She felt at her most comfortable in hotels. The dingier and more dilapidated, the better. It was all a means to forget the cush childhood she had been provided with by her father. A father who could give her things, but not his time. Spent, instead, working for the trappings that would keep her quiet. Shut her up about wanting him to be around. For the last thing he wanted to do was be in the midst of Eleonora, a spawn who far too closely resembled her mother, the wife who had abandoned Agostinho. He came home one night from his job in the Microcentro of Buenos Aires to find Eleonora, then just two years old, crying–bawling wildly–in her crib with all the lights out, the first sign of Adora’s abandonment. It didn’t take long for him to find an empty closet and a missing suitcase to corroborate the natural assumption. She had fled. Couldn’t bear the responsibilities of being a mother and the notion of all that she would have to give up in order to be one. In part, Agostinho blamed himself. He was the one who had pushed her into child-bearing when she had wanted to get rid of it, said she wasn’t ready. But he pushed her, said such things weren’t done. Not when one was of the Catholic faith. She didn’t have the heart to tell him she had faith in nothing. And that ever since they had married, she regretted it. Wished she had gone with her initial instinct to try her hand at going to the United States. Somewhere in California, where Spanish-speaking was almost more normal than in South America itself. But she gave in to the pressures of her parents, not wanting to disappoint them, or defy them when they told her that Agostinho was a perfect match. What they meant was that he could provide for her.
What kind of job could she do, after all? Other than work in a factory. Whether it was a textile or taco factory, it didn’t matter. Bosses didn’t discriminate if you were willing to work in their less than humane conditions. So she took Agostinho up on his offer to be wed. She couldn’t even really understand why he had wanted to. It was not as though she was endlessly sweet or charming toward him. In fact, quite the opposite. But who knows? Some men get off on that. She thought she could stave off the child-having dilemma for at least five years, but his eagerness to have one started on their wedding night, when he whispered disgusting things into her ear as he mounted her. Things like, “I want you to sire my son” made it difficult for her to sustain much dampness therefore enjoyment. Of course, what Agostinho got instead was a daughter. She didn’t care what it was called, she already despised it for ravaging her body and taking away what was left of her youth. It was Agostinho who came up with the name Eleonora, a tribute to a great aunt or some such bullshit, Adora reckoned. She just wanted the child to leave her alone, but naturally all it did was plague. Wail, scream and, above all, shit. She hated the diaper-changing element so much she even tested a method of not feeding her more than once a day. It only seemed to further fuel Eleonora’s insides from excreting themselves. She begged Agostinho for a nanny, someone who could take away some of the pressure, therefore contempt. But he wouldn’t agree. He said it was a frivolous expense and that a child needed to spend her first formative years with her mother, not some stranger. She now couldn’t decide who she despised more: Agostinho or Eleonora.
As the days turned into months and into two years of insufferable ass-wiping and need-tending, Adora decided no more. She was going to California. It was now or never. She didn’t care that she would never see Eleonora again. Didn’t want to. The spawn was only a painful reminder of how she had surrendered her dreams and ambitions to convention for the sake of being briefly treated like an overfed house cat: very important, but with little to do (just like Betty Draper). She would rather die a thousand painful deaths than endure this perpetual coma-like one. So she was gone, no note left. What explanation could she give that Agostinho wasn’t already latently aware of but in denial about? This would leave no more room for him to swim in that river. Instead, he would replace it with his own ever-mounting contempt toward Eleonora as she grew up and continued to resemble a replica of Adora. As though, for added good measure, Adora had decided to punish him with this daily reminder. Which is precisely why Agostinho had thrown himself so dispassionately into his work, rising through the ranks to become the president of one of the most hated fat cat banks in Buenos Aires. It made Eleonora an easy target for mockery (and kidnapping) at her school, where she was goadingly nicknamed The Princess. She never told her father these things, mainly because he never stayed in a room with her long enough to be told.
Yet his presence was all that she yearned for. It became like an obsession as she would stalk him on the internet, staring at pictures and reading news articles. One day, gazing at his picture led to something she had never done before but often thought about: masturbating to his image. She was cautious about it at first, as though fearful that some invisible phantom in the house could see her and report back to Agostinho. Then she got into it rather quickly with much more intense fervor, achieving her first orgasm at sixteen. Now hooked on the only good feeling she had ever had, it was at seventeen that she, like Adora before her, decided to flee from the house of Agostinho. What was the point in staying anyway? There was no family to be had there. She took what cash was lying around the house (a total of 58,000 Argentine pesos), a suitcase (filled with dresses, lingerie and high heels) and disappeared into one of the many corridors of the city. Agostinho didn’t notice she was gone for about a week, and when he did, he made no inquiries into her disappearance, telling people who bothered to ask that she was now studying abroad in America. He was relieved. A burden lifted off his shoulders. And though he knew it was immoral to feel that way, it was what he felt. The child was nothing but a stain on a life that had gone wrong and could not be put in the wash again to come out looking brand new.
Over the course of the next three years, Eleonora, who had changed her name to Elle Coño, became one of the most sought after whores in the city. Across all class divides, to boot. Some of the rich guys even found it to be a fetish-fulfillment to fuck her in the shitty hotels she so romanticized for her profession. It didn’t take much longer for word of this prostitute’s legend to reach Agostinho, for he operated in the same circle as the sleazes who needed to set a budget aside every month for all the whores they enjoyed. Finally too curious to ignore all the recommendations, Agostinho, at the instruction of one of his colleagues, set out for the border of the Villa Devoto neighborhood. He figured, at the very least, a prostitute could listen to him speak frankly for once in his life.
He approached the ramshackle of an address he had been given, feeling immediately illicit. He knocked on the door of room 69 (he wondered how she had swung that) and waited, fearing somehow an unwanted pair of eyes was appraising him while he was vulnerable to outside judgment. The door remained shut. Perhaps he was mistaken about the time or place, he thought, cursing himself for even bothering to try. He walked away, descending back down the stairs and reaching all the way to the bottom when he heard the unmistakable creak of a door’s hinges. He looked up and saw Elle Coño there in all her Moulin Rouge-esque glamor and glory. His little girl, gone wayward. “Haven’t seen you in awhile…Daddy. You wanna come up?”
He hesitated, about to turn away and run for the hills as fast as Adora had. He then thought better of it and walked back up the stairs. She wasn’t his daughter anymore, after all, hadn’t been for some time.