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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The riddle of the library

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Alberto Juarez Vivas
Alberto Juarez Vivas
Alberto Juárez Vivas, 27 septiembre 1964, León Nicaragua. Poeta y escritor. Promotor de la lectura y la escritura creativa en las instituciones educativas del país. Fundador del grupo escritores ESPJO de la ciudad de León. Fundador y director del programa cultural NOCHE INOLVIDABLE en Radio y Televisión. Ha sido parte de proyectos de promoción lectora como facilitador en VISION MUNDIAL CON EL PROYECTO LEO, COMENTO, IMAGINO Y CREO y otras instituciones. Entre sus obras publicadas destacan INFIERNO CLANDESTINO (POESIA) HORA QUEBRADA (POESIA), SOMBRAS DE LA GUADAÑA (TRES NOVELAS CORTAS), OBED Y OTROS CUENTOS (CUENTOS INFANTILES), CONSUMATUM EST (POEMAS EN PROSA, INEDITO) TU CUERPO, GUARIDA DE LOS PAJAROS (POESIA DE AMOR) . Actualmente prepara su próxima novela DEBAJO DEL ESCALPELO y SIN PREVIO AVISO. Ha publicado en la REVISTA EL HILO AZUL, 18 VOCES DE LA NARRATIVA NICARAGUENSE (ANTOLOGIA), ESE VIENTO QUE CANTA y otras antologías dispersas. Sus obras han sido publicadas en revistas, periódicos nacionales y extranjeros, así como en páginas virtuales de referente internacional como ACIC. Actualmente es colaborador de la página virtual TINAJA INTERCULTURAL.

If only this library could speak and tell all the mysterious events that have occurred in it, in its wide and twisted corridors, in the book shelves, where on many occasions it was reflected on the floor, the shadow of someone who was not there. Or the tables and chairs deliberately arranged in a cross, without anyone being able to provide an explanation of what happened.
The truth is that when walking through the corridors, a cold air pinches us, as mosquitoes do, and it feels as if someone were greeting us, accompanying us. There are those who have turned their faces back, after having felt something like a slap on the back.
Juan Bautista, the librarian, defines these events as something that happens when the sun is too suffocating, or as phenomena produced by people’s moods. However, on a certain occasion, I had one of the strangest experiences.
I was at one of the tables in the reading room, concentrating on the horror stories of Edgard Allan Poe. The windows, where the curtains were conspicuous by their absence, gave off a powerful glare that blinded. The wind entered drunk, crashing hard with what was in its path. Suddenly I felt the need to write; I took a white sheet of paper out of my briefcase, I looked for my pen in the pockets of my shirt, in those of my pants, under the table, but I couldn’t find it. I must have left it at home or maybe I lost it somewhere. I was in that impossible search, when suddenly a red-haired girl approached me, giving me a provocative smile and, when she laughed, a dimple appeared on her left cheek that made her look more attractive. She was wearing fairly tight blue pants, showing almost perfect curves, a white blouse and black loafers…
“Is this one for you?” He told me, handing me a black pen.
-Oh thanks! He wouldn’t have bothered,” I told him.
“It’s not a bother, it’s a pleasure,” he replied without taking his eyes off me.
In fractions of a second, my restlessness spread its tentacles across the table. I suggested that he take a seat, which he did instantly. The talk that we had during the afternoon was covered with questions of recognition. I knew then that her name was Matilde, that she really liked reading and writing poems and stories. Frankly, I hardly opened my mouth, because inexplicably, she knew everything about me, from my favorite hobby, to the places I frequented the most on weekends. It worried me a bit. Something was not right in that encounter. However, we went out into the street and I suggested, as if by instinct, that I accompany her to her house. She replied, as if she was expecting my proposal. We walked through all the streets of the city. We turned, we went straight, I greeted one or another friend, until at the end of a lonely street, I spotted the road.
“We’re finally here,” he told me. That’s where my house is.
He pointed to a house across the road. A house surrounded by trees and barbed wire.
“Thank you very much,” he told me.
He crossed the wide street and entered that lonely and mysterious house.
That was the only time I saw her. His sad eyes, his transparent dimples inexplicably disappeared from that environment of books and papers. My visits to the library were more numerous, but my interest was more to see Matilde again. I asked Juan if he knew her, I described her in great detail in case he saw her arrive, but it was no use. The days passed, the weeks, and my obsession to face the beautiful redhead again, grew among my things like a bower. I had to see her soon, something inside me was not right. This unpredictable encounter was becoming an enigma.
After undergoing some severe introspection, I decided to visit her, thinking that maybe she would get sick. I boarded a taxi that dropped me two blocks from his house. I followed slowly. As I got closer, the air was like a scream on my pulse. A dog suddenly came out of some bushes and startled me. I opened a small metal gate, I walked about ten steps until I reached the door of the house. I gently knocked with the fist of my right hand.
-Buenas tardes. Good afternoon, I called very quietly.
A lady in her sixties opened the door for me.
-What can I do for you? he asked in a harsh voice.
—Excuse me, ma’am, a few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting a girl named Matilde, she told me she lived here; Since I haven’t seen her again, I decided to visit her –I explained.
That lady looked at me in a way that is difficult to explain, as if with contempt. She took a handkerchief from one of the pockets of her dress, put it to her face and began to cry. Then he turned around and sat down in one of the armchairs in a small room. I followed her, more bewildered than a priest; he held a bloody knife in one of his hands.
“Ma’am, what’s wrong with you?”
I asked him several times, until he suddenly stopped crying. He remained motionless for a few seconds, got up abruptly and, taking me by the hand, led me to the other end of the room, where several portraits hung. He pointed to a painting that was in the center of the wall, and asked me:
-It’s her? Is that the one you met?
I approached the giant painting. I saw Matilde in a light blue dress with a low neckline, holding a bouquet of flowers in her hands; the dimple in her left cheek, the one I was freaking out over, radiated like a living flame.
-Yes, she is. She’s the one I met in the library.
The lady, for a few moments, saw number four, while she kept her tears in her handkerchief.
“Listen,” she told me, “I am Matilde’s mother.” There’s no way you could have seen her.
“Why, ma’am?” I’m sure it’s her.
“Matilde passed away a year and a half ago,” he told me, looking me straight in the eye. Falling from some stands, he wanted to protect himself with his arms, without realizing that in one of his hands he was carrying a black pen, stabbing him in the chest.
How did I get out of that place? I do not know. If it was hallucination due to my moods, I don’t know either. I only have a black pen, which came to me from who knows where. The rest I still don’t understand.


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