“You are going to be the love of my life,” Néstor Ain Britte, only eight years old, said to Irina Juárez, two years older. The talk between children took place at her family's house, since her younger brother was a friend of the person who had made her romantic confession. The romance, like any other in primary school, did not prosper.
Time passed and their paths reconnected ten years later, when they were both older and Irina had just ended an eight-year relationship. However, tragedy ended up separating them: a brutal accident that is being investigated as a possible homicide ended the life of Néstor, whom Irina saw die.
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“He always said that he was in love with me since the fourth grade,” Irina recalled in conversation with TN about the first hints that Néstor made to her. She, cautious, decided not to advance because she was a friend of her brother: “The codes first,” she warned.
A job ended up strengthening the ties. Her “gringa” – as they call her in her town – got her a job as a griller in the restaurant in the Buenos Aires town of Etcheverry, where she worked as a waitress.
The day-to-day contact, the frequent visits to her house and the closeness they maintained were the necessary ingredients for her to say “yes” in just a few months. “I couldn't believe we ended up together, but I fell in love.”
Irina and Néstor dreamed of being parents (Photo: courtesy of Irina Juárez).
Small town, big hell, they say. That's why Irina remained cautious for a while: “We wanted to go out into town to show that we were together because we all know each other. “He lived four blocks away and we saw each other all the time.”
Time passed and the couple grew. The day-to-day life at work ended – they both changed fields and jobs – and became a day-to-day life together when she decided to rent and invited him to live together.
“It was very romantic, very saccharine. Every day he got up to kiss me and hug me. He got up at 6 in the morning, we drank mates together and he went to work early because he was a bricklayer,” Irina recalled.
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Among the memories of the couple's dynamic that they maintained, the young woman revealed that every night she remembers the phrase that Néstor repeated to her before going to sleep: “Today we are here and tomorrow who knows.”
More at home than going out for walks in different places, Irina described the couple as “very companionable” and said that they divided the housework: “I washed and he cooked, we were both very active. We set out to do something and we did it together.
Coexistence in the rental lasted about a year, until in September of last year they increased the price and they could not pay it. Accustomed to receiving blows, each one had to return to live with his family.
Néstor proposed to Irina when he was 8 years old (Photo: courtesy of Irina Juárez).
But it wasn't for long, because the 24-year-old was building a house on the land where his mother lives. “He worked hard and built a little cabin, I ended up hanging out with him there,” Irina said.
“He put together the little box, put ceramics on the floor and had his bed. I helped him with a jug, a stove, a refrigerator and a small table. He had recently finished the bathroom, he built it himself,” she recalled.
With the return of the experience, the couple strengthened and she introduced him to Iguazú Falls for the first time. “He had enormous joy. We had paid for the hotel, the bus, the excursions and everything. It was something complete. He had left the town very little,” Irina said.
With a lot of effort Irina and Néstor saved up to see the Falls (Photo: courtesy Irina Juárez).
Now consolidated and with the construction of the house moving forward at a steady pace, the couple began to project towards the future: “We were trying to have a son, he was the one I wanted the most. We dreamed of having a family and we screwed with getting married. I told him that we were going to have a little castle.”
All their projects and hopes were torn away last Friday, when the couple went to drink mate at the quarry in the Buenos Aires town of Gómez, Brandsen district, and ran out of gas. They walked along the road looking for help and a speeding car hit and killed Néstor. Irina saw it all.
Irina and Néstor were building their little house (Photo: courtesy of Irina Juárez).
“It was the second time we went to that lagoon because we didn't go out much,” said Irina, visibly dismayed by the tragedy she had to experience. “I feel a tremendous emptiness every day, what happened to me is incredible,”
Hurt by the tragedy, she described her love: “He was very attentive to his family, if he saw you bad he would make you smile and encourage you. You never saw him bad. He pretended to be strong, but inside he was a bear. He had an inner child that made him cry, but he didn't show it much. He cried with me, even I was surprised that he was ashamed to cry. “I always saw him as an example.”