TE16 Turkish Delight

Mario Levi the incomparable despondency of Fado. “Amalia Rodrigues,” said the waiter, leaning close, “Amalia Rodrigues; from this moment on you shall never forget this voice.” Amalia Rodrigues was with him now, years after the melancholy summer’s evening during which that story had transpired. With him now in the form of a sentence, in his room, his loneliness, his pain, and all his longings for former lovers; as a friend that had always kept him company, as a fancy that some might find preposterous, a myth, or even just a possibility. He would return to Lisbon that evening still in thrall to this unexpected discovery, search for the Lisbon of his dreams again in this city whose language he’ d found impenetrable, and haul his defeats, self-deceptions, the regret of dinners never held, and the rules of the game once more to a decrepit and shoddy hotel room. He would then nurture the remorse of having come here on this summer’s evening on his own, thinking of the loners who simply could not unite, the desperate ones who doggedly pursued unattainable dreams. On several ensuing evenings after that, he had sat in the same spot in a coffeehouse whose name he couldn’t quite recall nowadays. He’ d met a fantastically old waiter then; in the face of the disparate realms of language where they had attained their full personalities, they had conversed of even the most abstract subjects they could dream up or longed to discuss. In the later hours of the night they had a few drinks together and talked of memory-laden bed-and-boards, incompatible sexuality and the pain it often brings, the obstructions in the way of sharing it, the books unfinished, a matter not helped by being imprisoned in a city. Everything rang of Fado at the time: melancholy, without narrative, without hope of return. Then, wandering through the


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