Tuesday, November 16, 2010

During the following days he busied himself destroying all trace of his passage through the world. He stripped the silver shop until all that were left were impersonal objects, he gave his clothes away to the orderlies, and he buried his weapons in the courtyard with the same feeling of penance with which his father had buried the spear that had killed Prudencio Aguilar. He kept only one pistol with one bullet in it. Úrsula did not intervene. The only time she dissuaded him was when he was about to destroy the daguerreotype of Remedios that was kept in the parlor lighted by an eternal lamp. “That picture stopped belonging to you a long time ago,” she told him. “It’s a family relic.” On the eve of the armistice, when no single object that would let him be remembered was left in the house, he took the trunk of poetry to the bakery when Santa Sofía de la Piedad was making ready to light the oven.
“Light it with this,” he told her, handing her the first roll of yellowish papers. “It will, burn better because they’re very old things.”
Santa Sofía de la Piedad, the silent one, the condescending one, the one who never contradicted anyone, not even her own children, had the impression that it was a forbidden act.
“They’re important papers,” she said.
“Nothing of the sort,” the colonel said. “They’re things that a person writes to himself.”
“In that case,” she said, “you burn them, colonel.”

Chapter 9