Miriam Gil. Artist. Taken August, 2, 2011
I first met Miriam in the early nineties while volunteering at the Pacific Cinematheque. We worked the coffee bar. It was loud and the combination of the coffee machine, popcorn machine, and her Columbian accent meant that I could almost never catch what she was saying. When I could hear her we talked about art, film, and writers. Since high school I had loved the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Miriam told me that in Columbia he was so popular they just called him “Gabo”.
The only certainty was that they took everything with them: money, December breezes, the bread knife, thunder at three in the afternoon, the scent of jasmines, love. All that remained were the dusty almond trees, the reverberating streets, the houses of wood and roofs of rusting tin with their taciturn inhabitants, devastated by memories. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Living to Tell the Tale.
I rented a room in her house for a few years. There were late night conversations over bowls of steaming chocolaté. There was a tulip tree that grew too close to the house. I could open the kitchen window and hang a bird feeder in the branches. I filled it in the morning with a teacup tied to a broom handle. The Steller’s jays loved the seeds and screeched their delight when it was full. Miriam had many friends and one Christmas she made a huge basin of a traditional Columbian potato-chicken soup. It was not served until late and it had a strange narcoleptic effect on the guests. Taking turns, in twos and threes, the guests fell asleep. A couple would doze for ten minutes, and wake up, only to find that another couple was drifting off.