A translation of the first part of a famous story ("The night face up") by this Argentinian writer. You can read the original here.
And in certain epochs they would go to hunt enemies;
They called this the war of flowers.
It had to be late, he thought in the middle of the hotel’s long corridor, and hurried onto the street to the motorcycle in the corner where the concierge next door hadallowed him to park. In the corner jeweler’s he saw that it was 8:50; he’d arrive where he was going in more than enough time. The sun filtered through the tall buildings downtown and, because he needed no name to think, he got on the machine savoring the excursion. The bike purred between his legs and his pants succumbed to the whips of fresh wind.
The ministries in pink and white went by,then a series of stores on Central street with brilliant shop windows. Now he entered the most pleasurable part of the commute, the true journey: a long street lined with trees with little traffic and huge villas which let their gardens come up to the pavements, hardly marked by low hedges. Somewhat distracted by perhaps, but keeping to the right side as was proper, he let himself go to thesmoothness, to the light tension of that day hardly begun. Perhaps his involuntary relaxation prevented him from avoiding the accident. When he saw that the woman standing at the corner was rushing onto the road despite the green lights, it was already too late for simple solutions. Straying to the left, he braked with his foot and hand; he heard the woman’s shouts, and with the collision lost hisvision. It was as if he had suddenly fallen asleep.
Having fainted, he woke violently. Four or five young men were pulling out him from beneath his cycle. He felt the taste of salt, the taste of blood, his knee hurt, and he shouted once they lifted him out because the pressure on his right arm was unbearable. Voices that didn’t seem to belong to the faces suspended above him tried toencourage him with jokes and assurances. His only consolation was hearing someone confirm that he had had the right of way crossing that corner. Trying to control the nausea stirring in his throat, he asked about the woman. While they were taking him face up to a nearby pharmacy, he learned that the reason for the accident didn’t have anything more than scratches on her legs. “You hardly grazed her,but the collision made your bike jump sideways.” Opinions, memories: lay him down slowly; yes, like that; and someone in a workcoat gave him a drink which relieved him in the shade of a small neighborhood pharmacy.
Tenochtitlan.jpgThe police ambulance arrived within five minutes. They put him onto a white stretcher where he could lie comfortably. In all lucidity, but knowing that he wasstill under the effects of a terrible collision, he gave his address to the policeman accompanying him. His arm, he said, almost didn’t hurt him any more. Blood was pouring out onto his whole face from a cut in his brow. He licked his lips once or twice to drink some. He felt good: it was an accident; bad luck. A few weeks not moving and that’d be that. The guard told him that his motorcycledidn’t seem to be too damaged. “Naturally,” he said, “since the whole thing landed on top of me.” They both laughed. Then the guard shook his hand as they arrived at the hospital and wished him good luck. His nausea was already coming back bit by bit. They took him by gurney to the back building, passing under trees full of birds. He closed his eyes and wished he were asleep or chloroformed.But they kept him for a long time in a room with that hospital smell filling out a form, taking off his clothes and putting on a grayish, stiff shirt. They moved his arm carefully without causing him any pain. All the while, the nurses were telling jokes. And if it hadn’t been for the contractions in his stomach, he would have felt very well indeed. Almost happy.
They took him to...
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