One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 8


   “Can a person marry his own aunt??he asked, startled.
   “He not only can do that, a soldier answered him. “but we’re fighting this war against the priests so that a person can marry his own mother.?
   Two weeks later he deserted. He found Amaranta more withered than in his memory, more melancholy and shy, and now really turning the last corner of maturity, but more feverish than ever in the darkness of her bedroom and more challenging than ever in the aggressiveness of her resistance. “You’re a brute,?Amaranta would tell him as she was harried by his hounds. “You can’t do that to a poor aunt unless you have a special dispensation from the Pope.?Aureliano, Jos?promised to go to Rome, he promised to go across Europe on his knees to kiss the sandals of the Pontiff just so that she would lower her drawbridge.
   “It’s not just that,?Amaranta retorted. “Any children will be born with the tail of a pig.?
   Aureliano Jos?was deaf to all arguments.
   “I don’t care if they’re born as armadillos,?he begged.
   Early one morning, vanquished by the unbearable pain of repressed virility, he went to Catarino’s. He found a woman with flaccid breasts, affectionate and cheap, who calmed his stomach for some time. He tried to apply the treatment of disdain to Amaranta. He would see her on the porch working at the sewing machine, which she had learned to operate with admirable skill, and he would not even speak to her. Amaranta felt freed of a reef, and she herself did not understand why she started thinking again at that time about Colonel Gerineldo Márquez, why she remembered with such nostalgia the afternoons of Chinese checkers, and why she even desired him as the man in her bedroom. Aureliano, Jos?did not realize how much ground he had lost on, the night he could no longer bear the farce of indifference and went back to Amaranta’s room. She rejected him with an inflexible and unmistakable determination, and she barred the door of her bedroom forever.