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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 39

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

Roberto was a bit wary of telling the girl what was happening; he was afraid that she would assume he had had sex with another woman, getting her pregnant. He didn’t know how she would react, and he wanted nothing less than to affect his relationship with Alicia; so he hesitated a few moments before telling her.

“What’s the matter, Roberto? Is it serious? You look very worried, is it someone in your family?”

“No, Alicia. An old acquaintance accuses me of getting her pregnant. She wants me to acknowledge her future child, to take care of the costs and take on the role of father. To tell the truth, I’m flabbergasted, there’s something that doesn’t add up. I can assure you I never had sexual relations with that woman. She tried to, with unusual stubbornness, but I didn’t want to. I’m not blowing my own trumpet,” he said, beating her to the suspicion he assumed she had, “if it had been anyone else, perhaps I would have gone to bed with her. What I mean to say is that I’m not playing the saint, but not with her, never! To be honest, I didn’t like her. I received her lately because she begged me to forgive the bad attitude she’d had towards me in the past. She begged me to advise her in a family problem. Now I can see that she had other intentions, she’s a fucking bitch!”

Alicia, as she listened to Roberto’s story, turned pale, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen; then an uncontainable feeling of nausea. She suddenly understood that the was a direct link between the unexpected letter and the semen that she had collected deceitfully.

Somehow she had been the instrument of Álvez and the woman who had sent the letter. It was lamentable; she had sullied the relationship with the man she loved, causing him irreversible damage. This fact hurt her unbearably, her intuition told her it was horrible, heartbreaking. She got up slowly from her chair and went to the toilet. Roberto didn’t understand what was happening, he thought Alicia believed he was guilty of getting Juanita pregnant. She couldn’t control herself, she felt the need to vomit. In one go, she threw up everything she had eaten at dinner, crying bitter tears.

“How should I face the situation?” the girl asked herself, it was unthinkable to keep quiet. “I won’t be able to pretend in front of Roberto, I couldn’t bear it. Besides, I don’t want to go on tricking him, it would be unforgivable now. Before I thought it couldn’t harm him, but now everything’s different; I can’t silence the truth, neither should I disappoint the affection he has for me. Roberto needs to know everything, otherwise, how can he defend himself properly? I’m disgusting! My soul is as dirty as this vomit I threw up down the toilet.” Suddenly, everything had become dark for Alicia; her dreams had dissipated like plumes of smoke at the mercy of the wind, it was all over. The only thing she could do was tell him the whole truth, she wouldn’t be forgiven and she didn’t expect it either. She was locked in the bathroom for twenty minutes. Several times during those minutes he had asked her if she was all right. She came out trembling, dizzy, with a terribly upset stomach, but in spite of her state, she decided to face the circumstances as honestly as possible.

“Roberto, I’ve got something to tell you. I know it’ll hurt you, you’ll never want to see me again. I understand, I deserve it, I have no right to your affection. I’ve done wrong, but I never wanted to hurt you, I have never tricked you with regard to my feelings either. Now I want to be totally truthful, I won’t hide anything from you, whatever happens.”

Burán was totally paralysed, he didn’t understand anything; it was another surprise on that dramatic night. He was shocked by the sudden deterioration of the girl, by her calamitous appearance, her crying had ruined her make-up. Two long black lines ran down her yellowing and shaken face.

“Roberto, it was no coincidence that I met you; I was forced by circumstances to get close to you; a gynaecologist you know, Esteban Álvez, imposed it on me as a condition. Only if I carried out his order would he perform an abortion on Mabel, you know very well that she had gone kind of mad, that she had suicidal thoughts, she was thinking of causing her own abortion with a knitting needle. Her pregnancy was advanced, because of her illness and her age, they wanted to charge me a fortune. Nobody wanted to commit themselves, and certainly not without the agreement and authorisation of my father; you know it was impossible to tell him, dad had already had three heart attacks. I couldn’t get the dough they asked me for, even though I moved heaven and earth. I earned less than a hundred dollars a month, there was no way I could get two thousand five hundred. Finally, Álvez told me that if I got a sample of your semen, he would do Mabel’s abortion free of charge, in the highest possible sanitary and safety conditions. I confess that if the doctor had asked me to sleep with him, I would have done it; I wouldn’t have hesitated an instant to help my sister. That’s why I didn’t dither about having sex with a stranger; I considered it my obligation, I had no choice. Álvez explained what he wanted the sample for, he assured me it was for an act of charity, which wouldn’t harm you in any way. He told me it was for a patient with terminal cancer who only wanted to know whether her son was yours or her husband’s, nothing else. At that moment, I hardly suspected anything, perhaps because the circumstances prevented me. That’s why I asked you to use a condom the first time we made love. I gave Álvez your semen, but I swear I never pretended where you were concerned, from the first moment I felt attracted and it caused me great anguish to carry out the mission. I had to do it, but I love you, believe me, I love you deeply, I don’t want to hide anything else from you. I didn’t tell you before because I was afraid of losing you. I know I’ll never see you again, please forgive me.”

Alicia finished her speech. Her face was contorted, bathed in tears. Roberto’s head hung low, pain was tearing him apart, in his damp eyes, two precursors of tears appeared. He understood that his sperm had been used to fertilise Juanita. That was obvious. He only managed to say, “Fucking hell! For two thousand five hundred lousy dollars! What a fucking country!”

He got up slowly, drying his eyes with a napkin. He addressed Alicia bitterly, experiencing a growing and inevitable feeling of rejection towards her. Breathing deeply, he said, “Alicia, I don’t want to say anything to you, nor to analyse your excuses, I don’t want to see you again... You used me, I was a real fool. I’m leaving right now, I’m returning alone. I’ll leave you money to go back to Mar del Plata tomorrow. Don’t say anything, stay here in the dining room, I’m going to get my clothes so that I can go. I’ll leave everything sorted out in the hotel, I’ll tell them I’m leaving because of a business emergency, nobody will know what’s happened. Please don’t call me ever again.”

Roberto got up quickly and got his luggage ready; it was already a few minutes past midnight, but he couldn’t stay a moment longer, he couldn’t stand being in the same place as Alicia. It was impossible for him to hate her, but he made an effort to stop loving her. At that moment, a small being was growing in the uterus of a perverse woman who, only for money, had not hesitated to inseminate herself to premeditatedly defraud him; his life would change irrevocably, he promised to put up a fight, not to surrender. The relationship with Alicia, which he had believed so pure and selfless, had its origin in sordid vice. It was a painful blow that would be difficult to assimilate. He covered the road to Zapala at great speed. He spent that night in a hotel; early in the morning, the first thing he did was to telephone his daughter Julieta. He asked he to convene a meeting that night at eight o’clock, it would be in his office and his three closest friends, all of them lawyers, would attend. He wanted to share his problem and listen to ideas. He was befuddled, confused. His speciality was contract law, he knew little about filiation cases. He left for Mar del Plata, anxious to arrive as soon as possible. His competitive, battling personality was coming to the surface at breakneck speed, he turned into a combat machine, he wouldn’t allow them to make a mockery of him, he would fight with all his strength. A new chapter in his existence had begun, he would not lose heart.

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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