i first read a very old man with enormous wings by gabriel garcia marquez in high school. it was in a short story textbook that my english class was using. it wasn't an assigned story but i read it one night anyway and asked my teacher about it the next day in class. it had honestly turned my world a little upside down. i had read science fiction. this story was different and i loved it. my teacher excitedly gave me a quick lecture on magical realism. he was my favorite teacher and within a month, i had a new favorite writer.
he's still in my top ten, even though it'd been awhile since i've read anything of his. i can recite long passages from one hundred years of solitude because i reread them so many times when writing my longest (and best) college paper on the book. when i read of love and other demons, which he wrote when he was 17, i was in love. and furious. no one should be allowed to write that beautifully at seventeen. but of course he could and did. because he was magical.
i'd been running all day on thursday after a late night. i hadn't spent much time on the internet but had seen his name pop up in a few places. it never occur to me that he'd died. i was saddened to learn that he had.
since thursday, i've been wanting to reread a very old man with enormous wings. it showed up in my blog reader today and i clicked without thinking. its shorter than i remember but just as sad and lovely and yes, magical. if you've never read it, you should. if you have, read it again.