One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 8


   When Amaranta, saw him come in, even though he said nothing she knew immediately why he had come back. At the table they did not dare look each other in the face. But two weeks after his return, in the presence of ?rsula, he set his eyes on hers and said to her, “I always thought a lot about you.?Amaranta avoided him. She guarded against chance meetings. She tried not to become separated from Remedios the Beauty. She was ashamed of the blush that covered her cheeks on the day her nephew asked her how long she intended wearing the black bandage on her hand, for she interpreted it as an allusion to her virginity. When he arrived, she barred the door of her bedroom, but she heard his peaceful snoring in the next room for so many nights that she forgot about the precaution. Early one morning, almost two months after his return, she heard him come into the bedroom. Then, instead of fleeing, instead of shouting as she had thought she would, she let herself be saturated with a soft feeling of relaxation. She felt him slip in under the mosquito netting as he had done when he was a child, as he had always done, and she could not repress her cold sweat and the chattering of her teeth when she realized that he was completely naked. “Go away,?she whispered, suffocating with curiosity. “Go away or I’ll scream.?But Aureliano Jos?knew then what he had to do, because he was no longer a child but a barracks animal. Starting with that night the dull, inconsequential battles began again and would go on until dawn. “I’m your aunt,?Amaranta murmured, spent. “It’s almost as if I were your mother, not just because of my age but because the only thing I didn’t do for you was nurse you.?Aureliano would escape at dawn and come back early in the morning on the next day, each time more excited by the proof that she had not barred the door. He had nit stopped desiring her for a single instant. He found her in the dark bedrooms of captured towns, especially in the most abject ones, and he would make her materialize in the smell of dry blood on the bandages of the wounded, in the instantaneous terror of the danger of death, at all times and in all places. He had fled from her in an attempt to wipe out her memory, not only through distance but by means of a muddled fury that his companions at arms took to be boldness, but the more her image wallowed in the dunghill of the war, the more the war resembled Amaranta. That was how he suffered in exile, looking for a way of killing her with, his own death, until he heard some old man tell the tale of the man who had married his aunt, who was also his cousin, and whose son ended up being his own grandfather.