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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 34

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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“That’s not the worst thing, dear, I hope I don’t become incapable before... I couldn’t bear you having to put up with my decadence, neither you nor anybody. I think I’d do what Hemingway did, if there was no other way out. The sad thing is it’s very possible that it’ll be like that, when I’m sixty you’ll be barely forty-five. See? It looks bad...”

“Look, Roberto, you’re attaching importance to what will happen in twenty years’ time, aren’t you? Well, I attach importance to those twenty years. Can you imagine how many things we can live through in that time? Look, your first marriage lasted fifteen years; the last five in appearance only. Didn’t you get married for your whole life? How do you know I won’t die tomorrow? After all, if you die first, I’ll still exist, but I’ll be left with beautiful things we’ve lived through together. Perhaps we’ll split up immediately, perhaps you’ll get tired of me quickly, you’ll get bored. How can we be sure that won’t happen? The truth is you worry me, Roberto, you contradict yourself... You talk to me so much about feeling, enjoying, not being hidebound, and yet you’re afraid to face your destiny, to enjoy love. Which is your real personality?”

“You’re right, Alicia, forgive me, don’t get angry... Once again you’re proving that wisdom is not the patrimony of old people. I think I know many facets of life, but I resist submerging myself in it. I have the opportunity to enjoy your company, to love you and, in spite of that, I still hesitate. Evidently there must be something wrong with my brain. What am I waiting for to live each moment freely? If I go on like this, I’m going to bore you with my pessimism. If that happens, I’ll be desperate, but it will be too late. I’m going to dive in the pool, whatever happens, I won’t regret savouring happiness.”

“Very well, my love, I hope you keep your word. Never doubt again, the present is the only truth. Besides, do you think we haven’t got a future? I’m sure we’ve got a good one.”

“You’re very young, Alicia, but I don’t want to persuade you, if you choose to be with me, all to the good, the choice is yours. After all, if you find out it’s a mistake, you can always remake your life, I shouldn’t be so punctilious. It reminds me of a friend who always said that he had spent half his existence worrying about catastrophes, the majority of which had never happened... I must try not to make the same mistake.”

“That’s what I want to hear, and don’t come the old codger, you’re not on your last legs yet. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to look after yourself, I need you to be healthy and strong. You’ve got a young woman to satisfy. Don’t be frightened, I’m going to be very careful and affectionate with you.”

“I’ll try to attend to you in every sense, with a beauty like yours, it won’t be difficult. If I die in the attempt, it will be a beautiful form of suicide, won’t it? Have you noticed that the effects of the wine have worn off? It’s because you touched on a subject that especially interests me...”

“Seriously though, what are we going to do, Roberto? I’d like to live with you, would you like that?”

“It’s inevitable, Alicia, you practically live with me already. How many days a week do you sleep over? Four? Five? Before long we’ll really be living together. We can afford to give ourselves the pleasure of living together without any of the formalities that make it boring. For example, here’s a suggestion. I’d like to have a honeymoon without getting marries, what do you think?”

“Fantastic, where shall we go?”

“Where would you like to go, Alicia?”

“Although it might seem like a cliché, anywhere, as long as we’re together. Give me some choices, Roberto, let’s see...”

“Well, it could be Brazil or Europe, I’d also like to go south, to the mountains. What tickles your fancy most, Alicia? What do you prefer?”

“To tell the truth, not Europe; I’m not interested in seeing many things at the moment, getting to know that world. I’d rather focus on our relationship, placing it in the foreground. I’m not interesting in distracting myself with excursions or long journeys. It could be Brazil, to relax for a while. You like the south, don’t you?”

“It’s a weakness of mine, I’m in love with the landscapes, the crystalline waters, the old trees, the mountains, the places I visited when I was a lad. But any choice would be fine with me, it’s in your hands.”

“Let’s go to Aluminé, Roberto, that’s the place you love so much, isn’t it? I’m very curious; I’d like to see it. It will be a nice experience, OK?”

OK, Alicia, thank you. You never cease to amaze me; it’s incredible that you’re only twenty-five, you understand me better than anybody... Youth is so beautiful today, better than the one I had. We ‘old people’ find this revitalizing phenomenon surprising, it’s as if a new air were blowing through society, beautifying it. I assure you, my love, this kind of beauty entraps me, and you have it. It’s a warm mixture of innocence and sensuality. That attitude of yours that reflects an absence of condemnation, the capacity to understand everything. I wish I’d been like that!”

“I repeat, dear, now you’re a broadminded, understanding person, you’re no longer as you were before. Why don’t you forget the past?”

“It’s true, it’s not worth looking back.”

“Roberto, when I listen to you speak, I realize how little I have to give you. I’m too simple, sooner or later you’ll get bored of me.”

“You don’t say. Did I manage to trick you? You think I know a lot because I talk so much rubbish. It’s not true, you’re infinitely wiser than me. You live simply, because that’s how it should be. It’s idiotic to trouble yourself over trivial things, I had to be fifty to understand that really you have to live simply, like you do. Who’s ignorant in that case? There’s no doubt, it’s me.”

“Roberto, you know I love you, don’t you? You don’t think I’m attracted to your money, do you? Tell me, please...”

“Don’t think about that, dear, situations are not so elementary. We’re plagued with vices and we also have virtues, we’re complicated. I believe in you, you seem so fresh; so naïve. What more could I ask of you? What you so sinfully classify as economic interest, could well be called desire for protection, for security. It’s not really important. After all, don’t forget that you can care that I’m rich, the same as I can care that you’re beautiful. Don’t analyse it too much, they’re our circumstances, we love each other conditioned by them, by all of them. That’s the truth, it’s humanly understandable, don’t think it’s selfish. Doesn’t a mother enjoy looking at the beauty of her child? Doesn’t the human being enjoy the hospitality of a good roof, the warmth of a home? We love each other, Alicia, because of what we are, let’s not complicate matters, OK?”

“What about you, what do you find most attractive about me? Tell me, my simplicity? That I’m more or less pretty?”

He stroked her hair, embracing her, and kissed her neck. Near her ear, he murmured, “Alicia, what a difficult question! I like your skin, your hair, your small, perfect breasts, savouring your mouth, making love to you. But there’s more, much more... When I’m with you, I feel like there’s a kind of microclimate keeping us warm, I enjoy the air we share. There’s something spiritual that surrounds you, a luminosity perceptible to me. I think what most attracts me to you is that you’re brimming with tenderness and you awaken an identical feeling in me. It’s worth reflecting deeply on this, because I don’t think tenderness comes from an inhibited sexual impulse, nor has it got anything to do with eagerness. What most ennobles this affection is that it does not in itself lead to mean self-interest or a special aim, not even that of establishing physical contact. Tenderness is not limited by conditions of sex, or age, it’s almost impossible to express in words. But it’s reflected in gestures, in gazes, in images, and it’s fundamentally differentiated by the altruistic and healthy spirit which animates it. What I’m trying to say is that I wish you happiness above all and if I was an obstacle to you attaining it, I would get out of the way. I can’t imagine a rewarding union between us unless you remain by my side, first and foremost, because you want to. That’s why I don’t want to classify what I feel, but if I had to, I would be inclined to say that I feel tenderly towards you, and I’m giving you this explanation, so that you don’t devalue what I mean. What’s true is that you have the power to awaken my sensibility, perhaps fundamentally because you give me lots of love. If it wasn’t so, your beauty would be of no use, I can assure you. That’s why our relationship will be magnificent, even if it is ephemeral; I’m sure we’ll never regret it.”

Alicia remembered that she had tricked him. She thought, as she so often did, about telling him, but she didn’t dare run the risk of destroying the happiness they were enjoying.

“After all,” she thought, “Álvez told me Roberto’s semen wasn’t used. So why tell him the truth? Who would it benefit? No, it wouldn’t make sense.”

Alicia was frightened by her own thoughts, she wanted to get away from them... Reaching out to Roberto, she said, “My love, let’s drink to our honeymoon!”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationJuly 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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