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Pet Samatary, Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 10 (1)

Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 10 (1)

CHAPTER TEN

‘Hope Ellie didn't take it too hard,' Jud Crandall said that night, and not for the first time Louis thought that the man had a peculiar – and rather uncomfortable – ability to put his finger gently on whatever the sore spot was.

He and Jud and Norma Crandall now sat on the Crandalls' porch in the cool of the evening, drinking iced tea instead of beer. On 15, going-home-after-the-weekend traffic was fairly heavy; people recognizing that every good late-summer weekend now might be the last one, Louis supposed. Tomorrow he took up his full duties at the U of M infirmary. All day yesterday and today students had been arriving, filling apartments in Orono and dorms on campus, making beds, renewing acquaintances, and no doubt groaning over another year of eight o'clock classes and commons food. Rachel had continued to be cool to him – no, freezing was more like it – and when he went back across the road tonight he knew that she would already be in bed, Gage sleeping with her more than likely, the two of them so far over to her side that the baby would be in danger of falling off. His half of the bed would have grown to three quarters, all of it looking like a big, sterile desert.

‘I said I hoped—'

‘Sorry,' Louis said. ‘Woolgathering. She was a little upset, yeah. How did you guess that?'

‘Seen 'em come and go, like I said.' Jud took his wife's hand gently, and grinned at her. ‘Haven't we, dear?'

‘Packs and packs of them,' Norma Crandall said. ‘We love the children.'

‘Sometimes that pet cemetery is their first eyeball-to-eyeball with death,' Jud said. ‘They see people die on TV, but they know that's pretend, like the old Westerns they used to have at the movies on Saturday afternoons. On TV and in the Western movies they just hold their stomachs or their chests and fall over. Place up on that hill seems a lot more real to most of 'em than all those movies and TV shows put together, don't you know.'

Louis nodded, thinking: Tell my wife that, why don't you.

‘Some kids it don't affect at all, at least not so you can see it, although I'd guess most of 'em kinda … kinda take it home in their pockets to look over later, like all the other stuff they collect. Most of 'em are fine. But some … you remember the little Symonds boy, Norma?'

She nodded. Ice chattered softly in the glass she held. Her glasses hung on her chest, and the headlights of a passing car illuminated the chain briefly. ‘He had such nightmares,' she said. ‘Dreams about corpses coming out of the ground and I don't know whatall. Then his dog died – ate some poisoned bait was all anyone in town could figure, wasn't it, Jud?'

‘Poison bait,' Jud said, nodding. ‘That's what most people thought, ayuh. That was 1925. Billy Symonds was maybe ten then. Went on to become a State Senator. Ran for the US House of Representatives later on, but he lost. That was just before Korea.'

‘He and some of his friends had a funeral for the dog,' Norma remembered. ‘It was just a mongrel, but he loved it well. I remember his parents were a little against the burying, because of the bad dreams and all, but it went off fine. Two of the bigger boys made a coffin, didn't they, Jud?'

Jud nodded and drained his iced tea. ‘Dean and Dana Hall,' he said. ‘Them and that other kid Billy chummed with – I can't remember his first name, but I'm sure he was one of the Bowie kids. You remember the Bowies that used to live up on Middle Drive in the old Brochette house, Norma?'

‘Yes!' Norma said, as excited as if it had happened yesterday, and perhaps in her mind, it seemed that way. ‘It was a Bowie! Alan, or Burt—'

‘Or maybe it was Kendall,' Jud agreed. ‘Anyways, I remember they had a pretty good argument about who was going to be pallbearers. The dog wasn't very big, and so there wasn't room but for two. The Hall boys said they ought to be the ones to do it since they made the coffin, and also because they were twins – sort of a matched set, y'see. Billy said they didn't know Bowser – that was the dog – well enough to be the pallbearers. “My dad says only close friends get to be pallbearers,” was his argument, “not jest any carpenter.”' Jud and Norma both laughed at this, and Louis grinned. He found himself wishing that Rachel could be here.

‘They was just about ready to fight over it when Mandy, Billy's sister, fetched out fourth volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica,' Jud said. ‘Her dad, Stephen, was the only doctor this side of Bangor and that side of Bucksport in those days, Louis, and they was the only family in Ludlow that could afford a set of encyclopedia.'

‘They were also the first to have electric lights,' Norma broke in.

‘Anyway,' Jud resumed, ‘Mandy come out all aflukin', head up and tail over the splashboard, as my mom used to say, all of eight years old, petticoats flyin', that big book in her arms. Billy and the Bowie kid – I think it must have been Kendall, him that crashed and burned up in Pensacola where they was trainin' fighter pilots in early 1942 – they was getting ready to take on the Hall twins over the privilege of toting that poor old poisoned mutt up to the boneyard.'

Louis started giggling. Soon he was laughing out loud. He could feel the day-old residue of tension left from the bitter argument with Rachel beginning to loosen.

‘So she says, “Wait! Wait! Looka this!” And they all stop and look. And goddam if she ain't—'

‘Jud,' Norma said warningly.

‘Sorry, dear; I get carried away yarning, you know that.'

‘I guess you do,' she said.

‘And darned if she ain't got that book open to FUNERALS, and there's a picture of Queen Victoria getting her final send-off and bon voyage, and there are about forty-seven people on each side of her coffin, some sweatin' and strainin' to lift the bugger, some just standin' around in their funeral coats and ruffled collars like they was waitin' for someone to call post-time at the racetrack. And Mandy says, “When it's a ceremonial funeral of state, you can have as many as you want! The book says so!”'

‘That solved it?' Louis asked.

‘That did the trick. They ended up with about twenty kids, and damn if they didn't look just like the picture Mandy had found, except maybe for the ruffles and tall hats. Mandy took charge, she did. Got 'em lined up and gave each of 'em a wildflower – a dandelion or a lady's slipper or a daisy – and off they went. By the Gee, I always thought the country missed a bet when Mandy Symonds never got voted to the United Nations.' He laughed and shook his head. ‘Anyway, that was the end of Billy Symonds's bad dreams about the pet sematary. He mourned his dog and finished his mourning and got on. Which is what we all do, I guess.'

Oh yeah? Louis thought again of Rachel's near-hysteria.

‘Your Ellie will get over it,' Norma said, and shifted position. ‘You must be thinking that death is all we talk about around here, Louis. Jud and I are getting on, but I hope neither of us has gotten to the gore-crow stage yet—'

‘No, of course not, don't be silly,' Louis said.

‘—but it's not such a bad idea to be on nodding acquaintance with it. These days … I don't know … no one wants to talk about it or think about it, it seems. They took it off the TV because they thought it might hurt the children some way – hurt their minds – and people want closed coffins so they don't have to look at the remains or say goodbye … it just seems like people want to forget it.'

‘And at the same time they brought in the cable TV with all those movies showing people—' Jud looked at Norma and cleared his throat. ‘—showing people doing what people usually do with their shades pulled down,' he finished. ‘Queer how things change from one generation to the next, isn't it?'

‘Yes,' Louis said. ‘I suppose it is.'

‘Well, we come from a different time,' Jud said, sounding almost apologetic. ‘We was on closer terms with death. We saw the flu epidemic after the Great War, and mothers dying with child, and children dying of infection and fevers that it seems like doctors just wave a magic wand over these days. In the time when me and Norma was young, if you got cancer, why, that was your death-warrant, right there. No radiation treatments back in the 1920s! Two wars, murders, suicides …'

He fell silent for a moment.

‘We knew it as a friend and as an enemy,' he said finally. ‘My brother Pete died of a burst appendix in 1912, back when Taft was President. He was just fourteen and he could hit a baseball farther than any kid in town. In those days you didn't need to take a course in college to study death, hot-spice or whatever they call it. In those days it came into the house and said howdy and sometimes it took supper with you and sometimes you could feel it bite your ass.'

This time Norma didn't correct him; instead she nodded silently.

Louis stood up, stretched. ‘I have to go,' he said. ‘Big day tomorrow.'

‘Yes, the merry-go-round starts up for you tomorrow, don't it?' Jud said, also standing. Jud saw Norma was also trying to get up and gave her a hand. She rose with a grimace.

‘Bad tonight, is it?' Louis asked.

‘Not so bad,' she said.

‘Put some heat on it when you go to bed.'

‘I will,' Norma said. ‘I always do. And Louis … don't fret about Ellie. She'll be too busy gettin' to know her new friends this fall to worry much about that old place. Maybe someday all of 'em'll go up and repaint some of the signs, or pull weeds, or plant flowers. Sometimes they do, when the notion takes them. And she'll feel better about it. She'll start to get that nodding acquaintance.'

Not if my wife has anything to say about it.

‘Come on over tomorrow night and tell me how it went, if you get the chance,' Jud said. ‘I'll whop you at cribbage.'

‘Well, maybe I'll get you drunk first,' Louis said. ‘Double-skunk you.'

‘Doc,' Jud said with great sincerity, ‘the day I get double-skunked at cribbage would be the day I'd let a quack like you treat me.'

He left on their laughter and crossed the road to his own house in the late summer dark.

Rachel was sleeping with the baby, curled up on her side of the bed in a fetal, protective position. He supposed she would get over it. There had been other arguments and times of coldness in their marriage, but this one was surely the worst of the lot. He felt sad and angry and unhappy all at the same time, wanting to make it up but not sure how, not even sure the first move should come from him. It was all so pointless; only a capful of wind somehow blown up to hurricane proportions by a trick of the mind. Other fights and arguments, yes, sure, but only a few as bitter as the one over Ellie's tears and questions. He supposed it didn't take a great many blows like that before the marriage sustained some sort of structural damage … and then one day, instead of reading it in a note from a friend (‘Well, I suppose I ought to tell you before you hear it from someone else, Lou; Maggie and I are splitting …') or in the newspaper, it was you.


Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 10 (1) Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 10 (1)

CHAPTER TEN CAPÍTULO DIEZ

‘Hope Ellie didn't take it too hard,' Jud Crandall said that night, and not for the first time Louis thought that the man had a peculiar – and rather uncomfortable – ability to put his finger gently on whatever the sore spot was. ‘Hope Ellie didn't take it too hard,' Jud Crandall said that night, and not for the first time Louis thought that the man had a peculiar – and rather uncomfortable – ability to put his finger gently on whatever the sore spot was. 'Espero que Ellie no se lo haya tomado demasiado a pecho', dijo Jud Crandall esa noche, y no por primera vez Louis pensó que el hombre tenía una habilidad peculiar, y bastante incómoda, para poner su dedo suavemente en cualquier punto dolorido.

He and Jud and Norma Crandall now sat on the Crandalls' porch in the cool of the evening, drinking iced tea instead of beer. Él, Jud y Norma Crandall estaban ahora sentados en el porche de los Crandall al fresco de la noche, bebiendo té helado en lugar de cerveza. On 15, going-home-after-the-weekend traffic was fairly heavy; people recognizing that every good late-summer weekend now might be the last one, Louis supposed. El día 15, el tráfico de regreso a casa después del fin de semana era bastante denso; gente reconociendo que cada buen fin de semana de finales de verano ahora podría ser el último, supuso Louis. Tomorrow he took up his full duties at the U of M infirmary. Mañana asumió todas sus funciones en la enfermería de la U de M. All day yesterday and today students had been arriving, filling apartments in Orono and dorms on campus, making beds, renewing acquaintances, and no doubt groaning over another year of eight o'clock classes and commons food. Todo el día de ayer y hoy habían estado llegando estudiantes, llenando apartamentos en Orono y dormitorios en el campus, haciendo camas, renovando amistades y sin duda gimiendo por otro año de clases a las ocho y comida común. Rachel had continued to be cool to him – no, freezing was more like it – and when he went back across the road tonight he knew that she would already be in bed, Gage sleeping with her more than likely, the two of them so far over to her side that the baby would be in danger of falling off. Rachel had continued to be cool to him – no, freezing was more like it – and when he went back across the road tonight he knew that she would already be in bed, Gage sleeping with her more than likely, the two of them so far over to her side that the baby would be in danger of falling off. Rachel había seguido siendo fría con él, no, congelarse era más como eso, y cuando volvió a cruzar la calle esta noche, sabía que ella ya estaría en la cama, Gage durmiendo con ella más que probable, los dos hasta ahora. a su lado que el bebé estaría en peligro de caerse. His half of the bed would have grown to three quarters, all of it looking like a big, sterile desert. Su mitad de la cama habría crecido hasta las tres cuartas partes, toda ella luciendo como un gran desierto estéril.

‘I said I hoped—' Dije que esperaba...

‘Sorry,' Louis said. —Lo siento —dijo Luis. ‘Woolgathering. 'Recolección de lana. She was a little upset, yeah. Estaba un poco molesta, sí. How did you guess that?' ¿Cómo supiste eso?

‘Seen 'em come and go, like I said.' Jud took his wife's hand gently, and grinned at her. Los he visto ir y venir, como dije. Jud tomó la mano de su esposa suavemente y le sonrió. ‘Haven't we, dear?' ¿No es así, querida?

‘Packs and packs of them,' Norma Crandall said. —Paquetes y paquetes de ellos —dijo Norma Crandall. ‘We love the children.' Amamos a los niños.

‘Sometimes that pet cemetery is their first eyeball-to-eyeball with death,' Jud said. "A veces, ese cementerio de mascotas es su primer cara a cara con la muerte", dijo Jud. ‘They see people die on TV, but they know that's pretend, like the old Westerns they used to have at the movies on Saturday afternoons. Ven gente morir en la televisión, pero saben que eso es fingir, como las viejas películas del oeste que solían ver en el cine los sábados por la tarde. On TV and in the Western movies they just hold their stomachs or their chests and fall over. En la televisión y en las películas del Oeste simplemente se agarran el estómago o el pecho y se caen. Place up on that hill seems a lot more real to most of 'em than all those movies and TV shows put together, don't you know.' El lugar en esa colina parece mucho más real para la mayoría de ellos que todas esas películas y programas de televisión juntos, ¿sabes?

Louis nodded, thinking: Tell my wife that, why don't you. Louis asintió, pensando: Dile eso a mi esposa, ¿por qué no lo haces tú?

‘Some kids it don't affect at all, at least not so you can see it, although I'd guess most of 'em kinda … kinda take it home in their pockets to look over later, like all the other stuff they collect. "A algunos niños no les afecta en absoluto, al menos no para que puedas verlo, aunque supongo que la mayoría de ellos... se lo llevan a casa en el bolsillo para revisarlo más tarde, como todas las demás cosas que coleccionan". . Most of 'em are fine. La mayoría de ellos están bien. But some … you remember the little Symonds boy, Norma?' But some … you remember the little Symonds boy, Norma?' Pero algunos... ¿recuerdas al pequeño Symonds, Norma?

She nodded. She nodded. Ella asintió. Ice chattered softly in the glass she held. Ice chattered softly in the glass she held. El hielo parloteaba suavemente en el vaso que sostenía. Her glasses hung on her chest, and the headlights of a passing car illuminated the chain briefly. Sus anteojos colgaban de su pecho, y los faros de un automóvil que pasaba iluminaron brevemente la cadena. ‘He had such nightmares,' she said. "Él tenía tales pesadillas", dijo. ‘Dreams about corpses coming out of the ground and I don't know whatall. 'Sueños con cadáveres saliendo de la tierra y no sé qué más. Then his dog died – ate some poisoned bait was all anyone in town could figure, wasn't it, Jud?' Entonces su perro murió. Se comió un cebo envenenado, eso fue todo lo que nadie en el pueblo pudo imaginar, ¿no es así, Jud?

‘Poison bait,' Jud said, nodding. —Cebo envenenado —dijo Jud, asintiendo—. ‘That's what most people thought, ayuh. 'Eso es lo que pensaba la mayoría de la gente, ayuh. That was 1925. Eso fue 1925. Billy Symonds was maybe ten then. Entonces Billy Symonds tendría unos diez años. Went on to become a State Senator. Pasó a convertirse en senador estatal. Ran for the US House of Representatives later on, but he lost. Más tarde se postuló para la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos, pero perdió. That was just before Korea.' Eso fue justo antes de Corea.

‘He and some of his friends had a funeral for the dog,' Norma remembered. "Él y algunos de sus amigos hicieron un funeral por el perro", recordó Norma. ‘It was just a mongrel, but he loved it well. 'Era solo un mestizo, pero lo amaba mucho. I remember his parents were a little against the burying, because of the bad dreams and all, but it went off fine. Recuerdo que sus padres estaban un poco en contra del entierro, por los malos sueños y todo eso, pero salió bien. Two of the bigger boys made a coffin, didn't they, Jud?' Dos de los chicos más grandes hicieron un ataúd, ¿verdad, Jud?

Jud nodded and drained his iced tea. Jud asintió y apuró su té helado. ‘Dean and Dana Hall,' he said. —Dean y Dana Hall —dijo. ‘Them and that other kid Billy chummed with – I can't remember his first name, but I'm sure he was one of the Bowie kids. 'Ellos y ese otro chico con el que Billy era amigo, no recuerdo su nombre de pila, pero estoy seguro de que era uno de los chicos Bowie. You remember the Bowies that used to live up on Middle Drive in the old Brochette house, Norma?' ¿Te acuerdas de los Bowie que vivían en Middle Drive en la antigua casa de Brochette, Norma?

‘Yes!' Norma said, as excited as if it had happened yesterday, and perhaps in her mind, it seemed that way. '¡Sí!' Dijo Norma, tan emocionada como si hubiera pasado ayer, y tal vez en su mente, así lo parecía. ‘It was a Bowie! ¡Era un Bowie! Alan, or Burt—' Alan, o Burt...

‘Or maybe it was Kendall,' Jud agreed. 'O tal vez fue Kendall,' estuvo de acuerdo Jud. ‘Anyways, I remember they had a pretty good argument about who was going to be pallbearers. De todos modos, recuerdo que tuvieron una discusión bastante buena sobre quiénes iban a ser los portadores del féretro. The dog wasn't very big, and so there wasn't room but for two. El perro no era muy grande, por lo que no había lugar más que para dos. The Hall boys said they ought to be the ones to do it since they made the coffin, and also because they were twins – sort of a matched set, y'see. Los muchachos de Hall dijeron que deberían ser los que lo hicieran, ya que hicieron el ataúd, y también porque eran gemelos, una especie de pareja, ¿sabes? Billy said they didn't know Bowser – that was the dog – well enough to be the pallbearers. Billy dijo que no conocían a Bowser, ese era el perro, lo suficientemente bien como para ser los portadores del féretro. “My dad says only close friends get to be pallbearers,” was his argument, “not jest any carpenter.”' Jud and Norma both laughed at this, and Louis grinned. “Mi papá dice que solo los amigos cercanos pueden ser portadores del féretro”, fue su argumento, “no cualquier carpintero en broma”. Jud y Norma se rieron de esto, y Louis sonrió. He found himself wishing that Rachel could be here. Se encontró deseando que Rachel pudiera estar aquí.

‘They was just about ready to fight over it when Mandy, Billy's sister, fetched out fourth volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica,' Jud said. "Estaban a punto de pelear por eso cuando Mandy, la hermana de Billy, sacó el cuarto volumen de la Enciclopedia Británica", dijo Jud. ‘Her dad, Stephen, was the only doctor this side of Bangor and that side of Bucksport in those days, Louis, and they was the only family in Ludlow that could afford a set of encyclopedia.' Su padre, Stephen, era el único médico de este lado de Bangor y del otro lado de Bucksport en esos días, Louis, y eran la única familia en Ludlow que podía permitirse una enciclopedia.

‘They were also the first to have electric lights,' Norma broke in. —También fueron los primeros en tener luz eléctrica —interrumpió Norma—.

‘Anyway,' Jud resumed, ‘Mandy come out all aflukin', head up and tail over the splashboard, as my mom used to say, all of eight years old, petticoats flyin', that big book in her arms. —De todos modos —prosiguió Jud—, Mandy, sal a la calle, con la cabeza y la cola sobre el salpicadero, como solía decir mi madre, todos de ocho años, con las enaguas volando y ese gran libro en los brazos. Billy and the Bowie kid – I think it must have been Kendall, him that crashed and burned up in Pensacola where they was trainin' fighter pilots in early 1942 – they was getting ready to take on the Hall twins over the privilege of toting that poor old poisoned mutt up to the boneyard.' Billy y el niño Bowie, creo que debe haber sido Kendall, el que se estrelló y se quemó en Pensacola, donde estaban entrenando a pilotos de combate a principios de 1942, se estaban preparando para enfrentarse a los gemelos Hall por el privilegio de llevar ese pobre viejo perro callejero envenenado hasta el cementerio.

Louis started giggling. Luis comenzó a reírse. Soon he was laughing out loud. Pronto se estaba riendo a carcajadas. He could feel the day-old residue of tension left from the bitter argument with Rachel beginning to loosen. Podía sentir que el residuo de tensión del día anterior que había dejado la amarga discusión con Rachel comenzaba a aflojarse.

‘So she says, “Wait! Entonces ella dice: “¡Espera! Wait! ¡Esperar! Looka this!” And they all stop and look. ¡Mira su!" Y todos se detienen y miran. And goddam if she ain't—' Y maldita sea si ella no es...

‘Jud,' Norma said warningly. —Jud —dijo Norma en tono de advertencia.

‘Sorry, dear; I get carried away yarning, you know that.' 'Lo siento, querido; Me dejo llevar por las historias, lo sabes.

‘I guess you do,' she said. —Supongo que sí —dijo ella.

‘And darned if she ain't got that book open to FUNERALS, and there's a picture of Queen Victoria getting her final send-off and bon voyage, and there are about forty-seven people on each side of her coffin, some sweatin' and strainin' to lift the bugger, some just standin' around in their funeral coats and ruffled collars like they was waitin' for someone to call post-time at the racetrack. Y maldita sea si no tiene ese libro abierto para FUNERALES, y hay una foto de la reina Victoria recibiendo su despedida final y bon voyage, y hay unas cuarenta y siete personas a cada lado de su ataúd, algunas sudando. y esforzándose por levantar el insecto, algunos simplemente parados con sus abrigos fúnebres y cuellos con volantes como si estuvieran esperando a que alguien llamara después del tiempo en la pista de carreras. And Mandy says, “When it's a ceremonial funeral of state, you can have as many as you want! Y Mandy dice: “¡Cuando se trata de un funeral ceremonial de estado, puedes tener tantos como quieras! The book says so!”' ¡El libro lo dice!”.

‘That solved it?' Louis asked. '¿Eso lo resolvió?' preguntó Luis.

‘That did the trick. Eso funcionó. They ended up with about twenty kids, and damn if they didn't look just like the picture Mandy had found, except maybe for the ruffles and tall hats. Terminaron con unos veinte niños, y maldita sea, se parecían a la foto que Mandy había encontrado, excepto tal vez por los volantes y los sombreros de copa. Mandy took charge, she did. Mandy se hizo cargo, ella lo hizo. Got 'em lined up and gave each of 'em a wildflower – a dandelion or a lady's slipper or a daisy – and off they went. Los puso en fila y les dio a cada uno una flor silvestre, un diente de león, una zapatilla de dama o una margarita, y se fueron. By the Gee, I always thought the country missed a bet when Mandy Symonds never got voted to the United Nations.' He laughed and shook his head. Por Dios, siempre pensé que el país perdió una apuesta cuando Mandy Symonds nunca fue votada para las Naciones Unidas. Él se rió y sacudió la cabeza. ‘Anyway, that was the end of Billy Symonds's bad dreams about the pet sematary. De todos modos, ese fue el final de los malos sueños de Billy Symonds sobre el cementerio de mascotas. He mourned his dog and finished his mourning and got on. Lloró a su perro y terminó su duelo y se subió. Which is what we all do, I guess.' Que es lo que todos hacemos, supongo.

Oh yeah? ¿Oh sí? Louis thought again of Rachel's near-hysteria. Louis volvió a pensar en la casi histeria de Rachel.

‘Your Ellie will get over it,' Norma said, and shifted position. —Tu Ellie lo superará —dijo Norma, y cambió de posición. ‘You must be thinking that death is all we talk about around here, Louis. 'Debes estar pensando que la muerte es todo lo que hablamos por aquí, Louis. Jud and I are getting on, but I hope neither of us has gotten to the gore-crow stage yet—' Jud y yo nos llevamos bien, pero espero que ninguno de los dos haya llegado todavía a la etapa de gore-crow...

‘No, of course not, don't be silly,' Louis said. 'No, por supuesto que no, no seas tonto', dijo Louis.

‘—but it's not such a bad idea to be on nodding acquaintance with it. '... pero no es tan mala idea asentir con la cabeza. These days … I don't know … no one wants to talk about it or think about it, it seems. En estos días… no sé… nadie quiere hablar de eso o pensar en eso, parece. They took it off the TV because they thought it might hurt the children some way – hurt their minds – and people want closed coffins so they don't have to look at the remains or say goodbye … it just seems like people want to forget it.' Lo quitaron de la televisión porque pensaron que podría lastimar a los niños de alguna manera, lastimar sus mentes, y la gente quiere ataúdes cerrados para no tener que mirar los restos o decir adiós... parece que la gente quiere olvidarlo. .'

‘And at the same time they brought in the cable TV with all those movies showing people—' Jud looked at Norma and cleared his throat. Y al mismo tiempo trajeron la televisión por cable con todas esas películas que mostraban a la gente… Jud miró a Norma y se aclaró la garganta. ‘—showing people doing what people usually do with their shades pulled down,' he finished. —Mostrando a gente haciendo lo que suele hacer la gente con las gafas bajadas —terminó—. ‘Queer how things change from one generation to the next, isn't it?' Es curioso cómo cambian las cosas de una generación a la siguiente, ¿no?

‘Yes,' Louis said. -Sí -dijo Luis-. ‘I suppose it is.' Supongo que lo es.

‘Well, we come from a different time,' Jud said, sounding almost apologetic. —Bueno, venimos de una época diferente —dijo Jud, casi como si se disculpara. ‘We was on closer terms with death. Estábamos en términos más cercanos con la muerte. We saw the flu epidemic after the Great War, and mothers dying with child, and children dying of infection and fevers that it seems like doctors just wave a magic wand over these days. Vimos la epidemia de gripe después de la Gran Guerra, y madres muriendo embarazadas, y niños muriendo de infecciones y fiebres que parece que los médicos simplemente agitan una varita mágica en estos días. In the time when me and Norma was young, if you got cancer, why, that was your death-warrant, right there. En la época en que Norma y yo éramos jóvenes, si tenías cáncer, bueno, esa era tu sentencia de muerte, allí mismo. No radiation treatments back in the 1920s! ¡Nada de tratamientos de radiación en la década de 1920! Two wars, murders, suicides …' Dos guerras, asesinatos, suicidios...'

He fell silent for a moment. Se quedó en silencio por un momento.

‘We knew it as a friend and as an enemy,' he said finally. "Lo conocíamos como amigo y como enemigo", dijo finalmente. ‘My brother Pete died of a burst appendix in 1912, back when Taft was President. 'Mi hermano Pete murió de un apéndice reventado en 1912, cuando Taft era presidente. He was just fourteen and he could hit a baseball farther than any kid in town. Solo tenía catorce años y podía batear una pelota de béisbol más lejos que cualquier niño del pueblo. In those days you didn't need to take a course in college to study death, hot-spice or whatever they call it. En aquellos días no era necesario tomar un curso en la universidad para estudiar la muerte, las especias picantes o como lo llamen. In those days it came into the house and said howdy and sometimes it took supper with you and sometimes you could feel it bite your ass.' En aquellos días entraba en la casa y decía hola ya veces cenaba contigo ya veces podías sentir que te mordía el culo.

This time Norma didn't correct him; instead she nodded silently. Esta vez Norma no lo corrigió; en cambio, asintió en silencio.

Louis stood up, stretched. Louis se levantó, se estiró. ‘I have to go,' he said. 'Me tengo que ir', dijo. ‘Big day tomorrow.' Gran día mañana.

‘Yes, the merry-go-round starts up for you tomorrow, don't it?' Jud said, also standing. 'Sí, el tiovivo arranca para ti mañana, ¿no?' dijo Jud, también poniéndose de pie. Jud saw Norma was also trying to get up and gave her a hand. Jud vio que Norma también estaba tratando de levantarse y le dio una mano. She rose with a grimace. Ella se levantó con una mueca.

‘Bad tonight, is it?' Louis asked. 'Mala esta noche, ¿verdad?' preguntó Luis.

‘Not so bad,' she said. 'No tan mal,' dijo ella.

‘Put some heat on it when you go to bed.' Ponle un poco de calor cuando te vayas a la cama.

‘I will,' Norma said. —Lo haré —dijo Norma. ‘I always do. 'Siempre hago. And Louis … don't fret about Ellie. Y Louis... no te preocupes por Ellie. She'll be too busy gettin' to know her new friends this fall to worry much about that old place. Estará demasiado ocupada conociendo a sus nuevos amigos este otoño como para preocuparse mucho por ese viejo lugar. Maybe someday all of 'em'll go up and repaint some of the signs, or pull weeds, or plant flowers. Tal vez algún día todos ellos suban y vuelvan a pintar algunos de los letreros, arranquen las malas hierbas o planten flores. Sometimes they do, when the notion takes them. A veces lo hacen, cuando se les ocurre la idea. And she'll feel better about it. Y ella se sentirá mejor al respecto. She'll start to get that nodding acquaintance.' Empezará a tener ese conocido que asiente con la cabeza.

Not if my wife has anything to say about it. No si mi esposa tiene algo que decir al respecto.

‘Come on over tomorrow night and tell me how it went, if you get the chance,' Jud said. "Ven mañana por la noche y cuéntame cómo te fue, si tienes la oportunidad", dijo Jud. ‘I'll whop you at cribbage.' Te daré una paliza en cribbage.

‘Well, maybe I'll get you drunk first,' Louis said. "Bueno, tal vez te emborrache primero", dijo Louis. ‘Double-skunk you.' 'Doble mofeta.'

‘Doc,' Jud said with great sincerity, ‘the day I get double-skunked at cribbage would be the day I'd let a quack like you treat me.' —Doc —dijo Jud con gran sinceridad—, el día que me den doble zorrillo en cribbage será el día en que dejaré que un charlatán como usted me trate.

He left on their laughter and crossed the road to his own house in the late summer dark. Se fue entre risas y cruzó la calle hacia su propia casa en la oscuridad de finales de verano.

Rachel was sleeping with the baby, curled up on her side of the bed in a fetal, protective position. Rachel estaba durmiendo con el bebé, acurrucada en su lado de la cama en posición fetal y protectora. He supposed she would get over it. Supuso que ella lo superaría. There had been other arguments and times of coldness in their marriage, but this one was surely the worst of the lot. Había habido otras discusiones y momentos de frialdad en su matrimonio, pero este fue sin duda el peor de todos. He felt sad and angry and unhappy all at the same time, wanting to make it up but not sure how, not even sure the first move should come from him. Se sentía triste, enojado e infeliz, todo al mismo tiempo, queriendo reconciliarse pero no estaba seguro de cómo, ni siquiera estaba seguro de que el primer paso fuera de él. It was all so pointless; only a capful of wind somehow blown up to hurricane proportions by a trick of the mind. Todo era tan inútil; sólo una ráfaga de viento que de alguna manera se infló hasta alcanzar proporciones huracanadas por un truco de la mente. Other fights and arguments, yes, sure, but only a few as bitter as the one over Ellie's tears and questions. Otras peleas y discusiones, sí, claro, pero solo unas pocas tan amargas como la que se produjo por las lágrimas y las preguntas de Ellie. He supposed it didn't take a great many blows like that before the marriage sustained some sort of structural damage … and then one day, instead of reading it in a note from a friend (‘Well, I suppose I ought to tell you before you hear it from someone else, Lou; Maggie and I are splitting …') or in the newspaper, it was you. Supuso que no se necesitaban muchos golpes como ese antes de que el matrimonio sufriera algún tipo de daño estructural... y luego, un día, en lugar de leerlo en una nota de un amigo ("Bueno, supongo que debería decírtelo antes lo escuchas de otra persona, Lou; Maggie y yo nos estamos separando...') o en el periódico, fuiste tú.