Jorge Luis Borges
The fourteenth of January of 1922, Emma Zunz, when returning from the weave factory Tarbuch and Loewenthal, at heart found of zaguánuna letter, dated in the Brazil, by which it knew that his father had died. They deceived it, at first sight, the seal and on; soon, it troubled the unknown letter. Nine ten scribbled lines wanted to overwhelm the leaf; Emma read that Mr. Maier had ingested by error a strong dose of veronal and had passed away the three of the current in the hospital of Bagé. A companion of pension of his father signed the news, a certain Feino Fain, of Grande River, that could not know that it went to the daughter of the dead.
Emma dropped the paper. His first printing was of malaise in the belly and the knees; after blind fault, of irrealidad, cold, fear; soon, it already wanted to be in the following day. Continuing act included/understood that that will was useless because the death of its father was the unique thing who had happened in the world, and would continue happening endless. It gathered the paper and asucuarto went away. Furtively it kept it in a drawer, as if some way already it knew the facts later. It had already begun to glimpse them, perhaps; she was already the one that would be.
In the increasing dark, Emma cried until the that day end of the suicide of Manuel Maier, who in the old happy days was Emanuel Zunz. He remembered summerings in a small farm, near Gualeguay, remembered (he tried to remember) his mother, remembered the small house of Lanús that ended to them, remembered the yellows losanges of a window, he remembered the arrest warrant, oprobio, remembered the anonymous ones with the small change on " the embezzlement of the teller ", remembered (but that never forgot it) that his father, the last night, had sworn to him that the thief was Loewenthal. Loewenthal, Aaron Loewenthal, before manager of factory and now one of the owners. Emma, from 1916, kept the secret. To anybody had been revealed it, not even to its better friend, Elsa Urstein. Perhaps it avoided the profane incredulity; perhaps it thought that the secret one was a bond between her and the absentee. Loewenthal did not know that she knew; Emma Zunz derived from that very small fact a feeling of being able.
He did not sleep that night, and when the first light defined the rectangle of the window, he was already perfect his plan. He tried that that day, that seemed to him interminable, outside like the others. There were in the factory rumors of strike; Emma declared itself, like always, against all violence. To six, concluded the work, he went with Elsa to a club of women, that has gymnasium and sink. They registered; it had to repeat and to spell its name and its last name, had to festejar the vulgar jokes that comment the revisación. With Elsa and the minor of the Kronfuss it discussed to what cinematograph would go Sunday to afternoon. Soon, it was spoken of fianc2es and nobody hoped that Emma spoke. In April he would turn nineteen years, but the men inspired to him, still, an almost pathological fear... Of return, he prepared a soup of tapioca and vegetables, he ate early, one lay down and he commited himself to sleep. Thus, laborious and trivial, he spent Friday fifteen, the eve.
Saturday, the impatience woke up it. The impatience, not it restlessness, and the singular lightening to be in that day, finally. No longer it had to plot and that to imagine; within some hours it would reach the simplicity of the facts. It read in the Press that the Nordstjärnan , of Malmö, would weigh anchor that night of dock 3; it called by telephone to Loewenthal, it insinuated that it wished to communicate, without the others knew to it, something on strike and promised to happen through the writing-desk, when growing dark. The voice shook to him; the tremor agreed to an informer. No other memorable fact happened that morning. Emma worked until the twelve and fixed with Elsa and Per it Kronfuss the details of the stroll of Sunday. One lay down after having lunch and he summarized, closed the eyes, the plan that had plotted. He thought that the final stage would be less horrible than first and that him depararía, without a doubt, the flavor of the victory and justice. Suddenly, alarmed, one rose and he ran to the drawer of the comfortable one. He opened it; underneath the picture of Milton Sills, where he had left antenoche it, it was the letter of Fain. Nobody could it have seen; it began it to read and it broke it.
To refer with some reality the facts of that late would be difficult and perhaps inadmissible. An attribute of the infernal is the irrealidad, an attribute that seems to mitigate its terrors perhaps and that it aggravates them. How to make an action likely in which almost it did not believe who executed it, how to recover that brief chaos that today the memory of Emma Zunz repudia and confuses? Emma lived by I reddle, in the Liniers street; he consists us that that late she went to the port. Perhaps in infame Stroll of Julio was multiplied in mirrors, published by lights and undressed by the hungry eyes, but more reasonable it is to conjecture than it was mistaken in the beginning, inadvertent, by indifferent recova... He entered two or three bars, he saw the routine or the handlings of other women. He gave to the aim with men of the Nordstjärnan . Of one, very young one, he feared that some tenderness inspired to him and chose on the other hand, perhaps lower than crude she and, so that the purity of the horror was not mitigated. The man later lead it to a door and to a cloudy vestibule and later to winding stairs and later to a lobby (in which there was a show window with losanges identical to of the house in Lanús) and later to a corridor and later to a door that was closed. The serious facts are outside the time, or because in them the past immediate it stays as tronchado of the future, or because the parts do not seem consecutive that form them.
About that time outside the time, about that perplex disorder of unconnected and atrocious sensations, thought Emma Zunz a single time in the dead that motivated the sacrifice? I have for me who thought once and that then its desperate intention was in danger. He thought (he could not not think) that his father had made him to his mother the horrible thing that to her now did to him. He thought it with weak astonishment and one took refuge, immediately, in the vertigo. The man, Swedish or Finnish, did not speak Spanish; it was a tool for Emma as this one were it for him, but it served for the enjoyment and it stops justice. When it remained single, Emma was not on the awares immediately. In the light table it was the money that had left the man: Emma got up itself and she broke it as before there were broken the letter. To break money is a impiedad, like throwing the bread; Emma regreted, as soon as she did it. An act of pride and in that day... The fear was lost in the sadness of its body, in the disgust. The disgust and the sadness chained it, but Emma slowly rose and came to get dressed. In the quarter they were not left colors alive; the last twilight worsened. Emma could leave without they noticed it; in the corner he raised a Lacroze, that went to the west. He chose, according to his plan, the front seat, so that they did not see the face him. Perhaps confortó to verify to him, in insipid trajín of the streets, that the happened thing had not contaminated the things. He traveled by decreasing districts and opaque, seeing them and forgetting them in the act, and he got off himself in one the intersections of Warnes. Pardójicamente its fatigue came to be a force, because it forced it to concentrate itself in the details of the adventure and it hid to the bottom and the aim to him.
Aaron Loewenthal was, for all, a serious man; for its few intimate ones, an avaricious one. He lived in the stops of the factory, single. Established in the dismantled suburb, he feared the thieves; in the patio of the factory there was a great dog and in the drawer of its writing-desk, nobody ignored it, a revolver. It had cried with honor, the previous year, the unexpected death of his woman - a Gaussian, who brought a good dowry to him! -, but the money was its true passion. With intimate shame it was known less apt to gain the one that stops to conserve it. He was very religious; it believed to have with the Gentleman a secret pact, that eximía to build well, in exchange for orations and devotions. Bald, corpulento, enlutado, of quevedos smoky and blond beard, hoped of foot, next to the window, the confidential report of the Zunz worker.
It saw it push the iron door (that it had half-closed to intention) and cross the shady patio. It saw it make a small roundup when the tied dog barked. The lips of Emma were occupied like those of that say in low voice; tired, they repeated the sentence that Mr. Loewenthal would hear before dying.
The things did not happen as it had anticipated Emma Zunz. From the previous dawn, she had often dreamed herself, directing the firm revolver, forcing to the miserable one to confess the miserable fault and exposing the intrepid stratagem that would allow the Justice of God to prevail over human justice. (Not from fear, but being an instrument of Justice, she did not want to be punished.) Soon, a single shot in half of the chest would seal the luck of Loewenthal. But the things did not happen thus.
Before Aaron Loeiventhal, more than the urgency to take revenge his father, Emma felt the one to punish the suffered ultraje for that reason. He could not not kill it, after that meticulous deshonra. He either did not have time that to lose in teatralerías. Sitting, timid, requested excuses to Loewenthal, invoked (to fuer of informer) the obligations of loyalty, pronounced some names, gave to understand others and it cut itself as if it overcame the fear. It obtained that Loewenthal left to look for a water glass. When this one, incredulous from such theatricalities, but indulgente, returned from the dining room, Emma already had removed from the drawer the heavy revolver. It tightened the trigger twice. The considerable body collapsed as if the booms and the smoke were it broken, the water glass was broken, the face watched with astonishment and rage, the mouth of the face injurió in Spanish and ídisch. The bad words did not move backwards; Emma had to fire again. In the patio, the chained dog broke to bark, and an effusion of abrupt blood flowed of the obscene lips and stained the beard and the clothes. Emma initiated the accusation that had prepared (" I have taken revenge my father and they will not be able to punish to me but it did not finish it, because Mr. Loewenthal already had died. He never knew if he reached to include/understand.
The tense barks remembered to him that it could not, still, to rest. It disordered diván, desabrochó the coat of the corpse, it cleared the sprinkled quevedos to him and it left them on the file. Soon it took the telephone and it repeated what so many times it would repeat, with those and other words: It has happened a thing that is incredible... Mr. Loewenthal made me come with the pretext of strike... He abused me, I killed it...
History was incredible, in effect, but it dominated itself all, because substantially it was certain. True it was the tone of Emma Zunz, true the pudor, true hatred. True also it was the ultraje that had suffered; the circumstances were only false, own hour and one or two names.