Published at
Cover Library Novels Global Fiction
PreviousTable of contentsNext

Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 19

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Saturday 29 April, 1989

Mabel Sandrelli had been crying a lot. The irritation of her green eyes, the anguished expression of her face and her sickly pallor gave her a shadowy appearance. Hounded, hurt, inconsolable, she understood that she needed to find the shelter of a friendly heart. Her thirteen years were evident not only in her girlish appearance, but also in her uncontainable desperation. She was going through hell, a nightmare from which she could not awake, full of tragic sensations.

She had not been taught to interpret the voices that spring up from the most intimate corners, nor the irrepressible, implacable, ancestral tendencies. In the same way that Ulysses was required not to listen to the song of the sirens, but without being tied to a mast, for some inexplicable reason she was required to ignore the indisputable call of the species, the voracious appetite of each of her young cells. The lack of information that in all matters is considered ignorance, in questions of sex is classified as morality. As if ignorance was advisable in some branches of knowledge.

Despite her childish appearance, Mabel has a certain beauty, although she is not at all dazzling. She is light years away from having the impressive and charismatic beauty of her sister Alicia. She is, however, agile, thin and happy. Her lips are always decorated with a friendly smile, but since she found out she was pregnant, she has turned into a shadow that seems to be dragging itself along. Her hair is straight and dark, her skin is very white, her gaze is green and warm. She is five feet six tall, but she is a little skinny, she has not yet attained the authentic demeanour of a woman. Until recently she was playing with dolls and now she is involved in an extreme, tremendously difficult situation, which she does not know how to face. She felt wretched, tortured by the voice of her conscience, a damnable murderer who didn’t hesitate to destroy her own child. She needed shelter, to find the support of a friendly shoulder, of someone who would placate her feeling of guilt, who would not judge her severely. The image of Tomás, the neighbourhood priest, burst into her memory. Would it be feasible to find consolation in him? He seemed a very good person, he never attacked people in his sermons. Mabel liked his humble and affectionate style. He had made the local church one of the busiest, everybody loved and respected him, it would be a great relief to confess to him. She didn’t hesitate any longer, she directed her steps towards the small church which, with its colonial red tiles and whitewashed walls, stood out among the modest houses of the neighbourhood with their peeling paint. No sooner had she crossed the threshold than she found herself before Father Tomás.

He is small, no more than five feet one tall. His advanced baldness and the glasses that deform his small and lively blue eyes make him look older than his fifty-six years. His negligible aquiline nose, his slight double chin and his frequent smile make up a figure that, although skinny and weedy, radiates a certain air of respectability as a whole. Father Tomás feels very comfortable as a man of the cloth; it has allowed him to disguise his sickly nature, a physical weakness that gave him a complex in his youth. He has found shelter in the church. Thanks to it, he feels important, capable of steering the destiny of others, of influencing the faithful. He has lived to long suffering painful experiences, ignored by the world, ridiculed for his insignificance. He loves his activity and is thankful to the institution that has given him shelter.

Mabel collapsed in a contorted heap in the confessional and took the hands of the holy man, crying inconsolably.

“Father, I’m pregnant,” she said in desperation, “Help me please! I don’t know what to do! I don’t know who to ask for help! I can’t bear it any longer, it’s terrible, it’s too much for me. I can’t bear it, I can’t go on, help me! Father, I know what I’m going to say is wrong, but I can’t bear the idea of having a baby. I’m very young, I’m very ashamed. My friends, the neighbours, my schoolmates, how could they understand? They’ll turn me away, they’ll laugh at me or feel sorry for me. I need your help, Father, give me your advice! Point me in the right direction! I can’t be a mother, I’m not ready.”

Father Tomás was a simple man. He was in that local parish with excellent intentions, trying to offer the best of himself to his fellow men. But it wasn’t easy; the economic crisis that the country was going through had devastated the neighbourhood. Every day he had to face problems of poverty, ignorance, violence and unwanted pregnancies. But on this occasion there was something that made the situation more serious: Mabel’s age.

“This child will not be able to bear such a burden,” thought the priest, “will I really be able to help her? It’s going to be difficult, I haven’t got experience of my own in sexual matters, I’ll have to recall what my teachers told me in the seminary, such a long time ago... It’s ironical that I have to answer the questions of this child; I’m full of good intentions, but not experience of life. When all is said and done, I shouldn’t worry too much, after all, my insecurity is the logical consequence of celibacy...”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
PreviousTable of contentsNext
Table of related information
Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
By the same author RSS
Date of publicationJune 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)