The comeback

Fausto Ruiz got off the boat at the port of the city where he had been born fifty years ago, and to which he had not returned for twenty years.

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Fausto Ruiz got off the boat at the port of the city where he had been born fifty years ago, and to which he had not returned for twenty years. He walked along the seafront, surprised by how much his hometown had changed, and also by how much of it he could still recognise. There were lots of new buildings up on the hills around the city now, buildings which he didn’t recognise. Yet many of the old buildings along the sea were exactly the same as he remembered them, although many of the old shops he remembered were there no more.

He walked away from the port and into the centre of the city. He walked up the main road and saw how all the shops had changed, but that there was still one small café there which was the same as it had been when he was young and famous. He walked into the café and sat down at one of the tables. He recognised the owner of the café behind the bar as well as the waiter who was working there. They both looked much, much older. Fausto felt certain that he didn’t look as old as they did, even though they were all twenty years older now.

Fausto sat at his table and waited for the waiter to come to him. He sat there for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes. Half an hour passed and the waiter continued to ignore him. Fausto raised his arm and shouted to the waiter, then to the owner of the café behind the bar, but it was useless. They didn’t come and ask him what he wanted. They were ignoring him.

Angry, Fausto got up and walked out of the café, slamming the door behind him. Such ignorant people, he thought. Now I remember why I left this town twenty years ago and why I never came back.

He walked along the main street as far as the main square in the town and when he arrived at the main square he remembered the other reason why he had never come back. In the main square of the town there was the theatre. As he looked at the theatre, Fausto Ruiz had a terrible memory of what had happened there twenty years ago.

Twenty years ago, Fausto Ruiz had been the most famous singer in the world. He had sung in all of the most famous opera houses in the world. He had sung in London, New York, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Sydney. Everywhere he went, people paid large sums of money for tickets, then when they saw him sing they clapped and applauded and cheered for hours. When he was at the height of his fame, Fausto Ruiz decided to come back to his home town and to sing in a triumphant concert in the theatre on the main square of the town.

The concert was announced and all the tickets sold out within a few hours. The evening of the concert, thousands of people crowded into the theatre to see the legendary Fausto Ruiz sing in the theatre of his hometown.

There was silence as Fausto walked onto the stage. Then he began to sing one of his best-known songs. And at the end of the song, there was just silence. Nobody clapped, nobody applauded, nobody cheered. Fausto waited, very surprised for a moment, then started to sing another song. At the end of this song, there was silence for a moment, then the people began to boo and to hiss. Fausto tried to cover the noise of the booing and hissing by singing another song, very loudly this time. But it got worse. The louder he sang, the louder the boos and hisses became. Then someone threw a tomato at him. Then someone else threw a rotten orange at him. Then someone else threw an old shoe at him. Soon, there was a rain of rotten fruit and vegetables and smelly old shoes falling down on the great Fausto Ruiz. Fausto was angry. Fausto was furious. He stormed off the stage and out of the theatre. He left his hometown that night, and he said that he would never, ever go back there ever again.

But twenty years later, Fausto Ruiz changed his mind. He was getting old now, he thought, and he wanted to go back home again, to see the town where he had grown up. But in the café, he realised that perhaps not much had really changed. He decided to walk into the theatre. As he walked in he saw the man selling tickets in the box office. It was the same man from twenty years ago. Fausto said hello to him but the man said nothing and ignored him. ‘Still the same,’ thought Fausto. He walked into the theatre and got up onto the empty stage. He thought he could hear the terrible booing and hissing of that night twenty years ago.

He felt sad, and left the theatre and decided to go and visit the house where he had been born fifty years ago. He walked all the way across the town, expecting to be recognised by people. When he got close to his old house he walked through the park where he had played as a small child. He saw some men there, the same age as he was, and thought that he remembered them. They were people who had been his friends when he was at school. He walked over to them to say hello, but they too ignored him. He walked past the old shops near his house. They hadn’t changed. There were still the same people there, all of whom ignored him.

He was so angry and so disappointed now that he began to shout as he walked along the streets. ‘I am the great Fausto Ruiz!!! The greatest singer the world has ever heard!!!’ Nobody took any notice of him. He continued, ‘Don’t you know me??? Don’t you recognise me???’ Nobody took any notice.

When he finally reached his old house he at least had a pleasant surprise. Outside the house, there was a statue, and it was a statue of himself. ‘Finally!’ thought Fausto. ‘Somebody has recognised my genius! They put up a statue of me ... and they never even told me!’

Fausto went to have a closer look at the statue. There was some writing at the bottom of the statue. ‘Fausto Ruiz,’ it said, ‘Singer’. Fausto was disappointed that it said only ‘singer’ and not ‘the greatest singer in the world’, but at least it was a statue. There was some more writing. He looked carefully at it. There was his date of birth, fifty years ago. And then there was something else. It was the date of his death. And the date was yesterday.

Chris Rose

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He walked up the main road to go to the city centre and he had walked along the main street where he recognized the theatre. so, Does the main street come first or the bar?

Hi vishnu_saddikuti,

I think the main road and the main street both refer to the same road/street. So, he starts walking along the road/street first, then reaches the café bar, which is located somewhere along it, and then the theatre.

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi vishnu_saddikuti,

Yes, but in my understanding, 'road' and 'street' refer to the same thing. Writers sometimes use synonyms to refer to the same thing. In this story, for example, Fausto's hometown is called both a 'city' and a 'town', though the words clearly refer to the same place, not different places. In another example, at one point the writer says: 'Fausto was angry. Fausto was furious.' These are also clearly referring to the same emotion.

The LearnEnglish Team

I don't understand why his dead day is yesterday and earlier in the story,why didn't people cheer the greatest singer?Did he die at that time?I'm confused.But Did he dream or imagine?but it is funny story.
Unfortunately I didn't get this story. What about this story? About dream? About trip of spirit? Or about mentally ill person? Thıs story likes as a thriller in which you have to think out the end of the film yourself.
When I read the people of his home town made his statue, I think they will give him surprise him. But the writer surprised me by telling about his death. I is very dramatic story and write has maintained the suspense in whole the story. What wonderful story.
I thought what insane people when he was ignored in the cafe first, then in the theater and, again and again. I realized when he read the date of his dead. The story surprises me til the end. According to buddhism, the feelings of missing his hometown had been taking in his emotional part before he passed out.
I thought that all the people in the town were deaf and couldn't hear him I never thought he was dead, the end really surprised me, and why audience were booing a hissing apparently there is no explanation at the text so I can suggest anything. I like that kind of stories a little creepy and dark.
No, sorry. If he was at the height of his fame when he sang the concert there needs to be an explanation why the audience's reaction was so negative. Thank you for all the great materials, but I won't share this one.
I like this story which reminds me maybe there is a parallel space. He passed away but his soul returned his hometown. There is an old saying in my hometown," falling leaves finally settle on their roots ".
It was really strange. Why people ignored this famous singer?why they booed and hissed in his concert. I suspect the people of the city, they were really annoying. what was wrong with them? and when he back to his hometown and people still ignored him. I thought the city changes but the people are still the same. But base on the previous stories from 'Chris Rose', I was expecting something unusual and strange happened, just like the story of the neighbors who were talking about owner and staff that in the end of story we found out that they were cats and dogs. Anyway I didn't expect Fausto Ruiz be dead, though I heard about that idea many times. I like these stories and I appreciate Chris Rose and the British council team for providing opportunity of reading these stories and talk about them.