He Left Without Meeting Almodóvar / Iván García

They called him Almodóvar. He idolized the director from La Mancha, of whom he claimed he was a distant relative. People didn’t take him seriously.

He was as black as coal and as hefty as a circus elephant. He was 69 when his heart literally broke one afternoon, while drinking cheap liquor on the corner of Carmen and 10 de Octubre, in Havana.

He wasn’t a bad guy. He used to clean patios and gardens, and repair batteries and plumbing. He drank a lot, and from a little bowl he’d eat enormous quantities of rice and beans. If money caught up to him, he’d add a helping of chicken, fish, or pork.

Other than alcohol distilled with molasses, he loved baseball and the movies. When Pedro Almodóvar was in Havana, he seriously thought about introducing himself at the hotel so that the director of “High Heels” might know that in Cuba he had a poor, black relative who idolized him.

He knew all of his films. The last one, “Broken Embraces“, he saw several times. But his favorite movie was “Everything About My Mother“. On seeing it, he left the theater crying. He knew all the dialogs by heart. The day that Almodóvar got an Oscar for “The Sea Inside“, he celebrated it with good rum. “My namesake is a crack”, he’d say.

On a typical afternoon, he died in Havana. Without a penny in his pocket. The State had to finance his funeral. He couldn’t enjoy the victory of the Industriales, his baseball team.

Black and drunk. A sad fat guy. He left us without meeting his Spanish ‘relative’.

Translated by: JT

September 14, 2010