Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Latitudes

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Latitudes

Article excerpt

Two months after the wedding, Juan de Dios received a telegram from my father announcing that Luisa Santiaga was pregnant. The news was passed on to Aracataca and shook the very foundations of the family house, where Mina had not yet recovered from her bitterness, and both she and the Colonel laid down their weapons so that the newlyweds would come back to stay with them. It wasn't easy. After a noble, reasoned resistance that lasted several months, Gabriel Eligio agreed to his wife's giving birth in her parents' house....

That was how the first of seven boys and four girls was born in Aracataca on March 6, 1927, in an unseasonable torrential downpour, while the sky of Taurus rose on the horizon. I was almost strangled by the umbilical cord, because the family midwife, Santos Villero, lost her mastery of her art at the worst moment. But Aunt Francisca lost even more, for she ran to the street door shouting, as if there were a fire, "A boy! It's a boy!" And then, as if sounding the alarm, "A boy who's choking to death!"

There was rum that the family assumed was not for celebrating but for rubbing on the newborn to revive him. …

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