Che Guevara: The Motorcycle Diaries

…P A R É N T E S I S A M O R O S O
…lovesick pause

The intention of this diary is not really to recount those days in Miramar where Comeback found a new home, with one resident in particular to whom Comeback’s name was directed. Our journey was suspended in that haven of indecision, subordinate to the words that give consent and create bonds.

Alberto saw the danger and was already imagining himself alone on the roads of America, though he never raised his voice. The struggle was between she and I. For a moment as I left, victorious, or so I thought, Otero Silva’s lines rang in my ears:

I heard splashing on the boat
her bare feet
And sensed in our faces
the hungry dusk
My heart swaying between her
and the street, the road
I don’t know where I found the strength
to free myself from her eyes
to slip from her arms
She stayed, crying through rain and glass
clouded with grief and tears
She stayed, unable to cry
Wait! I will come
walking with you.1

Yet afterwards I doubted whether driftwood has the right to say, “I win,” when the tide throws it on to the beach it seeks. But that was later, and is of no interest to the present. The two days I’d planned stretched like elastic into eight and with the bittersweet taste of goodbye mingling with my inveterate bad breath I finally felt myself lifted definitively away on the winds of adventure toward worlds I envisaged would be stranger than they were, into situations I imagined would be much more normal than they turned out to be.

I remember the day my friend the sea came to my defense — taking me from the limbo I was cursed with. The beach was deserted and a cold onshore wind was blowing. My head rested in the lap tying me to this land, lulled by everything around. The entire universe drifted rhythmically by, obeying the impulses of my inner voice. Suddenly, a stronger gust of wind brought a different sea voice and I lifted my head in surprise, yet it seemed to be nothing, a false alarm. I lay back, returning once again in my dreams to the caressing lap. And then, for the last time, I heard the ocean’s warning. Its vast and jarring rhythm hammered at the fortress within me and threatened its imposing serenity.

We became cold and left the beach, fleeing the disturbing presence which refused to leave me alone. The sea danced on the small stretch of beach, indifferent to its own eternal law and spawning its own note of caution, its warning. But a man in love (though Alberto used a more outrageous, less refined word) is in no condition to listen to such a call from nature; in the enormous belly of a Buick the bourgeois side of my universe was still under construction. The first commandment for every good explorer is that an expedition has two points: the point of departure and the point of arrival. If your intention is to make the second theoretical point coincide with the actual point of arrival, don’t think about the means — because the journey is a virtual space that finishes when it finishes, and there are as many means as there are different ways of “finishing.” That is to say, the means are endless. I remembered Alberto’s suggestion: “The bracelet, or you’re not who you think you are.”

Chichina’s hands disappeared into the hollow made by mine. “Chichina, that bracelet… Can I take it to guide me and remind me of you?”

The poor girl! I know the gold didn’t matter, despite what they say; her fingers as they held the bracelet were merely weighing up the love that made me ask for it. That is, at least, what I honestly think. Alberto says (with a certain mischievousness, it seems to me), that you don’t need particularly sensitive fingers to weigh up the full 29 carats of my love.

1. Miguel Otero Silva, left-wing Venezuelan poet and novelist, born in 1908.

Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at and via its website at