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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 54

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

“Forget it,” said Rocío, “it’s nothing, I’ve almost recovered. Relax, keep talking to me, tell me about your life now that you’re rich.”

“More complicated, as you witnessed... But although having a fortune has caused me many problems, it’s fair to say that it’s also given me great security. It allowed me to stop worrying about economic matters, to have more freedom to do what I like. If I wasn’t a millionaire, believe me, I’d be just as happy. Many years ago I learned to limit my ambition, it’s the only reasonable formula for attaining happiness.”

“That’s true, Doctor Burán, and not only in the economic field, but also in the professional. We spend half our lives on things that perhaps aren’t all that important.”

“I think, doctor, that we both know enough about that... To reach your level of the justice system, I imagine you will have sacrificed a lot. Is that what you mean?”

“Yes,” said Rocío, “to be honest, I don’t know if it was worth it. I have serious doubts...”

“Forget the past, don’t worry about it. You can’t go back. I’m sure that if you made an effort, it was because you felt the need to do so. Appreciate your work, think how you’d feel if you hadn’t done it.”

“That’s no consolation, I was mistaken.”

“Who knows, doctor? You responded to the interests which, mistaken or not, you had at the time. A woman as attractive as you could have chosen an easy path. But you didn’t, you chose to surpass yourself, to stand out in a competitive world, in which women meet a lot of resistance. This isn’t sterile from any point of view. In my eyes at least, it dignifies you as a person. The feeling of frustration is normal, don’t flay yourself over that. A brilliant international juristonce told me, upon reaching fifty-five years old, that in truth his work was useless. But he went on publishing things... He was going through a similar life crisis to yours or, in a certain way, mine. If you hadn’t fought, made an effort, stubbornly, you’d be a different woman now. I don’t know whether you’d be better or worse, but you’d be different. The only important thing is that you don’t lose the capacity to feel, to laugh, to cry, to give love. That does seem important to me. Resentment, insensitivity, mental rigidity, can all turn us into schematic moralists. Nothing could be worse than being one of those formal beings who won’t tolerate errors or defects, who pretend that perfection exists... People with resentments box in affection, they are frightened of love, they label it, imprisoning it in a tangle of rigid principles. I can say this with authority, because I almost became one of them. At one time, I was bothered by swearwords, all too easily I judged the slightest behavioural deviation.”

“I would never have thought you could be like that...”

“It surprises me, doctor. I was in bad shape, without the shelter of affection. Shortly before I reached thirty, I started to discover the truth, to understand that my education had made me an idiot. The only consolation I have is that there are other people who die without having made that discovery.”

“You’re right, doctor, I think in my case I ought to seriously wonder if I haven’t neglected certain fundamental aspects too much. I can assure you that I think about it a lot.”

“I’m glad,” said Burán with a smile, “it’ll do you a lot of good. It’s always good to have a look inside oneself, we don’t do it as often as we ought to. Our interior world is often unknown territory. I admit that I started to ask myself questions very late on, to study each of my impulses, to calm down, to enjoy the present more.”

“Have you been divorced for long?”

“Quite a long time, more than seven years. But my marriage was destroyed long before that. We put the divorce off, we thought that we would be benefiting my daughter Julieta that way. I’m not sure we did right, but there it is, that’s how we did it... At that time we were convinced; fortunately, my relationship with Julieta was always very good, very affectionate.”

“Do you know what I think? After having seen your admirable sense of paternity, I’m sure you’re not a man with a propensity for divorce. You must have suffered a lot, mustn’t you?”

“Yes, it was a hard , heartbreaking blowwhich caused a structural change in my personality. It shattered ways of thinking that I thought would never change. It was painful to give up married life, to no longer live under the same roof as my daughter.”

“Were you resentful?”

“Because of the divorce? No, doctor, not at all. Only at the beginning, but time calmed my wrath, I learned that we are slaves, victims of our feelings of rancour. Moreover, without realising, I was giving up an active role to become a mere spectator... That gave me sufficient objectivity to acknowledge my errors. I lived within my means, I was quite limited, my feelings were dormant. I don’t want to reproach myself, I want to take advantage of my mistakes to avoid making the same ones again. At the moment, I’m not at all resentful, I don’t hate anybody, I’ve forgiven affronts, I hope that mine are also forgiven... What about you, Doctor, haven’t you ever been on the point of getting married?”

“Yes,” she said, “ten years ago. With a week to go, I changed my mind, I became terrified.”

“Didn’t you love your boyfriend?”

“At that time I had serious doubts. I didn’t feel any attraction, our relationship was too unbalanced, lacking agitation or fire. I was no vampiress, neither was I experienced, but on that occasion I allowed myself to act impulsively. I rejected the possibility of marriage emphatically, in desperation; one could say I literally exploded. I wouldn’t accept any opinion and I wasn’t worried about the family ties that were affected. I assure you, doctor, taking that decision is one of the few things I’m proud of. I acted purely as a woman. My feelings spoke, my inner self. When I sometimes wonder what life would have been like with Hernán, I tremble. Very sporadically I dream that I’m married to him, I wake up sweating and agitated, with tears in my eyes. After that opportunity, no other has presented itself, I’ve never had a profound, serious relationship. Just a few unimportant romances...”

“Knowing you, it’s unbelievable. I don’t understand how such a beautiful and interesting woman as you could be alone. Could it be that you want solitude?”

Rocío blushed, she was deeply flattered by Burán’s praise.

“Thank you for your words, which are exaggerated, by the way, as for wanting solitude is concerned. I don’t think that’s the case. The thing is, it’s difficult to get on the same wavelength with men. It’s as if I can’t find the right person... Maybe I’m just too demanding, it’s not easy for a woman in my position to find a partner. I can tell some men are excessively respectful; I would say they’re frightened of me, they feel inferior. I can’t stand that. Neither can I tolerate it if they feel superior when they’re not, if they’re fatuous or male chauvinists. As you can see, I’m complicated and contradictory. The only positive thing I can say is that I’m determined to change. At this point in my life, I doubt whether I can.”

“It’s never too late, Rocío.”

Roberto was surprised when he realised that he had spoken her name.

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