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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 86

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos
Saturday 21 March 1990, 18:30

When Roberto reached the Patisserie Plaza, it was already half past six.

“Too late!” he said to himself, “Alicia’s not here.”

He looked for her fruitlessly along all the galleries and the beach.

“She’s gone,” he thought, “or perhaps she never came...”

He sighed deeply, sitting next to a stone sea lion. He sat admiring the ocean. The breakwaters were deserted, a storm was expected; enormous waves covered everything and then withdrew again. He had gazed upon this scene countless times. It was always changed, but this time it was he who was different. Broken, defrauded, his enthusiasm had proven short-lived.

“Perhaps it’s better this way,“ he concluded, “so many things have happened...”

He turned round to go back; he’d go and pick up Agustín and Julieta.

“I don’t want to be alone tonight,“ he thought. He decided to ask Julieta out to dinner...

When he looked up, he saw her... She was next to him, gazing at him in silence. He had thought about an encounter many times, imagining the serious and profound phrases he would say to her, but he was unable to speak a single one. Alicia, as always, did the best thing... She embraced Roberto warmly, shedding tears of emotion. He felt the same... They embraced for a long time, merging their bodies and faces, until she spoke:

“How nice to hug you, Roberto! I missed you so much...! Could you forgive me? Please say yes!”

“I forgave you along time ago, almost immediately. I never thought you were guilty, but rather a victim. It was just that I lost control, I couldn’t take on board what was happening to me. To find out the truth, so suddenly, was too much... I should ask forgiveness as well.”

“I’ve got nothing to forgive you for; but you have to forgive me. I would understand even if you never forgave me.”

“Don’t think about it any more, Alicia; don’t mention it again, OK?”

OK, dear...”

“You’re beautiful, better than before: time has matured you a little, now you’re just right.”

“Do you like me like this? I’m glad, I dressed up for you, haven’t you noticed?”

“You’re right, I’ve never seen you in a skirt before... That’s not true, just the once. You look fantastic in this one...”

“Roberto, you look great, you know. Who did you so much good? Doctor Rocío Bareilles?”

“So you’ve heard about her, have you? She’s a good woman, she helped me a lot...”

“Don’t explain anything, Roberto; simply tell me one thing, do you love her?”

“That’s the second time I’ve been asked that question today, the first person who wanted to know was Julieta.”

“And what did you tell her?”

“I’d better not repeat it because it was too complicated. Metaphorical, she said...”

“Don’t be so complicated with me, Roberto, you know I like things simple and direct. Do you love her?”

“Alicia, what do you want to know? If I love her or if I love you?”

“Both things.”

“All right, but it’s not fair: I have to answer all the questions without asking any... You’re not telling me anything and you want to know everything.”

“You haven’t asked me anything, Roberto. I don’t know what answers you want, I won’t conceal anything from you... Tell me, what do you want to know?”

“The same as you, do you love me?”

“I’ve no reservations about answering you... Yes, I love you, without metaphors, without beating about the bush, without limits... I love you enough to live with you, to share your sadness and your joy. To raise your son as if he was mine...”

“Are you serious, Alicia? Have you thought it through properly? It won’t be at all easy...”

“Easy? Do you think it’s easy living without you? I need you, and the child too... I can’t forget he came into the world because I intervened... The semen that fertilised Juana Artigas was meant for me. I would have liked that child’s gestation to have occurred in my belly.”

“You seem so sure, I don’t know. What about the age difference?”

“Don’t be silly! What do I care? We’ll see about tomorrow, right now I haven’t got any doubts. What does it mean that you’re older than me? That we’ll have fewer years of happiness? Well, let’s enjoy them! Let’s not lose any more time... I’m waiting, Roberto...”

“What, Alicia? What are you waiting for?”

“Your answer, you haven’t given me one yet: do you love Rocío? Do you love me? That’s important to me...”

“I love Rocío, I can’t lie to you, there were many beautiful things between us.”

“There were?“ she asked.

“Yes, it’s part of the past now... I’ll never forget her, but today I told Julieta that I had always come up against an obstacle, something which prevented me sticking my neck out for Rocío, overcoming her resistance and her tendency to be independent. Do you know what that obstacle is called according to Julieta?”

“No, what’s it called?”

“Alicia. And do you know something else, dear? She’s absolutely right... It was for you that I accepted the separation that Rocío imposed on me. If you hadn’t existed, I would have done anything to avoid losing her. I wouldn’t have resigned myself so docilely, I would have fought desperately, perhaps successfully. Now I understand it clearly.”

“But you still haven’t answered my question, Roberto. I’m waiting, do you love me or not?”

“You already know the answer: I love you very much, with all my strength. Living with you would be like a dream, I don’t care how long it might last... If you’re with me, I’ll have the strength to start anew. I touch you, and a shiver runs down my spine; I can’t believe I’m feeling your scent again, caressing your hair... I’d kiss you all over, I’d bite you all over, it’s been too long, I’m losing control....”

“Perhaps that’s why I missed you as well...”

“Alicia, shall we go home? Shall we celebrate our reunion? Do you feel like it?”

“I do. Do you?”

“It’s what I most desire in the world. I only ask of you one thing...”

“Whatever you want,” said Alicia, softly biting his lips, “what is it?”

“Tonight, Alicia, don’t ask me to use a condom...”

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