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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 58

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

When he saw her reaction, Roberto was afraid he might have gone too far. He was worried, scared of having somehow offended her.

“Forgive me, doctor,” he said, going back to his initial form of address, “I had no wish to make you uncomfortable, I assure you.”

“Roberto,” she said, using his Christian name for the first time, “don’t torment yourself, please... It’s not your fault, you haven’t said anything wrong... The thing is, I can’t overcome the teachings I received as a child or my genetic conditionings.”

They both laughed effusively, an imperceptible bridge had connected them. At that moment neither of them was thinking about crossing it and reaching the other side, journey’s end. The wandering, the mere motion, were themselves sufficiently gratifying. That initial contact, meeting each other, the elevated dialectic games they were capable of playing, were all pleasurable.

“I don’t remember ever having enjoyed a dialogue with a woman as much as tonight,” thought Roberto. “It’s exciting to know Rocío, to illuminate her reserved areas. She has magnetism, personality. She seems less passionate than Alicia, but I don’t know, perhaps not, perhaps diving under the surface a little... When she blushed she was like a volcano about to erupt, she’s got a lot of fire within, although she hides it. It would be nice to explore her...”

“I like him, he attracts me,” thought Rocío.

Before dropping her off at home, Roberto invited her for a drink in a café on the same block. At that moment he asked her, “Excuse me, Rocío, wouldn’t it be reasonable for us to use the informal form of address? Can’t we permit ourselves this licence... We’ll still respect each other, won’t we?”

“Of course, Roberto, it should be that way from now on... It doesn’t seem right that after having shared such confidentialities we should talk like strangers. It’s been very gratifying for me to be able to talk to you, I’m at a very important juncture in my life.”

“In what way, Rocío? Affection? Are you on the verge of an important change? I’d like you to tell me...”

“I’m going to tell you so that you understand my behaviour and the cause of my discomfort in the restaurant. I’m reaching the end of a long process, understanding at last that I’ve wasted a lot of time. This realisation is recent, but its roots go way back, approximately twelve years. At that time, I met a boy who was going out with a friend of my big sister, Sebastián was his name, I think I fell in love with him, or perhaps I was simply being capricious; I’ll never know for sure... Perhaps he would have been the love of my life, but the truth is I rejected him because it wasn’t a traditional relationship. At the time I was twenty-three and he was thirty-seven. The age difference struck me as an abyss. Sebastián said he loved me, but he needed time to sort things out with his girlfriend, they had already set the date for their wedding. I didn’t want to fall out with her or complicate my life putting up with the reproaches of my family. In fact I rejected him roundly, energetically, I shunned his pleading and took no notice of the voice of my heart. He knew I loved him, or at least that I felt something similar to love, and he didn’t resign himself to losing me. At that age I thought the future would be easy, full of passionate romances, without so many complications. I dismissed him harshly, without the right to reply, I prevented him from insisting. He finally accepted my rejection, the only thing he did was give me a letter. I hardly read it, I didn’t think it was anything special. But look how it goes, last week I found it in an old drawer. It was a moving experience, as if a whiff of the past had intoxicated me. When I reread his message; I understood how mistaken I had been.”

“What had he written? That he loved you?”

“Look, Roberto, I’ve got it on me... Since I found it I haven’t been able to leave it alone: I keep it as a symbol of my blindness, my coldness. Would you like me to read it to you?”

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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