Javier Cortés (Madrid, 1989) causes enormous respect; his short and random life could well be the thoughtful and stressed argument of a novel with no end. And it is not a unique case, but one more among that small handful of ‘aliens’ who feel bullfighters from the cradle, human beings made of another paste, heroes predestined to glory and failure, to the fight against the elements of a almost never easy existence, based on sacrifice and commitment to a vocation that has chosen them.
Javier is sitting there in front of a cut coffee; He is a young man, athletic, equipped with colored sunglasses, serious countenance and a striking scar on his chin, a memory of an already distant and rugged novilleril afternoon before a ‘corridón’ in the mountains of Madrid.
With a rictus of sadness on his face, he tells his story as if such a thing, without realizing it, sure, is as overwhelming as it is admirable.
Javier Cortés suffered a spooky grenade in his right eye last September 15 in the Plaza de Las Ventas. Three months later, after two surgical operations and an ordeal of pain and discouragement, he dreams that the omens of the doctors will come true and recover the short vision – 40 percent – that he had before the accident in that eye, in which he does three years suffered a retinal detachment.
The coffee cools, the bullfighter sketches a smile for the first time, and confesses …
“I ‘ve been very lucky; if the python enters me in the other eye, the good one takes me out of bullfighting. So I must thank … ”
“I have the illusion of a child, when I wanted to be a bullfighter”
He emboldens himself and continues …
“I have the illusion of a child, when I wanted to be a bullfighter, and I see my future as very hopeful …”
And that is what the bullfighter tells after remembering the bad moments after the bait.
“There has been everything, it’s true. At first, I felt bad, very, very bad. I felt a total rejection of what had happened to me. Why is this fuck? I have always been to Madrid to give my all and I have expected any mishap, but a bait in one eye was unthinkable. I have lived very hard moments, with tremendous discomfort in the eye. ”
On December 20, Javier Cortés again felt the tingling of bullfighting when he dressed short to get in front of a cow on a farm in Salamanca; afterwards, he has repeated the experience in two more livestock farms, and his feeling is very positive (“I am very happy, I have found myself at a good level”), despite the serious deficiencies that he still suffers.
“I am beginning to distinguish colors, but nothing more. And the good prospects are pending a third intervention that I will undergo at the end of the season. Then, they will put an intraocular lens, which will facilitate the vision that I can recover ”.
The bullfighter changes his face when asked to remember the afternoon of September 15 …
“I was looking forward to that run, but as soon as I saw the bull I knew that it would get me inside [a la enfermería]; it was very bad, it seemed bullfighting, it threw me to the chest in the cape and, later, the blow in the eye. I knew the damage that had occurred to me from the first moment; I noticed that it was very serious. And I was much more scared when Don Máximo [cirujano de Las Ventas] It took me five minutes to decide to get me to the hospital. They didn’t even take my light suit …! And I thought: I’m busted. ”
And there it continues, with the cold coffee and the colored protective glasses, this strange human being, with only one idea in his head: his reappearance in the arena.
“I start to distinguish colors and everything depends on a third intervention”
“I do not know where or when I will fight again, I would like to know, but my intention is to do it this year in a first place. The Madrid company has given me good words and has always treated me well. He has promised me to be announced two afternoons this season, and I hope so. ”
Las Ventas has been the stop and inn of a bullfighter, like so many others, who has not been easy to express his feeling.
He firmly states that bullfighter was born. Son of a marriage from the town of Villanueva del Arzobispo in Jienense and established in Madrid (his father has run a chicken shop in the Orcasitas market until his retirement), without any relationship with the bulls, Javier does not remember when he said he wanted to be a bullfighter . His first idol was José María Manzanares Sr.; with the intention of emulating him, he entered the Bullfighting School of Madrid, and in 2008 he was the winner of the Night Novilladas Contest held in Las Ventas.
He acknowledges that his move from school to the novillero ranch with horses was “very hard”, he faced real bullfights in the Madrid mountains, suffered many somersaults and became familiar with the color of his blood.
He took the alternative in 2010, in the Plaza de Vistalegre, and began to live in his own flesh the difficulties of the chosen profession.
He has fought little, and after a hesitant start, he knew the bitter taste of forced unemployment.
“I was three years (2013, 14 and 15) without bullfighting or a calf in the field, although it was the time I trained most. No one remembered me, and I was forced to look for a job. I have taken fruit in the field, I have distributed publicity, I have been a waiter and, especially, a cook. I am good at cooking, I did a course and worked in a good restaurant in Madrid. ”
Among pots was Javier Cortés when he received the call from the bullfighter Manolo Campuzano, ready to help him. He left the apron and they started a new stage together. In 2017 he made the paseíllo in Madrid in a cattle challenge with bulls from Palha and Hoyo de la Gitana and left the fans impacted by their bravery and good manners.
And the following year, five runs in the capital, a whole event, a challenge, a very difficult commitment to hard livestock.
“I did not go bad, but I did not achieve the dream success. The runs were very complicated, but it was what it was. ”
There was no triumph, although the bullfighter earned the respect of the fans, which is not small.
“I think I am looking forward to it; I do not know if I am better or worse bullfighter, but I give myself to give everything with the sincerity and transparency that I intend to print to my bullfighting ”.
– And the future?
– “I came to think that the bullfighter was over, which would have been very sad after so much struggle, and I have regained the illusion. That is my great triumph. In February ten years of my alternative will be fulfilled and I keep intact the same dreams of that time ”.
Javier Cortés rushes the coffee, already frozen; remember that tomorrow you have an appointment in the field and confess that fear is happening, “as if it were announced in Madrid”; and he does not want to forget Paco Ureña, also wounded in one eye, who has been at his side since the day of the accident: “His support and his triumph have given me tremendous morals,” he says.
The bullfighter leaves the cafeteria and realizes that he has not renewed the parking ticket. It is the human being, the ‘extraterrestrial’, the hero, the protagonist of an overwhelming and admirable story. A bullfighter …