Learn how and when to remove this template message Las ataduras is a short story by Carmen Martin Gaite — that focuses on the life of Alina, an intelligent girl who shares a strong bond with her father, Benjamin, and her maternal grandfather. The story takes place mainly in Ourense , Spain. Alina is his whole world and he scoffs at the stories that his father-in-law tells her which encourage travel and marriage. As Alina matures, and especially after the passing of her grandfather, she sees her friends become adults: Eloy moves to Buenos Aires and others marry and have children. Alina grows restless and yearns to leave the village; she admits to Don Felix that she has lost faith. Later, Alina falls in love with Philippe, becomes pregnant, marries Philippe, and moves to Paris with him where they have two sons, abandoning her dreams of majoring in art in Santiago de Compostela.
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Turn on the light, Herminia" said the old teacher, jumping on the springs of the bed. She turned towards the other side and covered herself with the scrambled clothes. You already know. How could you not know? Who can sleep! Nothing seems to get you down. That damn useless trip, screw it all; if things could be done differently And what?
I told you that yesterday too. I thought you wanted to drop the subject. And what good did it do me? The blood in my veins keeps boiling; it will be bothering me whenever I remember.
He sat on the bed and the woman halfway imitated him, with a sigh. The two figures peered over the railing at their feet, at the reflection across from them, in the closet mirror. The whole room was swimming with them, was sinking, twisted, in that shoddy mirror, dirty from fingers and flies. He looked at himself. He looked in the mirror, under the sole high light bulb, at the halo of his own messy grey-haired hairs, at the shape of the woman, just rising to join him, the image of so many scattered objects, disregarded, so many corners smoothed by use, and he closed his eyes.
Within them a red fire exploded. Alina, young, was shaking her wet hair, laughing, and left the armful of firewood in the kitchen, there, two steps away; her laughter climbed with the fire. Now a red bit of cherries: Alina, in the top of a cherry tree of the orchard, was telling him stories about the boy tending the cattle. Now a red one of sun and butterflies; now a red one of wine.
The woman sank once more in the bed. Come on, sleep a little. Can we turn off the light? Then he opened the shutters of the window. A tenuous clarity was already hanging over the garden that allowed him to distinguish the spots as if it felt them.
A rooster to the other side of the road sang. But tell me how they are going to prosper in that dirty little room smelling of tobacco and paint. Turn it out if you want. Now she saw him withdraw from the window, close shutters and take his jacket, hung on a chair.
She made him turn around in the doorway. Wherever that may be. He had a yawn that it gave him a chill. The house was inhospitable at those hours; his bones felt like they were creaking. And the body was looking for it, nevertheless, to take shelter in some thing. He entered the kitchen: no remains of the red fire that had filled his closed eyes minutes before.
He passed a glance along the undisturbed shelves. All gray, unchanging. The tick-tock of the alarm clock was coming through to the garden by the open window. He got water from the pitcher with a small ladle and it drank it directly.
He sat on the wood bench, rolled a cigarette. There was the gun, always in the corner. He smoked, watching the ground, with his head in his hands.
After that cigarette, another two. It was already seven when he left the back balcony, under a roof of hazels, with the toilet in a corner, and he went down the stairway that lead to the garden. It was garden and orchard, small, without boundaries.
Hydrangeas and dahlias grew two paces from the vegetables, and there was only a rudimentary sand path, just below the row of balconies, in the shade of the hazels. The rest were small paths without order nor concert that linked the sections of crops and flowers. Further back from all this was a meadow where they were trees. Plum trees, pear trees, apple trees, cherry trees and a fig tree, in the middle of everything. The teacher crossed the circle of the trees and by the back door he left from the orchard to the road.
The door of the house lead to the highway, this one to a road that went away from town. He looked again at the little paths. He peered at the tile roof with its smokeless chimney, under the first dawn of a neutral sky where the moon was transparent rigid, already departing.
The entire garden looked to him as if it were a drawing and the house, a lie; peculiar, as if it were not connected to the others of the town. The others were alive and this one was the puppet show house made of tarlatan and cardboard stone. And Herminia, poor Herminia, his only companion a marionette. With his hand in the air he fought it, wanted to make it alive, to drag it, but he was only able to connect the long marionette elucidation. What is young, hurdles ahead. Tomorrow, perhaps.
Sometimes letters are lost. And the nights are long. And the faded marionettes look at each other with astonishment.
The sun was already coming out. To the right, an uneven stone wall, covered with moss and blackberries, separated the path from the vine crops. Up ahead, where the east wall ends, the path branched off and there was a stone cross in the juncture. He did not stop. One of the branches lead to the church, that one could just see beyond the band of eucalyptus trees; but he took the other, the exact width of one oxen cart and this passage had very deep ruts exposed in the ground.
He heard someone call him, from behind, and he turned. A few meters away, near the crossroads, he recognized the priest who was coming up, mounted on his donkey, towards the other road to the parish. He answered him very dreary without coming any closer: "Good morning, Don Felix.
Getting an early jump on the chores. Tell me, at least, when you arrived. Is Paris really big? Too big. I must drop by your house some afternoon, so you can tell me about the girl.
A centipede ran off from underneath, both saw it escape twisting and turning. Alina was not afraid of centipedes, not even when she was very young. She was not scared of any tiny beast. And finally did you get to bring home a grandbaby? Nor would Adelaida either. Smart Alina girl. Thus is life. It seems like just yesterday she was running around here.
How time flies. And before I go. Remember when she recited the verses to the Virgin, up there by that wall, the day of the procession of Snows?
She would have been eight years old. And how well she said them, remember? The route continued down, but opened up to the right in a short steep slope, level at first, then suddenly steeper, slippery from pine needles. Having arrived there, the teacher started to climb the hill slowly, leaving the town behind. He did not look back. He still felt the sun on his back. Further up, the thicker the forest of pines got and very big rocks began to appear, over which sometimes he had to jump not to detour too much.
He looked towards the summit, in a straight line. He still had a long way to go. But he removed them furiously and continued. He did not pay attention to the sweat he began to feel, nor when he slipped, more and more frequently. Tears fell from his face.
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