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Pet Samatary, Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (2)

Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (2)

‘It's a bad part!' she cried. ‘It's a really bad part!'

There was no answer for this. She wept. Eventually, he supposed, her tears would stop. It was a necessary first step on the way to making an uneasy peace with a truth that was never going to go away.

He held his daughter and listened to churchbells on Sunday morning, floating across the September fields; and it was some time after her tears had stopped before he realized that, like Church, she had gone to sleep.

He put her up in her bed and then came downstairs to the kitchen, where Rachel was beating cake batter with far too much vigor. He mentioned his surprise that Ellie should just cork off like that in the middle of the morning; it wasn't like her.

‘No,' Rachel said, setting the bowl down on the counter with a decisive thump. ‘It isn't, but I think she was awake most of last night. I heard her tossing around, and Church cried to go out around three. He only does that when she's restless.'

‘Why would she–'

‘Oh, you know why!' Rachel said angrily. ‘That damned pet cemetery is why! It really upset her, Lou. It was the first cemetery of any kind for her, and it just … upset her. I don't think I'll write your friend Jud Crandall any thank-you notes for that little hike.'

All at once he's my friend, Louis thought, bemused and distressed at the same time.

‘Rachel–'

‘And I don't want her going up there again.'

‘Rachel, what Jud said about the path is true.'

‘It's not the path and you know it,' Rachel said. She picked up the bowl again and began beating the cake batter even faster. ‘It's that damned place. It's unhealthy. Kids going up there and tending the graves, keeping the path … fucking morbid is what it is. Whatever disease the kids in this town have got, I don't want Ellie to catch it.'

Louis stared at her, nonplussed. He more than half-suspected that one of the things which had kept their marriage together when it seemed as if each year brought the news that two or three of their friends' marriages had collapsed was their respect of the mystery; the half-grasped but never spoken-of idea that maybe, when you got right down to the place where the cheese binds, there was no such thing as marriage, no such thing as union – each soul stood alone and ultimately defied rationality. That was the mystery. And no matter how well you thought you knew your partner, you occasionally ran into blank walls or fell into pits. And sometimes (rarely, thank God) you ran into a full-fledged pocket of alien strangeness, something like the clear-air turbulence that can buffet an airliner for no reason at all. An attitude or belief which you had never suspected, one so peculiar (at least to you) that it seemed nearly psychotic. And then you trod lightly, if you valued your marriage and your peace of mind; you tried to remember that anger at such discovery was the province of fools who really believed it was possible for one mind to really know another.

‘Honey, it's just a pet cemetery,' he said.

‘The way she was crying in there just now,' Rachel said, gesturing toward the door to his office with a batter-covered spoon, ‘do you think it's just a pet cemetery to her? It's going to leave a scar, Lou. No. She's not going up there anymore. It's not the path, it's the place. Here she is already thinking Church is going to die.'

For a moment Louis had the crazy impression that he was still talking to Ellie; she had simply donned stilts, one of her mother's dresses, and a very clever, very realistic Rachel mask. Even the expression was the same; set and a bit sullen, but wounded beneath.

He groped, because suddenly the issue seemed large to him, not a thing to be simply passed over in deference to that mystery … or that aloneness. He groped because it seemed to him that she was missing something so large it nearly filled the landscape, and you couldn't do that unless you were deliberately closing your eyes to it.

‘Rachel,' he said, ‘Church is going to die.'

She stared at him angrily. ‘That is hardly the point,' she said, enunciating each word carefully, speaking as one might speak to a backward child. ‘Church is not going to die today, or tomorrow—'

‘I tried to tell her that—'

‘Or the day after that, or probably for years—'

‘Honey, we can't be sure of th—'

‘Of course we can!' she shouted. ‘We take good care of him, he's not going to die, no one is going to die around here, and so why do you want to go and get a little girl all upset about something she can't understand until she's much older?'

‘Rachel, listen.'

But Rachel had no intention of listening. She was blazing. ‘It's bad enough to try and cope with a death – a pet or a friend or a relative – when it happens, without turning it into a … a goddam tourist attraction … a F-F-Forest Lawn for a-animals …' Tears were running down her cheeks.

‘Rachel,' he said, and tried to put his hands on her shoulders. She shrugged them off in a quick, hard gesture.

‘Never mind,' She said. ‘It's no good talking to you. You don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about.'

He sighed. ‘I feel like I fell through a hidden trapdoor and into a giant Mixmaster,' he said, hoping for a smile. He got none; only her eyes, locked on his, black and blazing. She was furious, he realized; not just angry, but absolutely furious. ‘Rachel,' he said suddenly, not fully sure what he was going to say until it was out, ‘how did you sleep last night?'

‘Oh boy,' she said scornfully, turning away, but not before he had seen a wounded flicker in her eyes. ‘That's really intelligent. Really intelligent. You never change, Louis. When something isn't going right, blame Rachel, right? Rachel's just having one of her weird emotional reactions.'

‘That's not fair.'

‘No?' She took the bowl of cake batter over to the far counter by the stove and set it down with another bang. She began to grease a cake tin, her lips pressed tightly together.

He said patiently, ‘There's nothing wrong with a child finding out something about death, Rachel. In fact, I'd call it a necessary thing. Ellie's reaction – her crying – that seemed perfectly natural to me. It—'

‘Oh, it sounded natural,' Rachel said, whirling on him again. ‘It sounded very natural to hear her weeping her heart out over her cat which is perfectly fine—'

‘Stop it,' he said. ‘You're not making any sense.'

‘I don't want to discuss it any more.'

‘Yes, but we're going to,' he said, angry himself now. ‘You had your at-bats, how about giving me mine?'

‘She's not going up there any more. And as far as I'm concerned, the subject is closed.'

‘Ellie has known where babies come from since last year,' Louis said deliberately. ‘We got her the Myers book and talked to her about it, do you remember that? We both agreed that children ought to know where they come from.'

‘That has nothing to do with—'

‘It does, though!' he said roughly. ‘When I was talking to her in my office, about Church, I got thinking about my mother, and how she spun me that old cabbage-leaf story when I asked her where women got babies. I've never forgotten that lie. I don't think children ever forget the lies their parents tell them.'

‘Where babies come from has nothing to do with a goddam pet cemetery!' Rachel cried at him, and what her eyes said to him was Talk about the parallels all night and all day, if you want to, Louis; talk until you turn blue, but I won't accept it.

Still, he tried.

‘The pet cemetery upset her because it's a concretization of death. She knows about babies; that place up in the woods just made her want to know something about the other end of things. It's perfectly natural. In fact, I think it's the most natural thing in the w—'

‘Will you stop saying that!' She screamed suddenly – really screamed, and Louis recoiled, startled. His elbow struck the open bag of flour on the counter. It tumbled off the edge and struck the floor, splitting open. Flour puffed up in a dry white cloud.

‘Oh, fuck,' he said dismally.

In an upstairs room, Gage began to cry.

‘That's nice,' she said, also crying now. ‘You woke the baby up, too. Thanks for a nice, quiet, stressless Sunday morning.'

She started by him and Louis put a hand on her arm, angry now in spite of himself. After all, she was the one who had wakened Gage. She had wakened him yelling like that. ‘Let me ask you something,' he said, ‘because I know that anything – literally anything – can happen to physical beings. As a doctor I know that. Do you want to be the one to explain to her what happened if her cat gets distemper or leukemia – cats are very prone to leukemia, you know – or if he gets run over in that road? Do you want to be the one, Rachel?'

‘Let me go,' she nearly hissed. The anger in her voice, however, was overmatched by the hurt and bewildered terror in her eyes: I don't want to talk about this, Louis, and you can't make me, that look said. ‘Let me go, I want to get Gage before he falls out of his cr—'

‘Because maybe you ought to be the one,' he said. ‘You can tell her we don't talk about it, nice people don't talk about it, they just bury it – oops! but don't say buried, you'll give her a complex.'

‘I hate you!' Rachel sobbed, and tore away from him.

Then he was of course sorry and it was of course too late.

‘Rachel—'

She pushed by him roughly, crying harder. ‘Leave me alone. You've done enough.' She paused in the kitchen doorway, turning toward him, the tears coursing down her cheeks. ‘I don't want this discussed in front of Ellie any more, Lou. I mean it. There's nothing natural about death. Nothing. You as a doctor should know that.'

She whirled and was gone, leaving Louis in the empty kitchen, which still vibrated with their argument. At last he went to the pantry to get the broom. As he swept he reflected on the last thing she had said, and on the enormity of this difference of opinion, which had gone undiscovered for so long. Because, as a doctor, he knew that death was, except perhaps for childbirth, the most natural thing in the world. Taxes were not so sure; human conflicts were not; the conflicts of society were not; boom and bust were not. In the end there was only the clock, and the markers, which became eroded and nameless in the passage of time. Even sea turtles and the giant sequoias had to buy out someday.

‘Zelda,' he said aloud. ‘Christ, that must have been bad for her.'

The question was, did he just let it ride, or try to do something about it?

He tilted the dustpan over the wastebasket and flour slid out with a soft foom, powdering the cast-out cartons and used-up cans.


Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (2)

‘It's a bad part!' she cried. '¡Es una parte mala!' ella lloró. ‘It's a really bad part!' '¡Es una parte realmente mala!'

There was no answer for this. No hubo respuesta para esto. She wept. Ella lloró. Eventually, he supposed, her tears would stop. Eventualmente, supuso, sus lágrimas se detendrían. It was a necessary first step on the way to making an uneasy peace with a truth that was never going to go away. Era un primer paso necesario en el camino para hacer las paces con una verdad que nunca iba a desaparecer.

He held his daughter and listened to churchbells on Sunday morning, floating across the September fields; and it was some time after her tears had stopped before he realized that, like Church, she had gone to sleep. Abrazó a su hija y escuchó las campanas de la iglesia el domingo por la mañana, flotando sobre los campos de septiembre; y pasó algún tiempo después de que sus lágrimas se detuvieran antes de que él se diera cuenta de que, al igual que Church, ella se había ido a dormir.

He put her up in her bed and then came downstairs to the kitchen, where Rachel was beating cake batter with far too much vigor. La acostó en su cama y luego bajó a la cocina, donde Rachel estaba batiendo la masa para pasteles con demasiado vigor. He mentioned his surprise that Ellie should just cork off like that in the middle of the morning; it wasn't like her. Mencionó su sorpresa de que Ellie simplemente se fuera de ese modo a la mitad de la mañana; no era como ella.

‘No,' Rachel said, setting the bowl down on the counter with a decisive thump. —No —dijo Rachel, dejando el cuenco sobre la encimera con un golpe decisivo. ‘It isn't, but I think she was awake most of last night. —No lo es, pero creo que estuvo despierta la mayor parte de la noche anterior. I heard her tossing around, and Church cried to go out around three. La escuché dar vueltas, y Church gritó para salir alrededor de las tres. He only does that when she's restless.' Solo hace eso cuando ella está inquieta.

‘Why would she–' ¿Por qué ella...?

‘Oh, you know why!' Rachel said angrily. '¡Oh, ya sabes por qué!' Rachel dijo enojada. ‘That damned pet cemetery is why! ¡Ese maldito cementerio de mascotas es la razón! It really upset her, Lou. Realmente la molestó, Lou. It was the first cemetery of any kind for her, and it just … upset her. Era el primer cementerio de cualquier tipo para ella, y simplemente... la molestó. I don't think I'll write your friend Jud Crandall any thank-you notes for that little hike.' No creo que le escriba a tu amigo Jud Crandall ninguna nota de agradecimiento por esa pequeña caminata.

All at once he's my friend, Louis thought, bemused and distressed at the same time. De repente es mi amigo, pensó Louis, desconcertado y angustiado al mismo tiempo.

‘Rachel–' 'Raquel…'

‘And I don't want her going up there again.' Y no quiero que vuelva a subir allí.

‘Rachel, what Jud said about the path is true.' —Rachel, lo que dijo Jud sobre el camino es cierto.

‘It's not the path and you know it,' Rachel said. —Ese no es el camino y lo sabes —dijo Rachel. She picked up the bowl again and began beating the cake batter even faster. Volvió a tomar el tazón y comenzó a batir la masa del pastel aún más rápido. ‘It's that damned place. Es ese maldito lugar. It's unhealthy. No es sano. Kids going up there and tending the graves, keeping the path … fucking morbid is what it is. Niños subiendo allí y cuidando las tumbas, siguiendo el camino... jodidamente morboso es lo que es. Whatever disease the kids in this town have got, I don't want Ellie to catch it.' Sea cual sea la enfermedad que tengan los niños de este pueblo, no quiero que Ellie se contagie.

Louis stared at her, nonplussed. Louis la miró fijamente, desconcertado. He more than half-suspected that one of the things which had kept their marriage together when it seemed as if each year brought the news that two or three of their friends' marriages had collapsed was their respect of the mystery; the half-grasped but never spoken-of idea that maybe, when you got right down to the place where the cheese binds, there was no such thing as marriage, no such thing as union – each soul stood alone and ultimately defied rationality. Más que medio sospechaba que una de las cosas que había mantenido unido su matrimonio cuando parecía que cada año traía la noticia de que los matrimonios de dos o tres de sus amigos se habían derrumbado era su respeto por el misterio; la idea asimilada a medias pero de la que nunca se habló de que tal vez, cuando se llegaba al lugar donde se une el queso, no existía el matrimonio, no existía la unión: cada alma estaba sola y, en última instancia, desafiaba la racionalidad. That was the mystery. Ese era el misterio. And no matter how well you thought you knew your partner, you occasionally ran into blank walls or fell into pits. Y no importa qué tan bien pensabas que conocías a tu pareja, de vez en cuando te topabas con paredes en blanco o caías en pozos. And sometimes (rarely, thank God) you ran into a full-fledged pocket of alien strangeness, something like the clear-air turbulence that can buffet an airliner for no reason at all. Y a veces (rara vez, gracias a Dios) te topabas con un verdadero foco de extrañeza alienígena, algo así como la turbulencia del aire despejado que puede azotar un avión sin ningún motivo. An attitude or belief which you had never suspected, one so peculiar (at least to you) that it seemed nearly psychotic. Una actitud o creencia que nunca habías sospechado, tan peculiar (al menos para ti) que parecía casi psicótica. And then you trod lightly, if you valued your marriage and your peace of mind; you tried to remember that anger at such discovery was the province of fools who really believed it was possible for one mind to really know another. Y entonces andabas a la ligera, si valorabas tu matrimonio y tu tranquilidad; trataste de recordar que la ira ante tal descubrimiento era la provincia de los tontos que realmente creían que era posible que una mente realmente conociera a otra.

‘Honey, it's just a pet cemetery,' he said. "Cariño, es solo un cementerio de mascotas", dijo.

‘The way she was crying in there just now,' Rachel said, gesturing toward the door to his office with a batter-covered spoon, ‘do you think it's just a pet cemetery to her? 'La forma en que estaba llorando ahí adentro hace un momento', dijo Rachel, señalando la puerta de su oficina con una cuchara cubierta de masa, '¿crees que es solo un cementerio de mascotas para ella? It's going to leave a scar, Lou. Va a dejar una cicatriz, Lou. No. No. She's not going up there anymore. Ella ya no va a subir allí. It's not the path, it's the place. No es el camino, es el lugar. Here she is already thinking Church is going to die.' Aquí ya está pensando que Church va a morir.

For a moment Louis had the crazy impression that he was still talking to Ellie; she had simply donned stilts, one of her mother's dresses, and a very clever, very realistic Rachel mask. Por un momento, Louis tuvo la loca impresión de que todavía estaba hablando con Ellie; simplemente se había puesto unos zancos, uno de los vestidos de su madre y una máscara de Rachel muy inteligente y muy realista. Even the expression was the same; set and a bit sullen, but wounded beneath. Incluso la expresión era la misma; firme y un poco hosco, pero herido por dentro.

He groped, because suddenly the issue seemed large to him, not a thing to be simply passed over in deference to that mystery … or that aloneness. Tanteó, porque de repente el tema le pareció grande, algo que no se podía pasar por alto en deferencia a ese misterio... oa esa soledad. He groped because it seemed to him that she was missing something so large it nearly filled the landscape, and you couldn't do that unless you were deliberately closing your eyes to it. Tanteó porque le parecía que a ella le faltaba algo tan grande que casi llenaba el paisaje, y no podías hacer eso a menos que cerraras los ojos deliberadamente.

‘Rachel,' he said, ‘Church is going to die.' 'Rachel', dijo, 'Church va a morir'.

She stared at him angrily. Ella lo miró con enojo. ‘That is hardly the point,' she said, enunciating each word carefully, speaking as one might speak to a backward child. —Ese no es el punto —dijo ella, pronunciando cada palabra con cuidado, hablando como quien le habla a un niño retrasado—. ‘Church is not going to die today, or tomorrow—' 'La iglesia no va a morir hoy, ni mañana...'

‘I tried to tell her that—' Traté de decirle que...

‘Or the day after that, or probably for years—' 'O el día después de eso, o probablemente durante años...'

‘Honey, we can't be sure of th—' 'Cariño, no podemos estar seguros de...'

‘Of course we can!' she shouted. '¡Por supuesto que podemos!' ella gritó. ‘We take good care of him, he's not going to die, no one is going to die around here, and so why do you want to go and get a little girl all upset about something she can't understand until she's much older?' 'Lo cuidamos bien, él no va a morir, nadie va a morir por aquí, así que ¿por qué quieres ir y molestar a una niña por algo que no puede entender hasta que sea mucho mayor? '

‘Rachel, listen.' —Rachel, escucha.

But Rachel had no intention of listening. Pero Rachel no tenía intención de escuchar. She was blazing. Ella estaba ardiendo. ‘It's bad enough to try and cope with a death – a pet or a friend or a relative – when it happens, without turning it into a … a goddam tourist attraction … a F-F-Forest Lawn for a-animals …' Tears were running down her cheeks. 'Ya es bastante malo tratar de hacer frente a una muerte, una mascota, un amigo o un pariente, cuando sucede, sin convertirla en una... una maldita atracción turística... un FF-Forest Lawn para animales...' Las lágrimas corrían por sus mejillas.

‘Rachel,' he said, and tried to put his hands on her shoulders. —Rachel —dijo, y trató de ponerle las manos sobre los hombros. She shrugged them off in a quick, hard gesture. Se encogió de hombros con un gesto rápido y duro.

‘Never mind,' She said. 'No importa,' dijo ella. ‘It's no good talking to you. No es bueno hablar contigo. You don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about.' No tienes la menor idea de lo que estoy hablando.

He sighed. Él suspiró. ‘I feel like I fell through a hidden trapdoor and into a giant Mixmaster,' he said, hoping for a smile. "Siento como si hubiera caído a través de una trampilla oculta y dentro de un Mixmaster gigante", dijo, esperando una sonrisa. He got none; only her eyes, locked on his, black and blazing. No obtuvo ninguno; sólo sus ojos, fijos en los de él, negros y resplandecientes. She was furious, he realized; not just angry, but absolutely furious. Estaba furiosa, se dio cuenta; no solo enojado, sino absolutamente furioso. ‘Rachel,' he said suddenly, not fully sure what he was going to say until it was out, ‘how did you sleep last night?' 'Rachel', dijo de repente, sin estar completamente seguro de lo que iba a decir hasta que terminó, '¿cómo dormiste anoche?'

‘Oh boy,' she said scornfully, turning away, but not before he had seen a wounded flicker in her eyes. —Oh, chico —dijo ella con desdén, dándose la vuelta, pero no antes de que él hubiera visto un destello herido en sus ojos—. ‘That's really intelligent. Eso es muy inteligente. Really intelligent. Realmente inteligente You never change, Louis. Nunca cambias, Luis. When something isn't going right, blame Rachel, right? Cuando algo no va bien, culpa a Rachel, ¿verdad? Rachel's just having one of her weird emotional reactions.' Rachel solo está teniendo una de sus extrañas reacciones emocionales.

‘That's not fair.' 'No es justo.'

‘No?' She took the bowl of cake batter over to the far counter by the stove and set it down with another bang. '¿No?' Llevó el cuenco con la masa para pasteles al mostrador más alejado junto a la estufa y lo dejó con otro golpe. She began to grease a cake tin, her lips pressed tightly together. Empezó a engrasar un molde de pastel, apretando los labios con fuerza.

He said patiently, ‘There's nothing wrong with a child finding out something about death, Rachel. Dijo con paciencia: —No tiene nada de malo que un niño descubra algo sobre la muerte, Rachel. In fact, I'd call it a necessary thing. De hecho, yo lo llamaría algo necesario. Ellie's reaction – her crying – that seemed perfectly natural to me. La reacción de Ellie, su llanto, me pareció perfectamente natural. It—' Eso-'

‘Oh, it sounded natural,' Rachel said, whirling on him again. —Oh, sonaba natural —dijo Rachel, girándose hacia él de nuevo. ‘It sounded very natural to hear her weeping her heart out over her cat which is perfectly fine—' "Sonaba muy natural escucharla llorar a carcajadas por su gato, lo cual está perfectamente bien..."

‘Stop it,' he said. 'Basta', dijo. ‘You're not making any sense.' No tienes ningún sentido.

‘I don't want to discuss it any more.' No quiero hablar más de eso.

‘Yes, but we're going to,' he said, angry himself now. 'Sí, pero vamos a hacerlo', dijo, enojado él mismo ahora. ‘You had your at-bats, how about giving me mine?' 'Tuviste tus turnos al bate, ¿qué tal si me das el mío?'

‘She's not going up there any more. Ya no va a subir allí. And as far as I'm concerned, the subject is closed.' Y por lo que a mí respecta, el tema está cerrado.

‘Ellie has known where babies come from since last year,' Louis said deliberately. 'Ellie sabe de dónde vienen los bebés desde el año pasado', dijo Louis deliberadamente. ‘We got her the Myers book and talked to her about it, do you remember that? Le conseguimos el libro de Myers y hablamos con ella al respecto, ¿te acuerdas de eso? We both agreed that children ought to know where they come from.' Ambos coincidimos en que los niños deben saber de dónde vienen.

‘That has nothing to do with—' 'Eso no tiene nada que ver con-'

‘It does, though!' he said roughly. '¡Aunque sí!' dijo bruscamente. ‘When I was talking to her in my office, about Church, I got thinking about my mother, and how she spun me that old cabbage-leaf story when I asked her where women got babies. 'Cuando estaba hablando con ella en mi oficina, sobre la Iglesia, me puse a pensar en mi madre, y en cómo me contó esa vieja historia de la hoja de col cuando le pregunté dónde conseguían los bebés las mujeres. I've never forgotten that lie. Nunca he olvidado esa mentira. I don't think children ever forget the lies their parents tell them.' No creo que los niños olviden nunca las mentiras que les cuentan sus padres.

‘Where babies come from has nothing to do with a goddam pet cemetery!' Rachel cried at him, and what her eyes said to him was Talk about the parallels all night and all day, if you want to, Louis; talk until you turn blue, but I won't accept it. ¡El lugar de donde vienen los bebés no tiene nada que ver con un maldito cementerio de mascotas! Rachel le gritó, y lo que sus ojos le dijeron fue: Habla de los paralelos toda la noche y todo el día, si quieres, Louis; habla hasta que te pongas azul, pero no lo aceptaré.

Still, he tried. Aun así, lo intentó.

‘The pet cemetery upset her because it's a concretization of death. “El cementerio de mascotas la molestó porque es una concreción de la muerte. She knows about babies; that place up in the woods just made her want to know something about the other end of things. Ella sabe de bebés; ese lugar en el bosque solo la hizo querer saber algo sobre el otro extremo de las cosas. It's perfectly natural. Es perfectamente natural. In fact, I think it's the most natural thing in the w—' De hecho, creo que es lo más natural del mundo...

‘Will you stop saying that!' She screamed suddenly – really screamed, and Louis recoiled, startled. '¡Puedes dejar de decir eso!' Ella gritó de repente, realmente gritó, y Louis retrocedió, sobresaltado. His elbow struck the open bag of flour on the counter. Su codo golpeó la bolsa abierta de harina en el mostrador. It tumbled off the edge and struck the floor, splitting open. Cayó por el borde y golpeó el suelo, abriéndose. Flour puffed up in a dry white cloud. Harina hinchada en una nube blanca y seca.

‘Oh, fuck,' he said dismally. 'Oh, mierda,' dijo tristemente.

In an upstairs room, Gage began to cry. En una habitación de arriba, Gage comenzó a llorar.

‘That's nice,' she said, also crying now. 'Eso es lindo', dijo, también llorando ahora. ‘You woke the baby up, too. Tú también despertaste al bebé. Thanks for a nice, quiet, stressless Sunday morning.' Gracias por una mañana de domingo agradable, tranquila y sin estrés.

She started by him and Louis put a hand on her arm, angry now in spite of himself. Pasó junto a él y Louis le puso una mano en el brazo, enojado ahora a pesar de sí mismo. After all, she was the one who had wakened Gage. Después de todo, ella fue quien despertó a Gage. She had wakened him yelling like that. Ella lo había despertado gritando así. ‘Let me ask you something,' he said, ‘because I know that anything – literally anything – can happen to physical beings. 'Déjame preguntarte algo', dijo, 'porque sé que cualquier cosa, literalmente cualquier cosa, les puede pasar a los seres físicos. As a doctor I know that. Como médico lo sé. Do you want to be the one to explain to her what happened if her cat gets distemper or leukemia – cats are very prone to leukemia, you know – or if he gets run over in that road? ¿Quieres ser tú quien le explique qué pasó si a su gato le da moquillo o leucemia (los gatos son muy propensos a la leucemia, ya sabes) o si lo atropellan en ese camino? Do you want to be the one, Rachel?' ¿Quieres ser tú, Rachel?

‘Let me go,' she nearly hissed. —Déjame ir —casi siseó. The anger in her voice, however, was overmatched by the hurt and bewildered terror in her eyes: I don't want to talk about this, Louis, and you can't make me, that look said. La ira en su voz, sin embargo, fue superada por el dolor y el terror desconcertado en sus ojos: No quiero hablar de esto, Louis, y no puedes obligarme, decía esa mirada. ‘Let me go, I want to get Gage before he falls out of his cr—' 'Déjame ir, quiero atrapar a Gage antes de que se caiga de su cr—'

‘Because maybe you ought to be the one,' he said. —Porque tal vez deberías ser tú —dijo—. ‘You can tell her we don't talk about it, nice people don't talk about it, they just bury it – oops! 'Puedes decirle que no hablamos de eso, la gente amable no habla de eso, simplemente lo entierran, ¡ups! but don't say buried, you'll give her a complex.' pero no digas enterrada, la vas a acomplejar.'

‘I hate you!' Rachel sobbed, and tore away from him. '¡Te odio!' Rachel sollozó y se apartó de él.

Then he was of course sorry and it was of course too late. Entonces, por supuesto, se arrepintió y, por supuesto, ya era demasiado tarde.

‘Rachel—' 'Raquel...'

She pushed by him roughly, crying harder. Ella lo empujó bruscamente, llorando más fuerte. ‘Leave me alone. 'Déjame en paz. You've done enough.' She paused in the kitchen doorway, turning toward him, the tears coursing down her cheeks. Has hecho suficiente. Se detuvo en la puerta de la cocina, girándose hacia él, las lágrimas corrían por sus mejillas. ‘I don't want this discussed in front of Ellie any more, Lou. Lou, no quiero que se hable más de esto delante de Ellie. I mean it. Lo digo en serio. There's nothing natural about death. No hay nada natural en la muerte. Nothing. Nada. You as a doctor should know that.' Usted como médico debe saber eso.

She whirled and was gone, leaving Louis in the empty kitchen, which still vibrated with their argument. Dio media vuelta y se fue, dejando a Louis en la cocina vacía, que todavía vibraba con su discusión. At last he went to the pantry to get the broom. Por fin fue a la despensa a buscar la escoba. As he swept he reflected on the last thing she had said, and on the enormity of this difference of opinion, which had gone undiscovered for so long. Mientras barría, reflexionó sobre lo último que ella había dicho y sobre la enormidad de esta diferencia de opinión, que no había sido descubierta durante tanto tiempo. Because, as a doctor, he knew that death was, except perhaps for childbirth, the most natural thing in the world. Porque, como médico, sabía que la muerte era, salvo quizá el parto, lo más natural del mundo. Taxes were not so sure; human conflicts were not; the conflicts of society were not; boom and bust were not. Los impuestos no estaban tan seguros; los conflictos humanos no lo eran; los conflictos de la sociedad no lo eran; el auge y la caída no lo fueron. In the end there was only the clock, and the markers, which became eroded and nameless in the passage of time. Al final solo quedó el reloj, y los mojones, que se fueron erosionando y sin nombre con el paso del tiempo. Even sea turtles and the giant sequoias had to buy out someday. Incluso las tortugas marinas y las secuoyas gigantes tuvieron que comprarlas algún día.

‘Zelda,' he said aloud. 'Zelda', dijo en voz alta. ‘Christ, that must have been bad for her.' 'Cristo, eso debe haber sido malo para ella.'

The question was, did he just let it ride, or try to do something about it? La pregunta era, ¿simplemente lo dejó pasar o trató de hacer algo al respecto?

He tilted the dustpan over the wastebasket and flour slid out with a soft foom, powdering the cast-out cartons and used-up cans. Inclinó el recogedor sobre la papelera y la harina se deslizó con un suave espumante, pulverizando las cajas de cartón y las latas usadas.