Fernando De La Roja Rosa

How handsome you look, Fernando, in your sequined suit of burgundy and silver. I see you have your cape and sword, but that is hardly surprising. They are the tools of your trade and it would be foolish to assume you would go anywhere without them.

Do you remember, Fernando, that misty morning we left the filthy gutters of Jerez de la Frontera and caught the train bound for Sevilla? We were determined to take that grand city by storm, you and I...two gypsy urchins from the street, with barely a peseta between us.

You craved to be the most daring and beloved matador in the whole of Andalusia, and I fantasized of being a celebrated bailaora, dancing the flamenco puro for the connoisseurs in the Cafe de Silverio. We both realized our dreams did we not, Fernando?

I have lost count of the number of times you dedicated to me the ears and tail of the bull, slain by your sure and expert hand. In return, I always threw to you a single red rose...because red is the color of my Fernando de la Roja Rosa.

Others also showered you with roses, the Americanas and Inglesas. But their tributes were white, pink and yellow...as pale and insipid as the thin blood that runs through their delicate and fragile veins. I could never comprehend what it was you found so attractive about such women, Fernando.

Was it the adoration? The devotion? The flattery? I gave you all that and infinitely more. Even today, as I stand before you, I still fail to understand.

Burned forever in my memory will be those evenings we spent at the taverna sipping ruby sangria until, intoxicated by the sweet wine and even sweeter desire, we would stumble...laughing and kissing and embracing...up the narrow staircase to the little room bathed in moonlight which nestled just beneath the stars.

I will cherish those nights of urgency and infatuation until I draw my last breath, Fernando.

Did those faded women ever enflame your body and ignite your soul with such fire?

You will not answer. I do not expect you to.

They are also here, Fernando. Those meek, mild and colorless harlots with hair as dull and lifeless as cheap Toledo gold and skin the color of a sallow wax candle. They come...your admirers, your followers, your paramours...bearing baskets full of roses, white, pink and yellow. But not red, Fernando el Rojo. That tradition belongs to me alone. I continue to be the only one who will ever possess the right to give you la roja rosa, mi bonito.

I am no longer angry with you. Why should I be? Never again will you be granted the power to infuriate me with your brutal words and enrage me with your cruel neglect. I do believe you were driving me insane. I shall never love another man with the same fervor, but at least and at last, I have found peace.

What a great relief it is to be calm, to be tranquil. I finally walk in serenity, Fernando.

Before I go...and I must go...take this red rose. It is the last one I will ever offer to you. Strange, is it not Fernando, that its color is symbolic of both redeeming love and destructive anger?

You would refuse my final gift, mi bonito? Then I shall leave it here, on the ivory satin pillow where it can forever caress your cheek with its soft, velvet petals now that my fingertips are no longer permitted to do so.

It is as deeply dark and magnificent as the intense passion we once shared, and no less vital than the rich blood that lingered like crimson teardrops on the blade of the silver dagger, after I had cut out your worthless gitano heart.

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