The painting - María del Pilar Jorge

Texto en español en Breves no tan breves: "El cuadro".

Traducido al inglés por María del Pilar Jorge y Héctor Ranea

When she lifted up the phone, she wasn’t expecting the news: Aunt Olga had died. A vacant look darkened her eyes as she recalled the old woman’s face.
Anna was the only relative of Olga still alive, and the lawyer had just told her that now her duty was to deal with the inheritance proceedings, but she rather don’t, because that meant going back to her Aunt’s house. She still remembers the marble staircase, the gallery, closed by a long wall of stained glass in which the drawings remained eternal, and the old fireplace that was rarely lit.
Olga’s husband had been an archaeologist and, since he had died, the woman kept every one of his relics: paintings, clay figurines, Etruscan vessels and broken vases. During endless nights, her Aunt used to tell her horrific stories about the secrets and wonders locked up in each of those museum-pieces.
When Anna grew up, she rarely visited her Aunt, but for a long time, the stories about magic rites and curses buried in old pots, haunted her nightmares. Her psychologist explained her that there was nothing strange in those dreams. After all, those stories had been made up to prevent little Anna from breaking the valuable objects that decorated the house. Finally, she had overcome her fears.
As she opened the door of Aunt Olga residence, a whiff of closed house reached her nostrils. She switched on all the lights, and the shadows immediately hid in the corners of the room. Looking at the old furniture, she could feel the flavor of nostalgia flooding her chest.
In the kitchen, Felix, the unfortunate cat that she had tortured years go, was huddled in a corner. She poured water into the pet’s trough and some food on his plate. The cat approached her suspiciously at first, and she stroked gently the little beast, trying to rescue her childhood in that caress.
After a slight hesitation, remnant of old fears, she went into the lady’s bedroom. A strange feeling made her tremble: It still was there. Her eyes gazed the painting of the flowery mountain and the lonely pagoda. Thanks to that picture, little Anna had been scolded very often by her aunt ¡Never, ever touch it!!
But now it wasn’t the time to think about it: She needed the identity card and other Aunt Olga’s documents to make the arrangements for the burial. She had to find them.
An irresistible impulse made her to do it: Her hand touched the canvas. Nothing happened. The tiny landscape looked worn out and dull. “To think she was mad at me for this...?”
She felt a slight dizziness and closed her eyes just a split second. A sudden breeze surprised her. She opened her eyes widened and in alarm: The wind whipped her hair and shook her skirt. The pagoda twinkled in the sun, in the valley far below. It seemed totally absurd, but she was there in that wild place that had disturbed her dreams for so many years.
She tried to run away, and go back home, she frantically looked for the entrance or the exit to that place, or whatever it could be named. But she only found rocks, grass and wildflowers around her. Resting on a rock, she could see a painting.
It was the painting of a house. It was the painting of Aunt Olga’s house.

María del Pilar Jorge

2 comentarios:

Patricia dijo...

Me encantó María del Pilar, enhorabuena por la traducción y este nuevo sitio, el cuento lo merece.

María del Pilar dijo...

Gracias, Patricia, para mí es un honor que mi cuento se encuentre en compañía de los de tan buenos escritores.