That is how they were: they spent their lives proclaiming their proud origins, the historic merits of the city, the value of its relics, its heroism, its beauty, but they were blind to the decay of the years. Dr. Juvenal Urbino, on the other hand, loved it enough to see it with the eyes of truth.
“How noble this city must be,” he would say, “for we have spent four hundred years trying to finish it off and we still have not succeeded.”
This was not only due to her limited time and the danger of being taken by surprise, it was also her nature that caused her letters to avoid emotional pitfalls and confine themselves to relating the events of her daily life in the utilitarian style of a ship’s log. In reality, they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself alive in every line.
He did not resemble him in the pictures, or in his memories of him, or in the image transfigured by love that his mother painted, or in the one unpainted by his Uncle Leo XII with his cruel wit. Nevertheless, Florentino Ariza discovered the resemblance many years later, as he was combing his hair in front of the mirror, and only then did he understand that a man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.
He was a perfect husband: he never picked up anything from the floor, or turned out a light, or closed a door. In the morning darkness, when he found a button missing from his clothes, she would hear him say: “A man should have two wives: one to love and one to sew on his buttons.”
Gabriel García Márquez