by Alejandra Algorta art by Iván Rickenmann translation Aida Salazar
Ten-year-old Fabio lives in Bogotá with his bread-baker mother and bus-driver father. His world changes the day his mother presents him with a used salmon-colored bike. Fabio soon masters the skill of balance while peddling. The bicycle and the boy become one. Whizzing around the city, he delivers his mother’s fresh bread.
“the dust danced with him, it would lift itself from the ground and soar through the air,”
Alicia is a regular bread recipient. To his consternation, she always greets Fabio as “my son. ” To this young boy, the old woman is a mystery. Why is she known as Mamalica? Why does she call him son? Where is her husband? Fabio is puzzled.
Then the unthinkable happens, Fabio forgets how to ride his bike. When he attempts to ride, he falls. He has failed. Without his bicycle, Fabio sees no way forward.
"Walking makes Fabio feel like a city pigeon, picking at dirt when he should be flying between rooftops..."
- Movement. The bus moves people. The days accelerate. Speed becomes one word “velocityisequaltodistancedividedbytime."
- Size is Relative: The world under the bed is small. The souls of giants are trapped inside small bodies.
- Monsters: The city is a monster, gobbling up smaller neighborhoods.
Iván Bogotá's evocative cityscape.
Meet the author: Alejandra Algorta.