Published at
Cover Library Novels Global Fiction
PreviousTable of contentsNext

Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 11

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos

Burán is a man in good physical shape, five feet eight tall, straight dark brown hair and deep green eyes. A good sportsman, he loves nature and enjoys simple things. He has an aversion to big meetings, noisy celebrations and stopping up all night. He hates superficiality and, above all, cannot stand authoritarian behaviour of any kind. He dreams of a tolerant world of free thinkers. Having one’s own ideas has always been dangerous. His face is attractive without being beautiful; his marked features are harmonious and transmit an image of balanced masculinity. Roberto has a complicated personality; from adolescence he has been fortunate in love, he has an irresistible influence over some women. Over others he has no influence, perhaps because his charisma is made up of a conjunction of imperceptible nuances. His lively intelligence, delicacy and politeness, his ample vision of the world, his admiration for the truth, are virtues valued by those who know how to appreciate them. Anyway, his honesty, his health, his devotion to sport and his pleasant appearance complete the positive picture he reflects to the outside world. Roberto knows his limits and his values, knows that he can taste fruits which appeal to others, without ever being a Don Juan or a heartbreaker. He’s not interesting in becoming one either. He likes ‘private’ relationships, isolated from the social context. He does not accept the exhibition of his intimacies before society, he prefers to get away from the world in order to be honest. He can’t always manage it, given that he has a propensity for spiritual closure.

A quality that makes Roberto stand out is his honesty: he never boasts of having it, but it guides his actions. Through his profession of lawyer, he has maintained contact with the crude reality of his country, observing the conflicts of the common people and their ambitions, and he has developed a good analytical capacity. His instinct allows him to read people and his value judgements rarely fail him. He knows how to position himself in the exact place in each situation. People know they can trust him, he never gives away a secret or says something imbalanced or out of context; this equilibrium characterises his conduct. Ironically, his rational nature encloses a poetic, melancholy, sentimental spirit, a personality that likes to raise itself above the material, favouring the human, the emotional. But this aspect of his person is buried behind a rigid structure and an invisible cuirass protects him from the surrounding aggression, isolating his universe. That resistant ‘armour’ has become more solid following his divorce from Estela Maldívar, his first and only wife. His marriage to her lasted fifteen years. Although the split was amicable, Burán felt very lonely; his unconditional friends helped him adapt to a radical change in his life. He is not a man who alters his affections; keeping the intimate friends of his youth doesn’t leave him with much space to forge links with others. It could almost be said that this is one of the reasons for his inscrutability: he doesn’t want to be more generous, it doesn’t interest him because he already has his valid interlocutors. However, Roberto lacks something essential: the love of a woman. He’s got no shortage of lovers, he’s always had them, but that’s not enough for him, he needs more. Roberto desires nothing more than to feel deeply again. His rationality prevents him from getting carried away by impulses, by circumstantial emotions. He can’t say ‘I love you’, not even when making love. That inability to lie is not related to his need to be sincere, but with a certain highly personal egotism, because falsifying his feelings is insufferable to him, it does not give him any pleasure and, in the end, he does not obtain any positive result from such behaviour. He acts with sincerity to feel good although, in spite of this idiosyncrasy, he sometimes lies, because sometimes telling the truth can be very cruel, and he is not a bad man. In any case, when he promises to do something, he does it. He sticks to his word. Subsequently, to express love demands behaviour from him in accordance with such a feeling. He knows that women sometimes prefer a lie, but even so, he considers it too much of a commitment; perhaps that’s why he never swears love untruthfully. He likes to be loved, but he feels uncomfortable keeping his mouth shut, behaving with apparent coldness, being unaffectionate because of this. One relationship that makes him feel comfortable is that of friend-lover. That special link allows him to be on the level, housed on the unstable, imprecise or uncertain plane implied by the sexual friendship between a man and a woman. When an imbalance arises, it results in a break-up, generally amicable. Objectively, nobody can say that Roberto Burán is a man who takes advantage of his ‘intimate friends’; however, on more than one occasion, they haven’t thought the same thing, especially when the time came to split up, because they frequently feel used—a barely appreciated object—and they are not happy just receiving considerate treatment or not being defrauded. Undoubtedly, the woman in love prefers to be tricked, which allows her to justify her commitment, which gives content and a moral base to her subjection. Burán knows that inside him he has a dense substance, he senses that his feelings are subject to an unconscious continence, that they are temporarily dormant; the pressure they exert is enormous and eruption is imminent. The worst thing that can happen is that his passion is never externalised. It’s because of this hidden fever that inflicts Roberto that he carries out a veiled search, with spontaneous insistence, quite simply for a woman he can love. She’s not an ideal, abstract, being, a creature that is the fruit of his imagination and beliefs, no: Burán has his feet well and truly on the ground. He simply wants to find someone who will make possible the miracle of making him feel that he is in love. He hopes one day to be able to say ‘I love you’, feeling it for real.

Sometimes Roberto laments being so complicated; he can’t manage to abandon himself to the dictates of his heart, nor resist those of his brain.

He carries his fifty years very decorously, although he feels them heavy on his shoulders and remembers with nostalgia the yesterdays that went by so fast. He often recalls his youth, the childhood of his daughter, his teenage romances, the pleasant moments of the past (which are somewhat blurred). The future looks worrying, diffuse, inapprehensible and uncertain; the present slips away before his eyes, more and more ephemeral, sparkling. In short, Burán feels like an observer at the edge of the super-highway of life, where transit is so fast he hardly has time to capture more than a few scenes. Everything passes in front of him vertiginously; between the sunrises and sunsets only a few minutes go by; only one day intervenes between the weekends. Each 31 December his toast encloses the nostalgia of a runaway year, vanished into thin air, and the certainty of another one, fleeting, a liar, impossible to seize. Ever since he was young he has tried to enlarge his areas of freedom; he has never liked injecting himself with life as if it was a drug nor drinking it down in one. he wants to enjoy it slowly and substantially, he doesn’t want to choke on it, nor live each instant without restraint. He is not interested in strong pleasures, close to pain, nor looking incessantly for almost orgasmic sensations. On the contrary, Roberto Burán prefers to pause and savour each moment, feeling the flavour and scent; he yearns to be aware of each moment sliding slowly before his eyes, putting down roots inside him. When Roberto thinks about happiness, he imagines a peaceful lake in the mountains, he loves the landscapes of south-west Argentina (in no other place does his spirit expand with such ease). All his life he has looked for complete freedom; to devote himself exclusively to what he really likes doing, to fill the empty spaces in his soul with pure essences. It has always been difficult for him. In the early stages of his professional life he devoted himself fully to work, moving transcendent things, sacrificing even his closest friends; becoming insensitive. In the name of efficiency, of economic security, he renounced primordial things. His father paid for his studies, nothing else: he never gave him the possibility of sumptuous excess. Lately he has reached the conclusion that it was better that way. If his parents had not separated, perhaps he would have turned into a spoilt idiot, weak, fainthearted. He is satisfied that he fought because it allows him to respect himself. However, receiving the fabulous inheritance from his father had not displeased him in the slightest; the money makes the freedom he has hankered after more accessible. Even when he was a man of limited resources he never wanted to possess material goods; he thinks they enslave their owner, as does an old Jewish friend of his who believes that ‘the most important things in life are free’.

Meanwhile, Alicia and Guillermo were expectant, waiting for the moment when it would be possible to approach Burán. They waited for more than an hour, until a favourable opportunity presented itself. Their chance arrived when least they expected it; the friends who were with him suddenly went off to greet other people and Roberto was left alone at a table full of sandwiches, snacks, pastries and drinks. Alicia and Guillermo moved in. He started the dialogue.

“Excuse me, sir, would you pass me the claret please?”

Burán did so immediately, nodding pleasantly; he was happy that night, not just because of the inauguration of a friend’s business, but because he had temporarily escaped from his well of loneliness. He had been shut off within himself for months and his sporadic affairs had not provided him with spiritual compensation; he needed a little entertainment of a different kind, to vary his hermit’s life a little. He carefully handed over the jug of claret to Guillermo; he hadn’t noticed Alicia’s presence until her honey coloured gaze landed on his eyes... Burán felt as if a warm current of tenderness would overwhelm him. Without knowing why, he remembered an old autumnal walk. Those shadowy paths of the Peralta Ramos woods, hidden beneath the splendid apparel of eucalyptus and pine trees. He was surprised, because he couldn’t understand why looking at an unknown girl could recall to him so clearly a precise moment of a distant yesterday, a diaphanous and peaceful April afternoon, in the company of a woman he had loved very much in his adolescence. Unexpectedly, he experienced once again sensations lived through on that remote and happy afternoon; the aroma of the burning leaves, the smoke that floated between the trees, the pine needles carpeting the woods.

Burán didn’t hesitate to introduce himself.

“A pleasure, my name’s Roberto.”

“Pleased to meet you, my name’s Alicia; this is Guillermo, my cousin.”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
PreviousTable of contentsNext
Table of related information
Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
By the same author RSS
Date of publicationMay 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
Readers' Opinions RSS
Your opinion
How to add an image to this work

Besides sending your opinion about this work, you can add a photo (or more than one) to this page in three simple steps:

  1. Find a photo related with this text at Flickr and, there, add the following tag: (machine tag)

    To tag photos you must be a member of Flickr (don’t worry, the basic service is free).

    Choose photos taken by yourself or from The Commons. You may need special privileges to tag photos if they are not your own. If the photo wasn’t taken by you and it is not from The Commons, please ask permission to the author or check that the license authorizes this use.

  2. Once tagged, check that the new tag is publicly available (it may take some minutes) clicking the following link till your photo is shown: show photos ...

  3. Once your photo is shown, you can add it to this page:

Even though does not display the identity of the person who added a photo, this action is not anonymous (tags are linked to the user who added them at Flickr). reserves the right to remove inappropriate photos. If you find a photo that does not really illustrate the work or whose license does not allow its use, let us know.

If you added a photo (for example, testing this service) that is not really related with this work, you can remove it deleting the machine tag at Flickr (step 1). Verify that the removal is already public (step 2) and then press the button at step 3 to update this page. shows 10 photos per work maximum. Idea, design & development: Xavier Badosa (1995–2018)