MAIL DE LONDRES
El ataque a los londinenses perpetrado el jueves pasado me hizo inmediatamente pensar en mi compañero de curso Michael (Mike) Enskat y su esposa, actualmente alcaldesa de Hillingdon. Fue por allá lejos, 1955, 57, cuando mi padre tomó a cargo las operaciones en Europa de la Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores, que fui a parar a un internado jesuita cerca de Sheffield, a tres horas de Londres en tren.
Ahí amisté con Mike, entonces fotógrafo aficionado, ahora abogado de patentes. Para celebrar sus sesenta, vino con Alice, a ver que había sido de Huneeus-Cox, o simplemente Cox, como me decían en el colegio.
Estuvieron unos días con nosotros en Calbuco, antes de embarcarse en el Skorpios y estamos perpetuamente invitados a su casa de veraneo en Gales.
El pálpito no le anduvo lejos. Andrew, su yerno, estaba todavía en la estación de metro cuando estalló la primera bomba y al salir le tocó la voladura del bus.
En esta foto del curso, en que sólo falta William Tumelty, (ver “Imagen relacionada”) lo vemos de jockey oscuro, segundo de izquierda a derecha, justo tras el mejor bateador de cricket que recuerden las Islas Británicas.
Enviado, jueves 07 de julio 2005:
Dear Mike and Alice
Are you and your family all safe?
Un abrazo from a very concerned
Pablo & Veronica
Sábado, 9 de Julio 2005:
Hi Pablo & Veronica,
Thanks for your e-mail. We were actually 250 miles away when the bombs went off so we were well out of it. However my son-in-law Andrew had a close shave. He was actually in the Station when the first bomb exploded and in the next street when the second bomb in the bus exploded. He was of course physically unharmed but a bit mentally shocked.
Otherwise all is well here. Alice continues to enjoy her duties as Mayoress of Hillingdon leaving me at home to do the household chores. Such is life!!
Hope all is well with you and your family
Michael & Alice
Domingo 10 de Julio 2005:
Dear Mike & Alice,
You know something Mike? I had never been to the Twin Towers. I knew nobody who worked there –finance gnomes are not my cup of tea– and I didn’t care much for those symmetrical Nazi looking structures. Furthermore, I loathed them in New York itself and wherever their imitations sprung up as victory flags for big business.
Even Santiago, the garden sprinkled Providencia borough where I grew up, has been shattered by apartment buildings that tore away the magnolia trees and the stylish homes each family built to its own taste.
So when the Towers came crumbling down I thought at first architecture had spoken back. Here was the response to all the hand made houses, fancy little palaces and tree covered squares where children play that globalized uniformity has demolished. Of course, at that stage, I knew nothing of the victims, the real people caught inside.
With the London attacks it’s different; it is such a lovable, humane city. Edgware Road was the closest tube station to our place in 60 Porchester Gate. Tavistock Square, a gentle garden right by the London School of Economics where I planed to study after finishing our unforgettable Mount St. Mary’s School at Spinkhill, near Sheffield. A double-decker bus, the roof ripped of, thirteen people killed. Unthinkable! It is like bombing a Lyon’s cup cake, (chocolate please), or killing the mind expanding experience of an evening browsing books at Foyle´s. British engineering, English sense of humor and Anglo pomposity are all packed in one of the seven wonders the world has: the top deck of a Nº 30 or so bus round Picadillly Circus, up to Marble Arch and across Hyde Park.
Actually it’s the very first thing we do after deplaning at Heathrow; take a look not from a tourist van, but from the real, curry smelling London Transport contraption, wherever it goes and back. One day attended by a Brahmin in turban, next by a Nepalese princess, the whole Empire at your feet.
Then, the underground trains, the tube as you call it. You see, the three explosions rocked something in my soul too, even so for faraway as I am, in Patagonia now. Like the smoke billowing from way below earth as an aftermath of the bombs, deep in the mind came the days I knew the Circle and District Line stations backward, with all their quirks and connections, even better than the lines of my hands.
Alice and you my old friend, your sons and grandsons and everybody out there have lost something. You are not alone. As we say down here “Les ayudo a sentir” (I help you feel) for we too feel it badly in our hearts.