One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 4

   “Aureliano!?
   Aureliano checked his feet and raised his head. He did not know how he had come there, but he knew what his aim was, because he had carried it hidden since infancy in an inviolable backwater of his heart.
   “I’ve come to sleep with you,?he said.
   His clothes were smeared with mud and vomit. Pilar Ternera, who lived alone at that time with her two younger children, did not ask him any questions. She took him to the bed. She cleaned his face with a damp cloth, took of his clothes, and then got completely undressed and lowered the mosquito netting so that her children would not see them if they woke up. She had become tired of waiting for the man who would stay, of the men who left, of the countless men who missed the road to her house, confused by the uncertainty of the cards. During the wait her skin had become wrinkled, her breasts had withered, the coals of her heart had gone out. She felt for Aureliano in the darkness, put her hand on his stomach and kissed him on the neck with a maternal tenderness. “My poor child,?she murmured. Aureliano shuddered. With a calm skill, without the slightest misstep, he left his accumulated grief behind and found Remedios changed into a swamp without horizons, smelling of a raw animal and recently ironed clothes. When he came to the surface he was weeping. First they were involuntary and broken sobs. Then he emptied himself out in an unleashed flow, feeling that something swollen and painful had burst inside of him. She waited, snatching his head with the tips of her fingers, until his body got rid of the dark material that would not let him live. They Pilar Ternera asked him: “Who is it??And Aureliano told her. She let out a laugh that in other times frightened the doves and that now did not even wake up the children. “You’ll have to raise her first,?she mocked, but underneath the mockery Aureliano found a reservoir of understanding. When he went out of the room, leaving behind not only his doubts about his virility but also the bitter weight that his heart had borne for so many months, Pilar Ternera made him a spontaneous promise.