Luz Hernández, in her kitchen on Calle Sonora, Colonia Condesa, Mexico City DF, November 1975. To this day I don't know which of the two was Arturo Belano and which was Ulises Lima. I never actually met either of them. I only saw them through this window as they were slowly walking away from the house with Inés gesturing animatedly between the two of them. I remember thinking with a relief that they looked too scruffy to be pimps.
Inés came home earlier than usual that day. When I heard her opening the front door, I went to meet her to see if everything was all right. She seemed very excited, her eyes brighter and her hair wilder than usual. I asked if her lectures had been cancelled and she told me, all in one breath, that she'd just met a couple of poets and they read her poems and liked them and asked her to join their group, and so she was going to quit the university and become a poetess. She just came home to pick up some books. The two poets were waiting for her outside.
Up to that moment I didn't know she wrote poetry.
Naturally, I tried to reason with her but can you reason with a very stubborn seventeen-year-old? Can you reason with any seventeen-year-old, no matter how stubborn? They always think they know best. They don't want to listen to wisdom that comes after years of heartbreak and disillusionment. And why should they? So I let her go while muttering: wait till your father hears about this. An empty threat if ever there was one.
When Pedro came home from work I didn't even wait till he got changed but told him straightaway about our conversation. He listened without saying a word and when it became clear I was expecting some kind of reaction, he asked what do they call themselves? At first I was too surprised to say anything, but then a sudden wave of anger and fear loosened my tongue. Are you out of your mind? I shouted, your daughter decides to leave the university and join a group of some dodgy poets, who will probably turn out to be a bunch of pimps or thieves or complete layabouts, and all you can think of is what they call themselves? What difference does it make what they call themselves? My husband looked at me and I swear his eyes looked just like his seventeen-year-old daughter's. It makes all the difference, he said very calmly. I felt a chill down my spine and knew my anger was pointless, so I answered him just as calmly, my voice trembling only the slightest bit: I think they call themselves the visceral realists.