"She wrote a weekly letter for over half a lifetime. 'Sometimes I couldn't think of what to say,' she told me, dying with laughter, 'but it was enough for me to know that he was getting them.' At first they were a fiancee's notes, then little messages from a secret lover, perfumed cards from a furtive sweetheart, business papers, love documents nevertheless, he seemed insensible to her delirium; it was like writing to nobody."
This quote is taken from the end of the fourth chapter, in which Angela Vicario explains the letters she obsessively wrote to Bayardo San Roman. It is significant that Angela says that it was enough for her to know that Bayardo was receiving the letters, because it was apparently enough for Bayardo to receive the letters without knowing what it was that she wished to tell him-he never opened them. The fact that Angela Vicario didn't know what to write, and that Bayardo didn't want to know what she had written, highlights the importance of the ritual of writing and receiving letters as opposed to the importance of the content. This disinterest in the content seems contrary to the purpose of writing letters, just as the novel's overall disinterest in the truth surrounding the murder belies the journalistic mode employed throughout it. It also shows us that the concepts of love in Colombia are firmly rooted in the actions between two lovers, as opposed to the understanding between them. Love is defined by ritual