Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Notes from Buenos Aires: The Woman Who Died Twice

Where else would you celebrate your wedding anniversary with your loved one--but a cemetery? Fools that we are, this is exactly what we did yesterday--only to be rewarded by morbidly sad stories of the departed. 
Cementerio de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires is known for being the Eva Peron's resting place. To our surprise, nothing more that a small plaque outside the family's mausoleum marks her place. Except the flowers. They are left here daily, by the people who adore her and lament her brief life even to this day. 

Walking among the wrought iron gates, which allow you can take a peek at the ornamented metal coffins, we came across this marble figure of a young woman, fixing a look of farewell upon us. Her untimely death is one that equals the Shakespearean Tragedy of Juliet, one that brings back muffled echoes of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Premature Burial'
Acording to legend, Rufina Cambaceres collapsed one evening, and pronounced dead as a result of a heart attack. She was interred in the family mausoleum; but the next morning, the family was alerted by the keeper of the cemetery that strange noises had ensued throughout the night from somewhere inside. When the coffin was finally opened, the inner layer of the lid could be seen: it had been violently sctratched. Rufina is the woman who died twice.
By contrast to her desperate struggle, the sculpture erected by her family tries to tell a different story. A story of a gentle departure. Casting a glance of sorrow, her lips seems to whisper, 'Farewell' even as her fingers touch the handle of the black door behind her. In a minute it will open, and with a single footfall she will disappear into a blacker black, taking a step from here to the mysterious--yet gentle--thereafter.

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