I was introduced to Gabo with "The handsomest drowned man in the world". I remember the short story leaving me feeling so very empty, much like now. Today, when I heard of the great man's passing, memories of when I read the handsomest drowned man came rushing back, and it somehow seemed very apt.
When they spread him out on the floor they saw that he had been much bigger than any other man, for he hardly fit in the house, but they thought that perhaps the ability to continue growing after death was in the nature of certain drowned men.
...because they would paint the fronts of their houses with joyful colors to eternalize the memory of Esteban, and they would break their backs digging springs from the rocks and sowing flowers on the cliff s, so that in the dawns of the coming years the travelers on great ships would awaken suffocating on the aroma of gardens on the high sea, and the captain would have to come down from his quarter deck in full uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star and string of war medals, and signaling the promontory of roses on the Caribbean horizon would say in fourteen languages: look there, where the wind is now so gentle that it stops to sleep beneath the beds, there, where the sun shines such that the sunflowers don't know where to turn, yes, there, is the village of Esteban.
I am at a loss for words, so I shall borrow, for one last time today, from Amrutha. "He gave me Solitude. He gave me Love. He brought me as close to catharsis as one could have. He showed me beauty through language. RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the greatest writer to have written in the twentieth century".