Buenos Aires Calling by Marja Hagborg

Red Door

Red Door

Photo by Laura Kiselevach


‘Buenos Aires Calling’ by Marja Hagborg



You may think I was crazy or helplessly stupid, or maybe suffering from a beaten wife syndrome. Everything is possible. I didn’t have any control over my life or myself. One moment everything seemed normal like before, the next, nothing was real. It was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds all the way, so to speak. I was watching my life like it was a crazy kaleidoscope, pieces of glass floating around in an empty tube. Nothing made any sense, and in my nightmares I was a bag lady, sleeping under bridges among drooling crazy alcoholics and wild dogs.

We were on the beach close to the Ocean Drive, lying in the sun our bodies slightly touching. Everything felt normal and familiar right then, but as soon as he said he had to go to the toilet, I felt like a dying whale. I knew he wanted to call his mistress, his soul mate, the voracious cocksucker, and blowjob queen, who was devastated and crying because he was with me in Miami. Poor woman.

When he came back, he acted as if there had been the longest line to the toilet and he had also met an old buddy he hadn’t seen in years, and then he had helped old feeble ladies across the street… Whatever he said, I knew he had called the woman he had got on his brain and made him obsessed and borderline insane.

I was lying on my side, covered with sand, thinking I had to have a liposuction. My body was bloated, flabby and disgusting. Everything was hanging out like formless dough. I decided, as soon as we came back to Chicago, I would call a plastic surgeon and get the flab fixed. At least I would look decent even if everything else was going to Hell with me.


Next morning something weird happened; a beautiful exotic bird flew into my mouth, slammed against my face, so to speak, without me doing a thing. To be honest, I was too depressed to flirt, to make complicated plans, or even think rationally. I was too self-involved to notice what was happening around me because I walked around in a thick and chilly mental fog. I didn’t see anybody or hear anything but the heavy drumbeat of my own heart in my head. I hardly saw the pastel colors of the South Beach or its tropical gardens, something I used to love. I didn’t notice the intensely pulsating life or the smiling faces and great bodies of people at the hotel we were staying at; everything was a gray blur and cacophony.

Why on the earth my husband had dragged me to Florida was a question I had absolutely no answer to. Was it some kind of weird gesture of fairness toward me? Did he feel guilty and obligated to be kind to me just because I was his wife?

Only a couple of weeks earlier he had a romp in San Francisco and Northern California vineyards with his fuck bunny mistress who loved to run naked in the woods. When he came home, he looked like a guy who had not slept in a week and who had got more blowjobs than was humanely possible. He was a very happy man. In his overwhelming bliss he wanted to offer me some crumbs of happiness too. Because he knew I loved Miami, dragging me there in the middle of my total mental meltdown he thought was a brilliant idea. Brilliant? Right! How could anything possibly go wrong?

So I walked through the lobby of our hotel on my way out to buy a couple of t-shirts because the weather was getting muggier. While walking entirely in my own bubble of misery and feeling invisible, a younger man, clearly much younger than me, stopped me. Through the fog I saw a beautiful creature, something reminding me of Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita. What a fucking delusion! I thought. Was I finally completely losing my mind? Beautiful men don’t talk to me; they don’t even see me. It must have been about a mistaken identity, or someone who was in the same kind of mental fog I was, depressed and lost.

After 15 minutes of conversation with the man who seemed like a delusion, I was standing in the hotel lobby a business card in my sweaty hand. The card read: Javier, not Marcello, with an address in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires! It’s a city I had always dreamed of visiting. That’s what I heard myself saying with a shaky but borderline enthusiastic voice. I heard Javier’s pleasant voice and his Spanish/Argentinean accent, but I wasn’t sure about what he really said other than “Come to visit” that had sounded like “Come to visit ME”, but it could as well had been “Come to visit Buenos Aires”. He kissed my both cheeks before he hurried to his business meeting.

I walked out, stunned like a wild impala, and went to the garden, still holding Javier’s business card in my hand like it was his heart, and sat down on a bench. I was sweating and shaking all over. Maybe I had had too many cocktails the evening before. I was afraid that I was having a heart attack. But I saw some colors and I even heard birds singing, real or not.

I was already picturing myself in Buenos Aires; sitting in a dark restaurant, at a table with green marble top, dim lights, heavy curtains and servers with melancholic eyes serving me Fernet Branca while I was waiting for Javier who would take me upstairs to my hotel room for a breathless, crazy, passionate and totally forbidden hip, hop, hippity hop. Don’t stop!


Did you like the story? Opinions? Praise? Please leave a comment below



Marja Hagborg is a Scandinavian-born writer/artist who received her MFA from University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University and screenwriting at Chicago Dramatists in Chicago. She lives with a Viking husband and twin cats in Chicago and writes mostly very dark fiction and occasionally stories meant to be funny.

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7 Responses to Buenos Aires Calling by Marja Hagborg

  1. Roland Petrov

    I found this to be a lovely, measured, straightforward, and entertaining piece. It’s so short, and yet I felt like I got to know the lady quite well.

  2. Julie

    I loved this. A perfect experience of the effect of fantasy on mood swings, and mood swings on fantasy, as well as the reality of how when life gives you lemons as in the form of your husband’s puckering mistress, Buenos Aires beckons and makes it all better.

  3. Wendy Hollis

    I thought this was an excellent read. Like Roland, I felt you got to know the character in a very short time. You felt her depression then experienced her joy in escapism.

  4. This piece was written from within a mind hungry for adventure and an articulate telling of experiences real or imagined that feel authentic as if its owner had lived it . I must hope she has or will. Brava author. Buenos Aires! Hope you got a post coital tango from the deal. I was riveted.

  5. Shirley

    Great writing, Marja. Drew me in right away and I left feeling I knew the woman and a thousand like her. I was most definitely rooting for her, and wanting to slather a little habanero sauce on her husband’s dick! Ha!

    • Roadside

      Come on Shirley that’s literally below the belt! Besides he might like it then you’d have egg on your face!

  6. Jennifer Perez

    Your play with words always hooks me from the beginning. I love the way you dangle an idea, tie it up with emotion and then reel the reader in.

    This story made me smile. It was so visual and so real. Of course, any woman who tolerated the misgivings of a man she trusted would be hoping the protagonist would hop on a plane and go have some much warranted fun. But for me, I was recalling a similar experience on a train, where a younger man was promising to show me Seattle when we got there. I didn’t have the cheating husband then. I had one who was emotionally constipated. I was definitely tempted. It’s why I sought a divorce. So, your character was vivid for me. But then, your stories are always this way…because you have the writing of an angel. There was so much I loved here: I loved the metaphoric bird. I loved the symbolic toilet for his cheating behavior. I loved the contrast of depression against the pastel colors of Miami and the vivid life surrounding that city. I could go on and on with my appreciation. Thank you for the transfer away for a moment.

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