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(GENRE: HISTORICAL FICTION)
By Neel Anil Panicker
“¿Podría decirme la ubicación exacta del corazón?”
Dr Juan Camilo, senior cardiologist at Santa Barnara Medical Center couldn’t believe what he had just heard.
True, in his almost four decade old career he had had patients who made all kinds of demands, bizarre requests, a few outright stupid, and one absolutely insane: ‘Doc, can you stop my heart for ten minutes. I want to experience what it means to die.’
But this one was different, especially so as it came from a person whom all of Bogota nee Columbia respected nee revered to the point of veneration.
He mulled over the entreaty for a moment and then replied, “Claro, si insistes”
The tall young man’s eyes lit up and he replied, “Muchas gracias, doctor.”
It was a decision that the renowned doctor would regret for the rest of his life.
The following day’s newspapers reported the tragic death of José Asunción Silva, the cause, a single bullet shot through the heart.
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On the morning of 24 May 1896, a housemaid found Asunción Silva dead in his bed with a gun near his body; he had shot himself in the heart the night before. There are many reasons for his suicide, including the death of his sister Elvira, the loss of almost all his work when his ship sank near a quay in the Caribbean sea, and his debts. Prior to his death, he asked his doctor confidentially to mark the exact location of his heart.