Los celos del fantasma / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Jealousy of the Phantasm

I was barely twenty years old when I finished my studies in an ancient university. I have adopted the solemnity of its cloisters.
     I returned to the town of my birth, situated amid a luxuriant vegetation, upon an inundated district.
     I fell in love suddenly with a candid girl, of soft epidermis.
     I discovered her sitting on a stone bench, beneath the flaccid leaves of a tree lashed by the drizzle. She had arrived furtively, wrapped up in the rags of the fog.
     She disappeared from my side at the arrival of spring. I have my doubts whether she died from the palustral region’s insidious diseases or if it was only an aerial phantasm.
     Wanting to die, I have left my nebulous island in search of danger. I suffered the uniformity of the sea in the shadow of the arrogant sails. I have seen without passion or interest the happiness of meridional ports. I wanted to attend the mourning of irreconcilable countries, shackled for centuries amid the ruins of an august civilization.
     I have joined the most arrogant army. I have seen the Byzantine sign of the crescent on the red cloth of the pavilions and on the turban of the fatalist warriors.
     A despotic pasha was ruling that throng. He took with him the women of his harem, subject to a perpetual vigilance. One of them accompanied the sound of the guzla with a monotonous song. She would have satisfied my feeling for the candid girl.
     I determined to abduct her in the tumult of the first armed conflict and hide her very far from her tyrant, in my nebulous island. Her affection would have cured me of the old fantastical passion.
     I witnessed the army’s disaster in the first battle. The enemy officers gallantly appeared from the heart of a cloud of smoke.
     I was visiting the sites of greatest danger with my hands in my pocket, dissembling my interest.
     I headed, on horseback, to where the woman awaited me. She had agreed to save herself with me when the crisis of defeat arrived.
     The vanquished had been desperate to save the captives. I saw them dying, rolling in their own blood, wounded with a shot to the temple.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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