Por Sebastián Basualdo
He closed the door and saw her. Just one light on, a dim light, hit round the corner, muttering in a low voice as someone who hides a secret. The truth is that his wife seemed threatened by the light of that standard lamp which she surely had bought during the morning.
“You ´re late”, she said, when her husband couldn´t help asking what was she trying to do with all those playing cards.
“Late”, she repeated.
And her left side got brighter; something slow and deliberate was beginning to happen, as her husband approached the table. Apparently, the whole conversation was to be taken over the half moon that the lamp threw against one of the angles of the wall.
“¿What time is it”
“It is late”, she said,”quite late, my dear”.
When he finally got close enough to the border of the table, his wife showed him a card: four beakers. It was then that he heard his own voice asking her, full of fear, whether she was trying to build a castle. His wife smiled; her eyes slipped till they found the four beakers, and she stretched slightly her arm; her thin finger moved the card among the others, the ones pretending to be walls.
“It is a house”, she said, picking a new card.
She held her breath: the decision of building a roof could be menaced by it´s nature. She dropped the card and observed, during several seconds the part of the roof she had already built and, slowly, she left her back rest on the back of her chair.
Only then she let her constrained air go out.
“a house”, she said,”sort of”.
She had a look at the card, which were spread over the table.
“It is a delicate issue, don´t you think? A really delicate issue.
She picked a ner card: three golds.
“Look, darling, three golds”, she said and, inmediately after that, she held her breath, stretched her arm, clenching her teeth, dropped the card.
The little house had a roof now.
“Those were three golds, ¿did you notice?”
Something had borned from her voice and and seemed to be navigating her whole body.
“Three golds”, she repeated, looking at her hans, looking at him, and smiling. Now she was smiling in way that was so full of despair...Her husband feared she would never stop repeating that the card was a three of golds.
“Three golds, yeah, my lovely, three golds”, he said, just when her wife ´s body started to reveal itself against the darkest side of the table, and with her body, the cards, and with the cards, her shadow, the light...
“That´s okay, darling, three golds, I´ve seen them. Please, let´s stop it.
But she was already lost, all caught by the darkest part of the table, ther, where the light of the lamp wouldn´t dare to interrupt, where her husband´s voice could not enlighten anyrhing.
It was then that she held strongly a new card against her belly and said:
What could be seen in her husband´s lips, was something quite similar to a smile.
“No, darling, you´re not pregnant any longer. Not any longer”, he said, thigtening his hand around her wrist, so as to make her release the card.
When he finally got to hold her in his arms, he didn´t let her ask again why he had returned so late.