A long time, in the mythical country of Argentina, in the complicated metropolis of Buenos Aires, I dated a woman who was magical. Not in a romantic or metaphorical way, but literally. She would be singled out in a group at once. She never had to start a conversation; people would just naturally gravitate towards her. Like that woman in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” who was followed by butterflies, light seemed to follow her. To say that she walked in beauty would not adequately describe it; it was more like the physical universe bent around her.
One time we met in downtown Buenos Aires at night and took a long walk through the heart of the city, where everything and everybody happens. Who knows, my compatriot Francis might have been out that night too. It was wonderful summer weather, soft and full of life, and she was stunning in her summer dress.
And that’s when the miracle happened, what I remember most vividly of our time together.
Over a stretch of about fifteen blocks this occurred a few times. Homeless people would come out of the shadows to meet her. Asking nothing, not money, not food. They just wanted to talk to her.
Our relationship was brief. I was intent on graduating and starting my scientific career, and she was a free spirit. We could not imagine a life together. We parted amicably and remained friends for a long time. She eventually married and started a farm on an island; she would come down to Buenos Aires once in while to sell her produce.