One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 19


   They had met two years before they were married, when the sports biplane in which he was making rolls over the school where Amaranta ?rsula was studying made an intrepid maneuver to avoid the flagpole and the primitive framework of canvas and aluminum foil was caught by the tail on some electric wires. From then on, paying no attention to his leg in splints, on weekends he would pick up Amaranta ?rsula at the nun’s boardinghouse where she lived, where the rules were not as severe as Fernanda had wanted, and he would take her to his country club. They began to love each other at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet in the Sunday air of the moors, and they felt all the closer together as the beings on earth grew more and more minute. She spoke to him of Macondo as the brightest and most peaceful town on earth, and of an enormous house, scented with oregano, where she wanted to live until old age with a loyal husband and two strong sons who would be named Rodrigo and Gonzalo, never Aureliano and Jos?Arcadio, and a daughter who would be named Virginia and never Remedios. She had evoked the town idealized by nostalgia with such strong tenacity that Gaston understood that she would not get married unless he took her to live in Macondo. He agreed to it, as he agreed later on to the leash, because he thought it was a passing fancy that could be overcome in time. But when two years in Macondo had passed and Amaranta ?rsula was as happy as on the first day, he began to show signs of alarm. By that time he had dissected every dissectible insect in the region, he spoke Spanish like a native, and he had solved all of the crossword puzzles in the magazines that he received in the mail. He did not have the pretext of climate to hasten their return because nature had endowed him with a colonial liver which resisted the drowsiness of siesta time and water that had vinegar worms in it. He liked the native cooking so much that once he ate eighty-two iguana eggs at one sitting. Amaranta ?rsula, on the other hand, had brought in by train fish and shellfish in boxes of ice, canned meats and preserved fruits, which were the only things she could eat, and she still dressed in European style and received designs by mail in spite of the fact that she had no place to go and no one to visit and by that time her husband was not in a mood to appreciate her short skirts, her tilted felt hat, and her seven-strand necklaces. Her secret seemed to lie in the fact that she always found a way to keep busy, resolving domestic problems that she herself had created, and doing a poor job on a thousand things which she would fix on the following day with a pernicious diligence that made one think of Fernanda and the hereditary vice of making something just to unmake it. Her festive genius was still so alive then that when she received new records she would invite Gaston to stay in the parlor until very late to practice the dance steps that her schoolmates described to her in sketches and they would generally end up making love on the Viennese rocking chairs or on the bare floor. The only thing that she needed to be completely happy was the birth of her children, but she respected the pact she had made with her husband not to have any until they had been married for five years.