Sentí la presencia de un ser desconocido
I suggest you listen to “Las ciudades” by José Alfredo Jiménez while reading this post. The version I have chosen is sung by Lola Beltrán, whose version I prefer. If you would like to read the lyrics as well, they are available here.
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As my bus approached its destination and I boarded a cab, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew you and I would be face-to-face within a few minutes, but this time would be different. The last time you and I were face-to-face, there was a bond that intricately and intimately brought us together. Now, more than a year since you and I had seen each other and bid our farewell, I did not know how I would act, how I would react, how different I would be in your presence.
Te vi llegar
Y sentí la presencia de un ser desconocido
When you came in, one look at you told me that you had drastically changed since we last said goodbye. You no longer carried yourself as you did when we knew each other. You were now a strong, confident person compared to who you had been. I don’t know what occurred in that year since we last each other (or maybe it was a remnant of the time we knew each other), but something inspired that change in you.
Te vi llegar
Y sentí lo que nunca jamás había sentido
This was the first time we saw each other since that bond was destroyed by our atrocious actions. Should I have greeted you? What was I supposed to do? Anxiety was not the only thing I felt when I saw you. I felt this deep yearning to return to that time, relive the past, right the wrongs, set things on their path and continue our lives. Never in the time since our last meeting over a year before had I felt that. Never again have I felt it.
Te quise amar
Y tu amor no era fuego, no era lumbre
La última vez que nos vimos un año antes, todavía existía algunos restos del lazo que en un momento nos unió. Entraste en la aula y volteé la mirada para no verte. No nos hablamos mucho, pero dentro de mi ardía algo que solo mis propias acciones podría apagar. Cuando al fín estuvimos solos, los dos nos miramos, hablamos de las acciones terribles que los dos habíamos tomado los meses anteriores, y nuestro sendero se separó en dos. Aunque todavía sentíamos lo que habíamos sentido meses antes, no era lo mismo.
Las distancias apartan las ciudades,
Las ciudades destruyen las costumbres
It all began to unravel when you left that summer to Mexico. At that point, I had resigned myself to the knowledge that, come the end of August, you would leave your home and me and go off to college. I knew that our personalities would lead to our end, but I did not want to miss you. It hurt me too much to think that since we began seeing each other, I knew you would leave at the end of the summer and I had never accepted that fact. I had put it off my mind. When you came back, we only had a few weeks before you would make that first trip away from home, alone. Once you had finally left, I knew that it was only a matter of time for the end to come, I just tried to maintain normalcy. The distance between us eventually destroy us: I lost my trust for you, we stopped talking to each other, we were no longer able to see us during the day after a phone call. As I walked through the streets we had often walked, I was reminded of the routines we followed and the spontaneous actions that broke that blissful monotony. Finally, it was the actions we took in distant cities those two fateful weekends in October and November that ultimately ended our relationship, our friendship, our customs, our world.
Te dije adiós
Y pediste que nunca, que nunca te olvidara
You never asked me to never forget you. You knew you didn’t have to because the time we spent with each other defined that period in our respective lives.
Te dije adíos
Y sentí de tu amor otra vez la fuerza extraña
We never properly said goodbye to each other. However, our actions, even before you left, spoke volumes for each of us. I felt what at that moment was strange but I now recognize: a desire for the something past though you were before me.
Y mi alma completa se me cubrió de hielo
Y mi cuerpo entero se me llenó de frío
The fire that warmed me was extinguished and hasn’t been lit ever since. I have put the cauldron behind seventeen locks and destroyed the seventeen keys. There is now an empty space, waiting for a new fire to take its place. I’m in no hurry to be warm, however. I’ve always had a preference for colder temperatures.
Y estuve a punto, de cambiar tu mundo,
De cambiar tu mundo por el mundo mío.
I can’t begin to think how our worlds could switch, considering that even now, they are very similar. I’ve considered of how this switch could be attained and I’ve horrified myself by the thoughts that have at times taken hold of me. I wonder if you ever felt what I did.
I know that each time we see each other, I’ll get an urge to somehow make you feel how I’ve felt. I never will.