I’m Your Horse In The Night by Luisa Valenzuela, 1985
The magic trick:
A cold opening that never fully solidifies into clear fact or context
This story envelops us in drama from the outset. No explanation. No backstory. Just two lovers reuniting in secret.
You’ve probably read stories that employ similar cold openings. What’s particularly interesting here is that the explanation isn’t just delayed; it never shows up at all. Sure, we get a clearer image of possible context, but nothing definitive.
Which really is the point.
The woman narrating the story doesn’t have any answers either. Reality and dream, past and present, metaphor and substance – they all are blurring as heartbreak drives her into a defensive posture against life.
And that’s quite a trick on Valenzuela’s part.
“It’s a saint’s song, like in the macumbra. Someone who’s in a trance says she’s the horse of the spirit who’s riding her, she’s his mount.”
“Chiquita, you’re always getting carried away with esoteric meanings and witchcraft. You know perfectly well that she isn’t talking about spirits. If you’re my horse in the night it’s because I ride you, like this, see? . . . Like this . . . That’s all.”
It was so long, do deep and so insistent, so charged with affection that we ended up exhausted. I fell asleep with him still on top of me.
I’m your horse in the night.
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