FATHER ÁNGEL sat up with a solemn effort. He rubbed his eyelids with the bones of his hands, pushed aside the embroidered mosquito netting, and remained sitting on the bare mattress, pensive for an instant, the time indispensable for him to realize that he was alive and to remember the date and its corresponding day on the calendar of saints
His baritone voice didn’t register. The desolate square, the almond trees sleeping in the rain, the village motionless in the inconsolable October dawn, produced in him a feeling of abandonment
“Any young man can do the rude labor,” he said, standing up. “On the other hand, one needs the tenacity of many years and age-old experience to rebuild morals.”
“The state of abandonment we’re in is persecution too,” the barber said. “But they don’t beat us up,” Mr. Carmichael said. “Abandoning us to God’s mercy is another way of beating us up.” Mr. Carmichael became exasperated. “That’s newspaper talk,” he said.
THE WINTER, whose inclemency had been foreseen since the last days of September, implanted its rigor that weekend
Misfortune is eating at us, and you people still with your political hatreds
The buzz of the harvest flies intensified the solitude of the port, but the cow had been removed and dragged off by the current, and the rotten smell had left an enormous gap in the atmosphere
“Who authorized you to put that up?” the mayor asked, pointing to the notice. “Experience,” said the barber.
At one time he’d seen the sign nailed to the wall: Talking Politics Prohibited
Watching him getting ready to leave, Judge Arcadio thought that life is nothing but a continuous succession of opportunities for survival.
“I just heard on the radio that blind chameleons don’t change color,” the dentist said.
Shame has a short memory
There was in the square a silence too great for the voice of the crier
Obeying a force more ancient and deep-rooted than an impulse, she ordered taken from the storeroom and brought to the bedroom the leather trunk with copper rivets
Several times over the past few years, he had passed by the house with the children, but never with the woman. She’d seen him grow thin, old, and pale, and turn into a stranger whose intimacy of past times seemed inconceivable
You ought to know that in every mess, even if a lot of people are involved, there’s always one who’s to blame
Father Ángel, who after forty years in the priesthood had not learned to dominate the nervousness that precedes solemn acts
Hours later, lying awake in the heat of his mosquito netting, he wondered, nonetheless, whether in reality time had passed during the nineteen years he’d been in the parish. Across from his very house he heard the noise of the boots and weapons that in different times had preceded rifle shots. Except this time the boots went away, passed by again an hour later, and went away once more without any shots being fired
“An early-rising man,” the widow said, “a good spouse but a bad husband.”
“Justice,” the barber received him, “limps along, but it gets there all the same.”
“The greatest virtue in a man,” he said, “is knowing how to keep a secret. ”