Relato breve

chimeneafuego(De vez en cuando me gusta cambiar de temas; aparcar los temas serios, y recrear mi espíritu con algún texto más poético e imaginario. Ahí va ese “relato breve”, a modo de breve cuento)

          La tarde se debatía entre las últimas luces del día y las primeras sombras de la noche.  Amenazaba el umbral de la noche, y el crepúsculo vespertino iba agonizando, cediendo el protagonismo  al primer lucero, que se  asomaba temeroso desde el balcón de una pálida y trasparente nube, que andaba rezagada.

La luna pedía permiso para entrar en escena. Ya hacía un tiempo que el rey sol había dejado su trono, llevándose consigo los rayos de fuego.

El silencio era más solemne, y sólo se escuchaba el revoloteo bullicioso de los gorriones que buscaban un lugar para descansar, entre las ramas tupidas de los pocos árboles que había en el lugar.

La noche, benévola y cruel al mismo tiempo, tendió su manto de azabache; y un crespón negro, al igual que un paño mortuorio,  cubrió los tejados más altos, dejando al descubierto las chimeneas, que empezaban a arrojar un humo blanquecino, como una fumata vaticana, que anunciaba los preparativos de la última colación del día.

Me acerqué a la chimenea, tan familiar, tan cercana, y removí los primeros troncos que ya empezaban a estar incandescentes. Un chisporroteo ruidoso respondió a mi intervención, y unos breves fuegos de artificio brillaron por un instante elevándose a lo alto. El fuego de la chimenea se daba por enterado, y yo me volví a sentar en el único sillón de cuero que había en la estancia, muy cerca de las llamas que me proporcionaban luz y calor. Calor para mi cuerpo destemplado, y luz para poder echar la última ojeada al periódico, que yo solía leer en distintos momentos del día.

En el primer momento sólo leía los titulares que sobresalen por tener los caracteres más grandes. En un segundo momento, algo más tarde, repasaba las hojas para ver qué noticias podían ser más interesantes según mis gustos; y finalmente, me enfrascaba en algún artículo más largo y penoso de leer para mis ojos un tanto cansados. Unas veces me interesaba la política, otra vez los sucesos. Lo que siempre solía leer era la editorial. No sé por qué me parecía que era lo más serio e importante; lo que estaba a salvo de mentiras. Pero lo que nunca dejaba de ojear eran las distintas esquelas mortuorias. Casi nunca conocía a los fallecidos, pero, de vez en cuando, alguna esquela se me hacía más familiar. Y eso me compensaba.

Junto a mi sillón de cuero, casi rozándome, estaba tumbado Hércules. Muy tranquilo y silencioso, excepto cuando dormía, y dejaba escapar una especie de gemido, que me hacía pensar más de una vez en cuáles serían los sueños de los perros. Porque Hércules era mi perro.

Un perro lobo, grande como ninguno, pero dócil y fiel como ninguno también. Siempre se ha dicho que el perro es el mejor amigo del hombre. Y en nuestro caso se cumplía a raja tabla, ya que Hércules nunca quiso saber nada con mi mujer, a pesar de su empeño por ganárselo, haciéndole mil carantoñas, que él sufría con paciencia canina, pues me daba la impresión que no le hacían ninguna gracia. Yo creo que  lo soportaba estoicamente por agradarme a mí, porque él sabía muy bien que mi esposa era lo primero para mí. Él estaba en un digno segundo lugar.

Cuando María, mi esposa, se acercaba, ya anochecido y hecha toda la tarea doméstica, a la chimenea, donde pasaba el resto del tiempo dándome compañía, Hércules levantaba la cabeza, hacía un pequeño gruñido, casi imperceptible, y volvía a recostarla sobre el suelo caliente. Yo creo que era su manera de dar la bienvenida a la que llegaba. Ella lo miraba  fijamente durante unos segundos, y le decía con acento cariñoso:”Duerme, chico, duerme”. Y Hércules volvía a adormilarse con los ojos semicerrados o semiabiertos.

Pasábamos las horas, el uno frente al otro, sin decirnos palabras, que no eran necesarias para expresar el amor que nos teníamos y lo a gusto que nos sentíamos cuando las tareas de la casa o del campo nos dejaban descansar juntos muy cerca de  la chimenea,

Aquella tarde había oscurecido antes; el cielo había estado gris todo el día, y el sol apenas pudo asomarse un instante por el roto de una nueve que se peleaba con el fuerte viento. El reloj nunca fue árbitro para saber cuándo era el momento de acercarse a la chimenea; tanto María como yo, nos guiábamos siempre por la luz que entraba por las ventanas, aunque ella tenía otro indicativo más, que no era otro que el saber que todas las tareas de la casa estaban cumplidas.

Una vez más nos encontrábamos frente a frente, yo en mi sillón de cuero, que siempre me respetaba, y ella en una sillita baja con el asiento de paja, que cubría con un cojín confeccionado por ella misma, y al que había cogido verdadero cariño.

Yo acababa de dar la última ojeada al periódico, y ella, con las manos debajo de la negra toquilla que siempre llevaba, mascullaba muy bajito palabras que yo no podía percibir. Pensé que muy probablemente hacía alguna oración, pues era una mujer piadosa y, yo diría, hasta rezadora. A mí no me parecía mal, aunque yo no lo hiciera, porque con ello no hacía mal a nadie, y ella se beneficiaba. Por mi parte, respeté su oración, o lo que fuera, quedándome en silencio, y contemplando el subir y bajar de la llama, juguetona como un chiquillo. Removí un poco los troncos más gruesos para que se quemasen por todas partes, y un calor más fuerte impactó en mi rostro. ¿Era la ira del fuego por mi atrevimiento, o era un modo de dar las gracias en aquella noche fría y húmeda que amenazaba lluvia y, hasta muy posiblemente, la tormenta?

Ella, con una intuición netamente femenina, se dio cuenta de mi silencio respetuoso, y quiso premiármelo con una sonrisa sincera y agradecida. Yo la correspondí con otra sonrisa no menos agradecida.

Esta incidencia dio lugar a romper el silencio, y comenzar una conversación, que ninguno de los dos habíamos preparado, pero que surgió espontánea desde lo más profundo de nuestros corazones. Eran ellos los que hablaban por nuestras bocas.

Fue ella la que rompió el silencio:

¡Qué solos estamos y qué bien acompañados nos encontramos! ¿No es cierto, mi amor?

Aquel “mi amor”, hizo que me ruborizase, cosa que no me ocurría desde hacía años. No solíamos emplear esas palabras, tan frecuentes, por otra parte, entre la gente más joven. Nuestro lenguaje era más recio, menos remilgado, pero no menos sincero y amoroso.

—  Es cierto, María; pero no necesitamos más. Tú me bastas, y espero que yo te baste a ti para ser felices.

Dime, ¿echas de menos a los hijos que nunca te di?

— Yo te elegí a ti, y uní mi vida a la tuya. Y te tengo; por lo cual doy gracias a Dios. Los hijos podrían venir o no venir. No vinieron; pero estás tú.

— Gracias, marido, por esas palabras tan hermosas. Pero me hubiera gustado darte algún heredero; un hijo que acompañase nuestra vejez.

— Dejemos, mujer, lo que pudiera haber sido. Y sigamos queriéndonos y ayudándonos como hasta ahora.

— Seguiremos hasta que la muerte nos separe.

Se hizo un silencio denso, pero cargado de paz y serenidad. Ninguno de los dos se atrevía a romperlo. Era un silencio elocuente, que hablaba sin palabras. Sólo el ronquido de Hércules, se atrevía a desafiar el momento.

La noche se iba haciendo cada vez más negra; ya estaban todas las estrellas apostadas en sus sitios reservados; las nubes, una vez que descargaron su líquida carga, habían desparecido; y una luna  amarillenta y redonda como una hogaza candeal, iluminaba los tejados todavía húmedos, y se reflejaba, coqueta, en el espejo de cada uno de los pequeños charcos de las calles. En el reloj de la iglesia dieron doce sonoras campanadas, alertando a los más trasnochadores, que era la hora de dormir. 

 En algunos hogares, se recogían los restos del rescoldo de la chimenea, y poco a poco iban desapareciendo las escasas luces que quedaban encendidas en la aldea.

                                                                                                        Félix González López

567 Responses to “Relato breve”

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