Juan Tébar. – Nickelodeón, 1995 (Adapted and translated)
Summer of 95, Marbella. The sun feels as if it was recorded in Technicolor. I try to deal with my nerves before meeting Her. Her. Princess Flavia. Ligia. The woman of my childhood dreams. I guess we were all nervous. I reckon that the number of those who have had the chance to meet the woman of their dreams are few. We are the lucky ones and we know it. In a few minutes we’ll be heading to Deborah and Peter’s house to have a talk with “La Jefa” (The Boss) as Peter affectionately calls her.
It’s a rare honour to be welcomed in their house for an interview. She lives practically isolated from the outside world. Her only time out of the house for a public appearance was to receive her honorary Oscar. They are happy here. Her husband is well liked and lowed. He is known as Don Pedro. He is meeting us before heading to their home. As if to approve of our being introduced to his Deborah. He is her guardian, her protector.
We walk with him through a golf course, a steep hill and finally come to the bell hanging on their door. Inside there are lemon trees, many cats and a gardener, Antonio, who is painting the fences black. I can barely hold my excitement.
We sit around a table and chat amicably with Peter. I am hoping my teen years passion for her won’t show much when we meet. I had no idea I had seated right in front of the door she’d be coming through to meet us. I am the first one to see her and I stand up, almost in shock. That’s the proper treatment to a Princess. To King of Siam’s children teacher.
She is wearing yellow, her white blouse has tiny flowers. Her hair is tied up with a tiny almost childlike bow. The birds are singing and Deborah speaks sweetly and slowly. She complains for not speaking Spanish better: “It’s such a shame, I’ve been living here for so long…” Peter sits to her right, “para echar un capote” (to help her if needed) cause he can speak our language perfectly. He will also kill some flies for her. Always looking after her. Always lowing her.
I sit to her left and I try not to stare. Helplessly. Deborah, my Deborah, I always liked looking at you so much.
With her hands on the table she remembers. A touch of melancholy, a touch of irony. I get the feeling that she remembers Everything. We are sitting in the shade but the heat keeps going up. They hang a little light to try and sent the flies away, but it doesn’t work.
When Garci pays her a very direct compliment “We always found you were so sexy” she cuts him “Guau” – literally. But then she goes back to her discreet self, her Tea and Sympathy side.
Peter keeps looking after her. Chasing the flies, attentive of the sun she’ll get, of how tiring the memories can be or how intrusive our questions can get. He tells us that when they aired Julius Caesar on television someone said “Poor Deborah, first Brutus and now Peter!”. I don’t know how badly Brutus (the great James Mason) treated her but the loving care Don Pedro shows for his girl is quite tender.
Garci puts on the table a picture of Deborah with Leo McCarey and Cary Grant during a pause in the shooting of An Affair to Remember. I look at the picture trying to mix both times and suddenly so does she. Deborah looks at the memory as if bringing it back to life. She points at the sweater she was wearing and says happily “I remember this sweater…”
Those have been sentimental memories of our time with Deborah. Private affairs if only I were not as much as an exhibitionist. The proper interview is as follows: