In a small corner of Buenos Aires is La Recoleta Cemetery. A huge mausoleum of many thousands of souls.
I strolled, one day, through the gates and into this ethereal world. The tombs of many of the rich, famous and notable members of Argentine society are here.
You can see them. The tombs of the famous that is. Surrounded by tourists snapping away. The resting place of Eva Perón is here. Her tomb is polished, immaculate and rightly so, daubed with flowers every day from grateful Argentinians and benevolent foreigners.
Move around, away from the crowds, and I became lost in this city of the dead. Crypts from as far back as 1822 line every walkway. There are no road signs here. There are no messages of information telling you where to go. Each passageway has a final turn, each path is the final stop.
I felt discernibly uncomfortable looking endlessly at these bedrooms of the lost. My own mortality and that of my loved ones was featuring in my mind.
Many of the tombs have been forgotten and left to ruin. Broken glass, litter and graffiti lead one's eye to the rotten remains of the caskets. Aged photographs, dirty urns for pets and tiny urns for once-loved children huddle in the corners, comforting one another into eternity, abandoned generations ago.
Wander further, past the glitz and the bronze statue protected tombs of past literary giants, beyond the multi storey statues set to commemorate great Argentinian leaders and I found Joaquin.
Joaquin b2006 – d2011.
Not many people will visit this place and notice Joaquin. Not many will mourn for him or wonder, as I have, about his story. All little boys are loved. No little boy should be forgotten.
Remember Joaquin, and others, as you remember Evita and the others.