Death from love – by Juan M.S

Yes my dear”, said my grandfather looking straight at me with his dim grey eyes, “I was a success with girls.” And at that moment I realized how appealing those blue eyes must have been to girls and how difficult must be for my grandfather to end his days alone.

We used to go to dance and let me tell you something: The girl is always feeling the same as you do; the attraction is reciprocal.”I thought this aphorism must be true, coming from a man who had surely had his share of romantic experiences.

We were dancing and we didn’t wear briefs or boxers like nowadays; in those days we wore underpants. So, when in the middle of the dance you got a little excited, it was noticeable, you get it?” I was just seeing an intimate confession coming and was trying by all means to dodge it. I tried to deviate from the train of thought with no success; I said “And what did you use to dance?”

All kinds of music”, he said, settling my inquietude “but always in couple. And the girl would seek to excite you, you know, and then she’d be your accomplice; she would slightly touch your leg with hers and then, as you couldn’t go to sit in that state, she would shield you from all sights thus preventing you from embarrassment.” Now I started to see a point in all this; there was a little of romance in my grandpa’s stories after all; not everything were affairs with married women and girls he’d been with till he got them pregnant. I couldn’t utter any comment anyway; I was just hoping this conversation would unexpectedly reach its end.

Then you went to sit beside your girl and you proposed all kinds of things to her to see what she would accept, but sometimes she came with her mother and you just walked her back to her seat. Here’s another thing you must know: If you don’t take the chance with a girl, she will talk bad about you and no other girl will want to be with you. But if you build a good reputation among them, then you will see them lining up to be with you.” I was definitively taking notes of everything by this time, though I clearly saw the inconvenience of having to yield to the desires of an unapeealing girl lest she should destroy my reputation.

Once a girl died of love for me, literally”, he said and I couldn’t help smiling. I was pondering how distressful that dreadful gift of melting girls’ hearts must be. “Really”, he said, at first smiling too but then trying to take a serious attitude towards the subject. His lips suddenly slackened and his eyes seemed to look with a solemn query on mine. I gave back his look as if assenting to the new tone the conversation had taken and tacitly allowed him to go on.

I barely knew her, but I had invited her to a party and was going to fetch her home. We lived in the countryside and I went to her house on horseback. I was crossing the gate and had to open it and then close it without dismounting; it always took a certain time to make this maneuver. At that moment her mother must have seen me because I saw her coming out to meet me; she started calling out: Rose, Rose and she sent another daughter to go and tell her sister I was there…When I’m drawing near the house I see this girl crying and telling something to her mother; I can also see the pale expression on her mother’s face. I get off the horse and go to see what the matter is. The mother comes rushing to me saying: Luis, Luis, my little darling, my Rose; she’s suffered a heart attack. Days after the incident I learned she’d been looking through the window when I came to the house; she died instantly.”

from Tribulations of People in the World

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