×

Utilizziamo i cookies per contribuire a migliorare LingQ. Visitando il sito, acconsenti alla nostra politica dei cookie.


image

Pet Samatary, Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 6 (1)

Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 6 (1)

CHAPTER SIX

Louis came back later feeling small. No one asked him to examine Norma Crandall; when he crossed the street (rud, he reminded himself, smiling), the lady had already retired for the night. Jud was a vague silhouette behind the screens of the enclosed porch. There was the comfortable squeak of a rocker on old linoleum. Louis knocked on the screen door, which rattled companionably against its frame. Crandall's cigarette glowed like a large, peaceable firefly in the summer darkness. From a radio, low, came the voice of a Red Sox game, and all of it gave Louis Creed the oddest feeling of coming home.

‘Doc,' Crandall said. ‘I thought that was you.'

‘Hope you meant it about the beer,' Louis said, coming in.

‘Oh, about beer I never lie,' Crandall said. ‘A man who lies about beer makes enemies. Sit down, doc. I put an extra couple on ice, just in case.'

The porch was long and narrow, furnished with rattan chairs and sofas. Louis sank into one and was surprised at how comfortable it was. At his left hand was a tin pail filled with ice-cubes and a few cans of Black Label. He took one.

‘Thank you,' he said, and opened it. The first two swallows hit his throat like a blessing.

‘More'n welcome,' Crandall said. ‘I hope your time here will be a happy one, doc.'

‘Amen,' Louis said.

‘Say! If you want crackers or somethin', I could get some. I got a wedge of rat that's just about ripe.'

‘A wedge of what?'

‘Rat cheese.' Crandall sounded faintly amused.

‘Thanks, but just the beer will do me.'

‘Well then, we'll just let her go.' Crandall belched contentedly.

‘Your wife gone to bed?' Louis asked, wondering why he was opening the door like this.

‘Ayuh. Sometimes she stays up. Sometimes she don't.'

‘Her arthritis quite painful, is it?'

‘You ever see a case that wasn't?' Crandall asked.

Louis shook his head.

‘I guess it's tolerable,' Crandall said. ‘She don't complain much. She's a good old girl, my Norma.' There was a great and simple weight of affection in his voice. Out on Route 15, a tanker truck droned by, one so big and long that for a moment Louis couldn't see his house across the road. Written on the side, just visible in the last light, was the word ORINCO.

‘One hell of a big truck,' Louis commented.

‘Orinco's near Orrington,' Crandall said. ‘Chemical fertilizer fact'ry. They come and go, all right. And the oil tankers and the dump trucks, and the people who go to work in Bangor or Brewer and come home at night.' He shook his head. ‘That's the one thing about Ludlow I don't like anymore. That frigging road. No peace from it. They go all day and night. Wake Norma up sometimes. Hell, wake me up sometimes, and I sleep like a goddam log.'

Louis, who thought this strange Maine landscape almost eerily quiet after the constant roar of Chicago, only nodded his head.

‘One day soon the Arabs will pull the plug and they'll be able to grow African violets right down the yellow line,' Crandall said.

‘You might be right.' Louis tilted his can back and was surprised to find it empty.

Crandall laughed. ‘You just grab yourself one to grow on, doc.'

Louis hesitated and then said, ‘All right, but just one more. I have to be getting back.'

‘Sure you do. Ain't moving a bitch?'

‘It is,' Louis agreed, and then for a time they were silent. The silence was a comfortable one, as if they had known each other for a long time. This was a feeling about which Louis had read in books, but which he had never experienced until now. He felt ashamed of his casual thoughts about free medical advice earlier.

On the road a semi roared by, its running lights twinkling like earthstars.

‘That's one mean road all right,' Crandall repeated thoughtfully, almost vaguely, and then turned to Louis. There was a peculiar little smile on his seamed mouth. He poked a Chesterfield into one corner of the smile and popped a match with his thumbnail. ‘You remember the path there your little girl commented on?'

For a moment Louis didn't; Ellie had commented on a whole catalogue of things before finally collapsing for the night. Then he did remember. That wide mown path winding up through the copse of trees and over the hill.

‘Yes, Ido. You promised to tell her about it sometime.'

‘I did, and I will,' Crandall said. ‘That path goes up into the woods about a mile and a half. The local kids around Route 15 and Middle Drive keep it nice, because they use it. Kids come and go … there's a lot more moving around than there used to be when I was a boy; then you picked a place out and stuck to it. But they seem to tell each other, and every spring a bunch of them mows that path. They keep it nice all the summer long. They know it's up there. Not all of the adults in town know it's there – a lot of them do, of course, but not all, not by a long chalk – but all of the kids do. I'd bet on it.'

‘Know what's there?'

‘The pet cemetery,' Crandall said.

‘Pet cemetery,' Louis repeated, bemused.

‘It's not as odd as it prob'ly sounds,' Crandall said, smoking and rocking. ‘It's the road. It uses up a lot of animals, that road does. Dogs and cats, mostly, but that ain't all. One of those big Orinco trucks run down the pet raccoon the Ryder children used to keep. That was back – Christ, must have been in '73, maybe earlier. Before the state made keeping a 'coon or even a denatured skunk illegal, anyway.'

‘Why did they do that?'

‘Rabies,' Crandall said. ‘Lot of rabies in Maine now. There was a big old St Bernard went rabid downstate a couple of years ago and killed four people. That was a hell of a thing. Dog hadn't had his shots. If those foolish people had seen that dog had had its shots, it never would have happened. But a 'coon or a skunk, you can vaccinate it twice a year and still it don't always take. But that 'coon the Ryder boys had, that was what the oldtimers used to call a “sweet 'coon”. It'd waddle right up to you – gorry, wa'n't he fat! – and lick your face like a dog. Their dad even paid a vet to spay him and declaw him. That must have cost him a country fortune!

‘Ryder, he worked for IBM in Bangor. They went out to Colorado five years ago … or maybe it was six. Funny to think of those two almost old enough to drive. Were they broken up over that 'coon? I guess they were. Matty Ryder cried so long his mom got scared and wanted to take him to the doctor. I s'pose he's over it now, but they never forget. When a good animal gets run down in the road, a kid never forgets.'

Louis's mind turned to Ellie as he had last seen her tonight, fast asleep with Church purring rustily on the foot of the mattress.

‘My daughter's got a cat,' he said. ‘Winston Churchill. We call him Church for short.'

‘Do they climb when he walks?'

‘I beg your pardon?' Louis had no idea what he was talking about.

‘He still got his balls, or has he been fixed?'

‘No,' Louis said. ‘No, he hasn't been fixed.'

In fact there had been some trouble over that back in Chicago. Rachel had wanted to get Church spayed; had even made the appointment with the vet. Louis cancelled it. Even now he wasn't really sure why. It wasn't anything as simple or as stupid as equating his masculinity with that of his daughter's tom, nor even his resentment at the idea that Church would have to be castrated to make sure that the fat housewife next door wouldn't need to be troubled with twisting down the lids of her plastic garbage cans so Church couldn't paw them off and investigate what was inside – both of those things had been part of it, but most of it had been a vague but strong feeling that it would destroy something in Church that he himself valued – that it would put out the go-to-hell look in the cat's green eyes. Finally he had pointed out to Rachel that they were moving to the country, and it shouldn't be a problem. Now here was Judson Crandall, pointing out that part of country living in Ludlow consisted of dealing with Route 15, which was very busy, and asking him if the cat was fixed. Try a little irony, Dr Creed – it's good for your blood.

‘I'd get him fixed,' Crandall said, crushing his smoke between his thumb and forefinger. ‘A fixed cat don't tend to wander as much. But if it's all the time crossing back and forth, its luck will run out, and it'll end up there with the Ryder kids' ‘coon and little Timmy Dessler's cocker spaniel and Missus Bradleigh's parakeet. Not that the parakeet got run over in the road, you understand. It just went feet up one day.'

‘I'll take it under advisement,' Louis said.

‘You do that,' Crandall said, and stood up. ‘How's that beer doing? I believe I'll go in for a slice of old Mr Rat after all.'

‘Beer's gone,' Louis said, also standing, ‘and I ought to go, too. Big day tomorrow.'

‘Starting in at the University?'

Louis nodded. ‘The kids don't come back for two weeks, but by then I ought to know what I'm doing, don't you think?'

‘Yeah, if you don't know where the pills are, I guess you'll have trouble.' Crandall offered his hand and Louis shook it, mindful again of the fact that old bones pained easily. ‘Come on over any evening,' he said. ‘Want you to meet my Norma. Think she'd enjoy you.'

‘I'll do that,' Louis said. ‘Nice to meet you, Jud.'

‘Same goes both ways. You'll settle in. May even stay a while.'

‘I hope we do.'

Louis walked down the crazy-paved path to the shoulder of the road and had to pause while yet another truck, this one followed by a line of five cars headed in the direction of Bucksport, passed by. Then, raising his hand in a short salute, he crossed the street (road, he reminded himself again) and let himself into his new house.

It was quiet with the sounds of sleep. Ellie appeared not to have moved at all, and Gage was still in his crib, sleeping in typical Gage fashion, spreadeagled on his back, a bottle within easy reach. Louis paused there looking in at his son, his heart abruptly filling with a love for the boy so strong that it seemed almost dangerous. He supposed part of it was simply an emotional displacement for all the familiar Chicago places and Chicago faces that were now gone, erased so efficiently by the miles that they might never have been at all. There's a lot more moving around than there used to be … used to be you picked a place out and stuck to it. There was some truth in that.

He went to his son, and because there was no one there, not even Rachel, to see him do it, he kissed his fingers and then pressed them lightly and briefly to Gage's cheek through the bars of the crib.

Gage clucked and turned over on his side.

‘Sleep well, baby,' Louis said.

He undressed quietly and slipped into his half of the double bed that was for now just a mattress on the floor. He felt the strain of the day beginning to pass. Rachel didn't stir. Unpacked boxes bulked ghostly in the room.

Just before sleep, Louis hiked himself up on one elbow and looked out of the window. Their room was at the front of the house, and he could look across the road at the Crandall place. It was too dark to see shapes – on a moonlit night it would not have been – but he could see the cigarette ember over there. Still up, he thought. He'll maybe be up for a long time. The old sleep poorly. Perhaps they stand watch.


Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 6 (1)

CHAPTER SIX

Louis came back later feeling small. Louis volvió más tarde sintiéndose pequeño. No one asked him to examine Norma Crandall; when he crossed the street (rud, he reminded himself, smiling), the lady had already retired for the night. Nadie le pidió que examinara a Norma Crandall; cuando cruzó la calle (rud, se recordó a sí mismo, sonriendo), la señora ya se había retirado a dormir. Jud was a vague silhouette behind the screens of the enclosed porch. Jud era una silueta vaga detrás de las pantallas del porche cerrado. There was the comfortable squeak of a rocker on old linoleum. Se oyó el cómodo chirrido de una mecedora sobre el viejo linóleo. Louis knocked on the screen door, which rattled companionably against its frame. Louis llamó a la puerta mosquitera, que traqueteó amigablemente contra su marco. Crandall's cigarette glowed like a large, peaceable firefly in the summer darkness. El cigarrillo de Crandall brillaba como una luciérnaga grande y pacífica en la oscuridad del verano. From a radio, low, came the voice of a Red Sox game, and all of it gave Louis Creed the oddest feeling of coming home. De una radio, en voz baja, salía la voz de un partido de los Medias Rojas, y todo eso le dio a Louis Creed la extraña sensación de volver a casa.

‘Doc,' Crandall said. —Doctor —dijo Crandall—. ‘I thought that was you.' 'Pensé que eras tu.'

‘Hope you meant it about the beer,' Louis said, coming in. —Espero que hayas hablado en serio sobre la cerveza —dijo Louis, entrando.

‘Oh, about beer I never lie,' Crandall said. "Oh, sobre la cerveza nunca miento", dijo Crandall. ‘A man who lies about beer makes enemies. 'Un hombre que miente sobre la cerveza hace enemigos. Sit down, doc. Siéntese, doctor. I put an extra couple on ice, just in case.' He puesto un par más en hielo, por si acaso.

The porch was long and narrow, furnished with rattan chairs and sofas. El porche era largo y estrecho, amueblado con sillas y sofás de mimbre. Louis sank into one and was surprised at how comfortable it was. Louis se hundió en uno y se sorprendió de lo cómodo que era. At his left hand was a tin pail filled with ice-cubes and a few cans of Black Label. A su mano izquierda había un balde de hojalata lleno de cubitos de hielo y unas cuantas latas de Black Label. He took one. Tomó uno.

‘Thank you,' he said, and opened it. -Gracias -dijo, y lo abrió. The first two swallows hit his throat like a blessing. Los primeros dos tragos golpearon su garganta como una bendición.

‘More'n welcome,' Crandall said. —Más que bienvenido —dijo Crandall—. ‘I hope your time here will be a happy one, doc.' 'Espero que su tiempo aquí sea feliz, doc.'

‘Amen,' Louis said. -Amén -dijo Luis-.

‘Say! '¡Decir! If you want crackers or somethin', I could get some. Si quieres galletas saladas o algo así, podría conseguirlas. I got a wedge of rat that's just about ripe.' Tengo una rodaja de rata que está casi madura.

‘A wedge of what?' ¿Una cuña de qué?

‘Rat cheese.' Crandall sounded faintly amused. Queso de rata. Crandall sonaba levemente divertido.

‘Thanks, but just the beer will do me.' 'Gracias, pero solo la cerveza me bastará.'

‘Well then, we'll just let her go.' Crandall belched contentedly. 'Bueno, entonces, la dejaremos ir.' Crandall eructó satisfecho.

‘Your wife gone to bed?' Louis asked, wondering why he was opening the door like this. ¿Tu mujer se ha ido a la cama? preguntó Louis, preguntándose por qué estaba abriendo la puerta así.

‘Ayuh. 'Sí. Sometimes she stays up. A veces se queda despierta. Sometimes she don't.' A veces no lo hace.

‘Her arthritis quite painful, is it?' 'Su artritis bastante dolorosa, ¿verdad?'

‘You ever see a case that wasn't?' Crandall asked. —¿Has visto alguna vez un caso que no lo fuera? preguntó Crandall.

Louis shook his head. Luis negó con la cabeza.

‘I guess it's tolerable,' Crandall said. "Supongo que es tolerable", dijo Crandall. ‘She don't complain much. No se queja mucho. She's a good old girl, my Norma.' There was a great and simple weight of affection in his voice. Es una buena chica, mi Norma. Había un gran y simple peso de afecto en su voz. Out on Route 15, a tanker truck droned by, one so big and long that for a moment Louis couldn't see his house across the road. En la ruta 15, pasó un camión cisterna, uno tan grande y largo que por un momento Louis no pudo ver su casa al otro lado de la calle. Written on the side, just visible in the last light, was the word ORINCO. Escrito en el costado, apenas visible en la última luz, estaba la palabra ORINCO.

‘One hell of a big truck,' Louis commented. —Un camión increíblemente grande —comentó Louis.

‘Orinco's near Orrington,' Crandall said. —Orinco está cerca de Orrington —dijo Crandall—. ‘Chemical fertilizer fact'ry. Fábrica de fertilizantes químicos. They come and go, all right. Vienen y van, está bien. And the oil tankers and the dump trucks, and the people who go to work in Bangor or Brewer and come home at night.' He shook his head. Y los petroleros y los volquetes, y la gente que va a trabajar a Bangor oa Brewer y vuelve a casa por la noche. Sacudió la cabeza. ‘That's the one thing about Ludlow I don't like anymore. Esa es la única cosa de Ludlow que ya no me gusta. That frigging road. Ese maldito camino. No peace from it. No hay paz de eso. They go all day and night. Van todo el día y la noche. Wake Norma up sometimes. Despierta a Norma de vez en cuando. Hell, wake me up sometimes, and I sleep like a goddam log.' Demonios, despiértame a veces y duermo como un maldito tronco.

Louis, who thought this strange Maine landscape almost eerily quiet after the constant roar of Chicago, only nodded his head. Louis, que pensaba que este extraño paisaje de Maine era casi inquietantemente silencioso después del constante rugido de Chicago, solo asintió con la cabeza.

‘One day soon the Arabs will pull the plug and they'll be able to grow African violets right down the yellow line,' Crandall said. "Un día, pronto, los árabes se desconectarán y podrán cultivar violetas africanas justo debajo de la línea amarilla", dijo Crandall.

‘You might be right.' Louis tilted his can back and was surprised to find it empty. 'Puede que tengas razón.' Louis inclinó su lata hacia atrás y se sorprendió al encontrarla vacía.

Crandall laughed. Crandall se rió. ‘You just grab yourself one to grow on, doc.' 'Tómese uno para crecer, doc'.

Louis hesitated and then said, ‘All right, but just one more. Louis vaciló y luego dijo: 'Está bien, pero solo uno más. I have to be getting back.' Tengo que volver.

‘Sure you do. 'Seguro lo haces. Ain't moving a bitch?' ¿No te estás moviendo una perra?

‘It is,' Louis agreed, and then for a time they were silent. —Lo es —asintió Louis, y luego se quedaron en silencio durante un rato. The silence was a comfortable one, as if they had known each other for a long time. El silencio era cómodo, como si se conocieran desde hacía mucho tiempo. This was a feeling about which Louis had read in books, but which he had never experienced until now. Este era un sentimiento sobre el que Louis había leído en libros, pero que nunca había experimentado hasta ahora. He felt ashamed of his casual thoughts about free medical advice earlier. Se sintió avergonzado de sus pensamientos casuales sobre el consejo médico gratuito anterior.

On the road a semi roared by, its running lights twinkling like earthstars. En la carretera pasó rugiendo un semirremolque, con las luces de posición parpadeando como estrellas terrestres.

‘That's one mean road all right,' Crandall repeated thoughtfully, almost vaguely, and then turned to Louis. —Ese sí que es un camino malo —repitió Crandall pensativo, casi vagamente, y luego se volvió hacia Louis—. There was a peculiar little smile on his seamed mouth. Había una pequeña sonrisa peculiar en su boca cosida. He poked a Chesterfield into one corner of the smile and popped a match with his thumbnail. Metió una Chesterfield en una esquina de la sonrisa y encendió una cerilla con la uña del pulgar. ‘You remember the path there your little girl commented on?' '¿Recuerdas el camino que comentó tu hijita?'

For a moment Louis didn't; Ellie had commented on a whole catalogue of things before finally collapsing for the night. Por un momento Louis no lo hizo; Ellie había comentado todo un catálogo de cosas antes de finalmente colapsar por la noche. Then he did remember. Entonces sí recordó. That wide mown path winding up through the copse of trees and over the hill. Ese amplio camino segado que serpentea a través del bosquecillo de árboles y sobre la colina.

‘Yes, Ido. 'Sí. You promised to tell her about it sometime.' Prometiste contárselo alguna vez.

‘I did, and I will,' Crandall said. "Lo hice, y lo haré", dijo Crandall. ‘That path goes up into the woods about a mile and a half. 'Ese camino sube por el bosque alrededor de una milla y media. The local kids around Route 15 and Middle Drive keep it nice, because they use it. Los niños locales alrededor de la Ruta 15 y Middle Drive lo mantienen agradable, porque lo usan. Kids come and go … there's a lot more moving around than there used to be when I was a boy; then you picked a place out and stuck to it. Los niños van y vienen... Hay mucho más movimiento que cuando yo era niño; luego escogiste un lugar y te apegaste a él. But they seem to tell each other, and every spring a bunch of them mows that path. Pero parece que se lo cuentan, y cada primavera un grupo de ellos corta ese camino. They keep it nice all the summer long. Lo mantienen agradable durante todo el verano. They know it's up there. Saben que está ahí arriba. Not all of the adults in town know it's there – a lot of them do, of course, but not all, not by a long chalk – but all of the kids do. No todos los adultos en la ciudad saben que está allí, muchos sí, por supuesto, pero no todos, ni mucho menos, pero todos los niños sí. I'd bet on it.' Yo apostaría por ello.

‘Know what's there?' '¿Sabes lo que hay ahí?'

‘The pet cemetery,' Crandall said. —El cementerio de mascotas —dijo Crandall—.

‘Pet cemetery,' Louis repeated, bemused. —Cementerio de mascotas —repitió Louis, desconcertado.

‘It's not as odd as it prob'ly sounds,' Crandall said, smoking and rocking. "No es tan extraño como probablemente suena", dijo Crandall, fumando y meciéndose. ‘It's the road. Es el camino. It uses up a lot of animals, that road does. Gasta muchos animales, ese camino lo hace. Dogs and cats, mostly, but that ain't all. Perros y gatos, en su mayoría, pero eso no es todo. One of those big Orinco trucks run down the pet raccoon the Ryder children used to keep. Uno de esos grandes camiones Orinco atropelló al mapache mascota que los niños Ryder solían tener. That was back – Christ, must have been in '73, maybe earlier. Eso fue atrás, Cristo, debe haber sido en el '73, tal vez antes. Before the state made keeping a 'coon or even a denatured skunk illegal, anyway.' Antes de que el estado hiciera ilegal tener un mapache o incluso un zorrillo desnaturalizado.

‘Why did they do that?' '¿Por qué hicieron eso?'

‘Rabies,' Crandall said. —Rabia —dijo Crandall—. ‘Lot of rabies in Maine now. Ahora hay mucha rabia en Maine. There was a big old St Bernard went rabid downstate a couple of years ago and killed four people. Hubo un gran San Bernardo que se volvió rabioso hace un par de años y mató a cuatro personas. That was a hell of a thing. Eso fue una gran cosa. Dog hadn't had his shots. Dog no había tenido sus vacunas. If those foolish people had seen that dog had had its shots, it never would have happened. Si esa gente tonta hubiera visto que ese perro tenía sus vacunas, nunca hubiera sucedido. But a 'coon or a skunk, you can vaccinate it twice a year and still it don't always take. Pero un mapache o un zorrillo, puedes vacunarlo dos veces al año y aun así no siempre toma. But that 'coon the Ryder boys had, that was what the oldtimers used to call a “sweet 'coon”. Pero ese 'coon' que tenían los chicos Ryder, eso era lo que los veteranos solían llamar un 'dulce 'coon'. It'd waddle right up to you – gorry, wa'n't he fat! Se te acercaría, ¡gorry, qué gordo! – and lick your face like a dog. – y lamerte la cara como un perro. Their dad even paid a vet to spay him and declaw him. Su padre incluso le pagó a un veterinario para que lo esterilizara y le quitara las uñas. That must have cost him a country fortune! ¡Eso debe haberle costado una fortuna rural!

‘Ryder, he worked for IBM in Bangor. Ryder, trabajaba para IBM en Bangor. They went out to Colorado five years ago … or maybe it was six. Salieron a Colorado hace cinco años... o tal vez fueron seis. Funny to think of those two almost old enough to drive. Es gracioso pensar en esos dos lo suficientemente mayores para conducir. Were they broken up over that 'coon? ¿Se separaron por ese mapache? I guess they were. Supongo que lo eran. Matty Ryder cried so long his mom got scared and wanted to take him to the doctor. Matty Ryder lloró tanto que su mamá se asustó y quiso llevarlo al médico. I s'pose he's over it now, but they never forget. Supongo que ya lo superó, pero ellos nunca lo olvidan. When a good animal gets run down in the road, a kid never forgets.' Cuando un buen animal es atropellado en el camino, un niño nunca lo olvida.

Louis's mind turned to Ellie as he had last seen her tonight, fast asleep with Church purring rustily on the foot of the mattress. La mente de Louis volvió a Ellie como la había visto por última vez esa noche, profundamente dormida con Church ronroneando oxidadamente al pie del colchón.

‘My daughter's got a cat,' he said. "Mi hija tiene un gato", dijo. ‘Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill. We call him Church for short.' Lo llamamos Iglesia para abreviar.

‘Do they climb when he walks?' '¿Suben cuando él camina?'

‘I beg your pardon?' Louis had no idea what he was talking about. '¿Le ruego me disculpe?' Louis no tenía idea de lo que estaba hablando.

‘He still got his balls, or has he been fixed?' 'Todavía tiene sus pelotas, ¿o lo han arreglado?'

‘No,' Louis said. -No -dijo Luis-. ‘No, he hasn't been fixed.' 'No, él no ha sido reparado.'

In fact there had been some trouble over that back in Chicago. De hecho, hubo algunos problemas por eso en Chicago. Rachel had wanted to get Church spayed; had even made the appointment with the vet. Rachel había querido esterilizar a Church; incluso había hecho la cita con el veterinario. Louis cancelled it. Luis lo canceló. Even now he wasn't really sure why. Incluso ahora no estaba realmente seguro de por qué. It wasn't anything as simple or as stupid as equating his masculinity with that of his daughter's tom, nor even his resentment at the idea that Church would have to be castrated to make sure that the fat housewife next door wouldn't need to be troubled with twisting down the lids of her plastic garbage cans so Church couldn't paw them off and investigate what was inside – both of those things had been part of it, but most of it had been a vague but strong feeling that it would destroy something in Church that he himself valued – that it would put out the go-to-hell look in the cat's green eyes. No era nada tan simple ni tan estúpido como equiparar su masculinidad con la del macho de su hija, ni siquiera su resentimiento ante la idea de que Church tendría que ser castrado para asegurarse de que la gorda ama de casa de al lado no necesitaría serlo. tuvo problemas para bajar las tapas de sus botes de basura de plástico para que Church no pudiera quitarlos e investigar lo que había dentro; ambas cosas habían sido parte de eso, pero la mayor parte había sido un sentimiento vago pero fuerte de que destruiría algo en la Iglesia que él mismo valoraba, que apagaría la mirada de ir al infierno en los ojos verdes del gato. Finally he had pointed out to Rachel that they were moving to the country, and it shouldn't be a problem. Finalmente le había señalado a Rachel que se iban a mudar al campo y que no debería ser un problema. Now here was Judson Crandall, pointing out that part of country living in Ludlow consisted of dealing with Route 15, which was very busy, and asking him if the cat was fixed. Ahora aquí estaba Judson Crandall, señalando que parte de vivir en el campo en Ludlow consistía en lidiar con la ruta 15, que estaba muy transitada, y preguntarle si el gato estaba arreglado. Try a little irony, Dr Creed – it's good for your blood. Pruebe con un poco de ironía, Dr. Creed: es bueno para su sangre.

‘I'd get him fixed,' Crandall said, crushing his smoke between his thumb and forefinger. —Yo lo arreglaría —dijo Crandall, aplastando el cigarrillo entre el pulgar y el índice—. ‘A fixed cat don't tend to wander as much. 'Un gato fijo no tiende a deambular tanto. But if it's all the time crossing back and forth, its luck will run out, and it'll end up there with the Ryder kids' ‘coon and little Timmy Dessler's cocker spaniel and Missus Bradleigh's parakeet. Pero si está todo el tiempo cruzando de un lado a otro, su suerte se acabará, y terminará allí con el mapache de los niños Ryder y el cocker spaniel del pequeño Timmy Dessler y el periquito de la señorita Bradleigh. Not that the parakeet got run over in the road, you understand. No es que el periquito haya sido atropellado en el camino, ¿entiendes? It just went feet up one day.' Simplemente se puso patas arriba un día.

‘I'll take it under advisement,' Louis said. —Lo tomaré en consideración —dijo Louis.

‘You do that,' Crandall said, and stood up. —Haz eso tú —dijo Crandall, y se levantó. ‘How's that beer doing? '¿Cómo está esa cerveza? I believe I'll go in for a slice of old Mr Rat after all.' Después de todo, creo que aceptaré una tajada del viejo Sr. Rata.

‘Beer's gone,' Louis said, also standing, ‘and I ought to go, too. —Se acabó la cerveza —dijo Louis, también poniéndose de pie—, y yo también debería irme. Big day tomorrow.' Gran día mañana.

‘Starting in at the University?' —¿Empezando en la Universidad?

Louis nodded. Luis asintió. ‘The kids don't come back for two weeks, but by then I ought to know what I'm doing, don't you think?' Los niños no vuelven hasta dentro de dos semanas, pero para entonces ya debería saber lo que estoy haciendo, ¿no crees?

‘Yeah, if you don't know where the pills are, I guess you'll have trouble.' Crandall offered his hand and Louis shook it, mindful again of the fact that old bones pained easily. 'Sí, si no sabes dónde están las pastillas, supongo que tendrás problemas'. Crandall le ofreció la mano y Louis la estrechó, recordando de nuevo el hecho de que los huesos viejos dolían con facilidad. ‘Come on over any evening,' he said. —Ven cualquier noche —dijo—. ‘Want you to meet my Norma. 'Quiero que conozcas a mi Norma. Think she'd enjoy you.' Creo que ella disfrutaría de ti.

‘I'll do that,' Louis said. —Yo haré eso —dijo Louis. ‘Nice to meet you, Jud.' Encantado de conocerte, Jud.

‘Same goes both ways. 'Lo mismo ocurre en ambos sentidos. You'll settle in. Te acomodarás. May even stay a while.' Puede que incluso se quede un rato.

‘I hope we do.' Espero que lo hagamos.

Louis walked down the crazy-paved path to the shoulder of the road and had to pause while yet another truck, this one followed by a line of five cars headed in the direction of Bucksport, passed by. Louis caminó por el camino pavimentado hasta el arcén de la carretera y tuvo que detenerse mientras pasaba otro camión, este seguido por una fila de cinco autos que se dirigían en dirección a Bucksport. Then, raising his hand in a short salute, he crossed the street (road, he reminded himself again) and let himself into his new house. Luego, levantando la mano en un breve saludo, cruzó la calle (carretera, se recordó de nuevo) y entró en su nueva casa.

It was quiet with the sounds of sleep. Estaba en silencio con los sonidos del sueño. Ellie appeared not to have moved at all, and Gage was still in his crib, sleeping in typical Gage fashion, spreadeagled on his back, a bottle within easy reach. Ellie parecía no haberse movido en absoluto, y Gage todavía estaba en su cuna, durmiendo a la manera típica de Gage, con los brazos y piernas abiertos sobre su espalda, una botella al alcance de la mano. Louis paused there looking in at his son, his heart abruptly filling with a love for the boy so strong that it seemed almost dangerous. Louis se detuvo allí mirando a su hijo, su corazón se llenó abruptamente de un amor por el niño tan fuerte que parecía casi peligroso. He supposed part of it was simply an emotional displacement for all the familiar Chicago places and Chicago faces that were now gone, erased so efficiently by the miles that they might never have been at all. Supuso que parte de ello era simplemente un desplazamiento emocional por todos los lugares familiares de Chicago y las caras de Chicago que ahora se habían ido, borrados tan eficientemente por las millas que tal vez nunca hubieran existido. There's a lot more moving around than there used to be … used to be you picked a place out and stuck to it. Hay mucho más movimiento de lo que solía haber... solías escoger un lugar y quedarte en él. There was some truth in that. Había algo de verdad en eso.

He went to his son, and because there was no one there, not even Rachel, to see him do it, he kissed his fingers and then pressed them lightly and briefly to Gage's cheek through the bars of the crib. Fue hacia su hijo, y como no había nadie allí, ni siquiera Rachel, para verlo hacerlo, le besó los dedos y luego los presionó suave y brevemente en la mejilla de Gage a través de los barrotes de la cuna.

Gage clucked and turned over on his side. Gage cloqueó y se puso de costado.

‘Sleep well, baby,' Louis said. —Duerme bien, bebé —dijo Louis.

He undressed quietly and slipped into his half of the double bed that was for now just a mattress on the floor. Se desvistió en silencio y se deslizó en su mitad de la cama doble que ahora era solo un colchón en el suelo. He felt the strain of the day beginning to pass. Sintió que la tensión del día empezaba a pasar. Rachel didn't stir. Rachel no se movió. Unpacked boxes bulked ghostly in the room. Cajas desempaquetadas amontonadas fantasmagóricamente en la habitación.

Just before sleep, Louis hiked himself up on one elbow and looked out of the window. Justo antes de dormir, Louis se incorporó sobre un codo y miró por la ventana. Their room was at the front of the house, and he could look across the road at the Crandall place. Su habitación estaba en la parte delantera de la casa, y podía mirar al otro lado de la calle hacia la casa de Crandall. It was too dark to see shapes – on a moonlit night it would not have been – but he could see the cigarette ember over there. Estaba demasiado oscuro para ver formas (en una noche de luna no habría sido así), pero pudo ver la brasa del cigarrillo allí. Still up, he thought. Todavía despierto, pensó. He'll maybe be up for a long time. Tal vez estará despierto por mucho tiempo. The old sleep poorly. Los viejos duermen mal. Perhaps they stand watch. Quizá estén de guardia.