It was very difficult for Aunt Mariana to understand what life had dealt her. She said “life” to give some kind of name to the mountain of coincidences that had settled on her bit by bit, although the total might have presented itself like a fulminating tragedy, in the exhausted condition she had to contend with each morning.
To all the world, including her mother, almost all her friends, and her mother’s friends – not to mention her mother-in-law, her sisters-in-law, the members of the Rotary Club, Monsignor Figueroa, and even the municipal president – she was a lucky woman. She had married an upright man who was engaged in the common good, the depository of 90 percent of the modernizing plans and activities of social solidarity that Puebla society counted on in the 1940s. She was the famous wife of a famous man, the smiling companion of an illustrious citizen, doe most beloved and respected of all the women who attended mass on Sundays. Her husband was entirely as handsome as Maximilian of Hapsburg, as elegant as Prince Philip, as generous as Saint Francis, and as prudent as the provincial of the Jesuits. As if that were not enough, he was rich like the landowners of yesteryear and a good investor like the Lebanese of today.
Aunt Mariana’s situation was such that she could live gratefully and happily all the days of her life. And it may never have been otherwise if, as only she knew, she had not crossed paths with the immense pain of spying on happiness. Such idiocy could have happened only to her. She who had proposed so much to live in peace, why did she have to let herself get in the way of war? She would never stop regretting it, as though one could regret some-