The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 13, No. 1


by Rodrigo Hasbún

Translated by Carolina De Robertis

There's a woman lying on the ground, shaking, and five pedestrians have gathered around her. But only one of them, also on the ground, on his knees, attempts to make her respond. Perhaps he's a doctor or a nurse, though from a distance he doesn't seem like one, precisely because of his agitation, because of the tension revealed in all the movements that I, a few paces from the crowd, manage to see. He's wearing a suit, just like two others in the group of observers, and the woman—who looks older as I get closer, more haggard and lost in the confusion she's experiencing, still shaking, but less and less, perhaps because her heart feels fatigue and longs to stop—is wearing a thick dress that covers her whole body and that surely fosters, with its weight and texture, a vague sense of security. This occurs on the left-hand sidewalk of an eight-lane avenue: the drivers of cars and buses don't notice anything, their minds on dinner or some recent argument, some planned encounter, the soccer game they'll watch at eight o'clock, and around us, shrouding us in its density, is the usual Friday night noise. A teenager talks on his cell phone. Only when he lets out a roaring laugh do I realize that he hasn't called an ambulance but rather some friend who finds it amusing to hear this kind of story, about people who pass out or die in the city.

To read the rest of this story, both in English and in its original Spanish, and others from the Spring 2009 issue, please purchase a copy from our online store.