El emigrado / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Emigrant

     I was left alone with my son when the mortiferous plague had devastated the capital of the ruined kingdom. He had not emerged from infancy and he occupied me day and night.

     I conceived and executed the project of settling in another city, more interned and safe. I took the child in my arms and crossed the savannah infected by the effluvia of the salt marsh.

     I had to pass a small river. I found myself forced to dispute the ford with a man of advantaged stature, red hair and long teeth. His face declared desperation.

     I pitied him despite his impertinent attitude and his injurious discourse.

     I was able to take up lodgings at a long-abandoned house and I accommodated the child in a chamber of tapestries and rugs. He was enduring a slow fever and delirium manifested in screams.

     The same inopportune man came to offer me, after a night of anguish, the remedy for my son. He was offering it for an exorbitant price, inwardly mocking my exiguous resources. I found myself in the position of dismissing him and cursing him.

     I spent that day and the next without help of any kind.

     I was keeping a vigil close to dawn, in the hostile night, when I felt, at the door to the street, a series of vehement loud knocks.

     I looked out the window and saw only the street flooded in shadows.

     My son was dying at that moment.

     The man of citrine nature had been the author of the noise.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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