Gabriel García Márquez – The Meeting Of A Lifetime! (EXCLUSIVE)

2024 June 2

Gabriel García Márquez – The Meeting Of A Lifetime! (EXCLUSIVE)

by Carla Di Bonito

I first met Literature Nobel Prize Gabriel García Márquez in December 2006, during a party organised by the renowned International Film School in San Antonio de los Banos and the ICAIC, (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos). Being one of the school’s founder, Mr. García Márquez was present with his wife Mercedes. I was there with British actor Ralph Fiennes whom I had invited to visit the school and just before lunch was served, we were taken to a different room and accommodated by a long table. I sat next to British director Stephen Frears who was there for the prestigious Havana International Film Festival taking place that week and the conversation just took off. I told Gabriel my son’s second name was Gabriel and if it would be alright if I called him so.

He was happy. And there I was, in deep conversation with one of the greatest! My favourite writer! Talking about mundane things such as the time he and Dona Mercedes spent time in London where they had bought an apartment in Knightbridge, the life in Aracataca, the little Colombian town where he was born, and that he was in production of “Love in times of cholera”. Dona Mercedes and her husband made me laugh and I made them laugh. Occasionally I translated things here and there to Stephen who was perhaps wondering about this thing called Latin Connection!! I still remember the respect and admiration Mr. García Márquez exhaled and I remembered thinking how happy I was to have met him in person. Then we parted. Briefly though. We were to meet again later in the evening or the following day, I cannot recall now. And this time was even funnier. The place was full of well-known and not well- known people (like me!) we had sang happy birthday to Ralph who had an early celebration cake, mojitos were passing in all directions and music was playing. I remember a photographer came and started taking some photos and suggested Mr. Gabriel García Márquez and I took one together. At that precisely moment he pulled me closer, looked at me and said, “You have the face of a woman who is very rich therefore this picture will cost you a lot”. I burst into laughter!

Gabriel García Márquez, had gifted me with one of my most treasured memories, and I love it!!!