, it may have been the result of chance, but I prefer to think that everything is just one of the many pranks of Federico, because he remains the stone in the water and the voice in the breeze.