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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 53

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Friday 29 December 1989, 21:00

At exactly nine o’clock, Roberto Burán was buzzing the Bareilles practice on the entryphone; a few minutes later, Rocío came down, ready to go out. Following her advice, they went to a small but cosy restaurant, situated in the San Telmo neighbourhood. Rocío was impeccable and seductive; as was her custom, she had dressed simply, in a light blue suit with a wide skirt and light coloured sandals. She wore a fine gold chain around her neck and very simple earrings with a diminutive pearl.

Burán felt happy to be in the company of such a splendid woman: it was an unusual sensation, the conjunction of intelligence, culture, good taste and a shining beauty. He had dressed casually, jeans, a sky blue shirt, brown moccasins and a fine coffee-coloured suede jacket.

There were very few tables; the volume of the music, almost inaudible, allowed them to converse comfortably. Candlelight and cut glass, it was a place for the chosen few. She spoke first.

“This is my favourite restaurant, doctor, ever since I was a teenager... I haven’t been for two years. Nothing has changed, it’s still very intimate and full of memories...”

“I’m glad you like it. Seeing you happy makes me happy. It’s good to be here, sharing these moments with you, I’m grateful you’ve come out with me.”


“Because it comforts me a lot; this afternoon was difficult for me, I didn’t want to be alone. Also, your company is very agreeable. I’m very grateful: you and your father helped me see things more clearly.”

“There’s nothing to be grateful for, it’s our job.”

“Yes, doctor, that’s true, but there are many ways of rendering services... You did it with great humanity and delicacy. Believe me, telling my story is not easy, it’s like showing a certificate of stupidity, perhaps well deserved. But what’s done is done; I won’t gain anything by torturing myself with the past and thinking about my mistakes. Do you want me to tell you something, doctor? I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but I assure you I’m telling the truth... If I had to live through a similar situation again, I wouldn’t hesitate a second, I’d do it again. Of course, without repeating certain details...”

“I can imagine which ones,” said Rocío laughing jovially, “you ought to be careful, doctor, you’re a rich man and you awaken many appetites, you should take more precautions than others.”

“I’m aware, but do you know what? At my age, I want to enjoy every moment, to savour it and feel it happen. Awareness of the fleeting nature of time, of the proximity of death and decrepitude, is painful...”

“But, Burán, you’re talking as if you were an old man! Don’t you think you’re exaggerating? You’ve still got many years ahead of you...”

“No, Doctor, I’m not talking like an old man. I’m talking like a fifty year-old man who soon will be an old man. To be honest, I never was, not even when I was young. Unfortunately I learned late. Now I’m convinced that everything is momentary, passing, each unrepeatable moment... So much lost time, doctor! They should teach us from infancy to take delight in every minute, to value affection. Pleasure, happiness, they should be fundamental objectives... If we were to learn that, we wouldn’t reach maturity in a state of total ignorance, or feeling cold and dead inside.”

Rocío shuddered when she heard those words...

“My God! It’s as if he was describing me,” she thought, “this man perceives that I’ve reached thirty-five years of age without ever having lived. It’s like my dear Sebastián predicted, he was right when he said that with time I’d realise that opportunities don’t repeat themselves, that it would hurt me to have run from love. Burán complains, but what about me? At least he’s got a passionate past, lots of things to remember. Me, on the other hand, I’ve hardly got anything, just the odd teenage romance, my long and frustrating relationship with Hernán... I didn’t want to commit myself emotionally, I was afraid of passion, I stopped feeling. Why didn’t I take any notice of Sebastián? I missed the chance to love him.”

Rocío Bareilles felt the leaden certainty of having made a mistake, of having wasted her existence. Her eyes grew cloudy. Roberto noticed she was acting strangely. He was tempted to address her informally, but he chose not to.

“Are you unwell?” he asked her, “Can I help at all?”

“No, thank you, Doctor, it’s just a slight discomfort, a minor headache, it’ll soon pass. I’ll ask for an aspirin. Don’t worry, I’m OK.”

“As you wish, but if you’re not feeling well, don’t hesitate to tell me. I can take you back whenever you like.”

She was sensitised, as if her soul were red raw; in spite of her confusion, her shame, it was exciting to feel herself dominated by purely emotional impulses.

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