Lepidopterans

The roofs glared as slanted mirrors blinded by the sun. There were not noises yet at this time of the day; just the song of the red linnets and the cold blow of the wind hitting his face. In front of a hill full of reeds, willow and maple trees, a lepidopteran in the window sill was opening its multicolour wings slightly. It inclined and threw itself to the empty space. The bedroom smelled slightly to liquor and cigarettes. It had been a bad night; but the beginning of the new day appeared to be wonderful.

It was Friday. That week had been one of the busiest in his life. Even when he went to bed, only his body rested; because, in his mind, he was still rambling, thinking, wondering... deciding. He used to stand still like a statue next to the window. He looked forward just before the break of dawn. He seemed to enjoy it. Maybe he was just meditating. He repeated this exercise ever since he came back to the city; but it started a lot after meeting her.

The air was dense and vaguely sweet. The lepidopteran laid on one of the branches of the closest willow tree. Its colours were shining more intensely, as the sun was shining more brightly. It suddenly flew away. "Damn! I'm late", he thought. The flight of the butterfly made him realize it.

The cars and their small yet noisy horns reminded him where he was. He looked at both sides and crossed the street. Then he saw his watch. "I'm still on time."

"Late as usual, Joseph." "Hi," he replied, with no more apologize than the greeting. She smiled. "How fresh you are!", she told him while raising her neck to kiss him. They walked towards the place. It was late, but they didn't seem to care any more. She was tormented by the thought of missing the exam. She got annoyed by his sternness for certain things he hated (such as going to school or his solemnity when her parents were around). Joseph just wanted to say something; but he did not know how, far less why. "To say, to explain...", he pondered. Decided, he was. He would do it.

To this, you needed to add there was another factor complicating things. That was the week in which he received a call from his parents, asking him to go back. This was going to be more troublesome, but it was his fault for opting to not go. He didn't want to go back, but he did not say it, even when his mother convinced him to take the train that very afternoon. He kept silent, as if that wouldn't ever happen. Now there was no way back. He would have to tell her. He was leaving.

Dubaliett was a girl born not to bother anyone. Besides going to most of her classes, she spent most of the rest of the day with him, or knitting at home. When she had lunch with her parents, she used to welcome him in her large sofa with a half-unfinished section. I don't know why she knitted so much. I think women do that when they have found in that activity a great excuse not to do anything else. She was not that kind of person. Her mother used to say she knitted necessary stuff: knittings for winter, socks for her father, shawls and vests for her. She sometimes gave me a shawl or two, depending on how much cold there was. I was kind with her father; he, not as much with me. On Saturdays we would go to the down-town to buy wool; Dubaliett did not trust my taste. She delighted on the colours I chose; she really had fun with them. She used to tell me "you don't have good taste." I took advantage of these shopping sessions to take her home and have her there for me all afternoon. We were dating for two years by then.

The first time she agreed to come over, I sat down to see her from the bedroom's door. The vesperal light gave a romantic atmosphere to the situation, maybe that's why I recall it so clearly. Then she opened all the kitchen cupboards and took a look at the tinned meals; then, the cereals, the packed food, the glasses, the cups and the plates, the pots, and the pans. She opened the refrigerator, smelled the celery, gave two bites to the cheese, and bit an apple while she walked to the bed. "The bed is huge."

They didn't go to school. He took her to the bedroom. She seemed to enjoy it. He was anticipating the end... They leaned on the window; in front of them, the sun's hot ochre played behind the maple trees. They could see all the hill from the threshold they were in. There were insects flitting around among the reeds and the willow trees. The morning lepidopteran was flying among the flowers. They loved that image. "Look how lovely", she said.

So he made up his mind. He was not leaving her.

© Carlos Rodríguez Taco


Carlos Rodríguez Taco (Arequipa, 1987) is a bachelor of Law and Political Sciences; and also a student of Literature in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities of Universidad San Agustín de Arequipa. His tales have been published in magazines in Arequipa, Bolivia and Ecuador.


Arts and expression + Literature