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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 35

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Sunday 16th December 1989

Travelling towards Lake Aluminé, crossing the bridge on the River Colorado and entering the province of Rio Negro, Roberto’s feelings started to bring experiences and faces back to life. From there on, the aridity and loneliness became more ostensible. After leaving the city of Choele-Choel behind, the road enters the Rio Negro valley, alongside a fast flowing and crystal clear river, which gives life to a large area of the country, making it a productive garden. Entering this area, they were greeteded by a magnificent sunset, multiple nuances of red splashed the horizon, giving it a breathtaking aspect. The old desert was changing, it had more vegetation, a more intense greenery. Burán loved his country and yearned to see it fertile, damp and prosperous. That night they slept in a hotel in Villa Regina, founded as an Italian colony, fruit of the efforts of immigrants who made a miracle from nothing. They had an tasty dinner and afterwards made sweet love, happy as teenagers. They started out again at midday, going up the prodigious valley, which amazed and delighted Alicia. Mile after mile of vineyards, apple trees, peach trees, plum trees, columns of tall poplars by the side of the road, a blossoming world that was unknown to her, that she had never even imagined. She was thrilled, her precarious situation had not allowed her to travel beyond the province of Buenos Aires. Now she had a great opportunity to see things and she appreciated it. At four o’clock they entered the province of Neuquén, leaving behind the capital of the same name, renovated and booming. Two hours later they arrived at Zapala, buried deep in desolation, the last urban stronghold before the lake. They took the road towards it, ready to cover seventy-five miles of mountains. As far as the town of Primeros Pinos, where there is a ski slope in winter, the road is surfaced. Then there is a gravel road snaking between valleys, slopes and high plateaus. It was eight o’clock when, rounding a curve, they were surprised by the appearance of Lake Aluminé and its appendix, the Moquegüe. Together they stretch for more than twenty-five miles, surrounded by great snow-covered mountains. From the high ground, one could see how the desert disappeared towards the west, splashed with vegetation, before eventually being suffocated by it. The girl was in ecstasy at the majesty of the landscape and embraced Roberto, saying, “How beautiful! I never thought it was like this, it’s so immense! It’s so nice to be here!”

“I’m glad you like it,” said Roberto. “It’s good for me because I love this place very much; it’s as if you shared my affections, as if you were talking to me about my memories, my nostalgia.”

They arrived at the small lakeside hotel at nine, when there was still about an hour before sunset. As the place is far to the west, a few miles from the border with Chile, the sun sets an hour later than in Buenos Aires. The long journey from Mar del Plata had tired them out. They were happy to be in Lake Aluminé, especially Roberto, who had spent so many happy times there in his youth. The view from the hotel was wide and captivating. The windows faced east onto rustic beauty, much more arid and barren than the west. The level of rainfall descends towards the east and increases towards the west, therefore the Andes mountain range is the wettest place, everything is green there. Lenga trees, beeches, red notro flowers, radals, michais, a great variety of species deck the slopes and paths, monkey puzzle trees are everywhere. A true survivor from prehistoric times, this tree, also known as Pehuén, only prospers in this region. Its fruit, the pine nut, was a substantial source of nourishment for the mapuche natives. They hollowed out its trunk to build a shelter in it which they called “ruca”, which means “house”. There they sheltered from the inclemency of winter. Some examples still have hollows, undoubtedly vestiges of this use. Burán had a special esteem for these places, because he had lived moments of prosperity there; on that lake he had learned nearly everything he knew about salmon fishing and the Mapú land. There he had sung a Loncomeo for the first time, a melody of the Indians, and had incorporated into his spirit the love of the province of Nequén, which he considered familiar territory.

That night they had dinner in peace, linked by a romantic harmony. The homely light, its warm embrace, the clear consciousness of the cold that reigned outside, made it more pleasant to remain indoors. Nature made them appreciate that warm nook, a true hideaway, a patch of unreality, submerged in the middle of the inhospitable landscape. At night everything became sinister. The temperature dropped dramatically, blasts of icy wind hurt the face, sounds turned mysterious and everything seemed hostile. For that reason as well, that night they melted into each other with singular passion, with an exacerbated sweetness. They both felt the need to merge, to fortify themselves through the union of their bodies, to share an intimate microclimate that isolated and protected them. Thus they framed themselves in a magical parenthesis which contained the shared charms of the universe. Outside, Mother Nature breathed agitatedly, the frozen wind whistled and moaned, bringing strange murmurs. Inside, the storm, the dazzling brightness of passion, the frenzy of bodies mixing together, the dampness of humours spilled, music of gasps and sighs.

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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