No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • Humanity doesn’t progress without paying a price
  • To the Europeans, South America is a man with a moustache, a guitar, and a gun,’ the doctor said, laughing over his newspaper. ‘They don’t understand the problem ·’colonel
  • ‘Nothing for the colonel?’ The colonel was terrified. The postmaster tossed the bag onto his shoulder, got off the platform, and replied without turning his head: ‘No one writes to the colonel.’
  • His lungs filled with stifling air and he pronounced the sentence as if he had just invented it: ‘There’s strength in numbers.’
  • Hernan went into the tailor shop with the clock. Alvaro was sewing on a machine. At the back, beneath a guitar hanging on a nail, a girl was sewing buttons on. There was a sign tacked up over the guitar: “TALKING POLITICS FORBIDDEN.” Outside, the colonel felt as if his body were superfluous.
  • The colonel acknowledged that forty years of shared living, of shared hunger, of shared suffering, had not been enough for him to come to know his wife. He felt that something had also grown old in their love.
  • And then, to the colonel: ‘Come in, friend. When I went to look for you this afternoon, I couldn’t even see your hat.’ ‘I don’t wear one, so I won’t have to take if off for anyone.’
  • The doctor saw his own teeth reflected in the little chromed lock of his bag
  • The doctor stayed in the living room, detained by Sabas’s wife, who asked him for a remedy ‘for those things which come over one suddenly and which one doesn’t know what they are.’
  • The doctor examined him with a look absolutely devoid of any professional interest.
  • The death of her son had not wrung a single tear out of her
  • It had taken the colonel seventy-five years – the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute – to reach this moment. He felt pure, explicit, invincible at the moment when he replied: ‘Shit’.
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