One Hundred Years of Solitude … Garcia Marquez

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ was born in Aracataca, Colombia in 1928, but he lived most of his life in Mexico and Europe. He attended the University of Bogota and later worked as staff reporter and film critic for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. In addition to ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, he has also written two collections of short fiction, NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL and LEAF STORM.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE

Jort Areadio BoendUi

m. Cnula Iguarln

olonel Aurellano Btiendia-

m. Remcdios Moscote

-Jos6 Areadio

m-Rebeca

Aurcliano Jose

(by Pilar Ternera)

17 Aurelianos

R’emedios the Beauty

Areadio

(by Pilar Ternera)

m. Santa Sofia de la Piedad

Aurellano Segundo

m. Fernanda del Carplo

Amaranta

Jose Areadio Segundo

j_Renata

Remedios (Mane)

Aurellano

(by MauHcioBabfionla)

lose Areadio

-..Amaranta

m. Gasti

ranta Orsula

Gaston

Aurellano

(by Aurellano^

29

Only Rebeca was unhappy, because of Amaranta’s threat. She knew her sister’s character, the

haughtiness of her spirit, and she was frightened by the virulence of her anger. She would spend

whole hours sucking her finger in the bathroom, holding herself back with an exhausting iron will so

as not to eat earth. In search of some relief for her uncertainty, she called Pilar Ternera to read her

future. After a string of conventional vagaries, Pilar Ternera predicted:

“You will not be happy as long as your parents remain unburied.”

Rebeca shuddered. As in the memory of a dream she saw herself entering the house as a very

small girl, with the trunk and the little rocker, and a bag whose contents she had never known. She

remembered a bald gentleman dressed in linen and with his collar closed by a gold button, who had

nothing to do with the king of hearts. She remembered a very young and beautiful woman with

warm and perfumed hands, who had nothing in common with the jack of diamonds and Inis

rheumatic hands, and who used to put flowers in her hair and take her out walking in the afternoon

through a town with green streets.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

Pilar Ternera seemed disconcerted:

“I don’t either, but that’s what the cards say.”

Rebeca was so preoccupied with the enigma that she told it to Jose Arcadio Buendia, and he

scolded her for believing in the predictions of the cards, but he undertook the silent task of

searching closets and trunks, moving furniture and turning over beds and floorboards looking for

the bag of bones. He remembered that he had not seen it since the time of the rebuilding. He

secretly summoned the masons and one of them revealed that he had walled up the bag in some

bedroom because it bothered him in his work. After several days of listening, with their ears against

the walls, they perceived the deep cloc-cloc. They penetrated the wall and there were the bones in the

intact bag. They buried it the same day in a grave without a stone next to that of Melquiades, and

Jose Arcadio Buendia returned home free of a burden that for a moment had weighed on his

conscience as much as the memory of Prudencio Aguilar. When he went through the kitchen he

kissed Rebeca on the forehead.

“Get those bad thoughts out of your head,” he told her. “You’re going to be happy.”

The friendship with Rebeca opened up to Pilar Ternera the doors of the house, closed by Ursula

since the birth of Arcadio. She would arrive at any hour of the day, like a flock of goats, and would

unleash her feverish energy in the hardest tasks. Sometimes she would go into the workshop and

help Arcadio sensitize the daguerreotype plates with an efficiency and a tenderness that ended up by

confusing him. That woman bothered him. The tan of her skin, her smell of smoke, the disorder of

her laughter in the darkroom distracted his attention and made him bump into things.

On a certain occasion Aureliano was there working on his silver, and Pilar Ternera leaned over

the table to admire his laborious patience. Suddenly it happened. Aureliano made sure that Arcadio

was in the darkroom before raising his eyes and meeting those of Pilar Ternera, whose thought was

perfectly visible, as if exposed to the light of noon.

“Well,” Aureliano said. “Tell me what it is.”

Pilar Ternera bit her lips with a sad smile.

“That you’d be good in a war,” she said. “Where you put your eye, you put your bullet.”

Aureliano relaxed with the proof of the omen. He went back to concentrate on his work as if

nothing had happened, and his voice took on a restful strength.

“I will recognize him,” he said. “He’ll bear my name.”

Jose Arcadio Buendia finally got what he was looking for: he connected the mechanism of the

clock to a mechanical ballerina, and the toy danced uninterruptedly to the rhythm of her own music

for three days. That discovery excited him much more than any of his other harebrained

undertakings. He stopped eating. He stopped sleeping. Only the vigilance and care of Rebeca kept

him from being dragged off by his imagination into a state of perpetual delirium from which he

would not recover. He would spend the nights walking around the room thinking aloud, searching

for a way to apply the principles of the pendulum to oxcarts, to harrows, to everything that was

useful when put into motion. The fever of insomnia fatigued him so much that one dawn he could

not recognize the old man with white hair and uncertain gestures who came into his bedroom. It

was Prudencio Aguilar. When he finally identified him, startled that the dead also aged, Jose Arcadio

Buendia felt himself shaken by nostalgia. “Prudencio,” he exclaimed. “You’ve come from a long way

off!” After many years of death the yearning for the living was so intense, the need for company so

pressing, so terrifying the neatness of that other death which exists within death, that Pmdencio

Aguilar had ended up loving his worst enemy. He had spent a great deal of time looking for him. He

asked the dead from Riohacha about him, the dead who came from the Upar Valley, those who

came from the swamp, and no one could tell him because Macondo was a town that was unknown

to the dead until Melqufades arrived and marked it with a small black dot on the motley maps of

death. Jose Arcadio Buendia conversed with Prudencio Aguilar until dawn. A few hours later, worn

out by the vigil, he went into Aureliano’s workshop and asked him: “What day is today?” Aureliano

told him that it was Tuesday. “I was thinking the same thing,” Jose Arcadio Buendia said, “but

suddenly I realized that it’s still Monday, like yesterday. Look at the sky, look at the walls, look at the

begonias. Today is Monday too.” Used to his manias, Aureliano paid no attention to him. On the

next day, Wednesday, Jose Arcadio Buendia went back to the workshop. “This is a disaster,” he said.

“Look at the air, listen to the buzzing of the sun, the same as yesterday and the day before. Today is

Monday too.” That night Pietro Crespi found him on the porch, weeping for Prudencio Aguilar, for

Melqufades, for Rebeca’s parents, for his mother and father, for all of those he could remember and

who were now alone in death. He gave him a mechanical bear that walked on its hind legs on a

tightrope, but he could not distract him from his obsession. He asked him what had happened to

the project he had explained to him a few days before about the possibility of building a pendulum

machine that would help men to fly and he answered that it was impossible because a pendulum

could lift anything into the air but it could not lift itself. On Thursday he appeared in the workshop

again with the painful look of plowed ground. “The time machine has broken,” he almost sobbed,

“and Ursula and Amaranta so far away!” Aureliano scolded him like a child and he adopted a

contrite air. He spent six hours examining things, trying to find a difference from their appearance

on the previous day in the hope of discovering in them some change that would reveal the passage

of time. He spent the whole night in bed with his eyes open, calling to Prudencio Aguilar, to

Melquiades, to all the dead, so that they would share his distress. But no one came. On Friday,

before anyone arose, he watched the appearance of nature again until he did not have the slightest

doubt but that it was Monday. Then he grabbed the bar from a door and with the savage violence of

his uncommon strength he smashed to dust the equipment in the alchemy laboratory, the

daguerreotype room, the silver workshop, shouting like a man possessed in some high-sounding and

fluent but completely incomprehensible language. He was about to finish off the rest of the house

when Aureliano asked the neighbors for help. Ten men were needed to get him down, fourteen to

tie him up, twenty to drag him to the chestnut tree in the courtyard, where they left him tied up,

barking in the strange language and giving off a green froth at the mouth. When Ursula and

Amaranta returned he was still tied to the tmnk of the chestnut tree by his hands and feet, soaked

with rain and in a state of total innocence. They spoke to him and he looked at them without

recognizing them, saying things they did not understand. Ursula untied his wrists and ankles, lacer¬

ated by the pressure of the rope, and left him tied only by the waist. Later on they built him a shelter

of palm brandies to protect him from the sun and the rain.

AURELIANO BUENDIA and Remedios Moscote were married one Sunday in March before the altar

Father Nicanor Reyna had set up in the parlor. It was the culmination of four weeks of shocks in the

Moscote household because little Remedios had reached puberty before getting over the habits of

childhood.

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