Sunday, April 6, 2014



I learned the truth from my mother, who confessed it to me, her voice as if coming from another person, something of a ventriloquist in her that evening in the nursing home, years before her mind all but faded away. "Your brother Gabriel came into this world by accident. I tried to terminate the pregnancy but the doctor tricked me." I didn’t know what to say when I heard that confession, as if she were thinking aloud. I reacted in time to get her to continue, make her travel back in time.

She had gone to a doctor in Santiago, where she lived for a couple of years, for an abortion drug; and the doctor, after hearing her out about my Dad’s follies, his inability to be her dream husband, to be a reliable father, gave her some pills. Weeks passed and
still menstruation. Finally she returned to the doctor and he, an odd combination of science and religious faith, talked her into having that child: the pills he had given her, on the contrary, were intended to "fix" the pregnancy.

No wonder always this absence in "Gabriel," this instability, in his jobs, in his marriages. "With him there is no life, nothing suits him," as his last wife had said. No wonder this insatiable longing for other cities, other countries, other views out the window, whether willowy trees or sand dunes, preferably mountains, not beaches, that tedious come and go of waves. 

No wonder he used to have this dream of being somewhere, apparently a foreign country, and walking by he recognized the house: That was it . . . Yes, he had finally found home; and opened the gate, knocked on the door and told the people to get out, “This is my home. This is my home . . . Get out . . . Out, out . . . I don’t care what language you speak. Get out of my home,” and not listening pushed himself in only to find it was like one of those propped-up Hollywood fa├žades, only for camera effect. And then and there he always woke up. 

In any event, after that confession, at least "Gabriel," her only child, had the privilege of knowing what so many others don’t --the illusion that he belonged to this world.