Maradona’s death condemned us to helplessness. There is no crack, the tears are unanimous. He left on the 10th, it will never be forgotten.
Cry, Argentines, cry.
The national mirror has been broken and the splinters are nailed in the hearts of all, badly wounded like his. There is no crack, the tears are unanimous. He committed the last of his recklessness. He died. And he condemned us to helplessness.
The floor moves, it seems. It doesn’t fuel the brain, it seems. A funereal silence runs through the streets, it becomes an improvised sanctuary in Fiorito, Naples or La Paternal and spontaneous altars are erected in everyone’s ramshackle soul. In the atrocious Cambalache of this country, the water heater and the Bible now have another stamp accompanying them. In the Babel unified by social networks, the whole world pays tributes. And in the head stunned by the blow it sounds like a litany “to know what loneliness is like, you will have to see that he is not by your side.” You cannot give that fight to the inevitable. “Loneliness is a friend who is not there.”
That was. A friend of all. Tickle in the stomach when climbing the stairs of any court, an hour, half an hour before playing. Open-mouthed at certain wonders, spellbound by that petite who indeed seemed to have come from another planet. Because like him none. That provoked.
Four times Gatti went to look for her inside. He crawled to Fillol twice, in the Bombonera that night of rain and mud and in the Monumental, that sunny afternoon. San José’s crotch is still hanging from a post at the Bernabéu when he made it pass by before pushing it into the empty goal. The murder weapon of the Basque who destroyed an ankle at the Camp Nou is still in life imprisonment. Will San Genaro continue to liquefy his blood in Naples?
We told him it was God. It wasn’t his sin. He was God for everyone when you couldn’t believe in anyone and you had to believe in someone. Perhaps because of those strange pirouettes we chose as a superior being the most earthly of all, the most transparent, the one who did not keep a bit of mystery. It was as we saw it. Like us. Coherent and contradictory, a flame burning in anger, childish tenderness in emotion. He was capable of making someone he just met feel like a friend if he had liked it or the worst crap if he was located on the other side of the road. “Give me a hug” or “you have it inside”. Right or wrong, it always was. We needed a God and it was him. Let us abandon all hope: he will not be resurrected in three days.
It is time to open the personal album. To review those photographs that each one kept in their memory. Without thousands. They will be millions with the passage of time. I see him leaving a training session in Argentinos, in a red car, with Claudia as co-pilot. I see him at La Candela, juggling. And at the bar of the Iruña hotel, in Mar del PLata, where Boca and River were for a summer tournament, having coffee with Passarella and Gallego. I see him listening to Menotti. I see him in Milan before the debut with Cameroon when Menem named him “sports ambassador”. I see his ankle as a flowerpot in Trigoria. I see him get off the mic. Always, but always, with the National Team shirt. I see it next to the Ferrari Testarrosa. And talking to Bilardo. And I see him insult the Italians because they whistle the anthem. And playing a game with a golf ball at Babson College in Boston. And play and play with Redondo before that great goal to the Greeks. I watch him walk out of Nurse Sue Carpenter’s hand, heading for fatal drug testing. And I see him at the Dallas airport, sitting on the floor, giving Clarín that famous interview. I see everything that pain, anger and impotence reveal.
It’s not relieving knowing that it would ever happen. They do not alleviate the signals it gave. In the apartment on Franklin Street, in Punta del Este, in Suizo, in this last hospitalization in La Plata and later in Olivos. As if there had been a feeling that tragedy was coming, on each court they paid tribute to him. In every Gymnastics game. On the throne they put him in San Lorenzo. On that afternoon-night in Independiente next to Bochini and Bertoni. And on his birthday, in the Forest, just yesterday.
He went. It will never be forgotten.
I’ve seen Maradona