“I feel that something’s troubling him.”

“His soul?  It may be that he’s a little frightened of himself.  It may be that he has no confidence in the authenticity of the vision that he dimly perceives in his mind’s eye.”


He took her hand and there was something so friendly in the feel of his strong firm hand against hers, something so intimately affectionate, that she had to bite her lip to prevent herself from crying.

There is nothing more touching than the sight of young love, and I, a middle-aged man then, envied them, but at the same time, I couldn’t imagine why, I felt sorry for them.

For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they were born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives’ tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and the God they believed in.

[…] and both of them remained floating in an empty universe where the only everyday and eternal reality was love.

The need to feel sad was becoming a vice as the years eroded her.  She became human in her solitude.

“Poor great-great-grandmother,” Amaranta Úrsula said.  “She died of old age.”

Úrsula was startled.  “I’m alive!” she said.

“You can see,” Amaranta Úrsula said, suppressing her laughter, “that she’s not even breathing.”

“I’m talking!” Úrsula shouted.

“She can’t even talk,” Aureliano said.  “She died like a little cricket.”

Then Úrsula gave in to the evidence.  “My God,” she exclaimed in a low voice. “So this is what it’s like to be dead.”

Úrsula replied with a soft firmness: “If I have to die for the rest of you to stay here, I will die.”

“If you have to go crazy, please go crazy all by yourself!”

“Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance.  The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin.  But the Hebrew word, the word ‘timshel’ – ‘Thou mayest’ – that gives a choice.  It might be the most important word in the world.”