Alvaro Gutierrez was not a bad person.
Many bad things happened around Alvaro but mainly they happened to him. If you were too close to him, physically or otherwise, you were bound to be affected.
He was a very non-confrontational person. He was also an epicure of sorts and appreciated beauty. His father had been a very well respected artist. Alvaro loved beauty in all its myriad forms: music, nature, smell, taste, texture, and of course, in the divine culmination of all things beautiful, women.
Alvaro loved women and they returned his admiration, even though he was not especially handsome. He seemed to understand women, although that was an illusion as the unerringly negative results of his relationships bore out. He just had great short-term feedback loops in his associations, could read what women wanted to hear and eagerly supplied the answers they desired (whether or not they were true). It was the actions they required (or more correctly, absence of actions) that proved problematic. And when the inevitable confrontations came, frequently not with his lady of the moment but with their mothers, he found himself quickly drifting away, if not actually fleeing. Well sometimes he fled, but gracefully.
Alvaro was brilliant, intuitive, well read and educated. He was very soft spoken so that you had to strain to hear him but that was more effective in centering attention on him than even shouting. He was very slight, almost ethereal, but he cast a long and firm shadow.
He was a seeker of answers but his journey to enlightenment, as usually happens, made him more aware of the infinite quantity and variety of questions each answer seemed to open. He was not quick to share what knowledge he had about himself and he was a continually changing mystery to those closest to him, each day teaching them how little they knew him and how much less they knew about him.
That did not seem to bother women but some men reacted in a much more negative fashion. As good as Alvaro was with women, at least on a superficial basis, he was uncomfortable with men, and closed himself to them. That led the men closest to him to resent him and Alvaro did not have the slightest idea how to remedy that problem, other than to avoid confrontation.
In some cases, his strategy worked. He had many male acquaintances that he called friends and superficial relationships worked very well for him. He was well remembered and beloved by many, but the closer he was to the man involved, the more complex and difficult the relationship became. Like a hidden neurosis, sublimating and growing in negative potential. Always on the verge of exploding. Most difficult of all within his family.
That was especially true of the seeds he sometimes planted who found themselves enmeshed in mysteries and twisted within labyrinths of personal histories that did not add up and which they had no way of resolving. Still, if they cared to look within themselves, they found that they were the people they would have wanted to be had it been their decision how they turned out. And to some extent at least, either Alvaro or unerring coincidence had to share in some of the credit.
It’s funny the way anger grows exponentially with neglect. If one has wronged another and ignored the consequences, then, whether the failure to address the problem was malevolent, accidental or unavoidable, the resentment explodes. Sad because addressing the issue immediately almost always diffuses the crisis making it unimportant. But Alvaro, like many of us, just couldn’t face confrontation and ignored it hoping it would go away. Unfortunately, he was too important to those around him for that to happen, allowing the less desirable alternative to win the field, unopposed.
And Alvaro would find himself without prospects or solutions but with beautiful memories in which he loved to live.
 © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Ocala, Florida, 2004; all rights reserved