La mujer que llegaba a las seis

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  • Publicado : 11 de septiembre de 2012
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The door swung open. At this hour, there was no one in the restaurant besides José. The clock had just struck six o'clock, and he knew that only at six thirty did the usual clients start to arrive. So conservative and regular was his clientele that the clock had not even finished its sixth stroke when a woman entered, like every day at this hour, and sat without saying a word in a tall bar seat.She took out a cigarette, and without lighting it, put it tightly between her lips.
"Hello reina," said José when he saw her sit down. (reina means "queen", but I like how it sounds in the story, so remember it as a term of affection) He then walked to the other side of the counter, cleaning it with a dry rag against the glass surface. Whenever anyone entered the restaurant José did thesame. Even with the lady with whom he had developed a degree of familiarity, the fat, ruddy barkeep performed his same routine of a diligent man. He spoke from the other side of the counter.
"What do you want today?" he asked.
"First of all, I want to teach you to be a gentleman." said the woman. She was seated at the end of the line of bar seats, with her elbows on the counter, with theunlit cigarette between her lips. When she spoke, she squeezed her lips to warn José with the unlit cigarette (another strange translation).
"I hadn't realized that..." said José.
"You haven't realized anything yet," said the woman.
The man left the rag on the counter, walking over to the dark cupboards and pine tar and dusty wood, moments later returning with matches. The womanleaned over the counter to reach the flame held between his coarse and hairy hands. José saw her plentiful hair, smeared with thick, cheap Vaseline. He saw the rise of her breast in the twilight, when the woman raised her head up, already holding the lit cigarette in her lips. (Not sure if it's saying he could see her breasts in the twilight, or if it's a metaphor)
"You look beautifultonight, reina." said José.
"Stop that nonsense," said the woman. "Don't believe that saying that will get me to pay you."
"I didn't mean that, reina." said José. "I'll bet that today you're hurting for lunch." (no idea if that's it)
The woman sucked in her first puff of dense smoke, crossed her arms, still with her elbows upon the counter, and stared at the street through the widewindows of the restaurant. She had a sad expression upon her face, one of boredom and vulgarity.
"I'm going to prepare you a lovely steak," said José.
"I still don't have money," said the woman.
"It's been three months that you haven't had money, and I always make you something delicious anyways." said José.
"Today is unique," said the woman darkly, still staring out at thestreet.
"All days are the same," said José. "Every day the clock shows six, then you come in and say that you have the hunger of a dog and I make you something good. The only difference is that today you haven’t said that you have the hunger of a dog, but rather that today is unique."
"And that is true, " said the woman. She returned to look at the man on the other side of the counter,who was searching through the refrigerator. She contemplated for two, three seconds. She then looked at the clock, set above the cabinets. It was 6:03. "It's true, José. Today is unique." she said. She exhaled a puff of smoke and continued speaking with short, passionate words. "Today I didn't come at six o'clock, therefore it is a unique day, José."
He looked at the clock.
"I'll cut myarm if that clock is even one minute late." he said. (exaggeration I assume, meaning he wouldn't believe for a second that his clock is off)
"It's not that, José. It's that today I didn't arrive at six," she said. "I came in at quarter to six."
"It was moments after six o'clock, reina" said José. "when you arrived here."
"I had been here a quarter of an hour (at six)," she...
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