One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 6


   “The children will find out,?she murmured. “It will be better if you leave the bar off the door tonight.?
   Arcadio waited for her that night trembling with fever in his hammock. He waited without sleeping, listening to the aroused crickets in the endless hours of early morning and the implacable telling of time by the curlews, more and more convinced that he had been deceived. Suddenly, when anxiety had broken down into rage, the door opened. A few months later, facing the firing squad, Arcadio would relive the wandering steps in the classroom, the stumbling against benches, and finally the bulk of a body in the shadows of the room and the breathing of air that was pumped by a heart that was not his. He stretched out his hand and found another hand with two rings on the same finger about to go astray in the darkness. He felt the structure of the veins, the pulse of its misfortune, and felt the damp palm with a lifeline cut off at the base of the thumb by the claws of death. Then he realized that this was not the woman he was waiting for, because she did not smell of smoke but of flower lotion, and she had inflated, blind breasts with nipples like. a man’s, a sex as stony and round as a nut, and the chaotic tenderness of excited inexperience. She was a virgin and she had the unlikely name of Santa Sofía de la Piedad. Pilar Ternera had paid her fifty pesos, half of her life savings, to do what she was doing. Arcadio, had seen her many times working in her parents?small food store but he had never taken a good look at her because she had that rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment. But from that day on he huddled like a cat in the warmth of her armpit She would go to the school at siesta time with the consent of her parents, to whom Pilar Ternera hid paid the other half of her savings. Later on, when the government troops dislodged them from the place where they had made love, they did it among the cans of lard and sacks of corn in the back of the store. About the time that Arcadio was named civil and military leader they had a daughter.